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Evolving my digicam system for a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the Galapagos: Digital Images Evaluation


My final bucket listing journey, taken proper earlier than becoming a member of DPReview in 2013, was a cruise across the backside of South America, with a number of days spent in Antarctica, pictured right here. Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 7D.

Fourteen months in the past I used to be imagined to be cruising across the Galapagos Islands onboard the Nationwide Geographic Endeavour II, seeing barren landscapes and animals you will not discover anyplace else (blue-footed boobies!). It was a visit excessive on my bucket listing, and one which I would been saving up for practically two years; cruises to the Galapagos do not come low cost.

However months earlier than my scheduled departure, the primary main outbreak of covid-19 within the U.S. tore by means of a nursing dwelling 5 minutes from my home, killing practically 40 individuals. Everybody is aware of what occurred subsequent.

I am planning on shopping for my gear, relatively than borrowing it from the cupboard within the DPReview workplace

Clearly, the journey was cancelled, however the good people at Lindblad Expeditions let me reschedule for 2021 (and why not, since they already had my cash). As time glided by I began to lose confidence about journey in 2021, so a couple of months later I pushed the journey again to 2022, simply to be secure.

However I am not writing this text to share my journey woes. With the journey trying like it can really occur subsequent yr, I’ve returned to planning what gear to carry. In contrast to the primary time I carried out this train, I am planning on shopping for my gear, relatively than borrowing it from the cupboard within the DPReview workplace.

And why am I doing this now, relatively than nearer to the journey? Merely put: the worth of my present gear is barely going to go down between from time to time.

This iceberg was a lot, a lot, a lot bigger than our ship – and that is simply on the floor.

My present gear

The EOS 5D Mark III with the 24-104mm F4L package lens

For a few years I have been the proud proprietor of a Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Although I hardly ever use it resulting from all the brand new toys within the workplace, it nonetheless has a particular place in my coronary heart. It takes nice images, the ergonomics are near excellent, it could possibly take a beating and the optical viewfinder is massive and vivid.

As for lenses, I personal Canon’s 70-200 F4L IS USM (the primary one), 17-40mm F4L USM and the 24-105mm F4L that got here within the field with the digicam. Whereas I might all the time purchase extra lenses, these three lined the bases, and nicely.

Digital camera necessities

An important think about my seek for a brand new digicam system is worth. I am on the lookout for the worth possibility, not the most effective digicam available on the market.

As for my digicam system needs, listed here are the principle options I am on the lookout for on my 5D III substitute (the 5D already affords a few of these issues):

  • I need a extra succesful sensor; the 5D’s decision is okay, however the dynamic vary is behind the occasions.
  • I need a tilting or articulating display so I haven’t got to put on the volcanic rock discovered on a lot of the islands.
  • I need 4K video. Of all locations to take prime quality video, the Galapagos is it.
  • I need in-body picture stabilization. My fingers have a gentle tremor and I do not need tmiss a shot.
  • I need one thing rugged sufficient to get moist or bashed into… one thing.
  • I need twin card slots; not taking any probabilities since that is possible a one-time journey
  • The show and EVF should cross the “polarized sun shades take a look at”. I would like to have the ability to see what I am (in each panorama and portrait orientations) when capturing open air.

Some could also be shocked that did not embody superb autofocus on the listing. Whereas I need one thing to focus shortly and precisely, having top-notch topic monitoring is not a deal-breaker, since most of my topics will not be operating round. (I am additionally a kind of focus and recompose individuals: in all probability the one one left within the DPReview workplace. That stated, the swap to mirrorless might convert me to steady autofocus with topic monitoring.)

Subsequent, I’ve a tough listing of the sorts of lenses I would like in my backpack, which occur to be similar to what I already personal. I might lease an extended super-tele lens, since I do not want one in my private assortment. Here is what I am seeking to purchase:

  • Extremely-wide (16-35mm equiv.)
  • Normal (24-105mm equiv.)
  • Tele-zoom (70-200mm equiv.)

Ideally, these lenses can be within the F4 equal vary, since I do not want the perfect, and my checking account is just not overflowing with money.

What’s my gear value?

My Canon gear, all boxed up and able to promote.

Not eager to cope with craigslist, I went to KEH’s web site to look into costs for my Canon gear (and remember to examine along with your native digicam retailer, who typically purchase used tools for commerce or credit score). Here is what they have been prepared to supply on June 23, 2021:

Product KEH situation KEH trade-in estimate
EOS 5D Mark III physique Glorious $809
EF 70-200 F4L IS USM Glorious $520
EF 24-105mm F4L IS USM Glorious $683
EF 17-40mm F4L USM Glorious+ $365
Grand whole $2377

So I’ve virtually $2400 to spend, however I nonetheless wish to maintain my value as little as doable. What are my choices?

Choice 1: Get an EOS R6 and adapt my DSLR lenses

If I had a limiteless funds, I would promote the entire 5D III package and get myself an EOS R6 and some RF lenses (14-35mm F2.8, 24-105mm F4, 70-200mm F4), which provides as much as $6900. Sadly, I do not.

The EOS R6 with an tailored EF 70-200 F4 L

I like the R6 as a result of, being a Canon digicam, it is acquainted to long-time proprietor of that model. Picture high quality is nice, it has actually good in-body stabilization, a totally articulating display, high-res viewfinder and 4K/60p video. And sure, its autofocus is absolutely good too.

Downsides? Some rolling shutter in video, the small danger of overheating in video and so-so battery life (although I am planning on bringing a small fleet of batteries, simply to be secure.

On this state of affairs I might maintain all three of my lenses and purchase the R6 and Canon’s fundamental EF-to-RF adapter. That might add as much as $2600 and, after taking the $809 I would get for buying and selling in my 5D III, I would nonetheless owe virtually $1800. Let’s strive one thing else.

Choice 2: Promote all of it and begin over

A extra real looking plan could also be to dump all of my present gear and begin from scratch with a brand new system. There are an amazing quantity of digicam and lens choices, although my digicam necessities assist slender down the sphere a bit.


After a lot soul-searching, listed here are the cameras on my quick listing, based mostly on the necessities I discussed earlier.

Digital camera Execs Cons Price (physique)*
Canon EOS R6 Construct, acquainted controls, EVF, video, LCD sort, nice IBIS Worth, rolling shutter, small danger of overheating in video, battery life $2500
Fujifilm X-T4

Design and controls, IBIS, JPEG high quality, video, LCD sort, battery life

Worth, buffer dimension, too many dials $1700
Nikon Z5 Worth, design, picture high quality, IBIS, EVF, battery life Sluggish burst, cropped 4K w/rolling shutter, no 70-200 F4, single card slot $1000
Olympus E-M1 III Construct/sturdiness, IBIS, quick burst, ‘stay’ options, LCD sort. battery life Worth, low res EVF, smaller sensor, menus, way forward for firm $1600
Panasonic G9 Worth, construct high quality, IBIS, EVF, LCD sort, quick burst, 4K/60p video, compact lenses Uncommon USB port, “fluttery” autofocus, smaller sensor, battery life $1000

* All costs from B&H Picture

If I used to be simply shopping for a physique, the $2377 I am getting for my 5D III package makes all of those merchandise very accessible. However I am not.


Now, for the opposite huge buy: lenses. As talked about earlier, I am on the lookout for an ultra-wide, a regular zoom and a tele-zoom lens. Here is the place issues get a little bit messy.

Digital camera Lenses Equiv. protection Price (lenses)*
Canon EOS R6 14-35mm F4
24-105mm F4
70-200 F4
14-35mm F4
24-105mm F4
70-200 F4
Fujifilm X-T4 10-24mm F4
16-80mm F4
50-140mm F2.8
15-36mm F5.6
24-120mm F5.6
105-450mm F4.2
Nikon Z5 14-30mm F4
24-200mm F4-6.3
14-30mm F4
24-200 F4-6.3
Olympus E-M1 III 7-14mm F2.8
12-40mm F2.8
40-150mm F2.8
14-28mm F5.6
24-80mm F5.6
80-300mm F5.6
Panasonic G9 8-18mm F2.8-4
12-60mm F2.8-4
35-100mm F2.8
16-36mm F5.6-8
24-120mm F5.6-8
70-200mm F5.6

* A few of these lenses can be found bundled with the digicam physique, which can save me some cash. I am not together with these reductions above. All costs from B&H.

The Nikon package comes out as the cut price however, as famous earlier, my package solely contains two lenses. Whereas there’s a 24-105 on the official roadmap, there is not any announcement date but. Additionally, a 70-200 F4 is not even on the map – at the least not but. Positive, I might purchase the FTZ adapter and use Nikon’s DSLR lenses, however I would relatively not. So, for now, I’ve to accept the 24-200 F4-6.3 VR (together with the 14-30mm F4) to tide me over.

Nikon is but to provide a 24-105mm F4 for Z-mount, leaving the 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR as the one different.

Proper as I used to be wrapping up this text, Canon launched its RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM lens, which inserts my necessities. At $1700 it’s totally costly, however Canon affords all three forms of lenses on my listing.

The $2300 RF 15-35mm F2.8 is Canon’s solely ultra-wide zoom that I might purchase proper now, although the 14-35mm F4 is arriving quickly.

The one weather-resistant roughly 70-200mm equiv. that Fujifilm affords is its 50-140mm F2.8, which prices greater than I would like, however the 75-210mm equiv. vary is good and it is nonetheless comparatively quick. Because it’s nonetheless $700 lower than the Nikon 70-200 F2.8, I am going to splurge and add the Fujifilm 50-140mm to my procuring listing.

Being an F2.8 lens. it isn’t shock that the X-T4 with the 50-140mm is on the massive facet.

All the lenses for Micro 4 Thirds are have smaller equal apertures than the full-frame fashions, however they’re additionally extra compact and usually lighter, which is likely one of the largest promoting factors of the m4/3 system. Olympus makes some nice lenses – and I like the concept of getting a 80-300 equiv. – however they’re costly, and that is earlier than I issue within the $1600 digicam.

The Olympus E-M1 Mark III is remarkably compact with its 40-150mm F2.8 Professional lens hooked up

Two out of the three Panasonic’s have variable apertures, so they are not as quick because the mounted aperture Olympus F2.8 lenses, however they hit my desired focal lengths.

So what’s all of it going to value?

I’ve gone by means of my two choices – adapt my present lenses, or simply begin throughout – now let’s examine how a lot all of those choices will value. Keep in mind that KEH has valued my 5D III physique at $809 and including my lenses brings the full to $2377. This time I am taking promotions into impact, since that is how I would really purchase the tools.

Choice Price* KEH trade-in credit score Out of pocket value
Canon EOS R6 + tailored present lenses $2500 $809 $1691
Canon EOS R6 + 3 lenses $6900 $2377 $4523
Fujifilm X-T4 + 3 lenses $4800 $2377 $2423
Nikon Z5 + 2 lenses* $2800 $2377 $423
Olympus E-M1 III + 3 lenses $5150 $2377 $2773
Panasonic G9 + 3 lenses $3400 $2377 $1023

* Price contains digicam + lens kits, which can lower worth. All costs from B&H.

The Nikon Z5 seems to be the large discount right here, however keep in mind, I would be getting one much less lens, and and the 24-200mm lens will get sluggish shortly (it crosses F5.6 at 50mm and F6.3 at 105mm). The EOS R6 with three new lenses is pricey for apparent causes, and each Fujifilm’s and Olympus’s higher-end cameras and lenses are usually on the expensive facet.

The ultimate selection

On June twenty fifth, I visited B&H’s web site and ordered a Panasonic Lumix DC-G9, plus the 8-18mm F2.8-4, 12-60mm F2.8-4 and 35-100mm F2.8 lenses. Is the G9 the digicam of my desires? Nope. Moderately, it is the most effective one for my wants, when it comes to each its lens assortment and worth. I am nonetheless undecided if my journey will occur subsequent yr, however when it will definitely occurs, I am assured that I made the precise selection.

Throughout my procuring course of I thought of what options I needed, what cameras to contemplate, and the way a lot it was going to value. Worth-wise, the 2 greatest values have been the Nikon Z5 and the Panasonic DC-G9 (with the Z5 being about $700 extra), so that they have been my finalists.

Finally, it was the system that offered me

The issue that drove my decision-making was not picture high quality, which was the very first thing on my ‘will need to have’ listing. I already understand how that might prove (the Nikon simply wins), and I did not even take a look at our studio scene comparability till after I would ordered my new gear. Given the sort of capturing that I am going to do on the journey (and in life), it’s going to be largely open air, so the smaller m4/3 sensor performs nicely sufficient for me.

Finally, it was the system that offered me. The Micro 4 Thirds system affords the lenses I need for my journey, and dozens greater than I might purchase or lease ought to the necessity come up. The lenses are smaller and lighter than these for APS-C or full-frame, which can make them simpler to move within the restricted quantity of area I am going to have.

Nikon makes some incredible lenses for the Z system, however its assortment of midrange full-frame choices simply is not there but. I count on that to vary, however I am shopping for now and never later.

Homepage thumbnail picture of the Blue-footed Booby: PDolby through iStock


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