Friday, December 10, 2010

Niche Cameras, Do They Have A Place In Your Pro Gear Bag?

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Hotel CaliforniaWhat a great day we had Wednesday and Thursday in Todos Santos. After we arrived, Kent and Sarah surprised us by checking us into the Hotel California, about the most eclectic hotel you have ever laid your eyes on. This is a view of the bedroom to the balcony which is easily 6x larger than the bedroom itself!  Who knows, this hotel may be the same hotel that inspired the Eagles to write the song by the same name ;~)

Last night we did the Jazz and Wine Sunset Cruise, simply one of the best deals in Cabo. You get a 2 hour sunset cruise around the cape, unlimited hors d’orves, and a nice variety of adult beverages for like $30! The weather was perfect, the sunset was fantastic, and the evening - unforgettable!

Around The Cape

Today is a sad day as we wrap up our trip here in sunny San Jose del Cabo, Mexico and jump on a plane back to the good ol' USA about 1:30p.m. tomorrow afternoon. After a long travel day, finally land at the Cincy airport about 11:30 p.m. and hope to be home by midnight.

I have to smile as I write this because I hear we are heading into a major winter storm that hits right after we get home. It's kind of like Mother nature is saying "Welcome home" in her own comical way. Anyway, I say who cares - weather is weather and we certainly have have had our fair share of great weather these last two weeks.

Hey gang, I've got something different I want to talk with you about today. it's about niche cameras. Why don't give the post a read and let me know what you think. Here goes.

Niche Cameras, Do They Have A Place In Your Pro Gear Bag?

I've been thinking about this for the last several weeks. As you've read at DPT I've just picked up the Canon G12 and the Fuji HS10. Sure, I was thinking they would be fun cameras to take on vacations but could, and I say "could" they have a place in my regular gear bag?

Hit the “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.

Here is why I ask the question. Let's look at the Fuji HS10 first. What was it's main intrigue for me? The quick answer was the 24-720mm image stabilized lens. I thought, "Wow, what a zoom range!". In shooting with the camera these past few weeks - as I said Monday, it's the camera I love to hate - I find I love the zoom range, but hate the quirkiness of the camera.

HS10 24mm

At it's widest range, the field of view is the 24mm equivalent to a full frame 35mm DSLR - pretty darn wide. In fact it's wider than my Canon 18-200mm at it's 18mm setting. But it's the 720mm end of the Fuji's zoom range that really intrigues me. So much "zoom" for so little money. The equivalent Canon focal length lens would set you back $1,000's of buckaroos. So, it that a reason to have one in your gear bag?

I'm thinking, "Well, maybe." As a wedding photographer, it might be really cool to have this super long lens for those "reach out and touch somebody" candids I like to shoot. In the field though, I may find the same frustration I've been finding these last two weeks – very slow to focus and very slow response time. I will say that the lens is plenty sharp at full zoom though.

HS full zoom

I guess it could be argued that I could shoot the same scene with my 18-200mm lens at 200mm. With the 7D's 1.6x magnification factor, that would give me an equivalent focal length of 320mm, still half of the Fuji's focal length. But if you factor in the fact that the Canon 7D is 18mp compared to Fuji's 10mp sensor, after cropping the Canon image, you are still in the same relative ball park on the pixel count of the image.

The fact that the Fuji shoots 1080p video AND you still have that super zoom 720mm focal length does change the equation somewhat. Also, some of it's unusual features like Multi-Motion Capture, Motion Remover, Pro Low-Light, etc. could make it an interesting addition to your gear bag. For the $350 investment, it's still less expensive that any lens I've ever bought.

So in concluding, I'm still sticking with my earlier answer of "maybe". I'm NOT suggesting that you choose a consumer camera for your digital shooting. What I am suggesting is that with the unusual features of some of these niche cameras, they just MAY have a place in your gear bag because of the one or two features that may be useful to have on your next shoot.

You'll have to decide if those features are worth the $350. So you may buy it - what's the worse that could happen? We've all blown a buck or two on something we thought we needed and then never used. So, sell it on EBay if it doesn't work out. Like they say, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." I'd be interested to see what DPT readers thought.


Hey gang, that's it for me today. We got one more great day down here in paradise and, although I love ya', I'm hitting the beach ;~) I'll plan to see you back in the frigid north on Monday.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you on the flip side next week.

Adios, David


  1. I think it's a great idea to include one of these niche cameras in your bag for selected shots throughout the day. As you often say "It's the differenes that make the difference"!

    By the way, apparently the Hotel California is not connected with the famous song. Check out this interesting blog post of a wedding shot there by amazing wedding photographer Ben Chrisman,

  2. It seems to be well known here that Hotel California was written after a horrible stay in a motel in Reading, England :-(