Art and Photography

Best camera for low light and travel

  • Last Updated:
  • Sep 24th, 2017 11:08 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 1, 2006
964 posts
29 upvotes

Best camera for low light and travel

So I'm doing a lot of portrait photography and traveling. I currently have a 60D, but I think it's time to upgrade because I end up using my iPhone for all pics instead of dslr because of the bulky size and the pics generally look better. Current lenses I use are 50mm, 24-70. What camera should I upgrade to, I'm thinking mirror less or a 6D the budget is around 1500-2000$
21 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
May 22, 2005
18986 posts
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Thornhill
Maybe the Fuji XT20 with kit lens? The 18-55mm f/2.8-4 is a well reviewed lens, its equivalent to 27-84mm. Could be hard, but could try and find a used 23mm or 35mm prime to fit under $2000.

I'd recommend considering all the options, there are tons of really great cameras and lens, you really can't go wrong with any, especially if you're not too picky about lens options.
Member
Feb 2, 2008
334 posts
9 upvotes
Toronto
Something's not right if your iphone pics are looking better lol. Aren't your lenses too "zoomed" in for your crop sensor body? My vote would go to:

I would go sony a6000 + kit lens + prime lens (35mm 2.8 sigma for cheap OR 35 1.4 sigma OR 35 1.8 sony e-mount) and then pocket the $500-$1000 cash if going used. If you want to reach the higher of your budget and don't mind some additional weight, go 16-70 zeiss or 18-105 sony zooms as your all-purpose lens. Sony's full frame mirrorless A7 series would be better for image quality and better in low light, but if you want to keep weight and bulkiness down, I would suggest staying to a crop sensor.

Another option would be to go for a point and shoot. I would look into the sony rx100 series. With your budget, you can get the latest and greatest one. Would be light, focus much faster, much better in low light than your iphone, and take better pictures without the worry of having to carry around lenses or changing them.
Deal Addict
Feb 21, 2013
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I think I understand what you mean about iphone photos looking "better", probably especially if you have HDR on, it will adjust for dynamic range to give a good balance of highlights and shadow to give you a pleasing photo. Jpg out of the camera might look dull in comparison, but take it into lightroom and you can make it pop, albeit with some work.
coriolis wrote:
Jun 28th, 2017 12:59 pm
Maybe the Fuji XT20 with kit lens? The 18-55mm f/2.8-4 is a well reviewed lens, its equivalent to 27-84mm. Could be hard, but could try and find a used 23mm or 35mm prime to fit under $2000.

I'd recommend considering all the options, there are tons of really great cameras and lens, you really can't go wrong with any, especially if you're not too picky about lens options.
Personally, I think the Fuji series is right for you too but I'm biased. In terms of price, camera size, lens quality, and even the different film simulation modes that help make the jpg photos look "better", you should look into it. Pretty much agree with @coriolis on the lenses, as many of the Fuji lenses are very good. Get the kit 18-55 XF lens (not the cheaper 16-50 XC lens) and also get a 35mm f2 WR and you're probably set.
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Deal Addict
May 17, 2012
2054 posts
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ontario
a good low light system consists of
i) a camera with a large sensor
ii) a lens with a wide aperture

full frame dslrs win i) by default.

you can compensate to a degree on crop sensor systems with ii) depending on the depth of your pockets.. but a dslr equipped with a lens of the same aperture will always win.
Sr. Member
Oct 27, 2013
724 posts
139 upvotes
Mississauga
If you think that your iPhone has better looking photos than your 60D, then I'd say you shouldn't really get a high end camera. Whatever it is you're liking about your iPhone pictures - be it saturation or deep depth of field etc., that will only come as a result of deliberate action by way of photography knowledge or editing. The iPhone's JPEG processing is designed to appeal to mass audiences, so I'm guessing it's the processing you're liking. It would be helpful if you could explain what you like better, or better yet, show us an example.

Believe it or not, full frame cameras aren't that easy to master. Just try a portrait with a full frame camera and a 85mm 1.4 lens. What do you think are the odds that you'll get an eye sharp in focus? Your hit rate will be super super low with Canons and Nikons (without practice that is). You can go with Sony and use their eye detection (sick feature BTW), but it's expensive and you still need to understand photography basics before getting great images. The camera is never the key variable in great images... that's the point here.

To be honest, I'd recommend you get an RX100 and really learn how to use it (e.g. watch Lynda videos on the fundamentals of exposure, shoot RAW etc.), and learn how to edit to your taste. A knowledgeable photographer can get fantastic results out of the RX100. It will even beat a lot of low end dSLRs with kit lenses.
Deal Addict
Nov 21, 2008
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If bulk is an issue, get a small mirrorless that fits in your pocket. There are lots of options with one inch, four-thirds, and APS-C sensor systems that have the same lens reach as you currently use. Maybe even a one inch sensor device will do the job. These newer sensors will give you low light capabilities that are pretty good, and the pricing is better.

But if low light capabilities is the main concern, a FF will provide noticeably less noise at high ISO. 6D or even a used 5D III would be a noticeable improvement with your existing lenses.
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Jun 11, 2008
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If you want low-light performance, then I recommend going the Sony FF route (perhaps used A7). You may need to stretch your limit a bit for the lenses.

If you're uncertain what you want just yet, invest in the RX100 series as it is cheaper, yields good image quality and is very portable.

Fuji doesn't perform well in low-light but it is excellent for B/W portraits and JPEG output without editing. Also great form factor and fun to use (I use the Fuji XT-20 and have RX100I).
Deal Guru
Jun 15, 2012
11282 posts
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Southern Ontario
tripleflip wrote:
Jun 28th, 2017 11:26 am
So I'm doing a lot of portrait photography and traveling. I currently have a 60D, but I think it's time to upgrade because I end up using my iPhone for all pics instead of dslr because of the bulky size and the pics generally look better. Current lenses I use are 50mm, 24-70. What camera should I upgrade to, I'm thinking mirror less or a 6D the budget is around 1500-2000$

From the bold:
1. Whichever camera you choose, price out their standard f/1.8 portrait lens, DSLR lenses are cheap, comparatively. Also a 50mm on a full frame such as 6D is different than on APS-C or MFT, consider crop factor and focal length.

Image

2. Travelling, you generally want lighter, I don't mind my iPhone 7 Plus during the day. Photo editing is powerful (and free) on a phone now:



So is video editing in iMovie, 4K edited on my phone here. Vids provide richer memories than still photos, I'm not making production value clips anyway, just family stuff like when my wife had to work and missed this, we bought her some :)



3. If you think "iPhone pics generally look better", are you talking practicality? IQ wise, they're not, compared to a big sensor camera and if you use manual controls, shoot in lowlight, shoot in RAW, or view them on large monitors/print them.

Maybe you mean you compose better using a screen over a viewfinder, or you like the already processed iPhone jpg's, and you only view/share them socially on small mobile screens, so IQ and noise differences aren't as noticeable.

50mm f/1.8 STM on 6D is a pretty good combo, albeit heavier for travelling http://www.popphoto.com/hands-canon-50m ... prime-lens, 6D bodies can be had used for $1200-1400, maybe less now that 6DII is being released.
How much is an X-T20 and comparable 50mm Fujinon? Or an A6000 and Sony's 50? If I could afford it, I'd love a mirrorless+lenses for travelling. Maybe an MFT is in my future, I don't know.
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May 17, 2012
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AncasterRFD wrote:
Jun 28th, 2017 10:07 pm
Maybe an MFT is in my future, I don't know.
well... if you like small.. my em10 with 14mm panasonic pancake

Image
Deal Addict
Mar 17, 2004
4831 posts
271 upvotes
Sony RX1000 V or VI or III

Or

Canon G7x II

fits in your pocket.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 1, 2006
964 posts
29 upvotes
alee23 wrote:
Jun 28th, 2017 1:02 pm
Something's not right if your iphone pics are looking better lol. Aren't your lenses too "zoomed" in for your crop sensor body? My vote would go to:

I would go sony a6000 + kit lens + prime lens (35mm 2.8 sigma for cheap OR 35 1.4 sigma OR 35 1.8 sony e-mount) and then pocket the $500-$1000 cash if going used. If you want to reach the higher of your budget and don't mind some additional weight, go 16-70 zeiss or 18-105 sony zooms as your all-purpose lens. Sony's full frame mirrorless A7 series would be better for image quality and better in low light, but if you want to keep weight and bulkiness down, I would suggest staying to a crop sensor.

Another option would be to go for a point and shoot. I would look into the sony rx100 series. With your budget, you can get the latest and greatest one. Would be light, focus much faster, much better in low light than your iphone, and take better pictures without the worry of having to carry around lenses or changing them.
The reason why the phone is good a lot of time is because everything is in focus and sometimes I don't want an bokeh effect. And with the iphones hdr feature the pics look nice and there's no time trying to get the exposure right.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 1, 2006
964 posts
29 upvotes
AncasterRFD wrote:
Jun 28th, 2017 10:07 pm
From the bold:
1. Whichever camera you choose, price out their standard f/1.8 portrait lens, DSLR lenses are cheap, comparatively. Also a 50mm on a full frame such as 6D is different than on APS-C or MFT, consider crop factor and focal length.

Image

2. Travelling, you generally want lighter, I don't mind my iPhone 7 Plus during the day. Photo editing is powerful (and free) on a phone now:



So is video editing in iMovie, 4K edited on my phone here. Vids provide richer memories than still photos, I'm not making production value clips anyway, just family stuff like when my wife had to work and missed this, we bought her some :)



3. If you think "iPhone pics generally look better", are you talking practicality? IQ wise, they're not, compared to a big sensor camera and if you use manual controls, shoot in lowlight, shoot in RAW, or view them on large monitors/print them.

Maybe you mean you compose better using a screen over a viewfinder, or you like the already processed iPhone jpg's, and you only view/share them socially on small mobile screens, so IQ and noise differences aren't as noticeable.

50mm f/1.8 STM on 6D is a pretty good combo, albeit heavier for travelling http://www.popphoto.com/hands-canon-50m ... prime-lens, 6D bodies can be had used for $1200-1400, maybe less now that 6DII is being released.
How much is an X-T20 and comparable 50mm Fujinon? Or an A6000 and Sony's 50? If I could afford it, I'd love a mirrorless+lenses for travelling. Maybe an MFT is in my future, I don't know.
Great post. Right now I have a 50mm on a Aps-c sensor it's just too zoomed in. So the best full frame camera, compact would be great for traveling. I love shooting in RAW because edits look great. But sometimes i prefer it to look great out of the camera. But I'm just looking for that right balance of professional looking pics in a small compact form.
Deal Guru
Jun 15, 2012
11282 posts
5388 upvotes
Southern Ontario
Oh I see, that's because an iPhone has a crop factor of 7.2 and if you have the latest, it's a constant aperture f/1.8 so your DoF is like f/13, ie; everything is in focus (unless you use Portrait Mode, a fabricated dual shot).

50mm on FF is still a bit tight unless you maintain some fair distance. Environmental portrait shooters love the 35mm on FF, so any smaller sensor, reduce the focal length by it's factor to get the lens you want... if you still want a bright prime.
Deal Guru
Oct 27, 2003
12289 posts
2867 upvotes
Toronto
If you think your Iphone takes better pics than your 60D, I would respectfully suggest that you learn to better use your camera gear. Learn to adjust the aperture to say F7.0 or higher values, so your depth of field is huge and everything is in focus. When you want bokeh / background blur, switch your aperture to lower numbers. Learn to use the Av mode on your camera.

I remember being a newbie using the 50mm f1.8 in Auto mode on my T2i, and being confused as to why my shots were not in focus. I didn't know what depth of field was, or understand aperture. Once you figure this out, your photography will improve 500%.

But agreed that the 60D is a fairly large and bulky camera by today's standards. A 6D is a very powerful camera but even bigger, so probably not what you want. I own a 60D and have used it for paid portraits. It's a very powerful semi-pro camera, and upgrading to something else won't necessarily give you better pictures. Improving your skills will.

If you want a small, light setup that's good for travel and high ISO, I would suggest moving to the Sony A6000 and getting the Sigma 19mm or 30mm f2.8 lens. You should be fine up to ISO 6400 with that setup.

If you want to stick with Canon and use your existing lenses, look at the Rebel SL1 or the brand new Rebel SL2, they are pretty much the smallest DSLRs you can buy.

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