How do I want to shoot my pictures in the future?

Doing requirements engineering with oneself is a little bit strange. But as there are so many camera offerings in the market it is nearly impossible to pick and choose right away. Buying my first Nikon in the 90s was much easier!

Overall, I see three very distinct use cases taking pictures:

  1. Capturing snapshots while traveling with my family or alone; Taking family & friends pictures right away. This requires a camera that is always with me – like my mobile phone. But I expect better picture quality! Here I want a small camera I can use just with one hand, have in my pocket or laptop bag always with me.
  2. Hunting for „serious“ pictures as a hobby; This can be landscape, perfect people portraits, capturing the real athmosphire of a special event, macro pictures, HDR experiments, time-laps movies, and anything new that is coming up. This is a camera where I can control everything well. Clear viewfinder, two hands around a camera-lens equipment that feels simply good. Camera industry calls this semi-professional.
  3. My wife, kids, and friends take pictures and expect the „push-just-the-right-button“ camera.  This camera should not be two heavy, not too brittle, and has the „one-button“.

This really looks like that one camera type cannot fulfill all these requirements. Let’s see how this boils down to technical requirements and their priorities.


Criteria 1) Snapshot 2) Semi-Pro 3) One-Button
Size (A) < 140 x 80 x 50 (C) (C)
Weight (A) < 300g (C) < 900g (B) < 600g
Picture Quality (B) best of small (A) best of best (C) just good enough
Lens (A) one bright zoom (A) collectors wishes (C) none
Focal width (FX) (B) 28-70 (A) 20-400 (C) 35-50
Usability (A) quick & reliable, with one hand (A) manual controls, two hand ergonomic grip (A) autopilot
Viewfinder (B) optical or digital or none (A) optical or perfect digital (C) screen is enough
Connectivity (B) WiFi (B) WiFi, LAN (C)
GPS (A) build-in (A) plug-in (B) build-in
low light (A) > ISO xyz (A) > ISO xzy, indirect flash (C) small flash
price (B) ~ €1’000 (C) ¿limits? (B) no extra €


My Samsung Galaxy size is fine for (1) snapshot 137 x 71 mm2.

Continue with Nikon digital

Somehow I never liked the DX CCD chip size. This is just a subjective thing but as cameras are my hobby facts are less of an issue, aren’t they?

Today, Nikon offers excellent and affordable digital FX cameras. With the D800 release I thought that is the camera I had been waiting for more than 10 years. But some reviews indicating that this is rather a studio and tripod camera kept me waiting. The D600, D610 seemed to be OK. The D750 feels right. This could be a Nikon plan:

Many options, lots of money to spend until my retirement. And except my old SB-25 flash I can use my old lenses here. But does this really fit my requirements. Mhmm… Good idea. What about my requirements? That is the topic of my next blog.


Finding the next digital camera…

Due to my work in 3D digitizing I was happy to be an early adoptor of digital photography. It all started with Kodak DCS we had at the Daimler research lab in Ulm in 1994. This was a Nikon body with standard lenses like 50mm 1.4 and mainly used for photogrammetry. From time to time we took some photos on the side and here is one Georg Wiora shoot: my wild time as a PhD student.

In my private life I relied on my Nikon F601, my favorite lens 85mm 1.8, a Tokina 28-70mm 2.8-3.5 for everyday’s purpose, and the strong SB-25 flash. Later I sold the Tokina and a seldom used Sigma 70-210mm (ugly pictures). As digital DSLR became stronger I got a F80 with a 28-80mm 3.3-5.6 very cheap. That is my Nikon collection now:

While waiting for the „perfect“ digital camera my wife was smarter and surprised me with a christmas present in 2002: Canon DIGITAL IXUS v3. The IXUS turned out to be my omnipresent partner with reasonable quality resolution of 2048 × 1536 for nice family pictures. The combination of IXUS and Nikon analog served our needs quite well. Even when the IXUS went „CCD-dark“ at one day in 2010, Canon was so kind to replace it with a complete new model: the Canon DIGITAL IXUS 70. The new IXUS has a higher resolution 2304 × 3072 but the lens is not as sharp. Over time the cameras in mobile phones reached the quality of the IXUS: BlackBerry, iPhone 3s, and now my Samsung S3 offer enough for snapshots. That’s why the IXUS stays home most of the time.

My father bought a Miranda collection in the late 70s, I proudly completed over time:

  • Miranda Auto Sensorex EE
  • Miranda 50mm 1.4 EC Auto: I love it
  • Soligor 28mm 2.8 EC Auto: only OK
  • Soligor 135mm 2.8 EC Auto: I love it
  • Soligor 85-210mm 3.8 MC Auto (include Macro): Cannot recommend it. Very blurry…
  • Additional exchangeable viewfinders: VFE-1, VFE-3
  • Extension tubes for Macro

This is a great camera performing like a Nikon F3. I did all my learning with it and will never give it away!

During our last vacation in Ireland I was not really satiesfied with the picture quality of the IXUS or all the smartphone cameras we had with us. At my friend house I played with the amazing small and good Sony DSC-RX100 I with Zeiss lenses. At the same time I got the first news about the Nikon D750 and here we are with the question: Do I continue with the Nikon DSLR camera approach and buy a Nikon D750 (the D810 seems to be more for static shooting) or should I switch to a smaller system camera now?

Here are my options:

  1. Stay on the Nikon train:
    • D750  €1900 and some more add-ons
  2. Switch to digital Leica, yes expensive!
    • Leica M9, M, M-P €3000-€6900
  3. Switch to Micro Four Thirds
    • The small Lumix GM5 with lenses €1300 and up
    • little bit bigger Lumix GX7 with lenses €700 and up
    • or some other
  4. Switch to Fuji x-mount
    • the small Fuji X-A2
    • or the bigger Fuji X-E2, Fuji X-Pro1, or Fuji X-T1
  5. Just replace the IXUS with a good small high performance lens compact camera
    • Sony DSC-RX100 I, II, or III €350-€650
    • or some other brand Fujifilm.

Let’s explore these options over time in the following posts..  Sources for my decisions are: