Since CHNT17 I have updated the camera comparison table to include the forthcoming new camera from Sony.
I should begin by saying there is probably no ‘right’ answer and the camera you have may well be the best one for doing KAP your way. I have had many discussions with photographers about this and 2 themes have emerged- 1: they all agree that a ‘professional’ photographer uses a full-frame DSLR, anything less is an amateur plaything and 2: The one they use is the best- brand loyalty reaches almost religious levels of conviction with the pro ‘togs!
This is not too helpful when even the lightest full frame DSLR (I think its the Nikon D600 a snip at £1,300 for the body) weighs more than a kilo once its fitted with a lens.
For me its a balance between what I can reasonably expect my kite to lift and the image quality I expect to get at my working height (60m AGL). Digital cameras are in a state of flux and it is a given that this years model will render the one in your hand obsolete, no matter how fond of it you are, whatever you buy today will be worth much less than you paid for it when you trade it in for the latest model!
Depending on what you want out of KAP there is a variety of answers to the ‘which is best?’ question. If you run an autoKAP setup then the CHDK intervalometer from Canon is something of a must, if light-weight is the absolute bottom line the HDGoPro wins. What is much harder to quantify is the resolution achievable. Although sensor size is not the complete story (it is remarkable how many pixels can be wrung out of a chip, regardless of size, these days) it has the biggest impact on image quality so I have divided the sensor area by the camera weight to arrive at the ranking below: the new Sony RX1 goes straight to the top of the list with almost 2mmsq of sensor per g of camera!
|Comparison of compact cameras by sensor area/ camera weight ratio|
|Camera||Weight||Key feature||Sensor size mm||Sensor area/ weight. mm2 per g|
|Canon G11||335g||10mp programmable||7.60 x 5.70||0.12|
|Ricoh ‘Calipo’ GX200||238g||12mp||7.60 x 5.70||0.18|
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3/ LeicaDlux4||228g||Leica Wide Angle lens. Image stabilisation||8.17 x 6.13||0.21|
|Canon Powershot S100||198g||CHDK programmable. 24-100mm equivalent zoom lens||7.6 x 5.7||0.22|
|HD GoPro 3||76g||14mp ‘super wide’ video camera||5.76 x 4.29||0.325|
|Panasonic DMC GF1||485g*||Interchangeable lenses. Micro 4/3rds format. ‘On lens’ stabilization||18 x 13.5||0.5|
|Olympus EP1||406g*||Interchangeable lenses. Micro 4/3rds format. ‘On board’ image stabilisation. 2/3rds full frame CCD.||18 x 13.5||0.598|
|Olympus E-PL1||368g*||18 x 13.5||0.66|
|Fuji X-E1||430g||16 mp ‘X-Trans’ CMOS Sensor. 14mm wide angle c.80g||23.6 x15.6||0.85|
|Canon Eos M||380g*||18mp with 22mm focal length (35mm equivalent) lens||22.3 x 14.9||0.87|
|Ricoh GXR ‘S10’ or ’P10’||397g||12Mp. with 50mm ‘A12’ lens Interchangeable lens/sensor packs available.||23.6 x 15.7||0.903|
|Samsung NX200||305g*||21Mp, Samsung EX-S30NB 30mm f/2.0 Pancake Lens =85g||23.5 x 15.7||1.002|
|Sigma DP1/DP2||278g||14mp||20.7 x 13.8||1.027|
|Leica M9||825g||Full frame, 585g body. (+240g for 50mm Summicron f/2 lens)||36 x 24||1.047|
|Leica X2||345g||16Mp Fixed 35mm equivalent focal length lens.||23.6x 15.8||1.08|
|Sony Nex 5||317g*||Interchangeable lenses. Sony ‘E’ mount. 14mp||23.4 x 15.6||1.12|
|Nikon Coolpx A||299g||16mp 28mm equivalent focal length lens||23.4 x 15.6||1.24|
|Leica X1||286g||12mp. Fixed 35mm equivalent focal length lens.||23.6 x 15.7||1.29|
|Ricoh GR||245g||16mp. Fixed 28mm equivalent focal length lens.||23.7 x 15.7||1.51|
|Phase One iXU||1250g||80mp.750g body medium format with 500g (50mm equivalent) 80mm lens.||53.9 × 40.4||1.742|
|Sony RX1||482g||Fixed 35mm equivalent focal length lens.||35.8 x 23.8||1.767|
*includes lightweight wide angle ‘pancake’ lens
Table updated 26.04.2015
Having flown DSLRs I can’t fault the image quality but the weight is tiresome: the arrival of a full frame sensor camera with an all up weight of 482g, even at £2,500 with a fixed lens, is progress indeed!