This may be in the wrong forum, but I wanted to get a consensus from the group as to what you use or recommend to use when you want to leave the DSLR and gear home. My D40 with 35 F/1.8 has been my walk-around lens when I'm dedicating time for photography, but many times I find it awkward to carry and set aside during outings like nights on the town, at restaurants, etc.
I've done extensive research on the usual suspects like the LX-3/5, S90/95 (too small for my liking), G11, Samsung's new TL500, because while I want size/weight convenience (coat, cargo pocket, or even a non-fanny-pack belt pouch will work for me), I also want good low-light capability (read: I want to avoid using flash in public places or night street scenes), and reasonable control over what I'm shooting.
Can anyone suggest something that I've missed and should explore?
#1. "RE: Nikon DSLR dilemma regarding "smaller" carry-around camera" In response to Reply # 0
Right now I have a CoolPix 6000, but it's going to get replaced as it really isn't up to what I want. It's not responsive enough, it's still pretty noisy even at ISO 400 (even with external post processing) and not flexible enough in terms of aperture.
In the event of unlimited money I'd go for a Leica M9, but more realistically something like an Olympus EP2, Samsung NX-10 will be the choice.
The smaller the sensor, the less likely you are to be finding good low-light capability.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#3. "RE: Nikon DSLR dilemma regarding "smaller" carry-around camera" In response to Reply # 0
My daughter uses a D5000 with the kit lens and it goes with her nearly everywhere. Her results are often hard to tell from studio caliber work. One thing that expands her "kit" is a very unobtrusive Domke F5XB black canvas camera bag. It disappears quickly on a restaurant chair and is compact over the shoulder. I use three of those bags, one for a Leica M6 kit, one for a D70s kit and the other is kept empty for when I need a special kit for a special occasion.
I prefer my LX3 for size, but the image quality out of her D5000 easily beats my LX3. I just ran about 300 images through my LX3 on a four day weekend that covered full sunlight boat trips to barely visible night rides. There certainly is grain in those low-light images at ISO1600 but then I have the images and those friends who were with us, have not been able to duplicate them with their equipment. It really depends on what your "settle-for" threshold is, but camera size does matter and given these two small alternative examples, you easily get the "picture" of the tradeoffs.
I'm seriously considering the D5000 replacement (whenever) and the 35mm f/1.8 lens for taking over in this roll. I've often used a quality camera with single focal length lens for my walkabout with a digital P&S for coverage and strobe when needed. Coupling both, can fill a lot of gaps and when the single focal length lens isn't adequate, you definitely know how hard you are going to have to work to squeeze quality out of the P&S.
#5. "RE: Nikon DSLR dilemma regarding "smaller" carry-around camera" In response to Reply # 0
I have, and recommend, the LX-3 for this role. But if you want better image quality, then your D40 is it, as far as I'm concerned. There just isn't a P&S that will have image quality on par with the small Nikon DSLR's. I sometimes carry my wife's D40X with the little 35mm f/1.8, and I think it's a great package for lightweight carry. The only way I can see to reduce size would be to buy a 20mm Nikkor (but you would have to focus manually). This would marginally reduce the size of the camera-lens combo, without seriously compromising image quality, while giving you a somewhat wider field of view. Roger's bag suggestion is also a great idea. With the smaller lens, you could likely find a small bag that would make carrying the camera a reasonable proposition, without the compromises you make when you change to a P&S.