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03-15-2021, 06:29 AM   #1
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Tough compact camera for the mountains.

My trusty Ricoh GR has finally given up on me after 5 years of extensive use. I have been using it for mountaineering, hiking, and camping. It took fantastic pictures but I think the abuse has finally taken its toll. I am considering replacing it with a tough camera that is more suited to the conditions. I like to keep the camera in my pocket and take shots as I climb. I have a K3 but even with the da21 it's just too heavy and bulky for how I want to use it.

My biggest concern is losing RAW ability and general picture quality. Does anyone have a tough compact that takes good shots? I don't need a zoom. 28mm is a perfect fov for what I need. I have been using Pentax/Ricoh for many years but am open to other brands.


Last edited by Alnjpn; 03-15-2021 at 06:30 AM. Reason: I can't spell..
03-15-2021, 07:08 AM   #2
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I am aware this doesn’t have a fixed lens but this is a good tough camera with reasonable image quality for the sensor size. The camera supports RAW.

https://asia.olympus-imaging.com/product/compact/tg6/feature2.html
03-15-2021, 07:08 AM   #3
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By tough, do you mean weather resistant? Options are quite limited if so, only small sensor compacts. olympus tough camera have raw output. There's the fuji x100v, but that's not exactly compact.

Otherwise, i like the gr iii very much for hiking when other cameras are too heavy. ibis in particular helps with low light and smoothing waterfalls a little (also the built in nd for the latter).
03-15-2021, 07:45 AM   #4
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I'd get the GRIII. Use a nice camera bag and that fixes the "tough" part as long as you're not drop kicking it.

Canon has a few nice compact mirrorless cameras too.

For me, I do similar things and I treat the camera as a consumable. Obviously you treat it well, etc, but if it wears out eventually, it was good gear in the meantime, and to me the IQ of the "tough" cameras isn't quite there.


I guess you could look into the Ricoh or Olympus tough cameras. They are pretty neat, really depends on which way you want to prioritize things.

03-15-2021, 09:36 AM   #5
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I share your concerns. I do a lot of hiking and multi day backpacking trips carrying a K70 w/16-85mm. It's just too heavy and bulky. Carrying it comfortably and having it easily available to use are two different things. If I can cut the size and weight, I can carry an extra day or two of food. The GRiii comes closest to footing the bill for me except I want a small zoom. If it came with a 28-70mm (FF equiv.) I would buy it today. For you, as you describe your requirements, it may be as close to perfect as you will find.

Some of my hiking buddies are using Sony A6300/A6500's and they're really good cameras. Can't really carry it in a pocket but they are really small and light weight. But they are not rugged and as soon as it starts to sprinkle rain they are putting them in dry bags inside their packs.

I did pick up a Pentax WG-3 (now Ricoh WG series) at a thrift shop and really like it, but it does have limitations, namely the small sensor, low light performance, and lack of raw support. Of course this is an old camera and I'm sure the newer Ricoh WG models are greatly improved. It is very tough, rugged, and waterproof. You may want to look into the latest Ricoh WG model.

Last edited by DWS1; 03-15-2021 at 09:56 AM.
03-15-2021, 10:23 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alnjpn Quote
My trusty Ricoh GR has finally given up on me after 5 years of extensive use. I have been using it for mountaineering, hiking, and camping. It took fantastic pictures but I think the abuse has finally taken its toll. I am considering replacing it with a tough camera that is more suited to the conditions. I like to keep the camera in my pocket and take shots as I climb. I have a K3 but even with the da21 it's just too heavy and bulky for how I want to use it.

My biggest concern is losing RAW ability and general picture quality. Does anyone have a tough compact that takes good shots? I don't need a zoom. 28mm is a perfect fov for what I need. I have been using Pentax/Ricoh for many years but am open to other brands.
If it's fixed, non-zoom lens and large sensor you're after, three models come to mind that may serve you well: Nikon Coolpix A (apsc; 28mm equiv. fixed lens); Fuji XF10 (apsc; 28mm equiv. fixed lens); and Fuji X100 series (apsc; 36mm equiv. fixed lens). The latter is a little larger than your GR, but not by much I think. I've used an X100F and was really impressed by the build quality. It has more features than the XF10 too - the hybrid OVF/EVF is a pretty neat trick.

OTOH, the Nikon and XF10 are probably closer in size and functionality to your GR. I don't think any of these are weatherproof though.

Personally I have an older Canon G1X (mk1 version), and I love it. Built like a brick, cheap to buy (so no tears if I drop it off a cliff), large sensor (just a wee bit smaller than apsc, but bigger than M4/3), and an amazingly sharp lens. Image quality is excellent. But it is a fixed lens zoom, a bit bulky for a compact, and not weatherproof either. The mk2 version is smaller yet, with an innovative control setup and optional EVF attachment. I carry mine in a hip pack when hiking and mtn. biking, and hardly notice it's there. I'd buy another if it ever breaks. Oh, and it has a built-in ND filter, which is nice to have.

All of the above shoot RAW, btw.

Hope this helps. Good luck in the hunt!
03-15-2021, 10:39 AM   #7
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Take a look at the Canon G series? Maybe not so rugged, but they take very nice pictures. I have an older G15 which has been around quite a bit and is still in great shape, and can make RAW files.
03-15-2021, 11:11 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I like the Ricoh WG-20, I've owned it for about 6 years, THe pictures are very good, and it is both compact and rugged. The newer models seem to be even better.

03-15-2021, 11:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by AstroDave Quote
Take a look at the Canon G series? Maybe not so rugged, but they take very nice pictures. I have an older G15 which has been around quite a bit and is still in great shape, and can make RAW files.
Maybe not all G-series are built the same. My old G1X is pretty solid. Really well made. Far more rugged than, say, the MX-1 that I had. The newer G1X mk2 seems similar to my mk1 version.
03-15-2021, 02:48 PM - 1 Like   #10
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Seems like buying any camera based on other than your own or a trusted like minded friend's experience comes with greater risk than another GR. You like it and it gave 5 years use under trying conditions. I would think another GR is indicated. A new GR model also poses a risk, but maybe acceptable.
03-18-2021, 04:59 AM   #11
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Thanks for the ideas, much appreciated. I can see myself just getting another GR, maybe second-hand. I know that whatever else I get isn't going to deliver the picture quality! Thanks, again!
03-23-2021, 04:43 PM   #12
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I use the GR for the same reasons. I’d throw the lx10 or lx100 into the mix.

Most recently I have travelled with a GR and Panasonic zs200.
04-04-2021, 10:45 AM - 1 Like   #13
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The recent generations of Olympus's 'tough' cameras are excellent and have RAW capability - but, honestly, the best of them, the TG-6, won't come close to matching the image quality of your GR. Very few smaller-sensor cameras will. The Panasonic GM1 and GM5 are probably not quite as ruggedly built as your old GR, but their micro4/3 sensors are excellent; if you pair them with a lens like the tiny pancake zoom, the 12-32mm, the result is an extremely compact but versatile camera that can be pocketed, taken almost everywhere, and is astoundingly versatile. To be picky, though, it won't quite match the IQ of your GR.

Replacing your GR with a GRIII has the advantage that the GRiii is a little smaller and has a better sensor and a touch-screen; the downside is that it's a LOT more ($$$$) expensive than your GR was. Someone suggested a Nikon Coolpix A which can be picked up for bargain prices these days and are great small cameras (IF you like the Nikon controls and interface); the Fujifilm XF10 has a great reputation as well (I've never used one) and is small. Or you could buy a GRii - cheaper than the GRiii, almost identical to your old GR but better in some key areas. Plus it functions identically to your old GR so there will be zero learning curve which is nice. The downside of all the GR's is they are prone to dust on the sensors (according to many users), and though well-built, are not weather sealed or designed for brutal or dirty conditions.

Which leaves only one other candidate - saving the best for the last: the 3rd generation of Canon's G1x series - which is both the best and the best-built. It's a tiny APS-C camera with both a great touchscreen and a small (but very usable) EVF in its small DSLR-styled body. It has a zoom lens which is surprisingly great and rivals that of many primes. The APS-C sensor is one of Canon's better underrated ones and (though this will sound heretical to some) rivals that of the dedicated APS-C sensors in all the Ricohs (and that of the Coolpix A). Best of all, the camera is weather-sealed --- so it's more likely to survive atmospheric abuse than all of the preceding. It's a bit bigger than your GR but still eminently pocketable. The ONLY downside is the G1xMk3 is a tad pricier than one or two other options; it's probably cheaper than a GRiii, but higher-priced than others. And (I own both a G1xMkiii and a GRii) it feels really good in the hand.

Good luck. It'll be hard replacing the GR (one of the great cameras, still) but you have some good choices.
04-05-2021, 05:55 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by MiguelATF Quote
Which leaves only one other candidate - saving the best for the last: the 3rd generation of Canon's G1x series - which is both the best and the best-built. It's a tiny APS-C camera with both a great touchscreen and a small (but very usable) EVF in its small DSLR-styled body. It has a zoom lens which is surprisingly great and rivals that of many primes. The APS-C sensor is one of Canon's better underrated ones and (though this will sound heretical to some) rivals that of the dedicated APS-C sensors in all the Ricohs (and that of the Coolpix A). Best of all, the camera is weather-sealed --- so it's more likely to survive atmospheric abuse than all of the preceding. It's a bit bigger than your GR but still eminently pocketable. The ONLY downside is the G1xMk3 is a tad pricier than one or two other options; it's probably cheaper than a GRiii, but higher-priced than others. And (I own both a G1xMkiii and a GRii) it feels really good in the hand.
Good one Miguel! This may not be what the OP is looking for, but it certainly was helpful to me. As you may have read, I have the original mk1 version of the G1X, and I love it. Fantastic camera. Ugly little thing, but great to handle...very intuitive, and does everything I need on a hike. I am constantly amazed at the image quality it puts out. More detail and resolution than my K5ii, and lovely natural colours.

I find only a few things lacking on the mk1 -- lens speed (max aperture is slow), a good viewfinder, and close-up capability. I got around the latter by buying a 58mm filter adaptor and can now use one of those cheap screw-on close up lenses. Resolution drops a wee bit, but IQ is still very good.

If the mk3 version is as rugged and equals the IQ of the mk1, plus a faster lens, an EVF, and weather sealing, then I'd get one in a heartbeat. I didn't even know the mk3 existed actually...I will check it out. Thanks for posting that.
04-06-2021, 11:54 AM - 1 Like   #15
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For light weight photography I use my Oly TG5 and my Sony RX100. The TG5 is much tougher than any other camera that I have and it's good to 50 ft under water. Given the sensor size, it's image quality isn't quite as good but you get that photo where normally you wouldn't. Very few cameras are better than the TG5 for macro.

The RX100 is a great all rounder. I use it for concerts and all sorts of things when I'm not shooting with my K3 or Canon 5D mkII.

For a DSLR, the Pentax KS2 with a light lens is awesome

TG5 ISO 800

TG5 Macro
by John Rudolph, on Flickr

TG5 grab shot shooting into the light and severely backlit.

Pelican
by John Rudolph, on Flickr

TG5

Bleeding Heart shot with the Olympus TG5
by John Rudolph, on Flickr

RX100 ISO 1600

Steel Panther @ ISO 1600
by John Rudolph, on Flickr

RX100 ISO 3200 shooting into the light and severely backlit.

by John Rudolph, on Flickr

Last edited by john5100; 04-06-2021 at 12:05 PM.
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