Cameras - Choosing the right type (1 Viewer)

Go Humberto!

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People are very quick to recommend, based on the camera they own and love, a make and model of camera. Nothing wrong with suggesting a nice camera but it's hard to know if it's the right TYPE of camera based on someone saying, "the Nikon 235 XJ6 model 2 is what you need".

Don't get hung up on specific camera models and serial numbers initially, try to figure out what TYPE of camera you NEED.

There are just a few TYPES to consider:

1 - Phone Camera. If you have a good phone camera (let's say >10megapixel from Apple or Samsung) then that should be good enough for 75% of travel photos. Landscapes, groups of people, social gatherings, churches..etc. Most of all, nothing is as portable and that counts for a lot. Cons: Can be bloody expensive, more than a decent DSLR !!!!!! but, as the adage goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. (and the latest phones have incredible cameras...for certain types of photos).

2 - Compact camera. Same size as a packet of 20 ciggies, really cheap (£100-£200 or so). Very portable and with a smallish zoom range (typically 28-150mm) that covers landscapes to nicer portraits than a Phone camera can produce. The downsides are that they actually aren't much better than a good modern phone and you need to faff about in order to share images via your phone. Nice to have a small zoom though. I carried a £50 Canon A495 in my cycling jersey back pocket for years and captured some great memories, no award-winning photos but I felt much better about juggling with a £50 camera than a £500 phone.

3 - Compact Super-zooms. Probably the best all-round "travel camera" type. Typically have incredibly useful zoom range that would be expensive in a DSLR (many lenses required).
Slightly bigger than the true compact camera but will fit in a jacket pocket so you're likely to carry it.
These cover every type of shot, from wide landscapes to close-ups of that friendly Robin on the bird-table. They aren't that expensive if you weigh things up, £500 gets you a huge range of features but you can pay less, or more. The best ones can produce exhibition quality images.

4 - Bridge Camera. These look like a small DSLR but have a fixed zoom lens. They typically have impossibly big zoom ranges, the sort of range that you simply can't get with a DSLR at all.
Typically they are a bit awkward to carry and won't fit in a jacket pocket but, if you're prepared to sling it over your shoulder, they cover every base for a travel camera ... and more. £450 or so.

5 - Mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera. Think of these as a compact DSLR.
Because they typically have larger sensors than any of the previous types they tend to produce better image quality BUT....it may not be noticeable. The image is only better if you really understand what you're doing. They are more than capable of taking terrible pictures. The lenses will usually be sharper than a built-in lens, usually let more light in and, on the whole, take better pictures in lower light. There's absolutely no way they can compete on zoom-range with a superzoom or bridge camera but, if you want ultimate image quality, in the smallest package, but at a relatively large cost, then a mirrorless "system" is the way to go. Cost? Well it's a system so it starts around £500 for the camera and then add £150 - £200 per lens. It's easy to spend £1,000.

6 - DSLR. You REALLY need to know why you want a DSLR because they aren't an obvious choice for most people.
Pros - They are capable of taking the very best images (Though Mirrorless cameras have caught up)
Cons - The above Pro is only true if you throw money at it. A low-end DSLR system is no better than a good Mirrorless or a good Compact super-zoom and has several disadvantages:
Cons - Bulky and heavy camera. Bulky and heavy lenses. Expensive to cover a large zoom range. A cheap DLSR costs the same as a good Compact superzoom and it would be hard to spot the difference unless you've spent money on half-decent lenses. They are a bloody pain to lug around all day.

So 1-6 is in order of the likelihood there is of you being bothered to carry a camera. 4, 5 and 6 require a conscious decision to carry them, 1-3 really don't, you just slip them in a pocket.

I personally think that #2 has become almost redundant due to the advent of such good phone cameras.
Of course a new iphone can cost £1,000 so I certainly would never advocate buying one JUST as a camera, that's crazy. If you want a "cheap carry camera" and don't have a good phone camera then get a Compact camera.

SO, the question is really, what TYPE of camera do you want? Once you have established that the next question is "how big is your budget?"

Once you know what type and how much we can start discussing the various manufacturers and models.

Here are my credentials..... (I also have a very nice Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phone which I took the photo with) - DSLR , Mirrorless camera and a Compact camera.

canon-cameras-1-jpg.285089


One last point, maybe the most important one. Cameras are like paintbrushes.

It's possible to take great photos on every one of the above camera types AND it's possible to take terrible photos on them all as well.

Great photos and terrible photos aren't about the camera I'm afraid, it's the photographer.

Buying Leonardo DaVinci's paintbrushes won't make you a good, or bad, painter.

FYI. If I had to buy just 1 camera, for my travels and everything else, then I'd throw some money at a Compact Superzoom with a big sensor and nice bright lens.
I know what manufacture and model that would be but there's no point recommending it because a better one will be released every 6 months by someone else.

Bridge cameras are tempting but they are just too big to take out on a causal basis in my opinion and the VERY best Compact zooms and superzoom cameras actually have better sensors, despite their smaller bodies.
 
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I bought a quality compact with (at the time) the best manual zoom lens going, now just use my mobile phone with twin lenses.
 
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Quite a clever camera system as you can change the depth of field after the shot has been taken....
IMG_20180718_200509.jpg
 
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Quite a clever camera system as you can change the depth of field after the shot has been taken....View attachment 286126

Camera phones are ideal for that type of shot for sure, things close up, or even distant landscapes.
Their main limitation is with things in the middle distance, for example if that bike was behind a fence 40 yards away, even a moderate zoom lens would really be helpful. Photos of objects at that distance tend to look like landscape photos with a random small object in the middle.

The fake depth of field effect is getting better and better. Mine requires me to move my phone during the shot and is fooled by things like flowers, hair..etc (yours by the brake cable slightly...or is it a speedo cable?).
 
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Go Humberto!

Go Humberto!

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I keep looking for a compact camera, just never buy!

If you know that you want a Compact Camera then that's half the battle. Next it comes down to budget.

I'd say that, for any given budget, the main brands will have near identical cameras (Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony...) so it's hard to buy a "lemon" nowadays.
I've always bought Canon cameras because I like the images they produce, even on the very cheap ones I've owned, and the menus are the easiest to navigate. I'm aware that there are pros and cons to every camera though.

If I were looking for a cheap compact today, to stick in my cycling jersey pocket, I'd probably get the Canon Ixus 185 (My Canon bias).
You can pick it up for around £85 which is about 12% the price of the latest iPhone and it has a very useful 28 – 224 mm zoom range (Not long enough for wildlife stuff but certainly covers most situations).
However I'd highly recommend handling a camera before buying because some cameras just don't feel right in my hand, whilst others do. All the other manufacturers will make something similar for that price.
 
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Absolutely agree about the compact Canon Its what I use when I have it with me. Useless for making phone calls on though My phone Samsung s8, is always with me.
 
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Camera phones are ideal for that type of shot for sure, things close up, or even distant landscapes.
Their main limitation is with things in the middle distance, for example if that bike was behind a fence 40 yards away, even a moderate zoom lens would really be helpful. Photos of objects at that distance tend to look like landscape photos with a random small object in the middle.

The fake depth of field effect is getting better and better. Mine requires me to move my phone during the shot and is fooled by things like flowers, hair..etc (yours by the brake cable slightly...or is it a speedo cable?).
Just spotted that error, here's a different FOV.
IMG_20180718_200509.jpg
 
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Well that`s our 13th year & still loving it.
If you know that you want a Compact Camera then that's half the battle. Next it comes down to budget.

I'd say that, for any given budget, the main brands will have near identical cameras (Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony...) so it's hard to buy a "lemon" nowadays.
I've always bought Canon cameras because I like the images they produce, even on the very cheap ones I've owned, and the menus are the easiest to navigate. I'm aware that there are pros and cons to every camera though.

If I were looking for a cheap compact today, to stick in my cycling jersey pocket, I'd probably get the Canon Ixus 185 (My Canon bias).
You can pick it up for around £85 which is about 12% the price of the latest iPhone and it has a very useful 28 – 224 mm zoom range (Not long enough for wildlife stuff but certainly covers most situations).
However I'd highly recommend handling a camera before buying because some cameras just don't feel right in my hand, whilst others do. All the other manufacturers will make something similar for that price.


Or on the other hand you could just go out and buy what takes your fancy, feels right when you hold it.
if you really want to buy an expensive camera then I would suggest going along to a camera club and try some of the options they have.
Whatever you choose walking around and looking through the lense of a camera makes you find things you didn't know were right under your nose.
 
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Or on the other hand you could just go out and buy what takes your fancy, feels right when you hold it.
if you really want to buy an expensive camera then I would suggest going along to a camera club and try some of the options they have.
Whatever you choose walking around and looking through the lense of a camera makes you find things you didn't know were right under your nose.

Well that's one approach I suppose.

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Thanks @Go Humberto! that was really useful, and correlates with what I have been learning recently.
I have been following a few professional "Vloggers" for a few years now, and one of them produced this very recently, cant wait for his next two, as I want to learn more about sound syncing, and video editing, but not to Vlog, just to have as a decent record of trips etc.
Let me know your views on this "vlog" I am only interested in looking at the basic kit he mentions.
PS: he is a fultimer living in his Airstream Caravan, but gets work now for the CMC and a lot of caravan & MH manufacturers, lucky bugger you might say, but he has worked hard for it, so hats off to him.
Thanks
Les
 
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I like to use a circular polarising filter so that would limit the type of camera I can use.
 

Jim

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I went from Canon 5D’s down the M43 route. It has some considerable shortcomings but the advantages are superb. Really fast glass Like 35mm and 50mm 1.2's Being able to hand hold a 600mm F4 at 60th of a second or carry an 80-300mm 2.8 zoom that almost fits in an inside pocket! My standard travel lens is a 24 to 200mm F4 with almost 7 stops of stabilisation, making handheld shots of over 3 seconds very sharp. All those focal lengths are 35mm equivalent. The kit here goes from 840mm to 14mm, taking in a superb 60mm 2,8 1-1 macro with the E-M1 mark 2 and a PenF. All Olympus apart from the superb fully manual samyang fisheye. The Go Pro is a new edition and I've just bought a harness so the dog can wear it. :D

I always say to the kids, when I pop my clogs, don't let mum sell my camera gear for what i told her i paid for it :)

DC1E02F5-CB4F-4570-B213-643D0E48E484.jpeg
 
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Thanks @Go Humberto! that was really useful, and correlates with what I have been learning recently.
I have been following a few professional "Vloggers" for a few years now, and one of them produced this very recently, cant wait for his next two, as I want to learn more about sound syncing, and video editing, but not to Vlog, just to have as a decent record of trips etc.
Let me know your views on this "vlog" I am only interested in looking at the basic kit he mentions.
PS: he is a fultimer living in his Airstream Caravan, but gets work now for the CMC and a lot of caravan & MH manufacturers, lucky bugger you might say, but he has worked hard for it, so hats off to him.
Thanks
Les


I watched his video and agree with everything he says (we have near identical kit).

I 100% agree with his point about a phone being the best starting point.
I use a Samsung Galaxy, not an iPhone, but we use the same £20 mic (BOYA) and a Selfie-stick. It's honestly hard to justify any more than that, as a starting point, if I'm being honest.
I use FILMIC Pro app to have more control over the Phone's video capabilities and it's then better than most cameras.

The MOST important thing about videos is, surprisingly, the sound quality. People will watch a low resolution video with good sound quality but not a high quality video with terrible sound. So that BOYA mic plus a "Dead-Cat" wind protector is money well spent.

Editing plays a huge part. I'll give you just one piece of advice on editing: Watch a few of your favourite travel videos on Youtube, by the most popular people.
Now count the seconds each clip lasts before they cut to another clip/view/perspective. You'll find the most engaging videos have cuts every 3-4 seconds (just like many great movies).
The great mistake by the majority of people posting videos is that they are typically minutes and minutes of uninterrupted footage and talking.

I'm currently making a video for a Potter (Handmade ceramics, Potter's wheel ...etc). I'm using as my inspiration.... Nigella Lawson's cooking TV shows...Seriously.
Just watch those shows and you'll see what I mean about cutting to new views and perspectives before the viewer gets bored of staring at a frying pan.

Anyway...
The next step up from a phone, to make travel videos, would be a high-end Compact (Like his G7X). I won't recommend any specific camera but, if you want to make more Cinematic looking videos then I would always get a camera with full HD (1080p) and 50-60 frames per second as minimum requirements.
Lots of people say 4K quality is essential but I really don't think it is (and it brings a whole new set of issues: huge files size, PC processor may not cope with it..etc). More useful that 4K is a "flip-out LCD screen (My own Canon has a fully-articulating touch screen and I wouldn't be without it).

For the very highest quality video you are looking at DSLRs and Mirrorless Interchangeable lens systems. Some very popular TV dramas are shot using them but the same Pros/cons apply as in my original post. Big, Heavy, Expensive.

I'm inclined to say that the best approach is to kit out your phone with a Mic, a decent quality Selfie stick, a mini-tripod, and a good Video Cam App.
(Holding your phone by its tripod can give you a much more stable video). Once you've used your phone like that for a while you'll have a good idea what, if anything, is missing. Then you can address that with a dedicated camera perhaps.

What kit do you have now?
 

Langtoftlad

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Very interesting @Go Humberto! and thank you.

I'm at the stage where pretty much it's #1 the Samsung s9 camera, and even then, I doubt I use all it's capabilities.
I have the Compact & The Bridge but they hardly get an airing these days...
I'm going to have a look at the Compact Super-zooms because I'd like a pocket-able camera to get where the phone can't reach...

I know you said you would make specific recommendations but would you suggest a couple of models - just so as to get an idea of the feature set v price v size.
I'm guessing Panasonic do one, I've always been very pleased with their performance versus budget.

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Very interesting @Go Humberto! and thank you.

I'm at the stage where pretty much it's #1 the Samsung s9 camera, and even then, I doubt I use all it's capabilities.
I have the Compact & The Bridge but they hardly get an airing these days...
I'm going to have a look at the Compact Super-zooms because I'd like a pocket-able camera to get where the phone can't reach...

I know you said you would make specific recommendations but would you suggest a couple of models - just so as to get an idea of the feature set v price v size.
I'm guessing Panasonic do one, I've always been very pleased with their performance versus budget.

I can't personally recommend cameras I haven't used but, if I were buying a replacement for my compact Canon S120 (see my photo above), I'd seriously look at the Canon G7X mk2.

Why? (1) Canon cameras rarely have industry-leading features but they do tend to be rock-solid reliable in what they do. (2) It's very simple to make Canon cameras do what you want. (3) that lens is a f/1.8 - f/2.8. That's very nice to have and allows you to get very creative, although 24-100mm zoom isn't very "super" it's perfect for what I do , landscapes and portraits. In fact a 100mm f/2.8 is a lovely Head & Shoulders portrait lens, perfect in fact. Not so good for sports or wildlife however.

Panasonics TZ series are always highly rated (In reality probably the best all-round travel cameras) and the Sony RX100 series are loaded with features and tech. You won't go wrong with any of them (but I never used one).

My own compact Canon S120 is 6 years old now, long in the tooth for a digital camera, BUT it's built like a tank and slips in the pocket nicely. It's still too good to consider replacing it with another "pocket camera". By the time I replace it I expect there will have been some significant and worthwhile improvements out there to justify it.

Most cameras got "good enough" in the last 3-5 years, improvements have become incremental and hard to notice. That's why it's better to write down the type of camera, and a list of features you need first, before looking at manufacturers and models. For example, if you MUST have a 24-260mm zoom in a compact camera, with 4k video, that narrows you choice to just a few cameras (possibly all Panasonic TZ). If you want a good all-round feature set in a camera with a great menu system and flip out touch screen, it's probably a Canon G series... and so on.

Your choice should be feature driven, then budget driven.... then choose from the remaining shortlist after playing with them. Check out the Panasonic TZ series, maybe look at an end of line model, they have been highly rated for years.
 
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Thanks for your advice @Go Humberto! you certainly know your camera stuff(y)
To be honest, I have never been much into photography or video work, I am one of those set everything to auto types, click and expect things to be Ok.
Its only since enjoying other peoples travel vlogs, and appreciating all the little twists that the more experienced use, that my engineering type curiosity kicked in, and went from,wonder how they do that, to Yea I want to do that. I certainly wouldn't want to spend money and create something that was out of focus, with terrible audio to boot, not even for my own files, let along publishing it:eek:
We have historically just taken holiday snaps with our I phone, although I do try and compose the picture as best I can.
Its every true that the smartphone has become the most popular camera simply because you mostly always have it with you.
We bought a Lumix pocket sized digital camera a few years back, which has been used for taking pictures but never video.
I like many felt I got my fingers burnt many years back in investing hundreds of pounds on Camera bodies, then separate lenses, all of which are now redundant as the digital format has taken over, and is a helluva lot more practical....no more sending film off to truprint in the return envelopes only to discover at cost, that half of them were either over or under exposed:(

We will be upgrading our current I phone 6 Plus in a few months, although I must stress we are not "an all things Apple" Family, we use while we are away for hotspot tethering mostly.
We also need a Dash Cam, but will take on the advice that many have experienced crash problems with Go Pro's, therefore something like a Blackvue or Sony ( such as Andrew Dittons white one, cant remember part number) would probably be my choice as they are small, have dual use as fixed cameras or carry with you options. Usable, easily understood menu options will have a huge bearing on final choice though.
Taking all this great advice thus far forward, we will be buying a seperate microphone, a decent small universal camera tripod, along with a good suction mount.
Thanks also for the advice on The FILMIC PRO app, I found a You Tube link tutorial, and it looks good, so we will get that also when we upgrade the phone.
A for video editing I haven't even tried that yet, some have said that our new windows 10 based laptop has suitable start up editing software installed on it, but I haven't even looked at this yet as its early doors.
Thanks for your observations for making video cuts every 3-4 seconds, changing scenes, love to see how that's done practically whilst creating your own video recording. Lip syncing audio from a separate sound recorder to a video also fascinates me.
I will have to bit the bullet and jump in, with more tutorials I guess to learn more, hopefully its simpler than I currently think it is, as so many already do it(y)
Thanks again for sharing your tips & experience, its much appreciated, but can be daunting for a novice like me.:eek:
Having people such as yourself prepared to spend some time in educating us novices in something that they know a lot about is very much welcomed by all I am sure.
Cheers
Les
 
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Go Humberto!

Go Humberto!

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No problem Les.

I still watch as many "How To" Youtubes as anyone. You never stop learning or making mistakes.

Take my opinions, and as many other opinions as you can, then distill them all into something helpful.

Youtube has been more valuable than any other resource, because you can pause it, try it, then continue. This is especially helpful when editing video.

Lee
 
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Thanks Lee
Yes You Tube has apparently taken over in popularity from watching TV ! Who would have thought eh
Good example, thanks to your advice now watching this

I like the pause functionality also.
Les
 

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I went from Canon 5D’s down the M43 route. It has some considerable shortcomings but the advantages are superb. Really fast glass Like 35mm and 50mm 1.2's Being able to hand hold a 600mm F4 at 60th of a second or carry an 80-300mm 2.8 zoom that almost fits in an inside pocket! My standard travel lens is a 24 to 200mm F4 with almost 7 stops of stabilisation, making handheld shots of over 3 seconds very sharp. All those focal lengths are 35mm equivalent. The kit here goes from 840mm to 14mm, taking in a superb 60mm 2,8 1-1 macro with the E-M1 mark 2 and a PenF. All Olympus apart from the superb fully manual samyang fisheye. The Go Pro is a new edition and I've just bought a harness so the dog can wear it. :D

I always say to the kids, when I pop my clogs, don't let mum sell my camera gear for what i told her i paid for it :)

View attachment 286313
I knew you were a bloody spy Jim!:confused:

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I have no interest whatsoever in 'photography' but a couple of months ago I lost my Casio Exilim camera (I think I drove off with it on the roof of my car) and am looking for a replacement. It was one that my son no longer used which he dug out of a drawer for me.
How can I tell their close-up limit? Most ads on the web have loads of techy mumbo-jumbo but don't seem to show it in the 'Features'. I only want to take holiday snaps and close-ups from say, 50 or 60mm of smallish m/bike parts, the smallest about matchbox size.
I download the pics by removing the data card and sticking it into my laptop socket.
Some are described as 'Vlogging cameras'. What on earth is 'vlogging'?
Video capability would be handy although I never worked out to use it during possibly 10 years with my lost Casio.
Less than 100 quid. It's a grudge purchase as I'd previously been quite happy with my Brownie 127 which I upgraded to an Instamatic then to disposable cameras before being given the Casio.
(I don't have, need or want a phone camera ;) ).
I see the Casio is still available and would probably do the job but l can't see its close-up limit in the details..........

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but l can't see it's close-up limit in the details..........
I think you need to look for one with macro facility
It's a pity you don't want to use a phone camera, they are excellent these days, you can edit photos to zoom in to get your close up, and they save carrying a phone and a camera around.
 
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I think you need to look for one with macro facility
Thanks. I'll check that out.
(I've Googled 'vlogging' and realise that I don't need it).
It's a pity you don't want to use a phone camera, they are excellent these days, you can edit photos to zoom in to get your close up, and they save carrying a phone and a camera around.
I've tried but just can't manage an iPhone because (to cut a motorbiking crash story short) for the past ten years I've only had use of my left arm and hand, (although I can still ride my adapted 60, 70 and 80 yrs old classic motorbikes (y)).

Typical pics taken with my lost Casio Exilim.
100_1330.jpg


The left hand is rather fully occupied when riding.........
K-Lever on Marigold.JPG
 
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DBK

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I've tried but just can't manage an iPhone because (to cut a motorbiking crash story short) for the past ten years I've only had use of my left arm and hand, (although I can still ride my adapted 60, 70 and 80 yrs old classic motorbikes (y)).

Typical pics taken with my lost Casio Exilim.
View attachment 549512

The left hand is rather fully occupied when riding.........
View attachment 549511
I had a 1959 AJS 250 but the engine was a bit fragile and I blew it up. Your 1947 500 looks much nicer. :)
 

Jamesh

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Im all the tools and no idea....

I have a Panasonic gx1 mirrorless, great camera lots of lenses fit it. Stock lenses is a bit basic. Bulky but Robust camera.

Panasonic tz10 great camera compact but with good zoom. Canon and sony do similar.

Sony wx little thing. Tiny but zoom is poor.

Cheers James

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Dec 24, 2014
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Ever since lighting was by Calor gas.
I had a 1959 AJS 250 but the engine was a bit fragile and I blew it up. Your 1947 500 looks much nicer. :)
Several of my pals have them. They've been underrated but are becoming very desirable now.
Photo below of a pal's 250 Matchless but where the Matchless is maroon your Ajay would've been blue.
In 1959 your 250cc Model 14 would've been about £200.
1634674035158.png


Today it would fetch about 3 grand.

Lightweight 1960 G5.jpg
 
Last edited:
Dec 24, 2014
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Ever since lighting was by Calor gas.
It went for scrap. :( But I was impressed by the design - hemispherical combustion chamber, hairspring valve springs and aluminium tube pushrods.
In the 60's they were raced quite successfully too.
The going rate for impecunious lads' Brit clunkers in the 60's was around £15 to £25 as the Jap bikes had begun to destroy the Brit bike market.
When my local British m/bike dealer changed to being a Honda dealer in '65 he had to smarten up the premises so when the rough parking area was being concreted over they added about 30 used Brit bikes to the foundations. How we wept.
 
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Dec 24, 2014
9,316
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Hurstpierpoint. Mid Sussex.
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MH
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Ever since lighting was by Calor gas.

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