Smaller Alternative to DSLRs? Your favorites?
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phamtasm
Registered: Jul 13, 2005
Total Posts: 111
Country: United States

Hi all,
I'm contemplating getting a smaller secondary camera for when I'm traveling and can't always lug around a 5D2 with 24-70. Honestly it's sometimes too big and bulky for what I want.

I recently started looking at mirrorless systems like the Olympus OMD and Fuji X10, but there's so many that I'm overwhelmed. So to keep it simple and short what are some of your favorite and flexible smaller systems?

If I can use older lenses (fast cheap manual focus lenses like the Canon FDs or older systems) via an adapter that is also plus.



pr4photos
Registered: Sep 17, 2008
Total Posts: 1110
Country: United Kingdom

I use a Panny GX1 when I don't want lug my nikon kit with me. I can use my nikon lenses with it and the quality is superb - even used it along with my nikon on a commercial job and you wouldn't know unless you pixel peeped - client certainly didn't know. That's the first 'compact' I have ever been able to do that with



tived
Registered: Jan 31, 2003
Total Posts: 1009
Country: Australia

You are not along, although the reason behind may differ, there are quite a few people jumping ship to the smaller format. I jumped just before Christmas, from Canon 1D MkIV with lens's from 15-300f/2.8 or faster

However the reason I did this was because of a recent injury and I am unable to carry more then 5-10kg for prolonged periods of time. I had a couple of times tried to go out shooting with my 1D and the 24-70 + flash, but within the hour I would be in pain.

Enough !!!

So I swapped, to the OMD, i am sure that there will be things that I can not do with this camera, that I could with my older one, in terms of function, for one, I can only bracket with 1-stop and only use 5-brackets at 1-stop or 7 at 2/3-stop. I can no longer use my Promote control to expand on the bracketing.
I will probably not be able to track something really fast and catch it at 1/8000 sec

But, it will allow me to continue to shoot, heck I might even be able to do a few shots with it and still make money with it. But the most important thing for me is it allows me to go out and do what i enjoy doing, making images, with a range of lens's and a new lighter tripod. I can pack my bag and it will come in well under 5kg with tripod, but with out my pano-head (RRS) and this is with 4 lens's 12, 45, 60macro and 75mm

So i am looking forward to my new adventures with this little camera.

All the best

Henrik

PS: I will get a Grip for it, I am getting the Really Right Stuff L-plate for it with the Grip, just so it doesn't slip out of your hand - sorry my hand



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 15976
Country: Germany

I have been very happy with my little E-PL3 as an addition to my D800. It has very fast AF, great
IQ (although not so large DR), great colours and the flip-out screen is awesome, I use it almost every time I use the camera. I have the 12/25/45 holy trinity, although I find that I rarely use the 45. Great lens, but somehow I just don't need it. I might swap it for the 60 Macro, and the E-PL3 for the newer E-PL5, which shares the OM-D E-M5's sensor.



Hawkan
Registered: Jul 05, 2008
Total Posts: 175
Country: Sweden

I use my 7D when I go out exclusively for photography. At all times I bring my NEX-5N in the pocket of my jacket or in my work bag. Which camera do you think gets the most shots, and unique shots?

I considered micro four thirds but ended up getting the NEX instead. With the 16mm wide angle it's smaller than some compact cameras and easily fits in a coat pocket. Even with some legacy manual prime lens it usually fits in my pocket. Great sensor and good focus peaking and digital zoom for really nailing manual focus. I love it, I won't be ditching it any time soon.



jcolwell
Registered: Feb 10, 2005
Total Posts: 21618
Country: Canada

I sometimes use Fujifilm X100 and X-Pro 1 cameras instead of my Canon 1D-series bodies, especially for events when it's important to use small and discrete gear. On some occasions, I use the X100 and 1DX with 70-200/2.8L IS II together; it's a very effective combination.

I'm really looking forward to getting the new Fujifilm 14mm f/2.8 (21mm equiv.) and 56mm f/1.4 (84mm equiv.) lenses. I'd also like to see a 90mm f/2, but that's not yet in their road map.

Also, I have a Sony RX100 which is by far the best P&S that I've used, but for me it's simply a pocket camera for use when a DSLR or Fujifilm isn't around.



15Bit
Registered: Jan 27, 2008
Total Posts: 3885
Country: Norway

I think the X10 is the best camera in it's price range, and i'm very pleased with mine. The only criticisms i would have are that Adobe have not really managed a great RAW processing algorithm into LR/camera raw for the EXR files (and Fuji aren't supplying a particularly good RAW converter either), and the whole EXR setup and options are quite complex to understand and not exactly intuitive to set up on the camera. If you have more to spend, the RX100 looks to be a step up in quality and the camera to beat.

There are threads for both here, have a browse to see what the cameras can do.



justruss
Registered: Jul 05, 2004
Total Posts: 4533
Country: United States

I picked up an XE-1. Fantastic files. And while RAW has been an issue-- C1 Pro is gearing up for XTrans RAW conversion, and word from those who have used the beta (their opinions available on other forums) say it produces files BETTER than the OOC jpgs (which are wildly good).

Small, great IQ. Mediocre AF. Can't complain.



formula4speed
Registered: May 08, 2005
Total Posts: 1691
Country: United States

Olympus OM-D. I bought it to be my secondary camera to my 5D2 with Zeiss and L glass. Turns out the OM-D is now my main camera and I only pull out the 5D2 for a specific reason (very high ISO or DOF control).

IQ of the sensor is very good, the native lenses are excellent and you can adapt pretty much anything to m4/3.



apsphoto
Registered: Sep 01, 2002
Total Posts: 609
Country: United States

Fuji X-Pro 1, great camera and any raw support issues will go away soon... Great details, and color, love mine. Love it enough I got my wife an XE-1 and the 18-55mm zoom. She loves it. A nice addition and everyday carry around camera.

Alan



bobbytan
Registered: Feb 03, 2004
Total Posts: 7581
Country: United States

+1 ... except that I am so comfortable with the IQ that I sold my 5DII ... even though I honestly have a love-hate relationship with the OM-D. I hate the ultra-small fiddly buttons and terrible/complicated menu/navigation system. Love the range and quality of their prime lenses, and general quality of the files ... which IMO is as good as any APS-C DSLR. Will I go back to a FF DSLR? Not likely, but I sure hope Olympus will introduce their "pro version" of the OM-D before too long ... and some fast long primes with a TC! The OM-D is a mini or baby DSLR in every sense of the word.

formula4speed wrote:
Olympus OM-D. I bought it to be my secondary camera to my 5D2 with Zeiss and L glass. Turns out the OM-D is now my main camera and I only pull out the 5D2 for a specific reason (very high ISO or DOF control).

IQ of the sensor is very good, the native lenses are excellent and you can adapt pretty much anything to m4/3.



darrellc
Registered: Jan 02, 2005
Total Posts: 514
Country: United States

I had a 5D2 and loads of glass. A chance purchase of a GF1 with 20/1.7 and 14-45 led me towards a quest for the perfect small camera. I've had the GH2, GX1, EPM1, Nex 5N, Nex 7, Fuji x10, Nikon v1, etc.

I now own 2x OM-D bodies, a bunch of native m4/3 glass and an RX100. I am happily shooting this setup for months and suspect I'll stick with it for a couple of years.

The big miss for me with these cameras is continous af performance and why I recently bought the v1 at blowout prices. But the iq pales in comparison to om-d so it is looking for a home.

RX100 is awesome if u want a tiny companion to the FF kit.

Everything else (5D2 as well) has been sold.

That being said, I will be pre ordering the first mirrorless interchangeable FF at any price that is compact, has AF and works with legacy RF (Leica, Voigtlander, Zeiss) wide angle glass without color shift or smearing.



wayne seltzer
Registered: Dec 22, 2007
Total Posts: 4189
Country: United States

RX1, full frame, sharp wide open, delicious bokeh goodness.
If you value full frame DOF and IQ over those smaller sensor cameras.



bobbytan
Registered: Feb 03, 2004
Total Posts: 7581
Country: United States

The Sony RX-1 may be the best FF compact camera on the market right now ... but you are stuck with the 35mm non-interchangeable lens. If that works for you I would say go for it.

wayne seltzer wrote:
RX1, full frame, sharp wide open, delicious bokeh goodness.
If you value full frame DOF and IQ over those smaller sensor cameras.



phamtasm
Registered: Jul 13, 2005
Total Posts: 111
Country: United States

Great suggestions, Thanks guys. So to summarize here are the list of your recommendations:

1) Olympus OMD E5
2) Panasonic GX1
3) Olympus PL3
4) Sony NEX-5N
5) Fuji X100
6) Fuji X-Pro 1
7) Sony RX100
8) Fuji X10
9) Fuji XE-1
10) Panasonic GF1

Seems like a solid list. I知 trying to keep cost down to under $700 if possible (guess I can justify it instead of another Canon lens) so probably no RX1. I still plan to keep a larger body DLSR for professional work.

IQ and a solid AF is what I知 after. I知 leaning towards the PL3 for its cost and IQ (and lens choices), but I have to read more about these other cameras. Is there a compatibility list for compatible lenses (with AF)?

I知 in the same boat with darrellc in looking for a system that値l work with legacy lenses.



phamtasm
Registered: Jul 13, 2005
Total Posts: 111
Country: United States

tived wrote:
....
But, it will allow me to continue to shoot, heck I might even be able to do a few shots with it and still make money with it.....

So i am looking forward to my new adventures with this little camera.


Yeah at the end of the day, if it allows you to shoot, that's all that you need. I would definitely pick the OMD if it was cheaper. May have to settle for the PL5 or PL3 that carstenw suggested. Good luck on your adventures.



bmwrider75
Registered: Feb 09, 2008
Total Posts: 336
Country: Canada

I went from a 5D2 with a bunch of L glass, back to a Nikon D7000 (trying to save size/weight) and DX glass, and was unhappy with the quality of the DX glass so ended up with FF compatible glass, and then a D600, then a D800...at which point, I had a kit that was even heavier and more complicated than the 5D2 I sold because of that exact reason.

Sold (or in the process of selling!) it all for an OM-D and some of the choice, nice m4/3rds glass (7-14, 25/1.4, 45/1.8, 60 macro, with the 75/1.8 and 12/2 to be added also). This entire kit is basically the same size/weight as the D800 with one lens. It's stunning the difference in size.

Size/weight is one thing, but most importantly, the IQ of the OM-D is at *least* equal to any APS-C DSLR that I've shot (most of the Canon's, and the D7000), if not better. The image stabilization is so effective that it exceeds (yes, I said "exceeds") my FF Nikon for available light shooting of static subjects, and at ISO's up to 3200, noise is very, very well controlled and can be cleaned up a bit more in post also.

Yeah, the buttons are fiddly. It's not that big a deal, really, but if I was shooting events professionally, I'd want a proper DSLR still, though I'm excited to see what Oly does with the "pro" EM-5 that's rumoured, as I suspect that will end up in my bag as it would, for me, truly hit the sweet spot. The AF on my OM-D is brilliant for single-shot. I've read that it sucks for continuous tracking, which I hardly ever used on my SLRs, so it's a non-issue for me. I can say confidently that the single-shot AF (*especially* in low light, where it is a lot better than the Nikons) is quicker and more accurate than my D7000/D600/D800, and is in a totally different league than the 5D2.

Like a previous poster, I have (my wife's) RX100 as a truly pocketable walk-around, and it's phenomenally good for a P&S. Rich, detailed RAW files that withstand a surprising amount of pushing in post.

I'm extremely happy with this setup now (RX100 in the pocket for walkabouts, hiking with the kids, and casual shooting), and the Oly kit with a handful of high quality primes for my "real" camera. I would like to say I'd be interested in a FF mirrorless but the huge advantage, IMHO, of m4/3rds is really the LENS size, not so much the body. I'm guessing a FF sensor would require glass compatible of projecting an image circle onto that big sensor, and then the size/weight advantage would quickly be lost, no matter how small the body is.

Definitely check out the RX100 if you want a pants-pocket walkaround. If you're truly looking for an interchangeable lens camera as an alternative to a DSLR, I'm tickled pink with the Oly system so far.

dc



jstephens62
Registered: Feb 09, 2006
Total Posts: 1107
Country: United States

phamtasm wrote:
tived wrote:
....
But, it will allow me to continue to shoot, heck I might even be able to do a few shots with it and still make money with it.....

So i am looking forward to my new adventures with this little camera.


Yeah at the end of the day, if it allows you to shoot, that's all that you need. I would definitely pick the OMD if it was cheaper. May have to settle for the PL5 or PL3. Good luck on your adventures.



Remember it is costlier in the long run to buy at entry level and move up, than to start with what you are happy with from the get-go. I can't speak to the Sony system, but it did handle and shoot with the Olympus and Fuji, and wound up with the Olympus. I am not selling by Canon gear, as it will do things the Olympus won't. For travel however, in my view the mirrorless systems are the best choice for most of us. I have seen the OM-D used for $800, I would suggest starting with that body and add lenses as finances permit.



bobbytan
Registered: Feb 03, 2004
Total Posts: 7581
Country: United States

If you don't mind not having a VF consider the E-PM2. It has the same sensor as the OM-D E-M5 i.e. the same high quality files. You can always upgrade or add the OM-D E-M5 body later on.

phamtasm wrote:
tived wrote:
....
But, it will allow me to continue to shoot, heck I might even be able to do a few shots with it and still make money with it.....

So i am looking forward to my new adventures with this little camera.


Yeah at the end of the day, if it allows you to shoot, that's all that you need. I would definitely pick the OMD if it was cheaper. May have to settle for the PL5 or PL3 that carstenw suggested. Good luck on your adventures.



Two23
Registered: Oct 28, 2009
Total Posts: 3667
Country: United States

I've been shooting a Leica IIIc with three lenses. I love it!


Kent in SD



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