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Thread: Micro cameras

  1. #1

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    Micro cameras

    I Have a question,

    My friends are heading off on their OE travelling through asia, Borneo, Nepal and such. they have a Panasonic tough camera but are after something that can take better quality pictures.

    They are not really wanting to get a DSLR due to the weight and size as they will be backpacking.

    has anyone got some recommendations on the Micro 4/3 type cameras as i feel this would be the best option for them.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Due to most here being SLR shooters, I recommend that you ask this question to the customer service departments of Adorama and B&H Photo Video who know everything that they sell and can advise on what would be best for your travel needs.

  3. #3
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Tuck View Post
    ... has anyone got some recommendations on the Micro 4/3 type cameras as i feel this would be the best option for them.
    First, ask them how much they can spend. With m43, you're still buying a system, you still need to lay out cash for the lenses you want, and you're still carrying multiple pieces. It's smaller and lighter than a dSLR system, but you still have about as many pieces, and about as much cost.

    If money is no object, I'd recommend looking at the recently announced Olympus OM-D/E-M5. It's the first true mid-tier camera m43 has seen. Metal body, weathersealing, in-body stabilization, built in EVF, and some fast action capability. The specs are looking really interesting. But it does have a typical mid-tier pricetag.

    For value, I'd say the Panasonic G3 (but I'm partial, since I bought one). It has the GX-1 sensor, but comes with a built-in EVF and is priced around $600 for a kit. The GX-1 or Olympus EP-3 is much more compact and pocketable with more advanced controls, but an EVF is a $200 add-on, and the kit price is around $800. An EVF is not a necessity for some shooters, but for me, it was non-negotiable. I have troubles shooting with LCDs in bright sunlight (and I live in Southern California), and as an SLR user who shoots with a supertelephoto, I needed one.

    Lenswise, there are not just the kit lenses, but also ultrawides, fast primes, superzooms, and telephoto/supertelephoto zooms. There are also fisheye and macro choices. I've been surprised by how most lenses seem to be in the $300-$400 neighborhood, and that the top lenses tend to be in the $800-$1000 price range, not so much the $1500-$2500 range.

    But. This is only useful if you plan on getting a full system for general-purpose and versatility. If your friends only plan on taking specific types of pictures with the bigger camera (say, they only want to street shoot), then maybe a NEX, or a Fuji X100 (or X-Pro 1, cost being no object) or Canon G1X might be a better choice. If landscape shooting is the main purpose, then the 24MP NEX-7 might be the best tool. So, budget, and what they typically shoot are going to be big factors in determining which camera is the best fit.

    The current models, high-end to low-end, are Panasonic: GX-1, G3, GF-3 (to be replaced by GF-5); Olympus: OM-D/E-M5, E-P3, E-PL3, E-PM1.

    One good forum for information on m43 choices is mu-43.com. And the DPReview mirrorless cameras primer is also a great resource.
    Last edited by inkista; 27th March 2012 at 01:47 AM. Reason: whoops. EP-M is a new line. Only 1, not 3.

  4. #4
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    Re: Micro cameras

    I'm with Kathy Li regarding eye level viewfinders. I have always bought cameras which included eye level viewfinders. I find using the LCD as my only viewfinder restricting and inefficient!

    There are quite a few reasons in addition to not being able to view using an LCD in bright sunlight (especially when the sun is behind me).

    Eye level viewfinders, especially a bright 100% viewfinder like I have on my 7D, allows me to really see all the facets of my image. I can see where unwanted pieces of people or things intrude into my frame far better than when viewing on a relatively tiny LCD held several inches or over a foot from my eyes.

    The DSLR eye level viewfinder is quicker to capture the image than when using a LCD viewfinder.

    The eye level viewfinder enables me to pick up and follow a distant subject better since the camera automatically points where my eyes are looking.

    There are a lot of other reasons that I like eye-level viewfinders but, this is not really the subject of this thread.

    A lightweight travel outfit is...

    I consider the Rebel size camera about a small as I would ever like to use. IMO, there is a point of diminishing returns when reducing camera weight. I personally like a bit of heft in order to hold a camera steady.

    I am not a great fan of extended focal length zoom lenses but a Rebel sized camera (any brand) and a lens like the 18-200mm Canon would be quite a decent light weight outfit. Pair it with a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens and you would have some low light capability at not a great additional weight.

  5. #5
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Tuck View Post
    I Have a question,

    My friends are heading off on their OE travelling through asia, Borneo, Nepal and such. they have a Panasonic tough camera but are after something that can take better quality pictures.

    They are not really wanting to get a DSLR due to the weight and size as they will be backpacking.

    has anyone got some recommendations on the Micro 4/3 type cameras as i feel this would be the best option for them.

    Cheers
    I have the Olympus E-PL1 which came with two kits lenses (14-42mm and 40-150mm). It's a nice camera, very light weight, can use third party 4/3rd lenses, and has an optional optical or electronic viewfinder attachment sold separately. There have been at least three new releases since I purchased mine about six months ago. Not sure of the availability today. Also, Nikon just recently released its 4/3rds model, and Sony and Panasonic have a version as well.

  6. #6
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    I have the Olympus E-PL1 which came with two kits lenses (14-42mm and 40-150mm). It's a nice camera, very light weight, can use third party 4/3rd lenses, and has an optional optical or electronic viewfinder attachment sold separately. There have been at least three new releases since I purchased mine about six months ago. Not sure of the availability today. Also, Nikon just recently released its 4/3rds model, and Sony and Panasonic have a version as well.
    In deed, Nikon 1 is a CX camera which the sensor has different size of the 4/3rds camera, as well as Sony NEX cameras have APS-C sensors.

  7. #7
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    I have the Olympus E-PL1 which came with two kits lenses (14-42mm and 40-150mm). It's a nice camera, very light weight, can use third party 4/3rd lenses,
    Umm.. 4/3rds lenses are actually a different mount system. They can be used with adapters, and will retain full electronic communication (autofocus, etc.) but performance may be different on m4/3 bodies. And 3rd-party m4/3 options do exist, but versions that are engineered specifically for m4/3 aren't particularly numerous. Yet.

    Just don't confuse four-thirds (SLR mount) with micro four-thirds (mirrorless compact mount). Two different systems.

    and has an optional optical or electronic viewfinder attachment sold separately.
    The optical viewfinder (VF-1), btw, is fixed to 17mm FoV, and I don't think it's got crop marks for longer focal lengths. It's also $100. The EVFs (VF-2, VF-3) are $150-$200.

    There have been at least three new releases since I purchased mine about six months ago.
    Er... two. The E-PL2, and the E-PL3.

    .... Also, Nikon just recently released its 4/3rds model, and Sony and Panasonic have a version as well.
    As Carlos noted above, the Nikon 1 system and the Sony NEX system are not micro four-thirds cameras, although they are all mirrorless compacts. They have different sensor sizes, and different mount systems. Only Olympus and Panasonic use the micro four-thirds mount system.

    Sensor-size wise in mirrorless cameras, the sizes from largest to smallest are:

    Leica M9 [full frame, 135 format]
    Leica M8 [1.3x crop, APS-H]
    Sony NEX, Samsung NX, Fuji X-Pro1 & X100 [1.5x crop, APS-C] (X100 is fixed lens)
    Canon G1X [1.93x crop] (fixed lens)
    Micro Four Thirds [2x crop, four-thirds]
    Nikon 1 [2.71x crop, CX]
    Fuji X-10 [3.93x, 2/3" sensor] (fixed lens)
    Canon G12/S90 [4.55x, 1/1.7"] (fixed lens)
    most P&S cameras [5.62x, 1/1.23"] (fixed lens)
    Last edited by inkista; 28th March 2012 at 11:57 PM. Reason: typos

  8. #8

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    Re: Micro cameras

    these arent micro 4/3, just enthusiast PnS.
    Canon G series (G10-G12)
    and Canon S series (S90-S100)

    check DPReview.com for specs and in depth review and comparisons.
    im sure you wont be disappointed

  9. #9
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Umm.. 4/3rds lenses are actually a different mount system. They can be used with adapters, and will retain full electronic communication (autofocus, etc.) but performance may be different on m4/3 bodies. And 3rd-party m4/3 options do exist, but versions that are engineered specifically for m4/3 aren't particularly numerous. Yet.

    Just don't confuse four-thirds (SLR mount) with micro four-thirds (mirrorless compact mount). Two different systems.
    Kathy,

    The original poster was interested in the micro 4/3rds system and although two different systems (4/3rds and micro) the Olympus can use lenses from either and third party brands with the use of an adapter. I have the 4/3rds 70-300mm lens, but to Tom or anyone thinking of doing so, a bit of warning the 4/3rds lens version is heavy as heck. Not only does it wear your arm or neck carrying but I have concern about its stability on a tripod for long periods. The 75-300mm micro version costs about $500.00 but weighs 15 ounces as opposed to the 70-300mm 4/3rds version which weighs about 22 ounces.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 27th March 2012 at 06:08 PM. Reason: fix quote tag

  10. #10
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    The original poster was interested in the micro 4/3rds system and although two different systems (4/3rds and micro) the Olympus can use lenses from either and third party brands with the use of an adapter.
    Yes. That's what I meant when I said "can be used with adapters." But it's a far cry from using a native 4/3 lens, as you've noticed.

    I have the 4/3rds 70-300mm lens, but to Tom or anyone thinking of doing so, a bit of warning the 4/3rds lens version is heavy as heck....
    Also bigger. A lot of the 3rd-party 4/3 lenses were designed to cover APS-C and/or full frame and then just had a 4/3 mount, so the design could also be used for Canon and Nikon users. The Sigma 4/3 lenses definitely are very similar in size/weight to the Canon and Nikon versions.

    Most folks go to 4/3 gear for the smaller size/weight advantage. Adapting SLR gear tends to remove that advantage. I adapt vintage manual focus glass to my Canons, so I purchased an EOS->4/3 adapter just for jollies. When I put my C/Y Planar 100/2--a lens that feels big and heavy on my 5Dii, onto my G3, it's faintly ludicrous as a combination. I do toy, though, with finding rangefinder lenses, where the size discrepancy won't be as huge.

    I don't really see the point of adapting a 3rd-party SLR 70-300 lens if you're starting out fresh without any legacy glass (if you read the OP's post, he's looking to convince friends to swap from P&S cameras for travelling light with better IQ). The Panasonic 45-200 OIS is only $250, and does the film equivalent foV of a 90-400 stabilized lens.

  11. #11
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Yes. That's what I meant when I said "can be used with adapters." But it's a far cry from using a native 4/3 lens, as you've noticed.

    I don't really see the point of adapting a 3rd-party SLR 70-300 lens if you're starting out fresh without any legacy glass (if you read the OP's post, he's looking to convince friends to swap from P&S cameras for travelling light with better IQ). The Panasonic 45-200 OIS is only $250, and does the film equivalent foV of a 90-400 stabilized lens.
    Kathy,

    The only reason I can see for adapting a third party lens is availability and versatility. I was interested in the Zuiko 17mm pancake lens for the Olympus micro 4/3rds but it has to be back ordered. I was told that Sigma has a pancake lens readily available and I plan to test a demo when it arrives, possibly this week. I like the idea of the low profile of a pancake as an additional walking around lens.

  12. #12
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    The only reason I can see for adapting a third party lens is availability and versatility. I was interested in the Zuiko 17mm pancake lens for the Olympus micro 4/3rds but it has to be back ordered. I was told that Sigma has a pancake lens readily available and I plan to test a demo when it arrives, possibly this week. I like the idea of the low profile of a pancake as an additional walking around lens.
    John, the Sigma micro four-thirds lenses don't need adapters. But only two (the 19/2.8 and 30/2.8) are designed for micro four-thirds (the others are re-mounted SLR designs), and frankly, a lot of us are scratching our heads at why we should get excited about either one. They're both middle of the road focal lengths, already well covered, f/2.8, and not particularly pancake-ish.

    My recommendation would be the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake.

    Beats the freaking pants off the Oly 17/2.8, and 1.3 stops faster making available light easier. And superb image quality.

    Micro cameras

    Damn near universally recommended in micro 4/3 circles as a no-brainer purchase, unless you're nuts about bokeh and want something better than superb, don't mind paying for it, and are wiling to give up pancake compactness, in which case, go for the Panasonic/Leica Summilux 25mm f/1.4.
    Last edited by inkista; 31st March 2012 at 05:39 AM. Reason: fixed dpreview widget link; 25/1.4 is Panny, not Oly.

  13. #13

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    Re: Micro cameras

    I like m4/3 it's small and light, takes good photos and is the only complete system of the current mirrorless crop.

    As Kathy said the best value is probably the G3 (although I have the GX1) I would comment that it does eat batteries so your friend needs a spare battery (I think this is due to the viewfinder, on Saturday a friend's G3 went through a battery when the GX1 sans viewfinder didn't). A good kit would be the twin zoom plus the 20 f1.7 for low light. actually a g3/gx1 makes a nice combo they share batteries.

    The Nikon V1 twin kit is quite small (the 30-110 zoom is amazing) it has a built in view finder and it uses a good battery (same as in the d7000). Image quality is about the same as the 12mp m4/3 camera's but behind the 16mp m4/3.

    If your friend doesn't want to mess about then the Canon G1X will deliver good image quality without the "hassle" of changing lenses.

    Viewfinders? I prefer them but I suspect many people buying cameras now are more used to screens.

    Tom = what is your friends budget? and do they want to change lenses?

    cheers

  14. #14
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    John, the Sigma micro four-thirds lenses don't need adapters. But only two (the 19/2.8 and 30/2.8) are designed for micro four-thirds (the others are re-mounted SLR designs), and frankly, a lot of us are scratching our heads at why we should get excited about either one. They're both middle of the road focal lengths, already well covered, f/2.8, and not particularly pancake-ish.

    My recommendation would be the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake.

    Beats the freaking pants off the Oly 17/2.8, and 1.3 stops faster making available light easier. And superb image quality.

    Micro cameras

    Damn near universally recommended in micro 4/3 circles as a no-brainer purchase, unless you're nuts about bokeh and want something better than superb, don't mind paying for it, and are wiling to give up pancake compactness, in which case, go for the Oly/Leica Summilux 25mm f/1.4.
    Kathy,

    Thanks for the information, the Panasonic lens does look the best of the selection available.

  15. #15

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    Re: Micro cameras

    Thanks all so far, it seems there is more to this field of cameras than i thought, m4/3, mirrorless....

    Budget wise they are looking around $1000 NZ.

    At this stage multiple lenses are not a requirement, but with more persuasion they might want the opportunity to change lenses in the future.

    Thanks a lot for all the help

  16. #16
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    Re: Micro cameras

    I have been an avid photographer since 1957, when my Dad bought me my first "good"camera, a Retina IIIC. I have used almost every type and many different makes of cameras. In the film days, I carried a Pentax 645 and a Canon SLR. My last DSLR was a Canon 40D. I finally just got tired of carrrying a backpack with my DSLR and several lenses. I tried several high level point and shoot cameras and the IQ was not satisfactory. Finally, I decided to try micro 4/3rds and bought a Pany GF1 3 years ago. It was and is an absolutely wonderful camera. Instantly, photography became fun again. I got the kit lens first and later bought the 14-140 zoom and then the 20mm1.7. The 20mm1.7 is a great lens. I use it more than the others, but, I like all three of them. The IQ is very very good and I am particular. I gave my daughter and her husband my 40D because I never had the desire to use it again. I now have the GX1 with the Clearviewer which I use instead of the expensive evf. I got the Clearviewer for the GF1 and paid $60 from www.clearviewer.com.. My son has a G3 and I have given the GF1 to my grandson. I think the G3 would be a great choice for you. I do intend to buy the 25mm 1.4 lens in the future. The 3 of us share lenses when we go out taking pictures together or when we are on a family trip. I chose Pany over Olympus, because at the time I bought the GF1, its focusing was more accurate and much quicker. I have seen a lot of beautiful work done with the Oly cameras and both Pany and Oly can use the same lenses.

    It is just such a pleasure to put the camera on a sling strap, place an extra battery and lens in my pocket and take pictures. These cameras are small and are not noticed by non-photographers as much as a large DSLR with an equally large lens are noticed. I hope that you are able to enjoy your new camera as much as my family and I have.

    Regards,
    Hal

  17. #17
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Couple of points and a couple of recommendations

    If your friend doesn't have a history of using a SLR then they won't give a stuff about a viewfinder and don't need one.

    1. Nikon J1 twin lens kit. You get a tiny, fast, good quality, video capable (while still being able to take pictures) camera with two truly compact lenses. The 10-30mm covers day to day shooting while the 30-110mm gives a bit of reach and cropping. It's the second lens more than anything else that will sell the system. Yes the sensor is smaller than a NEX or m4/3 but their lenses are bulky because of their larger sensors. If size and ease of taking great pictures is what matters the Nikon is king.

    2. Panasonic GF3. Tiny, great quality, good touch screen, excellent video and great choice of lenses if a system is required in the future. The 14-42mm is an excellent performer while the 45-200mm is a decent size and should be within budget.
    Bigger sensor than the Nikon so it's a touch better in low light but not by much and once printed you won't spot the difference.

    If they have used a SLR in the past and like the idea of a viewfinder.

    1. Panasonic G3. Quite a bit bigger than the first two plus it has a more traditional, button festooned, body for those who like to be in control. The articulated screen is brilliant, the speed is impressive as is the AF options. Nice manual control implementation and the same lens choice as the GF above. Great alround camera and a proper DSLR beater.

    2. Samsung NX11. Not a typical choice this but a darn good camera none the less. Feels like a baby SLR with a similar grip, layout and solidity just much, much smaller. The screen is a AMOLED one (like the Galaxy phones have) and a joy to use. AF is swift and sure, it has a decent choice of lenses with a great i-Function button on them.



    You'll notice I have left out the NEX.
    They are a camera for those who have a DSLR and want a DSLR sensor. With the right lenses and the right person behind it then the quality, depth of field control and performance is second to none.
    But.
    The lenses are huge, in fact they are the same size pretty much as DSLR lens. Personally I have major issues with the body. I don't think it is a good design, I don't like the unbalanced feel you get with the lens being off to one side and I don't like the controls. I wouldn't rule them out but the person who the camera is for needs to go into a store and try one before they buy it. They may fall head over heels in love, in which case go for it but they might hate it and there are plenty of other choices available for people who don't care, don't understand and simply don't need a 1.5x crop sensor.
    Last edited by Black Pearl; 3rd April 2012 at 06:18 AM.

  18. #18
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Micro cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by black pearl View Post
    If your friend doesn't have a history of using a SLR then they won't give a stuff about a viewfinder and don't need one.
    Agree they won't care. Disagree they don't need one. LCDs in bright sunlight are always a PITA. And tracking something that's moving with a telephoto lens is just really really hard from the LCD.

    1. Nikon J1 twin lens kit. ... Yes the sensor is smaller than a NEX or m4/3 but their lenses are bulky because of their larger sensors. If size and ease of taking great pictures is what matters the Nikon is king.
    But note the 1 System camera bodies are roughly the same size as m4/3.

    The king for reach, certainly, though. But if tinyness really was the #1 priority above all else, then the Pentax Q would win. Where the 1 System rocks is for fast action: high frame count, super-quick AF. It's impressive. The thing was made to pray'n'spray. It's *THE* soccer mom camera.

    1. Panasonic GF3. Quite a bit bigger than the first two plus it has a more traditional, button festooned, body for those who like to be in control. The articulated screen is brilliant,
    Er... think you might want to fix that second GF3 to G3.

    As for NEX: it depends on the person. Someone might like having a corner built-in EVF and 24mp resolution to go with some autofocus Zeiss lenses. Fredmiranda's alt. gear forum is peopled with a lot of them.
    Last edited by inkista; 2nd April 2012 at 08:38 PM.

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