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Mirrorless/CSC/MFT - General Discussion Thread

Qactuar

Distinguished Member
Okay, it's one of those threads again, but I have some differences to the regular threads (I think!). I have a tendency to go into detail, so apologies in advance, but it should hopefully give you some background to my quandary.

I am appealing to the photography section here first, as I always read solid and balanced advice, and it's the first place I thought to come to.

What am I looking for?
A CSC/mirror-less camera with applicable lens system. I want the "feel" of focusing like a DSLR, without the bulk and relative "complication" compared to a P&S, as this won't just be for me to use, but I appreciate the feel that a lens body can give etc.

I want a slim body - as slim as possible - with a good quality kit lens that isn't too bulky. Assuming a pancake lens, a 22mm/24mm (or basically a 35mm equivalent) would be great with a nice wide aperture. Not a deal-breaker, but it's something that keeps it slim. Can buy other lenses later!

Initial gut feeling is that a bigger sensor is going to be more beneficial, but I do read/see some impressive results on non MFT sensors and the like. Is bigger generally better?

What will it be used for?
A mix; I want my future wife to be able to use it on auto/P&S modes, but I want to have some creative flexibility and to rekindle my photography interest again.

Our wedding is in June, as is the honeymoon (Sorrento), so I would like an all-around solution ideally, but have the option of some macro/still shooting, some indoor party-type shots (nice bright lens).

What do I know?
I know that this is a growing market for sure and that some manufacturers are well on-board and others are less committed at this point (Canon!). Lens systems are all seemingly new, as the position of the sensor compared to DSLRs is closer to the lens. Bit of a pain, but there you go - going to have to swallow that one to a degree.

It seems there are two types of mirror-less bodies: squashed DSLR feel or feature-packed P&S feel. That's my vague description and observations!

The fact that an SLR is going to have more flexibility cannot be denied; I want a happy medium that pleases us both. She won't use the DSLR (a very old 350D) and I am tired of using it, partially as the sensor seems to be 'going bad' with banding.

I've read lots of reviews of all sorts ... but I can't settle on anything in particular!

AF speeds for moving targets don't worry me entirely, but there are a plethora of options and variants of models out and about with things like WiFi, NFC, articulating screens, touch screen (haptic and capacitive), integrated flash, hot-shoe ...

In summary, I know that these mirror-less/CSC solutions are all very good in terms of PQ and will be a considerable upgrade from my 350D, which I only now have the kit lens (awful build quality) and the 50mm f/1.8 prime (complete with dust inside - they all seem to have dodgy quality control - all three I've had are the same, bar one which had a bubble in the lens). So I am not going to be too upset with a smidge of PQ difference between one or two - I'm a reasonable guy and most stuff will be looked at in 1080p, with no prints over A4 for us.

What have I looked at?
Initially, the Sony NEX range, as it's stunning. I've since looked at a lot of models and concluded that there are too many options! Some thoughts on what I have concluded - not always right, so please put me in my place if I'm a million miles off:

Sony: some reasonably priced; fully committed from what I can see; suited for P&S users; slim and numerous in supply. E mount lenses are in good supply.

Fuji: some super expensive, some more sensible. Retro look is very cool in the present! No clue on Fujinon lenses.

Canon: only one model, still requires an adaptor to use my existing lenses. CAF is very slow still, even after firmware updates. Not the prettiest and the grip is a bit poor. More of a mini-SLR than a P&S.

Panasonic: have seen lots, but not versed. LX7 seems super popular, but smaller sensor makes me feel less confident, despite the good reviews and opinions.

Nikon: I know very little, sadly.

What budget?
Like all good advice threads, I'd like to spend as little as possible, but I can create my own budget really. Under £500 is a good starting point, but I am aware that things can be had for half that.

New or Used?
The other half would always say 'new', but I'm not afraid of used, if it's mint and relatively new - I won't really buy older stuff in electronics if I can help it.

Can you help?
I am open to suggestions, thoughts, ideas and new ways of looking at this. I've gone around the counter twice on my 350D (barely touched in the last two years though), so I am confident that the camera I will buy will get more attention.

I won't rule anything out yet, unless there is a huge issue, flaw or catch that someone can highlight. If you've read this far, thank you!

tl;dr
It's been ages since I bought a DSLR - help me find a WAF friendly CSC/mirror-less kit.

Thank you in advance :)
 

twist

Distinguished Member
If you want the best image quality IMO go Fuji, the lenses are very good. If you want the best AF and still very good image quality go M43, Id avoid Panasonic and get an Olympus as it has in body stabilisation and can use Panasonic lenses, the JPGs are also better (if you shoot jpg). Ive owned all of them and thats the conclusion I came to.

Bigger sensor will always be better but M43 is very good in comparison and only starts losing out at higher ISO.
 

BT Bob

Distinguished Member
I've just invested in the Fuji X-Pro 1.

I have no regrets.

It doesn't fulfill your criteria of focusssing like a DSLR, but I have no complaints about the focussing. The optics (I have the 18mm & 35mm) are very crisp & sharp. All the reviews I've read back this up and are also very compliementarty about all the lenses - there's a couple of excellent zooms as well.

One thing that may appeal to you is the ability to set up (up to 7) Custom profiles, one of which you could programme for your OH to use - just set the Lens & Camera to Auto and she's away.

The downsides (if you see them as such) are the "rangefinder-style" handling and the price. You can pick up new bodies for around the £830 mark now, and the 23mm f/1.4 lens, which is tack-sharp by all accounts, can be had from the Fuji refurb store and would give you around the 35mm equivalent you require.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
Just to add to your confusion...
If you're looking at compact system cameras then Olympus should be on there too.
The Micro 4/3rds format which shares lenses with Panasonic is very well regarded.

The Olympus OMD ranges are out of your budget even used - the new OMD E-M5 is very small (for a CSC) with the new kit lens which isn't substantially different from a pancake prime when folded away.
Olympus - E‑M10 - System Cameras ; Micro 4/3 Cameras - OM-D

The PEN lite, Olympus E-PL5 (which I own :)) shares the same sensor as the OMD range and uses compatible lenses but lacks the viewfinder. It is a lot less expensive and takes great pictures. The touch screen for focus/shooting is very useful.
Olympus - E-PL5 - Compact System Cameras - PEN

It's worth noting that my E-PL5 with the kit zoom 14-42mm is small compared with a DSLR but it's beyond pocket size. When I change for the 40-150mm zoom and extend it out it gets pretty sizeable and certainly isn't inconspicuous.
That said I can get my camera kit zoom, long zoom and a 17mm pancake in a bag that's only 15cm x15cm x 10cm or so.
 

twist

Distinguished Member
The downsides (if you see them as such) are the "rangefinder-style" handling and the price. You can pick up new bodies for around the £830 mark now

A new XPro1 body only is frankly a rip off, you can get it with the 18mm for £850. And the promo of another free lens has just ended but im sure it will be back shortly. Fuji do love a promo!

The XPro1 is a bit long in tooth now, I had one and loved it but there are better cameras in their lineup if you can live without the OVF, for less money.
 

eduk

Distinguished Member
Second-hand Sony NEX-6 or NEX-7.
 

Qactuar

Distinguished Member
If you want the best image quality IMO go Fuji, the lenses are very good. If you want the best AF and still very good image quality go M43, Id avoid Panasonic and get an Olympus as it has in body stabilisation and can use Panasonic lenses, the JPGs are also better (if you shoot jpg). Ive owned all of them and thats the conclusion I came to.

Bigger sensor will always be better but M43 is very good in comparison and only starts losing out at higher ISO.

I do read good things on Fuji, but some of the pricing is intimidating to be honest. I'd be interested in shooting both JPG and RAW where possible, as it's something I've always been keen to try, but never got around to it (350D was a bit slow in RAW).

I've just invested in the Fuji X-Pro 1.

I have no regrets.

It doesn't fulfill your criteria of focusssing like a DSLR, but I have no complaints about the focussing. The optics (I have the 18mm & 35mm) are very crisp & sharp. All the reviews I've read back this up and are also very compliementarty about all the lenses - there's a couple of excellent zooms as well.

One thing that may appeal to you is the ability to set up (up to 7) Custom profiles, one of which you could programme for your OH to use - just set the Lens & Camera to Auto and she's away.

The downsides (if you see them as such) are the "rangefinder-style" handling and the price. You can pick up new bodies for around the £830 mark now, and the 23mm f/1.4 lens, which is tack-sharp by all accounts, can be had from the Fuji refurb store and would give you around the 35mm equivalent you require.

Waaay more than I would be wanting to spend. It's also geared more towards pro, than what I want - which is something the wife-to-be is happy to snap with. She wouldn't be comfortable holding the best part of a grand in her hands, worrying about dropping it.

... All the newer CSC cameras will blow your 350d away in terms of features and image quality.

Yeah, I had no doubts on that one - it's a bit long in the tooth now! ;)

Just to add to your confusion...
If you're looking at compact system cameras then Olympus should be on there too.
The Micro 4/3rds format which shares lenses with Panasonic is very well regarded.

The Olympus OMD ranges are out of your budget even used - the new OMD E-M5 is very small (for a CSC) with the new kit lens which isn't substantially different from a pancake prime when folded away.
Olympus - E‑M10 - System Cameras ; Micro 4/3 Cameras - OM-D

The PEN lite, Olympus E-PL5 (which I own :)) shares the same sensor as the OMD range and uses compatible lenses but lacks the viewfinder. It is a lot less expensive and takes great pictures. The touch screen for focus/shooting is very useful.
Olympus - E-PL5 - Compact System Cameras - PEN

It's worth noting that my E-PL5 with the kit zoom 14-42mm is small compared with a DSLR but it's beyond pocket size. When I change for the 40-150mm zoom and extend it out it gets pretty sizeable and certainly isn't inconspicuous.
That said I can get my camera kit zoom, long zoom and a 17mm pancake in a bag that's only 15cm x15cm x 10cm or so.

Thanks for the info, the E-PL5 was one I'd read about, but it being beyond pocket is interesting - what sort of depth are we talking about? Jacket pocket doable, or a total no-go?

Also, being a 2012 model, is there something on the horizon to replace it?

A new XPro1 body only is frankly a rip off, you can get it with the 18mm for £850. And the promo of another free lens has just ended but im sure it will be back shortly. Fuji do love a promo!

The XPro1 is a bit long in tooth now, I had one and loved it but there are better cameras in their lineup if you can live without the OVF, for less money.

A valid point - OVF or nay, I think I can live with either. It's certainly not a deal breaker, but OVF is always a bonus. Same for flash; integrated is generally poor, but some of the units that use the hot-shoe and are included, are quite intriguing, if probably a little lacklustre still.

.... this is the sensor comparison of your 350d and a newer M4/3 camera, the one I would recommend at your budget (if you were to go M4/3). As you can see there is a clear winner.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 versus Canon EOS 350D - Side by side camera comparison - DxOMark

.... Size comparison with standard kit lenses

Compact Camera Meter

Compact Camera Meter

Thanks for these two - certainly useful to know!


The advice so far seems to be steering more towards me ... rather than her! I'm usually a selfish electronics purchaser, but I really want her to feel at ease when using it :)

All really useful - thanks so much for replying so quickly - blimey!
 

twist

Distinguished Member
My missus didnt get on with all the physical dials etc of the Fujis and much preferred the smaller M43, especially with touch AF and flappy screens as she wouldnt bother with a EVF/OVF, that was my preference. Built in flash is always good to have. The PEN EPL5 actually seems ideal for the both of you, only thing missing is the EVF, but thats optional.
 

Qactuar

Distinguished Member
My missus didnt get on with all the physical dials etc of the Fujis and much preferred the smaller M43, especially with touch AF and flappy screens as she wouldnt bother with a EVF/OVF, that was my preference. Built in flash is always good to have. The PEN EPL5 actually seems ideal for the both of you, only thing missing is the EVF, but thats optional.

NEX6 is also fantastic but the lens choice was a no go for me as M43 have more/smaller/better lenses available.

Does the EPL5 have the flash accessory in the box by chance? I know stuff like that can vary by region - if there is one, what's it like?
With the lenses available, and the mounting system specifically, are they needing an adaptor at all, or is it straight-on and go?
Is the start-up time okay?
 

twist

Distinguished Member
Does the EPL5 have the flash accessory in the box by chance? I know stuff like that can vary by region - if there is one, what's it like?
With the lenses available, and the mounting system specifically, are they needing an adaptor at all, or is it straight-on and go?
Is the start-up time okay?

Yes, the EPL5 has a flash in the box, so does the not much bigger OMD EM5 if you want the built in viewfinder. No adapter, as long as a lens is sold as M43, it will fit on an Olympus M43 camera. You can use loads of manual focus 'legacy' lenses with M43 via adapter from virtually any manufacturer.

Snapsort will have all the spec info you need when comparing cameras.
 

twist

Distinguished Member
You can pickup an EPL5 for around £299 used with a kit lens, they will come with dealer warranty (usually 6 months). That leaves enough for a low light prime like the 20mm 1.7 (35mm equiv of 40mm) or a portrait 45mm 1.8 (35mm equiv of 90mm) (around £150-170 used). So youll even have change for a fast SD card and a new bag.
 

Lancia34

Distinguished Member
As others have said - Olympus or Panasonic Micro 4/3s are stonkingly good cameras. Good for P&S and great range of lenses at good prices.
I have a Lumix G5 and love it (though I would looks at the G6). Holds like a small DSLR so very comfortable and good features and quality. I took a small bag withmy G5, 3 lenses (20mm pancake, 14-42mm & 45-150mm) plus batterys, SD cards, filters and my Panny TZ10 on safari. Hardly weighed anything and was able to carry it around eveywhere :)

Most people here would say the Olympus is the better camera, especially picture quality wise, but I held them all and the G5/G6 was easily the most comfortable and the built in EVF is a great addition.

Think so far I've got all my kit and accessories for under £800 :smashin:
 

shotokan101

Banned
Another thumbs up for the M4/3 suggestions here - I've only recently got my hands on an OMD-E-M10 and I'm very impressed - definitely not a "straight replacement" (but it's certainly the closest yet and I can't wait to see the next generation of on-sensor Hybrid AF ) for my DSLR gear but a very portable alternative if ultimate DOF control and super-fast AF aren't required.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
Does the EPL5 have the flash accessory in the box by chance? I know stuff like that can vary by region - if there is one, what's it like?
With the lenses available, and the mounting system specifically, are they needing an adaptor at all, or is it straight-on and go?
Is the start-up time okay?
Little baby flash is in the box with the camera - I've only used it on a couple of occasions but it goes in the bag. To be honest I try and take everything without it and low light performance is good esp. when using the f2.8 17mm if you can stretch to the faster primes you'll be good for most things.

Start up is fine, the kit zoom has to be unlocked to (see the second photo). Burst mode is scarily fast on the sports modes and auto focus is snappy.

I've added a couple of photos of what I carry in the bag minus the drink can which is for size comparison.
I was given the camera with kit lens and WiFi SD card + the portrait kit (the telephoto lens and bag) for my 40th last year.
I've added a 17mm F2.8 prime at Christmas but I've decided that will do me for a while!


Everything I carry


Everything I carry - zooms out


17mm attached
 

snerkler

Distinguished Member
Just to add a different view on things (for a change :p). I've recently been looking at CSC's for travel and see so many good things about the Micro 4/3's, how good the OMD's and Fuji's are etc, but I keep coming back to one thing, DOF. I really like shallow DOF, to the point where ideally I'd like a FF over my APS-C. If I went 4/3 I'd be losing even more of the shallow DOF due to the smaller sensor. Having never used one and been able to compare side by side with my DSLR I'm not entirely sure exactly how much difference there'll be. But I'm striving for shallower DOF rather than more so keep thinking I'd be better with an APS-C CSC (FF too expensive). Yes I could get a f1.4 prime, but for travel I'd want a short zoom which would mean f2.8 at best.

Just food for thought ;)
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
How shallow do you want to be? ;)
Obviously with a larger sensor you can get shallower DoF but there is plenty of scope.
I'm not bigging myself up here as I don't consider myself anything more than an enthusiastic camera holder but there is a lot you can achieve with M4/3.


  • ƒ/5.6
  • 150.0 mm
  • 1/250
  • ISO 640
  • Shutter speed priority AE


  • ƒ/5.6
  • 42.0 mm
  • 1/100
  • ISO400
  • Aperture-priority
 

Qactuar

Distinguished Member
Little baby flash is in the box with the camera - I've only used it on a couple of occasions but it goes in the bag. To be honest I try and take everything without it and low light performance is good esp. when using the f2.8 17mm if you can stretch to the faster primes you'll be good for most things.

Start up is fine, the kit zoom has to be unlocked to (see the second photo). Burst mode is scarily fast on the sports modes and auto focus is snappy.

I've added a couple of photos of what I carry in the bag minus the drink can which is for size comparison.
I was given the camera with kit lens and WiFi SD card + the portrait kit (the telephoto lens and bag) for my 40th last year.
I've added a 17mm F2.8 prime at Christmas but I've decided that will do me for a while!


Everything I carry


Everything I carry - zooms out


17mm attached

Okay you have my attention. Reading some more in-depth reviews (I should really be doing some work!), it seems that this is a genuine contender. I've found it with the kit lens for £340, but with a 150-300mm added, just under £400. Possibly not a great lens, though, but might be worth a punt for £60.

Are there others I should be comparing to specifically, when I go for a play on one?
 

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