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Mirror-less small cameras
Old 10-25-2012, 03:18 PM   #1
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Mirror-less small cameras

I am considering moving to a smaller, lighter camera system such as the new mirror-less systems we have seen in the past few years. These would include the m4/3 cameras by Olympus and Panasonic, the Nikon V1, the Sony NEX system and so on.

I would appreciate people sharing any experiences they have with these camera systems including: ease use, image quality, lens choices, and size/weight considerations.

Thanks.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:53 AM   #2
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I recently bought an Olympus EPL-2 on close-out offer from Costco. This is one of the micro 4/3rds range. I also bought a VF2 viewfinder, since one of the reasons for wanting a new camera was that I was fed up with trying to see LCD displays in bright sunlight. Generally I'm pretty happy with the setup. One of the good things about micro 4/3rds is that there are many good lens options from both Olympus and Panasonic. I have the 14-42 kit zoom, the 40-150 zoom, and also the Panasonic 20mm prime.

The latest m4/3 cameras from Olympus have an improved sensor. I think if I was doing it again I would spring for the new OMD, although that would be a lot more money.

Image quality is good, certainly equal to low to medium range DSLRs. However continuous autofocus is a weak point, which could be an issue if you are interested in shooting sports. Single autofocus is decently quick, even on my camera, which by now is 2 generations out of date. And of course you are carrying much less weight around!

Some people have complained about the Olympus menu structure, but I really haven't had any problems. You do have to read the manual, but then you can set the various buttons and controls up just the way you want. I will say that the wheel on the back is a bit fiddly to use, though, especially if you're using the viewfinder rather than the LCD.

I can't comment from personal experience on the other brands you mention. However I do believe that there are more lens choices in the m4/3 world.

Peter
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:18 AM   #3
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You are most likely already aware of this Site but I'll post just in case:

Olympus E-PL2 Review: Digital Photography Review
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:17 AM   #4
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You are most likely already aware of this Site but I'll post just in case:

Olympus E-PL2 Review: Digital Photography Review
Arrghh! Ya beat me to it.

Warning to "normal" people: This site is for hard-core photography geeks.
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:54 PM   #5
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The Sony line of mirror-less cameras have a APC-C sized sensor - the same used in enthusiast level SLRs.

I have been thinking of selling my humungous 20D and getting one of the mirrorless SLRs too, I like the bright viewfinders in conventional SLRs and am not too hot about using the LCD all the time.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:03 PM   #6
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Okay, I am a Canon diehard (current stable SX200IS, SX30IS, SX230HS, 20D and a 7D) so I would be remiss in not mentioning this:

Canon U.S.A. : Consumer & Home Office : EOS M EF-M 22mm STM Kit

Canon EOS M: hands-on preview of Canon's first mirrorless EOS: Digital Photography Review

This is not a camera size that I am interested in (other than curiosity) as my next camera will be either the updated 7D or a 5D Mark III.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:43 AM   #7
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Thanks for your thoughts. I am looking at the new Olympus camera but its price near $1000 is a bit much at this time. I think I will freeze my current system as-is, and save some $$'s for future use in the new smaller systems. I imagine they will continue to get better, somewhat cheaper (I hope) and add more lenses to their system.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:54 AM   #8
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I imagine they will continue to get better, somewhat cheaper (I hope) and add more lenses to their system.
No doubt. Besides, being a low serial number kind of guy is not that compatible with a frugal lifestyle.
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:09 PM   #9
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What does 'mirror-less' mean? An SLR swings the mirror down and reflects the light to the viewfinder, then swings out of the way to project the light onto the film or sensor to take the shot.

So what are these? They still have an optical viewfinder, right?

-ERD50
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:21 PM   #10
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You are correct. (A quick and dirty explanation) What you see in an SLR camera is a reflected image. In a mirror-less camera what you see in the viewfinder is a digital image created by the sensor -- what the camera sees when the shot is taken.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:49 PM   #11
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So what are these? They still have an optical viewfinder, right?

-ERD50
They do not have an optical viewfinder like in an SLR (since they have no mirror), but some come with an option of an electronic viewfinder (EVF) in addition to the usual LCD display of the image.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:01 PM   #12
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Thanks for the explanations. I'm not a serious photographer, and I didn't go digital until they came out with moderate priced point-and-shoots that had a low delay between pressing the shutter and actually grabbing the picture. I recall being handed someone's digi-cam to take a snap-shot, and I thought I wasn't doing it right, there was such a delay. Say "cheese" and by the time the picture takes, everyone had walked away and was at the bar (slight exaggeration). The shutter lag is what kept me in film for a few more years.

When I replaced my first one, the newer models did away with the optical range-finder style view-finder, and just had the LCD on back, which would wash out in bright light. So having a digital viewfinder that is through-the-lens should solve those problems (I assume keeping your eye right up to it shades it from the light).

At any rate, I'm amazed and really happy with the quality I can get in something that fits easily in my pocket, has a long life battery, can take video and sound, and cost < $200 (maybe way less, I forget). If I was a bit more into it, I'd definitely go for one of these higher-end units - amazing quality/flexibility at that price point.

-ERD50
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:28 PM   #13
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Thanks for the link to the preview of the Canon EOS M Ron. I've had an EOS 20D since 2005 and it has served me wonderfully, but I haven't been carrying it around as much recently. A large sensor camera that is more portable than the 20D will be very welcome - it will be fun to see the addition of more cameras like this in the next few years.

dpreview.com is a great site for camera reviews and discussion of the technical side of photography - and if you ever want to start a thread in the forums there that is guaranteed to be long, all you have to do is mention Ken Rockwell
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:35 PM   #14
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LensRentals.com - EOS-M First Impressions

Quote:
OK, the usual applies. I am not a reviewer. I donít even play one on TV. There are already some in-depth reviews out on the new EOS-M and more coming daily.

But I handle a lot of equipment and test a lot of equipment. When something new comes in I spend a day handling it and testing it. Hopefully this will give you a quick overview and maybe fill in some things that actual reviewers donít get to tell you about. (Theyíre more thorough than I am, but they donít have the advantage of comparing 25 copies). We got a bunch of EOS-M cameras, a bunch of the 22mm lenses, a couple of 18-55 kit lenses, and a single EF-EOS-M adapter.

For those who donít want to read this but do want to tell everyone what I said later, hereís the summary: It is the best of [sic] mirrorless, it is the worst or mirrorless, it is the camera of wise choices, it is the camera of foolishness, it is the epoch of accurate autofocus, it is the epoch of slow autofocus. In other words, Iíve got mixed emotions.
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:47 PM   #15
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Hmmm. The slow auto-focus is a deal-breaker for me. I'm sure we'll see improvement with the next model though (or the one after that).

The lens I use the most on my 20D is the 24mm f/1.4 That 22mm pancake lens sounds very useful.
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:55 PM   #16
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For some reason, I have become (much to) attached to an 18-200 Zoom lens on the 7D. It is a f/3.5 but I rarely get into many low-light places anymore... if I can help it. I am really getting lazy and not having to change lens -- or walking up to the subject -- has become very attractive.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:45 AM   #17
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I made the plunge and bought a mirrorless camera - the Olympus PM1. It was on sale for $300 including a zoom lens. This is less than the cost of an compact Point-and-Shoot camera that produces inferior images to the PM1.

Compare to my traditional digital SLR it is very small and light. What a pleasure to carry around on a day trip. And for traveling weeks at a time, it should be great. Besides the 14-42mm zoom (28-84mm in conventional terms), I also have a 45mm f/1.8 lens and a 14mm f/2.5 lens. All these lenses are so small and light. I can carry a complete system in the space my old DSLR body and one zoom lens took up. Did I mention how much less it weighs?

Image quality is as good as my DSLR and certainly good enough to make an 11x4 or even a 16x20 enlargement. It's time go go out and play with the new toys.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:21 AM   #18
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Compare to my traditional digital SLR it is very small and light. What a pleasure to carry around on a day trip. And for traveling weeks at a time, it should be great. Besides the 14-42mm zoom (28-84mm in conventional terms), I also have a 45mm f/1.8 lens and a 14mm f/2.5 lens. All these lenses are so small and light. I can carry a complete system in the space my old DSLR body and one zoom lens took up. Did I mention how much less it weighs?

Image quality is as good as my DSLR and certainly good enough to make an 11x4 or even a 16x20 enlargement. It's time go go out and play with the new toys.
Makes me want to go out and get one. Show us some images when you can.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:34 AM   #19
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Makes me want to go out and get one. Show us some images when you can.
I can show you some images, but, honestly, web quality images are actually rather low quality and even a cheap point-and-shoot looks good on the web.

The nice thing about the Olympus system is that it is micro 4/3 which means we can mix and match equipment from Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, SLR Magic, Voigtlander, etc. They all subscribe to the m4/3 standard.

I also love the fast prime lenses. Being able to throw a distracting background out of focus is a huge plus when taking photos.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:41 AM   #20
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I was wanting to splurge and was frustrated with lugging around the N D80 with its big ol 18-200 lens. Takes great photos, just too much to take for casual shooting. I coveted my daughter's Leica x2 but opted for the Fuji 100 after a lot of reading reviews. I love the camera but am having to get used to the lack of zoom; as she points out with all those pixels, do your zooming on the computer! I've been tied up on other pursuits and have not had much time to shoot with it, but I am very pleased. If you want it simple, it can be; auto exp with A or S priority by analog switches, not thumbwheels and digital displays.
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