Kind of considering downsizing - suggestions pls

Discussion in 'Other Brands' started by Judderman62, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Judderman62

    Judderman62 Veteran

    Mar 24, 2013
    Greater Manchester, UK
    Evening all .. ages no post from me.

    I'm getting older, more decrepit and knackered and am kicking around the idea of downsizing from my DLR kit to something lighter ... preferable a lot lighter.

    However I really would prefer to not drop sensor size from ASP-C.

    I have played with one or two, considered one or two and am really no nearer having any idea, if I do decide to go for it, what to go for.

    Main criteria would be

    ASP-C sensor
    decent auto focus esp in low light
    good high iso performance
    light weight

    desirable would be
    decent amount of buttons n wheels rather than having to go into menus
    function buttons
    built in HDR
    decent dynamic range performance.
    short shutter lag
    cheap - think the EOS-M can be got for around £ 250 or a little less
    would potentially like a lens in the range that goes wider than 18 mm - something roughly around 10-20 mm ish would be good.

    As a bit more back info for type of photography I do and would want this for most (may still keep some of my DSLR's for other types of photography) , I do a lot of Urban Dereliction and similar. So lighting could be anything from reasonable through to almost (and occasionally literally) pitch black. Shutter speeds could go to as low as 30 seconds - so also reasonable write time would be nice. Camera would mostly be used on a tripod with self timer / remote release.

    So some of the cameras I've considered / handled and thoughts include:

    Canon EOS-M - light, well built, lenses meant to be well made / good handling, built in HDR , I'm a canon man at heart. On the downside comments still seem mixed from firmware update has made focus speed really quite good - through to focus speed is still crap and focus inaccurate.

    Sony A5000 - Played around with one in Currys tonight and the autofocus was appallingly bad - joint worst (or worst) I have experienced - the other was one of the Olympus EP jobbies. Handling felt a bit meh.

    Samsung N300 - quite a bit I liked about this. Display was really very, very small for my eyesight - even with my glasses on. Autofocus was lightning quick. Not read / watched enough reviews yet to have a good picture.

    So would really appreciate thoughts and are there others I have not considered ? what do people think about the EOS-M - it ticks a few boxes, the flash looks a decent size.

    Thanksvery much in advance :)

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  2. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    The Fuji XT1 does most of that (no in-cam HDR), has all the dials you could ask for, but isn't going to be a ton smaller than an APS-C DSLR. And once you start clicking those fast primes onto it, it's basically the same size, or perhaps 90% of it. The XE2 is a little thinner and smaller yet, and it occurs to me that the Rokinon etc 12mm f2.0 lenses that fit the Fujis might work for "urbex" photos... manual focus, but that's fine. Sharp, fast enough, and can be had here for under $400 US. Pair that with an XE2 and its kit lens (an 18-55 2.8-4 OIS zoom that performs much better than "kit" lenses are supposed to), and you'd be in decent shape.

    I don't know other systems well, so I can't help there. Fuji's big thing is great jpg's right out of camera, absolutely killer glass, and lots of logical dials. AF speed is pretty good on most combos, but almost never stellar, if you're used to DSLR performance. Just "good" to "pretty good." Sony and Olympus seem to outperform them on AF speed, or at least the M4/3 Olympus stuff.
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  3. davidzvi

    davidzvi Veteran

    Apr 18, 2014
    Well if either of your Fuji's were x-tran I might say look there since you would already be familiar with processing issues. But I'm also not sure the glass would really be any lighter/smaller anyway.

    I would find a Sony a6000 before ruling Sony out. The AF is a completely different hybrid system.

    You mention you played with E-P's but not E-M's? Which E-P's? Depending on which series the AF might be better on the later ones. But the handling is definitely better on E-Ms over E-Ps. My other system is Nikon and not Canon, but I have no real handling issues going between my D800/D750 and the E-M10.

    Other than being smaller than APS-C, m4/3 does hit a few key points on your list:
    • Smaller/lighter
    • cheap
    • customizable buttons/functions/wheels
    • HDR
    • Assuming you mean 18mm /10-20mm on APS-C, so 27 / 15-30mm eq. There are a couple of good zoom options and (although one of the not cheap lenses) a killer 12mm (24mm eq)
    And it also has the largest selection of glass.

    I'm not discounting handling if you tried and E-M series, everyone is different. Or AF, it's one of the reasons I won't be selling my Nikon anytime soon.
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  4. nippa

    nippa Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2010
    Cheshire UK
    I'm not sure if I would want to recommend a camera to you but I think you're right to be sticking to the APS sized sensor.

    I've been a user of most sensor sizes and of m4/3 since 2009 ; I still am.
    Although the m4/3 cameras and lenses are quite attractive and have a place in my kit bag , I remain underwhelmed by m4/3 IQ and would never recommend it until the sensors improve.

    Lately I've been putting Sony's FF A7 and 28-70mm into my winter jacket pocket. A light pocketable FF camera that's not a Leica!
    Not a recommendation as such but they can be had cheaply now.

    In additon to your normal camera , have you considered the Sigma Merrill cameras?
    They are a strange concoction and I wouldn't want it as my only camera.
    Thinking of your kind of photography they produce fantastic detail in a small and light package and can be bought used as a bargain.
    I bought my DP3M cheaply and I'd say that it's the best money I've ever spent on a camera.
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  5. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I have rented the Sony A7II (but it is full frame) and the Fuji XT1 (aps-c) recently. So I can only tell you about them. Discard what info you don't need..

    The dials on the Fuji are more preferable to me, everything is there (EV =3 to -3, ISO, Shutter Speed, Drive, & Metering) you can reassign functions to the buttons and selector wheel, and there is a customizable quick or Q menu. I used it with the Fuji M adapter, and then my lens was manual too. I have not tried it with native Fuji lenses. I didn't like the plasticky sd cover, mic/hdmi covers, or the kinda sticky plastic eyecup but the viewfinder is huge. My wishes for this camera would be to improve those two things and also give the option of an optical vf back in addition to the electronic one. Excellent IQ, same as my X100s, so wasn't any jump there, but I could use lenses vs X100s Fixed.

    The Sony A7 II has less dials than the Fuji and for that I wasn't as pleased. I had to learn the menu but it was fairly simple. The IQ is excellent but some people have had complaints about it's lossy-raw in various situations. I didn't notice any faults in my use of it. Like the Fuji you can use native lenses, the zeiss for sony lenses, or in my case I rented a Metabones adapter and used my canon lenses. This setup was smaller in hand but still had heft. There were a few things about the Sony like the lossy (that I hadn't encountered but never wanted to) and its lack of old-time (i guess you would call it) buttons but it was a well made camera and your not multiplying focal length x crop.

    I guess think about what you want to carry, I found that the Fuji Xt1 with Zeiss M glass (Voigtlander or Leica could be used too) was lighter than using my canon lenses on these cameras, or even my little XSi setup. Plus people thought I was carrying a film camera. I used a Zeiss 50mm 1.5 C Sonnar on the Fuji.. and well, now I am looking for a camera that can use that lens! You could approach it that way too, who has the glass you want, and then see what cameras can utilize it. If you want auto though, you will need native glass so that is a backup consideration, which of those lenses do you like.

    My recommendation is to rent, try in the way you'd use it either with your existing glass and an adapter (which could be an evolving situation as you sell and buy new lenses), or the cameras native glass, and decide from there. Not sure when new models are coming out, the A7II is very new, but maybe the Xt1 will have an upgrade soon. It's possible the Sony A6000 (newer than the 5000 you tested) will too.

    *Canon EOS M III will not be sold in America but I heard it's supposed to have addressed all the previous failings and is awesome. Too bad they won't let the US have access. With an adapter I could use my Canon glass. Maybe you can try one there though?
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  6. I've been on the same path as you, Mike, but in the end, here I am, still with my K5, and I have just rebought a K200D. I've considered MFT but only Olympus for its IBIS, and then I look at my Pentax stuff and know I have some excellent gear there, and I resist moving away from it. Instead, I have a variety of wrist supports and braces, so I can contend with the increasing wrist pain and arthritics of my right hand... I tried switching to Nikon1 and I really like the results from that, but I missed the easy manual focus of Pentax, and especially the quick shift (don't know if other makers have that).

    I also have an X100 (original, not the S or T model) and I find that to be very satisfying to use, but it can't replace my DSLR gear.

    For you though, and your desire for lighter and wide, I would suggest thinking about the X100T plus the wide angle add-on lens. I'm happy with the 35mm equiv focal length... and the wide angle doesn't go as wide as you said you wanted, but it might be worth a thought, even if just a passing one. X100 series, lots of dials :)
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  7. Judderman62

    Judderman62 Veteran

    Mar 24, 2013
    Greater Manchester, UK
    Thanks for the replies all :thumbup:

    Just a few points of clarification. I want to differentiate between weight and size (I should have clarified). I'm not bothered about getting smaller size - indeed my hefty mits smaller cameras can be a challenge to operate. It's just the weight I'm looking at getting down.

    At this point I am not looking at selling all my DSLR gear and switching wholesale but rather maybe adding to my cameras for my urbex stuff and other times I want to travel light.

    Hence the stipulation for inexpensive - so, much as I love the look and sound of it, the Fuji XT-1 is waaaay over budget as would the Olympus OM models.

    To respond to a few replies:

    @ Kyle - as stated the XT-1 is way over budget. I hadn't particularly thought about a ceiling for my budget but I guess somewhere around £ 330 - £350 - The EOS-M is currently available at £199 !!!
    Also with Fuji the Lenses are just too expensive for my tastes.

    @ David - it was the EPL-5 as per this thread. Interested you mention cheap. Certainly some models are but once you get tot he likes of the OMD's etc we're talking around £1000. Also, for me, the price of lenses for M4/3 is just scandolous. Yes I did indeed mean 10-20/22 in ASP-C terms.

    @ Dennis - I'm not well up on the sigmas - will have to go read / search. Btw seems you're not too far from me- I live North of Manchester but work in Altrincham :D

    @ Isoterica - again the cameras you are mentioning sound like they'd be well beyonf budget.

    Some time down the line when my bones creak even more I may well look to sell everything DSLR and funds might then allow looking at higher priced cameras than right now, but for now it's an addition / testing the water exercise so don't want to invest too much.

    This is why the EOS-M caughty my attention at that price but I wonder how the AF performs and if the lack of buttons and dials and using rear screen to amend settings might not suit me.

    Again thanks for all the comments and recommendations and please do keep the dialog going.

    Incidentally I do have a Canon 500D with kit lens and that's not terribly heavy so any one chosen would need to be a fair bit lighter than that - off top of my head I THINK it's around 520g

    thanks all

  8. Judderman62

    Judderman62 Veteran

    Mar 24, 2013
    Greater Manchester, UK
    @ Sue - Yes the Pentax's are fab but when i carry one of the K5's, or even both, and say 3-5 lenses it's just too much at times - esp if I might be mooching around an abandoned hospital for 7 hours , climbing through windows etc, etc. Also carrying a tripod ... well you get the picture.

    Really looking for changeable lenses or MAYBE zoom fixed - though that wouldn't get me as wide as I'd like.

    I have also contemplated the Fuji XM-1 but not checked the weight yet and again I run into the expensive Fuji glass :(
  9. Judderman62

    Judderman62 Veteran

    Mar 24, 2013
    Greater Manchester, UK
    ahhh enjoy your K200D, not used mine in an age, there is something about the CCD sensor is there not :)
  10. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    An XM1 and the XF 35 f1.4 lens ($500 brand new, less used) would deliver some fantastic results for low $. But it sounds like you want something that doesn't really exist... hard to get up to the quality level you're used to, with much less weight, for a few hundred quid.
  11. I'd be careful with buying something that you might not be 100% happy with, just because it's cheap (looking at the EOS-M here).

    I made that mistake with the Samsung NX100 back in the days. It was a bargain for an APS-C compact, but I didn't like a lot of it and ended up never using it, finally selling it at a big loss. Saved up for a Olympus E-M5, which was a lot more expensive, but worth it. Still enjoy shooting with it after 3 years...

    I'm not saying that you won't be happy with the EOS M (only you can find out :) ) Just trying to say, that if there isn't something that fulfills your criteria right now, it might be worth waiting a bit - either to save up and increase the budget - or to wait until the next generation comes down enough in price.

    Having said all that - the NX300 seems to be on sellout right now. Not sure about prices on lenses though.

    And as to your comments on m43 lens prices... Yes, some of it is very expensive (too expensive), but there's a nice variety of cheaper glass too. More variety than in any other mirrorless system from what I know... Also a fairly big market on used and refurbished stuff...

    Probably not helping here, sorry :) Just my thoughts...
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  12. Panasonic LX100? Its MFT, light, fixed zoom but not much of one, and some great IQ. If I was shooting what you do, I think thats where I'd be heading. As it is, in my desire to shift to lighter gear but not lose long lenses, I am intent on buying the Panasonic FZ1000. Hands on the other day, really light, even though stats say its as heavy as a K5 body... just did not *feel* that heavy... its really well balanced. 1" sensor would not suit you though, I guess.

    I see why you'd be considering the EOS-M. That with the 20mm would be very light and eminently suitable for what you want :)

    Thats why I rebought. Only $175 including post, it was worth it to me, to find out whether I was imagining my desire for a CCD sensor. I haven't been out with it very much but so far so good. The CCD is also why I won't give up my XZ-1, or Ricoh GRD3.
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  13. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    See if there is a local shop that will let you rent (for a couple days) is my best advice. If you find that you will be renting several cameras (which is why I suggested a 'couple' days), it might be more cost effective to just buy what interests you and sell it if it ceases to, that way you aren't spending more money on renting than on the eventual camera.
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  14. JKLso

    JKLso Regular

    Nov 24, 2014
    near Kelso WA USA
    I've mostly switched over to an NX300. With their 16/2.4 and 30/2 primes plus adapted Pentax 50 100 and 150 I'm pretty much set. OIS is available with some lenses (e.g. 16-50 pz +50-200) but exotic needs may not be met with the NX system yet.

    How small a kit? Check here!

    Going NX1 and S glass won't save much weight in the end, though the gear is good!
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  15. davidzvi

    davidzvi Veteran

    Apr 18, 2014
    The prices over there would probably scare me as well. I didn't realize the difference was that much.

    I can pick up an Olympus E-M10, new, from an eBay seller I've dealt with several times for what would be about £330 and the 12mm f2 or Panasonic 7-14mm f4 would each be about £460? I don't shoot wide often enough to require one of those. My most expensive lens is the 17mm f/1.8 which I paid equal to £220. Most of my m4/3 glass is in the £100-£150. I think my complete kit of an E-M10 + 5 lenses only cost me a little over £1000, surely less than £1100.

    *Prices are what I paid or would have to pay in US dollars converted to £.
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  16. val

    val Veteran

    Dec 27, 2013
    Eh I really was underwhelmed by the EOS M. I simply would not buy it.

    I'd actually pick the Fujifilm X30 OVER that. Great bright lens built in, fast AF and articulating screen + nice EVF.

    you can tell me about sensor sizes and lens choices but I've used both and definitely prefer the latter.
  17. Judderman62

    Judderman62 Veteran

    Mar 24, 2013
    Greater Manchester, UK
    Interesting how the EOS-M divides opinion so much.

    I may well just soldier on with the 500D and keep my eyes peeled for anything else coming along.

    Thanks again for all the replies.
  18. Hey, Mike, just checking in.

    I am actually a fan of the EOS-M - combined with its brilliant tiny 'pancake' 22mm lens - the equivalent of a 35mm FOV - it's a tiny, lightweight package which delivers not good but superb image quality.

    The other lens in the relatively limited EOS-M lineup that's semi droolworthy is the 11-22 zoom - which is a fantastic ultra-wide-to-wide-angle zoom that rivals the optical quality of the 22mm. The other EOS-M specific lenses - including the standard 'kit' zoom - are quite good but, honestly, not great; the 22mm and 11-22mm are the true standouts of the whole system.

    Of course, you also have the option of getting an EOS adapter an using any one of a wide range of traditional Canon lenses. The downside here is that most of them are on the large-ish side - which in a way defeats the purpose of the EOS-M as being a tiny do-it-all easily semi-pocketable system.

    The other fairly significant minus is that unlike the Fujis - the XE-2 and/or the X-T1 - which both have more manual dials and controls than anyone could ever hope for - the original EOS-M - and its successor, the EOS-M2 - don't have that many physical controls for photographers. You sort of have to get used to the touchscreen and/or menu controls - which isn't as bad as it seems. It took me a short while to acclimatize myself to the relative lack of large amounts of buttons/dials, but overall it wasn't much of a struggle.

    And, in the initial release of the EOS-M, the firmware was woefully slow which made for slow-motion AF. The upgraded firmware is honestly a big improvement. It doesn't turn your EOS-M into a speed demon but it makes it decent for many things. I suspect the EOS-M2 has similar performance - in terms of both touchscreen & menus - and lately the M2's have been selling for vastly reduced prices as well, with the forthcoming launch of the EOS-M3 -

    Which btw if money were no object would far and away be THE nicest of the EOS-M iterations - and probably quite close to checking off many of the boxes or requirements of your original post. They're going to be sold only in Europe & Asia and not in the U.S., where I live, but the camera seems SO NICE that I seriously considered selling my 1st gen EOS-M and replacing it with a more expensive EOS-M3 which I was going to purchase directly from Japan. If you're interested, there are some very informative threads on the process of buying directly from Amazon in Japan which has a fantastic sale on the EOS-M3 - basically throwing in the EVF (which normally costs more than $200 USD - for almost nothing. It's a phenomenal deal - and the M3 does truly seem like a great camera.

    The original EOS-M though does quite a few of the things that you seem to be interested in - but fails in a number of other areas. If you can live with its 'shortcomings', it's got some fabulous lenses, great IQ & dynamic range, and is a true bargain; but the key is being able to embrace its operating system, and lack of dedicated buttons/dials.

    Hope this helps.


  19. Judderman62

    Judderman62 Veteran

    Mar 24, 2013
    Greater Manchester, UK
    Thanks for that very complete / in depth response Miguel - much appreciated.

    I think for now I'm probably going to soldier on with my 500D, with my Pentax K5's getting less use, and keep an eye on ebay for any M's going very cheap.

    Thanks all for input :)
  20. If you do wind up opting for the (extremely affordable) EOS M - the lens to get with it is the tiny (and optically superb) 22mm 'pancake', which makes the whole thing into an almost semi-pocketable (and very lightweight) package. But as I said before, the serious downside is the lack of manual buttons/dials - which forces the photographer to become much more reliant on touchscreen/menu operations. When I bought an M, it was more of a mental process - allowing myself to accept the lack of buttons and to embrace the touchscreen approach - rather than a physical one.

    Two other cameras quickly worth mentioning, though both alas cost more than your initial projected budget realm/s - but both are so good that they're worth mentioning anyway. Both are APS-C fixed-lens compacts - both have the equivalent of a 28mm wide angle lens. I'm referring of course to the Nikon Coolpix A - and the Ricoh GR. Both are optically superb (for more on this, read Ming Thein's detailed and thoughtful reviews of each, as well as his interesting comparison of both) - both are tiny, lightweight and eminently pocketable. The Coolpix A may have a slight edge over the Ricoh in terms of low-light autofocus and better high ISO resolution, but otherwise they are literally neck and neck. And best of all, both cameras have significantly come down in price from their original list prices. Possibly because both have been officially discontinued by their manufacturers. I'm honestly not certain about the HDR capabilities (or lack thereof) of either of these cameras (it's possible they both are lacking in the dept). I'd say the Coolpix might be slightly better for its low-light capabilities - but that's splitting hairs. And did I mention....both are tiny, lightweight and more than pocketable?

    And honestly having shot with all 3 - the 35mm FOV EOS M - and the 28mm Coolpix and Ricoh - all deliver truly superb image quality. So it's really apples and oranges....but they all taste good.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions.....
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