Best "light" secondary camera...

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Hi all,

See various requests for comparisons between two specific cameras, but I'm looking for something a bit different, more about experiences of existing M43 users.

I switched from the Canon 70D to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 (first Mk1, now Mk2), primarily because I found I was using the Canon less because it weighed substantially more. The thought process worked - I got considerably more interested in photography, learned a lot, bought a lot and life is good. Now I primarily use the 12-40mm Pro as my "go to" and the 40-150mm Pro for telephoto (with the MC-20).

It works great. BUT... even though it's still lighter than my Canon 70D kit, it's by no means light. When I travel, or just hang out, I'm thinking it'd be cool to have a lighter kit. I already have a 45mm/f1.8, was thinking of getting a 25mm/f1.8 and something small like a PEN-F. Besides small and light, it could also serve as a backup, like now for example - I need to bring my camera to get the hot shoe repaired.

Anyone have a similar journey? Any recommendations? Even a "don't get another body because a OM-D E-M1 Mk II is not THAT heavy" :)

Dion
 

fredlong

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You’ll need lighter lenses to really lighten the load. I’m happy with a 17, 45 and 60 macro. Along with the EM1 it’s pretty light and covers 99% of what I shoot. I’m pretty happy with the 17 and 60, but the 45 is so small and light it just lives in the bag.

So just pick a couple of light lenses that fit your needs. A lighter body only saves a few ounces.

A backup body is great. Get another EM1 mk1. They’re cheap, you know it and it makes great pictures.

But light lenses first.
 
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You're not kidding - I didn't realize it was just 5 ounces different. Just somehow seems more.

I was definitely a big fan of the 45mm when I first got it. It is so small and light! That was with the MK 1. I got that along with the cheap 40-150mm. It's after that I got spoiled with the quality of the Pro lenses. Maybe it's time to get another light prime.

I see you chose the 17mm over the 25mm - was it primarily because the 25 was too narrow? I was leaning towards the 25mm as I started photography with a Pentax K1000 with a 50mm prime, so thought that'd make a good base, but I know you're not alone in going with the 17.

And yeah, Mk1's are quite inexpensive - great suggestion :)
 

WT21

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I think the main reason to think of a smaller body is for a smaller bag. A pen-F w/ o25/1.7 can slide into a bag compartment easier than an EM1. Or an EPL7 w/an O 17/1.8 (or even 2.8) is super small. You sacrifice the grip, so that's a consideration, too.
 

threeOh

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This is all so subjective. But you’re looking for experiences. I went from a D800 and Sigma f/1.4 primes to Fuji and now m43. My “light“ camera is a GM1 mated with either the PL15 or O25/1.8. I can’t say it’s my “secondary” camera as it’s displaced everything else. I’m having a ball with it. That’s my primary objective in anything I do, enjoyment.
 
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If you're buying on a budget, EPL5's can be had for peanuts on eBay (compared to GM5) and they are very popular with some as a light body. Pocketable, can take a VF, and apparently better for images than later models ( the reason why I have forgotten....). At the price one can buy them for I would not hesitate to buy some Sugru and and make a really nice grip for one, too.

edit: it's the EPL7 you want, not the 5 :)
 
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tkbslc

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I went through about 10 different supposedly "every day carry" cameras that spent most of their time on the shelf. Now I just use my phone. If I care enough about what I'm going to be shooting, I'm bringing the good camera. If not, then I don't bring the any camera, not even the "light" camera. I always bring my phone, though.

The recent phones are quite good!
 

fredlong

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You're not kidding - I didn't realize it was just 5 ounces different. Just somehow seems more.

I was definitely a big fan of the 45mm when I first got it. It is so small and light! That was with the MK 1. I got that along with the cheap 40-150mm. It's after that I got spoiled with the quality of the Pro lenses. Maybe it's time to get another light prime.

I see you chose the 17mm over the 25mm - was it primarily because the 25 was too narrow? I was leaning towards the 25mm as I started photography with a Pentax K1000 with a 50mm prime, so thought that'd make a good base, but I know you're not alone in going with the 17.

And yeah, Mk1's are quite inexpensive - great suggestion :)
I’ve always felt most comfortable with a little bit wide and a little bit tele. Back in film days my main kit was 35 mm and 85 or 90mm. I never got on that well with 50’s. I have a Mitakon 25/0.95 that I won. I use it sometimes but don’t carry it very often. The PanaLeica 25/1.4 has been on my list for a long time because I really like it’s look but it hasn’t been important enough to try too hard.

My priorities are different from anyone else’s. For me a focal length that I “see” in that’s good enough and not too expensive.

If 25mm works for you, pick one up, leave the heavy stuff at home and go from there.
 

ac12

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I shoot an EM1 as primary, with an EM10 as my light camera.
Similarly I shoot heavy pro lenses, and lighter non-pro lenses.
When I want light I switch to the EM10 + non-pro lenses.
My lightest/compact setup is the EM10 + 14-42EZ.

After this is my TG5.
 

LilSebastian

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Threads like this are chum in the shark infested waters. We all LOVE to spend your money for you!

That said, light lenses should be the first consideration. You can always buy a small body after you try them out on the E-M1 II. Check out the Buy & Sell section right now, there are plenty of deals. Primes are sharp, bright and small. The focal length is entirely personal of course. I settled on 7.5, 20, 25 and 45 for my needs.

While the PRO zooms are incredible, I find the 12-40 a tad heavy for my Pen-F and E-M10 II. I still use it, just with added grips on each body to make hand holding easier. Would you be ok with a slower zoom? P12-32 is tiny and sharp when you get the right copy. My plastic fantastic 40-150R lens serves my telephoto needs and is very lightweight. Again, check the Buy&Sell section, I think one is for sale close to $60. New ones are $99.
 

BosseBe

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GM5 was my carry everyday camera in a Tenba BYOB7 with 3 lenses, P12-32, P35-100 and PL15.
Nowadays since I got the Pen-F that is my every day carry in the BYOB7 with the same lenses.
The BYOB7 weighed in at 800 g with camera and lenses (GM5), haven't checked the weight with Pen-F.
 
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Thanks all for the great feedback and keep it coming! To summarize what I've seen so far:

- First, everyone seems to recommend investing in primes especially, and light zooms. In terms of weight that's better as bodies are not so heavy. Right now I only have the 45mm f/1.8 and the 40-150mm f/4-5.6. Definitely, I could see investing in at least the 17mm or 25mm f/1.8. I haven't to date because obviously my pro lenses cover that, but for light, and faster I will re-look that.

- For bodies, several suggested different smaller bodies, with the advantage being size, not weight. Specifically, I looked at the GX80 and that looks like a very capable little camera. Several also suggested trying the lighter lenses on my current body before making a decision. That's a sound suggestion.

- Smartphone: point exceptionally well taken. Currently, my phone is a OnePlus 5T. It's a capable device, not so much as a camera. Thus far I haven't upgraded because, frankly, my camera is my camera. Realistically it probably comes down to replacing my phone, or buying more camera stuff.

Guess what I'm leaning towards is getting a 17 or 25 and trying to carry that with the 45mm and see how it goes. Obviously I still have the Pro lenses so for "deliberate" photography, I can always grab the heavy kit.

Thanks, everyone, and again, please keep commenting. There are a LOT of M43 lenses, and I know the strength of our cameras is great quality with lighter stuff...
 

Darmok N Jalad

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E-M5iii is as light as a feather, especially with a prime on it. Plus you’ll get similar image results to your E-M1ii since they share the same sensor.

For primes, don’t forget about Panasonic, too. Their 25mm 1.7 is cheaper (especially used), even if it’s a bit bigger than the 25mm 1.8, and I really like what it can do on my E-M5iii. Also, the P14mm 2.5 is really thin so you can fit it in your pocket. I haven’t had as much time to try that one, but there’s something to be said for any lens that just slips into your pocket comfortably. If you are just looking to have some fun, the 9mm BCL is really worth a good look. Plus, as its name suggests, it can act as a body cap for storage/transport.
 
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Agree about the lenses before the cameras except.... my journey was the opposite to yours I went from small and light weight to the em1ii PL12-60 and PL 100-400.


I had an em10 as my primary camera and loved it especially with my 2.8 sigma 30 and 60 pair. When I went to Namibia last year I bought a Panasonic 100-400 and a em1ii (and the O25 1.8). I sold my em10 and gave my Sigmas to my son in law.
Since then realised not just the the weight but the size that was just as important for me. Th em1ii and O25 is a wonderful combination, not heavy but just a bit too bulky for a walk about.

I bought a second hand LX100, which is cheap and great (performs much better than the 12-32 ever did), but I missed my em10 and primes,
so when the em5iii was announced I bought an em5ii in the sell off and a set of small primes (L7.5, PL15, O25 or S56). The primes rarely go on the em1 and the zooms rarely attach to the em5. In a perfect world I would now have a em5iii, but the ii is good enough for me.

I have just returned from a Covid walk this afternoon with my em5ii and Laowa 7.5. It hangs on a wrist strap and even fits in my largish shorts pocket.

If you prefer zooms, then the kit zooms are still good, everyone raves about the 12-32. It is tiny and cheap, but I must have had a bad copy. The kit 12-60 is probably the best of the kit lenses. The new 12-45 will give you pro quality and is small and light.

Agree wholeheartedly with John above about the plastic 40-150, it lives in my camera bag, so much so that I always thought that the 40-150 pro too big and heavy and not worth the extra cost and weight for the little I would use it.


mu43 has so many small light cameras that are still good- em10, em5, GX8, GX80/85, pen F that be bought quite cheaply giving you more money for the lenses. I chose the em5, it isn't much bigger than the pen F and I have a dominant left eye and my nose keeps shifting the focus point with range finders. so...

Get some smaller lenses, then if you have money left over a smaller body. Although a pen F or em5iii with a 12-45 is tempting.
 

John M Flores

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Lenses always take up more space and weight in my bag, so when I want to go lighter. I pack the collapsing, plastic, Vario zooms instead of the F2.8 zooms. I'll often add the 20/1.7 for evenings and low light.

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Stanga

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What about small and obscene as well? The GX80 plus P14-140mm f3.5/5.3 is the most ridiculous combination I can think of, but it has served me well on many occasions.
 
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I would consider the new 12-45 lens but if you really need small (and cheaper) get the Panasonic 12-32. That lens has the micro in micro four thirds figured out and image quality is great IMO.

If you like primes, the tiny m43 primes are great. Don't shy away from the Panasonic 20mm either. That is a m-43 classic.

The 25mm/1.8 is a great lens on paper. I never could bond with it. The 45/1.8 is great for what it does and is worth every penny. I also had the 12/1.8 and 17/1.8 and enjoyed them both.

IMO, I would stick with the same body. It is more ergonomic than the smaller bodies and with the smaller lenses, your load will be reduced. If you want to shrink the body, I would pick EM5-mk2 or mk3 over the Pen-F based on user interface. Pen-F is another item that I could not get used to but YMMV.

The advice above to get lenses first and see if that solves the baggage issue is a good one. You can always try a smaller body in the future.
 
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