Does size matter? What's the most you would tolerate for "mirrorless"?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by With_Eyes_Unclouded, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    In most discussions about mirrorless cameras one of the main characteristics mentioned is system size; meaning size of the body + lenses (and possibly other accessories). This is why the term CSC is so popular.

    I'm of the opinion that we have to view this in relative terms. Absolute small size has no meaning, given that a camera can be made so small that it's actually very difficult to handle. There is also the issue of having "proper" controls on a camera, which, for some people, is essential.

    Mirrorless cameras (and :43: in particular) shall always be smaller than equivalent performance DSLRs. The point is we may see, IMO, some cameras in the future that will be quite larger than what we've used to so far.

    A true "pro-featured" mirrorless camera would probably have full weather sealing, dual card slots, perhaps a bigger battery, certainly an integrated EVF, even a second processor and auxiliary circuits. All these translate in extra space needed inside the body.

    My "upper limit" if you will is something the size of a film Olympus OM camera. After all they were pretty small for SLR standards. I estimate this is about 20-30% bigger than an OM-D.

    In a somewhat related news story, Hasselblad is rumored to have a mirrorless medium format camera soon:

    Hasselblad with big announcement on Spetember 18th. It is the “almost” medium format mirrorless camera? | Mirrorless Rumors
     
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    IMHO, it's not so much about being SMALL as it is being smallER. I really like being able to travel with several sharp, fast lenses in a small bag compared to maybe one slow zoom lens on a DSLR.
     
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  3. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Size matters, but I think flexibility matters even more. m4/3s allows us to use a DSLR body like the GH series, or something as small as E-PM1 or GF3 with the same lenses. That option to go small (GF3+14/2.5) is the hook for me.

    As far as a true pro body, yeah, I think 25% larger than the E-M5 is tolerable. Folks who demand those performance parameters probably don't want too many of the tradeoffs that might come with a smaller body. And even then they can have a smaller body for back up, street shooting, casual use, etc. and share the lenses.
     
  4. Funny story: compared to an OM-1, the E-M5 is maybe 20mm less in width, but is slightly taller as well as being deeper when it is fitted with the PL25/1.4 and the OM-1 is fitted with the OM50/1.4.
     
  5. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    True; I had the OM-4 and OM-40 more in mind. But the Zuiko OM lenses are tiny in general.

    Personally, the OM size is absolutely perfect in my hands (weight also, but then lenses are all metal and heavier than our :43:).
     
  6. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Not bigger than the M9, or maybe M10. ;-)

    Gordon
     
  7. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I'm not convinced that the space needed would be all that different from the current size of let's say the OMD. Size is the biggest point for me in regards to this system. I think the current size of the Panny G's and OMD EM5 are about ideal. Lenses are also smaller...

    If the system grew in size, I would look towards a camera with APS sized sensor.
     
  8. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    252
    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    Part of the benefit of the m4/3 mount is smaller lenses so I hope that's always a major design point for Olympus and Panasonic going forward. That said, I don't mind if the "pro" level m4/3 cameras of the future are as large as DSLRs as long as they have pro-grade performance (insanely fast AF, ridiculously speedy continuous burst shooting, higher resolution built-in EVF, maybe even a memo button so you can record an WAV file with an image--something I used ALL THE TIME on the D2X when I was using it for news coverage years ago).

    I still want small cameras but I'm willing to "tolerate" larger cameras if they bring extra features to the table and those features explain the need for a larger body.
     
  9. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    For me, a "compact system camera" is a camera that is smaller than the norm for the sort of system it provides. I see no reason why there shouldn't be a medium format CSC that is quite a bit larger than M43, yet smaller than current medium format cameras. Size is relevant, and a compact aircraft carrier is always going to be many times larger than a compact dinghy. That doesn't mean the word "compact" can't be applied to it.

    How large would I tolerate? That depends on the format and features. I like the size and portability of M43, and I don't currently use anything else, but that wouldn't stop me buying a much larger medium format camera though I would certainly like it to be smaller than most medium format cameras.

    2 other comments:

    "equivalent performance DSLRs". M43 has not reached equivalence with larger format DSLRs and it won't because the sensor improvements necessary to reach equivalence with today's DSLRs will also be applied to them so they will always be better. 35mm film never achieved equivalence with medium and larger format film, but that didn't stop it becoming the dominant film format. Equivalence isn't necessary. Dominance just requires a sufficiently high image quality and the ability to perform well in a wide range of photographic areas. Larger film formats survived because they could do things that smaller formats couldn't and the same will be true for larger sensor formats than M43. People do tend to migrate to the smallest format that will do the job to a high enough standard but there are times, and photographers, who demand even higher standards at times. That's not going to change. Equivalence will never be reached and that isn't a problem.

    Secondly, "A true "pro-featured" mirrorless camera would probably have full weather sealing…"? Let's just take weather sealing but what I say about it is true for a lot of other features also. Why would a studio portrait photographer who only works indoors need weather sealing, and why should a camera that meets all his needs but doesn't have weather sealing not make the grade as a "true "pro-featured" camera"? If a "true "pro-featured" mirrorless camera" has to satisfy the needs of all professionals then it doesn't need weather sealing, it needs full water proofing for underwater work because some professionals actually need that rather than weather sealing, and it needs a full range of tilt and shift movements and a whole pile of other features that a lot of professionals don't need but some professionals do.

    Seriously, there isn't a single set of specifications that a "true "pro-featured" mirrorless camera" needs. There are a number of different sets of specifications based on the needs of professionals doing different sorts of work, and there should be enough variety in the cameras available to allow a professional working in one field to get what he/she needs without having to buy a lot of features they don't need. Some professionals do need weather sealing but that doesn't mean that all professionals do, and it doesn't mean that a camera has to have it in order to be pro-grade. Pro-grade cameras have all of the features that the professional using them needs, plus I'd toss in that they need to meet a much higher standard for reliability and durability than a camera used by most non-professionals simply because they tend to get a lot more use and failure on the job is a disaster for a professional.
     
  10. slackercruster

    slackercruster Mu-43 Regular

    86
    Jul 18, 2012
    NE US
    Size matters to me. For m43 I don't want anyhting bigger than the Oly. But I have lots of bigger cams I use for other things
     
  11. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    The size of the body doesn't actually matter to me as much as its weight, and the size and weight of the lenses. If I'm carrying a kit like I did on vacation recently, consisting of a 7-14, a 25 1.4, a 14-140 and a flash, the size and weight difference between a GH2 and a G3, or even an E-P3, is negligible. But the difference between that kit, and an equivalent DSLR setup, is huge, primarily because of the lenses.

    I have no issues with the size of my GH2. In fact, I think it's close to ideal, as the extra surface area allows much better ergonomics than any of the smaller MILCs. A robust grip makes the camera easier to hold and shoot. Just look at the number of people who rave about how much the add-on grip improves the OM-D. A multiplicity of dedicated buttons and switches makes the camera easier to use in anything but "P" mode. Just compare turning AEB on and off, or changing focus modes, on the GH2 to the OM-D. And then compare how easy it is to check the settings. No menu diving required on the GH2, unlike any other current m43 body.
     
  12. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    For me, the current crop of m43 cameras are about at their limits for me in terms of size, both large and small - the G5, GH2 and EM-5 are about as large as I'd be willing to go without moving up to a DSLR, but perhaps I could go a little bigger (the size of an X-Pro 1 but no more), and the E-PM1 and GF-5 are about as small as I'd be willing to go before the camera loses usability for me. For the record, I'm 6'3" though. I'm quite happy with the size of my E-PL1
     
  13. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    My view has been summed up by previous posters: I just want it to be smaller, not necessarily small - so I can carry a more complete system easily. And there's always the option to use a smaller camera body with the same lenses when size is paramount.

    There's been times when I wished the G3 was bigger, to offer more room for grip and handling. I would be fine with a larger GH or OM-D series body paired with a smaller body for when portability is more important than handling. As long as the overall system remains easily portable and there are smaller body choices available like the EPM1 or GF or GX series, I'd be fine with having larger bodies as m4/3 offerings.
     
  14. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Several good points.

    While it's true that weather sealing doesn't concern a lot of pros, marketing and general market placement rules would probably dictate that a camera of this caliber would have it. This is currently true with many top level DSLRs, albeit not with some much more expensive MF digitals. What I had in mind is, I suppose, a camera with the broader possible pro appeal.

    Reliability comes, among other things, from stronger/heavier construction and that would probably make the camera larger. There is also a trend among pros to have as many "real time" controls on-camera as possible which would contribute in size (not that I agree with this notion, or even say that it is a universal trend).

    As far as MF is concerned, I agree with you and actually have posted a goofy article on my blog (With Eyes Unclouded - A Photography Blog: A parallel (photographic) universe story) about such a posibility. I believe scores of pros would welcome such a camera format.

    Your comment about equivalence is spot on. As I think about it, a camera system has to be "good enough" for the needs of the photographer. Currently, the OM-D is "good enough" for everything I do; someone else may have a totally different set of needs. My point is, for most practical purposes, "good enough" for a given system has an upper limit, after which there is no point arguing. If I was forced to present an "objective" argument of what this point would be, I'd say :43: cameras having the same IQ/DR/ISO/ AF performance, etc, as todays mainstream FF DSLRs. By "objective" I mean, such a camera would be more than sufficient for the actual (and not made-up) needs of, perhaps, 95% of all photographers, for a really long time. OTOH, I will be quick to add that "needs" is a moving target; and not even talking about "wants" at this point. :wink:
     
  15. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I thought something along the same lines a little while back, and even looked at DSLRs in depth, wondering if I should move up to a larger format. The takeaway was what matters more than body size (at least to me) is *system* size. Moving up to a full frame or APS-C DSLR also means moving up to lenses that are much larger and heavier than the m4/3 equivalent offerings. Maybe not dramatic with a single lens here and there, but if you try comparing carrying a full kit around in a camera bag you'll see a big difference.

    I definitely like that with m4/3 I can toss a pancake lens on my GX1 and have a nearly pocketable camera. But what's more compelling to me is I can load half a dozen lenses and two camera bodies into a ThinkTank Retrospective 5 and have everything from UWA to long telephoto and multiple fast primes in a small shoulder bag. If I did that with a DSLR I'd probably have to carry around a large backpack :smile:
     
  16. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    The size/weight of a camera body with lens attached is very important to me. I'd say a camera the size of the OM-D, GH2 and G5 is about as large as I'd want to go right now. The only way I'd personally consider anything larger is if tracking/predictive auto-focus got as good as a traditional DSLR - meaning I could sell off my Pentax kit and go strictly with micro four thirds. But until that happens (and it certainly might), I have my larger (but not too large) Pentax K-5 and lenses for one kind of task and my smaller micro four-thirds gear for another.
     
  17. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    I concluded early on that a combination of largish DSLR-like body for longer zooms and a compact for small primes was my ideal. Initially that was a Panny G2/GF1 combination, and currently it's a GH2/EPM1 set-up. I'd like something a little smaller than the GH2 for the "big" travel camera; my sights are set on the G5, which appears to bring back the handling of the G2 in a slightly smaller body.
     
  18. I don't think that I have a need for a m4/3 body any bigger than we currently have. Both the GH and OM-D bodies have plenty of external controls and I can hold and operate either without any problems. I'd even say that in a lot of situations the size and minimalist controls of an E-PM1 or GF3 are all that is required.
     
  19. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    593
    Feb 23, 2012
    Toronto
    I'm in the weight-matters-camp. I was saying in another thread that 300g, give or take, is about my limit for lenses, at least on the em5.

    It's funny...I think I bought into the m43 system because of the size, but have now added enough elements that I'm not really gaining much advantage.
     
  20. pcnyc

    pcnyc Mu-43 Regular

    198
    Sep 15, 2010
    I have a small camera bag (caselogic tbc-305) that can fit easily into another bag or backpack. so for me, my limit is that the camera+lens attached, + one more lens must fit inside. OM-D is really pushing the limit, I recently traveled with OM-D+25mm+14-150mm all fit inside that bag, just barely.