DSLR owner looking to make the jump to mirrorless

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by blkcat, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. blkcat

    blkcat New to Mu-43

    Sep 14, 2013
    I'd like to get back into photography - coming from a Nikon DSLR but really interested in getting something a bit smaller/less conspicuous. I can get a Panasonic GX1 new for roughly $200 sans lens or a Sony NEX-6 open box with the power zoom kit lens for right around $675.

    I have a couple of older Nikkors (50mm f/1.8, 105mm f/2.5, 35mm f/1.8) that I'd like to use so the focus peaking on the NEX really intrigues me, but the Panasonic appears to have better build quality and control layout and the M43 system has a ton of what appear to be excellent pancake lenses for not a lot of money.

    Those of you with experience with both systems, what would you recommend? My partner and I recently moved to central Florida so this camera will mostly be used for walkabout/street photography, Walt Disney World, that sort of thing.
  2. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I come from a 45+ year Nikon SLR/DSLR habit so I can appreciate your background.

    Last summer I needed an alternative to the major DSLR gear I'd been using to follow my sons' sporting activities because the rules for the Olympics venues didn't permit gear of the sort I was using (and in fact I probably could not have physically carried my usual gear load under those circumstances). I had a GF1 that I'd dabbled with. I did a lot of reading, research and thinking and invested (gulp) in a significant amount of m4/3 equipment for the trip. It turned out to be a huge success.

    I took an EM-5 and a GX1 (with the LVF2 viewfinder) and a group of lenses to the UK. I truly loved (and still love) the EM-5 in every way. The GX1, not so much, and I sold it for a GF5 after I got back. I found I liked the integrated finder much better. The weight/size:performance ratio is really outstanding and I don't regret that decision at all. Further, unlike some other systems like the Fuji X system, I think there is huge value in the competitive upwards pressure that Panasonic and Olympus bring to m4/3.

    On the GX1, I would suggest you look at G5 bodies (either new or used). It's got the same IQ and most of the same features as the G6 - in other words, excellent, and I bet prices are attractive. You might also see if the budget would support an EM-5, which may be dropping in price right now with people selling them to buy an EM-1. I continue to really like the EM-5 - it would be one of my most-liked cameras from 45 years of serious photography.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I second the G5. Coming from the dslr world I found the controls and handling very familiar and the camera very responsive and the quality just fine. But I haven't used the GX1 and many love it. Many on this site prefer the Olympus form factor and I do like the Olympus colors and JPEGs, but I find myself gravitating to the G5 more and more. I would love to try the EP-5 or even the EM5, but the G5 is 1/3 to 1/2 the price of those two and like I said, I like it a lot.
  4. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    I, too, really like my E-M5. It does everything I want, and does it well. The 14mm Panasonic on it is a killer combo.
  5. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    If you can, try as many models as possible and see which ones fit your hand and mind best. Most recent models have a 16MP sensor and similar IQ so the differences come down to hand-feel, controls, and viewfinders (or lack of one). I still shoot with an EOS 5D MKII but the GX1 and E-P3 are my walk around cameras, living in my messenger bag 24/7. So a smaller form factor was important for me. If I didn't already have several DSLRs, I'n probably spring for one of the larger and more beefy models like the OM-D series.

    I found both the GX1 and E-P3 a lot more challenging to shoot with compared to my 5D MKII. Things like struggling with tiny controls and strangely organized menus to learning to hold such a small and light camera steady. Needless to say, I poked myself in the eye a few times and got more blurry images than I've ever gotten in my life! It's all good now but small cameras demand a lot more in terms of steady holding technique.
  6. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Looks like I'm going to be the first, surprisingly, to recommend the GX1 choice. I did the switch from Nikon DSLR to m4/3, and that's the model I eventually settled on, and I love it. It's a very advanced camera, as in, more buttons, programmable buttons, lots of options, not the same limitations that you get with entry-level cameras. It takes itself more seriously than that. But it really comes down to a mixture of build (quality and ergonomics) and image quality that I love. It's a workhorse that takes excellent photos. At what it's going for now, it's worth buying even if it doesn't end up being your permanent body of choice.
  7. The G6 has come down in price quite a bit and is now the cheapest option to offer focus peaking, which would come in handy when you're using your manual lenses. It has a shaped grip, much like a DSLR, but it is only slightly larger than the GX1. There is a really useful website that lets you compare camera bodies with their lenses attached, I can't remember the name but I'm sure a google search for "camera size comparison" would bring up the site.
  8. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    I would wait and see if the rumours about the full-frame NEX are true, if you want to carry on using the lenses your already have. If you want a second camera to complement to complement the DSLR setup you have, the GX1 is not a bad option at all in the meantime.
  9. stargate

    stargate Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 14, 2013
    I just replaced my NIKON D80 and a set of 9 lenses with a GX1 and P14-42 and P45-150.
    I could not be happier! I carry my camera everyday with me, something I was not willing to do with the DSLR, picture quality is great (coming from the D80 that is understandable although it was not bad at all) and the missing viewfinder is not very bad (but I'm getting the LVF2 soon). The only thing I'm still missing is an UWA (I had the Tokina 12-24 and I loved it). So I have to decide between the O9-18 and the ROKINON 7.5 although by the time I have to finalize my decision, around Christmas, maybe there will be another option. I am hoping for a 9mm f4 small prime but I do not see it coming any time soon. Also I can fit the camera with three lenses (I am counting the 9-18 in my plans) in a very small shoulder bag (8x4x6 inches).
    All in all, I am thrilled by this change and I think you will be too!
  10. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    I love my EM-5. You can get an EP-3 for $299 w/14-42ii lens right now new.

    Nothing against Panasonic and I do love some of their lenses, but I won't even consider their bodies because they don't have IBIS like Olympus. While some of the lenses have OIS, it just limits you on what lenses you can have IS on.
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Buy a used G3 and Nikkor adapter.

    Cheap and you'll then know more of what you really want.
  12. RoadTraveler

    RoadTraveler Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 23, 2012

    x2 :thumbup:
  13. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro


    I think this is the best solution, but get the adapter with aperture control, in case you have the need or find a lens that needs it.
  14. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    I'm also happy with my GX1. though I'm not an X-Nikon user, I still have the big guns for event work. But I think the GX1 + LVF2 is a good balance between something that can go in a large pocket (sans LVF2 but with 14mm f2.5) and a light like SLR format with the LVF2. I think it has the balance of controls as well. I started with an E-PM1 and found I was menu diving way too much.

    Now I have a kit listed below. I considered selling the 14-42 with the E-PM1 but figured it would be good to have a lighter zoom option at times.
  15. Dduval

    Dduval Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    I finally settled on the EM5 as well, came from canon then nikon...