E-PM2 + pancakes or large-sensor compact (RX100, LX8 etc.)

dhazeghi

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For my 'carry-everywhere' kit, I've currently got an Olympus E-PM2, VF-4 and a couple of small Panasonic lenses (14/2.5 and 20/1.7 pancakes, 14-42/3.5-5.6 II). On paper it's a nice setup, but the practical limitations, particularly the size of the E-PM2, VF-4 and 14-42 lens, mean I don't carry it nearly as often as I'd like - it's just not comfortable in a coat pocket. So I've been thinking seriously about some of the higher-end compacts, especially the Sony RX100 mark 3. My previous experience with enthusiast compacts is limited to the Olympus XZ-1 which honestly I found rather disappointing - very mediocre pixel-level quality coupled with slow operation (on/off and zoom extension delays were particularly annoying). The question or me is whether the RX100 and its ilk will be closer to the current m4/3 mirrorless (like the E-PM2), or to earlier compacts (like the XZ-1) in those regards.

Basically, aside from losing the ability to change the lens, what would I be giving up going from the E-PM2 and a small zoom like the Panasonic 14-42 II or 12-32 to an RX100 or similar? Thanks.
 

usayit

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I'm in the same boat. My conclusion... you have everything to gain if the size of the camera results in you carrying/shooting with it more often. I don't have any expectations that the RX100 (of any version) will be leaps and bounds better than a micro 4/3rds but certainly looking at it from a logistical/practical standpoint. Even now, my Galaxy S4 and Sony WX300 together logged more frames since the new year than any other system of mine.

I've pretty much decided but I'm waiting for a RX100mII on the used market.
 

Reflector

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I'm personally waiting for some solid information on the RX100M3 plus a few months of user experience to avoid the whole "beta tester" thing. To me, it doesn't just fill out a spec sheet, it actually looks like it'd be a great compact overall. I still would take my E-M5 with my Speedboosted lenses for a "serious" session but you know what they say: The best camera is the one on you. It still beats mirrorless systems by far in the whole size-capability department for its size.

From what I've seen, it looks like you lose around a stop or less of high ISO capability (But gain it back with a fast lens, given the advantage over the m43 pancakes), a mechanical zoom and the nice Olympus menu systems (Personal opinion, I'm used to shooting Nikon and the Olympus menus are arranged logically as well) and battery commonality with Olympus bodies (E-M10, etc) if you went with the RX100M3.
 

robertro

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I use a PM2 with 14 or 20mm lenses as a compact camera on occasion when I feel confident that a single angle of view plus a minimum of cropping will be sufficient, but for the most part, I bring along an RX100. The first version Mk1 works best for me, since I prefer the slimmer profile. I had used an LX7 for a couple of years,and still prefer it as a photo-taking device, but it was just a bit too thick to pocket. Although not PM2 quality or flexibility, the RX100 is a formidable machine, better in all ways than the Olympus XA that I once carried :) I'd highly recommend it to complement a M43 system.
 

Reflector

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You'd lose the ability to have a shallow depth of field http://patik.com/dof/#20;m43,20,f-1.7,mft;Sony,9,f-1.8,1in
http://patik.com/dof/#20;35mm f/1.8 + SB,25,f-1.2,mft;18mm f/1.8 + SB,13,f-1.2,mft;20mm Pana,20,f-1.7,mft;8.8mm f/1.8 RX,9,f-1.8,1in;26mm f/2.8 RX,26,f-2.8,1in
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Pocketable? No. Definitely and remotely no.

And it sure looks like the RX100M3 does OK when you're not shooting it wide and and focusing on something further away, given it does the 24-70 span...
 

budeny

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Back to years when LX3 was king of PS cameras, I used to carry it on belt poach and I really miss this setup sometimes. But even then I wish I had Canon S90 too because it was really pocketable, even t-shirt pocketable.
Think of it in terms what you gain: no need to chose lens, use viewfinder or not, no filters, no bag, etc. Just put camera in pocket or poach and go on your business.
 

MrDoug

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I placed my order today for the Sony RX100 iii .. it is suppose to ship June 20.. It should be nice with all the improvements and additions.. We shall see. It should be better (I hope) than my last PS Camera which was a Kodak Brownie HawkEye 1962 model. :)
Doug
 

GFFPhoto

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I'm in the same boat... RX100iii, LX8, but I also think about the Ricoh GR, which has a great sensor (ASP-C) and lens, but is a fixed 28mm.
 

dhazeghi

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I'm in the same boat. My conclusion... you have everything to gain if the size of the camera results in you carrying/shooting with it more often. I don't have any expectations that the RX100 (of any version) will be leaps and bounds better than a micro 4/3rds but certainly looking at it from a logistical/practical standpoint.
Right. It doesn't need to be better. However, it also shouldn't be significantly worse - otherwise it'll stay at home too because the results are disappointing (as my XZ-1 is doing right now).

From what I've seen, it looks like you lose around a stop or less of high ISO capability (But gain it back with a fast lens, given the advantage over the m43 pancakes), a mechanical zoom and the nice Olympus menu systems (Personal opinion, I'm used to shooting Nikon and the Olympus menus are arranged logically as well) and battery commonality with Olympus bodies (E-M10, etc) if you went with the RX100M3.
Losing one stop doesn't sound like much of a loss to me (especially since the base ISO on the RX100 is 80, vs. 200 on the E-PM2). I'm also going to guess that the stabilization on the RX100 is better than on the E-PM2, because the E-PM2's stabilization is not very good. Mechanical zoom and controls - hmm... That's an actual loss. Battery on the other hand doesn't make much of a difference for me as Olympus helpfully uses different batteries for the E-M5 and E-PM2!

The RX10 looks good too
True, but not as a 'carry-everywhere camera' I think. Too big.

I use a PM2 with 14 or 20mm lenses as a compact camera on occasion when I feel confident that a single angle of view plus a minimum of cropping will be sufficient, but for the most part, I bring along an RX100. The first version Mk1 works best for me, since I prefer the slimmer profile. I had used an LX7 for a couple of years,and still prefer it as a photo-taking device, but it was just a bit too thick to pocket. Although not PM2 quality or flexibility, the RX100 is a formidable machine, better in all ways than the Olympus XA that I once carried :) I'd highly recommend it to complement a M43 system.
So here's a question - when you shoot both cameras in RAW, and look at the results later on, is it immediately apparent to you which images come from which camera when you view at 100% (assuming you're not doing high ISO or wide apertures)?

You'd lose the ability to have a shallow depth of field http://patik.com/dof/#20;m43,20,f-1.7,mft;Sony,9,f-1.8,1in
Right. I guess my question though was more about what you'd lose assuming you were using one of the small lenses - a compact zoom or pancake lens. The only case where I think the DoF might really be different is the 20/1.7, which I already don't use much, thank to the poor autofocus.

Back to years when LX3 was king of PS cameras, I used to carry it on belt poach and I really miss this setup sometimes. But even then I wish I had Canon S90 too because it was really pocketable, even t-shirt pocketable.
Think of it in terms what you gain: no need to chose lens, use viewfinder or not, no filters, no bag, etc. Just put camera in pocket or poach and go on your business.
That's what got me thinking. But with the older P&S cameras, you really did give up a lot in terms of image quality and operating speed. To the point that I regret taking that camera on numerous occasions because the results didn't live up to my hopes. Question for is how much have the newer large-sensored compacts change that.

I'm in the same boat... RX100iii, LX8, but I also think about the Ricoh GR, which has a great sensor (APS-C) and lens, but is a fixed 28mm.
APS-C sensor would be very nice, but the only one with a zoom lens is the Canon G1X which sadly is a bit too big for me, especially once the EVF is included. With a fixed prime, I'd need another compact camera for many situations, at which point the fixed-prime camera would probably just gather dust.
 

taz98spin

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I ended up selling my E-PM2 because I will most likely buy the RX100m3 once more real world reviews come out.
 

budeny

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That's what got me thinking. But with the older P&S cameras, you really did give up a lot in terms of image quality and operating speed. To the point that I regret taking that camera on numerous occasions because the results didn't live up to my hopes. Question for is how much have the newer large-sensored compacts change that.
Even older compacts were capable to make kick-ass shots, so I'm sure new ones will only expand those capabilities.
Use camera's advantages, pushing to its limits will get you nowhere.
 

kirschm

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I usually used my PL1 and would now do with a PM2 with Pana 20 / 1.7 for Lowlight shooting... and another body for 'normal shooting'... but since I can use much slower speeds (1/10 or even longer) with a compact camera (Samsung EX1, Olympus XZ-2, but not Sony RX100 due to a bad OIS), I decided to give up the idea of a separate body plus Pana for lowlight shooting... I will only use a compact camera in future for this lowlight purpose...
 
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Ironically a camera being as small as an RX100 would cause me to not use it. I had hoped that the LX8 might have been Canon G1X-sized and use the Micro 4/3 sensor but from what I am reading it will likely remain similar to the LX7 and share the 1" sensor with the new FZ1000. Size of the camera aside, the 1" sensor might be okay but it introduces an element of doubt whereas I've probably now shot close to 50% of all the images I have ever taken on a 4/3 sized sensor and know what I am going to get.
 

dhazeghi

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Ironically a camera being as small as an RX100 would cause me to not use it. I had hoped that the LX8 might have been Canon G1X-sized and use the Micro 4/3 sensor but from what I am reading it will likely remain similar to the LX7 and share the 1" sensor with the new FZ1000. Size of the camera aside, the 1" sensor might be okay but it introduces an element of doubt whereas I've probably now shot close to 50% of all the images I have ever taken on a 4/3 sized sensor and know what I am going to get.
That's a really good point. Can't underestimate the value of confidence. Unlike you though, I'm really hoping the LX8 is not G1X-sized - that's well beyond the point for me where I'd just rather take the E-M5.

The Fuji x30 is also coming... keep a lookout for that one!
Good reminder - I'd forgotten about Fuji. Unfortunately I just checked and the X20 seems to be the same size as the G1X. I'm guessing the X30 won't be any smaller.

Even older compacts were capable to make kick-ass shots, so I'm sure new ones will only expand those capabilities.
Use camera's advantages, pushing to its limits will get you nowhere.
It depends on your expectations. I certainly thought shooting in good light, stopped down, at base ISO, would be one of the places a compact would shine. That's not what I found.

Example:

Full shot (XZ-1 RAW, 6mm, f/4.0, ISO 100, 1/1000s)
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Crop
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yakky

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I have a gen 1 rx100, I love the size and speed but to my eyes the iq isn't even as good as my PM1 which is just slightly larger. Perhaps it's just too much pixel peeping but my rx100 images are always a bit soft. The interface while better than nex, is still very annoying.
 

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