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Looking to get the most compact system with the best bang for my buck.

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by TheBiles, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. TheBiles

    TheBiles Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2012
    I'm an avid SLR user (5D3), but I need to find a more compact system to take with me on travels. My primary focus is size of the body and image quality. Autofocus is the #2 priority, but I don't need any other crazy features (touchscreens, EVFs, etc). Basically, I want the smallest camera that gives the best images.
  2. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Everything is a series of compromises. This could be a tricky one to answer without knowing what your cut off point is in terms of size, weight, image quality.

    Something like the EM-10 is a fantastic camera. It will give you DSLR quality in a very small body. The m4/3's lenses are stellar too and a large part of why many of us shoot m43 as our primary system. I moved from 5d mk iii as my primary camera and never looked back. About the only thing that you will give up to the 5d is slightly shallower DOF and a bit more noise at high ISO (depending on the subject matter that you shoot, the IBIS may actually allow you to take cleaner images on the EM-10).
    Alternatively , there will be a lot of people jumping ship from the EM5 now that there is a whiff of a rumor on the EM5 mkii. This is a fantastic little camera and has the added benefit of being weather sealed and slightly better image stabilization. You would likely pick up a well kept second hand one for reasonable money....
    I'd go second hand myself and spend the money that you would have spent on a new body on the glass...

  3. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Best images = Fuji X-E2, with (potentially significant) usability and workflow hassles. But the sensor is great and the kit zoom is way ahead of what other manufacturers offer.
    Also look at the E-M10 and A6000, basically. The sensor is great on the A6000 and it's a tiny package, but the lens is not the strongest offering. On the other hand it's the only kit to reach 24 equivalent on the wide end, so that's cool.
  4. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    What sort of lenses are you looking for?
  5. Depends what type of lenses you are looking for. If it is your standard wide angle and telephoto zoom setup then Micro Four Thirds is going to offer the best balance in size, price and performance.

    If you're looking for maybe one zoom lens and a brace of small and sharp prime lenses then I would go straight to either a Samsung NX300 or NX3000 and some combination of the 16/2.4, 20/2.8, 30/2, 45/1.8, and 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 lenses. You will not match this setup for value-for-money in any other mirrorless system, plus you're also getting the second highest resolution APS-C sensor currently on the market. I would rate the autofocus in current Micro Four Thirds cameras as lenses as being better, however.
  6. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    If you want the best bang-for-the-buck body with no fancy features, I'd get an Olympus E-PM2. Used bodies are selling for under $200 (got mine new with lens for $199 during a fire sale). You get the same 16mp sensor as every other current Olympus M43 body in a small and cheap package.
  7. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2014
    I second the E-PM2 with some small primes like the 12, 17, 25, and 45. I had a set of 5D3s with L primes that all got replaced with E-M1s with a set of lenses. I also had an EOS-M with all lenses and the adapter to fit on L lenses. The EOS-M is ridiculously small for the sensor size but the images are mediocre at best. The E-PM2 beats out the EOS-M for sure. If you need something slightly larger but still need some DSLR functionality, the E-M10, E-M5, E-M1, Gx7 will do the same thing. APS-C systems like the Fuji XT-1 are nice but the weight and size starts approaching the full frame DSLRs. If I was going with Fuji, it would probably be the X100T but that limits it to 35mm/2 for a fixed lens. If you want Full Frame still, then the Sony A7 series is your best bet but with limited lens selection. There are so many choices now that just size and IQ won't really cut it for limiting choices. It's all pretty subjective depending on how you shoot and what things you would like to use.
  8. bacil

    bacil Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 24, 2012
    You already have e-m5. Still want smaller? Lx100.
  9. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2012
    I have full frame Nikon gear for professional use and I'm very happy with the Panasonic GM1 with a few small lenses for a daily carry. I've even brought it and left the Nikons for some vacations where I thought that may have been a mistake, and I was not disappointed.

    Olympus 45/1.8
    Panasonic 20/1.7
    Panasonic 14/2.5 or 12-32 pancake

    Here's that combo layed out on an iPad Mini. I've since swapped the 14 for the 12-32 zoom, both are great, I just decided to mix it up.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    The LX100 looks good as well, but I really like primes, and I don't think the LX100 could touch the GM1 with 45/1.8. That combo is so incredibly good, while being very compact, discreet, and casual looking.
  10. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    The GM1 has IQ equal to any of the other m43 cameras and is the absolute smallest with nice controls for how small it is.

    The E-PM2 also has IQ equal to any other m43 camera and is slightly larger with more limited controls but can be had a fair bit cheaper than the GM1.

    The 12-32 from Panasonic is one of the highest IQ slow zooms in the system and stupidly tiny. It apparently does suffer from shutter shock on some bodies so while it pairs great with the GM1 it might have issues on other bodies (the GM1 has an extremely mild shutter and is EFCS as well so shutter shock never an issue).

    Cheapest and smallest prime is the 14/2.5 bought off E-bay split from a kit. Nothing to write home about. Still very small and wonderful little prime is the 15/1.7. Since you say AF of no concern the 20/1.7 is great to, but bokeh and rendering a bit different from most of the other primes. Not bad, just different. 45/1.8 and 25/1.8 are other excellent small primes.

    I have to say that having had the GM1 for awhile now that actually the touch screen is wonderful on a small form factor camera. Never use touch on my E-M5 but use it all the time on the GM1.

    Anyway, if your question is smallest camera with best IQ realize all the new 16MP cameras have nearly identical sensors. So GM1 is your smallest and E-PM2 is your cheapest while being second smallest. Since you don't want an EVF skip the GM5.
  11. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Bang for the buck is the following kit:

    PM2 - $300
    7.5/3.5 fisheye $250
    14-42 mkII - $150
    14/2.5 - $170
    20/1.7 - $350 or 17/2.8 for $170 or 19/2.8 for $150
    30/2.8 - $150
    45/1.8 - $300
    60/2.8 - $200

    Compact + minimal + still low price is this:

    PM2 - $300
    7.5/3.5 fisheye + free defishing software
    12-32mm - $300 and super tiny
    20/1.7 - $350
    45/1.8 - $300

    If you need full frame an A7 with a 28, 50, and 85mm adapted lens can be had for under $2000

    If you want full frame ISO capabilities and possibly use a speedbooster in a smaller camera check out the Fuji X-TI or T1 or whatever it is. It's an amazing camera but it's neither this or that. You have your EM1, you have the A7...the Fuji's sensor is right in the middle. The thing about any other system than m4/3s is, however, that you cannot buy good native glass for cheap.
  12. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    What focal lengths do you want and/or need? What kind of stuff do you shoot most while travelling? How large do you plan to print? What's the budget? Anything from Sigma DP to a Ricoh GR or A7 or fuji or any number of MFT bodies and lenses may fit the bill..
  13. TheBiles

    TheBiles Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2012
    I'm getting the 7-14 f/4 and 12-35 f/2.8. I'm more concerned about a lightweight body. When comparing the different bodies they all seem to have more or less the same sensors (at least at a glance).
  14. TheBiles

    TheBiles Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2012
    So those are the same sensors in all the bodies?
  15. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    The E-PM2 has the 16 mp sensor that is, essentially, as good as any mu43 body out there. AF is pretty good as well. The main drawbacks are the lack of explicit controls and a less effective form of IBIS, which are not important to you. Given your criteria, it's easily the best bang for the buck.
  16. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I have an E-M10 and E-PM2 and I'd say the only real difference between the two is in jpeg shooting. The E-M10 has better CA removal and the IBIS works like a charm especially in low light conditions. In more equalized shooting scenarios like daytime, the image output is virtually the same. Also despite the E-PM2 having the lesser 2-axis IBIS, it's still helpful in real world shooting. I've compared images from non IBIS cameras and it does help at least by a stop in slower shutter speeds.
  17. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    When you say this... are you thinking fast to acquire focus of static subjects or do you expect the system to track subjects in motion?

    If its the later, I don't see any "bang for buck" systems listed capable of keep up. Tracking subjects has always been a weak link in this system with only later bodies beginning to improve on it.
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