Moving away from DSLR

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Snapper, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Snapper

    Snapper Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jun 6, 2012
    My mother currently owns a Canon Rebel XSI with the default 18-55 lens. It has served her extremely well while shooting typical mom material. I typically leave the camera in P mode with a few good "auto" options and she goes to town with it.

    The reason she opted for a DSLR several years ago because it was superior to P&S near the price range in all of her test shots. She enjoyed its low light performance and quick focus while shooting moving objects. Most of all - she loved the tactile feel of the camera and its ability to zoom in quickly with a twist of the lens.

    Recently she has underwent several surgeries and is unable to carry or even hold the DSLR for an extended period of time. She lost some of her mobility and strength in the process.

    I researched "modern" P&S that have larger sensors and great auto-modes. We ended up purchasing a Canon S95, then switched to a Canon S100 to record HD video.

    The Canon S100 performed great! We really loved the quality of the photos compared to her Canon. We also enjoyed the HD video recording feature.

    However - we had a major road block:

    The S100 was too small for her to handle comfortably. She didn't have the "soft touch" needed to handle the camera. The camera was very light and it would sometimes slip out of her hands during an abrupt motion.

    We will return the S100 for a camera that's a bit larger and ergonomic, yet smaller and lighter than her Rebel XTI. We have a budget of up to $500 and we're OK with used.

    Want list:

    10mp
    HD 1080p Video Recording with auto focus
    5x equivalent zoom (or at least 15-55mm lens)
    Great Image Stabilization (for when she shoots without flash) or shakes.
    Excellent "Auto" performance, capable of adapting to low light situations and fast moving objects.
    Body style with emphasis on comfort/grip that is slightly larger than the Canon S100 yet lighter than her Canon XSI.
    Swing out LCD if possible to help her get angles in situations where she cant physically squat.
    No need for macro mode, optical view finder, or hot-slots for addons.
    3.5+ LCD


    That said - What would you recommend?
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Olympus E-PM1 with m.Zuiko 14-42mm kit zoom. It's compact, has the same focal range as your 18-55mm, and has excellent sharp image quality (much better than the old Rebel XSI with its soft kit lens). Just remember to turn Noise Filter to OFF or LOW. Olympus cameras have always had the best JPG quality out-of-camera with no post-processing, and have always had the most accurate color balance. The new generation Olys however, have made a huge leap in the new Auto White Balance system, which is the most accurate of any other seen in a digital camera, capable of dealing with all kinds of indoor lighting like incandescent and tungsten. Just make sure you turn Keep Warm Colors to OFF.

    In other words, a new Olympus PEN or OM-D will be the easiest to produce high-quality images straight out of the camera with no need for tweaking and processing. It sounds like that's the sort of thing you're after. The cheapest you'll find though, is the Mini. You won't get much else for under $500.

    Something like the E-PL2 would be in the same price range with a thicker body and better grip, but will be slower to Autofocus and won't have the excellent new AWB system. It also shoots in 720p straight to AVI (which limits time based on filesize, meaning you have a 15 minute recording limit for HD footage because of the FAT system used on SD cards), whereas the Mini shoots 1080i in AVCHD which has no recording limits as footage is separated into different files in folders.
     
  3. Uwharrie

    Uwharrie Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    May 10, 2012
    North Carolina
    Lynne Ezzell
    I picked up a used Panasonic G3 with 14-42 kit lens for around $450. Coming from DSLR I am really enjoying it
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I didn't know those were going for so cheap... I'd go with that suggestion too at that price. :thumbup:
     
  5. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I LOVE the EPM1 so much that I have two! But it sounds like she could really benefit from a grip!

    EPL2, as mentioned, might be a back-up choice. EP3 with large grip maybe? Though that's more money, and won't fit under $500 even used (they are $579 refurb at cameta camera with kit lens).

    G3 would be nice.

    What about a Nikon 1 series? Maybe with an added flipback grip? Too much money, though likely.

    NEX 5 used? Basic camera, nice grip, still small and light. If you were happy with S100 output, and just need a basic kit lens, the NEX system might be perfectly OK.

    Those would be my pointers -- spend up to EP3, G3 or used NEX 5, with the latter having the best grip of the 3.

     
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Same here, lol!

    Agreed. That was the one thing that worries me about the E-PM1 for this purpose. I will point out though that there are all kinds of options, including the aftermarket Richard Franiec and Flipbac grips, or my personal favorite... stairway/ladder safety tape...

    g_zuiko_50mm_1,4_web.

    Because these interchangeable lens system cameras are used with two hands instead of one like a point-and-shoot, I don't know just how much a problem the lack of grip will be... With the right aftermarket solutions though, the Minis can be easier to grip than even some DSLRs. I know that not everybody is inclined to modding their cameras though.
     
  7. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Don't get the PM1. Wonderful camera but an inappropriate choice. The G3 seems like the ideal option to me.

    The NEX also does auto mode shooting well and delivers better overall quality with the kit lens. Focus performance is mediocre though.
     
  8. Uwharrie

    Uwharrie Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    May 10, 2012
    North Carolina
    Lynne Ezzell
    Found it on eBay. Honestly don't think the camera had been used much if any. Strap was still sealed in its little bag.



     
  9. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    The OP mentioned stabilization - which you won't get with the G3 except with certain lenses. I think the E-PL3 would be a better choice - it has ibis and a tilting screen. It shares the processor with the E-P3. Kits can be had pretty reasonably as refurbs. :biggrin:
     
  10. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    True, but they are only using the kit lens, which is stabilized.

    edit -- didn't catch the swing out/tilt screen requirement, though I think that just reinforces the G3 as a solution. Or even a GH1 or G2.
     
  11. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Refurbished E-PL3 for $479 USD with 14-42 kit lens
    -> Olympus PEN E-PL3 Micro 4/3 Digital Camera & 14-42mm II Lens (Black) - Factory Demo includes Full 1 Year Warranty
     
  12. Snapper

    Snapper Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jun 6, 2012
    Thanks for the replies. Please see my responses below:

    Olympus E-PM1 w/ m.Zuiko 14.-42mm zoom kit - $399 on Amazon. Looks to meet all of the requirements with the exception of a tilt-out screen. The tilt-out screen isn’t a must have, more of a convenience. If the tilt-screen comes at the expense of say low light/auto focus performance then we can eliminate the tilt-screen. From a size perspective the smaller body is ok since two hands will be used (one on the lens). Does this Camera offer image stabilization? We’re ok with modding!

    Olympus E-PL2 – Not interested based on Neds’ feedback .

    Olympus E-PL3 - $599 on Amazon. If I’m reading your posts right, this should top the performance of the E-PM1 and include a tilt screen. Am I correct?

    Panasonic G3 – I’m not quite sure which model your reffering to. Is it the GF3 or the DMC-G3?

    My apologies for using Amazon as my reference point for pricing. We're open to refub/second hand units.
     
  13. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    The E-PL3 will match the performance of the E-M1 and give you a tilt screen as well. Check Cameta for prices on refurbs.
     
  14. Uwharrie

    Uwharrie Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    May 10, 2012
    North Carolina
    Lynne Ezzell
    DMC-G3
     
  15. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Some corrections -- EPL2, EPL3, EPM1 will all have very similar image quality. The EPM1 can be had for $299 refurbished at Cametacamera.com, but the EPM1 has some known IBIS issues.

    The DMC-G3 is the "G3" being mentioned -- full articulate screen, good image quality, IS in the lens, a bit of a grip, a little larger.

    Out of camera jpgs and metering tends to be better in the Olys, high ISO noise is a little cleaner in the G3.
     
  16. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Don't short-change yourself here -- usability is important, especially as one ages. No point having a camera that's frequently uncomfortable to use, and the ability to have easy off-angle shooting is arguably one of the biggest strengths of a live-view style camera.
    This camera:
    Amazon.com: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3 16 MP Micro Four-Thirds Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-Inch Free-Angle Touch-Screen LCD and 14-42mm Lumix G VARIO f/3.5-5.6 Lens: Camera & Photo
    I love the Olympus cameras and all but the G3 is cheaper than the PL3, offers better image quality, more features (viewfinder, articulated screen), better video, and is vastly better ergonomically without modifying the camera somehow. Better still, Amazon is apparently offering like-new cameras for under $500, which is incredible for what you're getting and barely more than the wimpy S100 costs.

    While there are definite plus points to the Olympus offering, I think they are of no value to your mother.
     
  17. redington

    redington Mu-43 Regular

    140
    Apr 28, 2012
    Several of us on this board have gotten the refurb'd epm1 from cameta. I have no issues with the image stabilization, I think it's just fine. It is much cheaper than the epl3 and as far as I can tell, the only things you are giving up is a tilting screen, a couple buttons and some art filters.

    I do wish the LCD was a touch screen, but I think you have step up to the ep3 to get that.

    That being said, the g3 at $450 is a great deal. Nice grip and integrated viewfinder.
     
  18. Snapper

    Snapper Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jun 6, 2012
    I just reviewed the G3. Whenever that camera showed up on amazon, I brushed it off as a a "fake" DSLR... You know those cameras with a DSLR-Like body but without the performance? ack.... It really meets all of our needs while being 40% smaller than the xsi. Looks like its the winner. Thank you all.
     
  19. redington

    redington Mu-43 Regular

    140
    Apr 28, 2012
    Good luck. Let us know how it works out!
     
  20. Uwharrie

    Uwharrie Mu-43 Veteran

    239
    May 10, 2012
    North Carolina
    Lynne Ezzell
    As a DSLR user (and the BIG 1DMKII at that) I can say the G3 has been a pleasant surprize. While it still does not seem to be what I need in some situations ( fast action in low light or at great distance) I am really loving it for landscapes and portraits. It is a fun little camera that really seems to perform well. I had been looking at M43s for a while and the G3 came highly recommended. Being on a tight budget and not wanting to part with any of my DSLR equip to finance, I just kept checking Ebay till one within my budget came up.