Small carry-around kit

dhazeghi

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A long time ago, I promised myself I wouldn't become 'one of those people' who stopped carrying a camera and just used their phone for casual snapshots. But here we are and even though I have a more than competent Olympus E-PL8/12-32 kit and a Panasonic LX100 that lives in my car's glovebox, in practice I either use my main kit (E-M1/12-100) or my phone. I love the idea of a competent carry-everywhere camera but the reality is that none of the small kits I've tried are all that enjoyable to use, and if I don't enjoy using the camera, I feel I might as well just use the phone.

I have tried:
  • Panasonic GM1 + 12-32. Didn't really like the EVF (way too small). Controls were small and limited.
  • Sony RX100 III. In theory the perfect size but the controls were awful (slow to operate in practice). EVF is also quite fiddly and small. Image quality was surprisingly variable (maybe the lens?).
  • Olympus E-PL8 + 12-32. Not that small. Lens is too slow for casual indoor photos. EVF is clumsy (sticks out and hard to block excess light).
  • Panasonic LX100 II. Decent size. Controls are acceptable (a bit slow to turn on). But don't care for the EVF, and lose a surprisingly high number of low-light shots despite the fast lens. Maybe the stabilization isn't that great?
I guess the bottom line is I'm considering giving up on the whole carry-around kit idea. I think if I didn't have a 'better' bigger camera, any of the above would be satisfactory, but somehow using them as a backup means I don't get as much out of the experience.

Thoughts?
 

Replytoken

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I have carried around various small cameras for years and none ever really stood out as a favorite. The various cameras were small, but never that fun to use. If I need really small and light, I typically pull out my GF7 with either the 12-32 or 20mm. I have a Ricoh GR, and it has an amazing lens/sensor combo, but I never liked 28mm equiv. and I missed having an EVF or flip-up rear screen. I had considered and LX100, but the dust issue kept me away among other things. And, I have to admit that phone camera technology has greatly improved in the past few years, so if that works for you, go with it. You can always change your mind later.

--Ken
 

Danny_SWE

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Same here, have jumped from here and there. A few years I used ONLY phone, it was when the first CyberShot-phone came. But that can be very frustrating and limiting. So I then bought a E-M5 (Mk I), eight years ago. With the P20/1.7 lens only. Used it very much. But you know how it goes, how about I try another lens? Maybe a fast zoom would be convenient? Ohh, I need a bigger body? Well, long story short. I have used my G7X.2 very much actually, very good. I could live with only that one, but sometimes I want wider, more tele, macro shots, better IQ for post processing and make something with the pics. In those cases a good system camera is good to have :)
https://www.mu-43.com/threads/canon-powershot-g7-x-mark-ii.86002/

But as TS wrote, a neat camera that you can easily carry with you is the one getting used most. So now I have returned to root. Bought myself the new E-M5 Mk III. And will focus on smaller lenses for that one (P20, P12-32, P14, L7.5, O12-45, O40-150). Important also is a good carrying solution. I have started to like fanny packs. You can carry it various ways depending on need/situation. So I found a great bag also...
https://www.mu-43.com/threads/bags-and-more-bags.593/page-147#post-1409732

Used it this weekend on some camping, tenting, barbequing. I really love it, I'm not so much a tele shooter (like 12-50mm or so best) so this kit suits perfect mostly.

But if you need faster lenses, try the P14/2.5, or P20 perhaps, but it is quite big. What type of body do you like then, could E-M5 work? E-M10 is even lighter. Or GX80, but that one is a brick.
 
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Macroramphosis

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@Danny_SWE has hit it on the head - everything will depend on what bag you have, and like him (and because of him) I managed to source the same bag he uses and I've been using it as my daily carry for ten days now with my GX8 tucked inside, along with the 12-32 and the 45-175, wallet, phone and sundries. It suits my lifestyle and makes sense, but may not suit yours - but the fact I have found the right bag is what makes it all work. I think getting the right bag is the key, because once you start using something you're comfortable carrying with you everywhere, then you can throw whatever you want in it.
 
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Replytoken

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I am guessing that @dhazeghi is not necessarily wanting a small kit that fits into a bag as much as he wants a camera that fits into a jacket pocket or a glove box in a car. The former offers a lot more options than does the latter. There needs to be a better description for that need as it is a bit different than just wanting a light kit that fits into a small bag.

--Ken
 

rkaijus

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For last year or so i have been using X100F, during warm weather fits in Shorts pocket (Cargos) and during colder days i can carry it in my jacket pocket. if its not the X100f then i carry pen-f with 17 f/1.8 or 12 f/2 or panasonic12-32 .
 

WT21

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This is probably weird, but I've upsized a bit. I was a tiny camera person, but I feel so out of place when I am using a camera and not a phone for social situations. I use my camera now for when I want to shoot on my own (and therefore have a bag) or for occasional events (e.g. recent church service and baptism). I MIGHT get another smaller body (maybe) just to have a bag w/2 bodies pre-attached with quality primes.

If somehow they made a small camera with a quick share-with-everyone-nearby feature, then I might consider that. It has to be as easy as an iOS airdrop button, though, and I don't know how they would do that given everyone else's phones are not made by camera manufacturers.
 
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DAEMANO

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Rented a G100 for 3 weeks to see if it could fill the every day carry (EDC) role for me. I have 5 other cameras to compare with it (the G6, GX85, GX9, G9, and an iPhone 11 Pro Max.) I also own a fair amount of lenses to test with, although not all that I think may be interesting for this experiment.

Will post a full review when done. So far though, things are looking promising.

Some early impressions:
  • The shooting conditions you expect are important when considering this camera. All cameras have compromises. Same with this one
  • With that being the case, the lens you choose for those aforementioned shooting conditions may end up being just as critical as the body
  • The G100 is smaller than it looks in any video I've seen (and I've watched dozens.) All the cameras I noted above feel a good bit larger than the G100 in person. Every millimeter counts
  • The G100's viewfinder a significant ergonomic upgrade from those found in the G6/GX85/GX9. The sheer size and sharpness it's on another level and makes me want to compose from the viewfinder in the way the G9 viewfinder also does. It's a joy to use.
  • The G100 sensor is every bit as good as the GX9 and G9 so it produces the same image quality in most conditions. This is also not to be taken lightly. The G100 makes gorgeously detailed photos and video with impressive dynamic range
If there is anything specific a person would like tested, please chime in, and I'll do my best to accommodate.

More to come...
 

BosseBe

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I have a backpack that I use everyday Haglöfs Backup 15".
In that I carry the Tenba BYOB 7 with my daily carry camera, It used to be the GM5 (which has a EVF as opposed to the GM1) but now it is the Pen F.
In the BYOB 7 I also carry a some lenses, the P35-100/4-5.6, P12-32/3.5-5.6 and PL15/1.7. I actually just added the Oly 17/2.8 to the bag.
The weight is below 1000g for the BYOB 7 and contents so when it is on my back I don't really notice it.

I think this comes down to how you want to carry your camera, in a pocket, in a bag or in a backpack.
 

ac12

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For small, I use the EM10-mk2 + 14-42EZ.

But, as compact as the 14-42EZ is, I don't really care for it. I never got used to how the EZ works. I was constantly over/under zooming. I have this same experience with ALL the P&S zooms that I have used, as they all work in a similar way.
So I bring the 14-42EZ only when I want compact size, like out to dinner.

For travel/walk-about, I have not found ONE lens, that will do everything. So I settled on two: P-Lumix 12-60 + Olym 17/1.8.
The 17/1.8 for the indoor/low light stuff.

But being an EM1 shooter, the EM10 has often confused me. I reach up to the left deck to change the meter or shutter mode, and the buttons are not there. Then I am stuck trying to figure out how to make those configuration changes with the SCP or menu.
So, I normally carry the slightly larger EM1 (mk1 or mk2), with the above 2 lenses.
 
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A long time ago, I promised myself I wouldn't become 'one of those people' who stopped carrying a camera and just used their phone for casual snapshots. But here we are and even though I have a more than competent Olympus E-PL8/12-32 kit and a Panasonic LX100 that lives in my car's glovebox, in practice I either use my main kit (E-M1/12-100) or my phone. I love the idea of a competent carry-everywhere camera but the reality is that none of the small kits I've tried are all that enjoyable to use, and if I don't enjoy using the camera, I feel I might as well just use the phone.

I have tried:
  • Panasonic GM1 + 12-32. Didn't really like the EVF (way too small). Controls were small and limited.
  • Sony RX100 III. In theory the perfect size but the controls were awful (slow to operate in practice). EVF is also quite fiddly and small. Image quality was surprisingly variable (maybe the lens?).
  • Olympus E-PL8 + 12-32. Not that small. Lens is too slow for casual indoor photos. EVF is clumsy (sticks out and hard to block excess light).
  • Panasonic LX100 II. Decent size. Controls are acceptable (a bit slow to turn on). But don't care for the EVF, and lose a surprisingly high number of low-light shots despite the fast lens. Maybe the stabilization isn't that great?
I guess the bottom line is I'm considering giving up on the whole carry-around kit idea. I think if I didn't have a 'better' bigger camera, any of the above would be satisfactory, but somehow using them as a backup means I don't get as much out of the experience.

Thoughts?

Agreed. It's nearly impossible to duplicate the feel and controls of a "big" camera in a "pocketable" one. I played around with PL5 and PM2, and neither were really comfortable for me. The control setup was so different from my EM1s that I had problems using them without straining da brain, and difficulties trying to compose and focus on the rear display meant using a VF, which just made a compact camera into a clumsy, kludgey one. I ended up going with an EM10.2, which was the closest thing to the EM1s but a lot smaller. I've since replaced that with an EM5.3, which is pretty close to the EM10.2. I settled on using my TG-4 as a "pocket" camera or my iPhone. The latter gets used most often simply because I'm always carrying it. Otherwise, it means going to one of those tiny P&S cameras that are still available. :)
 
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Having choices is one of the greatest things in life, and being able to embrace my GAS is too - hence having 'buyed & tried' 5 cameras this year! But if I had to settle down and marry just one camera and lens, the Fujifilm X30 would be my pick: it's light enough and small enough to easily go in my EDC bag, and does most things better than I expect. Sure, it's a compromise, but isn't everything? Of course I'd prefer a sensor bigger than 1/3", and a touchscreen, but I can live with it for the benefits. If the LX100 had a tilt screen and longer lens, then that would be my pick.

Most of my photos are shot on m43, though! ;)
 

Brownie

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I've used bridge cameras, P&S, and everything but a phone, since I don't use a smart phone. I'm like WT21 and have upsized. Right now it's a GX9 and a 12-60. The problem is where I shoot is mostly rural and I need reach, so in addition to the 12-60 I carry a 60-300. Of course, this is in a bag in my vehicle, not walking around. I agree with the others who say not perfect but as close as I can get. If I were doing more city shooting a single smaller lens would probably be fine. I don't want anything smaller than the GX9.
 

jimr.pdx

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The eP5 was my favorite small :mu43: body. The two control dials in expected positions was a big factor. Bummer it has no live comp or other recent updates.
Second place goes to the gx1.

I've tried several other Pens (pm2 + pl5-8) and gx85.
 

John M Flores

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Like you, I've tried several small cameras as my everyday carry (Pentax Q, Nikon 1, Lumix GM1, Ricoh GX, etc...) Of them all, the Pentax Q and Ricoh have the best UX for manual shooting. For the GM1 and Nikon 1, I had to treat them like point-and-shoots, which was fine.

Each has their pluses and minuses though. The Q with the 01 Prime is great but the standard zoom makes the small, pocketable camera, suddenly not-pocketable. The collapsing zooms for Nikon and M43 are slow and not special in any way. I've paired a GX85 with either the 14/2.5 or 20/1.7 but it's certainly not pocketable and weighs close to a pound. And I really am a zoom guy at heart.

Like most, the phone has become the snapshot tool and for the last 10 years, I've upgraded my phone every two years for the improved camera performance. But I have been lately thinking about changing that pattern, keeping a phone for longer and getting a pocketable everyday carry. It needs to connect quickly and easily to my phone for quick processing and sharing.

The Ricoh GR looks promising. Or maybe I'll get a Sony RX or Canon equivalent. But both will still have compromises. Sometimes I wish that the idea of a camera module to attach to a phone had taken off.
 

Stephen J

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I live in a large city and try to avoid camera bags where possible for comfort and convenience. My usual walkabout kit is a Pen F or EM5-II on a neck or wrist strap, the 17mm f1.8 attached and maybe another small lens in my pocket. On cooler days, the camera body is small and flat enough to fit in the inside pocket of my jacket.
 

sigamy

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I've tried a number of small cameras over the years. I really wish the LX10 had better ergonomics and an EVF or at least optional hot-shoe EVF.

My thoughts:
  • E-M10 II: this is what I'm using now as my small kit, with the Lumix 12-32. Pretty good ergos, good controls and EVF in a package not much bigger than a Pen. Plus, can change lenses.
  • Ricoh GR: I'd love to try one of these but I sort of require an EVF, and I don't like the styling. If you don't mind how it looks, this is probably your best option.
  • Canon G7X or G5X: possibly better controls and ergo than RX100?
  • Fujifilm X70
  • Fujifilm XF10
  • Modern smartphone: computational photography is nothing to sneeze at.
 

Bob in Pittsburgh

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PEN E-PL7 with the 14-42mm EZ pancake lens is a great small carry. Especially handy when I have the LC-37C auto open lens cap on. Myset #1 is monochrome with contrast at +1 (I think), and Myset #2 is Natural with sharpness and contrast both set at -1.

25mm Olympus f1.8 prime is also great for small carry.
 

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