Small carry-around kit

nstelemark

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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.

Sadly yes. And cell phones provide some really great images, and better every iteration. A (now) lowly iPhone Xr -

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Drdul

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I have owned a few small “carry around” cameras, most recently the Canon GX7. They were all small enough to fit in a (large) pocket, so they could be carried around in most circumstances. But I found that I still had to consciously take the camera with me, so I ended up only carrying the camera when I intended to use it.

I realized the only truly “carry around” camera that is always with me is my iPhone. So I sold the GX7 (and the other ones before it) and now a Pen-F with 12-32 Pany lens is my small camera that I carry when I think I might have an opportunity to use it. If I’m heading out with the express intention of taking pictures, then I carry a larger camera/lens combo, or two cameras.

Image quality from my 3-year old iPhone 8 is pretty darn good considering the form factor is small enough to fit in any pocket. Next year I’ll upgrade to an iPhone 13 and I’m sure I’ll be even happier with the image quality and choice of focal lengths. I don’t mind the ergonomics, especially if I use the volume button as a shutter release, and I appreciate that no-one pays any attention to me when I’m taking photos with a phone. I still prefer to use a “real” camera when I can, but it’s great to have an iPhone always with me as a “carry around” camera.
 

Jmcarp

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I have the same exact set-up as Bob in Pittsburgh, including the LC-37C auto lens cap. I also have a VF-2 slide-on EVF for when I need or want a viewfinder. It's light and easy to slip on and off, but does add a lot of bulk to the package. If you can find an older E-PM2 body, with the same 14-42 EZ lens it would be an even smaller alternative, but you'd have to be willing to live with the simplified controls.

But when I want to go really small (I know I'll be labeled a heretic for this), I carry my 2011-vintage Canon Powershot S-100 with its 24-120mm /f2.0-5.9 lens. It features full M/A/S/P controllability, shoots jpeg or raw, and at 99 x 60 x 28 mm (3.9 x 2.36 x 1.1″) and 198 g (6.98 oz), it slips easily into almost any pocket. The only downside is the small 1"/1.7" sensor, but even that's larger than the typical smartphone sensor.
 

agentlossing

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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...
Interested if you wear glasses, and if so, how the eye relief etc feels on that EVF.
 

JensM

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Working on something along the same lines pr now, after deliberately trying working with the cell phone over the last few years. The phone thing is not working for me per see. I thought it would and forced some use out of it, but it doesnt bring me any joy, nor interest in using it.

Tried my hands with a Olympus TG6 last year, it has been sold off. Didnt merge and I hated the menu.

Now I have a GX880 and a GM1 on trials and tribulations, the GM1 is pocketable with the 12-32, but makes for a rather lumpy pocket. Not adverse to carry a smallish belt-pack, but need to find the right one, wouldn't mind it being somewhat deeper than needed for the just the camera, if the 35-100 f:4-5.6 or the PL15mm could be slotted underneath.

I will also work a bit more with the second hand Canon PS 120S I picked up in February, it is truly pocketable, but comes with a small sensor and somewhat old tech.
 

Replytoken

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Working on something along the same lines pr now, after deliberately trying working with the cell phone over the last few years. The phone thing is not working for me per see. I thought it would and forced some use out of it, but it doesnt bring me any joy, nor interest in using it.

Tried my hands with a Olympus TG6 last year, it has been sold off. Didnt merge and I hated the menu.

Now I have a GX880 and a GM1 on trials and tribulations, the GM1 is pocketable with the 12-32, but makes for a rather lumpy pocket. Not adverse to carry a smallish belt-pack, but need to find the right one, wouldn't mind it being somewhat deeper than needed for the just the camera, if the 35-100 f:4-5.6 or the PL15mm could be slotted underneath.

I will also work a bit more with the second hand Canon PS 120S I picked up in February, it is truly pocketable, but comes with a small sensor and somewhat old tech.
I am a huge EVF fan, but when I tried a used GM5, its EVF was horrible. But I have learned to like the tilting screen of my GF7. I keep my thumb under the screen so I can have a good grip and then just use the camera a bit like a TLR. And I try to think of the rear screen as a large EVF. It is not ideal, but mostly works because you can adjust the rear screen angle in bright sunlight so you can still see your image.

--Ken
 

JensM

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I am a huge EVF fan, but when I tried a used GM5, its EVF was horrible. But I have learned to like the tilting screen of my GF7.

--Ken
Am somewhat looking for a GM5 for just the EVF, I like the tilting screen on the GX880, but the camera is inherently larger and heavier than the GM1. To be fair, both of them are miniscule for what they deliver, but when size is a factor, it is a factor. It is early days with both of them yet, so time will show.

The preference for the moment is the GM1, weight and size favours that, but I think the 880 will do the trick as well, at least if there is a belt-pocket brought into the equation. :) Both are fun, and both makes smashing pictures with the PL15, but that is eating up the pocketability.

Much to investigate, assess and speculate on, but that is half the fun.
 

RAH

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I am a huge EVF fan, but when I tried a used GM5, its EVF was horrible.
I use a GM5 as a secondary body, often mounted with an 0ly m43 9-18. I agree, it has a dreadful EVF. I have mentioned in other threads that I am constantly surprised by the very nice images I get from the GM5 because the scene looked so terrible in the EVF.

But I think that is kind of the point. I just think of the EVF as a framing device. Yes, it's nice to have things like histogram, etc, etc, but IMHO any EVF is better than none. I wouldn't want to use the GM5 for any serious photography or requiring close viewing (macro, etc), but for a small walk-around camera, I really think it is essentially perfect.
 
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I guess I've given up on the small camera carry-around idea. I went through several PL-5s and PM-2s as I experimented with a small camera/kit idea. I used a Pana 12-32 most of the time with them, but realized that the lens annoyingly lacked a focus ring, which would have come in handy for photographing some night skies. I also realized that I had to have an EVF to assess if the subject was in focus, and the kludgey clip-on EVFs were not a good solution for me. The differing control layouts also did me in. I ended up replacing them with an EM10 II or an EM5 III. So, much for the tiny camera kit bit. Might as well just bring the big ones.

I occasionally use a TG-4 as a small camera. That it is surprisingly good at close-ups makes it quite handy.

For all practical purposes, the iPhone 12 mini is my small camera. It is always with me, fits easily into any pocket, and takes surprisingly good photos, sometimes better than what I can cook up adjusting exposure manually with my big camera. I still like the idea of a tiny, pocketable camera, but have realized that the iPhone has become it. That may be heresy, but it's reality.
 
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DAEMANO

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Working on something along the same lines pr now, after deliberately trying working with the cell phone over the last few years. The phone thing is not working for me per see. I thought it would and forced some use out of it, but it doesnt bring me any joy, nor interest in using it...

...Now I have a GX880 and a GM1 on trials and tribulations, the GM1 is pocketable with the 12-32, but makes for a rather lumpy pocket. Not adverse to carry a smallish belt-pack, but need to find the right one, wouldn't mind it being somewhat deeper than needed for the just the camera, if the 35-100 f:4-5.6 or the PL15mm could be slotted underneath.
Would definitely recommend subbing the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 ii for the 12-32mm. That 14mm lens is so very flat and versatile. For for pocket carry, the 14mm prime makes the 12-32 feel positively porky. Then just carrying your 35-100 f/4.5-5.6 on standby for everything else.

For fun, add the surprisingly good Oly 8mm BCL for no extra weight/size penalty.

If you do more telephoto, portraits and pseudo macro stuff consider adding the 42.5mm f/1.7. It's cheap, fast, takes lovely portraits, has OIS, and a remarkably close minimum focus distance.
 

DAEMANO

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For all practical purposes, the iPhone 12 mini is my small camera. It is always with me, fits easily into any pocket, and takes surprisingly good photos, sometimes better than what I can cook up adjusting exposure manually with my big camera. I still like the idea of a tiny, pocketable camera, but have realized that the iPhone has become it. That may be heresy, but it's reality.
For photography, this has sadly become the truth. There is no more need for tiny ILCs that are photo focused as they cant compete on price and convenience with mobile phones. Even super high IQ isn't really needed as most images are shared on the web and/or social media these days, so sensor size is less relevant. Lastly, "stealth" for street style photography is no longer the norm as worldwide people generally tend to accept seeing people whip out their phones to take a snap anytime and anywhere.

Now for videography, that's another story. Videographers/vloggers still clamor for specialized physical controls and hardware. Flippy screens, mic jacks, hdmi ports, bigger batteries, etc that phones will never have because they need to slip into pocket or purse. To me, that's the reason why the G100 was designed and benchmarked against the hot selling Canon M50/Kiss and not the photography focused GM5 which proved to be too expensive, and was mostly ignored by consumers. The only nod to stills I can think of in the G100 is the big EVF. Still this is a feature that mobile phones simply cannot have. So even though the G100 is a really good stills machine, to exist, it had to be video-centric to get made. It is Panasonic's entry-level vlogging machine (flawed or not.) Outside of that, there is no tiny photo ILC market left after mobile phonography. Hopefully the G100 get's a MkII version because that's where I think it would shine. All the bones are there, but it will always be a video forward endeavor.

Olympus, to follow Panasonic, has also stated that any cameras released in the future will have a much larger focus on video. It, once again, all comes down to physical controls and I/O being the necessary differentiators for small ILCs that people will actually open their wallets for. Now, if people don't buy any of these tiny ILCs then manufacturers will consider the form factor dead and gone. So I'd recommend to everyone to buy the tiny ILC products left on the market now (imperfect or not), otherwise better iterations will never have a business case to see the light of day.
 
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For photography, this has sadly become the truth. There is no more need for tiny ILCs that are photo focused as they cant compete on price and convenience with mobile phones. Even super high IQ isn't really needed as most images are shared on the web and/or social media these days, so sensor size is less relevant. Lastly, "stealth" for street style photography is no longer the norm as worldwide people generally tend to accept seeing people whip out their phones to take a snap anytime and anywhere.

Now for videography, that's another story. Videographers/vloggers still clamor for specialized physical controls and hardware. Flippy screens, mic jacks, hdmi ports, bigger batteries, etc that phones will never have because they need to slip into pocket or purse. To me, that's the reason why the G100 was designed and benchmarked against the hot selling Canon M50/Kiss and not the photography focused GM5 which proved to be too expensive, and was mostly ignored by consumers. The only nod to stills I can think of in the G100 is the big EVF. Still this is a feature that mobile phones simply cannot have. So even though the G100 is a really good stills machine, to exist, it had to be video-centric to get made. It is Panasonic's entry-level vlogging machine (flawed or not.) Outside of that, there is no tiny photo ILC market left after mobile phonography. Hopefully the G100 get's a MkII version because that's where I think it would shine. All the bones are there, but it will always be a video forward endeavor.

Olympus, to follow Panasonic, has also stated that any cameras released in the future will have a much larger focus on video. It, once again, all comes down to physical controls and I/O being the necessary differentiators for small ILCs that people will actually open their wallets for. Now, if people don't buy any of these tiny ILCs then manufacturers will consider the form factor dead and gone. So I'd recommend to everyone to buy the tiny ILC products left on the market now (imperfect or not), otherwise better iterations will never have a business case to see the light of day.

I have to admit that even for casual videos, the iPhone is what I use. Where I used to use a camcorder before, the iPhone has taken over. No zoom, but in many cases, no matter. I haven't mastered video on my OMDs, partly because shooting video with it is a lot more complex and rather outside my experience with still photography. It takes more effort to get good video results out of my OMD than it does to get good casual video out of my iPhone. Again, this is where camera manufacturers could improve, but not at the cost of capability. That is, work on ease of use. It's not an easy road. They build in features that appeal to serious and pro videographers that overwhelm the casual video shooter. Again, in the entry level, smartphones have them beat.
 
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I had no problems shooting with my specs and my wonderfully worsening presbyopia :D
This reminds me why I could never get used to using the rear screen for everything on the PL5 and PM2. I have presbyopia too, which is inevitable with age. I have to use reading glasses to see anything with fine detail, as in assessing the focus point on the rear screen. Switching between reading glasses and no-glasses for looking around was a pain and awkward. Yes, I suppose I could leave the reading glasses on the tip of my nose and tilt my head so I could see the screen, but that wasn't optimal for critical viewing. And, the reading glasses kept slipping off. Not to mention holding the camera away from my body and reducing my ability to handhold it steady in that position. I like to hold the camera up to my eye because I could also hold it steadier there. Sure, one could say that smartphones have similar issues, and even poorer ergonomics for taking photos, but I could generally rely on the smartphone's superior AI for focusing and exposure to get things right. It generally did. It's also easier, as someone already mentioned, to be anonymous and inconspicuous with a smartphone than an ILC, because everybody else is using one. Camera users stick out because there are much fewer of us. I'm not saying that smartphones are better. It just depends.
 

JLGF1

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Everyone's definition of small is different. The camera on the left I consider (shorts) pocketable, but any m43 with a lens attached...not really unless you're wearing a winter coat.

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retiredfromlife

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I started out with the EP5 a great small camera but it was so unreliable I gave up using it and purchased a G85

I also purchased a TG5 for a small camera but I found the rear LCD unusable in the Australian sun and the image quality worse than my phone, so I use the phone

Mainly use my G85 or EM1.3 as the phone is only good for wide angle junk shots

I would like something like the EP5 but can’t see anything that interests me
 

andy darbyshire

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I have a small carry everywhere camera it is an Olympus Stylus 1 sadly no longer made but can be found at a cost on places such as ebay. It is a great camera with a F2,8 fixed zoom lens covering 28 to 300 range (in 35mm terms) and produces outstanding images. it is small and pockitable.
 

JLGF1

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The Olympus TG6 is more in the same class as the Canon, but is water and shockproof ...

Oly TG6: 12MP, 1/2.3" BSI-CMOS sensor; Touchscreen: no
Canon G9X: 20MP, 1" CMOS sensor; Touchscreen: yes
 
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