Switching Back To M4/3 - Smaller Cameras? DSLR Weight

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by pwjp2011, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. pwjp2011

    pwjp2011 New to Mu-43

    Nov 9, 2014
    I mostly shoot landscapes, architecture and people. Very occasionally I will do some macro stuff. Never sports or fast moving stuff. I apologize in advance for the long winded post.

    I have been taking pictures since I was a kid. My very first camera as a Kodak Pocket Instamatic 10 :) . I still have it in the original box. Eventually I got my first 35mm film camera which was a water resistant Olympus point and shoot. It was small and very basic. Eventually I outgrew and got another Olympus point and show which had a power zoom lens and a lot more creative control.

    I outgrew that one as well so when I got out of college everyone told me I should get an SLR. I have always been drawn to the Leica's and their M mounts. It has always seemed like an elegant solution to photography. Especially the M9 with its full frame sensor. The body is not so large and neither are the lenses. But that being said the Leica's are way, way out of my budget.

    I got a Canon Elan IIe film camera with a 28-105mm lens. Nice camera and we grew together but it was always a bit of a pain to carry. Carrying an SLR was in no way like carrying a point and shoot. I used to take the camera on vacations and trips. It was always clumsy and like carrying a brick.

    I than got my first DSLR when I bought a second hand Canon 10D. I picked the Canon because it could use my existing lenses and other Canon stuff. The 10D was a tank - all metal body and it was really heavy. A much heavier brick. Eventually the weight got to me so when Canon introduced the G9 I bought it.

    I used the G9 a lot - so much that the 10D just sat on the shelf collecting dust for a year. I sold the 10D and all I had was the G9. I loved the G9 and it took great pictures in bright sunlight. I had the leather case for it so it was like having a baby Leica. The high ISO was not great but it was ok. The downside was the auto focus was slow and rapid shooting was not so good but I took it everywhere as it was small and compact. Than one day after using it solid for 4 years the G9 jammed open. I got it repaired and than sold it for a Panasonic GF1.

    The GF1 was very light and I liked it a lot. I took amazing pictures with it and even when blown up on a screen I couldn't tell the difference between those taken with the GF1 and a DSLR. The downside was the screen was almost impossible to see in bright sunlight. Even with the external EVF it was tough at times. After I used it for about 6 months I sold it as it drove me crazy. I admit now I didn't give it enough time.

    I went back to Canon about 4 years ago after I sold the GF1 (mistake #1). I bought a Canon T2i (mistake #3) and the 15-85mm EF-S (mistake #4). Though the T2i is not huge by DSLR standards, between the body and the lens its pretty heavy and bulky. I realized again that I detest carrying it which is why I sold the 10D - duh, I know right? LOL. Its just a bother and its really heavy so I end up leaving it home a lot of the time. I also have some other Canon lenses including a 100mm macro, 70-300mm DO and 10-22mm wide angle.

    The equipment works great and takes great pictures but taking all this stuff or even a piece of it is just like dragging around a millstone. I have a small pack that carries the body and one lens and no more. I also have a backpack that carries everything as well as a super light travel tripod but if I had to carry all this stuff I would drop a brick on my head.

    Though I a not sure why I have it all. I had high ambitions of using it. But every time I want to go out, the thought of dragging all this stuff with me turns me off. For the past 1 1/2 years months I have been pondering getting rid of it all. Streamline my hobby :)

    When I had my G9 and GF1, I would just pick it up and walk out the door with it. No fuss, no muss and even going on vacation it was like carrying nothing at all.

    Earlier this year I bought a Canon EOS M. The price was right and I figured I could use my existing Canon lenses and it was tiny. I read all the horror stories of it being slow but I can truthfully say its not any slower than a Fuji X100 or XE1. But its not as fast as my T2i nor my GF1 when I owned it. A couple of other things - all the adjustments to the camera are done on the touch screen which while cool at first is just ok having lived with it AND I never use the adapter. Whats the point of putting these gigantic lenses on this little body - DUH in a HUGE WAY. But it does take phenomenal pictures.

    I keep reading that Canon will come out with another EOS M body more enthusiast oriented. Eh, I am not so sure.

    I am contemplating getting another camera - either the Olympus OMD EM5 or the Panasonic GX7. The GX7 has come down in price and the size is perfect. I am not a pixel peeper and frankly I have realized that I don't need all this other "stuff". One primary lens and one ultra wide would do it for me. I prize a small camera, period.

    I know it sounds kind of stupid that I don't want to carry all this equipment and I feel somewhat foolish about whining about it. I took the most pictures in my entire life when I had my G9 and GF1. I am familiar with that saying that the best camera is the one you have with you. In terms of functionality I know that I do need a viewfinder (or at least the option of one) as well as the ability to control all the functionality so a point and shoot with no controls won't work.

    Would love to hear what others have to say about this. I can't be the only one thinking like this.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Real Name:
    Welcome to the forum! I believe that you answered your own question quite well. Both bodies are quite small, and you have a nice selection of optics to match. Find which one meets your needs best and don't look back. They are both good choices that have their respective pros and cons. And I would not consider wanting smaller/lighter gear whining. Many a photographer preferred smaller gear as it best met their needs. Unless you are worried about other peoples' opinions, buy what works for you.

    Happy shooting,

    • Like Like x 1
  3. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 25, 2014
    Real Name:
    I fully support what Ken has said. The small size and great IQ of mFT brought me back into photography as a whole and opened up digital photography for me - which my DSLR hadn't done!

    If you try to decide between the E-M5 and the GX7, make sure to handle them both and try them out, if possible side-by-side. Their feature set is very similar, yet both have their strengths and weaknesses, and what's more, some implementations will suit your tastes and demands better than others.

  4. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Real Name:
  5. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Veteran

    I think m43s is what you are looking for. I am very pleased with my E-M10 not only in terms of size an weight but in image quality. I mostly use my old 4/3s DSLR lenses on the thing (in which case, I recommend that you buy an optional fitted grip, helps with balance). True, they are bigger than the native m43s lenses but they are a bit better optically, I think, than the m43s lenses I can afford; and they aren't as large as some other DSLR system lenses.

    But don't think the m43s lenses can't cut it. They can compete quite well, even the kit lenses, especially stopped down a bit. I find myself turning to the kit lens, OLYMPUS M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R whenever I'm looking for small size, unobtrusiveness, and competent IQ.

    I am also using some ancient FL/FD Canon lenses. They are quite good. And the FL lenses are downright tiny when compared to modern FF DSLR lenses.

    I'm finding, that my E-M10 is working out really well for me, regardless of the lenses I use.

    My Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/7267302@N03/
  6. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
    Real Name:
    While I don't know what lenses you want or how you like to shoot but I would suggest the Lumix LX100 would be a good choice. 400 grams with a F1.7-F2.8 24-75mm lens. GX7 EVF and DFD from the GH4.
  7. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Real Name:
    Three body choices come to mind:

    Of those 3 the em10 would be my recommendation. If you don't mind being a prime shooter you could go with the 12,25,45,75. That'll cover quite the range and be easy to carry in a small bag.
  8. Dave Lively

    Dave Lively Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 16, 2014
    It sounds like m43 would work very well for you. The size and weight advantage of m43 is most apparent with normal and wide angle lenses. If you compare the size of a GX7 with the kit 14-42 and something like the Olympus 9-18 to any SLR that covers the same focal length range. In case you are not familiar with the site look at http://camerasize.com/compact/#509.36,472.374,570.397,ha,t and http://camerasize.com/compact/#509.37,472.31,570.96,ha,t to get an idea of how much smaller m43 can be with both the kit lens and a wide angle zoom. I threw in the GM5 to show just how small a m43 camera can be. While the GM5 is smaller it is also more expensive, has an inferior EVF, fewer manual controls, etc. I have the GX7 and am very happy with it, unless size is very important I think the GX7 will work better for you.
  9. Whtrbt7

    Whtrbt7 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 7, 2014
    Canon came out with two more EOS M cameras in Japan and they are all the same size as the original. The main reason for them not making a faster and larger body is due to the fact that they are trying to maintain their DSLR sales with the SL1 or 1000D. I had an EOS M before as well as a full 5D3 and L lenses kit and I sold all of it when I switched to the E-M1 because it replaced the system pretty decently. In terms of image quality, the Olympus suited me better since the sensor is pretty advanced over the Canon sensors. The weight of the lenses and size of the lenses on m43 also make sense for traveling so even though I have DSLR travel bags, the m43 system fits in a single carry-on with space to spare.

    The choice to go with an E-M5 or a GX7 is excellent. I would also suggest taking a look at the E-M10 to leave out weather sealing but get a pop-up flash for fill or even a used E-P5 which is my third m43 companion so I don't look like a DSLR toting person. The GX7 IMO is excellent and I just convinced my cousin to buy one. The main reason for me sticking with Olympus is due to batteries and I like the IBIS in the E-M1 and E-P5 better than the GX7. The crazy thing is my wife uses an E-M1 with the 17/1.8 and the 45/1.8 and the images are better than the 5D3 with equivalent L primes. M43 gear just seems to get out of the way of creating photos and opens up the shooting envelope.
  10. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I think the LX100 meets your needs, and it will scratch your Leica itch, because that's what it says on the lens. More seriously, that means the lens meets their standards, so it should be quite sharp. I think most of us here would like to have one too.
  11. swede

    swede Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 25, 2014
    I switched from a fullframe nikon system (d600, 35/50/85 primes. 70-200/4 zoom, 2 sb flashes). That was my setup for over two years. I photograph only my family.... I just got tired of everything and switched to olympus without really knowing what the h--- i was doing :D

    I choose the em10 with kit lens to start with. I am more than happy with this. Differences are big in many different areas. Its a matter of priorities and what i want with my photography. Nr 1 is to acctually enjoy taking pictures documenting my family and our lives. And so far, olympus has given me that.
  12. pwjp2011

    pwjp2011 New to Mu-43

    Nov 9, 2014
    The LX100 is interesting but there are some things I don't like about it. I don't like motorized lenses in general because I have found they tend to fail. With my G9 the lens jammed open and the solution to it is push it back by force. Apparently its well known that this happens with them. A tiny bit of dirt or sand gets into it.

    The GX7 is actually cheaper than the LX100 at this point. Granted you will have to spend quite a bit of $ to get a lens that does what the LX100's lens does.

    So does anyone know why the GX7's price has come down the way it did? When it came out the EM5 and it were the same price. Now the EM5 is still holding its price but the GX7 was radically discounted. A lot less.
  13. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    I too, was considering either the EM 5 or GX 7, but just could not justify the price, even for used. So bought the Panasonic G5, for less than half the price of either of the others. Moving from the G1, should be rather painless. I have owned 8 or 10 m4/3 cameras (Panasonic and Olympus) But, because of limited income and health, I have down-sized to the bare minimum investment, yet still wanting the advantages of the later sensors and engines. The G5 is to be delivered today (I hope).

    My daughter, my wife and I, have all been using the Olympus 14-42IIr lenses for a while. We have been rather pleased with the performance, except for the slow apertures, and build quality.The quick and close-focus ability of this light cheep lens has been a bonus. My daughter's AF failed at the long end, on their trip to the Grand Canyon last month. Remove and replace the lens and keep it wider than 25mm, and it still functions. But at $60 to $90 each, the loss is not too dramatic. It will be replaced at some point.
  14. Dave Lively

    Dave Lively Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 16, 2014
    Competition. Someone new to mirrorless cameras can get the Sony A 6000 for $700 or an Olympus EM 10 for $750, both with the kit lens. I am not sure the GX 7 is "radically" discounted. I paid $900 for mine about a year ago and they now sell for $750. That sort of price decline seems pretty normal for digital cameras. It is getting to be the time of year when cameras are heavily discounted for the Christmas too.

    The better questions are: 1 - Why is the EM 5 priced so high? 2 - How many are they selling at that price? When I bought my GX 7 there was a much smaller difference in price and I seriously considered getting an EM 5. Even with the smaller price difference I went with the GX 7. At the current pricing I the GX 7 would have been a no brainer. If you need weather proofing or better IBIS that might not be true in your case. If you do want an EM 5 you might want to wait a few more weeks to see if it gets discounted for Christmas, I would be surprised if it is not.
  15. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Real Name:
    I don't think its stupid at all - I did the same thing (sold my 5DII and now shoot with a G6 primarily with one lens and also an X100S, but rarely do I take both with me at the same time). If you take more photos when you have a smaller camera, that's reason enough to only own a smaller camera provided you're content with how those photos look. As long as you're aware of the trade offs you're making and are ok with them, you can't go wrong. The E-M5 and G7 are both great cameras, pick which one you like the form factor and controls of, but make sure the lenses that are available in the focal length and apertures you want don't compromise the size advantage too much for your liking (e.g. an E-M5 or G7 + 40-150mm f2.8 isn't going to be a terribly compact package for example, but still far smaller than any DSLR equivalent)
  16. pwjp2011

    pwjp2011 New to Mu-43

    Nov 9, 2014
    So I bought a silver GX7 this morning with the 14-45mm lens :) . After I play with it a bit I think I am going to put my Canon DSLR + lenses up for sale. I will keep the EOS M as it was so cheap that how could I go wrong but the regular DSLR and stuff will be sold.
  17. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Good choice! The 14-45mm is a good lens (that and the Panny 14-42, which is just as sharp). I would say don't buy one of the f2.8 zooms because people have complained about their size/weight (esp the 12-40). If you're looking to go even smaller check out the 12-32. That's very sharp as well. Then for your prime a 20/1.7 is an unmatched lens, small, and $300. And if you need another one the 45 is also unmatched. Those two primes and the zoom of your choice and you're set. If you ever need a body cap buy the 15BCL. It's a lot of fun for $40!
  18. pwjp2011

    pwjp2011 New to Mu-43

    Nov 9, 2014
    I got the kit lens 14-42mm lens - typo on the 14-45. The price was right - $750 + a $100 gift card from B&H. So in reality its $650. This is like 1/2 of what I paid for my Canon and lens. I was looking at the camersize web site the other day. This is a great price on a camera that sold for $1100 last year. Not quite half off but close enough. I am always the best deals shopper - otherwise known as cheap ;) . I paid like $350 for my EOS M with a lens earlier this year.

    Check this out:


    EOS M vs GX7 vs T2i - its a huge difference in size. As I said I will keep the EOS M as its tiny and has an APS sensor in it. But its hardly fast. I expect the GX7 to easily match the T2i and than some. The good thing about the Canon lenses as I bought most of them second hand so will not take much of a beating on them.

    I think I am going to get the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 - I have never had a lens except the EOS M pancake that an aperture on it like that. This camera should satisfy my Leica lust ;) for the time being. It does look like a baby Leica :)
  19. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Real Name:
    If you have the EOS M 22mm f2 pancake I don't know that I'd pick up the Panasonic 20mm f1.7. While it is a wonderful lens form an IQ perspective, Its is one of the slowest focusing of all the m43 lenses. I don't know that it would be much faster than your EOS M 22mm. If you're looking for a 35mm-40mm equivalent focal length with a fast aperture you might consider the Olympus 17mm f1.8 or if you're willing to go a little longer the Olympus 25mm f1.8.