Advice Wanted Back to Compacts?

kae1

Top Veteran
Location
West Yorkshire
Name
Ken
There are times in your life when you have to realise you're getting old or your body isn't 100% and you need to have a change. In my cars I came to that point a few years ago and moved from a manual to an automatic. I think I've now come to a similar point in my photography. I'm in a position where I have weak arm muscles and can't lift my left arm to support my camera and my right arm isn't as strong as it once was. At the moment I get round it with my heavier m4/3 equipment with telephoto lenses, for motorsport, as I screw in a grip and can hang on with my left hand to provide an element of support/ballast. This would be too big and heavy for everything else, and I'm now reduced to single handed shooting.

I've tried bridge and compact cameras in the past but discovered m4/3 as a lighter option and combined everything into that format. So I currently have too many lenses and several bodies where I can mix and match to suit what I'm doing and would probably have stuck with this strategy if it were not for my daughter's wedding earlier this year.

My Panasonic GX80 and Olympus 12mm f2 provided too much of a bulge in my wedding suit pocket that I was forbidden from taking it to the wedding so ended up with a well used Sony RX100 iii specially for the event. It was useful for the wedding but sat in its bag for most of the summer. However, as it has got colder, and my muscles are impacted by cold, I thought I'd give it a go at other things. I did a shoot off, for my own benefit, of the GX80 and 12mm versus the Sony at an Air Museum and took it for a spin on a coastal walk. To my surprise, on my monitor, there was no noticeable difference between the two systems after processing (DXO PL5 and Topaz DeNoise).

I'm wondering whether I should start considering a compact for my non motorsport (landscapes, sightseeing, walking) activities. Phones are out as I can't hold it steady and take a picture with a single hand. I like the tilting rear screen, the IQ, and the power zoom of the RX100 III but the zoom (25-75) is a bit limiting and it is not the easiest to use with a single hand. Whilst I could just use primes on my m4/3 bodies I like using a zoom lens when I am out & about and power zooms make it easier for me. I've tried a used Panasonic TZ100 but it isn't the easiest thing to hold and has a static rear screen. The RX100 VI or VII are a bit too expensive to take a risk at the moment. I'm still mulling things over but any suggestions for something (from the last few years) with reasonable IQ, a tilting rear screen, power zoom, and at least a 5 times zoom which can be used with a single hand?
 
Lumix G100 is appreciably smaller and a little lighter than the GX80. I often use it with the 12-32 collapsible zoom (with lens stabilization) for a compact and capable system. I'll add the 32-100 collapsible zoom (also with lens stabilization) to the bag if I need more reach. They aren't power zooms though.

Best of luck with your search.
 

pdk42

Top Veteran
Location
Royal Leamington Spa, UK
Name
Paul
I liked the output from the RX100iii when I had one, but I really hated the handling - too small and slippery and lacking in controls. I still reckon that one of the smaller m43 cameras plus either the 12-32 or 14-45 PZ, perhaps augmented by the little Panasonic 35-100, is about perfect in terms of tradeoff between compact and decent IQ. I'd for the EM10.2 rather than the GX80, but while small, it's bigger. The G100 might be a better option for you since it's a bit smaller.
 

Darmok N Jalad

The eye of the potato, the thrill of the fries.
Location
Tanagra
The E-M5.3 or the new O-M5 are really light, but still built for good grip and have lots of manual features. IBIS helps with the steadiness. Add something like the P12-32, and you’re talking really small and light but with a lot of shooting options (OM5 has even more features like that). You can still add a grip for those days when you want to shoot something bigger, and it really helps with balance on the feather-light 75-300ii. My whole kit is under 3lbs. It includes the E-M5.3, 3 primes, the 9-18, the 40-150R, and 75-300ii. I also have a macro converter so a dedicated macro lens isn’t needed. Yes, a dedicated compact is even simpler, but if you still want the ILC experience, then there are still a few good options.
 

Brian

Product of the Fifties
APS-C format cameras are significantly smaller and lighter than their full-frame counterparts, and use the same mount. There is ongoing new development with these models.

For u43- there are used and refurbished models available that have most of the newer features for the EVF and sensor, much less cost than new.

Reading your desires- sounds like Nikon was hoping everyone would want a camera like this, and the Nikon 1 series with the 1" sensor would be a hit. Did not happen. Some are available at greatly reduced prices, but is a dead system. The Pentax Q system- also tiny, just never caught on.


I end up using a Ricoh CX-5 for the grab and go compact. Bought for $40 used on Ebay, near mint condition. 10x optical zoom, macro, built-in flash, etc. About 1/10th of the price when new.
 
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JensM

All-Pro
Olympus EM-10 MkII and up, paired with the Oly 12-50, or Oly 14-42EZ/Lumix 14-42 Power Zoom(PZ) and possibly the Lumix 45-175 PZ?

Camera weighs in at 380ish to 410 grams depending on which mark with 4-4.5 stops worth of IBIS.
Oly 12-50 at 212 grams, has both powered zoom and manual zooming as well as a decent quasi macro.
Oly 14-42EZ is at 91 grams just motorized
14-42PZ weighs in at 95 grams, strictly motorized.
45-175PZ is at 210 grams, with either manual or motorized zoom.

Lightest possible combo would be at 471-475 grams (MkII with either Oly 14-42EZ or 14-42 PZ), or about 1lbs, 1 ounce(ish). Complete with the 45-175, its at 685 grams or 1,4 lbs(ish).

Only significant lighter system I can think of would be with the same lens line-up due to power zooming, but substituting the body with a GM5, that will reduce the weight with 180 grams to 295 grams (9,8 ounces or thereabout) , but with the cost of loosing IBIS and tilty screen. The Lumix lenses have about 3 stops of OIS, though.

For truly one handed use within the M43 system, there are just the older lumix G5 and G6. Both have a rocker switch that activates the Lumix PZ lenses, located above the shutter button. Weight-wise both are at about 380-390 grams, but with flippy screens, neither have IBIS. I like the G6 over the G5, but both are rather the same, it is just something about the lines of the G6, they are wonderfully odd.

Good luck with the hunting! :drinks:
 

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Name
Andrew
While not a power zoom, and they are older tech, the Fuji X10/X20/X30 series are fantastic for their size.

28-110 field of view and fast aperture. I had an X10 when they first came out and really liked it for a small walk about.

Battery life is one of the biggest draw backs as is the smaller sensor, so low light is not going to compare to a modern setup.

In my opinion a true camera, even a compact / bridge camera is better than a phone camera or no camera.

I did back the SnapGrip project on Kickstarter and it is on the way. It adds a battery and a camera style grip to my iPhone. Going to see how that works out to improve the handling. Some times I just cannot have a camera with me and hoping that this will help with the less than inspiring handling of a cellphone setup.
 
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Location
Switzerland
Name
Matt
I know it's not the cheapest, but at about 60% of the price of a Sony RX100 VII, you can get the Canon G5 X II - it takes the concept of the RX100 III and runs with it, sporting a longer zoom (24-120mm-e, f/1.8-2.8), a much better grip than any RX100 model, better handling overall, a decent (though slightly fiddly) EVF and a tilt screen. It's the one compact I look at once or twice a year - not that I need it, but it has all I'd ever want except sealing and is very pleasing and appealing in the hand, too. In fact, if it had the EVF of the RX100 V and up (one-stop pop up), I'd probably pounce ...

I still like and use the old G1 X III - but that model has a shorter zoom range (24-72mm-e); it's sealed, though (it's my bad-weather compact), and capable of really appealing images thanks to its APS-C sensor and good (though not great) lens. But ... well, I think you'd get more use out of the G5 X II, given your needs and intentions.

M.
 

kae1

Top Veteran
Location
West Yorkshire
Name
Ken
Thank you all for some giving me some great advice which has already helped with my deliberations. (y)

I shouldn't be surprised, but I was, when @john m flores , @pdk42 , @Darmok N Jalad , and @JensM suggested effectively sticking with m4/3 and I can see why. When I'd discovered m4/3 in 2016 I found that there was such a wide range of used camera bodies and lenses that it was clear that I could find something to suit at a price to suit. My first dabble was with a lot of the equipment you've suggested - I started with an EM10 , tried a G6 before sticking with the EM10 and then an EM1. My first lenses after the 14-42 kit lenses were the Panasonic 12-32 and 35-100 which I still have and I've also got the Panasonic 45-175. However since then, apart from the GX80 I've grown the size of the outfits with bigger bodies (EM1ii, EM1X, G80/90/9, GH5) and heavier lenses so the option to get back to small and light does makes such a lot of sense. Also since starting out I've discovered RAW and post processing which, to my eyes at least, also allows me to improve the IQ of the cheaper lenses. The benefit of the tilting screen kicks in here as with a neck strap on the camera and the screen angled and resting on my paunch I effectively have a waist level viewfinder and can zoom with my left hand at that level so don't need to have a power zoom.

With regards to my initial thoughts about compacts @Brian, @gryphon1911 , @Taneli and @MoonMind have all come up with suggestions which I need to consider. Back in 2016 I had a Nikon P7100 as my non motorsport camera, mainly chosen for its zoom. Whilst I loved the camera the IQ of the m4/3 equipment was so much better that I moved 100% to m4/3. Having said that I never shot RAW with the Nikon and spent time processing images. I've not kept pace with compact developments apart from thinking that they were getting expensive so your suggestions are helpful areas to research. The bit of my brain however is still stuck in a compact "should only cost me £250" which is where my well used RX100 iii came from. It is now clear to me that if I want to try a more modern compact I would need to increase that budget but have a much better idea of what to look for. Some further research plus bargain hunting in the New Year?

Thank you all again for your advice - I feel I've got a bit of a win/win from my post!
 

theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Location
Cheshire, England
Name
Martin Connolly
I would have got a Canon G5X II when I made my most recent purchase, but they were just a bit too expensive (hard to find under £600 used). I got the RX100 M5A for £413, plus £60 for a grip, soft shutter button, screen protector and 2 spare batteries (larger capacity than the original). The zoom range ain't special but the Clear Image Zoom is pretty good and takes it to 140mm eq if you don't mind JPEG only. I think the whole thing feels a lot snappier than the Mk3 I had a few years back. And the little PD squares dancing round the screen when you use continuous AF are quite hypnotic!
 

davidzvi

Hall of Famer
Location
Boston Burbs
Name
David
I'll jump on the Canon G5x II or G1x III train.

The G5x II is just a little bigger than the RX100 (like mm's ) but with built-in front and rear grips. Is 120mme enough? The G1x III is a bit bigger. But still smaller and lighter than your GX85. And again with a better grip. The G1X only has a 24-72 lens, but the 24mp APS-C sensor is an advantage.

I'll disagree with the Fuji X10/20/30 for the only reason that it has a manual zoom lens. While I personally prefer that, it means using your left arm to zoom
 

hannahntilly

Veteran
Location
Surrey, UK
Name
Peter
I should add that DxO PureRAW is a great way to upgrade your RAW files. It makes every lens you have better, IMO. It’s a nice way to get more out of these tiny lenses and smaller sensors.
I would heartily agree that modern software transforms the files of compact cameras. Despite having many m4/3 options (including GM5, GX80 and EM1ii) and a few 1" cameras, I'm still drawn back to my first "serious compact" - a Lumix LX5. I purchased it in 2010 and still use it. For me, the ergonomics of the LX5 are just right. I was always very satisfied with the results of my very basic Lightroom processing of the RAW files. However, I've now embarked on a project to re-process the RAWs using DxO PureRAW and am amazed at how much nicer they look. Even at base ISO, noise and sharpening is much better.

More recently I've acquired mint examples of an Olympus Stylus 1 (£180) and a Lumix LF1 (£80). The Stylus 1 is an astonishing package but a bit too big for my pockets. The LF1 doesn't feel as nice but is tiny, has a small EVF and a 28-200mm zoom. For me, these were very good value.
 

Darmok N Jalad

The eye of the potato, the thrill of the fries.
Location
Tanagra
I would heartily agree that modern software transforms the files of compact cameras. Despite having many m4/3 options (including GM5, GX80 and EM1ii) and a few 1" cameras, I'm still drawn back to my first "serious compact" - a Lumix LX5. I purchased it in 2010 and still use it. For me, the ergonomics of the LX5 are just right. I was always very satisfied with the results of my very basic Lightroom processing of the RAW files. However, I've now embarked on a project to re-process the RAWs using DxO PureRAW and am amazed at how much nicer they look. Even at base ISO, noise and sharpening is much better.

More recently I've acquired mint examples of an Olympus Stylus 1 (£180) and a Lumix LF1 (£80). The Stylus 1 is an astonishing package but a bit too big for my pockets. The LF1 doesn't feel as nice but is tiny, has a small EVF and a 28-200mm zoom. For me, these were very good value.
I’m not against the bigger bodies and lenses of the m43 system, as you do get better starting points and more flexibility, but DxO PR really helps you get more miles out of lenses like the 9-18, 40-150R or 75-300ii. Even the 1.8 primes get a nice bump. It really helps you worry less about higher ISO. 6400 is no longer a no-no in many occasions for me.
 

JensM

All-Pro
More recently I've acquired mint examples of an Olympus Stylus 1 (£180) and a Lumix LF1 (£80). The Stylus 1 is an astonishing package but a bit too big for my pockets. The LF1 doesn't feel as nice but is tiny, has a small EVF and a 28-200mm zoom. For me, these were very good value.
Both are good, but somewhat very different choices.

The Stylus1 also can be fitted out with both extra wide angle and tele lens adapters, and runs a fixed F:2.8 aperture trough-out the zoom range, something the LF1 absoulutely does not. The again, the LF1 fits in a shirt pocket, something the Stylus 1S dont. I like both, but I tend to end up taking the Stylus.

Also worth noting is that the Stylus 1 and 1S is basically the same camera, when the 1 has its firmware upgraded.
 

kae1

Top Veteran
Location
West Yorkshire
Name
Ken
Things move quickly in my world once I get a "bee in my bonnet". The only way I can test equipment is to buy it, see how I get on with it for a while, and if it's not right, then sell it, so consequently I tend to buy used as then I don't lose as much money.

I decided that further exploring m4/3 options would be a sensible way forward as I've got too many m4/3 lenses, I'm happy with the IQ and the suggestions about the m4/3 power zooms seemed worth trying. After a bit more research of the three m4/3 power lens options, I concluded that the Olympus zoom ring should be better than the left hand zoom buttons on the Panasonic Iens as it might be possible to get my finger on the zoom ring with one hand. So a quick search on all my favourite second hand sites (Camera Price Buster, London Camera Exchange and eBay) I priced a 14-42EZ at around £100 to £150, then found an Olympus E-PL8 with lens on eBay and offered £185 which was accepted. I've discovered that I can't hold the camera one handed and zoom the lens with one finger, so that part of my research is concluded. :( However on my first test outing I found that my "paunch" level technique works a treat with the E-PL8 so I adjust the zoom then I can either leave the camera "resting" or lift and focus single handedly. As it is m4/3 I'm happy with the IQ and the outfit is nice and light so I think it's a keeper (y) .

I was intending to fund it by selling my Panasonic TZ100 which was another eBay purchase at £230, as the body is slippy and it is hard to hold single handedly. The only grips available were from China (https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/R0UAAOSwIh5d8KXA/s-l500.jpg) and it was "in the post" when I first posted this thread. However, to my surprise it did arrive and it certainly makes a difference to the TZ100. That plus a bit of stick on "leather" where the thumb goes and I can now hold the camera more confidently.(y)Even zoomed out to 200mm it is possible for me to get a steady shot (I tend to do a burst of four and choose the best) so I'm warming to it. The IQ is not as good as m4/3 when you zoom in but DXO and Topaz do work wonders and I'm only viewing on screen.

I'd already sold my "heavy" Panasonic 100-400 and Olympus 12-40 f2.8 lenses but the only problem I have now is that my wife's approval of further purchases was only made on the basis of getting rid of something else - hopefully she'll forget🤞
 

kae1

Top Veteran
Location
West Yorkshire
Name
Ken
You'll have to forgive me, but I'm seeing my posts, and your extremely helpful advice, as free therapy in helping me make my mind clearer on what I need to do. I was getting into a Goldilocks situation where nothing was "just right". I'm not a one solution person (more a justification for everything - from it'll come in to its too good to sell to its my favourite) and at the moment I'm able to have different equipment for different circumstances. So I buy used things and see how I get on with them. I now think I "may" have found what I've been looking for o_O .

I find that whilst my m4/3 equipment is light I can't really handle them single handedly and whilst that doesn't mean I won't use them, as they will certainly be used, there will be occasions when they are just not right for me.
The compacts I've tried (RX100 iii and ZX100) are a bit too small, and whilst I won't be moving them on (as I can see the RX100iii being used indoors and the ZX100 around town and in my pocket - see what I mean about justification :blush:) they're not the easiest things to hold steady when I'm out and about up a hill when there's a bit of wind.
So, a toe into Bridge cameras was my solution. The best buys all recommend the Sony RX10 iv or Panasonic FZ1000/2000 but they are getting as big as my GH5ii and 14-140 travel zoom plus aren't the cheapest solution either. Then I discovered the Panasonic FZ330 which has a small sensor but looked a nice enough size to handle comfortably in one hand as well as having a reasonable zoom lens.

I picked up its predecessor the FZ200 for less than £100 (same lens and sensor as FZ330) to see whether it would suit. Well blow me down - it does(y). Shooting in RAW and post processing allows some reasonable images (see below 600mm, hand held, 1/320th, 1600ISO!), and I can hold the camera in one hand and power zoom too. I know the IQ isn't the best but its not bad and I've discovered (eventually after various experiments (Pro v kit lenses, 16mp v 20mp etc.) that I've now reached the stage where I'm happy to compromise on IQ against ease of use. The only thing which isn't so good with the FZ200 and its ten year old design, IMO is the user experience e.g. no automatic switching between EVF and rear screen, old fashioned menu etc. However various handling improvements were made in the FZ330 so I've just bought an excellent used one which is winging its way to me and I'll sell the FZ200.

I now think that I've got more than enough options to try. I'm looking forward to 2023 to see what works or doesn't for me over a longer period and I've discovered that if it doesn't work there is still something somewhere (either current or in the past) which will work for me(y). Now if anyone has any advice about not making a case for keeping everything then I'd be happy to hear!

So I'd like to wish you all a Happy 2023 and thank you again for all your advice.

Now, where's my porridge?

P1030048_DxObw.jpg
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rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Location
London
You'll have to forgive me, but I'm seeing my posts, and your extremely helpful advice, as free therapy in helping me make my mind clearer on what I need to do. I was getting into a Goldilocks situation where nothing was "just right". I'm not a one solution person (more a justification for everything - from it'll come in to its too good to sell to its my favourite) and at the moment I'm able to have different equipment for different circumstances. So I buy used things and see how I get on with them. I now think I "may" have found what I've been looking for o_O .

I find that whilst my m4/3 equipment is light I can't really handle them single handedly and whilst that doesn't mean I won't use them, as they will certainly be used, there will be occasions when they are just not right for me.
The compacts I've tried (RX100 iii and ZX100) are a bit too small, and whilst I won't be moving them on (as I can see the RX100iii being used indoors and the ZX100 around town and in my pocket - see what I mean about justification :blush:) they're not the easiest things to hold steady when I'm out and about up a hill when there's a bit of wind.
So, a toe into Bridge cameras was my solution. The best buys all recommend the Sony RX10 iv or Panasonic FZ1000/2000 but they are getting as big as my GH5ii and 14-140 travel zoom plus aren't the cheapest solution either. Then I discovered the Panasonic FZ330 which has a small sensor but looked a nice enough size to handle comfortably in one hand as well as having a reasonable zoom lens.

I picked up its predecessor the FZ200 for less than £100 (same lens and sensor as FZ330) to see whether it would suit. Well blow me down - it does(y). Shooting in RAW and post processing allows some reasonable images (see below 600mm, hand held, 1/320th, 1600ISO!), and I can hold the camera in one hand and power zoom too. I know the IQ isn't the best but its not bad and I've discovered (eventually after various experiments (Pro v kit lenses, 16mp v 20mp etc.) that I've now reached the stage where I'm happy to compromise on IQ against ease of use. The only thing which isn't so good with the FZ200 and its ten year old design, IMO is the user experience e.g. no automatic switching between EVF and rear screen, old fashioned menu etc. However various handling improvements were made in the FZ330 so I've just bought an excellent used one which is winging its way to me and I'll sell the FZ200.

I now think that I've got more than enough options to try. I'm looking forward to 2023 to see what works or doesn't for me over a longer period and I've discovered that if it doesn't work there is still something somewhere (either current or in the past) which will work for me(y). Now if anyone has any advice about not making a case for keeping everything then I'd be happy to hear!

So I'd like to wish you all a Happy 2023 and thank you again for all your advice.

Now, where's my porridge?

View attachment 355724
Not wishing to extend any GAS here, but have you valued all of your M43 gear? I remember when I did I was astonished how quickly it accumulated and what it was worth, resulting in a lot of options.
 

kae1

Top Veteran
Location
West Yorkshire
Name
Ken
Not wishing to extend any GAS here, but have you valued all of your M43 gear? I remember when I did I was astonished how quickly it accumulated and what it was worth, resulting in a lot of options.
Don't tempt me ;)

If I'd have read your post yesterday then I would be getting the spreadsheet updated. However, I've only just read your post on "New Year's Day" and I don't want to break my NY resolution of "Don't buy anything else until - I've fully used what I've got, keep what works, sell what doesn't, identify any gaps, try something else". I tend to go straight to steps 4 and 5 with a bit of 3 thrown in and ignore 1:blush:.
 
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