Micro 4/3 Suggestions please

Dewi Sant

Veteran
Location
Lancashire, England
Real Name
Guess?
Hi folks, new fella who signed up here earier today so go gentle. :)

If possible I'd like some feedback on a couple of cameras I've shortlisted. I've been using DSLR cameras for a good few years with a few digital compacts thrown into the mix along the way. I do a fair number of road trips - either by motorcycle ot sportscar, both of which are limited for luggage space and the last couple of trips in the car ( we get less in the boot / trunk of that than we do in the panniers of the bike) have been a bit of a struggle carrying the camera rucksack. It got to the point where I couldn't be bothered stopping to take photos because it was such a squash getting the camera back in the boot when I was done.

Recently I did a short trip over to Amsterdam - not by car or bike, I flew over this time. Instead of taking the DSLR I just popped a cheap and cheerful Panasonic P&S in my bag and walked around the city photographing everything I could - and had a great time doing it. I got me to thinking that maybe it was time to go for one the smaller compact, larger sensor cameras to take on my travels, it makes sense right? I drew up a list of requirements and it looked like I was going to have to go for an interchangeable lens jobbie. I'm not bothered about carryng the camera in my pocket, I just don't want to lug the DSLR around anymore, it's too cumbersome and heavy for travel photography andI I'm not getting any younger!

The short list got shorter and takes into consideration budget (important as I never spend a fortune on cameras) & size as well as camera specs and it came down to two: The Olympus E-PL5 or the Fuji X-M1 I originally said I wanted an APS-C sized sensor but seeing the quality of some of the latest Micro 4/3 camera images I have to say, I'm blown away by them - especially those produced by the little Olympus. So, my question is can anyone give me some insight into these two cameras on "What they're like to live with " basis? Or, indeed if anyone has any other suggestions I'm open to hear them. I shoot a bit motorsport for which I don't expect to be able to use either of these two cameras - I'll keep the Canon DSLR for that.

Just as a side note, I've not held or touched either of these two cameras as yet, because with the onset of the internet we've now lost all of our camera shops in the area so I have literally nowhere to go within easy striking distance to give them a proper look. I am aware that the X-M1 is a plastic body and kit lens & that for me could be a deal breaker - I am VERY hard on my gear. It has to withstand being dropped occasionally (I'm incurably clumsy), wet and exposed to extremes of temperature. Not to mention being stuffed into the bike panniers or the car boot. My present Canon 550D body is holding up well depspite being dropped down a small cliff in Iceland, soaked and covered in dust shooting several motorsport events, it was soaked again shooting a storm here in the UK (had to wash it under the tap to get the salt residue off it after that) and exposed to ultra high temps in the middle of an Andalucian heatwave! Miraculaoulsy it still works, and this was a camera that when I first picked it up I thought it felt flimsy and poorly made!

The kind of photography I do is pretty much covered here on my website: http://www.dewisant-photography.net/

And on my travel blog site: :http://www.dewisant-photography.net/y_ogb_travelsite_frontpage.htm


Any advice / help or suggestions to help me make a good choice of smaller camera will be greatly appreciated

Thanks, D
 

wt21

Hall of Famer
I find the controls on the XM1 to be easier/better than the EPL5. The EPL5 is a bit too fiddly, and the mode dial is easy to knock out of place. If you don't need the tilty LCD, then the EPM2 is almost easier to use in some ways. If you do want the tilty screen, then the EPL5 is better.

The XM1 is easier to use, but the lenses tend to be bigger. It's slower focusing. but for scenic stuff, maybe you don't care.

How about a different m43 body -- like a used OMD. Is that too big? Panasonic GX1? Nex 6? My favorite for traveling light is the Sony RX100, and the mkii has the flippy screen. It is VERY surprising image quality.

If you are stickler for the absolute best lenses, then check out one of the mirrorless, but if you just want better image quality, but still travel light, I think the RX100 can't be beat.

check out the RX100 image thread: https://www.photographerslounge.org/showthread.php?t=16336&page=42&p=162747#post162747
 

BBW

Legend
Location
betwixt and between
Real Name
BB
Dewi, I'm not going to offer any advice but I will say that I appreciate your adding your links so we can see your work. Though I've only had a chance to click on a couple, I'm impressed.:thumbsup:
 

Luckypenguin

Hall of Famer
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Real Name
Nic
I love the idea of an ILC camera the size of the E-PL5 and having used the E-M5 and E-P5 for a while I know the sensor inside out. What would give me pause over the E-PL5 is it's rear control dial, that it has only one dial, and that in reality it would likely be too small in my hands. What the X-M1 (and X-A1) have in their favour is that Fujifilm has seen fit to use twin control dials on their lower priced cameras. I really wish that my NX300 had twin dials. Out of the two Fujis I suspect that I would choose the X-A1 over the X-M1 since it is cheaper and I think that I would prefer the output of it's more "standard" sensor design.
 

serhan

Hall of Famer
Location
NYC
You have very nice shots. I think first decide on the lenses and then maybe check the camera. Are you looking at a small/big zoom, primes, for a zoom how wide/long, etc? I prefer 24-xx zooms in my trips and even used a lx3 also. Fuji has nice lenses but they are bigger also. Sony (eg nex-3n+16-50) and Panasonic (gm1) have small 12-xx zooms which makes the cameras similar or even smaller then lx3. Then you can add a prime or 2 for low lighting and should be a good, small set up. Also it is hard to beat m43 af speeds esp at night, that is my optimum travel set up so far...
 

BigTam

Regular
Location
Dortmund, Germany
Real Name
Ron
I concur: look at the lenses. Are they the ones you need/like? If you want small, m43 is considerably smaller and lighter than APS, without sacrificing quality. Bodies come and go (and depreciate), lenses last.
 

pdh

Legend
Here's my suggestion (I repeat this ad nauseam):


Forget about specifications, or indeed other peoples' opinions

Pick up the cameras you fancy.

Buy the one you don't want to put down.

Take pictures with it.
 

pdh

Legend
Let's be realistic - no-one is ever (has ever) been able to find a single place where they can handle all the cameras on a long shortlist. There are far too many cameras out there for that.
And the "performance" of cameras now are so close that no-one can reasonably tell the difference between the physical quality of the images. Really.
So, what matters most is whether it feels easier and more comfortable to take a photograph with one camera rather than another.
Reading endless contradictory opinions on the virtues and vices of a dozen cameras is an activity in itself and no doubt can be enjoyable, but frankly Dewi is better off going into LCE and a few other stores and having a play with a few (NW England is surprisingly rich in camera shops, the lucky buggers)
 

Luke

Legend
Location
Milwaukee, WI USA
Real Name
Luke
everyone is entitled to throw in their two cents (or pence). Let's not start bickering.

The opinion of "i think they're all good enough, buy the one that feels right" is just as valid as a very specific analysis of the merits of a few different cameras from one person's point of view.

p.s. - this moderator just got back from vacation is neither well rested nor interested in being a referee this evening.
 

Dewi Sant

Veteran
Location
Lancashire, England
Real Name
Guess?
Blimey! Sorry i asked now. :) I've pretty well made my mind up now anyways, so tomorrow I'll go find the one I want, handle it and make the decision. Thanks for all the replies but I really don't want to be the cause of any in-fighting here via asking an innocent question so I'll bow out of this now.

Dewi :biggrin:
 

Luke

Legend
Location
Milwaukee, WI USA
Real Name
Luke
Dewi,
this is a family like any other. It means we're close......and sometimes we get a little too close. There's a lot of stress around the holidays. It sounds like you've gleaned some good advice through the family bickering. I hope you stick around to share your experiences with your new camera.
 

Dewi Sant

Veteran
Location
Lancashire, England
Real Name
Guess?
I'm only bowing out of the topic, Luke. :) I'm not naive enough to think everyone on a forum is sweetness and light. I look forward to some not quite so heated discussions here in the future.

A big thanks to all the guys who chipped in with opinions and advice.
D
 

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Location
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Real Name
Miguel Tejada-Flores
Dewi -

I've never used an X-M1 - but have an E-PL5 and have only good things to say about it. It's an incredible camera in a tiny package with a remarkable sensor. With tiny pancake lenses it's almost pocketable. And it produces fantastic images.

But your comment about being tough on your gear makes me echo Ivoire's comment - an OMD M5 is truly built to take torturous exposure to all kinds of horrendous conditions and weather and whatnot - and keep functioning well. If you're truly going to be packing this gear in dirty wet and generally lousy conditions, I think the M5 might be better.

And, yes, it's bigger than the PL5. But a damn fine camera, too.

Good luck!
 

Dewi Sant

Veteran
Location
Lancashire, England
Real Name
Guess?
Thanks for that Miguel, I was going to leave this thread alone but it would be rude not to reply to you after your good advice. After considering all the options It looks like I'll be going for the E-PL5. It strikes the right balance for me between image quality, build qualty, size & cost. Above all, the images I've seen from this little camera so far, especially with a prime lens fitted, have been outstanding. The Video's not the best I've seen, but it's not the worst either and although I do shoot video (badly) it will be predominently a stills tool.

I think I Imentioned somewhere that I never buy expensive camera bodies, I am hard on my kit but by the time it's packed in from exhaustion, ugrades are usually availabe. This enables me to buy new and hopefully improved gear (not always the case I know) as most manufactuers now offer the latest sensor technology which they fit into more expensive kit, in a cheaper body. I will spend money on lenses though so tend to take better care of those, but there again accidents happen - the Canon 550D body had my 17-40 'L' lens on it when I dropped in off the small cliff in Iceland (couldn't feel my fingers they were so cold). Thankfully both survived, as did I after climbing down to retrieve it, the UV fitler didn't sadly and the camera screen looks a bit "used" but it all adds character :) After the incident when they got covered in dried sea salt after photographing a storm & I had run them under a cold water tap to get it all off, the 550D stopped working - no surprise there I suppose. I was going out to buy another body the following weekend but it came back to life the day before and has been working ok since!


The Olympus will be purely my travel camera, for everything else I'll carry on using the Canon DSLR. As already mentioned I'm not a "gearhead" in any way at all, a Camera to me is just a means to an end - if it takes great images I'm happy. Since I stopped doing photogrpahy for a living I've rarely ever had more than one camera and a couple of lenses. I'd normally keep the Canon and replace it when it breaks, but I have another road trip planned for next year and very little space in our little sports car for 3 weeks luggage and the SLR bag - hence wanting something smaller.

Thought some may like to see a few shots of the type of places we get to. The first two are me (taken by my wife on her little Panasonc Lumix) 10,000 ft up of the Gornergrat in Switzerland during hailstones and rain - it was also freezing, and the rain was torrential when we got back down to Zermatt! The other two are mountain passes, the first is the Furka Pass in Switzerland - we had to stop here because of rockfalls which had been brought down by heavy overnight rain, and the second is the Stelvio Pass in Italy looking down from the top, all taken earlier this year

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Dewi :)
 

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