Thoughts on Small Sensors in a CSC World

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
Down Under
Mark
I think Im sorted for a compact for the moment - the problem with this site is that it is all too easy to get sucked in to wanting more gear than I actually need :)
Very true Martin, very true! Here I am sold on getting the FA31 for my Pentax - I have drooled over this lens for far too many years....and it now has be in its grasp - and out the other end will pop the Sigma DP2 once a suitable buyer can be found ;) But when I look at the price on my FA lens, and then look at what's written on the ticket of an X100, then I get a little hesitant. Seeing the outputs from some folks makes me wonder whether I can just do with the x100 for the same price. But I am going to be strong....STRONG! BB, Don and co, you will not win! :drama:

But I'm glad you're happy with the s95. It's an addictive little unit really. Be nice with a VF, but then it might not fit in my Levis.

I am not advocating dumping the DSLR's; quite the opposite. I just find the latest series of fast glass compacts have much to commend them.
Couldn't agree more Lili. But its funny that as much as I love using the s95, I do lament when I'm back at the computer saying"That shot worked, butif only I'd shot it with the Dp2 or Kr..." Its just amazing what more you can pull out of the data from the bigger sensor. Hence, why the s95 will always be called the Sketchbook....as the GRDII was before it.

Do you want a zoom lens?

If the answer is yes, then the latest breed of high quality compacts is the only answer.
Jono, how about the GRD mate?
 
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P.H

Regular
Apr 4, 2011
Derby, UK
This is a timely thread, I'm see sawing between sticking with the LX5 that I've had and enjoyed for nine months or changing to a G3. Frankly this thread isn't helping, I've changed my mind back and forth half a dozen times while reading it. I'm a one camera person, I'll either take my camera with me or not, I'm too much of a ditherer to have to choose which camera to take.
On the LXs side, I'm getting to understand it, the IQ is good in decent light at reasonable ISO, I like the feel and look of it, and the really big one it goes with me far more than any other camera I've owned.
The argument to swapping is pretty much laid out here, better IQ, better low light and high ISO performance, the ability to try some different lenses (I like the look of the 20mm 1.7) and VF which I really miss on the LX.
The only downside of swapping is size, I keep convincing myself I would carry it as much, but who's to know? It could be an expensive mistake.
So, not much to add to the general debate, I'll keep reading and see where it goes...
 

mmacleodbrown

Regular
Oct 10, 2010
London
Very true Martin, very true! Here I am sold on getting the FA31 for my Pentax - I have drooled over this lens for far too many years....and it now has be in its grasp - and out the other end will pop the Sigma DP2 once a suitable buyer can be found ;)
You really need to go for the FA31 - you have been waiting for years, and you sound like you will really appreciate its finer qualities - remember, good glass is forever..
Todays X100 will become tomorrows X101 etc etc
Be strong, buy the FA31 and in a couple of years time, get yourself a new sketchbook that will be better than anything you can get today - win win situation!
 

Pelao

All-Pro
Jul 11, 2010
Ontario, Canada
Stephen
I really like the idea of tiny lenses and a m4/3 body, but being realistic, Im not sure we are there yet in capability. Not enough lenses, and the body size is becoming less of an issue now. Take the K5, it is not that much bigger than the new G3, and yet far more capable. When you take that body size, with the selection of lenses and the functionality of the DSLR - it is a winner!
If I were to buy a more traditional DSLR today (and not full-frame) it would likely be the K5. I like the size and ergonomics, the results are solid and Pentax lenses are, I think, very good. The K5 is indeed a winner.

Having said that, I don't agree with your assessment, based on my experience and needs.
First, in terms of size, the G3 is certainly smaller than the K5, and the body is half the weight, or, put another way, the K5 is twice the weight of the G3 (based on the specs I have found).

In terms of lenses, personal needs and choice certainly come into play. The K5 has a wider range to choose from, but realistically, how many lenses does a person really use or need? With M 4/3 my needs are covered, with the options growing.

Capability is another thing altogether. A lot depends on what you shoot, and, I feel, even more depends on your final output requirements (if your primary output is the web, for example, and you don't shoot action sports, where is the K5 advantage?). In terms of overall image quality at sensor level, there seems no question that the K5 is better. I think users just have to decide if that degree of 'better' will be noticeable for their needs.

The G3 brings a VF, a flexible screen and what appears to be excellent image quality - all in a tiny package.

I certainly admire the K5, but I also know that in reality if I pack it and a couple of lenses it will be much larger, heavier, and bulkier than a G3, and certainly more intrusive.

I suppose my real point is this: capability can be stated in absolute terms, but I feel that this is an interesting, but not useful exercise: it merely states specifications and what a piece of gear might be able to do.

I prefer to look at capability in the realm of what a person likes to shoot, their final output, and what degree of portability and availability they require. For example, like others I really admire some of the ISO 3200 results many cameras now bring - but I don't need it. Interesting capability, but of no consequence to me.

I would love a K5, but would likely leave it at home.
 

jonoslack

Veteran
May 6, 2011
Jono, how about the GRD mate?
Ah - but I'm the guy who does want the zoom lens.
Incidentally I bought an X100 for exactly the reason you are thinking about, really got to know it, good and bad bits . . . . then I started leaving it behind and going back to the K5 and realised that in 3 more weeks I wouldn't be using it at all. So I got rid of it.
two things for me:

1. if it won't fit in a pocket I need a bag, and if I need a bag then a K5 with the 18-135 is small and very capable
2. I can't live with one focal length - not however hard I try and persuade myself.

Get your FA31 - at least if you change your mind in a year you'll be able to sell it secondhand and buy two X100s!

all the best
 

Pelao

All-Pro
Jul 11, 2010
Ontario, Canada
Stephen
Get your FA31 - at least if you change your mind in a year you'll be able to sell it secondhand and buy two X100s!
I have not had the pleasure of using this lens, but I know of some who have it and swear they will never let it go...:)
 

mmacleodbrown

Regular
Oct 10, 2010
London
Interesting points Pelao..
I think this is a very personal thing to each individual..
For me, as a typical non bag carrying male, if it doesn't fit in a pocket - it isn't coming out with me..
The S95 does, which is why I have it..

You are right about the G3, it is a bit smaller than the K5, but still too big, if I have to have a bag for a camera, then I might as well have a DSLR, Im never going to need more than 3 lenses with me, so a small bag will do..

Lenses and output is another matter altogether. I see what you mean re the web output statement, it is a valid point, but I feel short term. Any photo I take, may only end up on a hard drive or flickr now, but who is to know 5yrs down the line whether I want to print it on canvas and hang it somewhere? I dont, and want to have the best quality output I can for any future use I might have..

"The G3 brings a VF, a flexible screen and what appears to be excellent image quality - all in a tiny package"
I couldn't agree more...
Having said that, the G3 sensor quality is not really an issue here as it is really good, which tempted me into looking at it..
It fell down over size - just and lenses, there isn't really a fast well regarded zoom (I think), a decent macro (I have yet to see a review that recommends the Leica for the price which is very very expensive) and the numerous accessories such as wireles triggers, flash diffusers etc - they are there, but still quite pricey

Please don't think Im bashing m4/3, Im not, and I can see me moving to a m4/3 system if it carries on improving as much as it has done recently, but that will be a few years off yet as it isn't there for me yet..

I hadn't really looked at m4/3 up until a few weeks ago, I think the G3 is a massive step in the right direction, and I will be keeping an eye on it for the future as I think Canikon should be worried as it will have an impact on the entry level DSLR market..

As for capabilty, it is the person and not the gear, the equipment is just a means to an end, and that end is unique to every person.
 

jonoslack

Veteran
May 6, 2011
I think this is a very personal thing to each individual..
For me, as a typical non bag carrying male, if it doesn't fit in a pocket - it isn't coming out with me..
The S95 does, which is why I have it..
Absolutely - I just compared the S95 and the XZ-1 today at lunchtime, and it's the difference between jeans pocket and not jeans pocket - which is a huge difference.

Girls have purses, and there wouldn't be so much difference in a modest purse, which would make the Olympus much more desirable.

Actually, I generally do take a bag - but I like it to be a small and capable bag, and a K5 w 18-135 and the 35 macro is a small and very capable bag.

Like you I can't see the good mid range zoom for m43, and I suspect that even if there was one it would need my small capable bag just as much as the K5.
 

soundimageplus

Top Veteran
Jul 6, 2010
On the 31mm its a slippery slope. Because then you'll want the 43mm and 77mm too!!

I had a K-5 and liked it very much, but am now trying a Nikon D5100. Same sensor, very light (only 100g more than a GH2) In many ways its faster than the K-5 (AF - larger buffer) and I like it very much. No weather sealing or body IS, which I have no problem with but others might. Only uses AF-S lenses which means a limited choice of small light lenses, though the 35mm f/1.8 is excellent.

I had doubts about ever using a Nikon again but this a camera I like.

In terms of what I like using and feel comfortable with, a GF1/E-P1 size camera is the smallest I'd ever consider, both in terms of sensor and physical size. I've tried a few small sensor compacts, a D-LUX3 being the last, but my sense of disappointment at the results always outweighs any convenience factor.

The difference of a few cm's and grms. doesn't bother me and any temporary "inconvenience" of carrying a bit of extra weight and size is always tempered by the fact that I know that I will be able to look at the images a few years down the line and not wish I'd used something better.
 

Pelao

All-Pro
Jul 11, 2010
Ontario, Canada
Stephen
martin

I hear you about the pocket thing. I don't currently have a truly pocketable camera with the quality that I want. That's on a wish list.

Good point about future - proofing your images for possible printing etc.

Until recently I had a Canon 20D as a back up for my 5D (both now sold), and that 20D is about the same size as a K5, although Pentax has, in my view, a strong advantage over Canon in terms of small, top-quality primes. I have found that for me, even a camera that size is just too big, and so yes my M4/3 and 2 or 3 lenses require a bag, but it's way less weight and bulk than my DSLRs. it's not the bag that bothers me, it's the weight and bulk.

But, as you say, it's what each person needs, will use and can afford.

I have pulled back gear wise in the last 6 months. I had too much, and too many options. By simplifying to one camera and a few lenses I am forcing a good study of my photography, and balancing my wants, needs and resources.

M4/3 is not yet a system with which I am truly happy (and as you point out has nothing like the ecosystem o associated equipment) but it's the best compromise I can find, and I am enjoying my photography, and taking more photographs than I have in a long time.

My current dream setup would be a med format for landscapes, an M9 and a few lenses and a small pocket job that has the quality I like.

Back to work to earn the needed cash...
 

Lili

Hall of Famer
Oct 17, 2010
Dallas, TX
Lili
Absolutely - I just compared the S95 and the XZ-1 today at lunchtime, and it's the difference between jeans pocket and not jeans pocket - which is a huge difference.

Girls have purses, and there wouldn't be so much difference in a modest purse, which would make the Olympus much more desirable.

Actually, I generally do take a bag - but I like it to be a small and capable bag, and a K5 w 18-135 and the 35 macro is a small and very capable bag.

Like you I can't see the good mid range zoom for m43, and I suspect that even if there was one it would need my small capable bag just as much as the K5.
Even with non-designer-jeans that actually have usable pockets I have never carried a camera in them, my soon-to-be-departed F70 does fit well even in tight/small pockets but I fear scratching or ingesting dust. My XZ resides in a mini-messenger bag, which I can use as a light purse, along with a lens pen and a spare battery.
I have played with the S90/95 and they are excellent save for the lens being too slow for me at the long end.
If I am to have speed I want it all!
 
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stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
Down Under
Mark
Having said that, I don't agree with your assessment, based on my experience and needs.
First, in terms of size, the G3 is certainly smaller than the K5, and the body is half the weight, or, put another way, the K5 is twice the weight of the G3 (based on the specs I have found)
@ Pelao: Here I was referring to the differences between the G2 and the K-r. According to the specs it's
G2:124 x 84 x 74 mm (4.88 x 3.31 x 2.91") - 428 g (0.94 lb / 15.10 oz)
vs.
K-r: 125 x 97 x 68 mm (4.92 x 3.82 x 2.68") - 598 g (1.32 lb / 21.09 oz)
So no much difference really!

On the 31mm its a slippery slope. Because then you'll want the 43mm and 77mm too!!
@soundimageplus: Nothing to fear while Pentax stays away from full frame - as the 43 and 77 focal lengths are too long for me in the equivalencies - hence the 31mm is positioned just right at 46mm as a fast 50mm...and I can't wait to try it on full frame....then we'll have a drama needing the other FA Ltds :smile1:

@Lili: Hear, hear to your keen eye.
Originally Posted by Pelao
"By simplifying to one camera and a few lenses I am forcing a good study of my photography, and balancing my wants, needs and resources."

Originally Posted by mmacleodbrown
"As for capabilty, it is the person and not the gear, the equipment is just a means to an end, and that end is unique to every person."
You spotted these just nicely. Little wonder your photography is, likewise, spot-on. Well done!

Great discussion! Why I love this Forum and it's members!:grouphug:
 

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