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jrj119 Jan 31, 2015 9:35 AM

New Camera Decision - Overwhelmed with Information
I apologize for this being so long.

I am in the market for a new camera. I am fairly experienced, having owned over the years an Olympus OM-2, Hasselblad 500 C/M, Canon EOS-1 and EOS 10S, and a variety of lenses, both fairly fast primes and some zooms. I kind of got away from photography for a number of years for a variety of reasons (I could give you the names of my wife and kids, but I digress). During that time, the world went digital. We’ve had a couple of Panasonic point and shoot zooms with tiny sensors over the last few years which were very unsatisfying, especially with low light performance, and noisy images.

I decided to get back into photography a little more seriously, but was not willing to spring for “full frame” equipment due to both price and size/weight considerations. I purchased a Sony NEX 5 a couple years ago which has been passed on to my son and more recently a Sony a6000 which has been passed on to my daughter. I was very impressed with the a6000, but had a love/hate relationship with it due to the switching between EVF and LCD screen, and the positioning of the MOVIE button which I was frequently turning on unintentionally. The lenses used were the kit zoom 16-50 and the 55-200. I only had it a few months and never got around to purchasing any primes. The images were generally fine, although I have not had anything blown up larger than about 8x10. I did like the camera’s ability to capture images in low light situations.

My main interests are travel photography (with a specific emphasis on low light interiors like gothic cathedrals, medieval castles, historic houses/museums etc.), and landscapes especially sunrises and sunsets. I don’t really care about video very much at all. I do value portability, reduced size and weight a lot more nowadays than I used to.

First question is sensor size. I am looking at the APS-C and m4/3. Will I be unhappy with the low light performance of the m4/3 sensors? A lot of what I read on the internet makes the two formats sound very similar. Is the size difference here a really significant factor or not?

Second question is camera itself. I’d like to keep the initial investment around $2000-$2500. I like the idea of the superzoom lens for a walk around travel lens. I realize there is a lot of compromise in these lenses. Based on internet research, (overwhelmed with information) I am considering the following:

· Olympus OM-D E-M1, with possibly their 14-150 zoom with fast primes to follow later. I like the idea of the 5 axis stabilized body. When I first saw this camera on the net, I had a strong emotional response - took me right back to my OM-2 days.
· Panasonic Lumix DMC GH-4 (or possibly the GH-3) with the 14-140 zoom with fast primes to follow later. I don’t really need the video capabilities.
· Samsung NX-1 with the non-sealed 18-200 lens. The S lenses are probably too pricy for my blood. Main attraction/question on this one is the new backside illuminated sensor. Is it going to be significantly better in low light performance? I don’t really need the video capabilities.
· Sony a6000 with the 18-200 zoom for a walk around travel lens and a couple fast primes for lower light situations. I found in the (horrible) user’s manual how to disable the MOVIE button. The switching between the EVF and screen was a minor annoyance. I did enjoy this camera, and at this price level I could more afford some prime lenses, of course lens selection doesn’t seem that broad for the e-mount.
· Outside contenders might be things like the Samsung NX-30, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, and Olympus OM-D E-M5, and the Fuji XT1.

I haven’t really ruled anything out except going to FX because of the high cost of putting together a lens catalog and the associated weight considerations. I appreciate any input or suggestions that might help me along in my decision process.

Thanks for your help.

TCav Jan 31, 2015 2:41 PM

  1. If you still have some of those EOS lenses, you could get a Canon APS-C dSLR that they would still work with. That would save you a lot of money.
  2. Larger image sensors generally perform a stop or two better in low light situations (all other things being equal.) Sony, Samsung and Fuji use larger sensors that Panasonic and Olympus.
  3. In general, Sony's and Fuji's image stabilization doesn't work as well as the image stabilization offered by the other manufacturers you're considering. When shooting in low light, this can be a significant consideration.
  4. Jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none lenses (18-200mm, 14-140, etc.) don't perform as well as multiple lenses of less ambitious zoom ranges, and they frequently cost more. They're convenient, but that's all they are.

Koolpc Feb 1, 2015 6:39 AM

You know, i always keep returning to Canon!! Tried various makes but the Canon for me just seems the very best at what you would expect a camera to deliver. Ok, that could be down to a user and his or her experience or the ergonomics. Just i love Canon!

SIMON40 Feb 1, 2015 6:52 PM

The Oly 4/3's seem to have a superior stabilizing system to other models- and as such, might offset any advantage the APS-C's have in low light performance- especially if using a prime lens in a dimly lit environment...
Then there's the advantage of the Oly/Panny lenses being compatible with either body/brand...

TCav Feb 1, 2015 9:18 PM


Originally Posted by SIMON40 (Post 1386308)
Then there's the advantage of the Oly/Panny lenses being compatible with either body/brand...

Except that Panasonic puts their image stabilization in their lenses, while Olympus puts it in their bodies. So if you put an Olympus lens on a Panasonic body, you've got no stabilization, and if you put a Panasonic lens on an Olympus body, you've got too much so you have to turn one off.

And while the bodies can compensate for some of the shortcomings of their own lenses, I doubt they can compensate to the shortcomings of the other's lenses.

At first glance, them both using the same lens mount might seem like a plus, but upon closer examination it's really not.

SIMON40 Feb 2, 2015 4:31 AM

Given my post started with the Oly 4/3- I was kinda thinking Panny lens on Oly' body.
Not all of Panny's lenses are stabilized... such as some of their primes...

pcake Feb 2, 2015 5:15 AM

i don't think there's a single right camera. i love my A6000 - of the many cameras i've owned, i find it the most satisfying to use. i like the image quality, and the menu is mostly pretty intuitive. the EVF and screen show you what the actual image will look like as shot, which isn't true of most cameras. i like the location of the 2 dials, and find myself shooting in full manual more than with other cameras because of that. i also love that there are 2 fast stabilized primes - i have the 50mm and will probably get the 35 at some point.

but i'm a huge fan of panasonic micro four thirds cameras, too. i own a G3, and have owned several others. i like the way they handle, love the fully articulated screen, but must admit that my experience is they are a bit noisier than APSC cameras at low light or high ISO. the GH4, btw, is delightful to handle.

my experience with olympus thus far is their old EPL1 and the EPM2. neither was great to handle, and the optional EVF wasn't at all accurate in low light, but the pics were sharp and image colors are generally pleasing. i didn't find the stabilization to be as good as in panny lenses, but i hear it's better on their larger cameras, and i'm currently eying an EM10 with interest. i didn't find the EM1 to be that comfortable in the hand, but that's going to be different for everyone.

jrj119 Feb 6, 2015 6:07 PM

Thanks for the help.
Thanks to everyone for their input. It really helped along my thought process.

I went to the only local camera store that carries much of a selection, and handled the Sony A7II with the Zeiss 55mm f1.8 lens, alongside the Sony a6000. I may have to take back what I said about ruling out “full frame”. Price is still an issue, but I am edging that way. Despite a little more size and weight, I just loved the feel of it, and as TCav has on all his posts, “The lens is the thing.” I think I am heading for a couple quality primes, instead of the long zooms whether I end up with the A7II, the a6000 or the rumored a7000.

I was reviewing the photos from my last trip taken with the a6000. I think it did a pretty good job (in some cases really excellent), but I realized that I probably would have been better off with a faster prime lens in some of the situations, but that more to the point I would have been better off taking more control of what I was doing and not depending on the camera to automatically set things. The exposure (along with the composition, focus, etc.) is my job, and a large part of the fun of photography. I guess I had sort of forgotten that over the years. Thanks again both for your technical help and for helping bring about that realization. I’ll let you know which way I end up going.

jrj119 Feb 20, 2015 10:50 PM

I have pre-ordered a new OM-D E-M5II. Can't wait to get my hands on it. Thanks for everyone's input.

adam agarthar Mar 10, 2015 7:17 AM

There are lot of things to take care to decide a new camera.
1.the need of camera(to shoot portraits, landscapes, macro, sports)
2.megapixels are not that much important in photography
3.keep the considerations for Camera Case,Memory Cards,Spare Batteries/Recharger,Lenses ( DSLR),Filters (lens attachments),Tripods/Monopods,External Flashes,Reflectors

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