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Old Jan 28, 2015, 4:08 PM   #1
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Default First CSC - a few questions

Hi there,

Having only ever owned compact cameras, I have decided I would like to upgrade to something that can produce better photographs, particularly as I am due to go on a long holiday. I have ruled out DSLRs due to size and cost, as well as Bridge cameras. I have decided I would like to buy a csc, which will provide me with better quality and scope to learn more about taking photos, whilst being a bit more portable than bigger cameras. I am however, constrained a bit by money and cannot opt for the more expensive models.

So I am looking at the Panasonic GM1 and the Sony A5100. Any thoughts on which is better value? And are there some other cameras I should consider?

Also, one question I would really like help with is about lenses - if I was to buy the Sony CSC, what other type of lens would be useful to buy? I will be wanting to use my camera for holidays, events, landscapes etc. Given that I am buying a camera that can use multiple lenses I need to have an idea of what type of other lens I might need or use! In this sense I am not clear on what the lens it comes with is useful for - I presume it is fairly standard. But how far does it reach i.e. what would its equivalent be in terms of optical zoom?

Any help with these questions would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old Jan 28, 2015, 6:51 PM   #2
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If price is a significant factor, Samsung's NX3000 is worth a look.... though the Sony and Panny' offer in built flashes as opposed to the Samsung's "add-on" (supplied) and have a higher spec' in several areas...

Most "kit" lenses are in the 18-50mm range (or roughly a 3x zoom)... offering a decent "walkabout" outdoor lens- and the high resolution of the Sony sensor enables you to maybe crop the image a bit (with less impact on overall IQ)- thus offering a touch more zoom than you might think..!

Beware however- given your "financial constraints" purchasing other lenses can get rather expensive....
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Old Jan 29, 2015, 1:40 AM   #3
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the sony A5100 has a bigger sensor than the GM1, which can lead to better pics and more detail.

without knowing you, it's hard to say what lenses would work for you. i have the sony A6000 with the kit lens, 50mm 1.8 and the 55-210, and i like 'em all. they're a nice group of lenses overall, although there are more in my future. do you have any idea what focal ranges you've been shooting with your compacts? if you can nail a couple, the sigma primes might be a good way to go, as they're sharp and look great, and are pretty reasonably priced.

i also have a panasonic G3 along with the kit lens, some old canon FD lenses and the 45-150, which i find isn't quite long enough for my needs, so gonna buy the 45-200, which i regret having sold. there are some very nice lenses in the micro four thirds system, but again it depends on what focal ranges you are interested in, and whether you want stabilization, which might lead to an olympus if you want primes.
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Old Jan 29, 2015, 6:45 AM   #4
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According to DxOMark, the Sony has about a stop less image noise and about a stop and a half more dynamic range than the Panasonic.

But an important consideration when selecting an interchangeable lens camera is the quality and cost of the lenses. The Sony has a larger image sensor, which helps with noise and DR, but it places greater demands on the lens, and as a result, its lenses tend not to perform as well and/or cost more that equivalent lenses for the Panasonic.

Also, Panasonic's optical image stabilization tends to perform better than Sony's.
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Old Jan 29, 2015, 2:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. I am afraid I don't understand the technical terms about the lenses as I am a novice who has only used a compact. Although I get the point about the lenses the cameras come with being for standard photography with the equivalent of only about 3 x zoom. Does it therefore make sense to get an extra lens that can zoom much further? As stated, I will be using it for general purpose, occasions, and also to take holiday photos of cities, skylines, landscapes, perhaps animals if I go on a safari, insects, trees, people etc.

Sounds like the Sony produces a bit better quality images, but then again the GM1 seems even smaller / compact that the Sony...
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Old Jan 29, 2015, 3:57 PM   #6
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Sorry about the jargon. Suffice it to say that you'd get better image quality from the Sony than the Panasonic.

As for lenses, you'll generally get better image quality from multiple lenses of more modest zoom ranges, than a jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none lens, and they'll probably be cheaper too.

For instance, the Sony 16-50 sells for $150 (when bought with an A5100) and the Sony 55-210 costs $350, for a total of $500. But the Sony 18-200 costs $850.
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Old Jan 29, 2015, 4:16 PM   #7
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Ok I think I have started to get my head around the basics of different focal lengths. All the lenses seem hugely expensive for both these cameras. However, it would seem that I can get a 55-210 for the Sony, which along with the kit 16-50 probably gives me plenty of versatility. The camera would cost about 370 and the extra lens I mention, about 180 totalling about 550.

Similarly I could buy the GM1 for 429 (which comes with 12-32mm) and get a 45-150mm lens for 176, totalling about 605.

So for about 550 to 600 I can get a fairly versatile good quality camera and lenses, that will provide better quality images than a compact and take up less space than a DSLR. Sony works out a bit cheaper and is bit better quality, but GM1 is really small.

Am I on the right track...

Cheers.
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Old Jan 29, 2015, 6:13 PM   #8
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Absolutely.

BTW, you should also know that, since the Panasonic uses a smaller image sensor, a smaller focal length will produce a similar angle of view. So, the Panasonic 12-32 and the Sony 16-50 are about the same.
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Old Jan 29, 2015, 7:43 PM   #9
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Thankyou. Just a few more questions - if the GM1's 12-32mm is about the same as the Sony 16-50mm and a 4/3 45-150mm lens is equivalent to 90-300mm, does it matter that neither lenses cover between 50mm and 90mm? Sorry if this is a stupid question!

Secondly, given that the Sony kit lens of 16-50mm plus a 55-240mm would provide roughly the equivalent of x 13 zoom, does the combination of GM1 lenses suggested above provide more zoom i.e. between 12 and 300mm?

Lastly, would I ever really need 13 x zoom or more? I ask because I had a x 12 zoom compact, but I never really zoomed that much cos picture went so blurred, or would zooming be better quality with these CSCs compared to compacts?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 29, 2015, 9:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whichcamera View Post
Thankyou. Just a few more questions - if the GM1's 12-32mm is about the same as the Sony 16-50mm and a 4/3 45-150mm lens is equivalent to 90-300mm, ...
Not quite. Now you're getting into '35mm equivalent focal length'. The m4/3 12-32mm lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 24-64mm. But on an APS-C body like the A5100, an 18-43mm lens would have the same 35mm equivalent focal length. And while the m4/3 45-150mm lens would have a 35mm equivalent focal length of 90-300mm, an APS-C lens would use a 60-200mm lens to obtain the same angle of view.

It's a little bit tricky to have to do the math every time, but rest assured that it does make sense even though that may not be apparent at first glance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whichcamera View Post
... does it matter that neither lenses cover between 50mm and 90mm?
Well, that's actually closer to the 35mm equivalent focal length of 64-90mm, but it really only matters depending on what you want to shoot. I fancy myself a medium telephoto kind of guy, so I might miss it, but that's up to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whichcamera View Post
Secondly, given that the Sony kit lens of 16-50mm plus a 55-240mm would provide roughly the equivalent of x 13 zoom, does the combination of GM1 lenses suggested above provide more zoom i.e. between 12 and 300mm?
First, the Sony is a 55-210mm lens, not a -240, and second, the Panasonic would be from 12 to 150mm, which is roughly the same zoom range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whichcamera View Post
Lastly, would I ever really need 13 x zoom or more? I ask because I had a x 12 zoom compact, but I never really zoomed that much cos picture went so blurred, or would zooming be better quality with these CSCs compared to compacts?
Again, it depends on what you want to shoot, but whatever that might be, they'll give you a good chance at capturing it.
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