Need help finding the right Mirrorless camera...

pgriz

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I have some experience with DSLR and SLR cameras, but the mirrorless category (as opposed to P&S) is a new one for me. So does anyone have some review sites that give a good summary of the different offerings? I have asked some of my fellow DSLR enthusiasts who also use the mirrorless cameras, and Panasonic G-series often gets mentioned. Looking at the Panasonic site, there are many models (G5, G6, GF6, GX6, GH6, etc....) and it is not immediately clear what the differences are. Canon has a model (EOS M), and Nikon has the "1" series, Sony has the NEX (5,6,7) series, Olympus has the E-P series, and so on. The user of the camera will be my daughter, who wants to move up from her P&S and cell-phone cameras, but is not interested in the DSLR cameras. Given what I know of her habits, she doesn't need a high-pixel count (10MP will probably be sufficient), but good low-light performance, fast AF, moderate zoom range (3-4x will probably be sufficient), and a relatively light and pocketable size will all be good features to have. I know she also likes to do some closeup (but not macro), and flash may be a need down the road. Budget is probably around $500-600. I suggested to her that we should look at cameras with RAW capability, as she is starting to look at processing her images. She also would like to have access to more manual controls because she would like to learn more about the photographic tools of Aperture (and depth-of-field), shutter speed (and use with blurring/panning), and selective focus. That tells me a larger sensor would probably be better (less DOF than the P&S cameras) to allow her to use background and/or foreground blurring as a creative tool.

I've already spend several days googling the various review sites and manufacturer web sites, but at this point I have more disconnected factoids and semi-substantiated webpinions, than a more-or-less coherent structure allowing me to decide which offerings give the combination of features that we may be interested in. So, can users of the Mirrorless cameras share their experience, and point me to the review sites that are "more-or-less" reliable? Many thanks in advance.
 

Derrel

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I've been reading reviews of mirrorless cameras off and on, and frankly the image quality has made me NOT interested. But, among the people whose opinions I value, there is one new company that seems to be making some amazing cameras, with fantastic image quality: Fuji. The X-E1

The first is for the guy who wants to be able to interchange lenses.

The Online Photographer: Fuji X-E1: The Keeper (Part I)

The new X100s (the s model has greatly improved AF) seems to be the hot new mirrorless camera for the guy who wants a focus-anywhere, great 35mm equivalent camera with gorgeous image quality, even in JPEG mode. I have owned three Fuji d-slr cameras; one thing I can tell you is that the SOOC JPEG quality, and the unusual, different sensors Fuji has had have given their cameras a huge advantage in scene dynamic range, and color. David Hobby, at Strobist, LOVES this camera for its leaf shutter and it's ability to synch wired flash at high speeds, as well as the amazing SOOC JPEG adjustment parameter system Fuji has invented.
 
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pgriz

pgriz

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Thank you Gary and Derrel - the Fuji was not on the radar for me, so will check this camera out. Probably will have a bunch of questions after... and then I'll be back.

Gary, do you have personal experience with the X1 Pro? What do you like about it? What are the negatives? Thank you again for taking the time to look at this.
 

Derrel

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Not sure if you've seen Thom Hogans entire website devoted to mirrorless cameras, but it has some pretty good "real photographer" type of writing and reviews that a guy like you might find interesting. When it comes to a guy who pulls no punches about design quirks and gotchas of various equipment, it;'s Thom.

Welcome to Sans Mirror | Sans Mirror ? mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras | Thom Hogan

Chase Jarvis, Zack Arias, David Hobby, Michael Reichmann's Luminous Landscape--all those sites have reviewed mirrorless cameras, and especially the Fujis.
 

PropilotBW

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I just convinced a family member to purchase the Nikon 1 J2 system (for $399) over the point and shoot they were considering. A much better camera for $200 less than the Sony he was considering. The camera came with the 10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses. The kit deal was impassable. It is by far the best deal I've seen anywhere, new. You can probably find similar deals elsewhere. This was at Natinoal Camera Exchange.
It is a really nice camera and some of the features are neat...I still like the mirrored DSLR cameras.
 

Ron Evers

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For what its worth.

I was a first adapter in m4/3 with the Pany G1 & then bought a GF1 for my wife. I would not buy another camera without a viewfinder & that is why I never considered an Oly m4/3. Now I have an Oly OMD EM-5 with viewfinder & kit clip-on flash & like it a lot. I do not see myself moving from the m4/3 format with the great array of native lenses plus the adaptability of all the old SLR glass.
 
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pgriz

pgriz

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After looking at some of the suggestions, I'm running into a budget issue. The good mirrorless stuff is at $800 or more. Her budget is $500-600. Don't know what the market for second-hand mirrorless cameras is like, but I think she wants to buy new. Derrel, Thom's site is very good, but there's a lot of reading to do. I'm also going through the DPReview of the mirrorless cameras and trying to get a feel for what each line offers. The good thing is that there are many choices. The bad thing is that there are many choices. Ah. I wasn't going to do anything else useful with my evening anyways. :lol:

Ron, why do you find the viewfinder so important?

Also, a general question - some models have APS-C sensors which are larger than the micro 4/3 format sensors. I would have thought that bigger sensors would mean better image quality and better ability to get thinner DOF. Or am I missing something with respect to image quality and sensor size in the mirrorless cameras?
 

brunerww

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Hi pgriz - the Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, and Fuji micro 4/3 and APS-C cameras are all great - but, as you say, most of the "good" mirrorless cameras are all $800 or more (or at least $750, in the case of the upcoming Panasonic G6).

In your daughter's budget range, I have two recommendations - the $599 (with kit lens) Panasonic G5 or a $390 (body only) Samsung NX20 and a $229 Samsung 18-55mm lens.

The Panasonic G5 has a viewfinder, fast autofocus, a built-in flash, an articulated touchscreen LCD, a smaller-than-a-DSLR micro 4/3 sized sensor, 1080/60p video and can produce images like these: Flickr

The Samsung NX20 also has viewfinder, a built-in flash, an articulated LCD, a DSLR-sized APS-C sensor, built-in wi-fi for wireless sharing -and can produce images like these: Flickr: The Samsung NX20 Pool

I am a Panasonic guy, and micro 4/3 is a mature system with lots of great lenses for your daughter to grow into - but the new Samsung NX system is terrific too, and Samsung looks like they're in the camera business to stay. Tough choice - but if I was a still-only shooter in your daughter's budget range, I would get the Samsung for its larger, higher resolution sensor.

Since I'm a still and video shooter, though, I'll be sticking with Panasonic :)

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
 

ann

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A viewfinder is critical when shooting out side, especially when one wants to be able to see what they are framing.

I have the OMD EM5 and rarely use my d700 any more. Started with a pen-1 and then got a pen 3 and used them as my point and shoot camera. At first I didn't get the attachable viewfinder, but found it difficult for framing out doors. When I got the pen-3, I just included the viewfinder right away, and of course with the OMD, it has a built in finder.
 

brunerww

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...why do you find the viewfinder so important?

+1 to what Ron and Ann said about viewfinders. With an LCD-only camera, shooters can find themselves holding the camera at arm's length in bright sunlight, trying to make out what is on a washed-out LCD screen. I only buy/recommend cameras with viewfinders.

Best,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
 

Ron Evers

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...why do you find the viewfinder so important?

+1 to what Ron and Ann said about viewfinders. With an LCD-only camera, shooters can find themselves holding the camera at arm's length in bright sunlight, trying to make out what is on a washed-out LCD screen. I only buy/recommend cameras with viewfinders.

Best,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution

Visibility in bright light is a major concern but there is also concern in the ability to hand-hold @ arms length with a long lens.
 

pete72

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I can't resist any longer. You've helped persuade me to upgrade my EPL-1.

The OM-D E-M5 has tempted me for a while. The lack of a viewfinder or ability to use a remote release on my EPL-1 has finally sold me so it's about time I bought one as my main camera.
The EPL-1 will go out on loan for a while before returning as my backup.
 

Ron Evers

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I can't resist any longer. You've helped persuade me to upgrade my EPL-1.

The OM-D E-M5 has tempted me for a while. The lack of a viewfinder or ability to use a remote release on my EPL-1 has finally sold me so it's about time I bought one as my main camera.
The EPL-1 will go out on loan for a while before returning as my backup.

Not only will the E-M5 make use of a remote trigger it will wake up from the remote as well; not so my G1, if it goes to sleep it cannot be awakened by a remote. I love this feature for wildlife, the camera set up outside & when the wildlife moves into the subject area a half press wakes the camera to make the shot with a full press; I can be setting in the house watching out the window. ;)

Here is a sample of this technique.

$P6030003.jpg
 

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