G1-X thought process (long)

Started Jan 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Danel
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G1-X thought process (long)
Jan 29, 2012

I am a currently a two system user. I have one Sony kit with an A55 and a Nikon kit with the D7000. These are both great cameras, but for some time now I have been thinking about getting a smaller, high IQ camera.

I started out looking at the Sony NEX system. The NEX cameras meet my requirement of having DSLR like image quality. The bodies are very small and svelt looking. The trouble is, other than the NEX 7 (which is hard to find), none of these cameras offer both an eye level view finder and an LCD (I want both). An even bigger problem is that, while the cameras are small, the lenses are not. The only Sony NEX lens that is what I would consider small is the 16mm pancake lens. Sure you can use other maker's primes with adapters and manual focus with focus peaking, but this is not what I am looking for in a small camera. I want a zoom lens for the versatility.

Then I thought the Nikon 1 cameras might be what I am looking for in a small high IQ camera. However, Nikon, in their brilliance, made one with a view finder but no flash, and another with a flash but no view finder. I find this to be annoying because these are not cheap cameras. For $650 to $850 you would think they could put both an eye level viewfinder and a flash on a camera. With the J1, an eye level view finder is not even an option. With the V1 you can buy a flash for another $179, bringing the price for this little 10mp camera up over a thousand dollars. Plus, with the flash attached, the V1 starts to become a larger and heavier camera. So, you end up spending over a $1000 for a nice, fast focusing, little camera with a short 27- 81mm (equivalent) kit lens. If you want anything over 81mm equivalent, suddenly the lenses start getting bigger and the whole kit starts getting bigger, heavier, and more expensive. I already have two DSLR kits. I don't want to get into spending that much money and still not having the lens coverage I want. If Nikon had a small collapsible 27 to 120 lens, and the camera had both an eye level view finder and a flash, and the whole package was $849 dollars, I would be very interested.

Of course, there is always the micro four thirds option. Of the micro four thirds cameras the one that I am most interested in is the Panasonic G3 because of the good IQ of the 16mp sensor. It also has both an eye level view finder and a built in flash. Yeehaw! I can buy the camera, body only, or with the included too large kit lens for $599. This seems reasonable to me. Of course this is not a small package because the included kit lens is not small and this isn't the smallest micro 4/3rds body. If I want a small package I have to buy the collapsible 14-42 lens for another $400. Suddenly, I'm up to $1000 again. Maybe I could Ebay the kit lens and get back $100 lowering my cost to $900. Still, I now have $900 into a camera that only gives me the equivalent of 42-84mm coverage. If I want more focal length range my costs go over $1000 dollars again and the size of the package becomes much larger.

Suddenly, the G1-X starts looking surprisingly (to me) good. For $800 I get a larger than 4/3rds sensor with (I assume) DSLR level image quality. I get both an eye level view finder and a built in flash. Wahoo! I get a lens that is both wide enough and long enough that it covers a focal range I can live with. When not in use, it collapses into a small enough and light enough package to meet my needs in that regard. I originally thought the price was way to high for the G1-X. However, when I look at the alternatives it starts to look like a pretty good deal. I know that the Nikon 1 cameras focus faster, but I have DSLRs if I need faster focus. The NEX cameras have terrific IQ but the lenses are bigger than the cameras if you want anything other than a prime. Micro 4/3rds have a nice system, but I don't really want a 3rd system camera with the associated accessories and costs. For me, the G1-X seems to best fit what I'm looking for in a compact, high IQ camera.

Opinions and/or comments welcome

 Danel's gear list:Danel's gear list
Canon PowerShot SD800 IS Canon PowerShot G15 Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II +5 more
Nikon 1 J1 Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D7000 Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony SLT-A55
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