Looking for a P&S compliment to my E-M5, advice please.

Started Apr 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
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S. Miller
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Looking for a P&S compliment to my E-M5, advice please.
Apr 8, 2013

Yes, it's another one of those threads. Sorry. I've read the recent ones but would like some advice from those who have (or have used) the XZ-2, LX-7, RX100, or X20 (I've ruled out the Canon S110).

I have an E-M5 and a full compliment of lenses. I'm looking for a camera that I can easily have with me at all times when I leave my house. Additionally, it can be a second or backup camera when on family trips. The easiest summary is that I'm looking for a small, fast, high quality, normal FL range zoom. Oh yeah, I shoot in RAW, FWIW.

I would love to hear anyone's first hand experience with these cameras, keeping in mind that I'm sure they're all very good in normal daylight shooting scenarios. How did you like them in lower light settings? Is the Sony too small? From an ISO perspective, how high would you be comfortable shooting any of these cameras? As far as price, I know I just missed the XZ-2 at $498 last month, but it's down to $549 currently. Anyone seen it lower? The LX-7 was at $300 at one point, but the best I see now is $399 at Amazon. As for the Sony, it doesn't seem like the RX100 ever goes on sale (which probably speaks volumes for demand vs supply).

Thanks in advance,

Steve

What I'm looking for specifically:

  • Size: Doesn't have to be pocketable, but anything larger than a XZ-2 won't fit the bill (the X20 would be a stretch but could possibly work).
  • Fast zoom: Ideal lens (which doesn't exist) would be the f1.4-2.3 speed of the LX-7 combined with the 24 (LX-7) - 112 (XZ-2). I believe either one of the lenses from the XZ-2 or the LX-7 would do nicely.
  • Image Quality: Sure, m4/3 sensor size would be nice, but even the E-PM1 or E-PM2 with a pancake is going to be too big (and more importantly, won't give me the zoom flexibility I'm looking for). I know a lot of people will suggest the E-PM2 and 14 pancake. I don't want this or any similar solution!!! Again, I'm certain that any of these cameras will have great IQ in good conditions, I'm trying to figure out which will be best in typical restaurant, walking around a city, or just hanging out in okay light shots.
  • Video: Would be great if it shoots nice family videos with truly useable AF, but it won't be a huge determining factor.
  • Price: I know $300 to $650 is a large range, but at the end of the day, if I am certain that one camera is significantly better than the others and happens to cost $650 (I'm talking about you Sony), I would buy it. As of now though, the RX100 isn't in my top two. Also if I see a crazy $300 price on the LX-7, that would be tough to keep my finger from clicking "BUY".

What I'm NOT looking for:

  • A second E-M5 body. LOVE the camera, but the purpose of this purchase is to buy a camera that will always be with me. It's sort of a joke that after shooting Canon for so long, I can actually say that the E-M5 is too big, but for this use (low light, 28-90 FL range), it is too big to always have with me.
  • Ditto re: E-PL5, E-PM2, insert tiny m4/3 body here...

So here's my short list, which I doubt will surprise anyone in the market for this type of camera:

  • XZ-2: IQ - I've heard 400-800 is good, but I tested it with low light shots and it seems like 1600 is useable and if I knew I was converting to B&W, would use 3200 (maybe even printing up to 13x19). Size is a touch big, but not too large, mainly because of the tilt screen which I LOVE on my E-M5. Lens: 1/3 stop slower than the LX-7 at 28-90. I lose the 24/1.4 but gain more tele reach. For my shooting style, I slightly prefer the Oly lens range. Video: Probably okay but worse than the LX-7 and definitely worse than the Sony.
  • LX-7: IQ: I assume it's on par with the XZ-2, though I'm not sure if it does as well at higher ISOs. Since I don't really shoot at 24mm, I'm only losing 1/3 stop vs the XZ-2. Size: slightly smaller than the XZ-2. Video: heard good things but don't know for sure. Price: At the former fire sale of $300, this is awfully tough to beat.
  • RX100: IQ: I hear how great the 1" sensor is, but as I see it, the lens is 1.5 to 2 stops slower than the XZ-2 or LX-7, so ISO 800 on the LX-7 (1000 on the XZ-2) is really comparable to 3200 on the RX100. So the sensor has to be at least 1.5 stops better than the other two just to compete. From the quick pics I took in low light at a store, I wasn't THAT impressed (but it could have been user error). Video: sounds like the RX100 is very good.
  • Fuji X20: Wild shot, don't know much about it aside from briefly trying it out at my local store. Seems nice, but the lens makes it a bit too big and I'm not sure it offers anything the XZ-2 or LX-7 don't. For any X20 users, please chime in here as it did feel very nice in hand.
Canon PowerShot S110 Fujifilm X20 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus PEN E-PM1 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Sony RX100
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