From Canon DSLR to ?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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R Dibley
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From Canon DSLR to ?
9 months ago

Hi folks, I am ready to make a live from a DSLR to a mirrorless set up and have narrowed down the choice to one of two main options having read reviews and the forums....now interested to hear you opinions on the options. Note I have posted this in both the Fuji and Micro Four Thirds forums as it is relevant to both. Sorry it is rather a long read.

By way of a little background I made the move from film to digital from a Canon 50E (you remember the one with eye controlled auto focus point selection) with EF 28-105 f3.5-4.5 and EF 100-300 f3.5-4.5 lenses to a 30D. When I made the switch to digital I kept the lenses but also added the EF-S 10-22 F3.5-4.5, EF 17-40 F4L and EF-S 60 F2.8 Macro. I was also given an EF 50 F1.8 MK1.

This set up has given me great service and produced some excellent images although I have never been fully satisfied with the lens selection and more resolution would be great. Although my lenses cover a very good range from 16mm to 480mm 135 equivalent there are a few issues with it.

Taking each lens in turn:

10-22 EF-S - I love this lens. The angle of view produces some awesome perspective shots. The build quality it pretty good and the auto focus is fast. Of course it is EF-S so if I were to continue using it I would need a crop body.

17-40 'standard' zoom. Great build quality, good image quality. Downsides - no image stabilisation, fair slow at F4 (although constant) and a poor range (27 - 64mm 135 equivalent). Would be a great wide angle zoom on full frame.

28- 105 - not a great focal length on a crop sensor and tends to sit at home gathering dust. Build is average (better than cheaper Canon lenses) and image quality average. No image stabilisation.

100-300 - rather slow and not particularly sharp although it does see quite a bit of use when I need something longer than 60mm. No image stabilisation. I always wanted a 70-200F4L IS but never went for it.

60 EF-S Macro - very sharp, great build quality, pretty good focusing speed although as a macro the focus range is huge and there is no limiter so it can be annoying to use for portraits. For use as it is intended I have few complaints.

50 f1.8 Mk1- I was lucky to be given this lens and it has become a favourite. Not the fastest to focus as it uses an arc form motor (which is noisy as well as slow) but unlike the current Mk2 version it has good build quality (metal mount) and a distance scale. It is also very sharp - comparable to my 60 macro and the faster F1.8 aperture means that I prefer it for portraits and more creative use of shallow depth of field.

One of the issues with the above lens selection is the overlap (or lack of overlap) between the 17-40 and the 100-300. It is filled to some extent by the primes although that of course means changing lenses. If it had been available at the time the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM would have been a good choice.

The 30D body has great handling and a lovely magnesium construction but has no live view and no video capability. The lcd is now looking rather small compared to more modern cameras. I do use the built in flash for a spot of fill now and again but I use an external unit if I am relying on flash. Auto focus is pretty solid.

I have held off upgrading as I have a (very expensive) underwater housing and strobe for the 30D body. However this no longer sees any use and will be sold along with the 30D body.

To summarise the shortcomings that I want to address in upgrading:

  • No image stabilisation
  • No 'in camera' video capability
  • Average performance in terms of noise compared to more modern sensors
  • Rather ad hoc collection of glass - I would rather have better matched (and ideally faster) zooms and a couple of fast primes
  • Current set up is bulky and very heavy (although I love the metal construction of the body and 17-40 F4L).
  • I want higher image quality, particularly at high ISO settings.

It seems to me that for the type of photography I mostly do (people/landscapes/macro/street) I do not need the fastest AF (I do not shoot sports much at all) and therefore moving to a mirrorless set up based on contrast detect AF should not be a barrier to taking advantage of the benefits it brings, particularly given the high image quality now possible.

So to the options.....in no particular order.

Option 1

  • Fujifilm e-x1 body
  • XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS
  • XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
  • XF35mmF1.4 R

That comes in at around £1,920 in the UK.

In time I would add the XF10-24mmF4 R OIS when available and an external flash.

Pros

  • Awesome image quality from the x-trans sensor, particularly in low light at high ISO settings.
  • Lovely lenses including a great value high quality and quite fast kit zoom.
  • Great handling body with 'classic' control layout (some may think this is a disadvantage?)
  • Very high build quality.
  • Image stabilisation on the zooms.
  • Good support for third party legacy glass (including Leica) via adaptor.
  • High quality 2,360,000 pixel electronic view finder.
  • Pretty good zoom coverage - 27-300mm 135 equivalent plus a fast prime.

Cons

  • Auto focus not as good as some, although improved with latest firmware and probably good enough for my intended use?
  • No in body image stabilisation (although zooms are stabilised)
  • No weather sealing
  • Video functions poor
  • No touch screen (but perhaps not a great loss?)
  • LCD only 2.4 inch / 460,000 pixels

Option 2 (a, b and c)

(a) Olympus OM-D E-M5 (with Panasonic 'fast X zooms')

  • Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Power OIS
  • Panasonic Lumix G X 35-100mm f2.8 OIS
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 ASPH

Above costs approx. £3,000.

(b) Olympus OM-D E-M5 (with Panasonic 'slow X zooms')

  • Panasonic Lumix G X Vario Wide Zoom Lens 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 ASPH Power OIS
  • Panasonic Lumix G X VARIO PZ 45-175mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH Power O.I.S.
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 ASPH

Above costs approx. £1,850.

(c) Olympus OM-D E-M5 (with Olympus kit zoom & Panasonic option)

  • Olympus 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 ZUIKO Digital ED
  • Panasonic Lumix G X VARIO PZ 45-175mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH Power O.I.S.
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 ASPH

Above costs approx. £1,720

As you can probably tell from the 3 Olympus OM-D sub-options I am finding the lens choice on MFT rather trickier than the Fuji option.

It strikes me that the Olympus kit zoom for the OM-D is difficult to compare to the Fuji lens. On the upside it has a better range and the power zoom is good for video but it is relatively bulky and is slow compared to the surprisingly quick (for a kit zoom) Fuji lens.

The Panasonic F2.8 zooms look great but you pay for that speed.

A compromise might be the slower X - series Panasonic power zooms which again would be good for video and are nice and compact - particularly the 14-42 standard zoom.

MFT lens issues aside, pros and cons as I see them.....

Pros

  • Excellent handling body in very compact form factor
  • High image quality (about as good as possible from MFT)
  • Weather sealed and great build quality
  • Large choice of lenses (almost too much)
  • Excellent in body image stabilisation means IS on all lenses
  • Touch screen interface
  • Good quality electronic view finder (although lower resolution than Fuji)
  • Larger 3 inch 610,000 pixel tilting lcd screen
  • Better video options than Fuji
  • Faster AF than Fuji (although query how much better following recent Fuji firmware update?)
  • The Leica Summilux looks like a cracking lens.

Cons

  • Image quality not as high as Fuji, particularly high ISO performance.
  • Lens choices mean either slower zoom lenses for similar cost vs Fuji or much more expensive for comparable (in fact a little faster) speed.
  • Electronic view finder resolution only 1.44 million pixels compared to 2.36 million pixel Fuji unit.

I guess at the end of the day it comes down to personal choice and what features you value over others. I think it is fair to say that the Fuji lenses are first rate and the system arguably produces higher image quality (stills) than the OM-D. The difference is not that much but clearly there.

The Olympus really is a classy body and there is a large system behind it with lots of lenses - almost too many to choose from, particularly if you include Olympus Four Thirds lenses via an adapter. Video and AF are superior to the Fuji.

It would be great to hear insights from anyone who has experience with both systems and in particular I would be grateful to hear any advice on alternative lens choices for the OM-D that would be comparable to the Fuji lenses. In particular how does the Olympus 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 compare to the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario14-42mm f3.5-5.6 in terms of image quality (I appreciate the Olympus is weather sealed) and in turn how do they compare to the Fuji zoom?

I could of course stick with Canon and upgrade my 30D to a 70D (which I think looks like a great body) but my lens selection would still suffer from the same issues, I would still not have image stabilisation and my bag would still weigh a tonne. Adding a Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM and ditching the 17-40 would solve part of the problem but I really like the idea of the reduced size and weight of a mirrorless set up.

Thanks for your time and input.

Canon EOS 30D Fujifilm XF1 Leica X Vario Olympus OM-D E-M5
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