$3k Budget for a new System: MFT vs. APS-C vs. Sony FF ?

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D Alchemist
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$3k Budget for a new System: MFT vs. APS-C vs. Sony FF ?
6 months ago

Background: Long-time enthusiast shoots travel, family, outdoor sports, landscapes, mostly JPEG, some RAW. Available light shooter with steady hands. Use viewfinder 95% of the time. Minimal PP. Own Nikon D600 +4 lenses, Nikon 1 V1 +3 lenses, various compacts.

After a cycling trip to Europe last year leaving the D600 kit at home and being mostly satisfied with what I got with my bargain V1 kit in good light (while HATING the controls/interface), I'm looking to sell both systems and get something in-between, MFT being the leading candidate.

Bodies come and go quickly in the digital realm so picking a new system based on the latest model makes no sense in the long run. Glass should drive the decision, inside the budget. I need the body, kit/normal zoom, fast prime of 35-50mm and either a longer zoom or midrange tele prime under the $3k budget. Initial impressions:

-Sensor size is now less of an issue in terms of output quality, for me anyway. Still an issue on terms of DOF control. For the sake of argument say the following equivalents for a 50mm prime:

  • FF - f3.5
  • APS-C- f2.8
  • MFT- f1.8
  • 1"- f1.4

So the 27mm Fuji XF and Panasonic 20mm pancakes at about $430 and 3 oz are roughly equivalents, the Sony FF equivalent is $800 and the Nikon 1 system has no normal prime fast enough to match.

-MFT seems to have the best medium-quality lenses that are affordable/consumer grade. $1k+ pro quality lens availability means little if I can't afford them.

-Consumer NEX zoom lenses are generally mediocre.

-Kit lens with Sony a7 is very mediocre. A shame. I'd like to make the FF Sony work even it meant doing without a tele but I don't think it can with my budget and few lens options.  Pass on the lens adapter approach.

-Fuji XF lenses are generally very good but bulky.

-If Nikon sticks with the 1 system, in another generation or so the IQ out of that sensor size will be good enough for all my purposes. A body with excellent controls/user interface is an open question, as is f1.2-1.4 prime lens options.

-Weight and bulk of lenses is more important than that of the bodies.

-If the only problem with a system is slow AF in the current body, I could keep the V1 and use that for sports for the next year or two. Very fast AF on the V1.

-NEX and Fuji systems don't seem to offer as good a ratio of IQ to system size/weight/cost as MFT or Sony FF.  My view, anyway.

With the E-M1 I could squeeze in two consumer zooms, the prime and a fisheye too. With the E-M5 I could also substitute the pro f2.8 midrange zoom within budget. That is quite a lens but I much prefer the viewfinder and hand-filling grip on the 1.  The 5 seems a long way from my D600 for "serious" shooting.

Advice? Thoughts?

Thanks, JD

Nikon 1 V1 Nikon D600 Olympus E-M1 Sony Alpha 7
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