m4/3 or nex for compact kit

Started May 15, 2012 | Discussions
debo
Senior MemberPosts: 1,406Gear list
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m4/3 or nex for compact kit
May 15, 2012

I own a Pentax along with some very nice primes including the old limiteds. However I desire to have a single lens (maybe prime) light kit for travel etc (have a S95 but I am not happy with the low light pics).

Have been looking at

  • E-PL1 + 14mm prime (or add a P-K adapter and use my pentax primes)

  • NEX-3C + 16mm prime .... I understand that the NEX uses a APS-C and the sensor is much better for low light. But the E-PL has better JPEGs and is much cheaper (150 for body and 200ish for the prime vs 549 for the NEX)

Questions:

  • how much am I compromising with the m4/3 sensor vs APSc in terms of dynamic range and high ISO?

  • how is the 14/2.5 compared to 16/2.8, optically (I know the latter is a little too wide for comfort)?

  • if I use my Pentax primes, which one will focus better?

thx

jalywol
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to debo, May 16, 2012

debo wrote:

I own a Pentax along with some very nice primes including the old limiteds. However I desire to have a single lens (maybe prime) light kit for travel etc (have a S95 but I am not happy with the low light pics).

Have been looking at

  • E-PL1 + 14mm prime (or add a P-K adapter and use my pentax primes)

  • NEX-3C + 16mm prime .... I understand that the NEX uses a APS-C and the sensor is much better for low light. But the E-PL has better JPEGs and is much cheaper (150 for body and 200ish for the prime vs 549 for the NEX)

Questions:

  • how much am I compromising with the m4/3 sensor vs APSc in terms of dynamic range and high ISO?

  • how is the 14/2.5 compared to 16/2.8, optically (I know the latter is a little too wide for comfort)?

  • if I use my Pentax primes, which one will focus better?

thx

If you want high ISO performance, the NEX does a much better job than the EPL1. You have to move to the newer-sensored M43 before you get very good higher ISO perfomance and DR. (Panasonic GX1, G3, GH2, Oly OM-D).

The 14/2.5 is an excellent little lens, and can be had for cheap. You can do a search for 14mm on this forum and get lots of threads about it with images; it really is a great value with very, very good IQ.

The NEXs have focus peaking, which is supposed to be excellent for helping find focus on manual lenses (I have never tried it and I don't know if the NEX-3C has it). The M43s have a manual focus magnification setup which makes it extremely easy to focus the lens. (I always had trouble with my old manual focus SLR back in the day, and I never have problems with manual focus on the M43s.....it's a nice system for legacy lens use).

The EPL1 has great looking JPGs for sure. However, it is pokey as heck if you are trying to autofocus in lower light, and has a very ergonomically unpleasant button pushing interface to adjust shutter speed/aperture and exposure compensation. It's definitely worth $150, but at that price, from your post, you may not be getting a camera that does what you want it to in terms of interface and difficult shooting situations. The OOC images will indeed look great, though....

A better choice would be one of the current generation 16MP M43s. This group focuses very fast, has better sensors with higher DR and very good high ISO performance. You would, I suspect, be much happier with one of those than the EPL1. However, they are more expensive, so you may have to think about what is important to you at this point....

-J

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picthis
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to debo, May 16, 2012

debo wrote:

I own a Pentax along with some very nice primes including the old limiteds. However I desire to have a single lens (maybe prime) light kit for travel etc (have a S95 but I am not happy with the low light pics).

Have been looking at

  • E-PL1 + 14mm prime (or add a P-K adapter and use my pentax primes)

  • NEX-3C + 16mm prime .... I understand that the NEX uses a APS-C and the sensor is much better for low light. But the E-PL has better JPEGs and is much cheaper (150 for body and 200ish for the prime vs 549 for the NEX)

Questions:

  • how much am I compromising with the m4/3 sensor vs APSc in terms of dynamic range and high ISO?

  • how is the 14/2.5 compared to 16/2.8, optically (I know the latter is a little too wide for comfort)?

  • if I use my Pentax primes, which one will focus better?

thx

I dunno, sounds like you want low-light performance of a DSLR at a cheap price, in a compact body. If you ever figure it out, you should start your own camera company. Seriously, I would just keep your Pentax and save the money and put up with extra weight as it will have the best low-light performance of the bunch at the cheapest price (free in your case). And use the S95 for all the other occasions.

But if you must (have the latest gadget), NEX 3C would be my pick even though you'd be paying dearly for it - and it STILL won't beat your Pentax, not with any conviction anyways, at least not with the nice primes you have.

My cousin bought into M4/3 for its size over dslr, claiming that he never carries the dslr around because of its size. For awhile he carries it everywhere but when the novelty wored off, I hardly see him carry M4/3 around either. He ended up spending more than he wanted to (2-3 times more) with assortment of pancake lens and zoom lenses he bought. But he hates carrying around assortment of lenses as it becomes as inconvenient as the dslr he avoids.

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Promit
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to debo, May 16, 2012

debo wrote:

Questions:

  • how much am I compromising with the m4/3 sensor vs APSc in terms of dynamic range and high ISO?

A lot.

  • how is the 14/2.5 compared to 16/2.8, optically (I know the latter is a little too wide for comfort)?

Probably somewhat better. Probably not earth shattering...probably.

  • if I use my Pentax primes, which one will focus better?

NEX typically handles a lot better with manual focus due to peaking and better screens than something old like the PL1.

Personally, I'd be inclined towards a GF2/3 + 14mm kit rather than the E-PL1.

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expressocoffee
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to debo, May 16, 2012

debo wrote:

I own a Pentax along with some very nice primes including the old limiteds. However I desire to have a single lens (maybe prime) light kit for travel etc (have a S95 but I am not happy with the low light pics).

Have been looking at

  • E-PL1 + 14mm prime (or add a P-K adapter and use my pentax primes)

  • NEX-3C + 16mm prime .... I understand that the NEX uses a APS-C and the sensor is much better for low light. But the E-PL has better JPEGs and is much cheaper (150 for body and 200ish for the prime vs 549 for the NEX)

Questions:

  • how much am I compromising with the m4/3 sensor vs APSc in terms of dynamic range and high ISO?

Not much when compared to that particular NEX camera. About a stop and half I would say. However the IBIS system grants you about a stop gain so overall a loss of about half a stop.

  • how is the 14/2.5 compared to 16/2.8, optically (I know the latter is a little too wide for comfort)?

The 14mm prime is not bad but you will be better served with the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 lens. The beauty of a compact system camera is that you can purchase in future lens for it. Also in the long run camera bodies go but you can still use your lens.

  • if I use my Pentax primes, which one will focus better?

50-50 here. If you were talking about a NEX 5 or a NEX 7 I would say the NEXes as they have focus peaking. Without it just go for the one you like more in terms of ergonomics.

thx

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debo
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to expressocoffee, May 16, 2012

Thanks for your answers

Doesn't the NEX 3x do focus peaking?

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debo
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to jalywol, May 16, 2012

Thanks. Price is an issue. I am not willing to spend more than a good compact camera right now as I am going to still use my Pentax glass as my main option. This is a backup camera for quick weekend trips.

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debo
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to picthis, May 16, 2012

Thanks but I don't intend to buy a system. That would defeat the purpose. I just want a compact P&S replacement with 1 lens Maybe a poor man's Fuji X100! The EPL + 14mm seemed like a candidate.

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JoeDaBassPlayer
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to debo, May 16, 2012

If you are shooting with Pentax primes, just get the K 01. It is a much better body than what you are looking at.
--
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REShultz
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to JoeDaBassPlayer, May 16, 2012

If you are only planning on buying the 16mm, go with M4/3.

IMO anything you gain with the larger sensor is lost with that particular lens.

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Colourman
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to debo, May 16, 2012

The Nex 3x all do have focus peaking, even the first generation with firmware upgrade. Speaking of first generations, it is rumored, that tomorrow the new Nex generation will be announced, so maybe the price of the current will drop or you might be able the get a cheap second hand of the current and or first generation.

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DaveOl
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to Colourman, May 16, 2012

For a few dollars more, look at the Nex 5N. It supposedly is better at low light than the Nex 7 and is far cheaper.

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tkbslc
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Re: m4/3 or nex for compact kit
In reply to debo, May 16, 2012

They are a little harder to find, but I'd get a Samsung NX100 with a 30mm f2 pancake. Those primes you listed with the other kits are pretty wide as only lenses. Sony NEX has better high ISO that Samsung, but the Samsung lens is a stop faster (and a lot sharper) so that's not a concern.

APS-C is going to be a more friendly crop factor for adapting pentax lenses.

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