Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice

Started Jan 23, 2013 | Discussions
Haplo859
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Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
Jan 23, 2013

Hi all,

I'm sure you guys get this question all the time so I hope you don't mind pointing me in the right direction. I am looking to upgrade my camera, the primary use is for travel photography. I currently either just use my iPhone or Canon Powershot SD750.

There are a couple reasons I want to upgrade:

1. I want to be able to make medium size prints (maybe large prints as well?) without having to worry about noise or blurriness.

2. I'd like a camera that is able to perform adequately in more trying circumstances such as low light shots.

I primarily shoot landscapes, urban settings, and people. I don't need/care about shooting sports or toddlers.

I honestly don't know much of anything about photography but have been reading various blogs and websites such as this one in an attempt to educate myself. From what I've learned it sounds like a mirrorless system may be the best play for me. I am willing to deal with a somewhat larger camera to get better quality shots but I don' want to deal with the massive heft of a DSLR (nor do I really think I have anywhere the level of expertise to make use of a DSLR).

I looked at a bunch of 'Top-10', 'Best of 2012', etc style lists for mirrorless cameras and used those recommendations to narrow my search down. Price is definitely a factor and as I mentioned I don't really know what I'm doing so spending extra money for extra features doesn't really make sense for me. This is what my list of options looks like so far (I've also included the best price that I was able to find each camera at)

Sony Alpha NEX-C3 - $365

Sony Alpha NEX-F3 - $450

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 - $405

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 - $410

All of the above prices include the camera body and the default lens set for each respective camera. At these price points which would you recommend? I'm currently leaning towards the C3.

Chas2
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Haplo859, Jan 23, 2013

Haplo859 wrote:

Hi all,

I'm sure you guys get this question all the time so I hope you don't mind pointing me in the right direction. I am looking to upgrade my camera, the primary use is for travel photography. I currently either just use my iPhone or Canon Powershot SD750.

There are a couple reasons I want to upgrade:

1. I want to be able to make medium size prints (maybe large prints as well?) without having to worry about noise or blurriness.

2. I'd like a camera that is able to perform adequately in more trying circumstances such as low light shots.

I primarily shoot landscapes, urban settings, and people. I don't need/care about shooting sports or toddlers.

I honestly don't know much of anything about photography but have been reading various blogs and websites such as this one in an attempt to educate myself. From what I've learned it sounds like a mirrorless system may be the best play for me. I am willing to deal with a somewhat larger camera to get better quality shots but I don' want to deal with the massive heft of a DSLR (nor do I really think I have anywhere the level of expertise to make use of a DSLR).

I looked at a bunch of 'Top-10', 'Best of 2012', etc style lists for mirrorless cameras and used those recommendations to narrow my search down. Price is definitely a factor and as I mentioned I don't really know what I'm doing so spending extra money for extra features doesn't really make sense for me. This is what my list of options looks like so far (I've also included the best price that I was able to find each camera at)

Sony Alpha NEX-C3 - $365

Sony Alpha NEX-F3 - $450

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 - $405

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 - $410

All of the above prices include the camera body and the default lens set for each respective camera. At these price points which would you recommend? I'm currently leaning towards the C3.

I guess the first thing I would say is that the middle two letters in MILC include the strong point of the cameras, regardless of brand, "interchangeable lens".  If you do not think you will be using the interchangeable part, and the expense that entails, you will be forgoing a major feature of these cameras.  Which leads me to a second thought, the interchangeable lenses.  Look at the available lenses for the Sony and Panasonics (which means that you should also look at Olympus since the micro four thirds (MFT) design standard is backed by both Olympus and Panasonic, as well a number of other companies, primarily lens makers).  Up to a point, it is the lens, and not the camera that is more important, and that is what makes the MFT system more attractive...Sony is just not yet there with the line up of lenses that are available for the MFT system.  Which goes back to my original point, if you are not interested in changing lenses, and diving deeper into photography, it is possible that a  MILC may not be the ideal camera for you.

If you can, you should handle the cameras, and understand their size and bulk.  Any of these cameras will be larger than your Canon, but certainly smaller and lighter than any DSLR.  Any of these cameras will be way more trouble to use than your iPhone, but the results can be a lot better...just don't expect miracles in low light without a fast (large maximum aperture lens) lens and some technique.

To me, cameras can be like driving a car...on paper, the cars may look feature for feature similar, but the way the car fits you, and the way it feels when it drives may be totally different.  To a large extent, cameras are the same way.  If nothing else, you should play with this website to see size differences....dpn't forget to add different lenses to it...

http://j.mp/XAjgjd

I am sure you will get many more pieces of advice...I can think of many others, but I do not want to overwhelm you...think of photography as a journey to be enjoyed along the way...take a quick class at community college, or even a place like REI to get some principles down.  It is not just about the hardware...

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Kevdog
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Chas2, Jan 23, 2013
I guess the first thing I would say is that the middle two letters in MILC include the strong point of the cameras, regardless of brand, "interchangeable lens". If you do not think you will be using the interchangeable part, and the expense that entails, you will be forgoing a major feature of these cameras.

I would take good notice of this.  If you don't want to (at least in the future) pay some more money for other lenses, then a high end P&S may suit you better.  I compared my wife's Olympus XZ-1 vs my Olympus E-PM1 with kit lens and it's eye opening:

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/7482751855/high-end-ps-versus-micro-four-thirds

Now there are new cameras out there.  The GX1 has a better sensor than my E-PM1.  And my new E-M5 and the E-PM2 and E-PL5 have a better sensor than the GX1.  But also the XZ-2 and other high end P&S's have better sensors now too.

Do go and try and find a place to handle the cameras.  It still may be too big for your level... but only you can decide that.  The Olympus and Panasonic cameras have nearly identical image quality, but they handle very different.  I loved the E-PM1 while I never warmed up to the GF2.  Other people are the reverse.

But if you don't want to spend about $250-$300 or more for another lens for low light (Pany 20mm or Oly 17mm or Sigma 19mm) then you may be better off with a really good P&S (which run $400+).

That said, I have 4 friends at work who all bought m4/3 cameras after I showed them one and they love them.  Only 1 has additional lenses yet, but another is looking to buy a long zoom.

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Zensu11
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Chas2, Jan 23, 2013

Chas2 wrote:

If you can, you should handle the cameras, and understand their size and bulk. Any of these cameras will be larger than your Canon, but certainly smaller and lighter than any DSLR. Any of these cameras will be way more trouble to use than your iPhone, but the results can be a lot better...just don't expect miracles in low light without a fast (large maximum aperture lens) lens and some technique.

Listen to Chas2, this is good advice especially the quote I've taken out of context because to me it is one of the most important. I've been an amateur photographer sine my Dad placed his 35mm camera   in my small hands, that was 50 years ago! Nothing can replace the actual handling of the camera with lens expecially today with much more control buttons, dials, and wheels! One Micro 4/3's camera I was handling in the store drove me crazy. Every time I turned on the camera and held it out to look at the LCD my thumb hit the movie record button! It was not a poor design because this camera is a top seller and many pro's use it for their casual shooting, so the problem is obviously in the way I hold a camera. A little thing like this can only be avoided by going to a store and handling the camera with your own hands.

Good luck on your decision!

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skpman
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Haplo859, Jan 23, 2013

Yeah, if you're not going to be getting new lenses, then getting a high-end point and shoot would be better. An interchangeable lens camera with the kit lens will be only be comparable to a point and shoot.

If you're looking to get excellent low-light photos though, I would highly recommend a E-PM2 with a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens or Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 lens (depending on your budget). This is how I started photography, and I would never be able to go back now. It's definitely going to up your budget though.

FYI I use a Olympus OM-D E-M5 with a Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 lens at dark bars and restaurants late at night, and rarely get a blurry shot. All very nice without too much noise. The E-PM2 with that lens should perform similarly.

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BingoCharlie
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to skpman, Jan 23, 2013

Based on your criteria, I'd say you should get an RX100.

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RedDog Steve
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Haplo859, Jan 23, 2013

Do you need a built in flash ?
If so, the C3 is ruled out.

The GF5 uses an older generation sensor so has limited appeal on this forum.

I have a GX1 and can recommend it.

I have to wonder how much use, if any, you make of the interchangeable lens feature.
The kit lenses are not ideal for low light situations.
The camera will shine better in low light with a larger aperture prime lens.
But how much do you really want to be fumbling with multiple lenses during your learning curve ?

Charlie throws out the suggestion of the RX100, but that camera gives up some performance to compactness (mainly lens speed at longer focal lengths).
It's worth considering a moderately compact fixed lens camera like the Canon G1X in addition to the small Sony.

rd

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captura
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Haplo859, Jan 23, 2013

Now that they have been replaced, you could grab one of the 5N's. You can get a kit lens, new or used, for about $150.


by Sony 16.1 MP Compact Interchangeable Lens Camera with Touchscreen - Body Only (Black)Sony NEX-5N
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-NEX-5N-Compact-Interchangeable-Touchscreen/dp/B005IHAIMA%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAJ3YCJVOVCATWV2UQ%26tag%3Dshoppingo0b9b-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3DB005IHAIMA
List Price:$598.00 Price: $459.52 You Save: $138.48 (23%)
Only 5 left in stock.
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Acrill
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Haplo859, Jan 23, 2013

Haplo859 wrote:

1. I want to be able to make medium size prints (maybe large prints as well?) without having to worry about noise or blurriness.

2. I'd like a camera that is able to perform adequately in more trying circumstances such as low light shots.

These are good reasons, in fact they are the most compelling reasons for upgrading to an interchangeable-lens camera.

To achieve these things, however, you will need to purchase a lens that can help you do this. Unfortunately, you cannot achieve your goals relying on only the 'kt lens'.

A GF5, for instance, comes with the Olympus 14-42mm which has an aperture of f/3.5-5.6. This lens will work fine in good light but will struggle in low--light conditions due to the narrow aperture which restricts the amount of light reaching the sensor. Such a lens is usually described as 'slow'. A lens with s smaller focal number such as 2.0 or 1.4 is called a 'fast' lens.

Here is a good article that explains lens aperture and the exposure triangle: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-exposure.htm

You have three options as I see it:

1. Use a tripod for low light scenes. This is possible for static scenes but is not a workable solution when dealilng with moving objects such as family members.

2. Purchase a fast aperture lens. This means a lens such as the Panasonic 25mm 1.4 or Sigma 19mm 2.8. An aperture of 1.4 is considerably faster than 2.8, but 2.8 is still faster than the 3.5-5.6 kit lens. The faster your lens aperture the better it will perform in handheld low-light situations.

3. Purchase a compact camera such as the Sony RX100, Olympus XZ-2 or Panasonic LX7 that has a fast-aperture lens built into the camera.

I agree with most of the other posters here that option 3 sounds like the best fit for your siutaiton if you are not prepared to buy multiple lenses for different uses.

These high-end compacts are great cameras, with full manual controls, and are capable of good prints. Any one of them would make an excellent device for learning the ins and outs of photography without needing to purchase additional lenses.

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Haplo859
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Chas2, Jan 23, 2013

Chas2 wrote:

I guess the first thing I would say is that the middle two letters in MILC include the strong point of the cameras, regardless of brand, "interchangeable lens". If you do not think you will be using the interchangeable part, and the expense that entails, you will be forgoing a major feature of these cameras. Which leads me to a second thought, the interchangeable lenses. Look at the available lenses for the Sony and Panasonics (which means that you should also look at Olympus since the micro four thirds (MFT) design standard is backed by both Olympus and Panasonic, as well a number of other companies, primarily lens makers). Up to a point, it is the lens, and not the camera that is more important, and that is what makes the MFT system more attractive...Sony is just not yet there with the line up of lenses that are available for the MFT system. Which goes back to my original point, if you are not interested in changing lenses, and diving deeper into photography, it is possible that a MILC may not be the ideal camera for you.

If you can, you should handle the cameras, and understand their size and bulk. Any of these cameras will be larger than your Canon, but certainly smaller and lighter than any DSLR. Any of these cameras will be way more trouble to use than your iPhone, but the results can be a lot better...just don't expect miracles in low light without a fast (large maximum aperture lens) lens and some technique.

To me, cameras can be like driving a car...on paper, the cars may look feature for feature similar, but the way the car fits you, and the way it feels when it drives may be totally different. To a large extent, cameras are the same way. If nothing else, you should play with this website to see size differences....dpn't forget to add different lenses to it...

http://j.mp/XAjgjd

I am sure you will get many more pieces of advice...I can think of many others, but I do not want to overwhelm you...think of photography as a journey to be enjoyed along the way...take a quick class at community college, or even a place like REI to get some principles down. It is not just about the hardware...

Thanks for the advice. So I have some questions based on your post:

1. In terms of lenses if I go with a 4/3 camera will my lens purchases be cheaper/easier since they have a larger selection (relative to purchasing lenses for the Sony)?

2. For the type of shooting that I would like to do (and keeping in mind that money is tight so I may have to make some sacrifices) which specific lens(es) would you recommend purchasing?

3. For any of the mentioned MILC cameras would it make sense to try and get a body only and then buy the lenses (based on advice from this forum) separately?

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Haplo859
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Kevdog, Jan 23, 2013

Kevdog wrote:

I guess the first thing I would say is that the middle two letters in MILC include the strong point of the cameras, regardless of brand, "interchangeable lens". If you do not think you will be using the interchangeable part, and the expense that entails, you will be forgoing a major feature of these cameras.

I would take good notice of this. If you don't want to (at least in the future) pay some more money for other lenses, then a high end P&S may suit you better. I compared my wife's Olympus XZ-1 vs my Olympus E-PM1 with kit lens and it's eye opening:

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/7482751855/high-end-ps-versus-micro-four-thirds

Now there are new cameras out there. The GX1 has a better sensor than my E-PM1. And my new E-M5 and the E-PM2 and E-PL5 have a better sensor than the GX1. But also the XZ-2 and other high end P&S's have better sensors now too.

Do go and try and find a place to handle the cameras. It still may be too big for your level... but only you can decide that. The Olympus and Panasonic cameras have nearly identical image quality, but they handle very different. I loved the E-PM1 while I never warmed up to the GF2. Other people are the reverse.

But if you don't want to spend about $250-$300 or more for another lens for low light (Pany 20mm or Oly 17mm or Sigma 19mm) then you may be better off with a really good P&S (which run $400+).

That said, I have 4 friends at work who all bought m4/3 cameras after I showed them one and they love them. Only 1 has additional lenses yet, but another is looking to buy a long zoom.

Thanks for your response and thanks for linking me to that comparison. Very interesting, I didn't know that P&S were capable of achieving that level of quality. So it sounds like I have two distinct options:

1. Go with a premium P&S for $400+

2. Go with a MILC and be prepared to fork out more cash for lenses. Will I be set with one additional lens for ~300 or should I expect to need multiple additional lenses?

Do you have any specific recommendations for P&S cameras to consider?

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tedolf
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In reply to Haplo859, Jan 23, 2013

Haplo859 wrote:

Hi all,

I'm sure you guys get this question all the time so I hope you don't mind pointing me in the right direction. I am looking to upgrade my camera, the primary use is for travel photography. I currently either just use my iPhone or Canon Powershot SD750.

There are a couple reasons I want to upgrade:

1. I want to be able to make medium size prints (maybe large prints as well?) without having to worry about noise or blurriness.

2. I'd like a camera that is able to perform adequately in more trying circumstances such as low light shots.

I primarily shoot landscapes, urban settings, and people. I don't need/care about shooting sports or toddlers.

I honestly don't know much of anything about photography but have been reading various blogs and websites such as this one in an attempt to educate myself. From what I've learned it sounds like a mirrorless system may be the best play for me. I am willing to deal with a somewhat larger camera to get better quality shots but I don' want to deal with the massive heft of a DSLR (nor do I really think I have anywhere the level of expertise to make use of a DSLR).

I looked at a bunch of 'Top-10', 'Best of 2012', etc style lists for mirrorless cameras and used those recommendations to narrow my search down. Price is definitely a factor and as I mentioned I don't really know what I'm doing so spending extra money for extra features doesn't really make sense for me. This is what my list of options looks like so far (I've also included the best price that I was able to find each camera at)

Sony Alpha NEX-C3 - $365

Sony Alpha NEX-F3 - $450

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 - $405

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 - $410

All of the above prices include the camera body and the default lens set for each respective camera. At these price points which would you recommend? I'm currently leaning towards the C3.

Panny G3 or Oly E-pl1 (both about $300.00) or G5, a little bit more.

Panny has a built in EVF, Oly doesn't but has IBIS (stabilization built into the body-makes any lens stabilized).

Done.

Tedolph

Tedolph

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Haplo859
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Acrill, Jan 24, 2013

Acrill wrote:

Haplo859 wrote:

1. I want to be able to make medium size prints (maybe large prints as well?) without having to worry about noise or blurriness.

2. I'd like a camera that is able to perform adequately in more trying circumstances such as low light shots.

These are good reasons, in fact they are the most compelling reasons for upgrading to an interchangeable-lens camera.

To achieve these things, however, you will need to purchase a lens that can help you do this. Unfortunately, you cannot achieve your goals relying on only the 'kt lens'.

A GF5, for instance, comes with the Olympus 14-42mm which has an aperture of f/3.5-5.6. This lens will work fine in good light but will struggle in low--light conditions due to the narrow aperture which restricts the amount of light reaching the sensor. Such a lens is usually described as 'slow'. A lens with s smaller focal number such as 2.0 or 1.4 is called a 'fast' lens.

Here is a good article that explains lens aperture and the exposure triangle: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-exposure.htm

You have three options as I see it:

1. Use a tripod for low light scenes. This is possible for static scenes but is not a workable solution when dealilng with moving objects such as family members.

2. Purchase a fast aperture lens. This means a lens such as the Panasonic 25mm 1.4 or Sigma 19mm 2.8. An aperture of 1.4 is considerably faster than 2.8, but 2.8 is still faster than the 3.5-5.6 kit lens. The faster your lens aperture the better it will perform in handheld low-light situations.

3. Purchase a compact camera such as the Sony RX100, Olympus XZ-2 or Panasonic LX7 that has a fast-aperture lens built into the camera.

I agree with most of the other posters here that option 3 sounds like the best fit for your siutaiton if you are not prepared to buy multiple lenses for different uses.

These high-end compacts are great cameras, with full manual controls, and are capable of good prints. Any one of them would make an excellent device for learning the ins and outs of photography without needing to purchase additional lenses.

Thanks for weighing in Acril. I had some questions for you:

1. Are "fast" lens with wide apertures better than lenses with narrower apertures in all situations? For example would you get better shots using a fast lens during bright daylight, normal light, and low light. ..or is a fast lens better for low light and a slow lens better for bright light situations?

2. I don't understand how using a tripod would affect shots in low light. Could you please elaborate why using a tripod would make a difference?

3. How much lag-time do the high-end P&S cameras have? One of the things that drives me crazy with P&S is when I click the button and then have to wait a second or two for the camera to focus and actually take the photo.

4. Any other recommendations for quality P&S. Looks like the Panasonic LX7 (~$400) is about $125 cheaper than the other two options so that looks like a solid option.

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jimoyer
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Haplo859, Jan 24, 2013

Go with the E-PL5 or E-PM2.  Both offer the low light and noise performance you're looking for.  Both offer a form factor you're comfortable with/used to and are about as far from a bulky DSLR as you can get.  Most importantly, both offer a great starting point giving you the ability to grow significantly if you decide to, that you don't find yourself unloading your camera for a fraction of it's purchase price, and back here asking the same questions again.

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Acrill
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Haplo859, Jan 24, 2013

Haplo859 wrote:

Acrill wrote:

Haplo859 wrote:

1. I want to be able to make medium size prints (maybe large prints as well?) without having to worry about noise or blurriness.

2. I'd like a camera that is able to perform adequately in more trying circumstances such as low light shots.

These are good reasons, in fact they are the most compelling reasons for upgrading to an interchangeable-lens camera.

To achieve these things, however, you will need to purchase a lens that can help you do this. Unfortunately, you cannot achieve your goals relying on only the 'kt lens'.

A GF5, for instance, comes with the Olympus 14-42mm which has an aperture of f/3.5-5.6. This lens will work fine in good light but will struggle in low--light conditions due to the narrow aperture which restricts the amount of light reaching the sensor. Such a lens is usually described as 'slow'. A lens with s smaller focal number such as 2.0 or 1.4 is called a 'fast' lens.

Here is a good article that explains lens aperture and the exposure triangle: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/camera-exposure.htm

You have three options as I see it:

1. Use a tripod for low light scenes. This is possible for static scenes but is not a workable solution when dealilng with moving objects such as family members.

2. Purchase a fast aperture lens. This means a lens such as the Panasonic 25mm 1.4 or Sigma 19mm 2.8. An aperture of 1.4 is considerably faster than 2.8, but 2.8 is still faster than the 3.5-5.6 kit lens. The faster your lens aperture the better it will perform in handheld low-light situations.

3. Purchase a compact camera such as the Sony RX100, Olympus XZ-2 or Panasonic LX7 that has a fast-aperture lens built into the camera.

I agree with most of the other posters here that option 3 sounds like the best fit for your siutaiton if you are not prepared to buy multiple lenses for different uses.

These high-end compacts are great cameras, with full manual controls, and are capable of good prints. Any one of them would make an excellent device for learning the ins and outs of photography without needing to purchase additional lenses.

Thanks for weighing in Acril. I had some questions for you:

1. Are "fast" lens with wide apertures better than lenses with narrower apertures in all situations? For example would you get better shots using a fast lens during bright daylight, normal light, and low light. ..or is a fast lens better for low light and a slow lens better for bright light situations?

2. I don't understand how using a tripod would affect shots in low light. Could you please elaborate why using a tripod would make a difference?

3. How much lag-time do the high-end P&S cameras have? One of the things that drives me crazy with P&S is when I click the button and then have to wait a second or two for the camera to focus and actually take the photo.

4. Any other recommendations for quality P&S. Looks like the Panasonic LX7 (~$400) is about $125 cheaper than the other two options so that looks like a solid option.

1. A fast lens allows you to take better low-light pictures but doesn't necesarrily have any advantage over a slower lens in good lighting. The fast lens does have more creative possibiilites but that is a different topic.

2. Using a tripod allows you to use very slow shutter speeds to achieve a proper exposure on low light situations. The article I linked has a good explanation of this.

3. I haven't used them personally, but in general they have electronic shutters so the newer models should have little to no shutter lag. Your best bet is to visit a camera store and try holding and shooting with some of them.

4. Here is a little list off the top of my head -

Olympus XZ1, XZ2, or the soon-to-be-announced XZ10 which is supposed to be announced at the end of this month. The XZ10 is also supposed to be cheaper than the XZ2.

Panasonic LX3, LX5, or the latest model, the LX7.

Sony RX100

Fuji X10 or the upcoming Fuji X20

Pentax MX1

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DtEW
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to Haplo859, Jan 24, 2013

Haplo859 wrote:

4. Any other recommendations for quality P&S. Looks like the Panasonic LX7 (~$400) is about $125 cheaper than the other two options so that looks like a solid option.

Well, you would be remiss to fail to consider the originator and arguably leader of this category of cameras, the Canon G-series, currently at G15 (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canon-powershot-g15)...

...and where there is Canon, there is of course Nikon, with their P7700 (http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikon-coolpix-p7700/).

Such tiny names easily missed, right? ;--)

The Canon G-series, Nikon Coolpix P7xxx series, the Olympus XZ-2 and Panasonic LX7 quartet comprise the "advanced P&S class" of cameras, and can 1) produce great results, 2) is a great introduction to advanced, hands-on photography, 3) isn't going to break the bank, and 4) isn't really going to challenge any of the MILCs you are considering for image quality and flexibility.

(The Sony RX100 is a more unique camera and considered more of an one-upped version of the Canon S110. It doesn't quite have any direct competitors at the moment. Its pricing reflects the fact that it has a sensor almost three times (~2.7x) as large (and the requisite lens to cover that sensor; that same "f/1.8" is not really the same thing) as those from the prior quartet. But even that isn't going to really match any of the MILCs you are considering for image quality and flexibility.)

Here, read this.

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/2367736880/roundup-enthusiast-zoom-compact-cameras

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gamarala
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to captura, Jan 24, 2013

Sony C3 and F3 have better / bigger sensors than GX1 and GF5. Hence, better in low light. In M.4/3, Olumpus EPM2 and  EPL5 are closer to NEX in image quality. I previously had a NEX C3 and currently have an EPM2. I  had no issues with either one.

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alfredo_tomato
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I think BingoCharlie is on to something.
In reply to BingoCharlie, Jan 24, 2013

Read up on the Sony RX100. It looks like a real good camera.

Al

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captura
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Re: Best MILC for Complete Photography Novice
In reply to gamarala, Jan 24, 2013

captura wrote:

Now that they have been replaced, you could grab one of the 5N's. You can get a kit lens, new or used, for about $150.

Sony NEX-5N
16.1 MP Compact Interchangeable Lens Camera with Touchscreen - Body Only (Black) by Sony

List Price:$598.00 Price: $459.52 You Save: $138.48 (23%)
Only 5 left in stock.

gamarala wrote:

Sony C3 and F3 have better / bigger sensors than GX1 and GF5. Hence, better in low light. In M.4/3, Olumpus EPM2 and EPL5 are closer to NEX in image quality. I previously had a NEX C3 and currently have an EPM2. I had no issues with either one.

There's absolutely no way that any of these can compete with a Sony NEX 5N.

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bunfoolio
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I was in a similar situation 2 years ago
In reply to Haplo859, Jan 24, 2013

Haplo859 wrote:

Hi all,

I'm sure you guys get this question all the time so I hope you don't mind pointing me in the right direction. I am looking to upgrade my camera, the primary use is for travel photography. I currently either just use my iPhone or Canon Powershot SD750.

There are a couple reasons I want to upgrade:

1. I want to be able to make medium size prints (maybe large prints as well?) without having to worry about noise or blurriness.

2. I'd like a camera that is able to perform adequately in more trying circumstances such as low light shots.

I primarily shoot landscapes, urban settings, and people. I don't need/care about shooting sports or toddlers.

I honestly don't know much of anything about photography but have been reading various blogs and websites such as this one in an attempt to educate myself. From what I've learned it sounds like a mirrorless system may be the best play for me. I am willing to deal with a somewhat larger camera to get better quality shots but I don' want to deal with the massive heft of a DSLR (nor do I really think I have anywhere the level of expertise to make use of a DSLR).

I looked at a bunch of 'Top-10', 'Best of 2012', etc style lists for mirrorless cameras and used those recommendations to narrow my search down. Price is definitely a factor and as I mentioned I don't really know what I'm doing so spending extra money for extra features doesn't really make sense for me. This is what my list of options looks like so far (I've also included the best price that I was able to find each camera at)

Sony Alpha NEX-C3 - $365

Sony Alpha NEX-F3 - $450

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 - $405

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 - $410

All of the above prices include the camera body and the default lens set for each respective camera. At these price points which would you recommend? I'm currently leaning towards the C3.

I went with the M4/3 standard becasue liked interchangability of the bodies and lenses as well as the over all size of the system.  I think the Epm2 should meet the abouve criteria that you mentioned.  I bought the Olympus E-pl2 and it has met my needs quite well.  The E-pl2 has troube in low light but the EPM2 has improved a lot with the new Sony sensor.

Good luck with your search

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