Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )

Started Mar 22, 2013 | Discussions
Jorginho
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And it is well bul too. Not el cheapo!
In reply to Mahmoud Mousef, Mar 24, 2013

Try it. It is good.

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Louno
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Louno, Mar 26, 2013

Hi Everyone,
Wow thanks for all the information, I didnt expect this much feedback, I have read all your comments but am still undecided, it seem there is no clear winner between the NEX-3N and E-PM2. Both are 500$, so there is no price advantage with either one.

Some of you suggested I go with the olympus in order to be able to add a flash unit but to me personally flash is not an issue... For food photos we have a continuous lighting setup already so we never use flash. For other purposes I don't think i'd buy a flash unit anyways as I rarely use it in general, actually the only time I used the built-in flash with my Nikon P300 or previous cameras was for fill lighting ( backlight mode ) for bright sunny scenes where there was too much light behind the subject or casting very harsh shadows. So to me, in terms of flash, the NEX-3N has a small advantage as its built-in, so always available, if ever I want it, without adding bulk.

In terms of focusing speed, which one would be faster ? Right now this is one area of the Nikon P300 I don't like at all... For food photos, I know focus speed is not an issue has nothing is moving, but it would help when taking pictures of other things in general (for example I take way too many pictures of my cat, half of them are blurry cuz he cant stay still for long)
In terms of lens availability, although olympus has more choice, there are also quite a variety of lens available for nex when you consider using adapters, although, I would rather not use adapters to minimize bulk, its still an option and am seriously considering it (for either camera) as I have a friend that could sell me his AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens for really cheap. As I mentionned earlier too, overall the lens choice issue alone shouldnt be over-rated, realistically I dont think i'll ever need more than 1-3 lens more than the kit lens... another point being made is that m43 lenses are generally smaller and lighter, perhaps they are lighter but I find that the size issue is not as clear cut, for example with the kit lenses on, the sony nex-3n is more compact than the e-pm2 and they both have very similar lens range... which leads me to the next subject...

Concerning the kit lens, is any of the 2 camera's kit lens good enough for my purposes ? I want really sharp lens with shallow depth of field and nice bokeh. Which of the 2 camera would be better suited for this ? I've read that the 16-50mm powerzoom kit lens from sony is surprisingly decent quality but there is very heavy distortion at 16mm... if shooting in jpeg mode this is automatically corrected by the camera ( apparently very well ) but what if I want to shoot RAW ?... I also dont get this distortion issue, isnt it normal to have distortion when shooting with lens at wide angle, not only normal but kind of somewhat desired effect? When I use my nikon at its lowest zoom ( 4.3mm ) I know that there is distortion due to the wide angle, so i use that when shooting landscapes or interiors and simply zoom in more when shooting people or food ( as you generally dont want distortion on those)... So is this the same with the sony kit lens or are we talking about an abnormal/problematic level of distortion? Anyways, I know I cant expect miracle from a kit lens but if one camera has a considerably better kit lens then to me that seems like a good advantage as I wont necessarily need to buy additional lens right away.

In terms of features, the sony lacks a tactile screen, how big of an issue is this ? These are lower-end mirrorless camera so they have less buttons/controls on the body, so I would assume having a touch screen a considerable advantage? On higher priced models this might not be so and the touch screen might even be disabled as it might be more a nuisance than help, but what about these models?

Concerning Image stabilization, well, i'm not sure what to think of it... with the sony kit lens the stabilisation is in the lens so its not an issue, but what if I buy a non-stabilized lens... olympus has it in-body which I find is an advantage, however the sony handles low light better and I can set the iso higher without noise, would this counteract the olympus in-body stabilization advantage ?

Thanks all

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Louno, Mar 26, 2013

Louno wrote:

Concerning Image stabilization, well, i'm not sure what to think of it... with the sony kit lens the stabilisation is in the lens so its not an issue, but what if I buy a non-stabilized lens... olympus has it in-body which I find is an advantage, however the sony handles low light better and I can set the iso higher without noise, would this counteract the olympus in-body stabilization advantage ?

Thanks all

Personally, I would rather have IS than not. However, with faster lenses and sensors that are more capable, you can easily overcome lack of IS/OS. Of course, IS/OS can't help against motion blur. With shorter focal lengths, there is virtually no need for it. At 35mm or so, a faster lens does more (non-issue with Sony E-mount lenses as 35mm and up have OSS). And even if you choose a non-stabilized lens (like I have, using my A-mount 35mm 1.8 on NEX), OS is mostly unnecessary. In fact, I haven't felt the need for it on even my Zeiss 50/1.7.

Ultimately, you may end up being happy with either. The more substantial difference will be in subjective value of greater control of DoF, better high ISO performance, color depth and dynamic range (with larger sensor in Sony). The Olympus may be marginally better in AF speed, but if you are into manual focusing, Sony has Focus Peaking. You can also address your need for speed that the Olympus can't match, and put even NEX-3N in DSLR/DSLT performance category via LA-EA2 adapter for longer zooms for occasions you may want... albeit requiring additional investment on both, the adapter and A-mount lenses.

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Mahmoud Mousef
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Louno, Mar 26, 2013

Louno wrote:

Hi Everyone,
Wow thanks for all the information, I didnt expect this much feedback, I have read all your comments but am still undecided, it seem there is no clear winner between the NEX-3N and E-PM2. Both are 500$, so there is no price advantage with either one.

Some of you suggested I go with the olympus in order to be able to add a flash unit but to me personally flash is not an issue... For food photos we have a continuous lighting setup already so we never use flash.

No love for Panasonic?

Regarding flash, earlier you said:

The main issue with the P300 is that when zoomed in more (to eliminate distortion and have smaller field of view) the aperture rises up and it requires more light or longer shutter speed.

So I thought flash would be helpful.

For other purposes I don't think i'd buy a flash unit anyways as I rarely use it in general, actually the only time I used the built-in flash with my Nikon P300 or previous cameras was for fill lighting ( backlight mode ) for bright sunny scenes where there was too much light behind the subject or casting very harsh shadows. So to me, in terms of flash, the NEX-3N has a small advantage as its built-in, so always available, if ever I want it, without adding bulk.

External flash and on-board flash = two radically different experiences with radically different results. External flash can give you a very natural light that the on-board flash could never match, so I bet you would be using it more. It's all about the light.

In terms of focusing speed, which one would be faster ? Right now this is one area of the Nikon P300 I don't like at all... For food photos, I know focus speed is not an issue has nothing is moving, but it would help when taking pictures of other things in general (for example I take way too many pictures of my cat, half of them are blurry cuz he cant stay still for long)

Not to beat a dead horse, but in my opinion you would do well with a low-light lens and/or a flash (!) to freeze action, preferably external. The other option is bumping up the ISO sensitivity of the camera you buy, which will allow faster shutter speeds while maintaining proper exposure. A larger-sensor cam will be better at the ISO stuff. But a compact camera that has an F1.4 lens like the DMC-LX7 very may well be your ideal camera, even though it has a small sensor. It also comes in a Leica flavour, for a lot more cost. It was reviewed below. It is excellent at macro and has a great lens and may give you the bokeh you require at close distances. Don't count a compact camera out either.

http://blog.mingthein.com/2013/03/25/leica-d-lux-6-panasonic-lx7/

Concerning the kit lens, is any of the 2 camera's kit lens good enough for my purposes ? I want really sharp lens with shallow depth of field and nice bokeh.

To avoid total disappointment, I would try them in a store at the distances you normally shoot at and with similar light levels. If they are closer distances, you can get excellent blurring of backgrounds with a compact camera too.

Which of the 2 camera would be better suited for this ? I've read that the 16-50mm powerzoom kit lens from sony is surprisingly decent quality but there is very heavy distortion at 16mm... if shooting in jpeg mode this is automatically corrected by the camera ( apparently very well ) but what if I want to shoot RAW ?... I also dont get this distortion issue, isnt it normal to have distortion when shooting with lens at wide angle, not only normal but kind of somewhat desired effect? When I use my nikon at its lowest zoom ( 4.3mm ) I know that there is distortion due to the wide angle, so i use that when shooting landscapes or interiors and simply zoom in more when shooting people or food ( as you generally dont want distortion on those)... So is this the same with the sony kit lens or are we talking about an abnormal/problematic level of distortion? Anyways, I know I cant expect miracle from a kit lens but if one camera has a considerably better kit lens then to me that seems like a good advantage as I wont necessarily need to buy additional lens right away.

Best to try them out to avoid disappointment. Everyone is going to have their own standards for what is acceptable here. What is acceptable to you is what matters.

In terms of features, the sony lacks a tactile screen, how big of an issue is this ?

All this is personal taste and opinion. Read reviews or try one. Work out what you like.

These are lower-end mirrorless camera so they have less buttons/controls on the body, so I would assume having a touch screen a considerable advantage? On higher priced models this might not be so and the touch screen might even be disabled as it might be more a nuisance than help, but what about these models?

Concerning Image stabilization, well, i'm not sure what to think of it... with the sony kit lens the stabilisation is in the lens so its not an issue, but what if I buy a non-stabilized lens... olympus has it in-body which I find is an advantage, however the sony handles low light better and I can set the iso higher without noise, would this counteract the olympus in-body stabilization advantage ?

Depends what you are shooting and how much light you are getting. Again, this is an area where external flash or a low-light lens could solve everything and solve it well, and you won't have to wonder. It wouldn't surprise me if you eventually settled on a compact camera like the Panasonic DMC-LX7 (which has excellent image stabilisation, by the way); I think you are counting them out when in fact they could be your best (and probably cheapest) option for low-light lens and macro. The more I hear you speak, the more I think it can be a better contender.

Thanks all

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Vlad S
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In reply to Louno, Mar 27, 2013

Louno wrote:

In terms of lens availability, although olympus has more choice, there are also quite a variety of lens available for nex when you consider using adapters, although, I would rather not use adapters to minimize bulk, its still an option and am seriously considering it (for either camera) as I have a friend that could sell me his AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens for really cheap.

Keep in mind that the old manual lenses are almost always very soft wide open, on either µ4/3 or NEX system. Most likely you will have to close it a full stop before you can take pictures with it. Keep it mind when you compare apertures. Definitely ask in the forum about experience using whatever legacy lens you want to get, regardless of the system with which you end up.

Of course legacy lenses also negate any size advantage of the mirrorless system as well. I though to mention it because you were trying to save space with a powerzoom.

BTW, you can mount a Panasonic 14-42 PZ powerzoom lens on the Olympus instead of the kit lens, and it will be the same size as the Sony with power zoom.

Concerning the kit lens, is any of the 2 camera's kit lens good enough for my purposes ? I want really sharp lens with shallow depth of field and nice bokeh. Which of the 2 camera would be better suited for this ?

Neither kit zoom will give you what you want. You fill have to get a fast lens in normal to short telephoto focal length.

I would assume having a touch screen a considerable advantage?

It is very convenient to simply touch the point where you want to focus. But it's not a deal breaker.

Vlad

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Louno
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Louno, Mar 28, 2013

Thx for your input !

I think I will get the NEX. I however, there are 2 issues...

1. What additional lens to get?
As mentioned by some of you, I probably will have to buy an additional lens to get the results I want, possibly a legacy lens... but just to clarify, although I want a small camera, I dont mind the added bulk of a legacy lenses, I find this is a reasonable tradeoff for image quality since those will be used in specific conditions when wanted, like when shooting food most ( which is most of the time at home, so bulk isn't a huge issue...) I would prefer if possible to keep it compact nonetheless but, whatever... I have the kit lens I can use whenever less bulk is preferred, for general usage, anyways it seem to be a better lens than the olympus.

I think ideally I would have liked to get the Sony NEX DT 50mm f/1.8 OSS however 350$ +tx is a bit much for me right now... if its worth it, I can maybe get it used for as low as 225$ ?
Alternatively, maybe a manual lens with adapter would do... I could get the AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D for 100$, although I dont think autofocus will work, at that price I guess its ok.

Or if necessary to counter the loss of image stabilization, maybe I can get a faster lens, like the Canon FDn 50mm f/1.4 (100$ on ebay), or again the same price a Minolta 50mm f/1.4 MD ?
I dont know if no image stabilization will still be an issue though? I guess it depends on lighting too.. I use a 105watt daylight CFL bulb ( ~500w) , I find it quite bright and works decently with my Nikon P300, also sometimes there is more light from outside depending on the time.

2. Used NEX-5R VS New NEX-3N ?
this comparison page seems extremely unreliable...  I think the main reason why the 5R could be better is :

- Phase detection
- Touch screen
- Perhaps, better handle grip, especially if using older bigger lens...
- Has more buttons on body
- ???

But the 3n is :
- smaller
- newer ( maybe some slight improvement in sensor, noise, focusing, heat??)
- better kit lens
- NEW... good for warranty.
- ???

The 3N better kit lens and warranty advantage are very considerable but I wish there were more control on the body though especially without a touchscreen, I dont want it to be a hassle to use the camera... Seems like a though call...

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Louno, Mar 28, 2013

Lack of stabilization with faster (or wide angle) lens doesn’t bother me especially considering that the new sensors (even the old 14MP sensor on my NEX-3) are pretty darn good and especially if you shoot RAW (in which case, you take control over camera processing). For most practical purposes, I’m actually an ISO priority shooter. I adjust ISO for shutter speed. When I have Zeiss 50mm f/1.7 Planar (a fantastic lens, even wide open), I simply make sure that I’m getting 1/80s.

I also use Sony 35mm f/1.8 SAM (A-mount version which I’d picked for $165, but requires adapter and works really well with LA-EA1 with MF… AF will work but you may never want to use it). With this lens, and since the camera knows the focal length, it will try to keep shutter speed at 1/60s if Auto ISO is selected and the aperture/max ISO limit has not been reached.

That brings me to a recommendation. You could surely go legacy, and there are fantastic lenses out there including Canon FD, Minolta MD, Nikons, Super Takumar/Pentax, Olympus, Konica AR…  and be extremely satisfied. But you can also try to find a deal on LA-EA1 (I’d found mine for $90). I also got lucky and had found Sigma 24mm f/2.8, A-mount, for $40 (off  Craigslist), had Minolta Maxxum 50mm f/1.7 (often found for under $100).

With LA-EA1, I would recommend MF (screw drive lenses don’t AF on LA-EA1, they do on EA2). An additional benefit: full EXIF. Yet another benefit? Most of the EXIF possible even with M42 screw mount lenses, if you put M42 screw mount lenses on chipped Minolta A-mount adapter, which can then go on EA1. In this case, I say, “most EXIF” since if you get the M42-MA adapter chipped for 50mm f/1.4, you will need to have the aperture in the camera wide open (so f/1.4 will be recorded on EXIF, but of course, you may have a different aperture selected on the lens).

One advantage to recommending EA1 has to do with minimizing gear size/weight. It is light to begin with (also has a tripod mount). But, not ideal is ultimate compactness is desired. However, if you happen to have a collection of M42 and A-mount lenses (as I), you need only one adapter (EA1). And while you also need adapter for M42 lens, M42-MA adapter work better if you have EA1 (also for the reason stated above) and they are thin, not taking additional space.

Or, you can stick with just one mount so the adapter is shared by all legacy lens, instead of several adapters for several lenses from different mounts. Of course, this won’t address the size issue of the lens plus adapter on the camera. However, another way I look at it, my Zeiss 50/1.7 w/CY adapter on NEX is only marginally longer than Sony 50/1.8. Ideally though, I would recommend 35mm/1.8 OSS, but it is clearly outside your budget.

User interface can be a tough call (the only thing I have an issue with, in my NEX-3). For the same price, I might pick 5R (also for the added flexibility of adding EVF etc if you so choose at a later date).

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Vlad S
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That would be a question for the NEX forum
In reply to Louno, Mar 28, 2013

Louno wrote:

I think I will get the NEX. I however, there are 2 issues...

1. What additional lens to get?

2. Used NEX-5R VS New NEX-3N ?

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Guinea Piggy
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Re: Olympus
In reply to Vlad S, Mar 28, 2013

I completely agree. An Olympus EP3 and a Panasonic 20mm 1.7 is what I grab when eating out with family. Good low light ability and nice bokeh. Plus it's better than lugging around my chunky DSLR (w/ battery grip, heavy lens, and sometimes a speedlite flash).

One thing I would recommend also is getting Professor Kobre's Lightscoop Jr. as an alternative to the onboard flash.

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