Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?

Started Mar 29, 2013 | Discussions
Pebbleheed
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Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
Mar 29, 2013

I'm still relatively new to photography. I bought a Panasonic GX1 a short while back and I'm pretty happy with it. I love the small size of it while enjoying using interchangeable lenses. However there are some points that are annoying me.

The main point with the GX1 is that lenses are expensive. I look at my friends with their Canon EOS 550D cameras as they pick up lenses for a fraction of what I pay for MFT lenses. They can in some cases get 2 or 3 lenses for just 1 of mine and to be honest I've not noticed a difference in quality that would justify the price difference.

Secondly is the depth of field. To get decent bokeh type backgrounds on my shots I have to be close up to my subjects. I have to be low down on the aperture. The DSLR cameras appear to be able to beat this in every way without having to get as close and without having to go as low on the aperture.

I enjoy taking my GX1 out with the 14mm pancake lens on to get some street shots, but when it comes to other shots such as macro or portrait I'm feeling a little let down to be honest. I'm starting to wonder if it's time to trade the GX1 in and go for a 550D in it's place?

Anyone else feel a little cheated on the MFT lens prices?

I accept that the small size we enjoy has to have let downs in other areas, but I'm trying to make up my mind to see if I can live with a little bigger a camera to get more benefits of a full DSLR.

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Martin.au
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

Pebbleheed wrote:

I'm still relatively new to photography. I bought a Panasonic GX1 a short while back and I'm pretty happy with it. I love the small size of it while enjoying using interchangeable lenses. However there are some points that are annoying me.

The main point with the GX1 is that lenses are expensive. I look at my friends with their Canon EOS 550D cameras as they pick up lenses for a fraction of what I pay for MFT lenses. They can in some cases get 2 or 3 lenses for just 1 of mine and to be honest I've not noticed a difference in quality that would justify the price difference.

Secondly is the depth of field. To get decent bokeh type backgrounds on my shots I have to be close up to my subjects. I have to be low down on the aperture. The DSLR cameras appear to be able to beat this in every way without having to get as close and without having to go as low on the aperture.

I enjoy taking my GX1 out with the 14mm pancake lens on to get some street shots, but when it comes to other shots such as macro or portrait I'm feeling a little let down to be honest. I'm starting to wonder if it's time to trade the GX1 in and go for a 550D in it's place?

Go for it.

Anyone else feel a little cheated on the MFT lens prices?

Nope. Or to be more precise, hell no!!!. I think I may be lucky in that the lenses I want are generally much cheaper or at least in the ballpark than the DSLR counterpart.

I accept that the small size we enjoy has to have let downs in other areas, but I'm trying to make up my mind to see if I can live with a little bigger a camera to get more benefits of a full DSLR.

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PC Wheeler
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

Been there, done that and now back to m4/3. Re prices: They are not that far out of line. Compare the Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 and 35-100 f/2.8 to the Canon 24-70L f/2.8 and 70-200L f/2.8 in terms of cost. And if you switch, build up your muscles to tote the extra weight

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Makinations
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

Pebbleheed wrote:

I'm still relatively new to photography. I bought a Panasonic GX1 a short while back and I'm pretty happy with it. I love the small size of it while enjoying using interchangeable lenses. However there are some points that are annoying me.

The main point with the GX1 is that lenses are expensive. I look at my friends with their Canon EOS 550D cameras as they pick up lenses for a fraction of what I pay for MFT lenses. They can in some cases get 2 or 3 lenses for just 1 of mine and to be honest I've not noticed a difference in quality that would justify the price difference.

Are they way smaller?

Secondly is the depth of field. To get decent bokeh type backgrounds on my shots I have to be close up to my subjects. I have to be low down on the aperture. The DSLR cameras appear to be able to beat this in every way without having to get as close and without having to go as low on the aperture.

With a 550D?  It is like 1 stop.

I enjoy taking my GX1 out with the 14mm pancake lens on to get some street shots, but when it comes to other shots such as macro or portrait I'm feeling a little let down to be honest. I'm starting to wonder if it's time to trade the GX1 in and go for a 550D in it's place?

I think you should.

Anyone else feel a little cheated on the MFT lens prices?

No.

I accept that the small size we enjoy has to have let downs in other areas, but I'm trying to make up my mind to see if I can live with a little bigger a camera to get more benefits of a full DSLR.

I don't know what you can live with.  Buy one and find out.

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Ellen 1
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to PC Wheeler, Mar 29, 2013

I had the same thoughts while on holidays in the Netherlands last Xmas. My cousins husband had the Canon 550. I held it and thought that is not so heavy. Then add the weight and cost of a 400L 5.6 and some other lenses, persuaded me not to go that way again, used to have the 50D 400L 70-200L macro lens etc. Having the OMD now, i find that the quality when printed is just as good. As far as lens cost, here in Australia all lenses are expensive unless you buy used. Also most of the time you do get what you pay for.

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s_grins
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

Thinking is a good thing to do. I'm still wondering whether you're talking about FF DSLR. Sometimes I have to use FF, but prefer M43 standard for convenience and deeper DOF.

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jalywol
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You'll never know until you try.....
In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

Pebbleheed wrote:

I'm still relatively new to photography. I bought a Panasonic GX1 a short while back and I'm pretty happy with it. I love the small size of it while enjoying using interchangeable lenses. However there are some points that are annoying me.

The main point with the GX1 is that lenses are expensive. I look at my friends with their Canon EOS 550D cameras as they pick up lenses for a fraction of what I pay for MFT lenses. They can in some cases get 2 or 3 lenses for just 1 of mine and to be honest I've not noticed a difference in quality that would justify the price difference.

Remember, quality lenses of any stripe are not cheap.  Cheap lenses ARE cheap, and yes, there are more of them available for DSLRs than M43s.

Secondly is the depth of field. To get decent bokeh type backgrounds on my shots I have to be close up to my subjects. I have to be low down on the aperture. The DSLR cameras appear to be able to beat this in every way without having to get as close and without having to go as low on the aperture.

If you need very shallow DOF, then sure, go for a DSLR....but you might want to go for a full frame DSLR, not just an APS-C sensored one.  Also, remember, inexpensive lenses generally do not have really wide maximum apertures, so you may lose some of that nice DOF you are looking for in that case.

I enjoy taking my GX1 out with the 14mm pancake lens on to get some street shots, but when it comes to other shots such as macro or portrait I'm feeling a little let down to be honest. I'm starting to wonder if it's time to trade the GX1 in and go for a 550D in it's place?

Not sure why you are feeling let down about macro work....what lens are you using?  Honestly M43 has some significant advantages for macro as here is one area that you DO want a deeper DOF to get more of the subject in focus.  Also, since macro work is still best done with manual focus, you might want to look into a legacy macro....It's what I use and it is excellent.  (You can get a high quality legacy macro from any one of a number of manufacturers for under $100.  I use a Nikon 55mm f3.5, and it is sharp as a tack and stands up extremely well in comparison to native M43 macro lenses). For portrait work,  the 45mm f 1.8 is one of the nicest lenses you can get for the money in any system.

Anyone else feel a little cheated on the MFT lens prices?

Not particularly.  It is what it is....good glass is always expensive.

I accept that the small size we enjoy has to have let downs in other areas, but I'm trying to make up my mind to see if I can live with a little bigger a camera to get more benefits of a full DSLR.

If you are not concerned about size of the camera and lenses, then you should most definitely go to a DSLR and give the system a try.  The only way to find out if it will work for you is to use it.  (I moved entirely to M43 from DSLRs about two years ago, and have no intention of moving back BTW.  I supposed if I was offered a full frame D800 and lenses  I would not refuse it, but I'd still take the M43 when I was going anywhere that required me to carry the kit....)

So, definitely go for the DSLR, and see if it works for you.  You will either be very happy with it, or realize that M43 has some advantages that merit your return to the format.  However, you won't know for sure until you try....

-J

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FoolyCooly
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Why swap?
In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

You can get some DSLRs for the price of a 20mm prime. Is there anything you like about MFT? Is it worth keeping if you can find a way to shoot with 2 systems?

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Droogie45
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to Makinations, Mar 29, 2013

There is no way I would carry all that bulk around. I see people on the street with their big honking Nikons and Minoltas and even bigger bags and just snicker. As for lack of inexpensive lenses . . . that is what the joy of legacy glass is all about (just looked at a beautiful Vivitar 24mm 2.0 auto wide angle for $35 bucks). Now that is my idea of the MFT experience.

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marionwil
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to Makinations, Mar 29, 2013

I have Canon DLSR's with all the L lenses ( have the 60D a 30D a 400mm prime a 70-200L ) They have never been used since I got the OMD. My thoughts were the lenses are quite reasonable compared to GOOD!! DSLR lenses.

Canon DSLR's with *normal* lenses IMHO will not give any sharper shots than MFT. You have to use L series lenses and with these comes a huge difference in weight cost size etc! Having said that you probably are best off going the DSLR route then like a lot of us in here you can say been there done that

Love the OMD Just waiting for the new Olympus 300 Lens to get to Australia and that will complete the Olympus gear for me.

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MAubrey
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to Makinations, Mar 29, 2013

Makinations wrote:

Pebbleheed wrote:

Secondly is the depth of field. To get decent bokeh type backgrounds on my shots I have to be close up to my subjects. I have to be low down on the aperture. The DSLR cameras appear to be able to beat this in every way without having to get as close and without having to go as low on the aperture.

With a 550D?  It is like 1 stop.

Less than a stop. The crop difference between μ43 and Canon APS-C is 1.25--225 sq. mm vs. 328 sq. mm. That's more like half a stop. He'd see little difference in DOF at all while getting a lot more bulk.

Pebbleheed: You've gotta go to FF to get there. If that's what you need to do, then do it.

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007peter
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Some thought (as ex-canon owner) have you try Olympus 45mm f/1.8?
In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

As an ex-canon shooter, I get what you're saying.  I'm with you on the expensive m43 fast prime prices, but I felt the need to point out the obvious:

1. You're using the Wrong Tool for the Wrong Job

Expecting shallow DOF from a Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 wide angle is just plain stupid.  Wide Angel = more Depth of Field, regardless if a fast aperture.  The longer the telephoto, the narrow the DOF.  That is just the way optics works in general.  My suggestion are

  • Shoot LONG - longer lens induce telephoto-compression and blur the background
  • Shoot CLOSER - closer you are to the subject, the more background get blurs
  • Shoot FAST - f/1.8....

Once you add up all 3 factor, your answer appear to be a reasonable Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens.  That is not only the solution to your problem, but also the solution

2. APS-C does give you more background blur, but it isn't that BIG of a difference.  Having owned many canon dslr in the past and now a m43 and a sony nex.  The difference is there, but not dramatically so.  I can always shoot closer, or use a more telephoto lens to get the same effect.

If you really want Thin DOF, then you should forget APS-C Rebel and invest in a Full FrameCanon 5d/6d.  There is a dramatic difference in Thin DOF/bokeh going with FF.  Unfortuantley, so is the Big Bulky Body and 5d/6d lack build-in flash which add even more bulk

3. Expensive Fast Prime is M43 only weakness

I share your frustration here.  The $1,139.00 price tag is ridiculous.  Optic isn't great and need in camera software correction to hides its flaw.  A cheap Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (non-is) around $400 is better, as are many other canon, nikon, sigma fast zoom.  You're paying a lot for a small lens without better quality.  Since lens is smaller, the material cost is also lower (less grass, less platic, less metal) yet we're paying more.

I love the small and cheap m43 camera body like ($300 GF2, $245 G3 deal), but I'm not happy about its lens price.  M43 has a razor-blade marketing strategy - selling camera body for a dime then make it back on the lens.  How about the long overdue $249 Olympus 25mm f/1.8 that was long rumored.  Or a cheaper $500 Sigma/Tamron alternative to the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 fast zoom.

M43 would be unstoppable with these cheaper alternatives.  Without them, m43 will likely remain the small enthusiast camera without mass appeal.

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Martin.au
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to marionwil, Mar 29, 2013

marionwil wrote:

I have Canon DLSR's with all the L lenses ( have the 60D a 30D a 400mm prime a 70-200L ) They have never been used since I got the OMD. My thoughts were the lenses are quite reasonable compared to GOOD!! DSLR lenses.

Canon DSLR's with *normal* lenses IMHO will not give any sharper shots than MFT. You have to use L series lenses and with these comes a huge difference in weight cost size etc! Having said that you probably are best off going the DSLR route then like a lot of us in here you can say been there done that

Love the OMD Just waiting for the new Olympus 300 Lens to get to Australia and that will complete the Olympus gear for me.

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Which new Olympus 300? The 75-300? If so it's already here. I picked mine up from Diamonds Cameras last week.

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pxchoi
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

Pebbleheed wrote:

I'm still relatively new to photography. I bought a Panasonic GX1 a short while back and I'm pretty happy with it. I love the small size of it while enjoying using interchangeable lenses. However there are some points that are annoying me.

The main point with the GX1 is that lenses are expensive. I look at my friends with their Canon EOS 550D cameras as they pick up lenses for a fraction of what I pay for MFT lenses. They can in some cases get 2 or 3 lenses for just 1 of mine and to be honest I've not noticed a difference in quality that would justify the price difference.

Secondly is the depth of field. To get decent bokeh type backgrounds on my shots I have to be close up to my subjects. I have to be low down on the aperture. The DSLR cameras appear to be able to beat this in every way without having to get as close and without having to go as low on the aperture.

I enjoy taking my GX1 out with the 14mm pancake lens on to get some street shots, but when it comes to other shots such as macro or portrait I'm feeling a little let down to be honest. I'm starting to wonder if it's time to trade the GX1 in and go for a 550D in it's place?

Anyone else feel a little cheated on the MFT lens prices?

I accept that the small size we enjoy has to have let downs in other areas, but I'm trying to make up my mind to see if I can live with a little bigger a camera to get more benefits of a full DSLR.

I'm in the camp that thinks M43 lenses are a bargain when considering their performance. I've been a long time DSLR user that now shoots exclusively with M43.

Remember that depth of field and bokeh are two different things. Bokeh is the quality of the outer focus elements not how shallow the DOF is. So, if you are looking for more DOF control, that is valid, but lenses capable of shallow DOF can have terrible bokeh.

The greatest bargain is probably found in zoom lenses.

12-35 f2.8 $1100
35-100 f2.8 $1500

For Canon and Nikon respectives you're probably looking at the better part of $2000+ for 24-70 and 70-200 f2.8

Primes? The Panasonic 25mm f1.4 runs $500 compared to $330 for Canon's 50mm f1.4 but I would rather shoot with the Panasonic over the Canon if it came down to overall image quality. Other high quality or pro grade lenses such as those found in Canon's L line (granted that they are faster than most M43 prime lenses) are a lot more money ($1000-2000).

You mentioned Macro? Olympus 60mm Macro runs $500 and Canons 100mm Macro is $600. If you want the L variant with Image Stabilization and more/rounded aperture blades, that will run you $1000.

With any lens regardless of the camera that it is meant to go on, I always make sure to consider the value determined by the price to performance ratio.

But the real kicker for me is the compact size that M43 offers that DSLRs just cannot do, yet (but close). The OMD is a pure joy to shoot with.

It's important to note that both systems have their pros and cons. Some people even find the lack of DOF control to be a great advantage.

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MrScorpio
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FF is the way to go.
In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

I had an Oly E3.

Got the EP1.

Sold the Oly.

Missed the DSLR and bought the 5D2 and GOSH what a difference it was in almost every positive aspect.

Missed the EP1 portability and bought the EP3.

Out came the OMD so I upgraded and I was very happy about it.

Sold the 5D2 and decided for only the OMD system.

Later missed the FF possibilities and IQ.

Bought a 6D and I am VERY happy with it.

Cheezus, I am lucky my wife is a pro and understand my photographic needs.

Anyway, now I have 2 systems but I would recommend the 6dFF as a APSC is "only half way there".

It is not a bad thing to have those 2 systems since the cost, weight for good IQ at 600mm (equiv) is a hard one to achieve with FF. And really good blurred backgrounds hard with mft. I also find there is much more information in the file that I can use in PP from the 6D. But thats more a general feeling than a proven statement.

This 6D shot is also what I sometimes find difficult with my OMD. Here with a 50 mm at 1.2.

If you enlarge the picture you will notice the background blurr with only the fact and table flower sharp.

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John Siward
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to PC Wheeler, Mar 29, 2013

PC Wheeler wrote:

Been there, done that and now back to m4/3. Re prices: They are not that far out of line. Compare the Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 and 35-100 f/2.8 to the Canon 24-70L f/2.8 and 70-200L f/2.8 in terms of cost. And if you switch, build up your muscles to tote the extra weight

It's not really a fair comparison. The Panasonic lenses are equivalent to f/5.6 full frame lenses, and where I live they are similar in price to the Canon f/4 L zooms so IMO they are pretty expensive for what you get.

J.

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Y1981
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Re: FF is the way to go.
In reply to MrScorpio, Mar 29, 2013

Have a Canon FF and OMD, m4\3 is very good in a matter of background, IMO

OMD + 25\1.4

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the-dude-75
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Re: FF is the way to go.
In reply to MrScorpio, Mar 29, 2013

the thread opener was talking about a 550d and cheap optics, that is a complete other story than a 6d with a 50 mm  1.2 lense.

and a 550d with a 50 mm 1.4 will not give you any advantages in case if Dof, you have to stop down to get a aquivalent sharpness then a panaleica 25 mm at 1,4

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illy
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Re: Thinking of swapping from MFT to full DSLR - Advice?
In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

shoot with what you enjoy, there is no right or wrong only what suits you. I am currently having a renaissance with the Dslr and rather enjoying it.

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papillon_65
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In reply to Pebbleheed, Mar 29, 2013

Pebbleheed wrote:

I'm still relatively new to photography. I bought a Panasonic GX1 a short while back and I'm pretty happy with it. I love the small size of it while enjoying using interchangeable lenses. However there are some points that are annoying me.

The main point with the GX1 is that lenses are expensive. I look at my friends with their Canon EOS 550D cameras as they pick up lenses for a fraction of what I pay for MFT lenses. They can in some cases get 2 or 3 lenses for just 1 of mine and to be honest I've not noticed a difference in quality that would justify the price difference.

Secondly is the depth of field. To get decent bokeh type backgrounds on my shots I have to be close up to my subjects. I have to be low down on the aperture. The DSLR cameras appear to be able to beat this in every way without having to get as close and without having to go as low on the aperture.

I enjoy taking my GX1 out with the 14mm pancake lens on to get some street shots, but when it comes to other shots such as macro or portrait I'm feeling a little let down to be honest. I'm starting to wonder if it's time to trade the GX1 in and go for a 550D in it's place?

Anyone else feel a little cheated on the MFT lens prices?

I accept that the small size we enjoy has to have let downs in other areas, but I'm trying to make up my mind to see if I can live with a little bigger a camera to get more benefits of a full DSLR.

I've gone full circle having had DSLR's before, then m4/3's and now gone FF. Obviously the main disadvantage is size/weight, so if you're happy to scale back up then it's not a problem. Personally, even though I've gone full frame I have found it cheaper. There is no denying that you get far more choice at a better price in the Canikon DSLR world and I'm not just talking lenses either. There are far more third party accessories available at much cheaper prices, from remote releases to flash triggers etc. Companies can mass produce stuff for these camera and sell them to a much bigger market.

In terms of lenses I have far more choice now and there are some very good value third party offerings. In the Canon world you don't have to buy L class lenses to get some nice stuff. In fact not all L lenses are all that, though some obviously are.

I haven't totally abandoned M4/3's and there will be things about my OMD I will miss, it doesn't matter what system you choose there will be a compromise somewhere. I don't think size is such an issue unless you go for big telephoto lenses, it's more a weight thing. I used to take my OMD in a bag so taking a DSLR in a bag is no different, its the weight that is, that's the real penalty. I'm happy to accept that compromise, you may not be.

Obviously people on this forum will have a bias towards smaller gear, thats understandable, and the older you get the more the size and weight matters. Only you can decide whats right for you but I will say it is cheaper away from m4/3's, I am most definitely finding that already. As an example I'll be paying around £400 for an UWA lens that goes wider than any m4/3's lens can. This is less than half the price I would have to pay for the 7-14mm. Taking format differences into account the quality is also very good.

Weigh up the compromises and pick what suits you best.

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