What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)

Started 7 months ago | Questions
aGont
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What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
7 months ago

Hi everyone, thanks in advance for your time,

Novice photographer here, buying my first "nice" camera. Im an architecture student so Ill be taking a wide variety of pictures - interior, exterior, small models, big landscapes etc. Ive played around with DSLRs and theyre really nice, but no good for travelling. Ive been reading about compact, mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses, and they seem like the perfect solution. It would be great to have a small camera with a relatively small lens to begin with, and as i learn more I can add lenses to my collection.

And of course, price is a pretty big issue. From what ive seen, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 seems like what I need, but other websites show that it comes with a different, larger lens? I quite prefer this small one to start.

http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-cameras/olympus-pen-e-pl3/4505-6501_7-34853488.html

Camera suggestions or general advice is appriciated. Thanks.

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Olympus PEN E-PL3
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aimawayfromface
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

aGont wrote:

Im an architecture student so Ill be taking a wide variety of pictures - interior, exterior, small models, big landscapes etc. Ive played around with DSLRs and theyre really nice, but no good for travelling.

I would approach the decision by considering the lenses first. For the type of photography you want to do, you would most likely need an ultra wide zoom (18-35mm EFL) and perhaps a 50mm EFL. The E-PL3 is a micro four thirds camera and has available for it many lens options including the above (9-18mm, 17mm, 20mm, 25mm, etc.). I would also consider the Nikon 1 system which offers these FOV ranges as well (6.7-13mm, 18.5mm, etc.) and in a smaller package--the J1 camera body for example (which happens to be steeply discounted at the moment)

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Jim Cassatt
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

One possibility is to buy something now with the idea of replacing it later when you get some money.  In that regard, I have liked my Fujifilm X10 (now replaced by the X20).  Great lens and excellent image quality.

The reason I say this is that if you want to do serious architectural photography, you are talking about a serious camera.  For architecture I like a full frame Canon with 24mm tilt shift lens to get rid of perspective distortion.  This also means carrying a tripod.  If I actually made serious money from architectural photography, I would infest in a view camera with proper tilts and swings.

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baloo_buc
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

Mirrorless can be nice and small. Some are good for low light (especially those with large sensors like Sony NEX).

You will need ultra wide angle lenses (14 - 36 mm EFL 135 film format) and availability of tilt&shift lenses. Unfortunately the latter are available for dSLRs not for mirrorless as the target of mirrorless is very different.

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Bob Tullis
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

There's many options, but the E-PL3 isn't a bad choice to get started, not at all. You might consider a Franiec grip for it, after you've handled it a bit.  Before Olympus managed to provide more than the 12mp sensor this camera features, this was my favorite of the Pens.

For architecturals I'd use as wide a lens as possible, and frame wider in order to use perspective correction in post (if the subject is not suitable to shoot leveled, perspective correction introduces a crop on the framing). The lack of T/S lenses for the format is unfortunate, but not a deal breaker in that regard.

The m.ZD 9-18 would be a good choice for a WA zoom. . . but you'd want to check out the lens lineup and prices for the fast primes that would be suitable for low light work.   As you're buying into a system, it's the lenses that will see you through your journey with the system you choose.

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PenPix
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

As the others have stated, a wide angle lens is a must.   If you are not familiar with how wide some of these lenses can go, I suggest you go in a camera store and try them out.  The limiting factor of a camera system may be the field of view of the widest lens in it's arsenal.

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aGont
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

Thanks for all the help guys! Some really good tips. Ive been doing some more research and it seems to me that the E-PL5 is absolutely worth the step up - for about 100$ more, you get the 16 MP upgrade, built in flash, touchscreen, and the little things like a grip.

Ill think ill pick that up, along with this ridiculous thing: http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-BCL-15mm-Panasonic-Micro-Cameras/dp/B009DL0LOW

And invest in other lenses in the future.

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AndyGM
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

aGont wrote:

Thanks for all the help guys! Some really good tips. Ive been doing some more research and it seems to me that the E-PL5 is absolutely worth the step up - for about 100$ more, you get the 16 MP upgrade, built in flash, touchscreen, and the little things like a grip.

Ill think ill pick that up, along with this ridiculous thing: http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-BCL-15mm-Panasonic-Micro-Cameras/dp/B009DL0LOW

And invest in other lenses in the future.

The E-PL5 does not have a built in flash. Blimey where do you do your research? Form factor wise, the E-PL5 is exactly the same as the E-PL3, except it has a grip, which is a welcome addition, I own the E-PL3 and it can be a bit slippy.

If you are looking at getting a Micro Four Thirds camera, I would avoid all the 12 megapixel models, like the E-PL3. The E-PL3 is a fine camera, but the 16 megapixel models are a step up regarding image noise and dynamic range. I bought mine before the E-PL5 came out.

By the way, the original image of the E-PL3 you linked to on C-Net showed it with the Olympus 17mm f/2.8 "pancake" lens. The E-PL3 has never been sold packaged or bundled with that lens. It (and the E-PL5) are usually sold with the 14-42mm IIR zoom lens, which for a standard, bundled 3x zoom lens with mechanical zoom is close to the smallest there is. I think the latest Panasonic 14-42mm is about the same size, and the Nikon 1 10-30mm is a little smaller. The new Panasonic 12-32mm is much smaller but has less zoom range, and both Panasonic and Sony make much smaller "power zooms" where the zoom is done by a motor controlled by a lever like you get with compact cameras.

Micro Four Thirds has five "pancake" lenses (so called because they are very thin compared to how wide they are), one by Olympus and four by Panasonic. All Micro Four Thirds lenses, made by any company, will work on any Micro Four Thirds camera made by any company, but for obvious reasons you won't find a camera kit where Olympus have bundled in a Panasonic lens or vice versa!

All other Micro Four Thirds lenses are larger than those pancake lenses.

> interior, exterior, small models, big landscapes

Small models will probably mean you need a macro lens, interiors and landscapes are usually the realm of a wide or ultra wide angle lens.

Therefore, I would say when trying to decide on an interchangeable lens system, think of what you are likely to shoot (which you have), think of what lenses will let you shoot those subjects, and then choose a system with the best options of those types of lenses.

Nikon 1 system has one UWA zoom lens, one wide angle prime lens but no macro lenses

Micro Four Thirds has two UWA zoom lenses, two (soon three) wide angle prime lenses, and two macro lenses

Sony NEX has one UWA zoom lens, one UWA prime lens, three wide angle prime lenses and one macro lens.

Fuji X has no UWA zoom lenses, two UWA prime lenses, one wide angle prime lens and one macro lens.

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aGont
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to AndyGM, 7 months ago

Oops! Youre right, I mustve been looking at the EP5, not the E-PL5. (regarding the flash)

Anyways, The amounts of lenses available for each system isnt such a big deal for me, they are all super expensive. I just want a solid base setup and get some inexpensive lenses to experiment with and learn. Looking over all of these threads, I see people dishing out 1000s of $ on their so called "base setups" consisting of 5-6 lenses. Honestly, how much better can your photos get? The body already has a crazy sensor and image stabilization built in and all that.

Im really excited to see all the cheap and DIY stuff that produces awesome results, like this guy:

http://chaoticmind75.blogspot.ru/2013/08/my-technique-for-snowflakes-shooting.html

And these M43 lenses, so cool! (90$ for 3):

http://petapixel.com/2013/10/23/review-lomography-experimental-lens-kit-mft-cameras/

Any other interesting stuff for the M 4/3 system? I just found out about reverser rings that let you mount the lens backwards to get macro.

Sorry if I seem a bit hostile towards the whole photography culture, I'm just interested in doing more with less.

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aGont
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

One last question: The E-PL5 vs. the Fuji X-A1. How do they compare? There isnt that much information on the X-a1 since its pretty new. What I read is the image quality is better, but how much better? The trade off seems to be really expensive Fuji lenses, I cant find many third party lenses for it.

tl:dr - is the fuji IQ worth ditching the stable m43 system?

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Weogo
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

Hi Agont,

The Fuji has a larger sensor than the micro4/3rds format. 243 square millimeters vs 368smm.
All things being equal, a larger sensor is an advantage.

I wonder if an old tilt/shift Nikon film camera lens could be adapted to an Olympus for Fuji?

Another modest-cost approach to wide angle shooting is getting a good quality, modestly wide lens, shooting panoramas, and
putting it all together and adjusting for distortion with software.
Am curious what the experts think about this.

Thanks and good health, Weogo

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peevee1
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

aGont wrote:

One last question: The E-PL5 vs. the Fuji X-A1. How do they compare? There isnt that much information on the X-a1 since its pretty new. What I read is the image quality is better, but how much better? The trade off seems to be really expensive Fuji lenses, I cant find many third party lenses for it.

tl:dr - is the fuji IQ worth ditching the stable m43 system?

IQ at the same aperture and shutter speed is about the same. Main differences between the cameras: 1) E-PL5 has IBIS stabilizing all lenses while X-A1 depends on the in-lens stabilization (which most X system lenses do not have),

2) E-PL5 has only one control dial (and it is in inconvenient location falling basically under the base of the thumb when you hold it) when X-A1 has 2 - much better for manual shooting and even Shutter or Aperture priority shooting.

3) E-PL5 allows you to mount external electronic viewfinder (VF-2, VF-3 or VF-4) while X-A1 does not (screen-only shooting).

4) X-A1 has built-in flash, E-PL5 comes with removable flash.

5) X-A1 has WiFi built-in (but with no app support), E-PL5 support WiFi through SD cards (EyeFi or Toshiba FlashAir natively supported and probably others will work to a degree), but in some markets there is E-PL6 with built-in WiFi.

6) E-PL5 shoots 8 fps sequentially with decent buffer, X-A1 only 5.5fps.

7) E-PL5 (and/or its lenses) is faster at single-shot autofocus, both are weak at AF-C (Fuji probably worse too).

The differences in available lenses are much bigger, I would look at the lenses first. Even for a kit, Olympus 14-42 II R is MUCH smaller and lighter than Fuji XC 16-50. For other lenses the differences are even greater.

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to aGont, 7 months ago

One last question: The E-PL5 vs. the Fuji X-A1. How do they compare? There isnt that much information on the X-a1 since its pretty new. What I read is the image quality is better, but how much better? The trade off seems to be really expensive Fuji lenses, I cant find many third party lenses for it.

tl:dr - is the fuji IQ worth ditching the stable m43 system?

Not sure what you mean by a more stable system, but I would imagine the larger sensor opens more possibilities for you, not just via native lenses but also adapted lenses... Especially if you are into architecture.

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aGont
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Re: What camera? (mirrorless, interchangable)
In reply to EinsteinsGhost, 7 months ago

Thanks for the responses everyone,

Einsten - what I mean by stable is that (from my understanding) the m43 system is been around for longer, and theres more and more compatibility and support for it, whereas the X-mount is new and investing in a system that might be scrapped in the future might not be the best idea.

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