High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
NewGirlLiz
Regular MemberPosts: 307
Like?
High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
7 months ago

Apologies for starting a thread about compact cameras on a M4/3 forum, but am interested in the views of M4/3 users in particular.

I now have what I think is a pretty wonderful system for my needs. (EM1 + 12-40, 40/150 & 75-300 lenses.) I would like to top off my collection with a super quality compact to chuck in my pocket any time when EM1 & lenses aren't available for any reason.

Apologies if similar discussions have taken place in the past but am seeking any views based on current selections of high-end compacts as the perfect complement to my set up.

I'm considering the following...

Fujifilm X20. I really like this, but have issues with the viewfinder not fully matching up with what the lens sees - especially close up - and also being partly obscured by the lens at widest angle. Could I get over this for the sake of a really nice camera that is a joy to use?

Sony RX100 ii. I keep reading about how wonderful this camera is, but I have had one (brief) play with it and just didn't feel excited by it at all. It just didn't feel like an enjoyable camera to use. It's pretty expensive and for that amount, I feel that I should love it, and I didn't.

Olympus Stylus 1. I haven't had my hands on this yet but I wonder if it's a great compromise of features?

Any views on these or any others I should consider?

Many thanks
Liz

Tapper123
Senior MemberPosts: 1,161Gear list
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

NewGirlLiz wrote:

Apologies for starting a thread about compact cameras on a M4/3 forum, but am interested in the views of M4/3 users in particular.

I now have what I think is a pretty wonderful system for my needs. (EM1 + 12-40, 40/150 & 75-300 lenses.) I would like to top off my collection with a super quality compact to chuck in my pocket any time when EM1 & lenses aren't available for any reason.

Apologies if similar discussions have taken place in the past but am seeking any views based on current selections of high-end compacts as the perfect complement to my set up.

I'm considering the following...

Fujifilm X20. I really like this, but have issues with the viewfinder not fully matching up with what the lens sees - especially close up - and also being partly obscured by the lens at widest angle. Could I get over this for the sake of a really nice camera that is a joy to use?

Sony RX100 ii. I keep reading about how wonderful this camera is, but I have had one (brief) play with it and just didn't feel excited by it at all. It just didn't feel like an enjoyable camera to use. It's pretty expensive and for that amount, I feel that I should love it, and I didn't.

Olympus Stylus 1. I haven't had my hands on this yet but I wonder if it's a great compromise of features?

Any views on these or any others I should consider?

Many thanks
Liz

RX100 II is what I have, and I do love it. If you truly want a pocket sized camera, it's the only one IMO. I also have the EVF for it, and which is a great option. Image quality is amazing for its size. Feature set and lens is superb. Trade-offs are the small size means less ergonomic, which I suspect is your main gripe with it. I wouldn't trade it for any other camera yet available in terms of having a truly small pocket camera with good IQ.

The others you mention are significantly larger, and for me, if I'm going to bother with lens caps then I might as well use a bigger, better camera in general. Plus the X20 and Stylus both have smaller, less capable sensors than the Sony.

If you're not worried about truly pocketable size, then you might as well skip the toy sensors and get something with a decent sized sensor. Maybe a Fuji X100S, or a very small M43 model.

 Tapper123's gear list:Tapper123's gear list
RX100 III Sony Alpha NEX-F3 +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kurt_K
Contributing MemberPosts: 556Gear list
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

Why not an XZ2? They're currently a bargain at $299, and as long as you're shooting at low ISO's the image quality is really quite impressive.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Gregm61
Forum ProPosts: 13,814Gear list
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

If I wanted a "compact", I would remove the 12-40 from my E-M1 and mount the 20mm f1.7, or maybe put the 20 on the E-M5.

I spent real money on my last compact digicam long ago.

-- hide signature --

"There's shadows in life, baby.." Jack Horner- Boogie Nights

 Gregm61's gear list:Gregm61's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 OIS +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
brucemc66
Contributing MemberPosts: 684Gear list
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago
 brucemc66's gear list:brucemc66's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Pentax Q
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Andrewteee
Senior MemberPosts: 2,367Gear list
Like?
Ricoh GR
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

That's all you need to know. The GR is the perfect complement to any camera. Fits in your pocket and amazing IQ. Fixed focal length, though, at 28mm.

 Andrewteee's gear list:Andrewteee's gear list
Ricoh GR Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Ricoh GXR A12 50mm F2.5 Macro Pentax K-3 Nikon Df +3 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
larsbc
Forum ProPosts: 11,494
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

NewGirlLiz wrote:

I now have what I think is a pretty wonderful system for my needs. (EM1 + 12-40, 40/150 & 75-300 lenses.) I would like to top off my collection with a super quality compact to chuck in my pocket any time when EM1 & lenses aren't available for any reason.

Sony RX100 ii. I keep reading about how wonderful this camera is, but I have had one (brief) play with it and just didn't feel excited by it at all. It just didn't feel like an enjoyable camera to use. It's pretty expensive and for that amount, I feel that I should love it, and I didn't.

I went through a similar consideration during the summer. I was really looking into the Ricoh GR and Nikon A but ended up with the Sony RX100 II. My thinking was that a micro four-thirds camera with a pancake prime would give me image quality and small size close enough to the Ricoh and Nikon. Sure, the Ricoh and Nikon would be a bit smaller, but not so small as to be something I'd be willing to carry around with me every single day. Also, I valued the versatility of a zoom. I didn't need a super zoom range but I did want to be able to vary the field of view enough to noticeably change the perspective. Finally, because it was going to be the camera I always have with me, I wanted good video quality. The RX100 II came closest to fulfilling my requirements:

  1. It's very, very small so I never have to think twice about whether to bring it or not. It stays with me even when I have another camera with me.
  2. It's focal range is useful and gives me a fast aperture at its widest focal length which is something I use a lot.
  3. Video quality is very good.
  4. Image quality as remarkably good for a 1" sensor. IMO it's very close, if not equal to my GH2.

I have no regrets buying it because even now, I think it's still the best choice for me and I'd buy it again, no problem. However, I do agree that the ergonomics could stand some improvement. I don't love its handling but I am constantly impressed by the image quality I get from such a small package.

BTW, before I looked at the RX100 II's image output, I didn't think I would ever spend money on another premium compact. But this camera's sensor is so good that I felt it was a distinct and instantly noticeable improvement on any of the previous and existing compact cameras (excepting the GR and Nikon A, of course). Size-wise, I think it beats anything the same size or smaller by quite a margin (and yes, IMO a GM1 with lens is BIGGER).

One more thing: I like the "chuck in my pocket" description you used.  I just bring my RX100 II, all the time, no matter what.  There's no thinking involved.  No thinking about "Do I need it to be small?" "What focal lengths will I need?" "Will I need a flash?"  It's just a tiny camera that can cover most of the bases for most people.

This weekend we're going away to a hot springs resort.  I was planning on bringing my GX7 and some lenses but have decided to just bring the RX100 II instead.  Even though most of the photo ops will be indoors or in poor outdoor light, it'll serve the purpose.  Plus I can keep it in a little Pelican case while we're soaking in the various pools.  Despite the fact that I am lukewarm about the camera's handling, I get a kick out of travelling super light while getting image quality that excels that of some of the DSLRs I used to own.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Godfrey
Forum ProPosts: 27,340
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

When I want something I can chuck into a pocket and not worry about, I stick the Olympus BCL 15mm f/8 lens on the old E-PL1 body and slide an optical viewfinder on top.

Handy, compact, cheap, and if I really need to, I can put any of my other FourThirds lenses or an EVF on it.

-- hide signature --
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
FM51
Junior MemberPosts: 27
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

GM1.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
pocketpygmy
Contributing MemberPosts: 697Gear list
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

I keep coming back to this question myself. It's not as straightforward as it seems, especially since many similarly sized (physically, or sensor-wise) compacts can vary widely in price. And so, while, no, many compacts can't compete IQ-wise with the RX100, if you can get it at a fraction of the price for almost-good-enough IQ, then... why not?

$200 -- Pentax MX-1 (1/1.7" sensor with f1.8-2.7 lens, but chunky, almost m4/3-ish size)

$200 -- Olympus XZ-10 (smaller sensor, but f1.8-2.7 lens, and pretty small)

$200 -- Fuji XF-1 *RED* (2/3" sensor, f1.8-4.9 lens, pretty small but requires unusual lens twist activation to switch on)

$200 (and up) -- Pentax Q system (tiny interchangeable lens cams, but lenses do stick out, not really pocketable)

$250 -- Canon S110 (maybe the smallest of the enthusiast compacts?)

$250 -- Nikon J1 (1" sensor, interchangeable lenses, but like Pentax Q, lenses do stick out)

$300 -- Panasonic LX7 (another favorite, with f1.4-2.3 lens, but lens protrudes and requires lens cap)

$300 -- Olympus XZ-2 (another comparable sub-$400 enthusiast compact, but pretty bulky, and also requires lens cap?)

$400 -- Canon S120 (like the S110, but I guess 'better' in some way?)

$400 -- Canon G15 (one of the old reliables among enthusiast compacts, but size is larger)

$400 -- Fuji XQ-1 (specs like the XF-1, but with conventional auto lens-cap)

$450 -- Canon G16 (like the G15, but again... I guess it's somehow better?)

$500 -- Fuji X-20 (really nice design, but basically m4/3-ish size, not pocketable)

$550 -- Sony RX100 (the new star of compacts, but personally not a fan of its computer-like character, not as small as some of the others, and it's expensive)

$640 -- Olympus Stylus 1 (specs aren't bad, but again pretty close to m4/3 size, not pocketable)

$700 -- Sony RX100 II (even more expensive, and is it really worth it?)

$700 -- Panasonic GM-1 (m4/3!!)

$800 -- Ricoh GR (APS-C! but fixed at 28mm, and... the price)

$1000 -- Nikon A (APS-C! but fixed at 28mm, and... the price)

Ha... didn't know I had it in me, but there's a quick list sorta off the top of my head (but thanks to Amazon too). Did I miss any?

I still don't know what my preference would be, personally, but given such a range, I would really, really value the ones that are truly small, and truly inexpensive. (Are the $400 ones really twice as good as the $200 ones?) I've already got an EM-5 and primes for high quality images. What I'd want is something I can really take anywhere (no bags, no straps), but is better than my smartphone.

 pocketpygmy's gear list:pocketpygmy's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Ralph Encarnacion
Senior MemberPosts: 2,233
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

My previous pocket camera was a Canon S95. Wonderful camera, takes excellent pictures and fits in any pocket. When I wanted to upgrade (because I wanted wifi) I almost bought the S120, which is basically an upgraded version of the S95, but with wifi and better video. Then like you, I kept reading about the Sony RX100M2, and I ended up getting that. The RX100M2 is at the top of the food chain when it comes to pocket cameras. If you want something better, you pretty much need a bigger camera, and if I am going to carry a bigger camera, I might as well bring my GH3. I carry my RX100M2 everywhere, either in my pocket, or a small belt pouch. The image quality and video is just simply outstanding! So I recommend the RX100M2, or if you want to save a few bucks, the S120.

-- hide signature --

Honorary FCAS Member, Black Hole Division
http://www.pbase.com/image/27556550.jpg

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dgrogers
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,654
Like?
Why not get a smaller m4/3?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

Get a camera such as the Panasonic GM1 or an Olympus Pen (some of the older Pens with the 12mp sensor are very cheap right now) and add a lens such as the new Olympus 14-42 f3.5-5.6 EZ which retracts to the size of a pancake lens (or the Panasonic equivalent), then pick up an automatic lens cap for it.  Cheap, small, and similar quality to what you are used to.

-- hide signature --

Completely infatuated with the "OMG"

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
fuesting
Forum MemberPosts: 86
Like?
Re: Why not get a smaller m4/3?
In reply to dgrogers, 7 months ago

dgrogers wrote:

Get a camera such as the Panasonic GM1 or an Olympus Pen (some of the older Pens with the 12mp sensor are very cheap right now) and add a lens such as the new Olympus 14-42 f3.5-5.6 EZ which retracts to the size of a pancake lens (or the Panasonic equivalent), then pick up an automatic lens cap for it. Cheap, small, and similar quality to what you are used to.

-- hide signature --

Completely infatuated with the "OMG"

You beat me!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Rohith Thumati
Regular MemberPosts: 416
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

I've been on a similar hunt for a while now, actually.

How important is pocketability? The only one of the three that you mentioned that's pocketable is the RX100 M2, so I'm guessing it's not that high of a priority. If I'm mistaken, then your options for super quality compact are pretty much limited to that Sony and the Ricoh GR. The reviews of the GR are glowing, and if you're happy with the 28mm (full frame equivalent) angle of view, then that'd be a great option. The Nikon Coolpix A also qualifies, but it's so much more expensive than the GR and doesn't appear to have any better image quality (from the reviews I've read) that I can't imagine it being worth it. If you don't like that field of view, though, it'd be the wrong choice.

If you're okay with non-pocketable, your choices expand quite a bit.

The Panasonic GM1 should be at the top of your list (it's at the top of mine right now). Whether or not it's pocketable depends on how big your pockets are, but the people I know who have it love it. The images will be on par with what your E-M1 puts out, give or take a little here or there. The kit lens isn't the brightest optic, but it's, well, a kit lens. You can always put on a prime like the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 or Olympus 17mm f1.8 and be a low light monster. It doesn't have a viewfinder, though.

Canon is also supposed to unveil the new version of the G1X next week at the CP+ show. If it retains the large sensor (slightly bigger than Micro Four Thirds) and the rumors about the faster lens are correct, it could be great. The current one has really good image quality, but has abysmally slow AF. We'll find out a bit more next week, but a certain rumors site already has some info.

If you're okay with fixed focal length, the Fuji X100S is always worth a look. Its handling is my favorite of any camera I've used (E-M5 included), the electronic viewfinder is solid (not as good as the E-M1's or E-M5's), has a great optical viewfinder, and it produces great images. I would have definitely bought one by now if I liked that angle of view, but it doesn't suit me.

The X20 is very good, but the viewfinder takes some getting used to if you don't want to rely on the screen. The Stylus 1 will be very familiar to you as an OM-D user, also, but don't expect the viewfinder to be as nice as the one on your E-M1. Both have good, wide aperture lenses for telephoto. In most situations, the RX100 M2 will take better photos than either, though. The RX100 M2 of course lacks a viewfinder, which some find important.

So you have a few questions to ask yourself: zoom or fixed focal length? If a zoom, how important is having a bright lens? How important is pocketability? Do you need a viewfinder? And how much do you have to spend? If you have answers to those questions, the answer becomes easier.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jeff Tokayer
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,923
Like?
Re: Ricoh GR
In reply to Andrewteee, 7 months ago

Ditto on the GR  I carry it with me all the time.

-- hide signature --

My nickel, since the penny is being discontinued...
Jeff.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dougjgreen1
Senior MemberPosts: 2,113Gear list
Like?
Olympus XZ-2. It's on sale currently for $299
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

NewGirlLiz wrote:

Apologies for starting a thread about compact cameras on a M4/3 forum, but am interested in the views of M4/3 users in particular.

I now have what I think is a pretty wonderful system for my needs. (EM1 + 12-40, 40/150 & 75-300 lenses.) I would like to top off my collection with a super quality compact to chuck in my pocket any time when EM1 & lenses aren't available for any reason.

Apologies if similar discussions have taken place in the past but am seeking any views based on current selections of high-end compacts as the perfect complement to my set up.

I'm considering the following...

Fujifilm X20. I really like this, but have issues with the viewfinder not fully matching up with what the lens sees - especially close up - and also being partly obscured by the lens at widest angle. Could I get over this for the sake of a really nice camera that is a joy to use?

Sony RX100 ii. I keep reading about how wonderful this camera is, but I have had one (brief) play with it and just didn't feel excited by it at all. It just didn't feel like an enjoyable camera to use. It's pretty expensive and for that amount, I feel that I should love it, and I didn't.

Olympus Stylus 1. I haven't had my hands on this yet but I wonder if it's a great compromise of features?

Any views on these or any others I should consider?

Many thanks
Liz

It's nearly got the IQ of the Sony RX100 II, for far less money.   It has a better lens, and significantly better ergonomics for serious shooters than the Sony RX100 II.   Very comparable to the Fuji X20, but noticeably less costly, and without a VF that has framing issues.  You can add an Olympus VF-2, 3, or 4 to it that will have the correct frame.

Basically, same IQ as the Stylus 1, but you lose the long end of the telephoto range, and the built in EVF.  The lens is faster and slightly better than that of the Stylus 1 at the wide end.  You can add back the EVF separately, and still be looking at over $200 in savings compared to the Stylus 1.

 dougjgreen1's gear list:dougjgreen1's gear list
Olympus Stylus XZ-10 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Nikon 1 V2 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH OIS +11 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Livemusic
Forum MemberPosts: 63
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to Rohith Thumati, 7 months ago

I have a Oly E-PM2 and a RX100 mk1 the RX100 fits anywhere and is very easy to use. Very good quality lens and sensor the more light there is the better the pictures will be. On a sunny day you will be amazed. You won't find a better compact i would not spend the extra money (here $200) on the mk2 i am happy with the mk1.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
drcPhoto
Regular MemberPosts: 409Gear list
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

NewGirlLiz wrote:

Apologies for starting a thread about compact cameras on a M4/3 forum, but am interested in the views of M4/3 users in particular.

I now have what I think is a pretty wonderful system for my needs. (EM1 + 12-40, 40/150 & 75-300 lenses.) I would like to top off my collection with a super quality compact to chuck in my pocket any time when EM1 & lenses aren't available for any reason.

Apologies if similar discussions have taken place in the past but am seeking any views based on current selections of high-end compacts as the perfect complement to my set up.

I'm considering the following...

Fujifilm X20. I really like this, but have issues with the viewfinder not fully matching up with what the lens sees - especially close up - and also being partly obscured by the lens at widest angle. Could I get over this for the sake of a really nice camera that is a joy to use?

Sony RX100 ii. I keep reading about how wonderful this camera is, but I have had one (brief) play with it and just didn't feel excited by it at all. It just didn't feel like an enjoyable camera to use. It's pretty expensive and for that amount, I feel that I should love it, and I didn't.

Olympus Stylus 1. I haven't had my hands on this yet but I wonder if it's a great compromise of features?

Any views on these or any others I should consider?

Many thanks
Liz

Last year I would have encouraged you to get the Sony Rx100 ii, but with the Panasonic GM1 now available I would bypass the Sony and go for the Panasonic. Both great cameras, but tests and comparisons consistently give the edge to the GM1. The added benefit is you can use any lens you have for the. E-M1 on the Panasonic too. The other camera I really like and consistently gets fabulous reviews is the Fuji X100s. Yes, a fixed lens, but why is this camera consistently the carry around 2nd camera of choice for so many professional and enthusiasts? It is simply a great great 2nd camera that provides fabulous rich results. I wish I had one.

Dale

 drcPhoto's gear list:drcPhoto's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 OIS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +21 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Logan3-1639
Regular MemberPosts: 135Gear list
Like?
Re: Ricoh GR
In reply to Andrewteee, 7 months ago

Andrewteee wrote:

That's all you need to know. The GR is the perfect complement to any camera. Fits in your pocket and amazing IQ. Fixed focal length, though, at 28mm.

Agreed, but that's only half the story, for me. The GR also delivers the best shooting/photographing experience of any camera I've owned. From the way it feels in my hand, to the layout of the physical controls, and the ability to customize myriad settings to your heart's content, the GR is a camera that was designed by people who appreciate the value of a pleasing, delightful photography experience.

-- hide signature --

Judging others does not define them... it defines you as a person who needs to judge.

 Logan3-1639's gear list:Logan3-1639's gear list
Ricoh GR Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8 +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
tlburnes
New MemberPosts: 2
Like?
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?
In reply to NewGirlLiz, 7 months ago

How about an E-PM2 (or E-PL5) with the new Olympus collapsible 14-42EZ lens? You'd have essentially the same sensor as in your E-M1, could use all your lenses on either camera, with in body image stabilization, and would have familiar Olympus menus and controls on both, especially the Super Control Panel.

If you'd like a viewfinder you could add the cheap but competent VF-3, removing it when not needed for a smaller package. Add a small fast prime at some point, like the 17mm f1.8 or the new 25mm 1.8 and by carrying that along with the E-PM2 with the EZ lens you'd have good low light capability and maximum image quality when needed.

Used with the very good Olympus digital zoom the EZ lens gives you a 35mm equivalent reach of 168mm.

If you're like me you'll find yourself taking the smaller camera often since you'll give up little in terms of image quality in most circumstances but have a much smaller, lighter and less obtrusive package.

I also use an XZ-2 when I want just one piece of equipment and like it very much. A bargain now at $299.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads