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

Started Feb 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
larsbc Forum Pro • Posts: 14,557
Re: High quality compact to complement M4/3 system - any thoughts?

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.

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