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

Started Feb 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
RoelHendrickx Forum Pro • Posts: 25,805
Thoughts and two extra suggestions (+ my personal choice)

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.

I understand that. I want the same thing.

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?

Never used an X20 but I have seen and used an X10 and it is a very nice camera. But not really small-small, right?

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.

Never used one. But if it goes against your grain, then don't get it.

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

Interesting features : 10x zoom at F2.8 and a form factor that will feel familiar. Also an EVF.

But again : not really small small.

Any views on these or any others I should consider?

Someone already mentioned the option of a small (and quite cheap) second µFT body.

I think that would be a good idea : it gives you a backup and the option to go shooting with dual cameras (one lens on each camera and no lens swapping) for circumstances where that would be a benefit. None of your lenses are really small, but if you add one of those new pancake zooms, the package could be pretty small. And if you add a fast small prime (like the 14, 17 or 20), it will give you the benefit of also getting into the field of fast lens prime shooting. That really is a liberating and stimulating experience.

Well, if all that is true (and it is), then why don't I myself own a small second µFT camera.

Well, because I wanted a small compact that I can stuff in a jeans pocket, take anywhere, with a really fast lens and still a bit of zoom capability.

You have to ask yourself what you will be using that additiional compact most for.

Probably not for outings where photography is "premeditated" : you will take your E-M1 for that.

No, you probably want it in your coat or jeans pocket or in your purse for occasions where bringing the "real" camera is awkward. Like : family occasions, parties, etc.

What is the main characteristic of such occasions? They are often indoors and in low light.

So I believe that your main focus should be on lens speed : you want a fast lens to shoot with natural low light. At least that was my priority.

I considered a few and it was a close call between the Panasonic LX7 and the Olympus XZ-1 (or XZ-2), but ultimately I chose the LX7 (for price and a few other reasons).

The XZ-1 had a tilt screen, just a bit more tele reach and a mode dial around the lens as pluses.

But the LX7 topped that (for me) with being slightly faster (in aperture), a bit wider (24mm vs 28mm EFL makes a real difference for me), allegedly better performance at ISO1600, a faster max shutter speed, a built-in ND filter for wide open shooting in good light, slightly smaller size, a few more dedicated switches for functions I use a lot, and finally : having a separate charger for the battery (I don't like to plug in my camera).

I'm very happy with the LX7.

I have yet to use it for concerts and theatre, but the LX3 already did brilliantly there - check out on my webpages under "concert" and look for the galleries that say they were made with that little powerhouse of a camera. (Yes, I had an LX3 before, but wanted the even faster lens, better high ISO and aperture dial around the lens - and my daughter is now a happy LX3-user)

Most recent gallery with the LX7 : http://roelh.zenfolio.com/p606560168

But by all means: do your own investigation.

All cameras mentioned are reviewed on this site.  And go to a store to handle them.

Many thanks

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Roel Hendrickx
lots of images: www.roelh.zenfolio.com
my E-3 user field report from Tunisian Sahara: http://www.biofos.com/ukpsg/roel.html

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