I am tempted to buy a small camera to add to my repertoire – like an Olympus PEN or even better, a Panasonic GF-1. The GF-1 with the prime 20mm f/1.7 lens is appealing, except for the slow way you move the focus area and the high price.
But I am tempted nonetheless, thinking “always carry it”, “street photography”, and “at lower noise than the G11, what with the micro four thirds sensor”.
What do you all think?Save my money, or take the plunge?
I’ve had a chance to shoot with many of the “M43″/mirrorless cameras, and my overall impression has been “almost…but not quite.” The larger sensor, generally speaking, buys you one stop – ISO 800 becomes useable. But 1600, not so great.
I haven’t shot with the Sony NEXxies yet, however. They have a roughly APS-C sized sensor that ought to blow away the PEN or GF1 in low light, but who knows.
I found the GF1 + 20/1.7 combo fun to shoot, but the autofocus is damned slow. The lens racks all the way out, then retracts to achieve focus, way too slow.
People who are used to shooting rangefinders for their street work tend to like the GF1 or EP1/EP2 because they can pre-focus manually and shoot that way.
Not a lot of interesting lenses are available, either. The 20/1.7 is certainly the most compelling of them all.
I started down that road, went to the camera store and looked at the Olympus PEN and the Panasonic GF-1. You either use the monitor on the back or plug a viewfinder into the hot shoe. The stabilizer only works when you take the picture so you see all the shake in the viewfinder. The salesman suggested a Canon Rebel T2i and produced one for me to try. OK, it’s bigger than the 4/3 cameras, they don’t exactly fit in tight pockets either. The Rebel is pretty light, and it fits all my Canon and Sigma lenses and Canon flashes. I picked up the new Sigma 18-250 OS lens and Canon’s 50 mm f/1.8 to go with the new body. Frankly, the Canon 1Ds Mk III body on the same lens takes better photos, they are sharper, but the Rebel is far more than adequate and by comparison hardly weighs anything so if I am just walking around or travelling by air, it gets used. Oh, and it takes HD movies. Unfortunately it only takes SDHC cards, not CF, so now I have two sets of cards. After 2 months and 8,000 photos, I am sure I made the right choice for me. The last gallery on my website – Beijing & Shanghai was taken with the Rebel, except for a few photos taken with my wife’s G11 which is also a very nice little camera.
Well, usable up to 800 is enough for me, I suspect. For up to 3200 (and with LR3, beyond) I have the 1D4 and the 1Ds3.
The lack of viewfinder is disturbing.
I’ll look at the autofocus tomorrow. Indeed manual focus will be acceptable, but ofgen I’ll want to autofocus. Slow even when using one spot?
Problem with the Sony is the huge lens. The only lenses I like ar ethe “pancake” prime lenses. For big lenses I have my three SLRs…
For something that fits in your pocket, and is always with you, I’d have thought you’d be looking at the Canon S90. Small, fast, two control rings…