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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    8

    Current State of the Pro Compact Market?

    So I've been shooting with a D60 for a few years now, and I've been extremely pleased with its performance and image quality. However, lately I've noticed that I've been taking less photos with it, and the reason is simple- size. The famous saying is all too true- the best camera is the one you have with you. I find myself reluctant to drag along my D60, as it's basically a burden to carry around in many situations (or simply awkward in others). I know some people will yell at me for saying that, as it is quite compact compared to many higher end DSLRs, but the fact is that if I can't store it in my pocket, it's too large.

    So, I've decided to look for a more compact camera. However, I'm trying to minimize the amount of performance and image quality I have to give up for size. So, I was curious what's currently the best bet out there for a pro compact shooter. I'm currently looking at the Micro 4/3 cameras as my best bet, though I'd actually prefer something with a full APS-C sensor over those.

    So basically, does anybody know of any reasonably compact cameras with an APS-C sensor? I know the new Sony NEXs have them, though I'm a bit put off by the clunky interface/menus. Leica has the X1 with an APS-C, but $2000 is a bit out of my price range. And I believe Ricoh offers something in that area as well?

    My questions then would mainly be:

    - Does APS-C provide a substantial improvement over Micro 4/3 in terms of high ISO/low light performance?
    - Do any of the Micro 4/3 or APS-C compacts provide similar speed to a DSLR, as in focusing and overall performance? (This is also important- I'd like to avoid anything that's dog slow, as in normal point-and-shoot slow).
    - Do any of the pro compacts with smaller sensors have comparable low light performance to the Micro 4/3 stuff (i.e. guys like the Panasonic LX4, Canon G11, etc.)

    And basically, what's the best option available in that category (under $1000 or so)?

    Thanks for any help!

    P.S. Oh, also, I'm not concerned with interchangeable lenses, and I'm more than content with shooting at a fixed focal length on a compact camera.
    Last edited by blabus; 09-27-2010 at 11:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,087
    You're gonna have to prioritize what you want here, as all of the available options have pluses and minuses. This is the market right now, at least as I understand it.

    Sony's NEX series has the best low light performance (about two stops over the Olympus E-PL1) and close to dSLR focus speed, but the interface sucks (yes I've used it), and lens choices at least for now are pretty slim

    Olympus have the best JPEG output, in-body stabilization and there are some great choices in lenses between Olympus/Panasonic/Leica, but low-light is middling and focus speeds aren't that hot (but better on newer models and a step above point-n-shoots).

    Panasonics have the best focus speeds, but low-light and JPEG processing is a step behind Olympus

    Samsung's NX100 has been announced but not released.

    There's also the Ricoh GXR which... well, Ricoh likes to do things differently. You don't buy a body and get lenses, you buy a body and get lens/sensor combos. Some are APS-C sized, some are 1/1.7 inch sensors. Generally good photo quality, but the pricing is pretty insane in my opinion.

    As to pro compacts like the LX5 etc, no they don't equal the low-light capabilities of M4/3s cameras, but the LX5 has gotten closer than anything else to date. Of course, you need to really work to get it, though.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
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    10,424
    Quote Originally Posted by blabus View Post
    P.S. Oh, also, I'm not concerned with interchangeable lenses, and I'm more than content with shooting at a fixed focal length on a compact camera.
    then wait for more info on this...

    http://www.finepix-x100.com/gallery
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    756
    Quote Originally Posted by Rooz View Post
    then wait for more info on this...

    http://www.finepix-x100.com/gallery
    Yeah, exactly. From the promotional material and the specs, looks like a dream.
    Looking to buy a Pentax flash? Check out my Definitive Guide to Pentax P-TTL Flash Options.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    8
    Wow, thanks for all the info! Yeah I just saw that X100 the other day on Engadget. Looks pretty interesting indeed. The other thing I was wondering about is performance. Do any of the Micro 4/3 or LX5 come close to the shot to shot performance of a DSLR? (I'm talking things like shutter delay, focusing speed, powering on, etc.) I saw some videos of the GF1 and it looked fairly snappy from what I could see.

    Basically I think that with regards to that though, I've narrowed it down to either the X100 (pending some more info), or the NEX-5. Anyone know what the performance is like on the NEX-5? Is it approaching DSLR speed, or is it more sluggish like a normal point and shoot?

    Thanks again for all the help!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,087
    Quote Originally Posted by blabus View Post
    Wow, thanks for all the info! Yeah I just saw that X100 the other day on Engadget. Looks pretty interesting indeed. The other thing I was wondering about is performance. Do any of the Micro 4/3 or LX5 come close to the shot to shot performance of a DSLR? (I'm talking things like shutter delay, focusing speed, powering on, etc.) I saw some videos of the GF1 and it looked fairly snappy from what I could see.

    Basically I think that with regards to that though, I've narrowed it down to either the X100 (pending some more info), or the NEX-5. Anyone know what the performance is like on the NEX-5? Is it approaching DSLR speed, or is it more sluggish like a normal point and shoot?

    Thanks again for all the help!
    The NEX-5 is pretty close to dSLR speed. The problem is that it has a menu-driven interface similar to a point-n-shoot camera, but the options and parameters of the a dSLR.
    Practical upshot? Actual shooting is fast, but god help you if you want to actually change any settings on a regular basis, like using program shift or any bracketing other than EV shifts. It seriously, seriously slows the camera down.
    E-510
    E-1
    Zuiko 14-54 F2.8-3.5 MkI
    Zuiko 70-300 F4.0-5.6
    Konica Hexanon 52mm F1.8
    Cullmann 2503
    Benro KS-0

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    8
    Alright, so after looking around some more online, I think I've narrowed it down to either the NEX-5 or the GF1. The X100 looks interesting, but reports look like it probably won't be out until next year, and I really want something by November. So, anybody have any thoughts on whether the NEX-5 or GF1 is superior? My main concerns are still low-light/high ISO performance, and speed performance.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    4,146
    It appears that the Sony NEX-5 will cover your major concerns, but don't overlook the Pentax Kx, another high ISO capability.

    Sarah Joyce

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    49
    The Pentax K-x and other 12 MP DSLRs by Nikon, Canon, and Sony use the same Sony 12 MP sensor that has been proven to have good performance - I don't believe anyone would say a K-x sucks at Hi-ISO, within reasonable limits - e.g. not comparing it to a full frame. Performance differences b/w cameras are minimal - it's due to the processing of the camera.

    Newer cameras, like the NEXs, use the Sony 14 MP sensor which is also an excellent performer. However, I would write off those cameras due to the fact the E-mount system has no fast, general purpose lens other than the 16mm f/2.8 which is geared towards landscapers and real estate agents (inside of houses). Nonetheless, you can buy an a-mount adapter and now you can actually use AF with a-mount lens. It does cost, however, 200 dollars.

    On the other hand, Canon, Pentax, Nikon, and Sony all have a good selection of fast primes - each has their own 50mm f/1.4 which are all comparable in basically all aspects - they share the same lens design.

    As for 4/3rds cameras, they are going to be a stop behind the best APS-C cameras, however a GF1 + 20mm f1.7 isn't a bad combination. Or a EP-1 + 20mm f1.7. The EP-1 has the advantage of body-based image stabilization to complement the lens, and its cheaper than the GF1.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Singapore/Sri Lanka
    Posts
    332
    I know the NX100 has been mentioned. But at the expense of sounding like a Samsung promoter (which I am not) I would also look at the slightly older Samsung NX10 as well, which when combined with the 30mm/F2 pancake provides a good APS-C sensor street shooting package. The body is light, well made, handles beautifully and has decent battery life.

    The NX series also has an 18-55, 55-200, 20mm pancake and a 20-50mm compact zoom so far, which provides for decent native NX variety. In addition, 60mm, 85mm primes and an 18-200mm are due to be released soon. Adapters for other mounts are also available.

    The NX's only downside is the somewhat mediocre image noise reduction on jpegs at higher ISOs, but this can be countered by shooting RAW and post processing.
    Samsung NX10+30mm+18-55mm OIS, Fuji S6500FD

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