Road Train !!!!!!!!!!

by Russell McMahon

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I'm a owner of a Sony A700 with some good lenses and a Sony NEX5 with the kit lens but I'm not happy.

The A700 is too big and heavy, and the lenses too, and I can't stand the lack of an OVF/EVF on the Nex 5 (plus the kit lens is not so good). SO I want to sell it all and buy a good mirrorless body with a couple of lenses (I'm considering also primes). (or a good apsc sized compact camera?)

Key factor I'm looking for:

  • small and lightweight

  • built like a tank (it's gonna be a travel camera also)

  • good image quality (at least to be able to submit to micro/macrostock websites)

  • good manual controls

I need help choosing the right camera, so there are the pros and cons I've found so far on the cameras I like. What are your pros and cons of those camera? Do you have any other camera to suggest? Price is not really an issue (ok... maybe I can't afford a Leica )

I'm trying to stick to their lenses, because I don't want to use a converter (another piece of crap to carry around, and it adds weight and size)

Olympus OM-D EM-5 + 17mm f/2.8 + 45mm f/1.8

Pros:

  • i like the design

  • small and lightweight

  • weather resistant (good while I'm traveling - big pro)

  • best price of the three

Cons:

  • image quality (?) due to a smaller sensor

Fujy X-Pro1 + 18mm f/2 + 35mm f/1.4 (how is the 18-55?)

Pros:

  • i really like the design

  • image quality

Cons:

  • expensive

  • slower autofocus (?)

  • a little bit bigger

Sony Alpha Nex 7 + 15mm f/2.8 + 50mm f/1.8

Pros:

  • image quality

  • reasonable price

Cons:

  • don't really like the design

What do you suggest? Any other camera (even very hi-quality compact caperas with bigger sensor) or lens that I should consider? Maybe Sony Nex 6 or Fuji X-E1?

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It looks like you already did the comparison and the rest of your question is too vague. We have no idea what you shoot and your photography style. –  Itai Oct 27 '12 at 13:14
    
Does the Sony RX-100 fit the bill? Very portable, huge sensor for the camera with lens size. –  Paul Cezanne Oct 28 '12 at 0:09
    
nope, 20mpixel on a 1" sensor? not gonna happen ;) and it doesn't even have an ovf/evf –  Stefano Oct 28 '12 at 8:30
1  
Sorry, but "Cons: image quality (?) due to a smaller sensor" is not the case at all... –  BBking Oct 31 '12 at 13:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

These 3 models represent the pinnacle of MILCs available in the market right now, so very difficult to pick one.

I'll focus on the key factors you're looking for:

small and lightweight

  • The Sony NEX-7 is by far the smallest and lightweight of these. The Olympus and Fuji are more or less equivalent in terms of weight.

built like a tank

  • The Olympus would have the edge here with its full magnesium alloy weather sealed body. Although the build quality of the other models is also pretty close with the NEX-7 having a magnesium alloy body (with some plastic) and the X-Pro1 having a die case aluminium alloy body.

good image quality

  • Its very difficult to choose between these 3 models in terms of IQ. I would call this one a tie.

good manual controls

  • I haven't used any of these models, so can't be 100% sure about this, but from the product pictures, the X-Pro1 seems to have the most manual controls.

Apart from these, few other important points to consider:

  • The Olympus has the most extensive lens availability for any MILC system.
  • The X-Pro1 seems to have a very limited lens range so far, and the ones available seem to be very expensive.
  • The Olympus has a smaller sized sensor (half the size of APS-C) compared to the other 2 models making to more difficult to achieve out of focus backgrounds.
  • Reviews seem to indicate that the X-Pro1 has slower and unreliable AF system compared to the other models.
  • The Sony NEX-7 seems to have the best video performance of the lot.
  • The X-Pro1 is considerably more expensive than the other two.
  • You should be able to use your A700 lenses on the NEX-7 using the A-mount adaptor.

I would suggest you go to a store and give all these models a try and choose the one that feels the best.

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Most of this is not entirely correct... but the main point about the lens lineups is key. The size difference between each is 2cm in one dimension: The E-M5 is 2cm taller than the NEX-7 and the X-Pro1 is 2cm wider than the E-M5. However, the OM-D makes a much smaller system since its lenses can be smaller, other than the 12-50mm F/3.5-5.6 which I find over-sized. Having had all of these, I can say the X-Pro1 feels much more bulky. The OM-D has the most manual controls actually. X-Pro1 clearly leads in image quality. –  Itai Oct 27 '12 at 22:56

I don't think we can make this decision for you. I've used the first two on your list, and they are very quirky cameras. Depending on how these quirks mesh with your personal quirks, you will love them or hate them. I actually have a site blog post in progress about this — I'll try to finish it up this weekend.

It's not exactly cheap, but if you can rent each of these for a week (not just handle them in the store — that's almost worse than nothing because you have no time to learn the quirks!), you'll be able to know what is right for you.

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