compact dslr with changeable lens

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by philip_buttmann, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. Hey guys,
    what do you think are the best compact dslr-camera with a changeable lens for a beginner like me to start with?
    looking forward to any reply that could guide me a bit or just offer an interesting opinion on the subject.
    i would like to use a small dslr camera with Zeiss Planar T 1,4 85 ZF.2. Will there be a way to do that?
    Best, Philip
  2. Well, right now the smallest one seems to be the new Canon SL1 ( ).
    You can use a Zeiss with it, but there's a lot to be said for the kit lens on that one, and it makes for a very affordable package for stills and video.
    There's also a wonderful Canon EF 85mm f/1.8, if you don't mind having autofocus and spending a lot less money.
    You do understand that a compact dSLR will almost certainly be an APS-C sensor, so a 85mm will act like a longer lens on it (the 1.6X 'factor')? No one has described any of the 35mm sensor ones as being small. For small you need to go back to some of the film EOS or other make SLRs.
  3. It goes without saying that we would like to know why you want to use that lens. It is an expensive, manual focus lens and it is far from without flaws. At the very best it is a special purpose lens so it begs the question. What do you want to do with it?
    You should also keep in mind that on a crop sensor camera (which is what most small DSLRs are) it is about 127mm. So if you want a true 85 you will have to go with a full frame camera like the D600. The D600 costs about $2000.00 and the D3200 about $500.00.
    Let us know what you have on your mind and we can help you better.
  4. SCL


    What is your budget, and are you willing to buy used gear as well as new? And on the topic of budget, are you also budgeting for post processing software?
  5. Like Rick, I find the choice of this specific lens for "beginner use" a rather stunning one. It's expensive, manual focus and specialised. Not a learning lens, so to speak.
    There is no best small DSLR, but there are a lot of good ones. The best thing is to go to a store and try them in your own hands - the most obvious candidates being the Canon EOS100/SL1 mentioned, but also the slightly larger EOS650D - Rebel T4i) or 700D Rebel T5i (mount the ZF.2 lens with an adapter), and the Nikon D3100, D3200, D5100 and D5200 (mount ZF.2 natively, fully functional); plus do not overlook the Pentax and Sony offerings - you cannot go wrong with any of those (but not sure about mounting a F-mount lens on those).
    All of these have one thing in common though: their viewfinder is small and dim, and far from ideal for manual focussing. Liveview can help resolve that, but handling a DSLR at arms length with the rear screen is in my view not a great technique, especially not with larger, heavier lenses (which the Zeiss is).
    If you want cameras that are easy to use with manual focus, the Nikon D600 and EOS 6D are the prime candidates - I wouldn't call either small, though.
    If you're really just starting out, get one of the above cameras with its kitlens, and start shooting. In time, the Zeiss may come into play but I wouldn't make such a lens drive you decisions today. First learn working with the DSLR, then later on worry about specialised lenses for specific tasks.
  6. Although the SL-1 has both live view and both Contrast Detection and Phase detection focusing modes I think you cannot beat the Electronic Viewfinder [EVF] when using a long lens and it is here that the Micro Four Thirds [MFT] comes on the scene with the features of the DSLR without the 'dark screen' disadvantage. There are plenty of MFT which need to be held at arms length becuase they only have a rear LCD screen but there are Panasonic G and GH models and the OLympus 5D [ whatever its full title is ] with EVF. Both the G and GH have fully automatic modes to help the newbie gradually learn what their other features can do for them and maintain a high rate of 'takers' from the start. The price of MFT is comparable or slightly more than a DSLR but in buying them I got the tool I wanted.
    On the question of PD and CD there was a recent study which found the GH3's CD five times faster than the Canon 7D's PD which rather upsets the apple cart of conventional thinking :)
  7. Hello,
    thanks for your replies so far. I would like to use the lens, since I already used it on a Contax G2 camera and in exactly this set-up it comes closest to my natural perception, that why I had chosen it and there is no doubt about it.
    now coming to my question, which is, which camera on a budget of less than 600 Euros I could use with this lens and gives my a good outcome which not necessarily almost the same but at least comparable to my previous analog set-up (see above)?
    Looking forward to your response, Philip
    PS: Artistically I focus on point-and-shoot inside Portraits of people, have also used a Contax T2 from time to time.
  8. One thing I forgot to mention:
    I might have to use a System-Camera for reasons of size.
  9. and, please, if you have ideas, which lens is comparable to the Zeiss Planar T 1,4 85 ZF.2, which is more affordable?
  10. Assuming your knowledge of the Zeiss lens cames from your 35mm usage as a short portrait lens you would find that the 14-42 when used at full zoom on the MFT would match it from a compositional point of view [ 84mm equivalent AoV ] and while perhaps Leica is not as highly regarded as Zeiss I suspect the difference would not be particularly noticeable except by the hyper critical.
    I gather without personal experience that there is a superior Olympus 14-42 or maybe it is 14-45 which will work on the standard MFT camera of both makers as another option instead of the 'kit' lens which I found to be very good. I passed mine on to my son when I got my GH and the 14-140 lens suits my nature better.
    I guess the word is getting out that Panasonic G3's are great little cameras as even second hand ones are asking rather more today than when I last looked a few weeks ago on Amazon. But the complete camera and lens would be a fraction of what the Zeiss apparently costs. A bit more would get you a GH3 and still be less than the Zeiss.
    I assume you live Stateside and are not a professional which in my book means you do not need to 'swop' SLR for DSLR but can take advantage of digital variations without an equivalent in film days.
  11. I think you would find this lens Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 comparable for your purposes and a fraction of the price ....with Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 ... together would cost about the same as the Zeiss lens on its own.
    The SL1 and the Zeiss lens would be around $600 more. The camera is about half the price of the GH3 but the Oly lens seems to be around $350 v. $1900 for Zeiss.
    Since we are now in the digital age you also need to budget for a post processing programme where $150 should cover your needs.
  12. Hello,
    I found an offer of the Zeiss lens for 250. So can I use this lens (which is originally made for analogue cameras) with a digital camera?
  13. I would check out what mounting it comes with and then go to Amazon and/or Ebay to see if there is an adaptor for whatever camera you decide on. I found a suggestion it comes with a Minolta A /Sony mounting
    For Canon EOS,k:EOS+to+Minolta-A+adapter
    For MFT,k:MFT+to+Minolta-A+adapter
    But these cameras/lens are not in my experience so I cannot help you further. I guess the difference between list price and your price reflects the fringe nature of the mounting.
    This page could be interesting
  14. If you have picked on the 85mm based on what you used with 35mm you probably have become aware that 85 is the equivalent iof a 136mm on 35mm and on the long side for portraiture though the classical focal length for this purpose. On an APS-C you will need a 55mm to equal the 85 on film and with MFT the 45 is slightly longer equalling a 90mm on film.
  15. JC's advice is sound. The Olympus 45mm f1.8 will give you excellent quality on any MFT body, but especially on an Olympus PEN series body (I use an OM-D E-M5) with its in-body image stabilisation.

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