I want a small camera

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by russ_albion, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. I want a small travel camera (that can shoot portrait and macro) with a dedicated ISO & exp comp buttons, good IQ, good ISO up to 800; good metering and good AF. Sony? Nikon? W/e as long as its not a dSLR
    To the point as I can be - tnx
  2. Canon S100 is one option.
  3. Id consider the S100, but not keen about Panasonic. Anyone tried the NEX or J1?
  4. Pocketable or just small? I went from an LX3 to an Olympus E-PM1 and couldn't be happier. Removable lenses, better image quality and the likes makes it a great camera. Just not as quick to change settings as with a camera with more external controls.
    EDIT: Just re-read your requirements. Exposure compensation is as easy as any other camera I have ever used. ISO is a little buried in menus, but not bad.
  5. I love my S100 but another one to consider is the PowerShot SX260HS. It just came out the first week of March; at least that's when our local Target got them. It succeeds the SX230HS which came out on top in DPReview's "Compact Travel Zoom Cameras" or some title close to that. This one, the SX260HS, has the Digic 5 processor and ISO is impressive up to 1600 (it goes up to 6400 but is pretty useless at that setting). The lens is slow (f/3.5-6.8) but with such good high ISO performance, it works out quite nicely. The lens' range is 25-500mm, and the camera is compact enough to put in your pocket. You have full control if you want it and "Smart Auto" if you don't. Exposure compensation is just a push on the rear dial while ISO settings require a couple of pushes on the "Set/Func" button. I carry mine in my jeans pocket when I'm out walking around. Definitely take a look at it. It's really a cool camera that I find myself using more than my 7D or S100 since buying it a couple of weeks ago just because it's fun to use!
  6. One of the best "small" cameras on the market, which often gets overlooked, is the Olympus XZ-1. DPReview rated it higher than the LX5 and S95. I think it's very worthy of consideration.
  7. Russ, your 1:57 comment makes it seem you are looking for an interchangeable lens camera. I think the Olympus 12-50 might have the best macro capability of any kit lens on the market. See this thread:

  8. I can tell you I love my XZ-1. Small powerful cameras are wonderful, as they are much more easily justified to pack when traveling. I am very seriously considering the E-M5 when it hits.
  9. I would place importance on sensor size, as well as MP count, in regard to IQ. Do you need a viewfinder, as well as an LCD screen? The NEX-7 has both, as does the new Fuji XPro 1. Each can take a variety of optics, although some 3rd party lenses only operate in manual focus. You can get a NEX 5N quite inexpensively and add an EVF later. There are other choices of course, but I wouldn't go for a physically small sensor, unless you are happy with low resolution screen images or small print sizes.
  10. Russ, you didn't mention a budget limit. Might help narrow the field a bit.
    I just purchased a Nikon Coolpix P6100 a couple of weeks ago. I was slightly influenced by the ability to add one of my flashes to the system if the need called for it... but the camera is capable of some incredible resolution. I'm not sure about the ISO 800 noise levels but I am impressed with the camera. I suspect that it won't be a popular camera on this forum and will be slightly bigger than some of the other recommendations, but perhaps worth a look. The picture below was taken with it and my SB 800 bouncing light off of the ceiling. (oh, it has a hot shoe and accepts all of Nikon's flashes). The macro works well too.
  11. Among the first forks in your decision tree: fixed lens or interchangeable lenses? This is a big decision. If you opt for the latter, you're not buying a camera, you're buying into a system. To answer your most recent question, yes, many people have tried NEX and J1.
  12. re: good ISO up to 800
    I would not fixate on this, and instead look at noise performance for some particular light level / exposure condition. If I'm shooting at f/2.8 but you have to shoot at f/5.6 (limited by the lens's maximum aperture), all else being equal, you may have to use ISO 1600 while I use ISO 400. Consider also whether your subjects are mostly static or moving; if they're static, a camera (or lens) with real image stabilization (sensor- or lens-shift) can buy you two or three stops.
    All of that said, another thought: the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS was recommended. I have the prior model (the SX230 HS), and it's a great camera for what it is (fixed lens and totally pocketable). Exposure, focus, sensitivity ("ISO" is commonly, but incorrectly, used to mean sensitivity), flash performance, and other parameters are manually controllable. There is a button to bring up exposure compensation; although there's no button for sensitivity, changing it is a breeze. For my wife's routine use around the house, I leave it at ISO 1600. That, plus the image stabilization, mean available-light pictures are always a viable option. At least for modest-size prints, even ISO 3200 is usable. (True, as you increase the sensitivity, the low-contrast detail tends to get blurred to keep the noise down.) It has in-camera distortion correction for the lens. And with the CHDK firmware hack, you can create raw files.
  13. It's interesting that the OP suggested Sony, Nikon? and most people suggested some thing else, like Canon, which I agree that we should not insist only in Sony and Nikon.
    It's also good that Joel suggested
    your decision tree: fixed lens or interchangeable lenses​
    I want to extend the decision tree one more level:
    - If fixed lens, is it a zoom?
    -if interchangable lenses, are you going to use just one lens? or how many lenses will you use and which ones?
    I suggest fixed zoom lens "almost" APSC size Canon G1X
  14. If the criteria are:
    1. Smaller than a DSLR.
    2. Great image quality up to ISO 800
    The answer is Micro 4/3 or NEX. NEX has better sensors, M4/3 has more variety of bodies. A NEX 5n has the same sensor as a D7000, and can easily get good image quality well past ISO 800, but it doesn't have all the dedicated buttons you're looking for.
    You should go try these out in stores, get a feel for the size.
  15. Guys thanks for the response. First Im not in the US so I cant specify an exact budget but suffice to say that as an example, the Nikon V1 is too expensive. As a guide, I would say low end - the Olympus E-PM1/ J1; & high end - the E-PL3 / NEX5N.
    My current setup includes a D300 and Panasonic ZS-10. Im selling these and my intention is to find something inbetween that will see use mainly for travel / snapshots. As Im moving back to South Africa I want something that doesn't stand out from the crowd.
    I mentioned the Nikon J1 because I have Nikon lenses that will work on it with an adapter but the latter seems too expensive so I no longer think it's viable, using my other lenses, that is. I am intrigued by using the 10mm and the 30-110mm lenses as a super-portable kit.
    @Tom Best - I did consider the Nikon P7100 because I own an SB-700 flash but I'm not sure a fixed lens camera is what I want.
    Im not against an LCD setup for composition though I know that in the bright sunlight its a hit n miss affair. I DO value the info readings in my viewfinder but I dont know if any EVF offers that functionality.
    @Zach thanks for the heads up on the Olympus E-PM1. The Olympus E-PM1 looks good in reviews and the OM-D is drool-able. My 1st SLR was an OM-2.
    @Arthur I agree with you re your comment on sensor size, as well as MP count, in regard to IQ.
    Ultimately Im going to have to try them out in store and then decide
  16. You can either have high-end compact P&S that is pocketable and has a fast lens, or you can have low-end mirrorless with a slow kit zoom. The P&S with fast lens can sometimes outperform the camera with the larger sensor if the latter has to use a higher ISO than the P&S does to get the shot. Even so, the digicam will fit in a pocket, but the mirrorless one and its attached zoom lens won't, unless you have the pockets of the jolly green giant.
    I've happily used a Canon S90 and S95 myself, but I'm sure the equivalent Olympus, Lumix LX-whatever, etc. are just as good.
  17. Canon PowerShot G12 while they are still available at it's lowest price of around $429 CAN. It has everything you have mentioned on your want list.
  18. A used Panasonic ZS3 or ZS5 would be the least expensive route. New camera , look at the Canon S95 , or the Panasonic ZS15 . Avoid small pocket cameras with excessively high MP sensors , unless you enjoy poor quality photos the sweet point is about 8-10 MP and shoot at a max ISO of 400
  19. @Leland . Avoid small pocket cameras with excessively high MP sensors​
    Im with you on that :)
    @Peter J: I think it would make more sense to go with the P7100 because I have a Nikon SB700 flash. That's IF I fold and take the decision to go with a fixed lens cam.
    @Pierre I have an old Lowepro film bag I intend to use to carry a camera (I have fitted a D80 + 35/1.8 in there in the past so its a tight squeeze - and with no room for anything else), cell phone, wallet, etc. So 'portability' to some extent, is important.
    For a pocket cam, however, I have my Galaxy S
  20. if you want a small camera then check out the Vivitar camera ... it is cute .... my son won a free one and showed it to me. :)

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