One small, one not so small, and a few thoughts

Two great reviews about gear small and big:

1. Laurence Kim about the new Sony RX100 III, and
2. Ming Thein about the Ricoh/Pentax 645Z

So, two interesting cameras without any doubt, the first would probably be something for one of my nephews who likes small cameras and Sony, the other one is of course of interest to anyone. But it leaves some questions, and the first one comes directly from Laurence:

“How good is good enough?”

– and for that Sony camera, he answers that for himself with:

“I’d say it’s more than good enough to use not just as my secondary camera, but as my primary camera for just about all my non-professional use.”

The second question, and about the second camera of course, is the one about price. How much are you going to or willing to spend, and how much to you have to spend for a camera? Ming writes about that Pentax MF camera:

“Granted, as relatively ‘cheap’ as the 645Z is, it is still going to be far too expensive – and too much weight – for most photographers to consider; it’s a niche product and overkill for pretty much everybody but a very small group.”

Right. With a price for the camera body being about the same as the one we paid for our used Toyota, we’re talking serious money here, and even a colleague who has a Nikon D800 (the normal, cheaper one, not the -E) told me today that as an amateur, he’s probably at the uppermost border of “investment”, and spending anything more wouldn’t make much sense – to justify that, he should make much more use of it than he actually does.

So what do you need, and how much do you have to spend for a camera, and possibly some decent lenses for it? That depends of course – a lawyer or a dentist would probably get a Leica while those of us who have a more modest income would think (or dream) about that for long.

For me? The amount I would probably spend on a camera body is maybe somewhere around €1,500 – for that, you’d get a professional µ43rds or APS-C mirrorless camera like the Olympus E-M1 or the Fuji X-T1, or you’d probably even get an entry-level “full frame” camera like the Sony A7, the Canon 6D, or the Nikon D610. Anything higher I’d consider overkill.

But is it necessary to spend even that much? Not really. An Olympus E-M10 or a Sony A-6000 or any consumer-level DSLR have almost the same image quality than their bigger and more expensive brethren, in fact the sensor of my (and Mitchie’s) E-PL5 and the OM-D E-M5 are the same. And that E-M5 was considered a game changer in µ43rds, and DPReview wrote that if you want and/or need more, you’d have to look at “full frame”, not at APS-C.

So, about €600 will get you a nice mirrorless Olympus or Sony (or Panasonic or Fuji) camera, and it would also get you some middle-of-the-road “consumer” DSLR which could be better for moving stuff (while mirrorless has other advantages).

But when lowest weight and form factor – maybe for traveling – are your thing, or if you simply demand the highest possible quality you can get today, have a look at these tests to which I linked above.

Thanks for reading.

2 Replies to “One small, one not so small, and a few thoughts”

  1. Ha, Laurencences Sony RX-100 III seems to have a pleasent bokeh, not only a real shallow dof!

    Well, the money is just enough for the RX-100, not the mk III………
    and yes, he best Camera is the camera, you take with you. If customers have no problem with smaller “penis size” why not shot weddings with the E-PL 5 and the 45 mm Olympus. There will be no difference in file Quality between this and the OMD-EM 1….. yes, for us old agers and glasses wearers it´s not so easy to work without EVF…… an EVF AND flash…. that is the problem with the E-PL 5……

    But flash ….i hate it anyway…

    1. Hm. Sometimes flash is all you have, and yes, having a viewfinder in a studio-like setup with controlled light is still the best. So if I were in your position, I’d get an Olympus E-M10 (body only), and give one of the E-PL1 cameras to the wife 😉 Unbeatable combination, and you could even swap & share lenses. For her, a Panasonic 20mm/1.7 or a Sigma 19mm/2.8, for you (or both of course) the Oly 45mm/1.8 – what a dream combo, no?

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