Monday, October 1, 2012

Which camera should I buy?

Olympus E-M5 vs Fuji X-E1 vs Panasonic GH3 vs Olympus E-PL5 vs Fuji X100. FIGHT! You can also think of this as my Photokina wrap-up post.

Just before Photokina this month, I was all set to buy an Olympus OM-D E-M5. I still might. But other cameras have come along that are mighty tempting. I made a list of pros and cons for each camera, which is always a good thing to do when gadget shopping. 

Olympus PEN E-PL5

• The same excellent sensor as big brother Olympus E-M5.
• Just $800. Good value for money.
• Same good looks as the PEN E-P3.
• Works with all my lenses.

• No built-in electronic viewfinder.
• Not the same IBIS (in-body image stabilization) as the E-M5.

Other than the sensor, nothing new really. A no-nonsense upgrade from my current camera. Not very exciting.

Olympus OM-D E-M5

• That awesome new Sony sensor.
• Better low light performance than other M43 cameras.
• Built-in electronic viewfinder.
• 5-axis IBIS works really well.
• Weather proofing.
• Super fast autofocus.
• Works with all my lenses.

• Just like my E-P3 actually. Just so much better.
• For $1,000-$1,300, there are plenty of other choices, cameras that let me do new stuff, like the cameras below…

Currently the pinnacle of micro four thirds cameras today, in my opinion. So if I get it, it's like getting the best in M43 (provided you're not into video). Speaking of video...

Panasonic GH3

• Video performance that rivals more expensive pro gear. 
• Built-in electronic viewfinder.
• New improved sensor. (Don't know if it's any good though.)
• Works with all my lenses.

• It's bigger than other micro four thirds cameras.
• No IBIS.

Sure, the Olympus E-M5 ticks all the boxes of what I want in a camera, but the Panasonic GH3 will open new horizons for me. Video in particular. I have kids and I've been wanting to do more video lately.

Fujifilm X-E1

• APS-C sensor promises better image quality than all the cameras above.
• Also much better low light performance compared to M43.
• No AA filter promises – you guessed it – better image quality. Image quality of this camera should blow everything else out of the water.
• I love Fuji colors and the Velvia settings.
• Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 is a great lens.
• Previous Fuji mirrorless cameras have been slow. Fuji says they have made significant improvements in autofocus. We'll have to wait and see if this is true.
• It's like a baby Fujifilm X-Pro1!

• No AA filter means you have to use special software for RAW editing. What a pain in the neck.
• Few lenses compared to micro four thirds, and they're expensive.
• New system means need to buy new lenses, and I probably don't have money for that.
• Expensive. The camera is $1,300. Then there are the lenses.

Sensor sizes have been getting larger. This isn't always the perfect solution, but Fuji has made a very tempting large sensor mirrorless camera system. Image quality is the bomb. Plus it looks like they're catching up on autofocus.

Fujifilm X100

• Same image quality as Fuji X-E1.
• Fixed lens. So I don't need to buy lenses. Plus the one that's stuck to the camera is a good one.
• Not fast in the autofocus department.

• Fixed lens. Can't swap lenses. It's got my favorite focal length, but that's it.
• Expensive for a fixed lens camera. 

If I'm not buying into the whole Fuji X system, this will allow me to get that stellar Image Quality that Fuji has become famous for without selling all my current camera gear. This camera is a modern classic.

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