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Old Jan 9, 13, 9:07 am   #1
 
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Considering the jump to Micro 4/3

So despite having just got a shiny new D600 (which is pretty awesome) I am thinking about a Micro 4/3 kit for traveling as the DSLR and lenses, etc are a lot to drag around on a long journey.

I think the Olympus OM-D is the only body that makes sense to me as it is small but has an EVF which I require. I see refurbished/factory demo kits at Cameta for $1070 (with the 12-50 kit lens). The question then is recommendations for other lenses to round out the kit for travel. I see there are many lenses out there for the format ranging widely in price. With a variety of reviews and opinions. My photography tends more towards places (nature, landscapes, architecture, night shooting, some close up details stuff) and not really people at all.

Full disclosure, I also own a Nikon 1 V1 which I generally like, BUT I am disappointed by the quality and variety of available lenses. They feel too cheap to me and the 10-30 kit lens I have has had some major issues regarding its operation...when it's mounted on the body any light pressure on the lens turns the camera on. Sent it back to Nikon once already and they claimed to have fixed it but didn't.

So part of me feels like sticking with the V1 (considering how much money I spent on it before the massive price drops) makes more sense. But another part feels like I should cut my losses, ditch it and switch to the Olympus.
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Old Jan 9, 13, 1:16 pm   #2
 
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Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
My photography tends more towards places (nature, landscapes, architecture, night shooting, some close up details stuff) and not really people at all.
You have the right machine for your type of photography.. and that's the full frame SLR.. get some serious lenses and you're set.

Yes it's heavy, but honestly you will never achieve the same quality with the other alternatives.. Id' even say go try one, but you have a Nikon 1, and if you're disappointed by that, 'similar' cameras to the Nikon 1 won't produce magically great images.

I know a couple of serious photog folks who've gotten a Nikon 1 / Sony (forget the model) as a backup camera.. but never to replace their primary.
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Old Jan 9, 13, 2:03 pm   #3
 
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The Olympus is a wonderful camera. Many people have moved from full frame and APS DSLRs due to size and weight issues and have been very happy. It's a much better camera than the Nikon V1 based on everything I've read.

It's much smaller than a D600, but can do just about everything well other than very shallow depth of field and tracking AF. Image quality is top notch. Even some D800 shooters own one as a travel camera.

You can buy a new OM-D with the 12-50 for $1200.

A great source of information is the dpreview micro four thirds forum. http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/1041There are many threads comparing the OM-D to DSLRs.
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Old Jan 9, 13, 2:11 pm   #4
 
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Originally Posted by vmsea View Post
You have the right machine for your type of photography.. and that's the full frame SLR.. get some serious lenses and you're set.

Yes it's heavy, but honestly you will never achieve the same quality with the other alternatives.. Id' even say go try one, but you have a Nikon 1, and if you're disappointed by that, 'similar' cameras to the Nikon 1 won't produce magically great images.
My problem isn't image quality of the V1. It's the cheap-o lens quality. They just don't feel like quality optics. Even though I have managed quite good results the 10-30 lens is already messed up. It also doesn't do autobracketing which is a minor annoyance I have managed to work around, but an annoyance nonetheless.

But my main point is that when spending a month traveling it is a major pain to haul around a big DSLR and even just a few lenses. Not just the weight, but the bulk also.
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Old Jan 9, 13, 2:24 pm   #5
 
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Thom Hogan has ditched his DX gear for 4/3s

You can read about his experiences at http://www.sansmirror.com/
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Old Jan 9, 13, 2:41 pm   #6
 
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Scott Bourne ditched his Canon FF gear for the E-M5. One of the best reviews I've seen of the camera http://photofocus.com/2013/01/04/oly...g-term-review/
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Old Jan 12, 13, 10:10 pm   #7
 
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I went over to the OMD this year for my travel photography (and basically all photography really) and as you're saying the big benefit is not so much the body but the size, variety and quality of lens available. When travelling I take the following:

UWA
Olympus 9-18 f4-5.6 - Medium cost with really quite good quality, biggest benefit is the size/weight as with it's collapsible design it's tiny. Takes a 52mm filter.
Alternate - Pana 7-14 f4 wider, a bit better quality, twice the size/weight and doesn't take a filter. I believe there is a version 2 coming for this very shortly

General Zoom
Pana 12-35 f2.8 - When travelling this is probably the lens I use most often. Excellent quality, weather sealed, constant aperture zoom and quite small compared to the full frame 24-70 f2.8s. It is an expensive m43 lens though with a street price around $1000
Alternates
Oly 12-50 - the jack of all trades master of none lens. If you get it bundled with the body it can make sense but if you continue building up you lens collection this will end up gathering dust. It is weather sealed which gives you something to use in the rain but it's also quite big for what it offers which is a consideration
Kit zooms - the kit zooms are very cheap, quite small (especially the oly 14-42, make sure you get the latest one as it's smaller than the first one). Quality is good for a kit lens but it is a $100 lens, you have to have realistic expectations

Low Light/Street
PL 25mm f1.4 - this lens is just wonderful on the OMD, fantastic quality, fantastic colours, takes just gorgeous photos. In the mid-range for price and is a stellar performer on the OMD
Alternates
Pana 20mm f1.7 Pancake - Allows the OMD to jacket pocketable and image quality is very good. It's biggest weakness is the auto focus speed, it's a generation behind here and is a bit slow. A bit cheaper than the PL 25mm but not by much
Voightlander - given I said low light the Voightlander f0.95 17 and 25mm pair should be mentioned. Manual focus only, very expensive for m43 but both are a brilliant lens

mid range Tele zoom
Oly 42-150mm II - this is the kit zoom, it's good quality up to 100mm and average from 100-150. It is very small so for me it's a case of it does the job as I don't shoot much in this range (I'm either wider or longer for motorsport). So it's small and bang for buck quality-wise
Alternates
Pana 35-100mm F2.8 - This is probably the next lens I'll buy, weather sealed, very high quality and tiny for what it delivers (about a quarter the size of the full frame equivalent). It is one of the most expensive m43 lenses so I'm waiting to pass through Japan before I get one as they are a lot cheaper there if you shop in the right place

Long tele zoom
Oly 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 - If I'm going to shoot motorsport this is the lens I take. It's quite good quality from 75-200mm and good quality above that. It's much smaller than the alternates but is also very expensive for what you get. Looks like it's being replaced atm
Alternates
Pana 100-300mm f4 - 5.6 - very similar in terms of image quality, much larger (about double the size and weight) but much cheaper (about half the cost) than the oly.

Portraiture
I don't carry a portrait lens but a couple are worth mentioning
Oly 45mm f1.8 - on the cheaper end of the mid priced lens and 'L' quality optics. Very small and light and an absolute no brainer for anyone who wants to take portraits
Oly 75mm f1.8 - An expensive m43 lens but optics which can run with any lens on any system. Quite specialised in it's use but arguably the best lens in the M43 lineup

Macro
I don't carry a macro lens atm but might very soon
Oly 60mm f2.8 - midpriced macro with excellant image quality, if you want to take macro this is the no brainer choice right now imo.
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Old Jan 12, 13, 11:45 pm   #8
 
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David Wells switched his travel and lifestyle photography to the OMD system and Rob Sheppard is now doing all of his nature photography with the Sony NEX system. After talking with both of them at a workshop, I bought a Sony NEX 5R, which is about the same size as the OMD but still has an APS-C sensor.

I'll be frank, the system, with a couple of lenses, is very small and light and much easier to tote around on my travels but I am still having a struggle getting used to it. It just doesn't feel solid or particularly steady while shooting and my big hands keep inadvertently pushing buttons at the wrong times. Rob warned me it would take some getting used to and there would be teething pains but I'm still not sure it is going to permanently replace my K-5, which is pretty small for a DSLR anyway. You may not have the same experience but forewarned, etc.

Last edited by abmj-jr; Jan 13, 13 at 9:58 am.
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Old Jan 13, 13, 3:33 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by IMOA View Post
Alternate - Pana 7-14 f4 wider, a bit better quality, twice the size/weight and doesn't take a filter. I believe there is a version 2 coming for this very shortly
Do you have a source for this? I haven't seen any rumors of a version 2.

I otherwise agree with most of what you wrote.

Here's another take on m43 lenses http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50642864
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Old Jan 13, 13, 3:35 am   #10
 
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
I'll be frank, the system, with a couple of lenses, is very small and light and much easier to tote around on my travels but I am still having a struggle getting used to it. It just doesn't feel solid or particularly steady while shooting and my big hands keep pushing buttons at the wrong times. Rob warned me it would take some getting used to and there would be teething pains but I'm still not sure it is going to permanently replace my K-5, which is pretty small for a DSLR anyway. You may not have the same experience but forewarned, etc.
If you can't get used to the size, you might try the grip and battery holder. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ry_Holder.html
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Old Jan 13, 13, 10:01 am   #11
 
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Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
If you can't get used to the size, you might try the grip and battery holder. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ry_Holder.html
Thanks but don't think that will fit my Sony NEX.
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Old Jan 13, 13, 1:36 pm   #12
 
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Thanks but don't think that will fit my Sony NEX.
Yet another reason to get an Olympus E-M5, although the native lens selection is probably a better reason
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Old Jan 13, 13, 1:40 pm   #13
 
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Well, there's never been a better time to get into Micro Four Thirds. Both Olympus and Panasonic have upped their game considerably in terms of the imaging technology they use and the system itself is quite comprehensive. Just don't be too surprised if you find yourself using the smaller system for more than just traveling light. The ageing E-PL1 is with me pretty much all the time, unlike the larger DSLRs. In fact, I took both the E-PL1 and the DSLR on holiday with me (twice) last year and ended up using the E-PL1 more!
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Old Jan 13, 13, 4:27 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
Do you have a source for this? I haven't seen any rumors of a version 2.

I otherwise agree with most of what you wrote.

Here's another take on m43 lenses http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50642864
Hmm, it's lodged in the back of my head but it might have been one of those rumours where Adorama or B&H run low on stock, their systems list something as discontinued and everyone starts assuming that a new version is on the way. I thought it was more solid than this but I could very much be mistaken.
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Old Jan 13, 13, 7:01 pm   #15
 
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Thanks for the input. I decided to go ahead and get the OM-D with the 12-50 kit lens after playing with it in a local shop. The whole thing feels very solid. I also bought the Oly 40-150 R zoom while I was at it. Only $199 at the moment so it seemed like a good deal. I don't see traveling with more than that with the possible exception of one of the fast primes.
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