I finally mailed off my Pentax K-7 and all of my lenses for it. While I loved the camera for its capabilities, I decided that I wasn’t going to carry it with me enough to justify keeping it. Even though it is one of the smallest weather resistant DSLR systems (including lenses), it is still a very sturdy and heavy camera system. It feels like a miniature tank, so if you are off to do serious battle, it’s a great camera.
After deciding to sell the K-7, I was down to having only one camera and no long focal length lenses. I only had my micro four-thirds Olympus E-P1 which I love, and since I never travel without a backup camera, I needed to find a replacement for the K-7.
If you have read my earlier postings, you know that I have always carried the weather resistant K-7 or a small waterproof P&S camera for backup and to use in the rain or during extreme dust conditions. Since I don’t like the weight of the K-7 and I don’t like the image quality of the waterproof P&S cameras, I was faced with a dilemma. After much thought, I decided that in all reality I wasn’t going to be traveling as much in the rain forests or deserts in the future, and that if I bought a small camera I could suitably protect it inside a zip-lock plastic bag, and just not take pictures in hard rain or dust storms. I decided that the merits of having an interchangeable system out-weighed the weather protection qualities. I decided to stick with the micro four-thirds system and expand around my E-P1. I bought the latest Olympus, the E-PL2. I decided to get it rather than the E-P2 since it was lighter and had some other features I liked, and since I already had the E-P1.
Rather than for me describing the virtues of the E-PL2, it would be better if you read the review in dpreview.com so that you can decide if the camera will work for you. I have included their picture of the camera along with a few of their final words below and you can click here to read their review.
“Life is full of compromises and buying a new camera almost always inevitably ends up in one. Before the arrival of the mirrorless camera you could either get a DSLR with lenses that would give you great image quality across the ISO range and a comprehensive control interface, but would require you to carry a camera bag and possibly result in severe back pain after a long day of photography. At the other end of the spectrum you’d find compact cameras that would easily slip into a shirt pocket but offer, compared to a DSLR, mediocre image quality at best.
Mirrorless system cameras have given consumers a third option, providing DSLR-like image quality in a more compact package. None of them have been able to totally solve the dilemma described above and buying into a mirrorless system might for many still be a compromise. However, in the case of the Olympus E-PL2 it’s not a bad one at all.
Its image quality in good light is excellent and at higher sensitivities is pretty much on the same level as many entry-level DSLRs. The focus speed has noticeably improved over previous models and is now amongst the best in class. The camera is more customizable than many entry-level DSLRs and you get all of this in a camera/lens package that is currently as small as it gets if you want a large sensor in your camera.”
In addition to getting the E-PL2, I got the new 14 – 42mm collapsible kit zoom lens, and the 14 – 150mm longer zoom lens. These lenses give me an 35mm effective focal range between 28mm and 300mm. Since all of my lenses and cameras are now interchangeable, I can switch lenses around on either camera depending upon the travel situation and always have a backup system to use if anything happens to a lens or camera. I can also keep a zoom lens on one camera as a walk-about system and the 20mm lens on the other camera for use inside museums and at night and not need to be changing lenses out in the field.
To summarize, I now have a totally interchangeable light-weight, small, micro four-thirds system which includes:
- Olympus E-P1 and the E-PL2 cameras,
- Olympus 17mm, 14 – 42mm, & 14 – 150mm lenses
- Panasonic 20mm lens