Tagged: camera size & weight

Pondering Weight vs. Image Quality

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I have been doing some arm-chair exploring of different cameras and lenses.  Since I didn’t have to carry, or hold, this camera for long, I used my heaviest camera … the Pentax K-3 with the 18 – 135 mm lens to take the above picture inside around 7:30 am when there wasn’t much light.  This picture was taken at ISO 6400.  The K-3 is a nice but heavy weather-resistant system that I have used indoors lately, even though I bought it to use outdoors.

What I have been exploring, or considering, are the limits of my camera-lens combinations.  I am wondering what the “sweet spots” are for my different uses.  I am looking for a lighter weight system than the K-3 for use while walking about.  One question I am pondering is whether I can keep and use the K-3 indoors and for stepping out the front door to take cloud pictures and get something else for walking about that is lighter to carry?  If I mostly photograph outdoors in better light I shouldn’t, might not, need a camera system that does as well in low light.  It is a matter of finding the right camera capability and lens that is affordable and lighter and easier to carry.  I am looking for a camera that I can use with faster and lighter lenses that is lighter than my K-3 but has a longer focal length than my GR.

At the moment I am concentrating on weight and usability, how my hand matches the grip and controls, balanced against image quality.  I still need to determine how my micro 4/3 camera and lenses fit in the scheme of things, and I need to decide whether I am primarily going to shoot with lighter weight prime lenses or try to find an acceptable zoom lens.

Panasonic G3 instead of Olympus E-M5

Sun glare was bothering me and when I came to a fork in the path I took it.

I discovered that I’m having a lot of difficulty in using the LCD to compose shots on my Olympus E-P3 while wearing my sunglasses.  I didn’t have this much trouble with the E-P1 in Tunisia so I hope that it doesn’t mean my eyes are changing that much.  To get around the issue I tried using my Pentax K-5 since it has a good optical viewfinder; but, that meant lugging the “beast” around.  It’s interesting in how we change.  The K-5 is one of the most capable, smallest DSLRs around and now I’m referring to it as a beast after experiencing the value of micro 4/3 cameras.

The combination of my eye problem with the E-P3 and the weight problem with the K-5 plus lenses, led me to decide that I needed to get something like the new Olympus E-M5 when it becomes available this summer.  In looking at info on the E-M5 I came across a picture of it sitting beside the Panasonic G3 … and I noticed that the G3 is about 5% lighter and about the same size.  That led me to take a closer look at the G3, and that is when I discovered how similar they are.

The primary differences relative to the functions and features that I’m concerned about are: 1) the G3’s LCD swivels rather than just fold down or up slightly, 2) the G3 is not weatherized and does not have in-body image stabilization, 3) the G3 costs approximately half what the E-M5 will cost.  That did it.  I decided that the E-M5 wasn’t worth the cost for me.  I ordered the Panasonic G3 camera instead.  Getting the capabilities I need at half the cost was an over whelming decision breaker.

I decided that I probably won’t need the weather resistant qualities and that the G3 is small enough to put under my rain jacket or in a zip lock bag if I run into inclement weather … and that it is highly unlikely that I will actually need to take pictures in the rain.

I also decided that having the on-off switch at the bottom of the back on the E-M5 would make it difficult, if possible, to reach into my bag, pull the camera out, and turn it on so that it was ready to shoot the minute it reached my eye … all with one hand.

I also decided that having the swiveling LCD along with the EVF would give me more options for using the camera.  In bright sun light I could either turn the LCD at an angle to minimize the sun glare or use the EVF.  Having the swiveling LCD also gives me more options to shoot holding the camera down low.  After my back fusion I don’t have the flexibility to bend down low like I did.  This is something I often miss when using my E-P3 or K-5.

Since the G3 uses the image stabilization in the lenses, it will mean that I have to buy another lens or two to supplement my Panasonic primes, but the total cost will still be less than for just the E-M5 body … and some of those new Panasonic  Leica lenses really look great.

I was much encouraged when Kirk Tuck came out with his article right after I had ordered my G3.  You can read his initial views about the G3 by clicking here and here.

My future plan is to use the G3 for a while and if all goes as I expect, I will sell the K-5 and all of the Pentax lenses.  The big uncertainty then will be to decide whether it is worth keeping the Olympus E-P3.  I’ll make that decision after I see if I’m using it any.