View Full Version : Help on lighter/ travel/ personal events/ walk about camera and Lens

17-04-2015, 7:55pm
Hi all, I am hoping you guys could help me choosing a camera and lens for myself. My Budget is under 2k for both camera and a lens.(maybe a touch over) I like the idea of a mirrorless camera with wi-fi smart phone adaptability and full quick DSLR control functionality for camera settings outside the camera (hope you know what I mean :/ ) I have narrowed it down to the 4/3rds Olympus OMD-E-M5 mII with the 2.8f pro 12-40mm or use my current D610 and just carry a Nikkor 1.8f 35mm and use my feet for zooming and stitch photos when needed wider than 35mm photos.
My dream camera is a Sony A7 series camera, but out, because of the price range.
The lens I would want is a wide angle and can do portrait too, ie zoom would be good. (24-70 2.8f full frame equivalent )
Things I am not sure about with the Olympus is the DOF with the 4/3rds, it would be great for macro but would it be Ok for throwing out the background for portraits? a 2.8f 4/3rds is a 5.6 in full frame, would it be negligible to notice? weight is very nice at 851g with camera and lens vs Nikkon d610 and 35mm f1.8 at 1155g.
Is there another camera and lens I should look at? there doesn't seem to be many aps-c mirrorless cameras out which would give a happy medium.

18-04-2015, 11:38am
D5500 + 35mm/1.8 Dx Nikon lens(or Sigma 30mm f/1.4) will give you light weight.
Lenses (always) weigh more and need to be physically larger as the sensor size increases(for any given aperture value) .. but the D5500 having most of the physical controls needed for a camera weighs less than a 4/3rds camera like an OMD EM5. They are comparable in size too.

if you already have an existing Nikon system as per your signature, then you have interoperability with all your other gear if needed.
(do you still have the D5100? .... and Dx 35/1.8?).

As for the Sony A7 .. you can get them for $1500 now(camera only) .. and a 28/2 lens for about $600, or 35/2.8 lens for approx $700.
I'd assume that if you purchased the two parts together you could strike up a deal of some sort.
The 35/2.8 gets rave reviews .. don't know about the 28mm tho

While the A7 is 'old news' .. it's still a pretty good camera(I seriously considered one when they initially came out).

I don't know about your philosophies, but I think the most important factor for operating a camera is all about ergonomics rather than purely about weight savings.

I can easily hand hold my D800E + Tammy 24-70/2.8 all day in my right hand without any painful cramping issues. This is because the grip is ergonomically chunky and fits my hand almost perfectly.
I very rarely use a shoulder/neck strap as I find them clumsy and 'unergonomic' to a degree.
That is, ergonomically speaking having a camera hang from your shoulder(I never hand it around my neck in front of me) doesn't get it to your eye ready to shoot 'immediately' if an opportunity arises.
I always walk with camera in hand .... say if I'm walking the streets during an AP meetup, or when out in the bush. If not, then it'll be on the tripod with tripod in hand.

While I can hold those really slim cameras for a short while, because they are so slim, I need to use more grip with my fingers to maintain a secure hold. Over time my hand cramps up.
I still struggle to hold my phone for more than about 10mins or so.

Yet, even tho the D800+ tammy(or siggy 12-24) weighs in at about 2kg, I have no problem holding this combo all day.
Of course a longer 70-200/2.8 type lens is harder to hand hold due to the cantilevered weight effect of the long lens .. but that's a different story.

My D70s, is smaller and lighter.. I can't hold it for more than about 1/2 to one hour with any lens. The grip just isn't moulded to suit my hand.

18-04-2015, 12:48pm
I don't know much on the other mirrorless systems, and although the a7 is a great camera, it can really depend on what you plan on doing.

For example, the a6000 is around the thousand range (which I'm sure you can hit that or cheaper online), get a LAEA2 adapter, the 28-75mm f/2.8 which I have in my signature, and that'll give keep you around the $2000 mark, or less if you can strike a deal online somewhere (that's where I get all my stuff really, much cheaper).
If you really want to save, just get a metabones adapter (make sure it's the latest) and you can use your current glass no problems, all at their fullest capabilities (from what I've heard - just double check that). So that'll save you money also, rather than buying new lenses.

With the a6000, you get APS-C, so there'll be slightly better low light performance. The a6000 also has a decent buffer, 11fps, fast auto focus, etc. It should also give you the NFC/Wifi connectivity you want, and more. The only difference is it's not FF, so if FF is something you want, then I guess if a7 is out of the question, so is the Sony line.

Weight wise, you're looking at 1kg or so total with this combination - so does it really save on weight? Depends on what your previous setup was and what you consider to be light. But as Arthur said, it's the ergonomics. When you get something that feels perfect in your hand, your hand is naturally holding it without any stress or strain.

18-04-2015, 9:21pm
Would just like to make a new note, there aren't any adapters yet that make full use of other branded lenses yet, like your existing Nikon lenses - but if you like manual shooting, and only use auto here and there, it's fine. If you rely solely (or for the most part) on auto, you'll need to switch to the a-mount lenses, and depending on your needs, it can be enough, or you may need a few extra bits (which Minolta lenses may make up for, and other branded stuff)

18-04-2015, 9:50pm
I have a D750 (probably not what you want to buy but similar to the D610). I usually carry my D750 with just a 50 f/1.4 to kids parties because a lot of parents get nervous when I pull out the D750 with battery grip and a 70-200 f/2.8. You can get a fairly small bag for a D610 size camera with a prime, in fact the one I use for my D750 and 50mm is actually for a mirrorless camera.

The D610 with a decent prime will have a minimal weight premium over a mirrorless camera and the flexibility to add heavier lenses when you need them.

19-04-2015, 1:15pm
Thanks guys for your suggestion, I didn't realise the A7 had come down in price and combined with the 35mm 2.8 it has my attention now at a combined weight of 720g but as you guys said it also comes down to the feel in the hands too. I do really like the feel of my D610 but just unsure how I would go with it on me all the time when traveling with a combined weight of 1155g (with a 35mm1.8G) and being bulker as well. Also when I mean travel its more tourist travel other than traveling for photography as then I would expect to take the best I have.I don't want to loose the quick functionality and specs of my D610 and I loose that with my D5100 and Im guessing I would too with the D5500 though the 5500 has wifi and much lighter at 470gish. I did have a look at the A6000 too and just did not like the feel of it, but not bad for a little camera. Thanks for the food for thought guys and if there are any other suggestions, let me know.

19-04-2015, 4:49pm
Have the Fujufilm XT1 in my sights now too with the 18-55mm f2.8-f4, anybody use this ? love to know your thoughts on it.

21-04-2015, 5:15am
Glenn, don't over look the two Fuji SC lenses either. I bought the X-M1 & SC16-50 second hand for $350 Ivia the FB group Fuji X Photography, "unwanted present") as a try out for the format/system to see if I liked it. Arthritis is getting me and I cannot carry the heavy stuff any longer. The 16-50 is an excellent lens and I have bought the 50-230 also.

That said, I have invested in an 18-55 from ebay, waiting for delivery as we speak. It's a lens very highly spoken of on the FB group (had lots of great images) and forum. And last week I scored an X-T1 with 4 batteries, MHG-XT Large grip and travel/car charger as well as the standard one, all for $957.00. So I recommend buying used, more bang for your buck, even if you have to lie in wait at strange hours for auctions - definitely worth it. Loving the X-T1 now I am getting used to the quirks - I had a lot of trouble finding how to set it to Manual and working out how to get into RAW format.

And yesterday I bought a second hand handbag from an op shop and it ALL fits in, with a long strap to sling across the body. Doesn't even look like a camera and I could carry it forever.

Very, very happy with the Fuji X system. But eagerly awaiting the promised 100-400 in 2016. And there is a good fuji users forum, very helpful lot and active forum.

Shots below from the X-M1 and 16-50

Lower Russell Falls

Fagus (Tasmanian beech) turning

26-04-2015, 9:26am
Thanks Odille for that info and providing those images, really appreciate it, definitely a camera to consider.

06-05-2015, 1:16pm
Hi Glenn, did you make a decision in the end? IMO the cameras mentioned are so different, that it's best to pick on the basis of the closest match to your exact needs and intentions. If the E-M5 II is just what you need, then none of the alternatives are swap-ins. Ditto the Fuji. Ditto the D5500. All great cameras. Even the much-maligned A7 series I. Some people aren't irritated by things that drive others crazy, and vice versa.

09-05-2015, 10:44pm
Hi Glenn, did you make a decision in the end? IMO the cameras mentioned are so different, that it's best to pick on the basis of the closest match to your exact needs and intentions. If the E-M5 II is just what you need, then none of the alternatives are swap-ins. Ditto the Fuji. Ditto the D5500. All great cameras. Even the much-maligned A7 series I. Some people aren't irritated by things that drive others crazy, and vice versa.

Hi Arg, I "think" I have made a decision on just adding a Nikkor 28mm f1.8G to my Nikon collection. With my D610 its a weight of just under 1200g and with a wifi SD card should satisfy me needs. Just could not justify a new camera and lens for a "travel camera" when I have a decent camera already. Also hoping Nikon brings out a good affordable lightweight mirror less camera in the next couple of years when Im due for an upgrade.

10-05-2015, 7:13pm
Nikon already have (one of) the smallest lightest mirrorless cameras available.

If you don't mind the 2.7x crop factor, compared to what you are currently used too, it could do an ok job as a travel camera.

About $500-ish gets you a J4 + 10-30mm kit lens, which is an OK start point.(Aussie retailer prices .. possibly cheaper from grey retailers??)

For more lens options, you could just use your current lenses(AF-S only) with most of the automated features available, (ie. AF, exposure, etc) via the use of an FT-1 adapter.

The only issue you have with the smaller sensor formats is the availability of wide angle lenses for them.

That's option 1:

Another option, and only because you have listed size, weight and now price as important considerations .. instead of the 28/1.8G .. have a look at the old 30mm f/2 AF-D lens as well.

It'll be much cheaper in price, by a considerable margin .. I vaguely remember them at the $300 or less price point.
It is old tech, in that it uses the dreadful AF-D focus system, but if you don't mind that, it can be a pretty useful once off purchase for your purpose(due to the low initial price).
Then if you find that you don't use it much, if you sell it and lose $50 or so on it .. you won't have lost all that much money.

You won't notice much subject separation difference between f/1.8 and f/2 at 30mm!!) Of course the numbers will show that the faster aperture lens will have more isolation/blur, but in human vision terms I doubt anyone would notice it.
It does give you more subject separation at 35mm and f/2 for the same subject distances as a 28mm f/1.8 would allow.
I suspect tho that with the same subject size in the frame(ie. getting closer with the 28mm lens!!), it would again be a hard task to differentiate the isolation levels.

Size and weights:

Lens ........ diameter/length(mm) ....... weight(g)
35/2 .................. 64/43 ......................... 200
35/1.8 ............... 72/71 ......................... 300
28/1.8 ............... 73/80 ......................... 330

I have a recollection of using the old 35/2, and I remember it was one of the better focusing AF-D lenses .. still too loud, but not like my old 80-200/2.8. Fast enough, due to the overall smallness of the lens. IQ I remember wasn't too bad. Not stellar, but you probably wouldn't be unhappy with it's ability.

The key points to the 35/2 are probably right up on your list of priorities .. very small and light weight, and cheap enough that it justifies it's purchase.

ps. just had a quick squizz at some online prices for this lens(Au stores) and it comes in at the low $400 range. Too much. I remember this lens used to be in the low $300 range years back .. just after I got my D800E(mid 2012). This is an old lens, and should never increase in price.
I'd check ebay if you want better prices.

hope that helps.

11-05-2015, 6:05pm
Thanks Arthurking, I thought I had made up my mine ;) definitely food for thought.

12-05-2015, 12:13am
Just a reminder that AF-D lenses won't AF with the FT-1. So you're stuck with manual focus only if u went down that route. Not sure if you can get green dot focus confirmation though.
If you want AF, you'll need AF-S lenses.