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Author Topic: Mirrorless or D-SLR  (Read 10732 times)
ewanqbl
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« on: January 27, 2012, 03:19:09 AM »
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Hey, guys! Happy to be here!

So, my question is really straightforward. I want to get a camera, but if I spend money, I want to sink it in something good.

My only problem is this: I'm a newbie! I've only been using soapbars(aka compacts, point and shoot) and nothing really professional.

So, I've narrowed the list to mirrorless and D-SLR's. My two options are the Olympus E-PL1 and the Nikon D3100. But, I don't want too much hassle. The Olympus has really caught my attention, but, on the other hand, the Nikon seems like a good starting kit.

So, which one would you go for? Or, better put, which one would be a better choice for me?
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jalcocer
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2012, 09:36:06 AM »
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Hi, well, I started with photography about a year ago and had the same issue with which camera to choose, and I went for a basic dslr, a d3000 to be more precise, and don't regret that, even being so basic gave me most of the functions I wanted plus not that much weight to carry, and helped a lot to learn more about photography and how to use it. Also thought about mirrorless, but the choices here in my country weren't that plenty at the time. Right now (because of a lucky warranty issue) I have a t2i which is a bit more rich in features than the d3000 (plus video) and am really happy also, but went and bought a mirrorless also, but have to say doesn't feel the same, quality is good but not as good as my dslr.

I think it all comes down to what you want to do, how much you want to learn, how much weight you want to carry and the size you want to manage. Mirrorless have good options for lenses, but not as many as with dslrs, sure you can go with an adaptor for the mirrorless, but most of the times you'll have to deal with manual focus. Also is not the same feeling on the hand, the grip most of the times is different, unless you go with a beefier mirrorless, and still not the same. I think both cameras are around the same price point, so price difference is not the issue here.

If you have a chance to check them physically on the store do it, a simple thing like the size and the way it feels in your hand is really important, who knew, I prefer using my dslr to my mirrorless just becase of the feeling on my hand, the mirrorless takes great pictures, really great pictures, but as I told you the feeling is different.

The d3100 is a great camera, really cheap and there's practically nothing you can't do with it, lacks auto bracketing and 30fps video on 1080, but the outcome is going to be really good.

You should make a list of the things you want to accomplish with your photography, what kind of photography you want to do, how versatile you want your camera to be, and features you would like to have in your camera, that plus the feeling in the hand, viewfinder, screen resolution, etc. After that check the specs of each camera and see which one on paper is more for you, and also see them at the store, test them, and see which one suits you the best.

Maybe along the way you run into another model at a good price and end up with neither of the first two. Smiley

good luck with your first non point and shoot camera.
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luxborealis
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2012, 01:56:01 PM »
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If you are going mirror less, you simply can't ignore the Sony NEX-7. I don't have one, so I'm not speaking from experience, but from what I've read on this site and others about the quality - it is certainly a model to seriously consider.

I have an Olympus DSLR and love working with it, but I often wonder if Olympus has come to the end of its improvement curve, given the offerings of the last few years. Fantastic lenses, but the sensors are really, really lagging. It's a shame, really to have such wonderful lenses but the not the sensors that really make use of that quality.
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ewanqbl
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2012, 01:04:02 AM »
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Thank you for the Sony suggestions, haven't really thought about it, nor knew about it. That's what I've been fearing regarding Olympus, many have told that their sensors are old or not that really innovative. But that E-PL1 seemed like a decent package. Thing is I found it for around 350$, which is really cheap compared to the usual prices of around 600-700$.

The weight is exactly the thing that made me searching for an alternative to a D-SLR, even if a D-SLR probably takes better pictures.

A Nikon D3100 here is around 600$ and also found another limited offer that gives me two lenses, the basic 18-55m one and another one, 55-xxx something. I did not recall exactly.

You really got me thinking about it.
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jalcocer
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 10:25:50 AM »
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600 plus two lenses is a nice price point, the tele may be the 55-200, it's a nice one since it has VR, if you don't plan on taking many pictures in low light you'll be fine with those two lenses until you feel you learn enough to jump to another level.

epl1 is cheap but is an older model, and if you want something that feels more like a dslr you may look into a panasonic gh2 or maybe the g3, the g3 with a 14-42 lens goes around 650, and if you want the kit with the 14-42 and the telephoto is going to be around 900 dls, so a really huge price difference.

the sony is a good choice also, there's the 5n and the 7, but I think not that much of a grip compared to the d3100 or the gh2 or g3, the only thing with the sony is that the body is small, but the lenses are huge, so goodbye to pocket friendly, but I guess you are not seeing that as a must since you thought about the dslr.

the d3100 is a good choice, not that huge like the medium or high end nikons or that small like a mirrorless, has a good grip to it, very similar in shape to the d3000, doesn't have the flip out screen, but don't know if that's something you want, has good video, no that great autofocus on video so you'll have to go manual sometimes, 1080p at 24 for that cinematic look, 720, 14mp which is plenty enough, good low light capabilities unlike the d3000, has no bracketing but for the price I'll definitely would be happy to change the exposure manually for hdr, and have a lot of future options for lenses either nikon, sigma, tamron, tokina, etc...

if you want better autofocus on video then I guess the nex or the translucent mirror alphas would be better, the same goes for micro 4/3, my gf2 is way easier for autofocus and face detection than my t2i.

so, 600 for d3100 and two lenses, that's a really nice price, a really good camera with a lot of features, but as always it is never easy for one to make up his mind and choose something when there's a ton of choices out there.

good luck
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2012, 04:11:26 AM »
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Mirror-less cameras may well be the way of the future.

That said - with regard to your current question - you will need to look at the type of photography you are planning to do.
Make sure that lenses, and other accessories, are available for the body that you are considering.

Sony, in particular, makes excellent equipment, but does not currently compete with Canon and Nikon with their diversity of lenses and accessories for (nearly!) every application.

So, in conclusion, it is the system rather than one element that should determine your decision.

Regards

Tony Jay
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Isaac
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2012, 01:08:34 PM »
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Thank you for the Sony suggestions, haven't really thought about it, nor knew about it.
As well as the Sony reviews here on LuLa, there's plenty of information about Sony camera equipment at Photo Jottings.
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ewanqbl
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2012, 02:04:56 AM »
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The more replies I get, the more undecided I am.

Wow... this is so baffling to me.

Don't get me wrong, you are all giving me great information, and the wealth of knowledge you guys have is just mind blowing.

Ok, the type of photography I will be taking... Indoor, family stuff, outdoor ones, seldom probably, and when I'm going out with my friends playing some pool. So, all in all, it will be landscape photography, incandescent, low to medium distances, and probably low light when we are out. So an overall package.

I haven't really thought about shooting films or making clips with the camera. Why? Because I believe mixing specialization will never cut it. This means if I want to make some clips I'd go for a dedicated camera.

Currently, on the market, I can find the Olympus PL-1, J1 and V1 Nikon cameras, but no Sony, unless special orders are placed. There is also a Canon DSLR, the EOS 1000 or something like this.

I asked around regarding other mirrorless cameras, but somehow people only feel about Nikon and Olympus, maybe a Canon, but nothing else. Amazing. Also, people tend to bash Sony around, much like AMD fans bash Intel, if you know what I mean. And I am clueless as to why.
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jalcocer
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 09:14:50 AM »
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Ok, so you narrowed it down because of the limit availability. If you want something smaller, go with the olympus, if you don't care about that, then go with the d3100. And if you don't even have to change lenses then I recommend you go for something like a fuji x10 or x100, or even a canon g12 or the nikon p7100 since you don't care that much about video.
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feppe
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 11:04:13 AM »
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For variety in lenses combined with light weight and small bulk, nothing beats Micro Four Thirds. Although there are some very good lenses for low-light photography for MFT, nothing beats Sony in this price range, except possibly some APS-C DSLR (I don't keep up what's going on with those anymore as it's a dying tech).

Note that E-PL1 has relatively slow auto-focus, so test it thoroughly to see if it meets your needs, especially in low light. The latest Oly cameras have some of the fastest AF systems of any camera.

FWIW I moved from APS-C DSLR to Micro Four Thirds almost two years ago, and am never going back.

Sony is probably bashed due to them being an upstart with poor lens selection, reportedly clunky UI, or misleading marketing (their cameras might be smallest mirrorless cameras, but with lenses they are bigger than Micro Four Thirds cameras), or due to issues with their other segments, from rootkits on CDs to losing confidential customer information on Playstation Network.
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Isaac
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2012, 12:50:05 PM »
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Ok, the type of photography I will be taking...
Maybe what matters most to you is convenience - a camera + lens small enough that you'll usually take it with you?

... but no Sony, unless special orders are placed.
When I bought a Sony camera from the USA Sony website last year, I had a couple of weeks to decide if I wanted to keep it or return it - for website purchases it's worth checking if they'll accept returns once you've opened the boxes.

...Also, people tend to bash Sony around, much like AMD fans bash Intel, if you know what I mean. And I am clueless as to why.
Maybe they've never used a Sony camera ;-)
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 02:36:18 PM by Isaac » Logged
k bennett
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2012, 07:14:29 PM »
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Consider the size of the DSLR with the standard zoom lens. Is this something you'd really carry with you all the time? Really? I know I see a lot of people on vacation or out at the park with their kids toting a DSLR, but not in their daily life, out with your mates, or what have you. It's a substantial thing to carry all the time.

A micro 4/3 camera is significantly smaller - so much so that I can fit two cameras and three lenses in the smallest Timbuktu courier bag, along with an iPad and all the various accessories, and no one knows there is a camera in there.

You also mention wanting a camera for a lot of low-light shooting. In that case, no matter what camera you choose, consider a fast, "normal" prime lens in addition to whatever zoom lens comes in the kit. On the Nikon DSLR, that would be the 35mm f/1.8 DX lens. On a micro 4/3 camera, the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 is simply fantastic. Either choice provides excellent low-light shooting capabilities in a smaller package, the Panny being the smallest overall.

Finally, do not despair. You asked your question in a forum full of enthusiasts, and you should expect a wide range of opinions and suggestions -- simply put, you are going to get far more information than you can use. Confusion is normal. It's sort of like asking "what sports car do I buy" in a motor car enthusiast's forum.

Any of the cameras you mentioned will make great photos. Resist the urge to find the "perfect" camera - remember that the great is the enemy of the good. Buy a camera, start shooting photos, have fun, learn, enjoy.
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ewanqbl
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« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2012, 06:38:49 AM »
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Thing is I'm not in the US right now, I'm working abroad, in Eastern Europe. People are pretty flawed here when it comes to technology.

Yeah, you will find your usual well educated tech people, who know what is good to invest into, and the other people who buy the newest and the greatest marketing piece of **** technology that comes out in their way.


Micro Four Thirds... No such brand around here. I could ask, but I don't have a good enough camera to post the picture of the sales person when I will ask for such a brand.

Autofocus is kinda slow on the Olympus... now that's a big letdown( I want to shoot some Football games pictures).

What about the flash? I've seen the flash on the Olympus PL1 and seemed really fragile and underfed.

Also, people are big on the Nikon J1 and V1 around here, but the Olympus is around 350$, which is dead cheap compared to the usual prices of 600-800$.

I joined this forum specifically because you are enthusiasts. Why? When you see enthusiast fight over their knowledge and tech you are bound to find the one thing that is most likely suited for you. All in all, there is much more to be learned from an enthusiast, rather than a tech head that only wants the newest and shiniest thing on the market.

I will buy something eventually, and I will actually compile a list of available cameras around here.

I was thinking about a Nikon S9100, but I'm not convinced.


Thank you everybody, for your time, for your patience and for the kindness you are showing. Makes me feel closer to home!
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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2012, 12:31:22 PM »
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Olympus E-PL1 is Micro Four Thirds, along with several other Olympus and Panasonic models.

If you're serious about photography, skip the S9100, as you'll soon be disappointed by it's limitations. The same might be true of the D3100 or the E-PL1, of course, but either will give you significantly more room before you hit their limits.
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hellbike
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2012, 03:48:41 PM »
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Not all mirrorless cameras are created equal and while they are for amauters right now, mirrorless cameras for professionals are just around the corner, and fuji x-pro1 will be first of them - so keep than in mind. For higher price you will get quality of dslr in much smaller size, but also witch much lower selection of lenses (for now).

Pentax is going to release mirrorless that is compabitile with dslr lenses - so it's possible that nikon and canon will do the same - so you might be able to easly switch from dslr to mirrorless in future.
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2012, 06:09:31 PM »
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Pentax is going to release mirrorless that is compabitile with dslr lenses - so it's possible that nikon and canon will do the same - so you might be able to easly switch from dslr to mirrorless in future.

Nikon already has, you can use SLR lenses on the V/J1.
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hellbike
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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2012, 08:23:09 AM »
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Nikon already has, you can use SLR lenses on the V/J1.

not true.
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jalcocer
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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2012, 09:31:28 AM »
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Nikon already has, you can use SLR lenses on the V/J1.

not true.

it is true, here is the link for the adapter made by nikon fro the V/J cameras http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/acil/accessories/mount_adapter_ft1/

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hellbike
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« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2012, 09:50:18 AM »
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it is true, here is the link for the adapter made by nikon fro the V/J cameras http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/acil/accessories/mount_adapter_ft1/



Well? using adapter is not the same thing. The same way you could say you can use nikon lenses on canon camera.
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jalcocer
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« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2012, 10:31:01 AM »
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yep, but you said that they can't be used on the V and J systems, maybe the quality won't be the same as a dslr using the same lens but the quality compared to the stock lenses will improve using better glass.
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