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Old 05-21-2013, 11:17 AM   #1
AAmom
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Advice needed- Mirrorless camera or hi end point & shoot?

Need advice from folks in the know- I have a 7 year old Sony DSLR and use 2 diff lenses (18-70 and 28-300). I use the various settings, but not much in manual. Love the pics I have taken with it, but its just too heavy and cumbersome to use these days because I have two toddlers and all their stuff to carry around. I am looking to switch to something that will give me as close to dslr pics as possible without the weight. I like the Sony NEX ( not sure if 5 or 6 is best). I am wondering if there are any other mirrorless options I should consider, or if perhaps I am neglecting a really nice hi end point and shoot. I am assuming most point and shoots cannot compete with the NEX, but I could be totally wrong. Thanks
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:30 AM   #2
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Sounds like you have the Sony A100 --- I had one too, and recently upgraded.

The Sony NEX will give you "dSLR" quality, as it uses the same APS-C sensor used in most Sony dSLRs. Your lenses would also continue to work, but with an adapter. And truthfully, that's useful when you have high-end glass you want to keep (thousands of dollars worth of lenses), so probably not that relevant for you.

The NEX system is a great camera. Definitely get dSLR quality, in a much smaller form. The main downside compared to a true dSLR, is the focus accuracy and speed doesn't quite match a dSLR. But it is pretty close.

The other option, in a similar price range, is the Sony RX100. Ultra high-end P&S.
It's image quality can come very very close to current dSLRs. In fact, as an owner of the RX100, I found that it's image quality surpassed the Sony A100. And it's image quality can match/surpass newer dSLRs when just using kit lenses.
The main downsides of the RX100 is limited telephoto reach (only about 100mm equivalent), and you don't quite get the background blur you can achieve with a true dSLR.

Comparing these 2 options, my main considerations would be:
-- Do you want to change lenses? If you want to change to the right lens for the right shot, then go with the NEX. (For example, I use about 7 different lenses for my dSLT camera). If you prefer the convenience of just having 1 high quality lens without the need to change it, then go with the RX100.
-- How important is "compact"? If you want a camera that is easy to carry 24/7, that can fit in your pocket, that you never need to leave at home... Go with the RX100. If you are still okay with a separate camera bag, just want to keep it smaller and lighter than a dSLR, then the NEX is a good choice.

Some other factors:
-- How important is low light? The NEX will perform better in low light IF you add a specialized lens. The RX100 will perform much better in low light just using the included lens.
-- Do you like intense portrait background blur? If so, the NEX is a better choice.
-- Do you like super sharp landscapes? If so, the RX100 can be the better choice.
-- Do you need a long telephoto? Particularly, shooting wildlife, birds etc? Then you would need a telephoto lens on the NEX. And the RX100 won't really give you that long reach.

Personally, I own both a Sony dSLT (the A55) for certain types of shooting. And I own the Sony RX100, as my "always with me" camera. In fact, my last trip to Disney, I used only the RX100. It was very freeing to be traveling so light, and I still got spectacular dSLR quality photos.

Last edited by havoc315; 05-21-2013 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 05-21-2013, 03:15 PM   #3
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Of the NEX cameras the 6 is the same or better than the 5 in most every way that I know of (although the 5R is cheaper and has a little bit better battery life in specs, and I'm not certain if the 6's LCD flips forward). Otherwise the 6 is basically a 5 with EFV and the new, more versatile MI Shoe instead of an "accessory port"
The NEX6 is also available with the amazingly compact (when turned off) 16-55mm power zoom lens. Currently the 5R kits are only available with the 18-55.

If size and speed are important, you might also want to consider the Olympus OMD-E M5
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusem5

It seems Oly is in a class of its own with its really, really fast CDAF (that I think is generally faster than the NEX hybrid PDAF)
Oly has in-body stabilization (unlike NEX that requires stabilized lenses)
Although the m4/3 sensor is smaller than the APSc NEX, its quality is very close. Because of the smaller size, and the fact that Panasonic m4/3 is compatible you have smaller lenses and a bigger selection than what is available natively with NEX.

Personally, I would choose the NEX, but the Oly is a very solid choice.

But like Havoc mentioned, the RX100's Zeiss lens would be a better camera than most mirrorless with kit lenses.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:39 PM   #4
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Ok thanks for this really helpful feedback. One question- what exactly do you consider low light? Is it at dusk, or night shots, or when you take pictures inside a house that only has lamps and no ceiling lights?
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAmom View Post
Ok thanks for this really helpful feedback. One question- what exactly do you consider low light? Is it at dusk, or night shots, or when you take pictures inside a house that only has lamps and no ceiling lights?
Yes? (To all)
Essentially anytime your current camera and kit lens needs to be higher than ISO 400 or you need the flash.

The NEX will take much cleaner high ISO shots than your A100? but a shot that needed ISO1600 on an a100 kit lens will still probably need ISO 1600 on a NEX kit lens. Since the RX100 has about a 2 stop advantage at the wide end with its faster f/1.8 lens, that same shot on the RX100 would only need ISO 400.
(Of course you can buy fast glass for the a100 or NEX to gain the same benefit.
At telephoto, the RX slows down to about the same f/ as kit lenses.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:41 PM   #6
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Low light is generally anything less than sunlight/flash. So indoor artificial lighting, night, etc.
With the rx100 and fast lenses on my dSLR, I never really have to use a flash, unless I feel like it.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:43 PM   #7
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Low light is generally anything less than sunlight/flash. So indoor artificial lighting, night, etc.
With the rx100 and fast lenses on my dSLR, I never really have to use a flash, unless I feel like it.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:48 AM   #8
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I'm not "in the know" but I have gone from an Olympus mid-range camera that I ADORED (my daughter broke it!) to a Pentax point and shoot that I HATE to the cute little Olympus e-pm1 camera. Mirrorless system, itty bitty camera and I get some great photos with it. I purchased mine refurbished for cheaper than a superzoom or mid range point and shoot.

If you want to change lenses, go the mirrorless route If not, then get a nice mid range p&s camera.

I'm an Olympus girl, so my vote is almost always for an Oly.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:05 AM   #9
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Cameras to consider:

Sony RX100 (New version to be announced June 27th)
Olympus E-PM2, E-P5, OM-D
Fuji ex-1
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:42 AM   #10
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I have owned both the Nex line and OM-D. I currently own a Nex 6 and love it. The EVF is worth the difference in price over the 5R. I personally wouldn't own a camera without a viewfinder. In sunlight it's just plain hard to see the lcd. Focus speed is pretty quick on the Nex but not as fast as the OM-D, neither are good at tracking focus. Depending on how much zoom you want, the interchangeable lens cameras will be your best bet.

If you want a P&S only, I wouldn't definitely get the RX100. If you can stick with a fixed lens, the Nikon Coolpix A or Pentax GR great cameras with APS-C sensors.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HPS3 View Post
I have owned both the Nex line and OM-D. I currently own a Nex 6 and love it. The EVF is worth the difference in price over the 5R. I personally wouldn't own a camera without a viewfinder. In sunlight it's just plain hard to see the lcd. Focus speed is pretty quick on the Nex but not as fast as the OM-D, neither are good at tracking focus. Depending on how much zoom you want, the interchangeable lens cameras will be your best bet.
As a user of both, I would love to see a side by side comparison, in your opinion. (Of course, it would deserve its own thread!)

OP, I think you'd probably like a mirrorless. If not, go with a point and shoot if you prefer optimal convenience.
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