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by Kari Post on Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:25 pm
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I'm a Canon DSLR shooter who has been considering getting a mirrorless camera and lens for travel. I find that when I'm on non-photography trips and vacations, I often don't use my DSLR even when I lug it around but I'd like to have the option of shooting with something that gives me a little more creative control and has better image quality than my iPhone. I've owned advanced point-and-shoot cameras and micro 4/3 systems previously and found them disappointing/limiting, but have been told the technology has improved significantly. Because I still plan on using my Canon DSLR cameras as my primary system, I'm not interesting in spending a fortune on a new system.

Both the Olympus E-M10 Mark II and Sony Alpha a6000 seem to be very well regarded and fall within the price range I'm looking to spend ($500-$600 with usable mid-zoom lens). Online reviews suggest that the Sony has a better sensor (higher resolution, better dynamic range) and autofocus, but that the Olympus is has better ergonomics/handling, easier to use menus, and exceptional stabilization. For those who have directly compared the two models and range of compatible lenses, or better yet have experience with both, what are your impressions, particularly within the following areas:

1) Ergonomics and menu as compared to Canon. One of the things I really disliked about my previous RAW capable small cameras was that when shooting in manual you still had to dive into menus to adjust your exposure settings - what I really want is the ability to adjust shutter speed and aperture on the fly with external dials. In the reviews I've read it sounds like folks dislike the handling of the Sony but it also sounds like these dials are placed similarly to Canon cameras, vs Olympus which has both dials on top. Is one of these brands easier to use if you are used to Canon DSLRs?

2) Quality of kit lens and overall value of available lenses. Ideally, this would be the camera I take as a "just in case" camera while rock climbing, backpacking, mountain biking, and out exploring with my dog and family, so I would like to pair it with a single "do anything" zoom and maybe buy one additional lens for low light photography (a fast aperture prime). Which camera has a better kit lens, or zoom lens available for it? If I were to buy additional lenses, does one camera have better (good quality, high value) options available for it?

3) Usability by camera novices. I want to be able to hand this camera to a non-photographer or someone with very basic photography skills and have them able to use it without too much difficulty. Does one camera have better "smart" features or "dummy proof" features? Does one perform better in full auto mode (better exposure metering, HDR rendering, facial focus recognition) than the other?

I'm also open to considering other models within my budget. Any experiences you can share would be helpful and appreciated!
Kari Post, NSN Editor 2009-2013
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by E.J. Peiker on Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:10 pm
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I think much of what you have written is accurate - the Sony sensor is miles ahead of the Oly sensor for everything. I would disagree on the menus. Both cameras absolutely suck on this front compared to what you are used to. You may want to look at something like an EOS M camera instead if menu structure is important to you. You didn't mention video but the Oly is more capable here. The AF is a bit better on the a6000 although not as good as an a6300

1. Both cameras allow you to adjust everything via external dials, The Oly will handle a little more like a DSLR, the Sony a little more like a range finder. If you happen to be left eyed, the Sony may not be for you. If you are right eyed, you may like it.
2. Without knowing the specific lenses you are considering, it's really not possible to answer this one. Both cameras take a wide array of lenses from Fisheye to 400mm. Crop factor on the Oly is 2x and on the Sony is 1.5x making the Sony have a much larger sensor which also generally means that the lenses are going to have to be a bit bigger for the same field of view.
3. Put either one in P mode and hand it to whoever is shooting ;)
 

by DChan on Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:15 pm
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Kari Post wrote:
....
2) Quality of kit lens and overall value of available lenses. Ideally, this would be the camera I take as a "just in case" camera while rock climbing, backpacking, mountain biking, and out exploring with my dog and family, so I would like to pair it with a single "do anything" zoom and maybe buy one additional lens for low light photography (a fast aperture prime). Which camera has a better kit lens, or zoom lens available for it?...


Here's one "do-it-all" lens from Olympus you could consider if you end up choosing Olympus:

Olympus 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro M.Zuiko Digital ED Tweet Share 

35 equivalent of 24-200.


I use Olympus but have no experience with E-M10 so can't comment on it.



Anyhow, I have a feeling most here will try to persuade you to get the Sony ( primarily because they know more about it than the other brand  :)).
 

by Mike in O on Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:32 pm
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Personally if I was going to keep my Canon system and you want something to do action sports, the rx100 line is something to look into.
 

by ChrisRoss on Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:12 pm
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I use the EM-1 MkII underwater and previously the EM-5 MKII. Both cameras are neat to use and are set up very much like a DSLR. On both you have two dials on top and you can program what each dial does. You can then flick a switch to change the dial function. So for in example you can have one dial doing aperture and the other exp compensation in Aperture priority. Then you can change the the function to one dial changing ISO and the other doing white balance for example. The function of the dials changes as you cahnge from Av, Tv to manual. So the two dials would be SS and aperture when in manual mode.

The AF on the EM-1 MKII is really very good and the continuous AF actually works. The EM-5 II is decent enough at AF and would only struggle in macro mode. You have a number of neat options on the cameras for AF so for example you have S-AF plus MF mode so the camera will AF then when you turn the dial it switches immediately to MF. You can assign focus peaking to a custom button and when you activate it focus peaking will switch on when you turn the focus ring.

On lenses the 12-40 mm f2.8 is a great lens very sharp even at f2.8 and focuses very close giving 0.3x magnification at closest focus. Keep in mind the 2x crop factor applies to your shooting aperture so at f4 for example the DOF is eqivalent to f8 on full frame. Good for DOF, not so good for bokeh. It also means if you open up you don't need to push the ISO as far in low light.

The in body stabilisation is really very very good, this shot:

http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~chrisx2/images/EasternYellowRobin5.jpg

was taken with the 300mm f4 at f4 and 1/13 sec handheld.

The Em-10 mkII IBIS is not quite so good and the AF/EVF maybe not quite so good. If you went second hand you could get an EM-1 (first version) from Keh for $449 https://www.keh.com/shop/olympus-om-d-e-m1-16-3-megapixel-mirrorless-camera-body-only-black.html and the 14-42 lens for not much more and maybe add one of the pro lenses down the track.
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by balazs on Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:26 pm
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Maybe late to the party, but i would like to make a case for Fujifilm. The new X-T3 is a real bargain. My X-T2 is already quite nice, served me well in both landscape and BIF situatons. BIF with the 100-400/f4.5-5.6  in fact was the biggest surprise to me, AF tracking was way better than i expected. It has a comprehensive lens line and the kit lens is very good. They also have a do everything lens, the 18-135/f3.5-5.6. I do not think that there is a bad camera system nowadays.
 

by E.J. Peiker on Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:39 pm
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balazs wrote:
Maybe late to the party, but i would like to make a case for Fujifilm. The new X-T3 is a real bargain. My X-T2 is already quite nice, served me well in both landscape and BIF situatons. BIF with the 100-400/f4.5-5.6  in fact was the biggest surprise to me, AF tracking was way better than i expected. It has a comprehensive lens line and the kit lens is very good. They also have a do everything lens, the 18-135/f3.5-5.6. I do not think that there is a bad camera system nowadays.

Way way out of the $500-$600 price range Kari was asking about... ;)
 

by balazs on Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:05 pm
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My bad, someone mentioning the 12-100/f4 let my imagination fly! :oops:
 

by Karl Egressy on Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:04 pm
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I used to have the OMD E-M10 Mark II and I really liked it. It is very well built, has metal body, quite a few programmable buttons, and it takes wonderful pictures.
Beautiful color rendition, great resolution if you use the right lens. The lens coming with the camera is substandard IMO. I bought the 12-40 f 2.8 Pro
and it was great. Unfortunately I sold them and now I feel sorry.
 

by Kari Post on Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:06 pm
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Thank you all for the great replies - super helpful and having a sense of how these function in real life adds a lot of perspective instead of just reading reviews!
Kari Post, NSN Editor 2009-2013
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by sdaconsulting on Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:15 pm
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The A6000 + a used 18-135 (27-200mm equivalent) is a bit over your budget, but it's very compact and provides an enormous range of focal lengths in a very small package.

I'm using that lens with my 6500 and really thrilled with the combination of IQ and size.
Matthew Cromer
 

by Rocky Sharwell on Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:01 pm
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Allen's Camera in Levitown PA at times has a good supply of used Sony lenses and bodies. They have been super honest and reliable since Velvia days
Rocky Sharwell
 

by Rudix on Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:58 am
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I would not totally disregard the Canon EOS-M bodies. The little EOS-M50 has a decent sensor (same as 80D), great AF, good menu system, that very nice articulated screen, nice EVF (I prefer it to the one on my A7R3), fantastic touch screen for menus and AF/shutter release as well as the ability to use all your Canon EF/EF-S lenses with a reliable (Canon) adapter. The ability to display the camera level as well as the RGB histogram at the same time on the screen or EVF is something I really miss on my Sony.

It is not the perfect camera for serious action but for stills and a bit of tracking (people/cars/planes) it works really well.

The video is also good unless you are serious about 4K.

The camera is really light and feels responsive, I used it combined with the EFM 18-150 lens that far exceeded my expectations, the focus is quick, quiet and accurate and the lens is as sharp if not sharper than the EF 24-105L that I used for years on my "everyday" camera. It is now my take anywhere camera, only time I don't use it is when I go and do a serious landscape/bird/wildlife shoot but the rest of the time it is a constant companion.

It is also not very expensive....
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