Buying a CSC Camera

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by whichcamera, Jan 28, 2015.

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  1. whichcamera

    whichcamera Member

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    Hi there,

    Having only ever owned compact cameras, I have decided I would like to upgrade to something that can produce better photographs, particularly as I am due to go on a long holiday. I have ruled out DSLRs due to size and cost, as well as Bridge cameras. I have decided I would like to buy a csc, which will provide me with better quality and scope to learn more about taking photos, whilst being a bit more portable than bigger cameras. I am however, constrained a bit by money and cannot opt for the more expensive models.

    So I am looking at the Panasonic GM1 and the Sony A5100. Any thoughts on which is better value? And are there some other cameras I should consider?

    Also, one question I would really like help with is about lenses - if I was to buy the Sony CSC, what other type of lens would be useful to buy? I will be wanting to use my camera for holidays, events, landscapes etc. Given that I am buying a camera that can use multiple lenses I need to have an idea of what type of other lens I might need or use! In this sense I am not clear on what the lens it comes with is useful for - I presume it is fairly standard. But how far does it reach i.e. what would its equivalent be in terms of optical zoom?

    Any help with these questions would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Both cameras are excellent and very similar, though I prefer the Sony a5100 due to its larger sensor and, in my opinion, more striking image quality.

    The a5100 comes with a 16-50 lens, which is equivalent to a point and shoot lens of 24-75mm, or 3.1x optical zoom. The GM1's standard lens is 12-32mm, which is equivalent to 24-64mm, or 2.7x zoom. Both cameras have a wide array of other lenses to choose from. You may want to purchase a long zoom lens at some point. Sony makes the relatively inexpensive E-mount (for the small A series cameras) 55-210mm (equivalent to 82.5-315mm), which is a good quality lens. Panasonic has the relatively inexpensive micro 4/3 45-150mm lens, which is equivalent to 90-300mm, also a very good lens.
     
  3. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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  4. whichcamera

    whichcamera Member

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    Thank you for your advice - I will certainly look into the Olympus and the Fuji. How noticeable is the better image quality of the Sony, because I would edge towards that if it was significant. The GM1 is appealing at least because it is even smaller than the Sony.

    Also, thank you both for trying to explain how the lenses compare to compacts i.e. in terms of zoom. It sounds like they do not reach very far, given that I will want to take some landscape pictures and may also go on a day safari, it would be good to have a lens that provides more zoom. Which would you recommend for the Sony?

    I am very much a novice so don't really understand the different lenses or the technical language. Other than an extra lens with further reach, is there any other type of lens that provides something specific that the standard lens doesn't?

    Thanks
     
  5. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Since you want a small csc camera you probably don't want to have a long lens attached to it most of the time. With the standard short zoom lenses you'll have the benefit of some zoom and the compact size as well. But on those occasions when you do want a longer reach, both the Sony and Panasonic long lenses I mentioned will give you the equivalent (in a point and shoot camera) of about 13x optical zoom, which should be sufficient for most purposes. I don't recommend longer zoom lenses than the ones I mentioned, as they would make the small CSC camera unwieldy. If you really need such a long reach I suggest you purchase a DSLR, which is larger and more well-balanced with a long lens attached. Or an ultrazoom/bridge camera like the Canon SX60.
     
  6. whichcamera

    whichcamera Member

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    I think I am starting to understand a little better - if I were to get the 55-210mm, this alongside the kit lens gives me focal options between 16 and 210mm - i.e. which is sort of equivalent of 13 x zoom, although I realise it is is not quite as simple as that. That sounds perfect. And when money permits I guess I could go for a macro lens, which from what I have read would allow me to photographs flowers etc? Which would be a good option i.e. in terms of offering something different to the 16-50?

    Cheers.
     
  7. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    You could take nice pictures of flowers with the Sony E 16-50mm but to get really close you'd need the Sony E 30mm f/3.5 prime lens, a macro lens made specifically for Sony's small CSC cameras.

    Here are some shots taken with the Sony E 16-50mm
    https://www.flickr.com/search?text=sony e 16-50mm

    And some great macros taken with the E 30mm prime:
    https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=sony 30mm "macro"
     
  8. whichcamera

    whichcamera Member

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    What would be a similar lens for the GM1?

    I would certainly have to wait before I bought a macro lens.

    The Sony camera would cost about £370 and the extra lens (55-210) about £180 totalling about £550.

    I could buy the GM1 for £429 and get a 45-150mm lens for £176, totalling about £605.

    So £550 to £600 could get me a good quality camera and versatile lenses, that will provide better quality images than a compact and take up less space than a DSLR. Still a lot of money though! Sony works out a bit cheaper and seems to to be a bit better quality, but GM1 is really small...
     
  9. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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  10. whichcamera

    whichcamera Member

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    A few more questions - if I got the GM1, I am told that its 12-32mm due to a smaller sensor (not that I understand this) is about the same as the Sony 16-50mm and that the 45-150mm lens is equivalent to 90-300mm, Does it matter that neither lenses cover between 50mm and 90mm? Sorry if this is a stupid question!

    Secondly, given that the Sony kit lens of 16-50mm plus a 55-240mm would provide roughly the equivalent of x 13 zoom, does the combination of GM1 lenses suggested above provide more zoom i.e. between 12 and 300mm?

    Lastly, would I ever really need 13 x zoom or more? I ask because I had a x 12 zoom compact, but I never really zoomed that much cos picture went so blurred, or would zooming be better quality with these CSCs compared to compacts?

    Thanks.
     
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