Looking for suggestions


unhomie

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Jul 23, 2019
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Hi guys.

I'm planning to get a proper camera since I'm starting to do a fair bit of travelling, and wish to document (95% pictures, 5% videos, ideally) as much of it as possible. I've been doing some intensive reading and searching these past few hours, and have a couple questions.

I'm basically searching for a mirrorless camera. An acquaintance recently told me that for my first camera, it's more worthwhile to get a used/secondhand one.

To that end, I've identified the Olympus OMD E-M5 II as a good-valued candidate. Any thoughts on that (or maybe a better valued alternative?)

Also, I was also told that cameras that use Micro 4/3s are more worthwhile to buy since they have relatively cheaper lenses. However, I found that most sites suggest a Canon M50 as a good starter mirrorless camera. That uses an APS-C lens instead (and I've read that Canon is abit an@l and switch the lens type, so not all APS-C lens are compatible (unlike M4/3s) on their cameras. Is there any truth to this?

Also, I wonder if lens prices are something to consider, since I don't see myself buying loads of lenses.

I'm trying to soak in as much information as I can before I make my purchase, some time in August.

Thanks a lot.
 

Octarine

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Welcome to Clubsnap!
I think the idea to start with a second hand camera is pretty good. Saves money, hurts less if something goes wrong. Whether m43 or APS-C does not matter, for a beginner the differences in sensor size and performance are irrelevant. Both systems can deliver great pictures.
One thing about lenses: it's not about APS-C lens versus m43 lens. Each system has their own lenses which are (in many cases) not interchangeable. Every maker is very conscious about keeping users and up-sell the next lenses. Adapters between systems are a thing of the after market and third party vendors. In short: it does not matter at all to you as beginner. Start with the kit kens, get the next lens based on what you need.
Lens prices can be taken into considerations, but every brand has their cheap ones and more expensive ones. Price does not always reflect image quality.

My suggestion: go to shops that have your cameras as display sets. Check weight, handling, menu etc. Ergonomics are quite important in the long run.
One thing to keep in mind: all current cameras can deliver good pictures. Don't sweat too much, grab one that fits your hands and appeals to you. After that go and shoot. A good picture is only 20% camera, but 80% composition, the right moment, the story, the subject, the light and shadows ...
 

unhomie

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Jul 23, 2019
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Thanks for the detailed response. I get what you mean. With that, I'm currently eyeing the Olympus E-M5 II, Sony A6000/6300 and Canon M50. Any thoughts on these 3? These few are the ones that are more commonly recommended as a decent budget mirrorless.

Will gladly welcome any more recommendations on good (cheap) models for me to look at. I'm currently hoping to get something decent under $500, if possible.
 

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dennisc

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Oct 24, 2002
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Freezing Upp Thomson/Mandai!
1. Used camera best bet, yes, prices can be slashed to half. From my experience with the above brands, I'd just get the Em5 II + most of its lenses are affordable and good if you don't mind 4/3 format. It's not cheap, it's a highly capable cam.
I would put Canon behind the list (being an ex Canon user 550D, 650D, 20D, 30D, 60D, 1D, 5D, 5DII, 6D n 5DR, 5DSR etc) as I've changed system and found the latter 2 is simply better than any Canon I've used...
 

Octarine

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Will gladly welcome any more recommendations on good (cheap) models for me to look at. I'm currently hoping to get something decent under $500, if possible.
Have you had a look at the Fuji lineup? X-T2, X-T20 or X-T100 could be within your budget.
 

one eye jack

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Jun 11, 2011
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Thanks for the detailed response. I get what you mean. With that, I'm currently eyeing the Olympus E-M5 II, Sony A6000/6300 and Canon M50. Any thoughts on these 3? These few are the ones that are more commonly recommended as a decent budget mirrorless.

Will gladly welcome any more recommendations on good (cheap) models for me to look at. I'm currently hoping to get something decent under $500, if possible.
My heart goes out to a newbie buying his/her first camera. Although there are good intentions some of the advice fail to address the purpose of the purchase..that is it's going to be used in his travels and the most desired requirement for a travel camera is size and light weight so for canon m50 is a non-starter because you don't want to tell the world hey I have a big serious camera..come and steal me! You want something unobtrusive or obvious.

About going to the shops to handle said cameras..yes don't buy a small camera if you have big hands.How would a newbie know what is a good camera with a UI ( user interface) is if he have not owned one much less have a sort of reference apart from his mobile phone? Politically correct advice is useless in my opinion.

What make me qualified to give any advice? Well I have a apsc DSLR, 2 x m43 and 2x apsc mirrorless cameras. Athough TS has the EM5 mk2 in his list I think for his hard earned money and budget of $500 is better spent on a bigger apsc sensor. I use m43 for the telephoto reach but if given a choice to shoot what a traveller would shoot I would choose an apsc sensor for obvious reasons of image quality.Make no mistake I like m43 image quality too but for
TS taking the effort to go to a far away place I would like the assurance of a bigger apsc sensor image when the shot is not properly framed and need cropping..zooming in so to speak. There are more detail in a bigger apsc sensor. What is the price of those precious moments and memories..priceless! See this link of m43 vs apsc image:



It's brave of Octarine to suggest Fujifilm cameras but I think $500 can't even buy a body much less a lens. I think I can help TS with his budget..yes buy used but which camera? PM me?

Last comment about m43 vs apsc..because of crop factor
Kit lens 14 -45mm m43 = 28 -90mm. (Crop factor x2).

14 - 45mm. Apsc = 21 - 67.5mm
(1.5 crop factor)

With regards 21mm it makes a big visual difference compared to a wide angle of 28mm of m43 for landscape or interior photos.
 

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Octarine

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It's brave of Octarine to suggest Fujifilm cameras but I think $500 can't even buy a body much less a lens. I think I can help TS with his budget..yes buy used but which camera? PM me?
Let me help you with a few examples:
Agreed, not the models I stated, but not impossible as what you were so brave to state..
With that, let's focus on the questions TS has raised.
 

unhomie

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Jul 23, 2019
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Can I get thoughts on the GX80/85? I see one on Amazon going for a bit over 500, brand new, here, bundled with two lenses.
 

thoongeng

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Jan 26, 2010
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My heart goes out to a newbie buying his/her first camera. Although there are good intentions some of the advice fail to address the purpose of the purchase..that is it's going to be used in his travels and the most desired requirement for a travel camera is size and light weight so for canon m50 is a non-starter because you don't want to tell the world hey I have a big serious camera..come and steal me! You want something unobtrusive or obvious.

About going to the shops to handle said cameras..yes don't buy a small camera if you have big hands.How would a newbie know what is a good camera with a UI ( user interface) is if he have not owned one much less have a sort of reference apart from his mobile phone? Politically correct advice is useless in my opinion.

What make me qualified to give any advice? Well I have a apsc DSLR, 2 x m43 and 2x apsc mirrorless cameras. Athough TS has the EM5 mk2 in his list I think for his hard earned money and budget of $500 is better spent on a bigger apsc sensor. I use m43 for the telephoto reach but if given a choice to shoot what a traveller would shoot I would choose an apsc sensor for obvious reasons of image quality.Make no mistake I like m43 image quality too but for
TS taking the effort to go to a far away place I would like the assurance of a bigger apsc sensor image when the shot is not properly framed and need cropping..zooming in so to speak. There are more detail in a bigger apsc sensor. What is the price of those precious moments and memories..priceless! See this link of m43 vs apsc image:



It's brave of Octarine to suggest Fujifilm cameras but I think $500 can't even buy a body much less a lens. I think I can help TS with his budget..yes buy used but which camera? PM me?

Last comment about m43 vs apsc..because of crop factor
Kit lens 14 -45mm m43 = 28 -90mm. (Crop factor x2).

14 - 45mm. Apsc = 21 - 67.5mm
(1.5 crop factor)

With regards 21mm it makes a big visual difference compared to a wide angle of 28mm of m43 for landscape or interior photos.
From https://camerasize.com/compare/#776,594
  • Canon EOS M50 is 6% (7.4 mm) narrower and 4% (3.1 mm) taller than Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.
  • Canon EOS M50 is 54% (20.7 mm) thicker than Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.
  • Canon EOS M50 [387 g] weights 22% (109 grams) less than Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II [496 g] (*inc. batteries and memory card).
Hmm don't see how Canon M50 is much bigger than E-M5 II to be heavy weight and screaming "come steal me"...

Hmm I haven't seen any 14-45mm APSC lens from Canon / Fuji / Nikon / Sony...

Can I get thoughts on the GX80/85? I see one on Amazon going for a bit over 500, brand new, here, bundled with two lenses.
You may want to clarify your budget of 500 is in SGD or USD?


If SGD500 in the 2nd hand market, I think you probably can get a lower end or older camera body with kit lens. Choices are also more limited to whatever is in the market.

My advice is that all the above cameras you listed are adequate for your needs as you have already done your homework, just get the one that fits your budget. In real world use the difference between APSC and M4/3 are difficult to tell, there are more choices of native lenses for M4/3 though (Olympus, Panasonic and third party lenses are interchangeable). Canon does have a big selection of lenses however you will need to use an adapter as there are not many native EF-M lenses

Only after using a camera for some time then you will know what are your requirements and preferences. It's like buying a hiking backpack for a hiking trip when you have never hiked before, after researching there are so many choices and body types, unfortunately only after a few hikes and maybe a few bags then you will know what you want.

Happy shopping and remember to practice before your trip :)

p.s. why should you listen to me... hmm you can see some of my photos on my instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/thoongeng/
Photos are taken with Full Frame, APSC, Micro 4/3, Compact and Smartphone cameras... can you tell which is taken with which sized sensor camera (without looking at the tags?)
 

swifty

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It doesn’t change the usefulness of the EM5.2 but you might like to know a mark III is heavily rumoured to be announced very soon so it may be worthwhile waiting a month or so.

I find it hard to give advice on what camera to get these days as the decisions are so personal as to what aspects/features someone values.
The good news is if you’re buying a relatively recent model from any make, you can rarely go wrong. They’re basically all pretty good. What’s important is it allows you an avenue to learn, which means the ability to get out of the automated modes and take creative control. From that perspective I favour slightly older ‘advanced’ models over newer ‘entry level’ models even if they cost the same because more advanced models tend to have more direct controls over the most important settings whereas entry level models tend to like to bury these things either in menus or require more button presses.
As an example, in m43 I would favour an older E-M1 or E-M5 model over a newer E-PL model.
However I have to admit I’m biased towards great UI as a camera feature over things such as absolute image quality that tends to dominate camera decision discussions.

As for the lenses, as well as one lens that cover a wider range of focal length, also try and get at least a fast aperture prime lens since DOF is one of the most important creative decisions in photography and it’s easier to learn the effects with a fast lens.
 

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unhomie

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I have one question, guys. Is weather sealing important? My camera is mostly going to be used for travel; just that, in December, I'll probably be spending 2-3 weeks in Western Europe, so is snow going to be a problem if a camera isn't weather sealed?

The reason for this is because the Olympus E-M5s are the only ones that are weather sealed at this cheap price point.
 

swifty

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Weather sealing is definitely nice to have. But remember your lenses need to be sealed too.

Light exposure shouldn’t be an issue but still take care to wipe off excess moisture when possible. I’ve never tried to test the limits of weather sealing abilities on my cameras nor do I intend to. So my honest answer is I don’t know how good the sealing abilities are but it gives me peace of mind.
Perhaps a bigger issue may be condensation. Take care when suddenly going from cold to hot. Eg. Shooting out in the cold then entering a nice warm restaurant.
 

Octarine

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None of my equipment has any weather sealing. I just used it in light drizzle, io the slopes of Mt Bromo in the morning wind, changed lenses wherever I had to without any issues. I only had the occasional sensor dust, which got quickly resolved with the built-in cleaning function. Just make sure you have no water running over it, that would be too much. Everything else should work fine. A lens hood works well here to prevent droplets on the front element.
Weather sealing itself is not defined, unlike the IP rating where the criteria are clearly set. So it is rather a marketing thingy of the manufacturer, not a technical specification. The absence of it does not mean your camera will stop working from the first drop of water. Nothing much to worry.
The other thing: snow in December in Western Europe has become a rare occasion. Count yourself lucky if you get some. Do have a look at the topic of 'camera in cold weather' instead to get some additional hints. 'Cold' here refers to temperatures close to zero degree Celsius or below. Above that, nothing to worry.
 

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unhomie

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Jul 23, 2019
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That's good to hear if weather sealing is more gimmicky than a clearly defined thing.

I'll also planning to spend a week in Iceland to catch the Northern Lights, during my Europe trip, which was why I'm leaning more towards the whole weather sealing thing. Thanks for the link. I'll definitely check it out.

Another question, guys. Olympus has in-built body stabilisation, right? How important is that for photos? I imagine it'll be somewhat important for videos, but since I'm probably going to be 99% photos, will the lack of body stabilisation make the photos blurry or something? Or is lens stabilisation fine on its own?
 

Octarine

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People took sharp pictures decades before any stabilization existed simply by following one rule: shutter speed is faster than 1 / focal length * crop factor.
Example: with a lens of 50mm on Canon APS-C (crop = 1.6) the shutter speed shall be at least 1/80s or faster (1/100 etc..). For Olympus the crop factor is 2. Follow that rule for hand-holding shot and you should be fine. If you know that you have shaky hands simply be more conservative or better: google for advices in shooting hand-held. Cameras put in Auto, P and A mode will actually follow this rule based on their built-in algorithms. Secondly: the longer the lens the more helpful any stabilization gets. Especially in low light when you might need to break this rule. But that all only helps you up to shutter speeds of maybe 1/10s, some claim it works till 0.5s. That's the point when you have to accept higher ISO. Reading up (or check YouTube) about Exposure Triangle will help to understand more.
The question about in-body stabilization versus in-lens stabilization is a heated debate between fanboys, experience and marketing claims. Canon says, that in-lens stabilization can be better adjusted to the specifics of each lens. But then: each lens has its own stabilizer and it contributes to the price. With in-body stabilization the lenses are simpler (less components) and one can use legacy lenses, adapted lenses etc - all stabilized by the body. Decide what you need for now, spend more on the holidays than on equipment.
For the Aurora Borealis you can drop that idea of stabilization right away and head over to the tripod department of any well-sorted camera shop. Your budget of $500 will need some adjustment, though, so that also a remote trigger and maybe a few spare batteries can come along.
 

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thoongeng

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Ah taking photographs of the Northern Lights is one genre where equipment do count. Because of the extreme lack of light, you need long shutter speeds, high ISO and lens with big apertures to capture it, typical shutter speeds are like 8-30 seconds, aperture wide open and ISO of 800-3200, so bigger sensors with better high ISO performance and lenses with big aperture helps.

As Mod Octarine pointed out, having image stabilisation (both in-body or lens) helps you with using slower shutter speeds to achieve a sharp photo. However it does not help you stop action if you need (you need a higher shutter speed), and unlikely to help you achieve slow shutter speeds in the seconds. You will need a tripod for these slower shutter speeds.
 

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one eye jack

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Hand holding or steadying a camera has not changed since the film days of course stabalisation helps to a certain extent but is no excuse not to hold camera properly for least camera shake. If you are using a tripod don't forget to switch off stabalisation if not it still thinks you are hand holding it. ( unless you are still moving it in a gimbal like shooting wildlife or birds) Expect to have more blur photos as a newbie unless you use the proper holding techniques on top of exposure errors.


Well a picture is worth a thousand words.
How to do it without a tripod...alternatives:

 

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unhomie

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Yeah, for the Northern Lights one, I'm definitely getting a tripod for it. I've YouTubed the Exposure Triangle thing, and am also watching videos on focal length, apertures and ISOs to try and learn as much as I can.

I have a couple more questions. I read that most cameras can last upwards of 100k SC. I know a shutter count of <10k is considered pretty new and is a good buy, but what about a SC of 40k? On one hand, that camera has already done 40% of its journey, so it's more likely to break down. However, on the other hand, even if I end up taking 5k pictures every year (which is quite ridiculous to begin with) on my 2-3 yearly trips , I'm still quite a long way to go before it's expected to fail. Thoughts?

Also, I've narrowed down my search to the Sony A6000 and the Olympus E-M5 due to the overall value of what's currently available in the used market; still undecided if it's worth it to fork out an additional 100-150 to get the Mark II. Thoughts?

Lastly, should I get the body alone, and fork out the additional 150-200 to get a prime lens, instead of getting body + kit lens? I've read that they are usually better suited for street photography and are also more wide-angle and faster than the typical kit lenses. The reason I ask is because I only solo travel, and my pictures are usually of scenery and places, and not people (or myself).
 

Octarine

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Focus on important things. Learning exposure triangle is good, but don't overload yourself. The automatic modes of P and A (Canon Av) are pretty decent helpers that can do all the triangle work much faster than you. My suggestion: Auto ISO and P and shoot away in daylight. For cases with defined depth of field use A/Av and go. Center focus point, or center region, shoot. Don't get carried away with settings while the moment passes.
Shutter count: forget it. Shutter fail at their own time and the estimations are nothing but a rough guess. Some professional cameras fail at 50k, some entry level models go up to 150k. Just shoot.
Mark II: get what you can safely afford. A Mark I model and more travel budget is better than Mark II and cutting the itinerary.
Lens: you are travelling, so scenery, people and moments come in different situations and distances. Any zoom lens is better here to catch the moment or situation and frame it nicely. Not sure where you read that 'prime lens ... are usually better suited for street photography and are also more wide-angle ..' Be careful with conclusions of other people, there are usually also plenty of examples to disprove such statements because every photographer is different and situations change.
Primes are faster, yes. But they limit your working distance. If the person is too close to you, it's gone. Too far? Cropping the image later can help a bit.
More wide angle? Nope! They are plenty of primes in all kinds of focal lengths.
My suggestion: get a kit lens with maybe a longer end (18-135 for APS-C, or ~14-80 for Olympus).
 

unhomie

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Ah, got it. It's good to know that I don't have to get so hung up over shutter count.

The camera budget was just arbitrarily set by me, to avoid spending too much on my first camera. The travel itinerary is more or less set right now. Haha.

The A6000 comes with a kit lens of 16-50mm f/3.5 - 5.6, while the Olympus comes with a 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3. I'll keep a look out for one with a longer end.