Alternative to DSLR

Pete_g 14 327 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2016 5:45PM
I've been looking at a small CSC for use when the sheer size and weight if the DSLR kit I have (5dmkii and assortment of lenses).

Some of the new offerings look amazing (Sony A7R, Olympus Pen-F etc etc) but they cost almost as much as a DSLR and I can't see me ever parting company with a DSLR for my main photography, which has taken a backseat for the past two years due to work commitments.

I've researched the web, reviews , forums for the best solution for my needs, but as always there is no perfect camera Smile.

I'm looking at the A6000 at the moment, partly due to the price, quality and reviews, and even though the new A6300 is coming I can't justify the price for that model.

The new camera would come with me at all times when the DSLR is just not practical.

I'm sure many of you have a backup camera which you use in this way, so would love to hear what you use, and would buy based on experience.


P.S. Apologies if this subject has been raised many times before

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StrayCat 15 19.1k 3 Canada
6 Feb 2016 6:40PM
Sounds like you need the perfect camera. I found mine in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000, do a bit of research, including some of the many videos on youtube.Wink Another SLR, even mirroeless isn't going to solve your dilemma, you need one camera, one lens, that will do just about everything, and all I carry extra is one battery and one memory card plus a variable ND filter in my pocket.
Pete_g 14 327 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2016 7:42PM
Thanks StrayCat. I had looked at the FZ1000, but have had bridge cameras before and found them too bulky. I've not seen one of these in the shops so will have a closer look and play with it. Do you have any experience of using it with higher iso's. If so what do you find to be acceptable top end use?

My concern (looking at the tech specs and reviews) is that the f stop narrows considerably through the zoom range and I like the ability to get wider aperture prime lenses in use when needed. I'm also not sure I'd need the 400mm range on a camera, as I'd always use my DSLR for this type of photography.

I won't be replacing my DSLR....this will just be a backup for when I can't be bothered to carry my other kit.


Paul Morgan 18 19.4k 6 England
6 Feb 2016 7:55PM
Aps-c mirrorless take lenses that are more or less the same size as DSLR lenses, you not going to be gaining a lot on size and weight.

For compactness I`d be looking at M4/3 or a reasonably high end compact.
Pete_g 14 327 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2016 7:57PM
Thanks Paul. What M4/3 do you use and would you recommend it?

Paul Morgan 18 19.4k 6 England
6 Feb 2016 8:14PM
I use an EM5 (the original MK1) and an older GF2 hacked for video.

A lot will depend on your budget and how much you want to spend.

Have a look at the EM10 MK1 or Mk2 from Olympus or the GX7 or GX8 from Panasonic, this is where I would be looking.

And perhaps a compact kit zoom or a prime or two.
Pete_g 14 327 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2016 9:06PM
Thanks Paul.....I hadn't considered those...will take a closer look.
StrayCat 15 19.1k 3 Canada
6 Feb 2016 9:23PM
I have used 800 iso with the FZ1000, and it gives me the same quality as the Olympus E-M5 did at 800 and the Nikon D7000 and D7100. I was not comfortable with any camera over iso 800, no matter what the propaganda said. I'd take a 400mm f4.0 lens any day, which is what you get with the FZ1000, or how about 800mm f4.0 with the same camera, no attachments and no loss of IQ. Also, for travel, you have almost the same capabilities as the Panasonic GH4, including all the video features, and the exact same viewfinder, which is great. Depending on the video feature you use, you can get near 1200mm. Also 4K, which I haven't needed yet, but it's easy to use, and will give you 8mp stills if you like; imo, it's the Swiss Army Knife of cameras. The 1 inch sensor is a huge improvement over the smaller bridge camera sensors, I've compared them. Imo, the FZ1000 is very close in IQ to M4/3, with a very versatile built-in lens. Or, you could go with the much more expensive, and at least just as big, Sony.
6 Feb 2016 9:39PM
Hi Pete,
Having looked at great images in your portfolio I would not think there is an alternative to DSLR for you. It seems to me you take images in RAW and work over them thoroughly.
But compromise always exists, and for you it lies in DSLR domain. Have a look at less "professional" camera models, for example Nikon D5500 I own. I know,Iknow "my camera is the best" thing, but have a look anyway. If camera weight is your concern you may be pleasantly surprised with this one. For image samples you are welcome to visit my portfolio.
A6000 is other popular way to go, and I cannot fail this camera, but Nikon won for me with kit optics quality, outstanding focusing system and familiar form factor.
StrayCat 15 19.1k 3 Canada
6 Feb 2016 9:50PM
Great suggestion Michael, but he'll still have to carry around those heavy lenses. The Sony 10 II and the Panasonic FZ1000 have a one inch sensor, and built-in lens, and the works weighs in at, or about, the weight of a mid-level DSLR. And if he goes with M4/3, he still has the weight and bother of lenses. I think, and this is just my opinion after several months with my camera, that we all need a camera that we're comfortable with on its own, no other attachments. I believe with a camera like this, we're much more likely to grab it as we're going out the door, much more than we would any kind of camera and lenses, therefore it will be more worthwhile. Just my opinion from my experience. I'm not promoting my camera so much as the idea of more freedom and comfort, and let's face it, there are really only 2 camera models in the same class as the Sony and Panasonic. It all comes down to the old question, what do you need?
Pete_g 14 327 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2016 9:59PM
Thanks again StrayCat. I will definitely review the FZ1000 in more detail. Glowing recommendations from you.

Hi MichaelMelb_AU...thanks for your comments and for taking time to review my portfolio.
I'll never be without my DSLR as I've owned an SLR since I was 13 and there will never be another camera type for me that delivers the versatility they do. (famous last words). Also the weight doesn't bother me too much when I'm going on a dedicated photo shoot, but more and more I find myself not having time for photography as I commute extensively. Having a smaller, and equally capable camera in a smaller form factor I am hoping will re-energise me back to my hobby and allow me to take shots that I otherwise wouldn't due to the DSLR being at home.

Cheers Smile
themak 6 1.0k Scotland
6 Feb 2016 10:18PM

Quote:Aps-c mirrorless take lenses that are more or less the same size as DSLR lenses, you not going to be gaining a lot on size and weight.

That's just not true. Both Sony and Fuji APSC CSC system lenses are significantly smaller and lighter than equivalent DSLR ones, and the kit overall is much lighter and more compact.
Paul Morgan 18 19.4k 6 England
6 Feb 2016 10:37PM
A few of the lenses might be, certainly not all.
petebfrance 7 2.8k France
6 Feb 2016 10:56PM
When I was doing a lot of commuting (in film days, it's that long ago) I bought a couple of good compacts and left my SLRs at home.
Modern 1" sensor 'expert' compacts often have fast lenses which makes them pretty versatile - thinking of the Sony RX100 types, small and easily transportable, there are a few more, a couple of Canons, probably a Panasonic and there is a Panasonic with a 4/3 sensor (which doesn't us all of the sensor but produces good results). If I were commuting nowadays I'd consider one of those as an all-in-one that I could take with me - good IQ, no extras, fit easily in briefcase etc. etc. and can be used quickly. Yes, they probably have limitations which you'd need to check out, but they could be a practical and effective option.
Also, there is the Canon EOSM (I think it's called) mirrorless which could use your existing lenses as well as those designed for it..
But I've not tried any of them, so just mentioning them in case they seem worth investigating. Hopefully someone who has tried these will advise.
6 Feb 2016 11:15PM
I see, travel set. For that I keep a bit outdated Olympus E-PM1 m4/3 camera. For travel this camera is almost as good as it gets.
Bought it very cheaply for sheer curiosity but it proved m4/3 format for me. This particular model is not too good in low light, but it's descendants along the line are said to be much better in that.

I would say one of cameras like that is the best travel companion in terms of versatility and weight/size. There is even one with non-changeable zoom lens in Lumix lineup , LX100 model. As compact as quality camera can be.

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