I got my wife a microsensor camera (micro 4/3) – but promise not to drink the KoolAide
I poke fun at the micro 4/3 system (i.e. “microsensor cameras”) fairly often. It’s typically triggered by the outrageous, bulldog-like persistence of many microsensor fanatics who breathlessly extol the virtues of the small sensor format as the best in the universe. I guess my ascerbic & contrarian intuition to poke fun at them. But I don’t really mean it (well, not completely).
So, my wife and I decided that it would be fun to share a hobby and that we would get her a nice camera. It was my job to choose a camera, and I wanted her to have something herself, rather than just borrowing something of mine. My parameters were:
- She had to LIKE the camera. This means, it had to be a desirable looking and feeling object. Being cute and not too heavy (given a history of back/neck pain) were important.
- It had to have an EVF – I believe that learning to frame images with an uncluttered view is important. I also believe that 3-points of contact is a good habit to form
- I preferred a system camera, because I’d like her to start out with a normal, fast prime… but know that a standard zoom would be in the cards
- It had to work well in the GREEN SQUARE, but also offer simple, tactile manual controls. IF she decides to learn at a deeper level, having dedicated dials for aperture and shutter speed are important, IMO
Micro 4/3 checked all the boxes – and was best for her
So, the choices were an entry level or used DSLR (like a 60D, or A65), a Sony E-Mount camera (like the NEX-6 or a6000), a Fuji X camera, or something in the microsensor arena. Ultimately we chose a used OMD-E M-5 (I have no idea where the spaces and dashes go in that one). It’ll likely be paired with some kind of kit zoom and a fast-ish 25mm lens. Why?
- The body is attractive, but it’s very small and light. She likes it, is intrigued by it, and will want to pick it up
- It offers very simple operation to start – and straightforward manual controls for learning the fundamentals (if there’s interest)
- The EVF is very nice, and inviting to use… and there’s a dedicated button to turn the rear screen off
- The lenses are reasonably priced (ish) and fairly compact. Most importantly, the kit lenses are actually very good
- There is (with a fast prime) at least some ability to creatively manage depth of field
- Decent noise performance, good JPGs, and overall quality product
Why not the others? Well, I feel that the Sony kit and lower-end lenses are pretty terrible, and they are a little menu-happy. Not as simple and elegant an experience for learning. And I just don’t think she would like the a6000 as much. The Fuji system is just a little wobbly at the lower end to me. I wouldn’t be in the market for the upmarket primes, and the cost started adding up with a body and two lenses. Just wasn’t right. And I’m not sold on manual focus with those lenses, the focus by wire is not smooth to me.
Yes. I’m still of the belief that either APS-C or 35mm format provides the best option for serious and flexible photography… but this is definitely the right camera for her. BUT… if she starts pontificating about how the microsensor format is superior to APS-C and 35mm full frame, and that all other formats are doomed, I will KNOW they have some kind of brainwashing mind-melt going on inside those EVFs.