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Tuesday, May 11, 2010


A new approach to interchangeable-lens camera systems gives photographers the option of smaller bodies. How do they stack up?

Labels: CamerasDSLRs

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Announced at PMA earlier this year, Sony’s new concept camera system will be another contender in the EVF category. Details on the system remain limited, but Sony does expect it to launch this year.
Size. The EVF interchangeable-lens cameras are much smaller than mid-level DSLRs, and somewhat smaller than the smallest DSLRs, but they aren’t really pocketable, especially with a lens attached. Most offer a flat “pancake” lens that makes for a very compact package. The super-small cameras aren’t for everyone, though; photographers with larger hands might be more comfortable with a large camera body.

Video. Most newer DSLRs offer HD video capability, and all of the new EVF cameras (except Panasonic’s original Lumix G1) also offer HD-video capability. The Micro Four Thirds models have an advantage in that they can use Panasonic’s Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm ƒ/4.0-5.8 Mega O.I.S. zoom lens, which has a silent AF motor designed for video—the built-in microphone won’t pick up its noise during sound recording.

Lenses. DSLRs offer a tremendous range of lenses: Canon, for example, has more than 60, Nikon more than 60, Pentax 28 (Pentax DSLRs can use any Pentax lens, older ones with some limitations), Sigma over 40 and Sony 28 (and Sony DSLRs can use Minolta Maxxum lenses). Like all Four Thirds System cameras, Olympus DSLRs can use all Four Thirds System lenses regardless of manufacturer (note that Four Thirds cameras can’t use Micro Four Thirds lenses because the flange back distance is too short). Besides the camera manufacturers, independent lens-makers, such as Sigma, Tamron and Tokina, also offer a good range of lenses for popular DSLRs.

Micro Four Thirds System cameras can use Micro Four Thirds System lenses and, via adapters (and with some limitations), regular Four Thirds System lenses, old Olympus OM system lenses and pretty much any lens for which there’s a Micro Four Thirds adapter. As of this writing, there are around 10 full-function Micro Four Thirds System lenses available.

Samsung’s NX10 uses its own NX lens mount, and three lenses were introduced with the camera: 18-55mm and 50-200mm zooms, and a very low-profile 30mm “pancake” lens. Samsung also has announced that five additional NX lenses will be introduced in coming months.

Olympus E-P2. Unlike the other cameras cited here, the E-P2 Micro Four Thirds System model doesn’t have a built-in EVF, but it’s sold with a detachable one. The benefit here is that you can use the EVF when you want eye-level viewing and leave it off when you want a pocketable camera. E-P2 features include a 12.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor, 720p/30 video with pro-quality sound and manual control of aperture and shutter speed when you want it, ISOs from 100 to 6400, sensor-shift image stabilization that works with all lenses, sensor-dust remover and eight in-camera Art Filters, which can be used for still and video shooting. Estimated Street Price: $1,099 (with 14-42mm zoom and EVF).

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