Some days, my much-loved Pentax K-5 seems a bit weighty on the shoulders, in the hands, or in a backpack – and I don’t think it is entirely due to hanging around in this camera weight-watchers forum. So as I look at the various new systems, weight more than bulk is more a key for me if I were to invest in a new system (though they usually correlate), keeping in mind the ever-present image quality, handling, and other factors. I noticed as well that the new Olympus OMD E-M1 is getting close to small DSLR in size, that the new Sony Alpha A7 are small but their FF lenses may not be, all of which somewhat confuses any attempt to over-simplify system weight. So, and only partly due to a sleepless night, I assembled some simple weight comparisons between 4 compact and leading cameras, to see where the final system weights shake out for each system. I chose the higher quality mirrorless bodies, with viewfinders only, hence Fuji XE-2, new Oly E-M1, and of course the A7. The Pentax K-3 is one of the smaller high quality DSLRs, and I have a K-5 so was curious as to how it compared. To simplify the lens comparisons, I have chosen 5 “typical” zoom ranges and 5 “typical” primes, for each system, and as best as I could tried to select the best or most usual lens for each category. Of course there is no way they will all correlate exactly as the lens makers choose different exact focal lengths or apertures, but this is at least a way to compare apples with near-apples, across different systems. Here is a summary table: A few observations on the overall results of this tabulation: 1. My intuition told me to expect that the m43 system would have an easy first place for total weight for almost all the lens categories – not so. The Fuji X system has 5 “lightest” wins vs 4 for the E-M1 system, though the E-M1 is a close second for most of the rest that it did not win. The A7 is lightest only in one lens type, with its 35mm prime. Given the APS-C sensor size, this is impressive for the Fuji system, which I would have to conclude is the most weight-vs-sensor size efficient. 2. If I substitute the 100g heavier X-Pro1 for the XE-2, Fuji loses three of its lightness wins over to the E-M1. Separately, if I used the lighter E-M5 (pretending the E-M1 was not released yet), it would take 8 of 10 “lightest system” wins. The heft of the new E-M1 is to some extent negating the advantages offered by the very light m43 lenses. 3. The average system weights (ie. average of all body + lens combinations) I show are of course not strictly comparable since only the Pentax and m43 systems have a full complement of the 10 categories, but for these two my simplified lens systems show an average system weight a full half kilo lighter for the m43. (That is starting to sound good…) If we “even up” the Fuji/Olympus comparison by just using the lens categories that both Fuji and m43 currently make available, it is very close – Fuji averaging 670g and Olympus 712g per system. Again these two swap places if we used the heavier X-Pro1 body, but still fairly close. 4. The still-filling-in Sony Alpha FE lens/body system seems destined to occupy a weight position somewhere in between the Fuji and m43 lightweights, and the lightest DSLRs, still impressive of course if you want FF in a manageable package. Hope some of you enjoy this slightly nerdy compilation… and I’m sure there will be many takes on this topic. Cheers!