Serious Compact - Prime Lens - Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Aushiker, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Aushiker

    Aushiker SC Veteran

    345
    May 20, 2017
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    I am thinking of moving on my Panasonic LX100 once I get my act together and finish putting it back together (replaced the LCD) screen. I just cannot get excited about the electronic zoom (have the same issue with the Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42 I brought to use on the EM-5ii). I am old school or something as I prefer to manually adjust the zoom.

    Anyway I thought I would move it on and play with a compact with a prime lens. It does not have to be the latest model, in fact I would be inclined to buy second hand anyway irrespective of the model cycle.

    So just throwing out there the question: what would be on your short list for a nice serious compact with prime lens that shoots raw?
     
  2. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    One of the Fuji series. Although if you really want compact, the Ricoh GR would be the go.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Chris2500dk

    Chris2500dk SC Top Veteran

    643
    Dec 22, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    My candidate list would be Ricoh GR, Nikon Coolpix A, Fuji X100 series, Sigma DP series.
    They all have pros and cons, so you need to study up on which suits you best.

    But if you already have an EM5ii why not just buy a good prime lens for that?
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  4. MoonMind

    MoonMind SC Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    823
    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Okay, to complete the list, let's also name the Leica Q and Sony RX1RII - if money isn't an issue, I'd definitely go for the Q.

    But those two are not *compact* cameras; the Q is larger than most mirrorless cameras when primes are mounted.

    My actual recommendation is actually simple and clear: Get a Ricoh GR. It may not be the fastest and most sophisticated, it may not pack the tech and style of the Fuji X100F, but once you have customised it to your liking (and accustomed yourself to how it works), it's a wonderfully compact powerhouse with a fantastic lens. If WiFi and connectivity/tethering are important, get a GR II. Make sure to have the lastest firmware (updating is extremely simple).

    But actually, I concur about the prime for your E-M5 II - if size is an issue, slap one of the small Olympus f/1.8 primes on there, and you're good to go (I don't have anyhting against the Panasonic f/1.7 counterparts - they're just a little bigger ...). You'll not end up with a package that's an awful lot bigger than the LX100 ... Particularily, the 17mm f/1.8 is a nice universal prime, exceedingly well made and a decent performer. In terms of IQ, I prefer the 25mm f/1.8, though - even if it feels a bit more plasticky and is a bit longer (I mean the lens body, not the focal length ...).

    M.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. rayvonn

    rayvonn SC Top Veteran

    618
    Jan 19, 2015
    When considering the small compacts, do make sure you're ok with the equiv. 28mm focal length. I am, but I'm not sure it's that popular with most people and if you're not, it'll end up annoying you. With these cameras it is, as you probably know, really a toss up between the GR/Coolpix A/X70. You may prefer the Ricoh B&W/Coolpix A Colour/ X trans rendering of each camera more than the other, for me it's the B&W tones of the GR, but that's just me.

    As for the 35mm equiv focal length, the best current all rounder is surely the X100F. For me, you don't need FF in a general purpose camera, but again, that's just me. Simply put, the X100F is a very powerful camera that makes photography fun which I think, will reflect in your images. Get that as opposed to the S or the T and save wondering what the latest and greatest is like. The only reason I haven't got one is that the GR lives with me so I can't justify the purchase. You don't have that problem though :thumbsup:.

    Alternatively, you can always attach a Lumix 14mm F2.5 to you m43 camera, it's a great (underrated) lens and will have same feel as a fixed compact. I actually like that lens better than the Olympus 17mm F1.8. Have a look at the Flickr page for the lens and all of these suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. emerson

    emerson SC Veteran

    208
    Oct 2, 2015
    Maritime Canada
    David Emerson
    Aushiker, I can add another endorsement of the GR series. I expect you'll hear lots about its build quality [yes, it seems very solid] it's ergonomics [yes, first rate], the UI [consensus is that it's excellent], and its IQ [outstanding]. But I will suggest another way of thinking about this choice:

    It's cheap enough [especially pre-owned] that you can take it anywhere without worry. When you know it can be replaced without a second mortgage, the prospect of a sandy beach or snowy hike seems less like a risk and more like an opportunity. I really like that, and it is what has kept me from a Q, at least so far. Particularly so when I consider how small the gap in IQ really is.

    The other attribute is size. It's so small and light, there's really no excuse not to have to with you. All. The. Time.

    And the GW-3 21mm-e wide angle adaptor opens up possibilities as well.

    Having owned a bunch of cameras, compact and otherwise, it's always the GR I reach for first. I'm not saying it's the 'best'. That's too a difficult thing to quantify. But it seems to me that the Ricoh has been very successful [generation in and generation out, film and digital] in conceiving of the GR series as a camera that balances feature set, portability, and IQ. Now that the ergonomics and UI are sorted, it's hard to beat.

    My only qualification in saying this is an acknowledgement that serious compacts have become so good in recent years that the gap among the different options has shrunk to a point where personal preference is the deciding factor, and not so much the actual capabilities.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Aushiker

    Aushiker SC Veteran

    345
    May 20, 2017
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Good question. I should have mentioned that I am looking for an overall more compact package particularly for bikepacking where space is very limited but also as a "pocket" camera that I can just grab when I walk the dogs etc. My EM-5ii has a neck strap attached and so gets a little bulky for the quick grab and go and differently has to have the strap removed for bikepacking. I also suspect my E-M5ii with say my Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens would be too a bit too large for the top-tube bag it has to sit in. I should double check that but.

    I was considering an Olympus TG-5 but not 100% convinced I want to got that way.

    Of course the suggestions here may turn out to be as bulky so I am no better off. I even found the LX100 a touch to big and a bit of a hassle to get in and out of the top tube bag and as it has been suggested elsewhere a camera had to get to is a photo opportunity lost.

    I also just like the idea of trying out something a little different such as the Ricoh or other such cameras.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  8. Aushiker

    Aushiker SC Veteran

    345
    May 20, 2017
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    I hadn't considered going to a 14mm but will give it some thought. I do like what I have seen from the Ricoh's I must admit.

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Differently some options to consider.
     
  9. Aushiker

    Aushiker SC Veteran

    345
    May 20, 2017
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Oh I should have mentioned that an EVF is very desirable unless the screen is really good in bright sunlight. [EDIT: Okay looks like this is really not an option on most models]. Anyway I ran the suggestions through Compact Camera Meter. It really does show the difference between the EM-5ii and the options.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  10. Chris2500dk

    Chris2500dk SC Top Veteran

    643
    Dec 22, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    If Ricoh follows their pattern we'll have a GR mk 3 coming out this year. Might be worth it to wait and see, if nothing else a new model will push down the prices of the mk2.
     
  11. rayvonn

    rayvonn SC Top Veteran

    618
    Jan 19, 2015
    Same equiv. focal length of course.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Andrew, a couple of them offer the option of a clip-on optical viewfinder. That might be helpful.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin SC Top Veteran

    714
    Nov 15, 2011
    If compactness is the main criteria (while maintaining high image quality) nothing probably beats the Ricoh GR.

    What 'killed' it for me though was that its image rendering was quite different from my Olympus m43 cameras and I couldn't get the looks to match close enough. (Capture One didn't play nice with the GR's dng-files and the supplied Silkypix converter was not to my liking.)

    In the end I kept my Olympus EPM2. And while ultimately twice as thick as the GR (with the Panasonic pancake lenses) I prefer it. Either with the Panasonic 14mm or the Panasonic 20mm. Both great & compact lenses.
     
  14. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    Just throwing the leica X-U out there for completeness' sake. Cool prospect for a certain user case, and not as outrageously priced as most leicas.
     
  15. donlaw

    donlaw SC All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Texas
    Don
    I would put in my recommendation for a Coolpix A. I replace my original Sony RX100 when the Nikon first came out and still find it the best pocketable digital camera I have ever had.
    I did pick up a used GR once, but I must have got a defective copy since all the images were not sharp and the colors were dull.
    Plenty of other have great reports on the GR so I would be tempted to try it again if wasn't still happy with the Coolpix A.
    If anyone comes out with really pocketable full frame fixed lens camera I would be interested. But both the Leica Q and Sony RX1 are too big for that.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. MoonMind

    MoonMind SC Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    823
    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    ... and the RX1R II already shows some handling deficiencies because of its reduced size. I really wouldn't hold my breath regarding this possibility.

    But I clear forgot about the Leica X series - especially, the X-E (or original X2). They're really compact, take an EVF in a pinch (the Olympus VF-2 fits, btw. - for less than half the price, usually), and their 35mm-e lens is really, really good. They're quite slow in most respects, though - so if swift action should be covered, I'd strike them off the list.

    M.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
  17. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    If you want viewfinder, you're really only left with one option: Fuji X100/s/f/t. But, if you want it to fit in that bag, and the LX100 doesnt, then you are SOL. If you had considered a TG-5, then maybe one of the TZ Panasonic's might do. They have smaller sensors (1/2.3) but they do have viewfinders for those brassy days.

    [edit] Just looked at the camera comparison site and it seems the TZs are growing in size too. :(
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  18. theoldsmithy

    theoldsmithy SC All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 7, 2013
    Herefordshire, England
    Martin Connolly
    I find my a6000 with kit lens to be pretty compact. If anything less bulky than the LX100. If the little kit lens is too big then the Sony 20mm pancake is a good alternative.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Andrew,

    Here's an alternative:

    Compact Camera Meter

    It's smaller than the LX100, the OMD EM5 II with 17mm f1.8 prime, will definitely fit in your bike bag, and has an optical viewfinder.

    Downside: small sensor and that electronic zoom. Still, it has become my go-to camera when I am out and about.

    Whaddya think?

    Cheers, Jock
     
  20. tonyturley

    tonyturley SC Top Veteran

    901
    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    It doesn't have a prime lens, and its sensor is "only" 2/3", but I have gotten many excellent images from my Fuji X30. The zoom is manual, from 28-112mm FOV, it has an EVF, and it shoots RAW. I've taken an X30 on many biking trips, using nothing but a very small Lowepro bag strapped to my handlebars. It is quite small compared to the E-M5 + 17/1.8:

    Compact Camera Meter

    The X30 is discontinued now, but I got a mint condition black one for a bit over $300 USD. Click over to Fujixspot and search my more recent posts for X30.
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1