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When is a “Serious Compact” not really a compact?

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Michael T, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Michael T

    Michael T SC Top Veteran

    512
    Jul 31, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Michael
    Currently in the compact stable I have a Canon S100, Panasonic LX-5 and an Olympus OM-D E-M5, (can’t even remember that name with all the letters, numbers and dashes).
    I love the E-M5, it feels good in my hand, especially with the HLD-6 grip, (more letters and numbers) and has intuitive, tactile controls; an awesome camera, but is it really a compact camera? Quite honestly the footprint is not much smaller than my 1970’s vintage TTL SLR full frame 35mm film camera and funny enough it doesn’t look that much different with the current retro craze.
    The S100 and LX-5 both fit comfortably in my pocket or in a belt pouch; the E-M5 though is a different animal. I use both a shoulder and wrist sling with it, but honestly while it’s not like dragging a DSLR around it is definitely not as unobtrusive as the other two cams, (truly compact).
    It seems like the latest, greatest mirrorless cameras are all getting bigger and bigger, with lenses that double and triple the size of the camera.
    So weigh in, when is a compact, not really a compact? I read the “What is a compact” thread, but I’m curious about what you think.
     
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    people's thresholds are all very different. I own the E-M5 (I'm ahead of the curve of dropping the OMD from the name.....soon enough there will be a bunch different OMDs) and while it is certainly bigger than the true compacts you refer to, I almost find it too small sometimes. The grip makes it seem like it's as big as a DSLR, but it's still a long way short of that.

    I actually don't feel comfortable holding DSLRs. I have moderately large hands, but the cameras still seem to big. I think that GH3 looks a bit too big. For me, the E-M5 is just about perfect size-wise.
     
  3. Michael T

    Michael T SC Top Veteran

    512
    Jul 31, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Michael
    Luke, I like it size-wise as well, in fact it seems close to perfect, very close to some of the best TTL and rangefinder cameras ever produced. The question is....should it really be considered as a compact camera? The other question is....is micro 4/3 going the way of the DSLR, bigger and bigger cameras each cycle to keep the more is better crowd happy?
     
  4. Penfan2010

    Penfan2010 SC Top Veteran

    747
    Jul 21, 2012
    NJ, USA
    Ed
    Before I officially joined this forum, I thought it focused on fixed lens, small sensor compacts that provided more control over the photo process (primarily exposure), hence attracting the use of more"serious" photographers. The epitome of a Serious Compact would be the RX100, but I would throw in the X-Z1 and X10 into the mix as well. Hence my surprise when I noticed my beloved M43s were also featured, as were the NEX, Leica X1 and Fuji X series APS-Cs. I personally think interchangeable lens, M43 and above sensor size cameras are too big and complicated to be considered "Serious Compacts", but if many members are refugees (even if intermittently) from DSLR boat anchors, then I guess even the bulky X- Pro 1 is a compact!
     
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  5. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    when I first got the X-Pro1 I thought it was big....it's a fair bit bigger than the X100, but in use it is easy to hold all day.

    I hate to define my being here as a negative, but I'm here because I dislike the DSLR form factor. I hate it. It's too big and chunky. I feel like an idiot when I hold one. They are great for professionals who need crazy speed and are getting paid enough to carry all that weight.

    Micro43s is interesting in that we are seeing the full range all with the same sized sensor. The big ones are nearly the same size as the crop sensor DSLRs and the smaller ones are truly compact......barely bigger than their counterparts with smaller sensors.

    Something for everyone.
     
  6. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    I think that µ4/3 is between a serious compact and a dSLR ... so perhaps it should be labeled a greater-than-serious compact or maybe an almost-serious-compact or even a not-quite-a-serious-compact.

    Coming from a world of FF 1Ds, I find the OM-D to be seriously compact. The size and weight of 1Ds/1DS's with a bag full of L lenses never bothered me. My personal expectations for my images dictated my equipment and the size and weight was just part of the package ... it is was it is.

    I purchased a GF1 as a fun, tiny camera for non-serious snaps. The quality of the GF1 with the 20mm was equal to my FF cameras (@ ISO 400 or less and up to an 8x10). Now armed with OM-Ds, I am very impressed and actually appreciate the diminutive size and significantly less weight with near equal capabilities.

    In summary, when compared to pro dSLRs, the OM-D w/grip is not only compact, but also delivers a very serious image.

    Gary
     
  7. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Us CSC/EVIL/MILC loving hippies have got to hang out somehwere.
     
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  8. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    I am here, because of the inclusive, family, neighborhood. When that is gone, so will I be. When we become to size divided, we will be so much weaker. There is so much to be gleaned, from folks using such a wide cross section of equipment. When each camera model has to have it's own "sub community" of discussion, there is not much activity, and becomes boring, and eventually dies. Too much focus on "correct labeling" of the tools, takes away from the real purpose of the forum. Photography!

    Just me thinking out loud.
     
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  9. Xuereb

    Xuereb SC Veteran

    380
    Nov 5, 2010
    W. Australia
    Weston used a hand held serious compact. It made a 4X5" negative which he would then produce contact prints from.
     
  10. Adam Quek

    Adam Quek SC Regular

    88
    Oct 5, 2012
    • Like Like x 3
  11. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    at what point does this guy thing he has enough quality? Why call it quite with a 20 x 24?
     
  12. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Michael,

    For my money, a compact camera has a fixed lens. A camera with interchangeable lenses is a system camera.

    Having said that, I recognize that many system cameras are really, REALLY small, so long as they are equipped with nothing larger than a pancake lens. In addition, some "compact" cameras (ie, fixed lens) cameras aren't really that small.

    Nevertheless, I prefer compact cameras because I have had my share of dragging around a film-based SLR with a tournament selection of lenses. Less gear is better, for me, anyway.

    On the other hand, I have nothing but admiration for some of the photos with system cameras by folks who hang out here.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. KianO

    KianO SC Top Veteran

    568
    Jun 27, 2012
    Geneva
    I agree with some of the comments that argue that an omd crosses the threshold of being a serious compact, the epl and epm Line with a fixed Lens qualifies better.

    But, categorization needn't be necessary, I like to think that the attitude we have with our gear qualifies as being compact. If you Walk out of home with a d800 and a single lens, you have the compact equivalent of a medium format camera.

    So a d800 CAN qualify as a serious compact too ;)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. adanac

    adanac SC Veteran

    386
    Sep 30, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Adam, it looks like you need to move that behemoth er I mean "compact" a little to the left. :)

    So how does that stack up against a Fujifilm X100 anyway? Your camera is lagging the pack in terms of poor shot to shot time though, and it won't fit thirty pockets. Still, I like it!

    Contact printing only?
     
  15. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    A lot of Piano Accordions died to make this camera...

    It's collapsible though, right? Definitely a compact then :smile:
     
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  16. thekeddi

    thekeddi SC Top Veteran

    539
    Aug 15, 2011
    South Australia
    I have been here a little while now, and had many cameras in that time and all are accepted by this community, which I love, I don't really think it's all about your camera label here much, we love to see everything our friends are shooting, but I do believe the DSLR should be kept quiet here, I have the Sony a65 but wouldn't put photos up unless I had a super ripper and would explain why I felt the need.

    People are right about the size of the m43 stuff being big too, some are too big to be called compact but we are lovers here, not fighters :)
     
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  17. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    When a compact rates this high on sensor capabilities, things start getting serious. Here the sensor in the X100 beats out the 7D and matches scores with the D90.

    This is only part of the equation of course. The X100 does very well in handling as well, giving full manual control, and as long as you don't dip too much into the menus, has better controls than the 7D IMO.

    For fixed lens shooters who want a smaller package, that makes it a serious viable alternative to DSLRs.

    DxOMark - Compare cameras side by side
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Adam,

    I take it that he is holding the SD card? Also, how long does it take for the lens to extend after you press the "On" button?

    <grin>
     
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  19. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    When I started the Serious Compacts blog over five years ago, my feeling at that time was that there was little attention online to cameras smaller than big black DSLRs as tools for serious photography. Here's one of the first blog posts I wrote: Bridge Cameras

    Pretty much all of the bridge cameras I mentioned in that post were closer to OM-D size than to S110.

    A couple months later, I asked for 1" sensor cams, never imagining at that time that they would be as small as the RX100: Bring on 1" Sensors (Bridge Cameras, Part 2)

    In 2007, I compared my Olympus E-410 (size similar to OMD) to my Canon 5D, and in 2008 I wrote about how my main camera was a 4-year-old Digilux 2 (size similar to OMD).

    Basically the idea behind this site, before it was a forum, has always been that my interest was in cameras which are relatively compact. When mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras came on the scene, other media started to call them "compact system cameras".

    I think most people are okay with the idea that these are relatively compact (adjective) cameras but get maybe hung up on the term "compacts" (noun). I get that but just decided to be loose with the language and rely on the history and track record to show what this site is about.

    Lot of other media have become quite liberal in what they'll call a "compact" these days:
    AP_May-5-12_000. Popular Photography - July 2011. 126bv5v. 1009popularphotography. $(KGrHqN,!lUE2EHcJ6gcBNnf,51UNg~~_3.
     
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  20. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    CSC = Compact System Camera and this whole time I thought the 'S' was 'Serious'.