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Monday, 22 April 2013

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To me the important part is not reduced overall size but reduced DEPTH. That's why I love the OMD with the 20 and even the grip, but find the lense-huge Sonys ridiculous.

Noise level is important for a lot more of us than street photographers. I often photograph church worship services and the Nikon DSLRs are simply too loud. This weekend I photographed a community theater production and although I needed the Nikon's long,fast lenses, the mirror slap was obtrusive. I use a Sony RX100 or Fuji X10 when the DSLRs are inappropriate.

Have to agree with you about the form factor of the OM 1 and descendants. Not forgetting the lenses. 28mm f2, 50mm f1.8 and 85mm f2 almost indistinguishable, And I still don't understand why they can't (won't) make a digital equivalent with a full frame sensor.

My favorite to hold small camera is my recently acquired OM-4. It's only a bit bigger than the OM-D (and looks just like it) but since there are no buttons on the back I rarely change settings by mistake. If a camera company managed to make an OM-4 or Nikon FM2n remake with full frame sensor, optical viewfinder, and yes, LCD, I'd have a hard time resisting, but I'm not sure if that kind of miniaturization is possible with a modern mirror-based full frame system, and then we are back to OMD like solutions, no mirror, no lovely optical viewfinder.

Fifteen years ago I was humping Nikon F5s two-at-a-time around digs in the MIddle East, often balancing on the top of five-meter ladders being held up by a bunch of college students. The cameras worked great, but they were just too damn heavy, especially on top of a ladder, where a sudden weight shift would have you flapping around like a flag. The early Nikon DSLRs were just as bad -- but the D800 seems to me to be a great improvement, and close to my "right size." Recently, though, I picked up a Panasonic GH3, which grew a bit when they started adding a lot of movie-making capability, and I find that's also a "right size." The GX1 is terrific when you're doing street photography and want to be a bit subtle about it, with a 45 on the camera and maybe a wide in your pocket -- but it's not a "right size." It's too small, though very functional for some uses. There's a difference in size between the GH3 and the D800, but "right size" seems to me to be right in that territory, for a larger adult male.

Funny, I just left a comment on the previous post about this, but the current small camera big sensor champs are only half way to the camera size / frame size of a crown graphic. I don't think they are even that close to the Minox 35 which might be a more realistic goal. Big cameras are easy to make efficient I made a single use 11x14 pancakecam (210mm super-angulon on a cardboard box) that probably approaches the theoretical limit for this sort of thing.

Do not forget the tiny Olympus XA rangefinder, circa 1980. Small, nearly silent,but with large bright viewfinder.

Lens was sharp, a 35mm focal length if I remember correctly. I really liked that camera.

Now...if the mfg's of todays digi cameras want a target to shoot for, its the XA. But they can't leave out that large, bright viewfinder or it would be just another camera.

The small camera for which I lusted in the mid-fifties was the Argus C3. I rarely see it mentioned these days but I believe it was very popular during its heydays. The all-business form factor and abundance of knobs and gears gave it a purposeful look in my opinion. It was also just the right size for me.

Yet most of the lenses from these camera companies stay as big and needlessly bulky as Hummers! Seriously, how come Pentax is the only manufacturer to do more than dabble with this? (I'm speaking of the "pancake Limiteds" - DA15, DA21, DA40, DA70, and the minuscule DA40XS...)

Huh, I wouldn't have thought of "best" or "fastest" as status-seeking goals. Now that you bring it up, yeah, I'm sure they are for some people.

The times I've cared about "best" have been times when the very best was possible to work with, but not really good enough. This has frequently been the case in computers, as well as cameras. You pay for the "best" to get two years of better performance (while the best creeps forward far enough to be worth upgrading again) in things where it really matters. Like when I bought a $5000 computer -- it brought my Windows application build time down below 45 minutes. Can you imagine getting anything done when the "build" step in the test-modify-build cycle takes 45 minutes?

(I do seem to have cared about status sometimes; for example I was kind of glad I was carrying my M3 the night a guy with a Nikon F tried to patronize me and my equipment.)

I really love the new 40mm f 2.8 Canon pancake lens on my 5D Mark III. Seems to be about the same weight as a Leica M with 35mm lens. Much bulkier, of course. With high ISOs, I don't find the speed of the lens to be a limiting factor and the silent shutter setting on the 5D is very effective. Then I got the idea to mount the 40mm on a Canon Rebel 2000 film camera. A great tiny combination for B&W shooting that is virtually weightless. Fantastic for those places you wouldn't want to take a Leica. I, too, think that a camera without an optical finder is a non-starter.

To my mind, there are two countervailang goals at work: A camera should be big enough to handle, but small enough to carry. The difficulty that I see is that the intersection between the set of all cameras small enough to carry everywhere and the set of all cameras big enough handle is empty. My itty-bitty E-PM1 is about as small as a camera (at least, one shaped even vaguely like a traditional camera) can get and still be large enough for the hands of a 6'4" guy like me. That said, it's still a hell of a lot bigger than my phone (especially with a lens on it), and my phone's just about as big an object as I'm willing to leave in my pocket all day. The phone, of course, has a camera as well, but the handling and performance leave a very great deal to be desired.

Performance and flexibility are also major issues here, of course; a cellphone-sized camera that handles as comfortably as a full-sized SLR would also have to be similar in performance and flexibility to the SLR to be ideal.

So, I'll declare size a solved problem when I can get performance, flexibility, and handling equivalent to a D800 with a full set of pro and exotic glass in a form factor small enough that it can be built into my phone. And when I have that and declare size a solved problem, I'm sure someone will come along and wreck my contentment by makeing something even better...

Just a quick plug for the small system I've been using since this time last year. Samsung attracted me by its choice of pancakes which appeared long before Sony's
http://www.photozone.de/images/8Reviews/lenses/samsung_nx_16_24/lens.jpg

Mike,

You sometimes claim to be resistant to the charms of Leicas and now you find room for that splendid first image! Even so, after the terrific IPhone shot of a baseball player a few days ago "small and quiet" takes on a different meaning again.

Isn't it funny that the name for digital photography's "standard" format is a relic of one of Kodak's last big flops, maybe even the flop that pushed it over the edge? How many people actually owned an APS camera? How many can name all three in-camera framing options provided by APS cameras? Somehow the name lives on, kind of like "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" in the age of digital clocks.

What we are missing right now is a digital Leica A.
The X1 and X2 go in that direction, but with the protruding lens, they are not there.

The Ricoh GR (V) seems to be almost ideal :
But needs an accompanying version with a pop out e.50mm lens
( the one from the Minox 35 GT looks like it would do )

Ah, I grew up borrowing my dad's Retina IIa & IIIc, 50mm/f2 folding rangefinders. Closed, even with a smooth ever-ready case, they were small 'enough'. Later on, I inherited a Nikon FG, with a 50/1.8 series E lens, one of the smallest they made. Very light - so much so that I could feel the mirror slap quite distinctly. I was really disappointed in 2007 to find out that Nikon didn't make a DSLR that was remotely close in size. (Also, the nice folks at the camera shop said "you can't afford that" when I asked what was available that would be compatible with the brace of lenses that came with it.)

From then on, the chase to find a small, really good camera was on! First, I turned to the Olympus E-520, only a scosh bigger than the 420, which had the reputation of being the smallest DSLR. (Learned that here, actually, thank you, by the way.) As a bonus, I could mount and meter all my Nikon lenses! But! It was still not 'small', and definitely not pocket-able, and the one pancake lens that I could find was only half a stop faster than the kit lens. Out of frustration, I bought an Olympus XA! That was a perfect, perfectly small camera. Between the two I was set, for a while.

Since then, I watched many cameras come and go, hoping, waiting. Finally, I could afford a refurbished E-PL1, and a year or so later, the Panasonic 20mm. At last, a camera small enough to fit in my pocket! (And a lens fast enough to challenge me with depth of field tradeoffs.)

...

I find myself pondering the Panasonic 14mm, of course. And, I never would have bought this if the Sony RX100 had been available six years ago. (And, I still wish for a digital Retina IIa, which the new Ricoh GR would be if it had the same steel hatch to cover the lens when retracted.)

Will

Size is really more preference than problem. Shooting style matters too. How and for what the output will be used is also a factor. I have used everything from Pen F film camera to 4x5 Speed Graphic. Mostly I use APS C digitals now, but would have no problem going to full frame(I use Nikon). The Pen F, in its day was great for overseas travel. Small, light, excellent optics, and the half size slides/negatives posed no processing or printing problems. I still occasionally use a Pentax 67 for landscape or macro work-the waist level finder is a big plus, and the negs scan very well. But those are MY preferences, and others will differ. There's room for all.

Gee and I thought my D700 was compact compared to my F5.

I truly loved my OM-4, though not as much as my Contax G2. Now there was a camera with a nearly perfect combination of compactness, speed and beauty--not to mention great lenses. But my new love is the RX1. How Sony managed to pack so much excellence into such a small space is beyond my ability to comprehend. And to top it all off, the RX1 is more fun to use than any camera that I have ever owned. It seems to be the exact right size for making me want to pick it up and start shooting.

Size may be well-solved, but price isn't.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1, $2,800
Canon EOS-6D, $2000
Nikon D600, $2100

It used to be that you could walk into a store and buy a brand new camera for under $100, and the difference between it and a top-of-the-line camera would be the lens and gizmos. Same film, same film format. Not any more. You want bigger? You pay, and you pay big. The prices for flagship cameras (Canon EOS-1V, $1900) have been exceeded by the prices for entry-level cameras.

How long is it before we see a "full-frame" camera for under $500, let alone $100?

When I bought my OM-1 years ago, there was no "on line" forums or blogs, and all cameras pretty much 'clicked' or 'thunked' the same way. And if there was a difference, I don't recall anyone really caring!
Thems were the good ol' days!
(sigh!)

The problem with size is that while there's a race to make smaller cameras, many lenses are getting larger (this is particularly true for Nikon). Sure there are more pancake lenses now than a few years ago, but pancakes tend to sacrifice performance and with ever improving sensors and ability to easily pixel peep, there's a craving for better lenses.

I actually find the OM-D a very good size compromise and the lenses are small too, but with a 45/1.8 the package isn't nearly flat enough to fit in a pocket. So there will be compromises...

I don't understand the nostalgia for the Olympus XA. I owned one for a short time, but returned it because of extreme light fall-off in the corners. I'm sure I still have around here somewhere the test shots of the north side of a garage that I made while trying to find a lens aperture that would not vignette....

My favorite small film camera was the Nikon FM2, which I carried on many a Boundary Waters canoe trip.

My favorite small digital camera is the Sony RX100, for which I just bought a Meikon underwater housing for sea kayaking. Ironically, the housing brings the overall size back up to that of a DSLR, but at least it's lighter.

[Chuck, I got rid of my XA quickly. I needed a pocket camera that could make pictures I could show next to my Contax 139Q / Zeiss 35/2.8 pictures, and the vignetting of the XA negatives made them stick out like a sore thumb by comparison. Wasn't fooling anybody. --Mike]

I tend to notice camera depth and weight more than height and width, since I wear my camera across the body on a strap, and my arm bumps into the camera lens if it is too long. That is why I wasn't a fan of my Zeiss 24/1.8 on NEX, and I find my X100/X100s to be a "just right" size...and it has an OVF. It is nice and thin, and it packs easily.

I'm actually going to sell my M9+35/2, now that I have the X100s. Each has positives and negatives, but the price difference is too much to ignore. It practically seems like my 35/2 ASPH weighs as much as my entire X100s, which makes a difference.

When I bought my OM-4s decades ago, there were online forums, but not so many open to the general public. More to the point -- photo magazines wrote a LOT about the OM series improved handling of mirror bounce and their sound, and photo hobbyists and professionals were well aware of the differences in sound between SLRS and rangefinder cameras and TLRs (TLRs being generally quietest, having stationary mirrors and leaf shutters).

The very phrase "'clicked' or 'thunked' the same way" suggests that there was more variation than the phrase is admitting to.

Nikon 1 will take over the world. You heard it here first.

"Can We Declare Size a Solved Problem?"

Generically, sure.

Local and specifically, not quite. I've been looking for a new 'pocket', i.e. carry everywhere, camera. Such things seem come with choice of large sensor and fixed focal length or small sensor and a nice zoom.

I'm not interested in being restricted to one focal length. While my S100 is a lovely camera, the sensor is small and suffers some of the consequences. I want it all!

The solution I'm currently trying is an Oly E-PM1* with Panny 14-42/3.5-5.6 Z lens. Here, I've compared it to a larger Pen/lens combo and the Canon G11. Other images in this gallery show other aspects of the size.

Although deeper than the G11 that used to be my small camera, it still fits in many coat pockets.

The PZ lens has received some knocks. Well, it may be a little soft in the corners at 42 mm and larger apertures in the lab, but I'm not seeing it with my subjects.

It seems to me that other less than stellar test results may be from the 'shutter shock' to which virtually all µ4/3 cameras are subject. Set the Oly 'Anti-Shock', deep in the menus, to 1/8 sec. and it all goes away.

I've been getting some really excellent IQ from this combo. In use, it's more like the fixed lens on a compact camera, extending when the camera is turned on, zooming and focusing by pushing tabs.

Then, so different from the fixed lens cameras, I can slip the Panny 20/1.7 on for dim places, or slip on a cheap, light, plastic auto extension tube on for getting close.

Each of these alternatives is small, light, and slips easily into a pocket.

As my 'big' camera is an E-M5, the 20/1.7 and extension tubes do double duty, and I could use any of my other lenses.

Moose

* The E-PL3 adds mode dial, tilt screen and extra buttons in return for 3 mm more depth.

Still got two Oly Pen F half-frame SLRs in the store-room somewhere. Great travel cameras, if you didn't mind small negs (prints).

@Fred--

The OM-1 was advertised as having a dampered mirror. And to me, it did have a softer sound than a Nikon or Canon of its day.

That was not a "Urban Legend" on the sound of the Leica camera....When the rules came out for cameras in the courtroom in Florida...the rule read "Leica like sound" from the the shutter/camera.....the newspaper I worked at (South Florida Sun Sentinel) had to buy nikon "blimp" that was a badly designed cover for the Nikon so you would not hear the camera shutter or motor....it was also used on movie sets.

Note that the OM-D's "hump" isn't just an homage to the pentaprism housing of the OM4; at least part of the IBIS mechanism lives up there, there being too little space for it down below.

There were some great cameras that were small, light and formidable image makers.

The whole Leica screw mount camera family, especially with the tiny collapsible Elmars from the III to the IIIf. Difficult to load, hard to focus and totally manual but state-of-the-art in their day. From the 30's to the 50's these were the leaders in: design, functionality and ergonomics.

Olympus has to be credited for their ground breaking work in their OM series SLR's and their compact XA series too. Innovative, superb optics (but different filter diameters) and user friendly designs. Too bad that I didn't discover them until recently (I was totally brainwashed by Nikon). And their lenses still perform their magic on my Nex!

The Leica CL, which debuted in 1973, was a great design concept that failed in execution. Minolta was smart (they made the CL for Leica). Minolta kept the package and replaced the insides with a proven shutter and accurate exposure system. Excellent compact lenses complemented their visionary design for the CLE. Sadly, it was unrecognized by consumers until it was withdrawn from the market.

The Hasselblad 500 series were also revolutionary. These cameras were comfortable in one hand and were about 1.5 kg with the 80mm lens and film back (the Nikon F2 with normal lens was more than 1 kg). Today nobody thinks of them as compact and light but they were for what they do.

As we move on plastic replaced metal parts and electrons replaced film.

A strange thing happened: the compact cameras got smaller and lighter and the professional DSLRs got bigger and heavier (Nikon F3 body 760gms versus Nikon D700 body 996gms).

Today there are lots of choice for both the heavy and the light cameras.

I chose an Nex over a Nikon DSLR based on compactness and weight (Nikon D600 body 760gms versus Nex-7 body 353gms --less than half the weight!).

In the lightweight department there are lots of excellent choices. My Leica IIIf with collapsible Elmar is about 540gms and my Nex-3 is about 500gms with the 18-55mm lens.

So, if I understand this correctly, we have come 60 years and there is essentially no significant difference in size or weight.

The probl;em will be solved when something digital is made in the same form as an OM4, so I may use the superb lenses I already have, or something about the same as a Contax G2 with more reliable AF that will take its superb lenses.

Hey Mike? What's with the D.R.P. initials on that Leica A?

[I think it must stand for "dividend reinvestment plan." --Mike]

I like this bit today at Strobist.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2013/04/traveling-light.html

For me, the 4/3rds and Fuji stuff has probably just reached the threshold of "close enough to my D700 that I'll stop carrying those 4lbs next time I take a trip".

Need to fill out the m4/3rds lenses, but at least the choices are pretty complete there.

Three film cameras make me smile. The OM1n, Contax G's and Leica M's. Since I still shoot a fair mount of B&W film the OM system is the only one I can buy for without a total guilt trip. Near giveaway prices for much of it. The OM1n compact in size, reasonably quiet and is full featured including mirror lock. Very close to being the perfect camera.

Sigma 35, 1.4 un r e a l on a nikon D800/E

You will kick yourself if you don't try it.

sell your Nikon 35 for twice the price and get a amazing lens.

Size may be a solved problem for compact fixed-lens cameras (CFLC), e.g., RX1, RX100, X100, DP-M's, GRD IV, GR. But not for compact interchangeable lens cameras (CILC). Mainly because when mated with non-pancake lenses, CILCs look too "well-endowed" (e.g. Nex 6 with the Sonnar 1.8/24). And absolutely freakish with fully deployed telephoto zooms (e.g., Nexes with the Sony SEL18200 or Tamron's E-mount B011).

I doubt that telephoto zooms or primes can be "pancaked" without compromising their performance. So the "lens cap look" of CILCs mated with telephoto primes or zooms will persist. The lens cap look is fine with me if only their (CILC) native zooms are equipped with tripod sockets (or a tripod collar), like "legacy" telephoto lenses (or current DSLR premium telephoto lenses). The current compromise seems to be adapters with tripod sockets for non-native zooms.

I imagine that sizewise, the digital CILC "Goldilocks" solution would be a smaller version of the Leica M/Minolta M-Rokkor CL/CLE. I think this is what the Nikon 1 and Pentax Q/10 aspires to. I also like the third(?) lug on the CLE which allows you to strap it by its short side to hang around your neck vertically (less lopsided with a telephoto lens mounted).

The GRD IV has this feature (which disguises it to look like a cellphone from afar). The GR ought to have the third "lug" as well.

This is a "mannequin" shot. With the GXR-M kit strap and quick-release micro-loops, the GRD hangs at about navel height. Here's how it hangs with a pouch.

Now, if only Sigma would come out with an "FF"-Foveon-sensor-equipped CFLC the same size as their DP Merrills (an RX1 would be beater). Better yet, a CILC (APS-C Nex-like "avatar") alongside their "one-body, one-lens" DP-Ms. And provide it with a full range of native primes and telephoto zooms like they do for other brands. If they can license the E-mount from Sony (say, in exchange for Foveon rights) they only have to fill in the gaps in focal length (and aperture brightness), which will also benefit Nex owners clamoring for a wider selection of native E-mount lenses. This would be a step towards solving the size problem with compact ILCs, if somewhat downsized native zooms (and telephoto primes) are also forthcoming.

Methinks that wished for vaporware is more likely to condense to reality, when broadcast in TOP. (I'm still waiting, though, for the announcement of a K-mount lens module for the GXR...)

Can we not just say that the single digit OMs are perfection with variation? Not the OM-D, of course, which is too small, but the OMs actually designed by Maitani. Case closed.

The Olympus XA was more interesting as the answer to the question "What camera had a lens that was both telephoto, wide angle, and fixed focal length?" than it was for taking photographs, although it had a funky quality with grainy Tri-X.

The OM-1's innovation of substituting string for bulky and expensive gears was far more useful.

The OM-1 mirror was dampened by a little air piston when it flipped up to minimize bounce during the exposure, but as far as I know it was not dampened when it came back down, which it where most of the mirror noise comes from.

Some other camera makers still pack little things to cover the eyepiece on slr cameras for tripod use rather than fix the mirror bounce.

My answer to the question in the header. No.

Wy not have an FF sensor in that little Eos SL1 form factor, the RX1 shows it's possible...

Don't forget controls when looking at the intersection of small but big enough to handle well. I want a shutter speed knob, an aperture ring, and a viewfinder with a frame line so I can brace the camera against my face yet see what's moving into the frame. I want fast autofocus and a sensible way of doing manual focus so that I can render sharp the object beyond the foreground bushes. Since I can't always zoom with my feet (when the ducks are in the middle of the lake, for example), I want either a zoom lens or a big sensor with enough pixels that I can zoom digitally after the fact. I want context-sensitive software options -- Panasonic's Q menu does a pretty good job of this, showing only the options that are operative in the mode currently being used. I want to carry a camera everywhere and see what happens.

Now if we could just get a camera with something approaching the OM4's perfectly evolved control interface... not to mention the viewfinder exposure display. Given the latitude of modern sensors why are we still stuck with a little display just showing 2 stops over and under?

Since I rarely ever go out "to shoot", most of my shooting is done when I'm on my way to do something e.g. walking to the grocery, walking home from work etc.. Which is why I've always preferred small cameras/systems - from a Pentax K7 with the lovely Limited pancakes, m43rds, and now the Ricoh GRD.

I'm amazed at how small the NEX 6 actually is, especially if you consider that it has a pretty good quality EVF. But I will still likely get a GR next, to compliment my GRD - simply because of Ricoh's 'snap' focus feature. If only Sony had pancakes with distance scales like the Pentax Limiteds, I'd gladly force them to take my money for a NEX 6.

It all depends on what you are going to do with it. A small 35mm SLR with a 40mm pancake lens hung round your neck isn't an awful lot to keep looking after at a christening; a DSLR with a 16-50mm zoom is. (I went to a christening on Sunday, and I took the DSLR.)

For something that goes everywhere in your jacket, waistcoat or big trouser pocket, the same 35mm SLR and lens is a bit much, and damaging the lens is always a worry. Something the size of an Olympus XA (since so many others have written about it here) can be almost ignored for most of the time. The lens is tucked away under a cover.

A flatter shape is better for hanging round your neck when you are not there just to take pix, so there's less worry about the lens taking a swipe. It's also better for the pocket. The overall shape is important, and one reason I'm not a fan of auxiliary finders is that they are just the thing to catch in a pocket lining or get damaged by an impact.

Note that with the sizes below, it's the depth of the thing that makes the difference.

Approx sizes:
DSLR + 16-50mm
100 H, 140 W, 160 D

35mm SLR + 40mm
88 H, 135 W, 70 D

XA complete
66 H, 103 W, 40 D

I'm testing a Lumix G3 currently, and aside from loving the prime lens availability, color settings, and "look" of the files, the camera size? Not so much. It's impossible to even pull it out of the case with the camera on, without changing settings. And holding it, my fat, fleshy palm keeps turning settings on or off (thank God I mostly use it on a tripod). They could have made this thing 20% larger, or moved all the buttons to the "non-holding side", or something, and solved most of these problems without too much impact (or even had a function "freeze" button on top that would lock everything, like my old open faced cell phone). There is a point where small can be "too small".

Lot's of OM series lovers on here, but how many actual professionals, and I mean shoot everyday make your sole living off of photography professionals. I always thought it was just a might too small, and of course, I actually never knew a 300 roll a day fashion shooter (or really any pro that depended almost entirely on 35mm for their income), that used one at all. And replacing gears with string? That's something no hard camera user wants to hear.

I actually have first hand knowledge of a world famous geographical magazine taking an OM and a bunch of lenses out on assignment with their usual kit, when the stuff first came out, and returning form the jungle with a bunch of broken stuff and interior fogged lenses. So again, making something "right sized" for ease of use and carry: Great! Making something so small it's not mechanically sound and gasketed correctly for professional use: Hmmm. Form follows function.

[Tom, see John Camp's comment in this thread. I think what you want is a GH3. --Mike]

Quote: "Noise level is important for a lot more of us than street photographers. I often photograph church worship services and the Nikon DSLRs are simply too loud. This weekend I photographed a community theater production and although I needed the Nikon's long,fast lenses, the mirror slap was obtrusive. I use a Sony RX100 or Fuji X10 when the DSLRs are inappropriate".

Try a Pentax K5/K5II/K5IIs on for quiet too.

I typed up a whole counter-argumant and realized I was describing a NEX-6.

You win, Mike.

Mike, John Camp's comment is interesting, and worth a look for me. I always shied away from the GH series because it was supposed to be "gamed" for video guys, but heard it was "bigger", now I have to see one because it may just be "bigger" enough!

BTW, I adored the Nikon FM/FM2/FE/FE2 series, and actually knew a lot of pros that used them, but they ALL used them with the add-on motor drive, mostly because they handled better, AND, the camera by itself was so small, if you put it on a tripod, the f/stop and focus ring hung down lower than the bottom of the camera plate, and locking it to a tripod would jam those rings and they wouldn't move! I remember more than one pro saying: "...who'd make a Nikon with that design flaw?" It would have been easier to make the camera literally a quarter inch taller from the lens mount to the bottom.

I've had OM's and E-M5's but lately all of my shooting is FF. Perhaps small size is over rated. You see much bigger tennis rackets than in the old days. Even mountain bike wheels have grown larger. How about smartphone/cellphones? Getting bigger!

I really don't think that compact cameras serve enough of my needs to consider them a substitute for my DSLR. Remember, most compact cameras, particularly those from Sony, won't let you auto-bracket more than .7 stops in either direction of center. Further, you cannot offset that adjustment and there are no accommodations for a remote release.

There's no way to do time lapse, long exposure night photography or "serious" HDR image making.

Further, it's nearly impossible to find a "wide" lens on a compact camera, even 20mm (equiv) would be OK but I prefer 17mm. And when you do add lenses, these cameras are no so small anymore, as others have already pointed out.

So to me, there's really no need to spend $500+ for a camera that takes awesome snapshots. But I do realize that street photographers who don't care about any of the things I mentioned LOVE compact, high quality cameras.

Regarding the Leica legality in some state courts it does appear to be true. The link below contains some citations.

http://msgboard.snopes.com/message/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/107/t/000630.html

Leica lobbyists seem to have been working on this one.

@Sarge

Regarding the "two strap mounts on the same side", a Leica M5 innovation that unfortunately almost nobody copied inlcuding Leica, the Ricoh GR does have three like the GRD4.

More camera makers should adopt the "three lug" approach. It is useful for an under the jacket should strap carry.

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