I have a now ageing Canon 450D DSLR for general use and I also have an Olympus TG-5 which I take on routes. However, the results I get from the Olympus are poor, the pictures have a lot of noise, the flare is awful and I find it hard to control focus and the aperture in A mode, so I often get blurred pictures when I shouldn't.
I would like one camera that I can use both for climbing and other photography (mainly landscapes). I am wondering if a mirrorless camera would be a good compromise? Ideally it would need to be compact and light enough to take on a climb, with weather sealing, and a good system of interchangeable lenses so that I can take a compact lens on routes and use other lenses for landscapes etc when I am not climbing.
Until recently I had been considering upgrading to a used 80D for my general use camera, but I doubt I would want to take it on routes, even if I got a pancake lens for it. I am somewhat invested in Canon lenses, so would like to stick with Canon if possible.
I do mostly single pitch routes, but I would want to take my camera on multi-pitch routes too.
Can I have my cake and eat it?
Olympus OMD -EM-5 mk II//III
Do you want to go full frame or micro four thirds?
I went micro four thirds because the cameras and glass were smaller, lighter and arguably just as good image wise.
At the moment, Sony are the brand to consider first and then work your way from there.
I'm a Panasonic fanboy.
I got the Canon Full-frame mirrorless (EOSR). It's a great camera for stills and IMO a big step up from the 80D. Far too big to take on routes though.
Can't say I had ever considered the micro four thirds format before. I don't know a lot about this format as I have not been keeping myself informed about the progress of camera technology. I had always wanted to get back to full frame from the 35mm film camera days and using APS-C already felt like I was compromising, purely because of the expense of full frame DSLRs. But given my desire to have something small and light that can still serve as my main non-climbing camera too, then perhaps that is the change I should make and consider other formats.
Unless you enjoy pixel peeping, or if you are a professional who's clients demand the best then I bet you could not tell the difference between ff and m43 images viewed side by side.
Definitely not a pro!
I've got an Olympus TG-4 and I agree it's not brilliant image quality due to flare and low dynamic range. These are consequences of a very small sensor so the lens movement is enclosed in the sealed waterproof body, and no coatings on the lens. I bought it for sea kayaking and it's great for that not worrying about it being under water and still getting adequate photos.
I'm not convinced by mirrorless, but it's a great marketing ruse getting people to ditch their perfectly good DSLR systems and buy a new set of lenses. I've always been a Pentax user because of backward compatibility with lenses. My K-S2 body (to be upgraded to KP body) and selection of superb very compact Limited prime lenses is just as compact, or more compact than many similar mirrorless systems. And also the benefit of an optical viewfinder with diopter adjustment which I find invaluable. The camera and lenses are weather sealed and have very effective in-camera shake reduction. If you have a GOOD set of Canon lenses I would look at a new Canon APS-C body.
Image quality of modern APS-C or Micro 4/3 cameras is so good that full frame seems pointless unless you make your living from selling very large prints.
For a true climbing camera, ie on a neck sling stuffed down your tee-shirt and you don't have to worry about it getting damaged or a hindrance to climbing I think that any interchangeable lens camera is out of the question. My TG-4 ticks this box but as you say the image quality is not brilliant. See the latest pic on my gallery; good example of being in the right place at the right time but it would have been much better with a better camera.
For climbing I'll go back to my Canon G15, although it's bulkier than the TG-4 and the motorised lens cap mechanism is prone to grit messing it up.
If I was in the market for a climbing camera now I 'd get the Ricoh GR III. Vert compact and tough with APS-C sensor and fixed 24mm (equiv) lens. This is the best focal length for taking pics of your climbing partner, and the image quality is good enough that a tight crop would still be better than an image from a cheaper camera with a zoom lens
One dislike so far, If people disagree it would be polite to know why after I've tried to be helpful. But that's UKC for you I suppose!
> I'm not convinced by mirrorless, but it's a great marketing ruse getting people to ditch their perfectly good DSLR systems and buy a new set of lenses.
> Image quality of modern APS-C or Micro 4/3 cameras is so good that full frame seems pointless unless you make your living from selling very large prints.
My brain hurts over these two statements.
However the marketing fashion/trend at the moment, especially in vlogging YouTubeLand is for full frame mirrorless cameras. I believe that camera companies want to sell more cameras with the emphasis on full frame cameras at the moment because full frame sounds more sexy that micro something or other. And, where possible sell new glass to go with those cameras. Lets not beat around the bush, such cameras are power-houses. Even the prosumer full frame Panasonic S1, is on the list of cameras allowed by Amazon to film blockbuster Box Sets.
But the physics problem is still there, full frame cameras demand big expensive full frame lenses.
If the OP want's to jump down the rabbit hole of micro four thirds cameras then this discussion may prove interesting.
I still stick by the recommendation of putting Sony at the top of the list and then check out who can compete with them.
And I'm seriously thinking of this bad boy if I don't want to take my big camera out to play
Well I guess neither the OP nor me are interested in making motion pictures
> Well I guess neither the OP nor me are interested in making motion pictures
I'm interested in taking stills, always have and always will. I was just confused by you starting off saying you were not convinced by mirrorless and then saying that for most people that they were as good as each other.
I still maintain that a Sony camera should be at the top of anybody's shopping list and way ahead of Canon or Nikon on that list.
I see video as nice to have, but far from essential.
Thanks for all the replies so far, I have some reading and thinking to do. I can't say I am super keen on formats even smaller than APS-C, but perhaps that is the compromise I would have to make.
I could stick with two cameras, as I do now, but I would really want to replace the TG-5. I struggle with the concept of compact digital cameras (like the suggested Ricoh GR III) that cost more than some DSLRs and have a fixed focal length lens. Although I am sure they must produce very good images. I would want a compact for routes to have at least some weather sealing, it doesn't seem like the Ricoh does from what I can see.
Re the suggestion for Sony, these are full frame cameras aren't they? Presumably far too big and heavy to climb with on a route, surely?
As far as picture quality goes M4/3 in good light it holds up well against full frame And the weather sealing is Class leading, some great super sharp and compact lenses.
however M4/3 in low light it will struggle to bring out the best in Lightroom compared to Full frame.
If you need to crop your Pictures there is less leeway.
if your photography doesn’t include lots of low light stuff then I would consider the Olympus EM 5 system as It’s possibly to clip it to a harness for climbing pictures. It would be possible to get an olympus with a descent lens for a third of the price of an equivalent full frame, something to bear in mind when the thrutching your way up some crack 😏
>... and using APS-C already felt like I was compromising, purely because of the expense of full frame DSLRs.
The Landscape Photographer of the Year has just been won by a bloke shooting a Nikon D7500 APS-C camera, so the compromise can't be so bad there?
... I now use a Panasonic LX100 II Micro Four Thirds camera, for when I want something very compact and lightweight when I'm out walking/climbing/cycling. It produces great images that are barely discernibly any different from my more expensive kit:
Did you consider using a aps-c mirrorless M-series Canon with the lenses you already have via an adaptor. I doubt the adaptor would cause you any issues for the applications you mentioned.
> Sony do different sized sensors.
> Have a look at a Panasonic gx85. It may very well tick both boxes of main camera and climbing camera.
> Its also weather sealed. Olympus also make outstanding m43 cameras
The GX85 isn't weather sealed (not like the GX8 and others)
Sorry it's the g80
Very similar spec to gx80
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