Home > Olympus, Panasonic, Photography, Samsung, Sony > Looking for a small, light, quality camera? – II

Looking for a small, light, quality camera? – II


Just over a year ago I wrote a blogpost Looking for a small, light, quality camera?, which collected together the size and weights of lightweight quality cameras. The focus was on mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

Things have moved on since then: manufacturers have released new cameras and lenses. I’ve repeated the exercise with today’s crop of cameras. If camera size and weight is an important consideration for you, then these tables may be of some help. Note I make no attempt to compare the quality or ergonomics of any of these cameras, there are plenty of camera review sites that do that.

Mirrorless cameras

The following table gives the sizes of various mirrorless cameras, and their weights with various lenses. The pancake lens is the manufacturer’s wide angle prime lens. The zoom lens is the manufacture’s nearest equivalent to a 28-84mm (full frame) lens. The superzoom is the manufacture’s nearest equivalent to a 28-300mm (full frame) lens. All weights include batteries.

Model Weight Weight
(pancake)
Weight
(zoom)
Weight
(superzoom)
Dimensions LCD Dots
Olympus E-P3 369g 440g 481g 659g 122 x 70 x 34 mm 614,000
Olympus E-PL3 313g 384g 425g 603g 110 x 64 x 37 mm 460,000
Olympus E-PM1 254g 325g 366g 544g 110 x 64 x 34 mm 460,000
Panasonic GF2 310g 410g 475g 770g 113 x 68 x 33 mm 460,000
Panasonic GF3 264g 364g 429g 724g 108 x 67 x 32 mm 460,000
Sony NEX-C3 225g 299g 439g 749g 110 × 60 × 33 mm 921,600
Samsung NX100 282g 367g 480g N/A 120 × 71× 35 mm 614,000

The overall lightest camera/lens combination, at 299g is the Sony NEX-C3 with 16mm lens. This is thanks to the low weight of the Sony camera. With zoom lenses, the inherent size/weight advantage of micro4/3 comes into play: the Olympus EPM-3 provides the lightest camera with standard zoom combination and superzoom combinations (at 366g and 544g respectively). (Of course slightly lighter combinations could be obtained by mixing Panasonic and Olympus lenses and bodies.)

Compact cameras

For comparison, here are the weights and dimensions of some of the higher end compact cameras:

Model Weight Dimensions LCD Dots
Canon PowerShot G12 [28-140mm] 491g 112 x 76 x 48 mm 461,000
Canon PowerShot S95 [28-105mm] 195g 100 x 58 x 30 mm 461,000
Leica X1 [35mm] 306g 124 x 60 x 32 mm 230,000
Nikon Coolpix P7000 [28-200mm] 310g 114 x 77 x 45 mm 921,000
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 [24-90mm] 271g 110 x 65 x 43 mm 460,000

The lightest mirrorless camerea with a standard zoom lens (Olympus E-PM1 with 28-84mm equivalent lens) weighs 425g and compares reasonably favorably, weightwise, with some of these compact cameras. The Sony NEX-C3 with 16mm lens (24mm equivalent) weighs 299g and also compares reasonably favorably weightwise.

DSLRs

For further comparison, here are the sizes and weight of some of the smaller and lighter DSLRs:

Model Weight Weight
(pancake)
Weight
(zoom)
Weight
(superzoom)
Dimensions LCD Dots
Canon EOS 1100D 495g N/A 695g 1090g 130 x 100 x 78 mm 230,000
Nikon D60 505g N/A 770g 1065g 126 x 94 x 64 mm 230,000

Lenses

For reference, here are the weights and sizes of some of the lenses available for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras:

Model Weight Dimensions Filter diameter
Olympus 9-18mm[18-36mm] f4.0-4.6 155g 57 x 50 mm 52mm
Olympus 14-42mm[28-84mm] f3.5-5.6 150g 62 x 44 mm 40.5mm
Olympus 14-42mm[28-84mm] f3.5-5.6 II 112g 57 x 50 mm 37mm
Olympus 14-150mm[28-300mm] f4.0-5.6 290g 64 x 83 mm 58mm
Olympus 40-150mm[80-300mm] f4.0-5.6R 190g 64 x 83 mm 58mm
Olympus 75-300mm[150-600mm] f4.8-6.7 430g 70 x 116 mm 58mm
Olympus 12mm[24mm] f2.0 130g 56 x 43 mm 46 mm
Olympus 17mm[34mm] f2.8 71g 57 x 22 mm 37 mm
Olympus 45mm[24mm] f1.8 116g 56 x 46 mm 37 mm
Panasonic 7-14mm[14-28mm] f4.0 300g 70 x 83 mm
Panasonic 14-42mm[28-84mm] f3.5-5.6 165g 61 x 64 mm 52 mm
Panasonic 14-45mm[28-84mm] f3.5-5.6 195g 60 x 60 mm 52 mm
Panasonic 14-140mm[28-280mm] f4.0-5.8 460g 70 x 84 mm 62 mm
Panasonic 45-200mm[90-400mm] f4.0-5.6 380g 70 x 100 mm 52 mm
Panasonic 100-300mm[200-600mm] f4.0-5.6 520g 74 x 126 mm 67 mm
Panasonic 8mm[16mm] f3.5 165g 61 x 52 mm N/A
Panasonic 20mm[40mm] f1.7 100g 63 x 26 mm 46 mm
Panasonic 25mm[50mm] f1.4 200g 63 x 55 mm 46 mm
Panasonic 45mm[90mm] f2.8 225g 63 x 63 mm 46 mm
Samsung 18-55mm[28-85mm] F3.5-5.6 198g 63 x 65 mm 58 mm
Samsung 20mm[40mm] f2.8 89g 62 x 25 mm 43 mm
Samsung 30mm[46mm] f2 85g 62 x 22 mm 43 mm
Samsung 50-200mm[77-308mm] F4-5.6 417g 70 x 101 mm 52 mm
Sony 16mm[24mm] f2.8 74g 62 x 23 mm 49 mm
Sony 18-55[27-83mm] f2.5-5.6 214g 62 x 60 mm 49 mm
Sony 18-200[27-300mm] f3.5-6.3 524g 76 x 99 mm 67 mm
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  1. Dec 4, 2011 at 01:33

    What did you think the best small, light, quality camera was? I’m looking for one now.

  2. Martin Budden
    Dec 4, 2011 at 19:26

    Nick, I don’t actually think there is a best camera. Any compact camera is a compromise between size, weight, features, image quality and other factors. The question is not which is best, but which best suits a given user’s needs. I have some ideas what you might want in a camera – I’ll send you an email.

  3. Jan 30, 2014 at 18:53

    Hi, I think you overlooked several important factors. The first of them is sensor physical size. Of course it is possible to miniaturise about everything in a camera whille keeping the same number of megapixels, but the one thing they won’t miniaturise is the wavelength of light. For a given number of pixels, smaller sensor -> smaller individual cells -> diffraction becomes dominant. The rule of thumb is the diameter (in microns) of the blur circle due to diffraction equals the (dimensionless) f-stop. Thus, lets consider e.g. a ‘bridge’ camera advertising 12 megapixels, a sensor size, say 3x4mm and a max lens aperture f:4. The diff. blur diameter is 4 microns (250 pixels/mm) hence the actual max image size is 750×1000 or less than one megapixel. It means the 11 extra MPixels are redundant and don’t give any extra information, just data. Plus, physically smaller pixels mean more background noise.
    I could summarise this saying the very first thing to look at before buying a camera is the physical size of the sensor. Fast lenses (primes) are a huge plus, especially when the sensor is small.-

  4. Jan 30, 2014 at 19:13

    Two other important points are ergonomy and standardisation.
    Ergonomy: well-designed menus should be split into (1) home adjustments, button mapping etc. and (2) on-site adjustments (manual/autofocus, sensitivity, metering mode M/A/P). I hate my Olympus MFTs, as it is so easy to accidentally interfere with (1) and often too complicated to get into (2). The shame is that the menu architecture is never displayed on the camera box when one buys it! It is best to read user reviews and if possible borrow one to have a try.
    Standardisation: before buying a camera from a certain brand, examine how may years they have been keeping their own past standards. Leica, Nikon and Pentax look unbeatable, though only high-end Nikon SLR’s will be able to meter with old Nikon lenses. At the other end of the spectrum, Sony with their multiple unconsistent, short lived
    lens mounts and memory cards…
    Another point is talent. Nikon is a reference in pro and prosumer cameras, but is not known to have ever done anything really good in the realm of compact cameras… One brand that is frequently overlooked is Fuji. Their X-10 or X-20 (technically very close to the Lumix LX-5 plus an optical VF) is really great for the price. Their X-mount system is really attractive – good ergonomy, outstanding optical quality etc.

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