I wrote this, today, on my Facebook page.
For those interested, the 5D3 (5D Mark III) is close to the ultimate camera for making big prints and shooting in low light, etc. and etc.. The big pixels in this big sensor are great for the ultimate image quality in low light, and for pulling out shadow detail. But a full-frame (35mm) sensor camera is fairly big and heavy, especially because the lenses have to be bigger and heavier. It’s not a practical camera for the average, even-serious shooter, and it’s really not fun to carry around doing street shooting.
For really fun and more flexible shooting, I think it’s hard to beat the cameras I talk about below. I just wrote this to help one of my Facebook friends decide which camera to get. He was talking about getting an SLR, but I suggested this instead. And the compact camera I talk about at the end, the Fuji F770EXR / F775EXR is probably going to be phenomenal, zooming from a really useful wide angle 25mm (FOV equivalent) to a bird-shooting 500mm, super telephoto http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/f/finepix_f770exr
It’s not quite out yet. I’m also waiting to see if the lens is sharp enough for what I would use it for. I try to have a compact camera with me at all times. This could be a winner!
But first, the advantages of micro-4/3rds mirrorless cameras for serious and fun shooting:
I would probably recommend Olympus micro-4/3rds sensor cameras. They are amazing, and more compact and portable than the Canon Rebel, for example. There are also many lens options from fisheye and super wide angle to super telephoto, and everything is small and lightweight for traveling around the world with a world traveler like you.
Panasonic also makes M43 cameras, but they don’t have a stabilized sensor, so the lenses have to be stabilized. The wide angle lenses aren’t stabilized, which I think is still essential for use without a tripod.
Olympus just came out with the E-M5, which is top of the line, and a bit bigger and heavier than the E-P3 (and 2 even smaller models), which came out last August. But it’s still relatively small. You could go with that now, or wait until the E-P3 upgrade. We’re waiting for it to get the super-duper new sensor that the E-M5 has.
These are not SLRs, but the E-M5 has a digital viewfinder and an LCD screen. You’d probably be a very happy camper. The mirror box on SLRs require the lenses to be bigger, and the 4:3 format is more useful overall than the 3:2 of the Canon or Nikon SLRs. And it adds weight and size too.
And being that the sensor is smaller, the size of the lenses are smaller due to that too. My E-P3 with 4 incredible lenses fit in a small fanny pack and it only weighs 3 pounds, total, which is so nice! Most would carry less lenses, so the kit would be even smaller and lighter.
http://www.43rumors.com is a great site regarding what is currently happening in M43.
And http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/index.html is a great overview of M43. This site also has a great M43 lens chart with lens summaries.
M43 is an open system that different manufacturers make products for, which brings in competition and a big variety of lenses.
One thing to watch out for: micro-4/3rds is different than standard 4/3rds sensor cameras and lenses, which are generally much bigger. Make sure it says micro, or has the ‘M’ before the 4/3rds.
This is the perfect camera for taking quality photos, unless you need the ultimate in image quality. But then you’re talking bigger bucks and bigger gear that is much harder to hall around.
For the ultimate small camera that has just one lens, I’ve been looking at this Fuji F770EXR / F775EXR which will have a 25-500mm (FOV equivalent) zoom lens: http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/f/finepix_f770exr
I think this is going to rock and is supposed to be coming out really soon.
The Oly will be better in low light, and have slightly better image quality. And you can get fisheye and super-wide lenses for the Oly.