I love the Compact System Camera cameras that have so successfully proliferated in the last few years. Started (and still dominated?) by Panasonic and Olympus with their Micro Four Thirds format, the CSC niche has exploded. Samsung, Nikon, Fuji (sort of) and most recently Canon have released models competing for the consumer dollar. I own a three year old Olympus PEN myself, and love it.
In someways, it’s a compromise of a camera. Not quite the tech and capability of a DSLR. Not quite pocketable, ala a normal compact. And they aren’t terribly cheap. But, I look at them differently. The best camera you own is, as the old saying goes, the one you have with you. The CSC cameras might not fit into a pocket, but they are so much easier to pack and carry with you that you’ll find yourself taking it around a lot more than you would a bulky DSLR.
The image quality you get from them are fantastic too. I’ve loved the results I get from my E-PL1 PEN, although as it was an early model pioneering the way, it possesses plenty of flaws and minor irritants. I’d love to buy a new CSC. But which one? So many options. What to do? I will say, to kick this off, there are a whole bunch of cameras I’d exclude. Canon’s EOS M, Samsungs NX and the Fujis are not my cup of tea for a variety of reasons.
There’s a name I didn’t mention. Sony. I’ve bought a fair few Sony products over the years. I Sony. But I’ve not bought anything from them in quite a while. I like their products. They are up there with the best. Really tempting. But when it comes to laying down the cash, there’s just always something that catches my eye and lures me aware. Sony have consistently become the second best at everything.
But, for the moment, there’s one Sony product I am lusting for. The Sony NEX line of CSCs have always looked tempting. Ever so petite. The specs are so high. But the lenses were just too bulky, especially on such slimline bodies. But now we have the Sony NEX6. You still get the big APC DSLR sized sensor. A three inch tilt screen too. But the new kit lens, for everyday shooting, is so much more compact. Sony finally have a best in class. For now. Alas, there are new Olympus models launching soon, and Sony may well be the second best option by the time I have money to spend. But for now, the Sony NEX is probably the best CSC camera you can buy under £600.
Want to know more about the camera? There are plenty reviews, on ePhotozine, PhotographyBlog, CameraLabs and DPReview. I’ve also created a Gallery on Flickr with a small collection of some of the best shots on the site, which help to give a good idea as to what the camera is capable of. Want to buy one? Head on over to my shop where you can pick one up straight off the shelves of Amazon UK and help me earn a little pocket money!