Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Which camera system to buy

The new mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras such as the Sony NEX, the Olympus PEN, and the Panasonic GFx are all very alluring because of their compact size. Does it mean it is better for a newbie to start buying those new hybrid cameras? I don't think so. Here's why.

Take the Canon 550D as an example. The cost of a basic system consists of (in AUD$)
Body only: $1230
2 kit lenses: $470
Speedlite 580EX II: $650
UV Filter + Polarizer: $100

Working this out, the body itself is roughly 50% of the entire cost. This gets smaller as you start buying more lenses and other Canon-specific accessories. If you decide to upgrade your camera in 2 year's time (many of us do!), you only need to replace the camera, which is only a fraction of the entire cost.

Now assume you have bought into Panasonic instead. Your entire system is Panasonic-specific. Even when you decide to upgrade, you can only upgrade with another Panasonic camera. In other words, you are locked in. Should Canon or Nikon come out with a superior mirrorless SLR in the future, you cannot simply switch brand as you will have to replace the entire system (lens and other accessories).

The conventional wisdom still holds true: buy the system, not the camera.

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