October 17, 2010

Best prosumer (non-SLR) digital camera of 2010/2011 ?

I'm looking for a new digital camera, I had Olympus C-8080 with 28-140mm F2.4-3.5 lens and 2/3" (0.58 cm²) sensor as my primary camera for last 6 years, it had great lens and quite bigger sensor than current compact cameras. During diving on this year's holiday underwater case gave in an screw for flash cable broke and let water in :(
So I'm looking for a new camera to replace old and trustworthy Olympus C-8080. I'm looking for a camera that would have bigger than average sensor; most cameras have sensor that is 0.3-0.4 cm2 and Olympus C-8080 had 0.6 cm2 sensor. I'm looking for great image quality camera but don't want to have big bag only for camera so no SLR for me, and also prices of SLR lenses are too high for amateur photographers like me.
What would be my ideal camera? Camera with fixed fast F/2.0 lens, fast focus, 4/3 or APS-C size sensor, 28-200 mm zoom range and rain/waterproof case. Call it anyway you want, it could be called Olympus C-9090, Sony DSC-R2, Canon SXG10, Canon GX1 - I don't care ;)
There are few different lens systems out there, one of more popular ones is Micro Four Thirds. Some manufactures have started releasing cameras with bigger APS-C size sensor.

So let's see what is currently out there...
Fuji X100

  • 1000$ price tag
  • classic camera look - a big plus
  • probably superb image quality
  • fast F/2.0 lens
  • EXR technology for high dynamic range (automatic HDR) photos
  • fixed lens with no zoom :(
First i thought that if only it has some zoom or interchangeable lenses this would probably be the winner for me, but as I take most of my photos without any zoom via iPhone I realized that this camera could actually be the one.

Samsung NX100

  • really compact camera with full size SLR sensor!
  • faster focus than Olympus PEN series
  • meriocre kit lens (30-75mm F3.5-5.6) :(
  • no viewfinder by default :(
  • no image stabilization :(

Sony NEX3 / NEX5

  • full size SLR sensor!
  • Auto HDR feature
  • No viewfinder :(
  • Overexposure (firmware fix?) :(
  • RAW capture
  • great magnesium alloy body
  • not so good UI (firmware fix?)
  • operates more like point&shoot camera not giving away control :(

Panasonic DMC-GH2

Olympus Pen EP-2 vs Panasonic GF1

  • Olympus PEN E-P2 with 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 lens - 780$
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 with 14-45mm F/3.5-5.6 lens - 650$
  • Olympus has in body motion compensation
  • Panasonic cheaper and better than EP-1
  • Comparison article and JPEG engine comparison

If you have any good recommendation for any of the cameras on the list or have suggestion for some other that isn't on the list please say so in the comments.