Photography News 02

20

Camera review

Handling

CanonPowerShot G16 FujifilmX-M1

Olympus OM-DE-M1

Samsung GalaxyNX

The screen on the back of the Galaxy NX engulfs the space where you’d expect to find buttons, leaving you totally reliant on the touch screen for control, and this is a double- edged sword. On one hand, it makes things simple – if you want to change a setting, just touch it. But you don’t have buttons within easy reach of your right hand, so you can’t make quick, intuitive changes. That said, there’s one mechanical control: a single dial that can control all the main exposure settings. Push it from the back, and it cycles through controlling aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Once you’ve mastered the touch screen, you might think it’s redundant, but it’s invaluable if you want to change these settings with the viewfinder to your eye. One consequence of the enormous screen is that the camera itself is actually quite big – larger than some low-end DSLRs, and not far off the size of many others. It’s much lighter though, and the big grip makes it extremely comfortable to hold. Another huge advantage of the big screen is that it’s wonderful for composing your shots and viewing them once recorded – you won’t find anything that comes close on other camera.

You won’t find a CSC that feels much more like a DSLR in your hand than the Olympus OM-D E-M1. The body is essentially a shrunken DSLR shell with Olympus’s now trademark retro styling. The grip lets you wrap your hand around for a firm DSLR-like hold, and command dials on the top-plate make for quick and comfortable adjustment of the shooting settings. With a small body, there’s obviously less room for direct access buttons, but extensive customisation anddual functions for many controls make best use of the space. For example, the command dials can be switched from controlling aperture and shutter speed to ISO and white-balance. It’s not just the controls that are DSLR- like, but also the viewfinder. Of course, it’s electronic because the camera’s mirrorless, but the whole experience is as close to using an optical viewfinder as you’ll get. It’s big and bright, with a magnification akin to some full- frame DSLR viewfinders. You also have the added benefit of an exact image preview, with 100% frame coverage and the effects of white balance or creative effects visible pre- capture. In low light, it also remains bright and the colours are vivid.

The X-M1 is incredibly small and light considering the sensor it houses, and it’s actually smaller than some of Fujifilm’s premiumcompacts. This is brilliant for tucking in a bag, but I found itmade it awkward to hold. My thumb often sat higher than the thumb rest and mingled dangerously amongst the dials, which made it easy to accidentally add exposure compensation. Other than the grip difficulties, control of the camera was great. The main command dial is on the back, slotted in behind the thumb rest, and while this looks awkward at first, the same thumb movement as you’d use on a DSLR’s dial is just as effective. The buttons squeezed into the space below the thumb rest provide direct access to several functions, and there’s a customisable Fn button on the top-plate. For anything else, there’s a quick menu, which is a great example of its kind. Just navigate to the setting and turn the dial – no further selections are necessary. One notable absence on the X-M1 is a viewfinder, leaving you reliant on the LCD screen. This is more than up to the job though – it’s bright, very clear and tilts up and down.

The G16 has an excellent grip that makes it comfortable and gives a sturdy grip for one- handed use. A full complement of exposure modes is available via the mode dial, and beside this is an exposure compensation dial; combined with the command dial on the front of the body, this provides quick DSLR- like access to shooting settings. The top dials are easily knocked, especially as you take the camera in and out of a bag, and I often found it to be in the wrong mode or with unwanted compensation added. There are few other direct access buttons – it’s a price you have to pay for a small body, but Canon has made the best of it with an intuitive and responsive quick menu for most settings you’ll want to get to in a hurry. Unusually for compacts, the G16 features an optical viewfinder – this is through the body, and as such is offset from the lens, so careful framing is needed, but it adjusts to match the zoom of the lens and it’s nice to have if you like to shoot with the camera to your eye. The major issue with the handling is the zoom – this is controlled electronically with a lever around the shutter button, which makes precise adjustments difficult.

Images are perfectly clean and there’s a lot of detail

Consistentlywell exposed, colours bold and rich

Lots of detail, plenty of contrast andnatural colours

20.3megapixels on anAPS-C sensormake for crisp detail

Photography News | Issue 2

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