Small Cameras For Professional Photographers

A comment came into the blog recently asking about using the EPL-1 as a backup to a Canon 40D. What’s so interesting about this is that no professionals have ever asked me advice on using the camera as a backup of any sort. So with that, let’s explore some small cameras for professional photographers.


Shines said,

“What do you think about this being a secondary camera to a DSLR? I myself have the canon 40d already and wanted something less bulky. I was contemplating on buying the Rebel XS for everyday shooting since it is much lighter. However, the E-PL1 is smaller than an XS. The different mount adapters that are available now are also quite appealing and would allow me to use my canon EF lenses.”

My comment:

“Hey Shines,

I’m going to go through this thoroughly to try to weigh all your options.

Your 40D is a smaller DSLR with the aps-c sensor. Now an EPL-1 is okay as a backup for this but you’ll not only lose autofocus with the adapters but you’ll have a tiny camera with big lenses on. Something that small should have pancakes or leica primes on. If you’ve got the voightlander lenses for canon, then you’re in luck a bit.

When you say backup camera then it really sounds like you’re going to use it for professional reasons. In which case, I think the dials and buttons on the ep2 will be better coupled with the viewfinder. It will be closer to use with your 40D so the muscle memory will come easier. Plus there are less gimmick modes on the ep-2 than there are on the epl1.

On top of that, let’s consider construction. The ep2 is a metal body. The epl1 is plastic. Enough said on that.

The tracking autofocus on both will work well enough in most situations based on my recent visit to b&h. Its not the gf1 though.

What is nice is that the ep2 and epl1 both have built in image stabilization.

Metering on both cameras is fine as compared to other cameras I’ve used like the Leica m9. However, that’s most likely out of your price range.

I hope this helps.”

For the best lenses for your Micro Four Thirds camera, check out my posting on CCTV lenses.


The GF-1 when coupled with the 20mm F1.7 pancake lens is a wonderful camera. Not only is the autofocusing smart, snappy and very usable for professional reasons, but the camera takes excellent images as well. Despite the fact that the high ISO levels can’t keep up with Olympus, one great thing about the GF-1 is a smaller form factor. If you wanted to use it for professional reasons, I’d actually say go with the EP-2 since the electronic viewfinder is better and the camera has image stabilization with the sensor. There are not enough good image stabilized lenses for Micro Four Thirds yet.

However, crystal for crystal Panasonic delivers better glass of the two companies. As I always say, your lenses will last you 10 years or more. Your cameras will last maybe three years or a bit more. Your main investment should be lenses.

Leica X1

The Leica X1 is a different beast. It has an Elmarit lens (it’s an F2.8) but it can’t switch out to another lens. This lens is fixed on and is also a fixed focal length. If you shoot with primes most of the time, this should be totally fine. On top of all this, it also has an APS-C sized sensor. Of all the cameras in this bunch, it delivers the sharpest images with the best high ISO output.

So what’s the problem? There is no viewfinder. If you don’t mind using a clip on for the hot shoe then you’ll be okay.

The Samsung NX10 is a system that I don’t feel is developed further enough to cater towards professionals and the Sony NEX5 I haven’t had enough playtime with to make a solid conclusion.

Do you have any recommendations? In truth, the Rebel T2i is probably the best Rebel ever made and there is no way that any lower price camera can compete with it. See my full review here.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.