Calling Judge Wendy

I’m looking for advice from the Camera Corner Lady (and any other Linux-loving photography hobbyists), specifically about the MFT format (probably Panasonic). Yes, I know the sensor is smaller than full frame, and smaller than APS-C, but it’s bigger than what I’ve been using (cell phone and my wife’s old Canon Powershot with 1/2.3" sensors).

Small and light are important adjectives (hence the leaning toward MFT), as I spend 2-4 months per year teaching in Latin America. My “classroom” is in my mochila (backpack) and in it I carry my laptop, projector, wireless mic system (including receiver), cables of all sorts, often a second laptop (to give away to one of the local pastors), and my books and teaching materials. The bag normally weighs in at 25-30 pounds, and I am my own “sherpa,” despite having just turned 68. I’d like a rugged, mirror-less camera with the the capability of interchangeable lenses. Video capability would be nice, but I don’t have much experience in the video realm. A brand with a healthy used market is good, perhaps preferred, since I’ll never get rich working with a small non-profit and “disposable income” is usually “disposed of” long before expensive new cameras could be purchased!

One other thought: I don’t go to the “tourist” areas. The countries I visit have fairly high crime rates (though I don’t normally have business in the “worst” areas). A camera that doesn’t draw attention to itself would be a plus here (like an older, smaller Panasonic/LUMIX body with a short-throw wide-angle zoom). An expensive Canon or Nikon (or Sony?) DSLR would almost be shouting, “Hey, here I am! Take me!”

Yes, I know that the Olympus “shoe” has recently dropped, and it seems like all the Youtube MFT’ers are holding their collective breath waiting for the other (i.e., Panasonic) “shoe” to drop. That’s why I haven’t made any purchases yet, though I have been doing a lot of MFT research. Will there be a glut on the market because folks will ditch MFT or will the law of supply and demand keep remaining inventory prices high? Who knows?

I haven’t “bought into” any particular system (unless you count my nearly 40-year-old Pentax SLR film cameras and lenses, which have been sitting in my closet since “forever”). I’d like to bring back much better photos than I have for the last 12 years, perhaps even have RAW-file capability. I have no problem shooting in AP or SP mode, but it would be nice for the camera to have a “newbie” auto-everything mode for those times that I turn over the “please take pictures of the class and its members” duties to a non-photographer.

Yes, I’m open to something other than MFT. I perceive APS-C as a possibility, but very expensive, particularly lenses. OTOH, what do I know? I’m guessing the APS-C’s haven’t been around long enough to have a viable used market. But profound ignorance in all of this is why I’m "Calling Judge Wendy."



I need to do a little more research on MFT camera bodies. Give me a bit to do some looking, and I’ll get back to you.


Thank you, Wendy. I hope you and your family aren’t in harm’s way during this fire season.

There is no time pressure. I probably can’t travel abroad abroad again until spring of next year. But no doubt a few months will be needed for practice, learning the in’s and out’s and characteristics of the new camera.

Also, I’m not “married” to the idea of MFT gear. For all I know there might be APS-C cameras that are sufficiently small. I’m starting that line of research. And FWIW, it seems that it would be foolish for me to completely rule out good name brands altogether, despite the possibility of theft. I suppose there’s always the option of electrical tape strategically placed over the brand logo!