After deciding to drop out of the megapixel race because having a compact, portable, light and somewhat affordable system is now more important to me than pursuing the latest and greatest in ultimate image quality. I prefer a very good but portable and enjoyable camera with compact lenses.
When I started my research, I didn’t look at Nikon nor Canon APS-C cameras because a) they’re not that small, and b) they have basically no good quality lenses specifically designed for APS-C format, forcing you into expensive, large and heavy full-frame lenses.
I did however briefly look at the Sony A6000/A6300 camera. These are fantastic cameras for the money. However, I quickly realised that while the cameras are small, Sony has even a smaller selection of quality APS-C lenses (E-Mount), forcing you to use the even large, heavier and expensive Sony EF-Mount lenses. Sony even has the A7 line which is very small yet has a full-frame sensor, but again, the lenses are huge, especially the new G pro-line. Not only do you not arrive at a significantly smaller and lighter system with these cameras, but using a large lens with a tiny camera really doesn’t make much sense. The ergonomics leave a lot to be desired.
There are basically two good complete systems on the market that are entirely designed around smaller sensors and cameras. The Fujifilm X-System (APS-C) and the Micro Four-Thirds system from Panasonic and Olympus.
As you can see in the following picture, the small Sony body has a minimal impact on the size of your overall kit if you need high-quality pro glass. In the center is the lovely Olympus Pen-F with the high-quality but very compact and light pro 35-70mm f/2.8 zoom (equivalent to the Sony). However, note that if you want to use some of the larger Olympus lenses like the 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens (equivalent to 80-300mm f/2.8) on the right, you should probably get a grip for your camera or get the E-M1 shown here with it’s larger grip.
So bottom line is that the size and weight of the lenses is much more important than the size and weight of the camera, and if you’re going to use larger lenses, you might not want that really small camera body in the first place!
Note that grips are available for most Fuji and Olympus cameras, allowing you to improve the ergonomics if using a larger lens, but still go back to a small body the rest of the time.