Please tell me to buy something

Hey everyone,

I need advice.

I am thinking of buying a camera. This is a significant purchase for me. The trouble is that I don't know much about what gear is out there.

I am a pretty technical guy and a little bit of a gearhead but cameras are a new world for me. So I figured I would call upon the infinite wisdom of the Internet, specifically the community here at the Verge, for some advice.

Shut up and tell me how to spend my money

I know exactly what I want this camera to do. I have very specific projects in mind for it. I am an urban planner and I will be mostly taking pictures and video of buildings and people using them. I have this vision of being able to present designs and urban form within the planning process with an artistic eye. I want to bring to light some of the emotional connections with places and the people that live there by using visuals that can translate these things. I also do some music and blogging things that would have similar kinds of needs.

I am not looking for something that is super high end. I do not need professional quality gear. I am just looking for something that is good.

This is what I am looking for:

Image quality:

It probably goes without saying that I am looking for something with good iso and all the things that people look for in image quality. Good color information would be very nice. To be honest I am not very interested in having a lot of lens options. I know it is preferable to have many kinds of good glass to choose from but for the projects I am doing it is not nearly as important.

Video:

Video is one of the main reasons that I am looking for a camera.

I am actually more familiar with Video cameras and all of my pet creative projects are in video.

I don't take long videos that need a lot of memory. Mostly short 2-5 minute pieces that will be talking heads and whatnot. I really like the use of depth of field and having a good mic would be nice. Cameras seem to be trending into a realm of being a king of omni-tool for videos and photos and I really want to take advantage of this.

Form factor:

This is where it gets specific.

I am looking for a portable, unassuming form factor. Let me explain. My main form of transportation is a bike (if you preach sustainability you have to practice it) and the thought of carrying around a large rig with a heavy lens is not sounding good to my back.

Another thing I like about having a smaller form factor is that it will make it easier to take candid shots on the street and interview people. Sticking a giant DSLR in someone’s face can be a bit off putting. Since this is the primary kind of photography I will be doing I want something that is conducive for that.

Price range:

Willing to go up to about $1,000

Due to all of these restrictions I have mostly been looking at some micro four thirds and mirrorless models but I really do not know what the difference is between certain brands or even some of the smaller nuances between different models within a series. I would love some guidance.

Any suggestions?