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Lumix G3 ~ but no Olympus body with these features?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by DHart, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I'm a bit puzzled at the number of photographers who flock to the Olympus m4/3 bodies.

    I can certainly see the initial attraction - the camera's have sleek form factors and the visual looks are very sexy! No arguments there. They are sexy cameras! And they have nice JPG engines. But what about feature versatility?

    In use, and to my preferences, the Oly m4/3 bodies would all require a separate, costly, add-on EVF to facilitate use under conditions where an eye-level viewfinder offers it's benefits, utility, and convenience. To me, sometimes an EVF is essential, though not always...

    Certainly, there are many times where I'm content to shoot some of my cameras using just the LCD for composition/focus, held at arm's length, without an EVF. This method of shooting can work well under many conditions of use - but not all.

    Use of an EVF can be very helpful, even vital to achieving one's imaging objectives under some conditions. They also add greater camera stability (holding the camera at the face and with both hands) and provide a very nice "isolated-from-surroundings" composing experience, two benefits which are often very nice to have.

    From my own experience with Panasonic bodies, I bought my GF-1 during the winter season (February 2010). I didn't really have the opportunity to use it in bright full sun situations until two or three months after I bought it. And then, after one brief attempt to shoot with it on a full sun day, I purchased the moderately priced LVF1. While we all know that the LVF1 offers only a basic resolution viewing experience, it certainly made the camera quite useable for the functions of composition and focus while in full sun. Unfortunately, what I liked least about having a separate, add-on EVF (applies to all camera bodies without built-in EVF) was this:

    1) that the svelte, sleek form factor of the GF1 (something that really drew me to the camera in the first place) was lost when the EVF is attached, and

    2) when the EVF isn't attached, there is that additional camera accessory/case to have to bring along in addition to the camera - and sometimes that's just a little bit of a PITA. Leaving the EVF on the camera all the time is one option, but then that really defeats most of the appeal of the camera's design/form factor - for me anyway. Alternatively, having to always bring the accessory along and repeated attaching and detaching can be a bit bothersome as well.

    If you're going to bring a camera bag with accessories and lenses along, then bringing along the add-on EVF isn't that big of a deal, but at other times, when you just want to travel really light and simple, just a body and one lens, it is bothersome - though you might really wish for the EVF if you hadn't brought it along.

    For my use, these issues apply to the GF1, GF2, GF3, and all the Oly m4/3 cameras.

    While these issues are not necessarily major problems... they go away entirely with cameras which have integrated EVFs.

    Fast forward to February of this year (2011), acquiring my GH2 brought a superb built-in EVF and fully-articulating LCD screen - two features which I find extremely valuable quite often. Very nice to have when needed, and not really in the way, nor burdensome, when not needed.

    But some would wish for a bit smaller, sleeker form factor than the GH2 body presents - and they can life without a few of the specialized features that the awesome GH2 body provides.

    Enter the G3!

    The G3, while not offering ALL of the GH2 features and attributes, is a camera that addresses these issues while still maintaining a smaller, sleek form factor, as well as ups the ante considerably in a number of other aspects.

    I am a bit surprised that Olympus has failed to offer a camera like the G3?

    Part of why I won't buy an Olympus m4/3 body is because they all are subject to the same complaints which I have with the GF-1 (using an EVF requires a clunky add-on accessory which destroys the sleek form factor of the body and requires bringing along a separate add-on accessory for times when you might want to use it.)

    I think Olympus would find some very strong added sales results if they offered a G3-like body to their line up. I might buy my first Olympus m4/3 body!

    I'm not wishing for an Olympus version of the G3, because I'm perfectly content that Panasonic offers the G3. And I like Panasonic's m4/3 offerings very much. I'm just saying, I think an Olympus offering of this type would be good for Oly lovers, as well as provide great competition in the m4/3 market to Panasonic - to keep prices down and innovation/improvements going up.

    As other photographers who have used eye level viewfinders for many years, I appreciate the added camera stability which one can achieve while holding the camera against the face and holding it with both hands. While I often shoot with my GF1, GH2, LX5, and iPhone4 cameras held at arms length, for a variety of reasons, and with good results, there are many times when I much prefer to use the camera held at the face to compose and shoot with an eye level viewfinder.

    The G3 seems like the current pinnacle "all-around" m4/3 offering: being small, having both viewing/compositional options (built-in EVF and an articulating LCD screen), having very high image quality, wonderfully low noise levels at higher ISOs, improved JPG engine for JPG shooters, all while remaining relatively sleek in form factor. I think the G3 basically trumps all the other m4/3 body offerings for a small, general purpose camera which offers awesome functional options, unless you require some specialized feature such as external mic input for video - something most users would never need.

    I'm wondering why some folks choose one of the Olympus bodies (E-PL3, E-P3) over the G3? Surely they have reasons which make sense to them, but from my own perspective, I don't really understand it.

    Until something with comparable features and functions to the G3 comes along, that's even better than the G3, I think the G3 will be the body to compete with/compare to - for general use m4/3 photographers.

    I wonder when (and if) Olympus will apply their efforts to offering a m4/3 body with built-in EVF and fully articulating LCD screen. Somehow I think they will at some point... but why not yet?

    Could it be that Olympus shooters are largely unwilling to sacrifice a little bit of sexy form factor to gain a built-in EVF and fully articulating LCD? Or perhaps most Oly m4/3 shooters would appreciate having two Oly bodies, one like the E-P3 and another, with built-in EVF and fully articulating LCD, but still small and relatively svelt in form-factor - like the G3?

    Panasonic, as one of the world's largest companies, has the engineering and financial prowess of a giant and Olympus is, comparatively, a very tiny company. Perhaps development costs limits the number of camera body offerings that Olympus can develop. I do think it would be cool if Oly would offer a m4/3 body with similar features to the G3 - the competition would be great for the entire m4/3 family of photographers and having more choice options for us is always a good thing.

    There are probably some photographers who prefer to use an add-on EVF when they want an EVF and these folks aren't bothered by the extra expense of buying an add-on EVF accessory (Oly's is costly!), nor by needing to bring the accessory along, nor by the change to the camera body's form factor when the add-on accessory is tacked on. For those photographers, my perspective probably doesn't make much sense. And while the LCD's have improved to help viewing even with full sun shining on them, that doesn't address the benefits of added stability and composing image isolated from surrounding views gained from using an eye-level finder.

    I do think that a built-in EVF and fully articulating LCD are very significant features to have on a m4/3 camera, especially on one that's still kept fairly small and relatively sleek.
     
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  2. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have a G2 and I have thought the same thing. The G2 is quite compact (not much larger than my E-P1 or my E-PL1 was) and if you add the VF2 to the E-P/PL series cameras it is a good deal more bulky than the G2 (and G3). Also, at $200 the price of the entire system becomes an issue for me. It's not as though the VF2 is so superior to the built-in EVF on the G series cameras that you cannot resist it. Having had them side by side to compare to I found them to be almost identical in quality.

    I like Olympus cameras and still keep an E-P1 around but the G2 gets almost all the work around my house. The EVF is superb, the handling is top notch and the articulating LCD really opens up some creative possibilities. If Olympus offered something similar it would be what I would look at come upgrade time. As far as folks choosing the E-P3 over the G3...everyone has their own personal preferences and I can respect that. I'm not sure I would make that choice. At over $1000 for the E-P3 and VF2 I'm not sure I could justify it
     
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  3. My GH1 feels like a well thought out, efficient, responsive camera with an extremely useful articulated screen. But...if I had to choose which camera I liked more it would still be the E-P1.
     
  4. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    One of the reasons is unbeatable Olympus jpeg color. No PP necessary at all, the files are ready for consumption right away (this is irrelevant to 100% raw only shooters which is about 1% of all users or the majority of folks on these kind of forums, LOL). It really brings a lot of joy to shooting knowing that I don't need to spend time in front of the computer afterwards trying to remember how the colors really looked like. Another reason is IBIS which allows using much smaller and lighter zoom lenses such as Oly 14-150mm (especially compared to Panasonic monstrous counterpart, you can't be serious mounting 14-140mm on tiny G3 w/tiny grip), Oly 40-150mm (smaller and lighter than Panasonic counterpart) and even 14-42mm II kit zoom is quite a bit smaller when collapsed. Not to mention that Panasonic pancakes and the upcoming Olympus portrait lens (=90mm telephoto) will be stabilized as well which is a huge help for still objects. In addition, new Pen series allow full manual control over its 1080i video. G3 does not. On top of that, there is an important to many, unspecified Oly feature: high flash sync speeds of 1/400s to 1/500s (depending on aspect ratio) with manual flashes. This is a quantum leap over 1/160s flash sync limit on Panasonic cameras with any flash except FP-compatible flashes which means large dslr size flashes and yet with greatly reduced output in FP-mode. Wireless flash sync is another attractive feature lacking in Pana bodies. Style is a valid consideration for some people (although I think G3 is more beautiful and modern than outdated and tired E-P3 look). Another thing is familiar user interface can be important to long-time Olympus users cause Panasonic's controls and menu are totally different.
     
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  5. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Art... thanks for sharing that; you've mentioned a number of good, specific reasons why some people may prefer one or another model of Oly to Panny. And I can totally understand if someone has a specific need that is met better by one model vs. another.

    I'm a RAW only shooter (except with some grab shots which I might use iA for) and I've never ever wondered how colors looked when back at home processing. I just process for the feeling that I want the image to portray. There is no absolute right nor wrong in any of this kind of thing anyway... all just interpretation pre-cooked for you or custom cooked by you. I can appreciate beautiful jpgs straight from the camera, but with Lightroom, processing is practically effortless and for me, ALL images need at least some post processing of some sort before I'm content and done with them... and RAW offers the greatest dynamic range and depth by far for those of us who like to make use of that. For shooters who only want to shoot jpg, it sounds like the out of camera jpgs from Oly have it down! My understanding is that the G3 is getting very good at OOC jpgs, so that gap is probably narrowing as we move forward. But certainly up until very recently, Oly has been know for better OOC jpg colors.

    As I think more about it, I would appreciate having an E-P3 myself! I would not give up a GH2 or G3 to have one, but would love to have one just for the fun and difference of it - and because they are so very sexy looking! I haven't looked at pricing, but it sounds like a bit of a costly camera to have as a fun, alternative body. If the cost of the camera were no issue, I'd probably get one just to experience it.

    I know that each photographer has his or her specific preferences and none of them lay like a blanket over anyone else. Choice is great and competition builds better and lower cost products. That's a very good thing!
     
  6. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Simple answer:
    Any "hump" Panasonic body looks like a mini-DSLR :wink:

    Olympus owners don't want this - they want a ranger finder style :smile:
     
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  7. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    I very much like the G3 so much so I was almost going to buy one. I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of my EP 2 as I love the form and function of it. The Panasonics seem to me to be just like a miniature DSLR the Pen has a quality to it that feels more like a fine piece of jewelry or a classic watch. The joy I get in using it is part of my love affair, the image quality and technical features are important but as with any love it is all really what you feel in your heart that matters most.
    My new EP 3 arrives next week and I will be able to let my EP 2 go, it has been a wonderful time together.:love:
     
  8. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I don't know... perhaps you're right and Oly buyers really are unwilling to sacrifice style for function?

    Of course, I wouldn't suggest Oly discontinue the ranger-style bodies, but simply offer Oly shooters an additional choice... an Oly with a little hump! :smile:

    Then Oly folks can have it both ways without having to leave the Oly camp!

    Gillymaru... I can understand a love affair with a particular set of features, a style, a form! And of course, with any single choice that must be made, sacrifices of at least something are unavoidable.

    Ideally, I guess, one can afford to have two, perhaps even three m4/3 bodies and be able to make good use of them as they each were intended. If forced to have only one body at a time... yes, sacrifices are needed no matter what the choice!
     
  9. Photorx12

    Photorx12 Mu-43 Regular

    143
    May 11, 2011
    After going back and forth I decided to cancel my EP3 order and just ordered a G3 for many of the same reasons mentioned above. Being a proud owner of an X100 probably made my choice a bit easier in filling my need for a rangefinder type camera :biggrin:.
     
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  10. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    532
    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Mark
    Funny but I like my E-P1 precisely for some of the reasons you dislike it. I don't like isolation from my surroundings when I'm taking pictures. It all boils down to the old Yorkshire adage "there's nowt so queer as folk" :) The only thing I mss is a built in flash for fill in.
    If one is of a conspiracy theory bent, you could suggest that Olympus are not making slr-like m4/3 cameras because they're still trying to sell 4/3 dslrs :)
     
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  11. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Hmm.. I would speculate shall Oly release a cam similar in style to G3 and same price point, it would become an overnight blockbuster. I still think it's more about IBIS and colors than the absence of hump. Btw, no one in their right mind would confuse G3 for DSLR in the wild. It looks way more like P&S ala G12 or superzoom. It's just that much smaller than any dslr
     
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  12. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Veteran

    The flash improvements in the EP 3 were part of the reason I decided to upgrade from my EP 2.
     
  13. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Sometimes I too prefer to shoot with camera held at arm's length to also be able to take in the surroundings - especially useful for moving subjects. And at other times, I much prefer, even need, the isolation to remove difficult distractions of various kinds, such as sun shining straight into my eyes or to compose much more carefully. Or hold it to my face for added stability. Ideal thing (for me) is a camera that let's you do it either way you wish, at the moment, without having to add on an odd shaped accessory, which you might have forgotten to bring along. That's sweet.

    That's a very astute point I hadn't even thought of... perhaps Oly feels if they offered built in EVFs in the E-xx camera bodies it would kill the sales of their larger bretheren. For myself, if I didn't go m4/3, I would not choose 4/3. For me it's either FF sensor (5DII) or step down to m4/3 or smaller yet, LX5 for some needs and iPhone4 for total on the fly image-making. I think someday before too long the iPhone will actually be an iCamera with iPhone features and functions built in. :smile:
     
  14. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Ad
    At the time I opted for a G1 because I couldn't see myself taking pictures at arm's length composing. I've tried it afterwards just to have an idea what it's like and I still abhor it. I now have a GH2 and I use the G1 in my little studio without ever looking through the viewfinder, using the LCD folded out and tilted instead with my reading glasses sitting on a chair; ah, the years begin to count. :biggrin:

    It's just me I guess, but I can't pick up an Oly E-Pen camera without some sort of disgust; mind you, the Panny cameras don't appeal to me very much either. Picking up a Nikon F or Minolta XE-1 is another matter completely, but film is over for me: the digital age is the cure for my suffering from impatience, in earlier days I had a film drier just to get to the results sooner. :smile:

    Going a little more :eek:fftopic: now, Markb, I enjoyed your pics, they inspire me to go B&W today!
     
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  15. Photorx12

    Photorx12 Mu-43 Regular

    143
    May 11, 2011
    I wish I had that choice, I was recently placed on medication which makes my hands tremble 24-7. the tremble is not apparent to the naked eye, but when I hold a camera at arms length the shake is seen more and the results were not pretty on the EP1. Having the camera up to my face tends to help out a lot, which is why I sold the the EP1 and went for the G3 rather than the Oly EP3. Paying 250 for an EVF just didn't sit well, when for a couple hundred more I can get a system with the EVF built in. So for me it is pretty much a need now, and not an option :mad:.
     
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  16. Yotsuba

    Yotsuba Mu-43 Regular

    144
    Feb 28, 2010
    Singapore
    Hi

    I'm a EPL1 user and I really like the colours I'm getting.The Oly colours are so natural and pleasing to my eyes. If only it comes with a nice built-in EVF.

    The price of the G3 is about US$300 cheaper than the EP3 in my country. Just a thought, should one spend US$280 on the EVF2 or US$640 on a G3?

    If possible, could someone post images of the same scenes taken with Oly and Panasonic m4/3 cameras for comparison.
     
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    The thing that some people don't seem to understand is that some of us just DON'T LIKE having a camera with a damned EVF sticking up and out all the time!! Its almost a religious conviction among some who like the EVF that ANYONE would rather have one there all the time. And some of us would rather NOT. That may not sound rational to some, but that doesn't matter a bit to me, if I'm the one buying the camera. I owned a GH2 for a while. Because the EVF hump was there and because it extended back nearly an inch beyond the backplate of the camera, I damn near always used it. Because I had to hold the camera out farther in front of me to be able to see past the EVF rear extension to see the screen and if I didn't the EVF sensor would sometimes think the presence of my body within a foot or two meant I wanted to and would shut down the rear screen, etc, etc, etc. The hump on the top of the G3 is a bit less imposing, but the damned EVF still sticks back nearly an inch from the back of the camera, so I won't buy one of those either, despite its wonderfulness in many areas of being a camera.

    Its also a matter of "style" (which often seems to be said with condescension in the tone - "style OVER subtance"), but not just the style I SEE as the one using the camera, but the style the people I may be shooting with the camera perceive. If a camera looks like a DSLR and you point it in someone's general direction, they tend to be far more aware of it and react to it VERY differently than if you have what they perceive as a little pocket camera pointed in their general direction. I spend a lot of time pointing cameras in the general direction of people with whom I am not closely acquainted and THEIR perception (or lack thereof) of the camera I'm using matters a LOT to me.

    I'm about as much of an anti-EVF guy as there is, but there are times I want one and its a nearly critical want. SOME rear screens aren't particularly visible on a sunny day (although fewer and fewer of them - the GF1 is a very OLD camera in this one regard - you should check some of the new screens out) and its nice to have the option of an EVF. When I'm using a long telephoto lens, I too like gluing the camera to my face for stability. But I'd say I use an EVF about 10-15% of the time and I REALLY want it for that 10-15%, but I really DON'T want it the other 85-90%. So to ME (and I don't question the judgement of ANYone who wants it more of the time), the Olympus with a removable, yet still excellent, EVF is a far more elegant solution than a GH2 or G3 that carries that damned hump and rearward extension of the EVF all of the time!

    IF I used an EVF most of the time, or maybe even if I used it about half of the time, I'd feel differently. Maybe if I was one of those people who think a camera isn't a REAL camera unless it has a "proper" viewfinder, I'd want a permanent EVF (although at that point, I'd rather have a permanent OVF and would probably just carry a "proper" DSLR). I don't shoot that way, I don't want those things. And I'm damned glad Olympus offers such awesome cameras without them and have put so much design and engineering into a system that doesn't rely on the EVF. I wouldn't be bothered if they also offered a camera WITH an EVF hump - I wouldn't buy it but I wouldn't be bothered by it. Panasonic, since the GF1, has seemed to treat their non-EVF cameras as poor step-children, a second camera, a "non-serious" camera with limited controls. Olympus has created the flagship of their line without any sort of EVF and the kind of thinking that goes into that is very different than the kind of thinking that assumes you'd want an EVF all the time. I'm glad they're out there doing that - they tend to make cameras that appeal to me more than Panasonic, at least now that they worked out the performance speed and AF speed and whatnot - to ME, THOSE were real deficiencies with earlier Olympus cameras. The lack of a permanent EVF is a FEATURE!

    I'm sorry to rant about this, but this almost becomes a religious discussion with some people. Some folks just seem to take it on faith that having an EVF all the time is BETTER. I suppose if it could be made small enough and not change the shape and feel of the camera, I'd be happy to have one - I have an X100 after all and love having the OVF there, but that doesn't change the basic look or feel or shape of the camera - it just makes it a bit taller than it would have been. And part of that, I have to admit, is just the sheer technological brilliance of the hybrid EVF/OVF that they stuck in there - I can be a gearhead too - but if it had changed the feel and form of the camera for that, I wouldn't have bought it and, at the end of the day, despite its technical brilliance, I still don't like shooting with a camera glued to my face most of the time! But I absolutely didn't bond with my GH2 and the big hump on top and extension to the back from the EVF was very much what I never got past when shooting with that camera. It changes the way I shoot and the freedom in how I compose and view a shot and I actually find it constraining. Some might find that irrational and it might be, but so what, it matters to me and I'm the one out there in the world USING it! People need to understand that there are a lot of preferences (relating to cameras, religion, bicycles, tennis raquets, cats and dogs, etc) out in the world that are VERY different from their own preferences and they're JUST as valid! And so, when it comes to cameras and most things, I'm just glad that there are a lot of options that allow me to find what I want and most other people to find what they want. I'm personally really happy with the new Olympus offerings - they're just about exactly what I've been waiting for in an m43 camera. If they don't do it for you, you shouldn't buy one!

    -Ray
     
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  18. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    636
    Jul 17, 2010
    If I wanted a DSLR-styled camera, I would go for a DSLR. There is not one reason for me to prefer the GH2 to a camera like the Nikon D5100 Or the Canon 600D. The D5100 has the much better sensor and weights not much more than the GH2. In my eyes the GH2 is no beautiful camera, to say that nicely, but that's a matter of taste, of course. I would not prefer the G3 to an E-P3, because of the lack of too many controls (which the G2 had) and there are not enough programmable buttons to solve that problem. I won't buy a camera of a company which changes batteries for each new model anyway.

    I like the lighter lenses of Olympus, because the main reason I switched to ยต4/3 is weight and Olympus is much better in this regard. I also prefer an EVF which can be tilted to one which can't. I like to have IBIS because I like to use manual focus lenses. I prefer a camera which is capable of making excellent JPEGs to a camera which does not, even although I am shooting mainly raw.
     
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  19. I agree in large part with DHart. As a long time SLR & DSLR user, G3 "hump" not only did not bother me, but was familiar to me, which is why I got one. However, the jury is still out on whether it is a keeper.

    I do appreciate the appearance of the Oly EPx series, but I look through a camera, not at it, most of the time, so that is not the deciding factor for me. I owned an EPL1 until this morning. The VF2 was both a necessity (for me) and a nuisance. It changes the shape and is an awkward, angular object that catches on everything.

    If Olympus can ever incorporate a VF of some kind into the body, then I'll be back.
     
  20. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I sold my GH2 and bought an E-P3 mainly to try something new and also because of the looks of the Pen. Yes, I am willing to sacrifice functionality (EVF, articulated LCD) for style/looks. Also, the touch AF/shutter release implementation on the E-P3 has made me more open to the idea of using the LCD for composition, whereas for years I've been an eye level viewfinder guy.

    Speaking of eye level VFs, I just got my Ricoh GV-2, and it makes a great companion to the E-P3. With a bit of practice, I don't think I'll have any issues framing with my Pana 14mm and 20mm primes. I initially planned on sticking it on for street shooting only, but it's small enough that I may just leave it on there permanently. Here I am with my E-P3:

    5990450080_d6469cf61a_b.

    I'm guessing that within the next 12 months we'll see a camera with Pen styling and integrated EVF as well as a camera with the boxy GF1 style (no hump) and integrated EVF. There are a lot of rumblings in the rumor works about these cameras...
     
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