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Missing the 'feel' of a camera

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by dhazeghi, May 16, 2012.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I've been shooting with the Olympus E-PM1 exclusively for the past few months. Yesterday, I was going to finally list my DSLR for sale, so I took it for a spin to make sure everything still worked well. Funny thing is that after using it for a bit, I'm not so sure I want to sell it.

    First, here are the things I don't miss when using the Pen.
    • IQ - The reality is that the Pens and other m4/3 are usually good enough. Not equal, but good enough.
    • Weight - The Pen is a lot easier to casually carry around.
    • Size - My entire Pen kit will fit in a smaller bag than my DSLR and a single lens.
    • Dust - The Pen has been immune from dust, the DSLR has not.

    What do I miss then?
    • VF - The colors in the EVF are all wrong, and it's distracting. Plus I'm used to composing through the VF when the camera is off. Can't do that with an EVF.
    • Speed - The DSLR can be turned on and off instantaneously. There's no delay after a shot before I see the scene again. Image review is faster too, even though the DSLR has a much slower memory card and a higher res LCD.
    • Controls - I can use the DSLR easily with gloves on. In spite of the SCP, I can change most settings far more quickly on the DSLR. Feedback is instant.

    I suspect folks coming from a P&S or low-end DSLR won't have any of these complaints. For those of us who aren't, well, I guess dual systems isn't such a bad setup.

    • Like Like x 2
  2. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    You Need an EM5

    Feels great with the grip. VF maybe not as satisfying as a good DSLR but pretty much everything else is better to my mind. OK the main dial is not perfectly located and that is a compromise but you get used to it. :2thumbs:
  3. I did the same thing recently and the DSLR just felt clunky. Still very fast and efficient in operation but extremely limited in terms of handling and composition. Also, somewhere along the line I've just adjusted to the different ergonomics of smaller cameras. Decision has been made that the DSLRs are going, helped in no small part by the fact that the E-M5 seems to have better IQ than any APS-C Canon DSLR.
  4. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    My feelings are similar. At this point, the EM5 is the only :43: that would make me move away from Canon altogether. I'm in a crossroads right now, because I have to make a decision about a couple of (expensive) Canon lenses vs changing route and going :43: all the way (with the OM-D).

    I think no long term SLR/DSLR user will abandon their cameras easily, if they don't get features like an integrated viewfinder, fast response and at least the same IQ. That's why I think this is a turning point for the industry. Just browsing Kirk Tuck's blog yesterday and this expresses my feelings precisely:

    The Visual Science Lab / Kirk Tuck: Why I think the Olympus OM-D, EM-5 is making so many waves.
  5. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    I agree with the OP. I've have my GH's for about 3 years, and the smaller size is great but handling is an issue. The GF3 is ok as my quick snaps camera, but winter will be a different story, definitely not glove friendly.

    Pretty well every dslr I have had in the last 10 years is instant on, and has much better battery life than any of the three m43 cameras I have now. Of course, I can't stick any of my DSLR's in a pocket either.

    Complimentary systems is how I see it, best of both worlds.
  6. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I like both. I will say that the weight of a DSLR is the main thing that keeps me from using one. Although the OVF on my Olympus E-500 and E-520 was terrible. The EVF on my GH camera is a lot nicer in most situations.
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I think the grip should help the ergonomics of the body a lot, but I don't think it will impact the lack of accessible hard-button controls and the generally lagginess I've seen with the Pen and other m4/3.

    The IQ certainly helps. When I'm using it, I don't particularly mind the Pen ergonomics. But using the other camera, I realize just how far the Pen is from the goal of getting out of the way and letting me just concentrate on the photography. Every click in to the SCP or pause to let the camera boot up and start the EVF is a reminder of that.

    I actually think a lot of long-term SLR/DSLR users have abandoned their cameras already. For them the size savings are more than worth the minor inconveniences or drawbacks. That's okay by me. My long-term concern is that manufacturers will turn to mirrorless to boost profits and simply ignore speed and usability issues on all but the pro cameras.

    Certainly. Though it would be nice if the accessories (batteries, chargers, flashes, cable-releases, etc.) were compatible. As it is, the redundancies can be both expensive and not very convenient.

    Agreed. The one place where an OVF, even a bad one, is very handy is when you're just waiting for a shot to materialize. You can leave the camera off while waiting, and choose your composition, then flip it on when you're ready. Can't really do that with an EVF.

    Thanks for the thoughts,

  8. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    I think most of those that did already, were not real DSLR target group in the first place. What I mean is, for the most part, these were hobbyists selecting a DSLR simply because it offered more than a bridge/point and shoot but without really "investing" in a DSLR system (meaning, lens selection, accessories, etc). I was reffering mainly to pros/semi-pros/serious enthusiasts, where, of course I'll admit, there are notable exceptions where indeed many moved to mirrorless/:43:. And many more as a second system.

    Your concern is valid, although at this point, market pressure from :43: is building up. There are three distinct sectors already, from the very casual user/consumer to the semi-pro. Olympus did well pushing the boundaries with the OM-D. They are going after rather expensive semi-pro level DSLRs. Sure, today's entry level DSLRs offer an awful lot of features/quality. But if they're to be gradually replaced by mirroless, I think the pattern shall repeat itself. For example, expect a future E-PL-something to be much better than today's EP line. Panasonic already does this in their lines, with each iteration offering quite a bit more than the previous, including in speed and useability that you mention.
  9. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Dara, maybe reaching a medium between the two is the way to go. Perhaps upgrade to a m4/3 camera that is slightly larger with more direct controls than the EPM1. It won't solve the EVF vs. OVF dilemma though.

    Another option is going with something like a X100 or XP1, if you must have an OVF. The XP1 is a little bigger than most m4/3 cameras, but it actually feels lighter than the OMD.
  10. I guess there will be differing levels of compromise depending on which Micro 4/3 model is compared to a DSLR, and there's probably some areas where there will never be parity. However, if the only thing that I miss is that one second of extra start-up time then I think that I am doing pretty well given everything that I gain in functionality and usability. In a couple of weeks of using the E-M5 it has occurred to me that this is like the smartphone of cameras, whereas my DSLRs were the Nokia 3210s...
  11. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Ouch!!! :smile:

    C'mon, the DSLRs are more like a Blackberry 7200, which I thought it was the coolest. Great keyboard. Awesome for emailing and texting!

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  12. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Good points. I guess someone used to, say, MF cameras, should have a really hard time associating with a smallish camera. :cool: 

    The reason the OM-D looks good to me: I already have a full frame Olympus camera you see. It has various modes, program, apperture, full manual, a dedicated exposure comp. dial and two different metering modes. It's called the Olympus OM-40 :biggrin: And the OM-D looks and feels a lot like it. After all, all the OMs were smallish SLR cameras.

    Someone coming from a modern DSLR background should find something like a GH2 more familiar perhaps. If familiarity is a requirement, a :43: can at least look and feel like a DSLR.

    About the smartphone analogy, more and more DSLRs these days try and incorporate useability features, like the twilt/touch screen, various "auto" modes, etc. In fact all entry level and some prosumer models do. Photography is going through a paradigm shift all the time. Wait and see what will happen when Wi-Fi and other integration technologies become the norm. :smile:
  13. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Smartphones have made phones bigger, not smaller.

    A more apt analogy will be that the M43 system is like the tablets while DSLRs are general computing laptops and compact cameras like the XZ1 are like smartphones.

    Point and shoots are like your old Nokia 3210s.
  14. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Naw, tablets are much more limited than laptops and don't operate in the same way. Whereas the advantage of m4/3 is to bring DSLR power and versatility into a smaller form while retaining the same kind of functionality. I'd say the M4/3 system is the laptop, and the DSLRs are the desktops. ;) 

    I can switch between a DSLR and a PEN or OM-D and all the functions and adjustments available to me are exactly the same, as is my control of external lighting and accessories. A point and shoot on the other hand has a completely different menu system, completely different lens control, and does not have basic camera functions available or found in the same fashion. Just like an app-driven tablet which doesn't use the same operating system as a laptop or desktop.

    So that would make point-and-shoots the tablets...

    Not that any of this matters, mind you. It's just a fun analogy to play with. :biggrin:
  15. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Maybe mirrorless is MacBook Airs, all solid state and DSLRs are MacBook Pros, with legacy disk technology and Medium Format is Mac Pros.
  16. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    My handheld cameras were always the original Olympus OM-1 and OM-2, so the E-510, which I liked a lot, never felt completely natural to me. The E-P2 and especially the E-M5 are like coming home. While I love the functionality of the E-M5, I also loved the E-P2 because its body size was almost exactly that of an old OM-1 minus the latter's pentaprism. After assuring myself that the ZD 70-300 is manageable on the E-M5, I'll probably be retiring my aging E-510, the tonal rendering of which I liked a lot.
  17. My smartphone analogy was less to do with size and more to do with the functionality and user interface. I think that one area these cameras can continue to get smarter is in the interface, particularly the touchscreen, and connectivity too, I guess. Call me a heretic but now that I've got a taste for it I want to have the option of operating the camera in the same way that I would an iPhone. In that sense a camera like the E-M5 is still not quite all the way there because the touchscreen is not globally implemented (not available in menus, zooming in playback is not the standard two-finger spread/pinch action). I initially expected that the touchscreen focus point selection and shutter release would just be another cool feature but in use I find it to be brilliant, particularly in combination with an articulated screen.

    As much as I appreciate the size, the area where I really love these cameras is that there are no rules on how to hold them or operate them. If you prefer the traditional eye-level viewfinder then there is no doubt that you need hard controls; well-spaced and lots of them. That's where the smaller bodies will never quite compete, although you do still get the benefits (and downsides) of looking through an electronic screen in the viewfinder. For me, the ability to compose and interface through the rear screen is where live-view optimised cameras open up a whole new world of possibilities.
  18. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I have to admit to really missing the prismatic focusing screen on an SLR.

    If an evf or live-view could simulate that in MF mode that would be brilliant (a simple tip of the hat to focus-peaking perhaps?).
    • Like Like x 3
  19. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    I'm baaaack!

    And this is an appropriate place to start! I bought into m4/3 when the E-PL2 improved on the first set of Olys. An E-P3 followed, a couple of lenses, Metz flash, some key accessories... you know the drill.

    Then came the day I packed up my D300 and sent it off to its new home.

    I felt it then.

    Now, I have never enjoyed a camera more than the E-PL2. I love the art filters (there, I admitted it), the small size, image quality, there was no downside.

    I still felt it.

    My wife's agency had Newt Gingrich in for a round table discussion, and I was asked to take photos. They came out great, and I posted a couple on here.

    But there was this guy from the newspaper...

    ..with a big Nikon.

    My camera was every bit as capable in that environment, everything worked flawlessly. My client was thrilled with the photos. But I had a bad case of camera envy. I wanted to LOOK like I knew what I was doing, too!

    Sold all the m4/3 stuff, bought a new Nikon D7000 (knowing I was waiting for the D300s replacement), lenses, flash, got the old big bag back out.

    Happy again?


    I missed my E-PL2. Not as much the E-P3, and not really into the new OM. I'll probably jump on the E-P4 if it is like we all expect.

    So, long answer, sorry... the answer for ME was both, hands down.

    My E-PL2 arrived today!! I feel complete again!

    I may even take a photo of each camera with the other... because I can.
  20. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I love both my E-M5 and my 5DII. They're very, very different beasts. Shooting in harsh weather, with gloves, I'll trust the 5DII over the Oly, because it's easier to hold, easier to adjust on the fly, and has the ergonomic advantage in every way that isn't 'it's kinda heavy'. Bulky to transport, yes, but a pleasure to shoot with.
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