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Olympus comes of age

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by NoMoreMirrors, May 7, 2012.

  1. NoMoreMirrors

    NoMoreMirrors Mu-43 Rookie

    May 7, 2012
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Hi folks,

    I'm new here. I just thought I'd share some of my thoughts on my camera experience and the m43 system.

    Coming from a MF Minolta X-700, my first foray into DSLRs was the Olympus E-510. I loved that camera. I have since sold it to my sister, so I still get to pick it up from time to time and admire the interface, control layout, and the phenomenal build quality for it's price point.

    My next move was to the Canon 550d. The main reasons being the high ISO image quality, and the more shallow depth of field. I built up a nice Canon system and especially liked the TTL remote flash for casual family snapshots at get-togethers. Though the camera performed great, it always lacked the look of the Olympus. I found myself wanting to get that look again every time I looked back in my catalog.

    Strike one for the DSLR came on my last vacation to Costa Rica. It stayed at home because it was too big, heavy, fragile, ridiculous looking, etc. Mainly it would have been more of a burden than the iq would be worth. I ended up buying an SX40 superzoom, which is a pretty neat machine, and a TS3 because it was supposed to rain a lot. Although the iq wasn't crazy compared to the DSLR, it got me by. Besides that, most of the shots I did get would have been unattainable by the 550d anyway.

    While I was buying the TS3 at Futureshop, they had an open box E-P2/VF-2/14-42 kit for $299. I couldn't pass up a $1100+ kit for that price, so it had to come home with me. I ended up being rather unimpressed by the E-P2. It was slow to focus, the early kit zoom was pretty mediocre, and the iq fell off quickly at anything above base ISO. I thought the focus assist light was an odd omission too. I split it up, sold it, and made a great profit.

    The announcement of the E-M5 was compelling. Finally a new sensor that promised up to date image quality. The third gen Pens focused really fast, so that was a non-issue for me now. The built in EVF and wireless TTL flash system were enough. I liquidated my Canon system over the next couple weeks and made my move. After the pre-order, I researched the lenses and decided on the PL 25mm and the 45/1.8, with the 12mm and 75mm to follow. I picked up a new GF2 kit when the pre-orders turned to back-orders for the E-M5. I needed a decent body in the meantime, and it was another one of those "offers I couldn't refuse", clearance sales. My sister bought one for herself and a friend when she heard of the deal. I also ordered an E-PM1 with the thought of keeping one as a backup when the E-M5 finally gets here.

    I've had enough time with the GF2 and Mini to form opinions between the two. I think the GF2 is slightly better at base ISO. High ISO seems close, but with the E-M5 on the way, I'm not as concerned any more. The Mini gives you more control, and I love Olympus' customization options. With that being said, the Mini also seems easier to use, although the iAuto on the GF2 seems like it would work ok for the amateurs. The Mini would be a no-brainer for me if it weren't for one tiny little feature on the GF2, that pop-up flash. Not the fact that it has one, but the fact you can pull it back to bounce it upward. That one feature turns the GF2 into a supremely capable "pro" shooter in a miniscule "un-pro" size. Ultimately, I decided the GF2 will go to Mom, but I can't help feeling burned that the Olympus clip-on flash doesn't bend over backwards for me... literally.

    All this jabbering leads me to the point of this thread: Olympus and the m43 system has finally come of age. To me, there's not much point in a compact anymore, as my Mini and 45mm combo are almost as small. To me, there's no need for a DSLR anymore, because the E-M5 has the iq and features. So then, what does a DSLR user give up to come to m43? Better battery life, better tracking AF, and a nearly imperceptible bump in iq (but usually only with very expensive glass attached). I don't have to worry about front-focusing/back-focusing with m43 either. I can't justify owning a DSLR anymore. I even find it hard to justify the use of the 14-42 kit lens from the GF2. The zoom range isn't worth the loss of aperture, iq and size that I could have with the 12mm or 45mm popped on instead. I think this system's exceptional primes has made me realize the massive sacrifices you have to make to carry around even the nicest of Canon's L glass on an SLR. I think I will find myself getting a lot more shots that I simply would have missed because lugging the DSLR around would have been too much of a burden.

    Wow, that didn't seem that long in my head. LOL!
    Cheers guys, sorry for the long read!
    • Like Like x 5
  2. creezalird

    creezalird Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 17, 2011
    nice story anyway ;-)

    Sent from my GT-I9100G using Tapatalk 2
  3. NoMoreMirrors

    NoMoreMirrors Mu-43 Rookie

    May 7, 2012
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Thanks. It's my first of a series of rants I will be annoying you with on a daily basis. :) 
  4. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    I'm having a bit of the opposite feeling...

    I switched to 4/3 (EP3) a few months ago and happily left the D7000/lenses at home since then, opting for the EP, 12mm, 45 mm and the kit 14-42. But this past week I was an at outdoor event and, after reviewing the pics yesterday eve, I was dismayed at the relatively high number of poorly focused, soft shots...which never occurred with my the DSLR. It was very disappointing and I'm wondering if I screwed up big time. I love the size, etc of the 4/3 but having a camera that I can't rely on to do what I want is troubling, especially since I was taking pics to publish on the event website. I had taken similar pics last year with my DLSR and had been asked to do it again.

    All shots were taken in bright light, settings were aperture priority, iso set to 200, images at Raw+LF. I can't figure out why many of the pics are soft. I have soft shots from all 3 lenses and it includes stills as well as some movement - people walking toward the camera.

    What I can't understand at all is that I have taken tripod-mounted shots comparing the D7000/EP3 and, in every case, if the EP was using either the 12 or 45, it was sharper than the D7000 with a zoom at the same relative size. But it doesn't seem to be able to match that performance at all when out shooting.

    I got into the concept of wanting 4/3 so I would have a camera when I chose to leave the heavy DSLR/lenses at home. But I'd rather have a heavy DSLR that I KNOW will perform perfectly all the time and either choose to carry it or not as opposed to always carrying a camera that isn't doing what I want. Heck, my cellphone can always take a picture so from that aspect, it's much more convenient than any "real" camera.

    I'm trying to figure out why the pics were unsatisfactory and I'm perfectly prepared to accept some sort of operator error but I can't figure out what the deal is. Today, after reviewing several hundred pics taken over a couple of days, I'm thinking of writing off my 4/3 experiment, putting it all on Ebay and going back to the DSLR. But I won't do that until I've exhausted all possibilities - I really LIKE the EP3... :( 
  5. NoMoreMirrors

    NoMoreMirrors Mu-43 Rookie

    May 7, 2012
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Odd... what kind of apertures were you using. I'm wondering if it missed focus or its a side effect of a prime shot wide open??
  6. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    Most of the shots were in the F4-F8 range; none of the shots were over-exposed and shutter speeds were all 1/400+.
  7. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    OP, you make several references to the GH2, but also refer to the GF2. Which are you talking about. Very, very different cameras with very different sensors and IQ. I think you must be talking about the GF2 since you say the mini offers more controls, which isn't even debatable when comparing the mini to the GH2.

    ALL the 16+ MP m43 cameras (OMD, GH2, G3, GX1) offer dramatically better DR, noise levels, and IQ than any of the 12 MP ones (all the Pens , GF2, etc.).

    As for m43 vs. DSLR, I mostly agree, except that there are times I need better AF in burst mode and better focus tracking, and no finder lag. And it's not just sports. Trying to track the space shuttle flying buy on the back of a 747 was more than my GH2 could manage in burst mode. It wouldn't have been an issue at all with my EOS. M43 isn't quite there yet. M43 is my primary system (a GH2 and a G3), but there are things DSLRs are still better at, just as there are things m43 is better at. Has m43 "come of age"? I would argue it did that quite a while ago, well before the OMD. Is it ready to take over from DSLRs? Unfortunately, no. I wish there was a no-compromises camera system out there, but there isn't. At least not yet.
  8. jalex

    jalex Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 24, 2010
    I must be missing something on my GH2 . . . how do you pull the built in flash back to bounce it? I used that feature on the EPL-1 but don't see how it works on the GH2. Thanks in advance.
    You wrote:

    "if it weren't for one tiny little feature on the GH2, that pop-up flash. Not the fact that it has one, but the fact you can pull it back to bounce it upward. That one feature turns the GH2 into a supremely capable "pro" shooter in a miniscule "un-pro" size. Ultimately, I decided the GH2 will go to Mom, but I can't help feeling burned that the Olympus clip-on flash doesn't bend over backwards for me... literally."
  9. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    You might want to post a few shots, with full EXIF, for us to look at. Otherwise we're all just making guesses.

    A couple of thoughts: What focus mode were you using? If using multi-point, and letting the camera decide what to focus on, you're going to get a lot of errors, especially in busy environments. The camera doesn't know which of the multiple people / objects in the frame is the one YOU want to be in focus. Use single point AF and choose yourself.

    What shutter speeds, and was IBIS turned on? Are these soft because of focus error (is anything in the frame sharp) or camera movement? Or subject movement?

    C-AF or S-AF? C-AF is probably less accurate when shooting mostly stationary subjects.

    Anyway, post a few pics and let us see what we think.

  10. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    IBIS was off because shutter speeds were high (1/400 or higher with all lenses - longest lens was the 45); all shots were single focus point (center) and S-AF. Some shots were using VF and some using the LCD. THere was no consistent difference - better or worse - between VF and LCD.

    I haven't tried to post pics here but I'll look into doing that..
  11. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    We're going out today for the same sort of outing that the camera did not do well at a few days ago. If it performs the same way it and the lenses are going on Ebay and I'll be returning to the weight/size of my D7000. I cannot abide wondering if a camera will do what I expect it to every time I use it. As I said, on a tripod shooting at buildings or whatever, it does great but I never actually do that.

    As I said, I really WANT this camera to work for me like I thought it would. So we'll see what happens.
  12. NoMoreMirrors

    NoMoreMirrors Mu-43 Rookie

    May 7, 2012
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Yes, the GF2. I keep getting the names mixed up. On that note, do those letters mean anything? They seem so random, unlike Oly's that somewhat have meaning.

    I understand every system is going to have a compromise. I really do think we are seeing the start of size really not mattering. For me, the compact is done, I have my phone for that. The DSLR for me is done too, because I can get oh so close to the IQ out of m43. Those of course are just my opinions based on my shooting style and needs, but I get where you're coming from.
  13. NoMoreMirrors

    NoMoreMirrors Mu-43 Rookie

    May 7, 2012
    Winnipeg, Canada
    I don't blame you. Let us know how it turns out.
  14. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    He meant GF2.
  15. NoMoreMirrors

    NoMoreMirrors Mu-43 Rookie

    May 7, 2012
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Yeah... If you broke anything off, I'm really, really sorry. :biggrin:
  16. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I understand you completely.
    When it comes to sports, I find it much easier to get shots with my film SLR and my DSLR than it is with my E-PL2. If there is a ever a kink in the mighty MFT armor, this would be it. If MFT could get good continuous & tracking auto-focus capability, they would be THE force to reckon with.
  17. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Assuming the D7000 does better using similar settings (S-AF, single-point, medium apertures), I'd be included to guess you have a bum camera. It's not that the E-P3 is exemplary in all respects, but for S-AF where you choose the focus point, it really shouldn't be that far off.

  18. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    First off, welcome to the club!

    Wow, that would be an amazing deal even today (and I gather that this occurred a year or more ago)! I gotta start hanging around the Winnipeg FutureShop, I guess.

    I agree, this is one undocumented feature of my E-PL1 that makes me think I wouldn't be completely happy with the E-PM1.

    This is well stated and I agree 100%. :43: represents the "sweet spot" of size and performance.

    This is a very good question that's I've wondered about myself. I think perhaps the "H" (in the GH1 and GH2) could stand for Hybrid (since they're positioned as hybrid still/video cameras), but I have no inkling what the significance of the "F" (GF1, GF2, GF3 & GF5) and "X" (GX1) naming schemes is. If anyone has any insight I'd love to hear it.
  19. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    Went out twice under the same conditions/situation in the past 3 days and the results were fine in both cases. Admittedly, although there was action, it was all within the focus plane, no one was moving toward/away from the camera at the time the shot was taken. The problematic stuff I had a few days ago was when people were walking toward the camera and the aperture was at max -1.8. I assume the issue was that with the shallow DOF, the time between focus lock/shutter firing allowed sufficient movement for the subject to no longer be in the focus plane. But more experimentation is in order. However, it did very well every shot for these two events.
  20. Switch

    Switch Mu-43 Rookie

    May 3, 2012
    Those are the exact reasons I switched from Nikon to the new OM-D. My compact digicam has been collecting dust ever since I got an iPhone. The digicam's superior IQ doesn't really matter when those shots are only going to end up on Facebook. And having a incredibly capable, versatile, high quality camera that's half the size and weight of my old DSLR? How could I say no?
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