Pana G1 v. GH1 v. Pentax K-7: picking out a winner

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by jimr.pdx, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    And the winner is.. Me! :smile:
    And the loser is those who like really rigorous tests, I suck at those* :rolleyes:

    Stop me if you've heard this one.. In the last month I've tried to come to grips with my camera future. My K-7 is getting less use as the convenience of a compact kit sinks in. Size matters to me, like it does to many of you, and while the K-7 is truly amazing for the amount of features per cubic inch, I'm not really using a lot of them. In a semi-desperate act to make the K-7 more to my liking, I swapped three very good lenses for their new weather-sealed 18-135 with internal motor. It does make for a compact set (I still have their WR 50-200) so it's ready to challenge the G1 in serious tests.

    But it's worse than that, as I just picked up a GH1 body (yes, one of the last ever!); it arrived a day after the 18-135 to compete for my time. Two weeks earlier, my big quest for small gear also netted a 40-150 m.Zuiko to challenge the Lumix 45-200. Somebody stop me!! :rofl:

    Anyway - I set up the tripod tonight and shot this tortuous scene:

    I shot iso800 at 60mm (80mm on K-7) and at 150 (200mm on Pentax w/50-200 lens) and examined the highlights, shadows, wall texture, text on the light socket.. you name it. I set all three cameras the same - well I tried* but I never can :frown: - and adjusted shutter speed to meter the same result. All are RAW shots, and Picasa did the conversions with no intervention.

    The results were no great surprise (images can be seen at my Piacasa site). Other than tungsten WB working best on the K-7 they all did fine work, and both G1 and GH1 look equally good with either tele zoom. Test freaks can look them over & pick them apart; nobody wins when you point out the obvious but have at it. At some brighter luminance levels the G1 appears to lose detail relative to the other two even at lower iso values, but a bit more targeted PP could take care of that. All my work was done to the entire image.

    I also shot a single iso2500 image with each setup (G1/45-200, GH1/40-150, K-7/50-200). All three cameras are stressed (banding + some color shift), and all look very good with 2-3 minutes work in Elements 9. I cropped and re-scaled them to look as similar as possible (see the last 3 shots in the picasa folder).

    Maybe I'll run some outdoor shots this wet weekend.. or maybe not. :wink:

    partial list of what I did wrong starts here..
    G1 and K-7 shots were 3:2 but new GH1 still set to 4:3
    Lumix 45-200 shots have OIS enabled - on a tripod! :eek:
    K-7 SR is also enabled - on a tripod! :eek:
     
  2. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I wonder what it is you are trying to achieve? Is there a specific quality, or level of quality, you are looking for? Why do you need it?

    There are some types of photography, some outputs, that require very specific things from a camera and it's lenses. But if that's not the case here, and you are simply trying to find a really good camera for the hobby you love, then you may be over-thinking things.

    Please don't get me wrong. Having the right camera for you is very important. But there are always compromises. In my view, for what it's worth, the one thing you should not compromise on is making photographs. The cameras you list all have good reputations. Choose one that you like to use and which captures images you like. Then make photographs.
     
  3. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    No, I understand you - at some point I will decide which compromise to take, and after doing the work I felt the results might be illuminating. The GH1 was not a large IQ leap over the G1 (in this test only!), I had expected a clearer victory there - but that's a me problem and in no way a GH1 problem.

    I had been wondering if a fairly simple test would ease my conscience and simplify the decision when it comes. At this moment I can keep two systems but it's not the long-term plan. Not surprisingly with newer cameras, the result ing images are very similar and only a 'feeling' will break virtual ties. And once the decision is made I'll do more "real" shooting and fewer test-shots!
     
  4. jholmes7405

    jholmes7405 New to Mu-43

    1
    Feb 12, 2011
    Micro 4/3 vs. K-7

    I have gone through a similar internal debate. I finally decided that having a light-weight camera with me all the time out-weighted the additional capabilities of the K-7. Note several articles in my blog relative to this decision.
    http://everchangingperspective.wordpress.com/
     
  5. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I recently did something a little similar, though with not nearly as much discipline as you have applied.

    I compared my GF1 and E-P2 using the same lenses and settings, with the objective of seeing which was best for my purposes. my longer term goal was to find out what I really valued in my camera / lenses, what was really useful to me. I am very happy with M4/3, and would love it to be my only setup. But image quality for some of my uses is not quite there, so I wanted to have clear criteria for judging the next generation of M4/3 cameras.

    I sold the E-P2.