Panasonic vs. Olympus

snegron

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Disclaimer: This post is not meant to be a flame war between fans of either system.

I wasn't sure where to post this, so please forgive me in advance if it needs to be in some other forum.

I currently own a GX85 and an old G5, plus several lenses (Panasonic and Olympus). I once owned an Olympus EPL8 (returned it due to a battery overheating issue). I have read many reviews of both Olympus and Panasonic bodies. Most reviews are skewed in favor of the system they are reviewing.

My question is what is the difference between Panasonic and Olympus sensors? Does one system have more dynamic range than the other? Does one system perform better than the other in low light?

I mostly shoot stills (actually more like 99.999% of the time). I like the feel and form of "rangefinder-type" bodies and eye level viewfinders on the back of a camera instead of just a large lcd screen. The subjects I shoot are mainly travel (when possible), landscapes and the occasional portraits. For fast paced action or sports, I use my Canon 7dmk2.

I have no complaints regarding my GX85, however, I would like to know if there is an m4/3 option with better IQ out there. At some point I will be upgrading and would like to know which body (Panasonic or Olympus) would be a step up in terms of IQ.
 

Replytoken

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There is no simple answer as they spec. the sensors for each body. Some sensors are shared between models and between companies, and some are not. You really need to evaluate the sensor in the bodies that you are considering.

For instance, Sony provided a lot of the 16MP sensors that Olympus used in the original E-M5 bodies. Then Panasonic provided a 16MP sensor that was supposedly used in the E-M1. And even if the same sensor is used in two different bodies, each company has their own engine and specs that can impact the output.

--Ken
 

Stanga

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The thing to ask yourself is which of your shots would have stood out more with a wider dynamic range, and impressed your peers. Just about every prize winning shots out there have been touched up with post processing, which can produce a wider dynamic range.
 

snegron

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The thing to ask yourself is which of your shots would have stood out more with a wider dynamic range, and impressed your peers. Just about every prize winning shots out there have been touched up with post processing, which can produce a wider dynamic range.

I don't disagree, however U would love the chance to get a better image straight out of the camera to spend as little time in Photoshop as possible.
 

snegron

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There is no simple answer as they spec. the sensors for each body. Some sensors are shared between models and between companies, and some are not. You really need to evaluate the sensor in the bodies that you are considering.

For instance, Sony provided a lot of the 16MP sensors that Olympus used in the original E-M5 bodies. Then Panasonic provided a 16MP sensor that was supposedly used in the E-M1. And even if the same sensor is used in two different bodies, each company has their own engine and specs that can impact the output.

--Ken

That's pretty much the problem I have been running into; each camera has a different sensor seemingly unique to one model or another.
 

agentlossing

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The G9 seems to have the best IQ, at least if you believe DPR's image comparison tests. It looks really good and Panasonic's most recent colors have been even better than the GX85, which itself seems to have been a turning point from their old look.
 

snegron

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The G9 seems to have the best IQ, at least if you believe DPR's image comparison tests. It looks really good and Panasonic's most recent colors have been even better than the GX85, which itself seems to have been a turning point from their old look.

I wonder if the G9 sensor can be found in another, non dslr-like body?
 

Generationfourth

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Within M43 bodies you will find either the 16mp sensors or 20mp sensors in the later bodies. Some of the earlier 20mp bodies (like the GX8) have an anti aliasing filter which can affect overall sharpness. But comparing a 20mp sensor on an Olympus vs a 20mp on a Panasonic is a toss up as you will get similar overall noise levels, DR, sharpness, etc. It really comes down to the form factor you prefer and the features you need. Generally speaking "Panasonic for video, Oly for stills" rings true, though I happily shot stills on Panasonics and preferred the usability over Olympus bodies.

The biggest difference is probably how Panasonic/Olympus outputs a jpeg file and how they process colors, skin tones, white balance, etc. If you are shooting RAW it makes less of a difference, but if you like to do minimal processing then look into how each camera processes a jpeg. I personally find Panasonics to be greatly improved with their recent bodies (G9, etc); but after spending time with an Olympus EM1 I really love the jpegs that come out of it so I've switched over.

edit: also forgot to mention that the quality of glass probably matters the most.
 

ex machina

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I don't think you're going to find a significant difference in modern m43 sensors -- to get something dramatically better you need to jump to FF, and depending on your shooting and printing style and habits, you may find it not all that much of a leap.

I've held steady with my GX7 since no upgrade from Panasonic or Olympus has addressed my greatest needs, that of additional dynamic range and low-light handling. Clearly jumping to FF would address this, but I'm thus far unwilling to accept the tradeoffs of price and weight.

YMMV.
 

agentlossing

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snegron

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Within M43 bodies you will find either the 16mp sensors or 20mp sensors in the later bodies. Some of the earlier 20mp bodies (like the GX8) have an anti aliasing filter which can affect overall sharpness. But comparing a 20mp sensor on an Olympus vs a 20mp on a Panasonic is a toss up as you will get similar overall noise levels, DR, sharpness, etc. It really comes down to the form factor you prefer and the features you need. Generally speaking "Panasonic for video, Oly for stills" rings true, though I happily shot stills on Panasonics and preferred the usability over Olympus bodies.

The biggest difference is probably how Panasonic/Olympus outputs a jpeg file and how they process colors, skin tones, white balance, etc. If you are shooting RAW it makes less of a difference, but if you like to do minimal processing then look into how each camera processes a jpeg. I personally find Panasonics to be greatly improved with their recent bodies (G9, etc); but after spending time with an Olympus EM1 I really love the jpegs that come out of it so I've switched over.

edit: also forgot to mention that the quality of glass probably matters the most.

The anti aliasing filter seemed to be an Achilles heel in many cameras, not just m4/3 bodies. I understand that they were meant to prevent moire, but lack of sharpness, contrast and detail was the price paid.

As far as jpeg output, I have had almost no luck with producing images that didn't look blotchy, required color enhancement in Photoshop or lacked sharp details. That's why I shoot mainly RAW.
 

snegron

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I don't think you're going to find a significant difference in modern m43 sensors -- to get something dramatically better you need to jump to FF, and depending on your shooting and printing style and habits, you may find it not all that much of a leap.

I've held steady with my GX7 since no upgrade from Panasonic or Olympus has addressed my greatest needs, that of additional dynamic range and low-light handling. Clearly jumping to FF would address this, but I'm thus far unwilling to accept the tradeoffs of price and weight.

YMMV.

Funny thing is that I am really not that impressed with low light performance of either Canon or Nikon. In addition to my GX85, I also have a Canon 6dmk2 and Nikon D750 with equal lenses in both systems (long story, mostly about stupidity on my part). Their low light performance is not all that stellar. The Canon 6dmk2 low light images are almost identical to what I used to get with my 7dmk2 with its smaller APS-C sensor. Same with my D750 compared to my older Nikon D200 (slightly better high ISO performance).

I have seen some outstanding images shot by folks using m4/3 bodies in low light. Either they were lucky to get a super awesome body with a freakishly great sensor, or they are masters of Photoshop. Some of the low light images I have seen are way better than what I dream my full frame Canon or Nikon could capture!
 

ABFoz

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No estoy listo para esto todavía.
I have no complaints regarding my GX85, however, I would like to know if there is an m4/3 option with better IQ out there. At some point I will be upgrading and would like to know which body (Panasonic or Olympus) would be a step up in terms of IQ.

Sorry, I don't do much gear talk but I got this site from a member here (@archaeopteryx ) and got somewhat intrigued. I usually am just a spectator with gear talk.

Here is the comparison: https://www.photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#FujiFilm X-Pro2,FujiFilm X-T3,Olympus OM-D E-M1X,Panasonic Lumix DC-G9,Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85.
1618531201000.png
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So with the higher-end MFTs, you will be entering APSC sensor performance territory. That's probably the reason why the G9 and the E-M1s are the go-to by those downsizing their gear from larger sensors. Cheers.

Edit: They are not rangefinder-style cameras, though, but since they have good ergonomics, especially the E-M1s, you won't feel the weight that much, at all. That's my experience, at least.
 

John King

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As far as jpeg output, I have had almost no luck with producing images that didn't look blotchy, required color enhancement in Photoshop or lacked sharp details. That's why I shoot mainly RAW.
I hope that you have your JPEG settings as large as possible. With Olympus, that's LSF JPEG (2.7:1 compression). That gives you the most data to work with.

Using LSF, I have never seen blotchiness or posterisation in the OoC JPEG from any of my 6 bodies, dating all the way back to my 2003 E-1. Or lack of sharpness, FTM.

Almost every image I post here is essentially an OoC JPEG (ditto my web site), so judge for yourself.

e.g. Rosa at ISO 6400

E-M1_MkII_JAK_2020-_M226103_Ew.jpg
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snegron

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I hope that you have your JPEG settings as large as possible. With Olympus, that's LSF JPEG (2.7:1 compression). That gives you the most data to work with.

Using LSF, I have never seen blotchiness or posterisation in the OoC JPEG from any of my 6 bodies, dating all the way back to my 2003 E-1. Or lack of sharpness, FTM.

Almost every image I post here is essentially an OoC JPEG (ditto my web site), so judge for yourself.

e.g. Rosa at ISO 6400

View attachment 883377

The details on his nose and around his eyes are exceptional! I'll do some shooting this weekend and post a few images here to describe my not so exceptional experience!
 

snegron

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Sorry, I don't do much gear talk but I got this site from a member here (@archaeopteryx ) and got somewhat intrigued. I usually am just a spectator with gear talk.

Here is the comparison: https://www.photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#FujiFilm X-Pro2,FujiFilm X-T3,Olympus OM-D E-M1X,Panasonic Lumix DC-G9,Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85.
View attachment 883373

So with the higher-end MFTs, you will be entering APSC sensor performance territory. That's probably the reason why the G9 and the E-M1s are the go-to by those downsizing their gear from larger sensors. Cheers.

Edit: They are not rangefinder-style cameras, though, but since they have good ergonomics, especially the E-M1s, you won't feel the weight that much, at all. That's my experience, at least.

The E-M 1 series seem to have great reviews. I guess what I'm looking for is that sensor on a non dslr body!

As for APS-C territory, I have been glancing at some Fuji cameras, but I really don't want to invest in yet another system. I already have m4/3 lenses, so starting from scratch yet again in not something I'd like to do.
 

Generationfourth

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The E-M 1 series seem to have great reviews. I guess what I'm looking for is that sensor on a non dslr body!

As for APS-C territory, I have been glancing at some Fuji cameras, but I really don't want to invest in yet another system. I already have m4/3 lenses, so starting from scratch yet again in not something I'd like to do.
You may want to check out an EM5iii. I think the GX9 is a wonderful option, though I think the rangefinder body is somewhat 'dead' in m43 and wish Oly and Panasonic would revisit a suitable RF/fuji competitor.

Also, I can't really call the EM1 a DSLR body. The pictures online are a little deceiving. The G9 looks and feels a little more like a DSLR and I can call that one "DSLR styled". FWIW I've always preferred range finder styled cameras (like my old GX8) but found I enjoyed the appearance moreso than the ergonomics. And after switching to EM1 from the G9, mainly because of size/weight issues, I will say that the EM1 feels a lot more like a compact M43 camera- that I feeling that I love. Now my 2016 m43 regret is I wish I had tried an EM1 before buying my GX8...
 

Replytoken

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The E-M 1 series seem to have great reviews. I guess what I'm looking for is that sensor on a non dslr body!
Have you considered a Pen-F?

Also, good images depend heavily on good exposure. A well exposed image makes a huge difference in IQ, especially at high ISO's. Pulling data from an underexposed images is a difficult, if not impossible task, regardless of sensor size or brand.

And, what you like in a sensor varies from person to person. I know the GX8 had a big following for its "look" as did the Pen-F. The GX80/85 has its following as well, albeit mostly for video. And I know that Bill's Claff's Photons to Photons site give the edge to the E-M1MkII over the MkIII in dynamic range, but there are folks that prefer the newer body.

--Ken
 
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retiredfromlife

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I own and use both Panasonic and Olympus systems. To me IQ wise I cant see a difference with my post processing skills.
I only do stills so cant comment on video.

But focusing wise the Oly sensors with Phase detect give me more keepers. [EM1 series and EM5.3] Not sure if that is the sensor or the camera.
Even on the non phase detect cameras E-P5 & EM10.2 I have more success with auto focus, than my G85


From my experience gained from using both systems, the main reason I now use my G85 is because of the 14-140 & 100-300 Panasonic lens that I really like the dual IS on.

Most reviewers [if you believe them] like the focus on Olympus the best, but I lot of them are video biased.
 
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