Second thoughts on M43

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by MexicoMik, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    I dragged a Nikon D80 out of retirement yesterday - it had been sitting in a drawer since I had bought a D7000. I sold the D7000 after using my EP3 for a month or two. So yesterday I was at a Cowboy Action shooting event as "the photographer" and figured for my own interest, I'd shoot the old D80 and the EP. I had an 18-200 on the Nikon and the 14-150, 12, and 45 for the EP.

    The Nikon was so much easier to actually USE. NO, not easier to carry, but just sort of natural to shoot. There was no thinking at all involved, no wondering if it would properly focus on action - just a series of properly exposed/perfectly focused shots. The EP did OK but there were a fair percentage of soft shots and a lot of looking to see what the settings were and changing between center weighted and spot. The fill flash on the nikon was consistently better as well and...yeah, an optical viewfinder really IS better...

    I'm in a total funk at the moment - I like the EP size but it really isn't as "natural" a camera to use as my old D80 (or my now-gone D700). It is a lot smaller though and its images are excellent when you factor out the mis-focused shots. I'm trying to decide whether to close out the M43 experiment or just keep doing it until I get it right. But the Nikon's never required any work to "get it right. :( 
  2. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2012
    How long have you been a Nikon shooter vs Olympus? Point being, perhaps things will flow more naturally in the future?
  3. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    It doesn't have to be an either/or choice - it can be complimentary. Why not use both? Bring the EP3 when you want to have a quality camera but don't feel like carrying a lot of heavier equipment. Carry the D80 when you expect to be doing a lot of camera work (e.g. when you're the "event photographer") and it's features and ergonomics will be more appreciated than the lighter weight of the EP3 would be.

    Lots of folks on here also shoot with DSLR or other cameras as well as MFT... each just shines in different areas. What I love about Micro Four Thirds is that I can carry a small shoulder bag and still have 2 bodies and a wide assortment of lenses that offer tons of versatility. I pack light when I travel, usually only carrying a backpack and my shoulder bag. If I had the equivalent selection of DSLR lenses and bodies, I'd need a whole separate backpack just for the camera gear and the odds of me carrying it around would drop dramatically.
  4. strang

    strang Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2012
    I do think Olympus's control schemes are lacking and takes some getting used to. Coming from Nikon DSLRs too.

    But over time I think I'll just learn to get used to them. Nikon and Canon have their quirks too.
  5. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    MM -

    Same here; my primary DSLR is a Nikon D300 with a fair stable of lenses, battery grip, a couple of SB flashes, the whole deal. Marvelous camera, great ergonomics - but it's heavier than all get out. Put the grip filled with 8 aa's and the 70-200mm 2.8 and you may as well be toting a fully loaded M1 Garand.

    I picked up an E-PL1 with the two kit lenses as an experiment; loved the portability, didn't think too much of the controls even with the super menu activated.

    I think I've resolved the issue by getting an OM-D. The control wheels are reminiscent of the Nikon (1 front, 1 rear). While the Olympus doesn't have all of the control buttons available on the Nikon (there simply isn't enough room on the body) the OM-D is leagues ahead of the E-PL1. Shutter response is good, focusing speed (with the 12-50 Oly and 20mm Panasonic) is good. I don't think it suitable for fast moving indoor sports, but of course a lot of that is lens specific and I don't have a 2.8 70-200mm equivalent lens for the Oly in my kit.

    The controls on the OM-D seem intuitive, much like the Nikon DSLR bodies. I haven't fully customized the button layout yet, but it just feels comfortable to hold and shoot. The Nikon D300 seems to disappear when in use, leaving only the subject in the viewfinder to concentrate on. I'm having the same experience with the OM-D.

    If you can get your hands on an OM-D you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Considering the types of subjects I photograph these days (I no longer shoot indoor sports or tournaments) I think that the OM-D is going to be just fine once I get all of the buttons assigned to the proper tasks.


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  6. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    If it means anything to you,
    One of the reasons why I still have my D5100 is for action shooting & action shooting in lower light.

    That being said, my E-PL2 still does quite a lot of "work"....:smile:
  7. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    I shot Nikon SLRs/DSLRs for more years than I care to remember so I am definitely "used" to the way they work. I also shot an Leica M6 a lot and, in those days, I carried the M6 when I wanted it's advantages and the Nikon when it was what I needed - I did a fair bit of sports stuff, especially horse jumping (wife was a jumper) and my Nikkor 80-200 F2.8 could have almost been welded on my camera.

    So I guess this is really the same thing - but I was hoping to have only ONE camera for everything. Perhaps that can just never happen! :)  I would like to try an OMD but I don't see how that can happen yet - maybe in a few more months there will be some around and available to be touched. (But I really like built-in flash...)
  8. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2012
    I refuse to use multiple systems (not that I'm a pro or anything though)...I definitely want one system that does everything. The E-M5 does that (for me).
  9. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    It's about what you're familiar with. I've been using Oly cameras for 10 years, so when I pick up a new Olympus it just takes me a few minutes to get used to the changes.

    Howver when I pick up a Nikon, or even the Canon I'm forced to use at work, it takes me a long time going through the menus trying to find what I'm trying to change, if that option is even available on those brands.

    Anyway a lot of reviewers rate Olympus' menus best.

    Although if you need help there are tutorial videos online:
    [ame=""]An In-Depth Look at the Olympus Pen Camera System with Wireless Flash - YouTube[/ame]
  10. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    The OLY menus per se may be no worse than the Nikon menus but with a Nikon DSLR, I never needed to access any menus - the setting that I normally would want to change on a routine basis are there as buttons for immediate selection. I never needed to access the menus at all while shooting.
  11. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I sympathize. I absolutely hated carrying my D700 everywhere. But when I did, the camera always delivered. Focus was never an issue. Standard exposure never left me with unrecoverable blown highlights or clipped shadows. I did not miss shots waiting for the camera to start up or trying to change some important option in one of a dozen menus.

    With Olympus m4/3, it's never as simple as raising the camera to your face and shooting. I miss a lot more shots. But on the other hand, I do carry the m4/3 camera a LOT more often. So that's the tradeoff.

    To be fair, they have gradually been addressing many of my key objections. The current m4/3 are a lot faster than the older ones. But whether they'll ever quite get there I have no idea.

    • Like Like x 1
  12. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Sigh. Not again. It's really very simple. NO camera system does it all perfectly. Except for a few people living in fantasy land, everyone using m43 acknowledges that current MILCs simply aren't ideal for shooting action. That you were surprised by this surprises me.

    Optical VF "really" is better? Really? How about when you're shooting in light that meters at EV -1 and you can barely see your hand in front of your face? I bet you'll wish for an EVF or LCD live view then. Again, no technology is better for everything. Each has it's strengths and weaknesses.

    Whatever system you're using, you need to learn to adapt to its strengths and weaknesses. And you need to choose a system that matches your needs. I use my m43 system much more than my EOS system. But if I'm shooting sports or other action, the EOS comes out. A MF back on a Hasselblad isn't a very good sports camera either, but that wouldn't lead me to say my EOS is /better/ than a 'blad. And my GH2 with 14-140 is dramatically better than a 7D with 18-200 zoom for walk around or travel photography.

    Pick the right tool for the right job. My old US inch standard wrenches don't work so good for my Japanese motorcycle, so I have a bunch of metric tools. But you know what? Those metric tools don't work so good on my American made lawn mower.

    That's what I love about the GH2. I almost never need to use the menus in normal shooting.
  13. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    If you want to have 3 or more different camera platforms, that's fine. I don't. In the past I also had Hassys and did all my own darkroom work (color and BW). I am no longer interested in having a collection of cameras. I want one camera and a couple of lenses now but it needs to be able to do everything I want it to do. A DSLR can though I prefer the EP3 /lens size. So that's where I am with all this at the moment.
  14. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    A couple of thngs here: First, it sounds like you may have dumped the D7000 a bit early, after only a month with your E-P3. Now, you had one good experience with the D80 - which we're happy you had, by the way - and you're thinking of dumping micro four thirds. I don't mean to be unkind, but do you notice a pattern here?

    As others have said, many of us shoot with both micro four thirds and traditional DSLRs - there are times and places for both. But there is good news: I think your desire for a single, smaller system to do it all will be satisfied in only a few more years. Another generation or two of development for predictive/tracking auto focus and sensor technology should do it. Already, the Oly OM-D is very close and who knows what the Panny GH3 will be like. Micro four thirds is only 3-4 years old and look how far it's come. Can you imagine what will happen in only another 2-3 years?

    In the meantime, keep and use your micro four-thirds gear - ditto for the D80 and any lenses you have for it when it's appropriate to do so. And let the system of your dreams come to you. It's going to happen - it might not be perfect but it'll be close enough.
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  15. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    Neither do I...with Olympus' Super Control Panel, especially with the touch screen, it gives me more than 20 "buttons" of settings I can change.

    The only times I go into the Oly menu is to format a card, turn on/off wireless flash mode, or reset the camera to one of the MySets.
  16. MexicoMik

    MexicoMik Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2012
    I realize that this is an OLy forum and therefore any criticism of the product is offensive to some. But, at the same time, it seems to me to be valuable to express views of things that are not quite what one may have hoped them to be or issues that some reviewers may have not noticed or failed to test because it wasn't an important item to them.

    Nothing I read about the EP3 led me to believe it would have trouble with action focus. It wasn't until after I bought it that I discovered soft/out of focus shots. I then found this site and posted about it in one of my first posts.

    Did I sell the D7000 too soon? Not really - I still don't want to carry a DSLR around anymore. As others have noted, I guess I'll eventually get comfortable with the way the EP3 works but it sure seems to be taking a whole lot longer than it should for such a simple thing as a camera... :) 
  17. dcisive

    dcisive Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 19, 2010
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    This is so ironic. I've had a D200, D300, D700 and D7000 bodies and some wonderful lenses at one point. I ventured into the Sony NEX-5N for a bit as well with several competent lenses. The Sony did a fine job on IQ but couldn't catch a moving subject if it's life depended on it as it was dog slow in the AF department. The Nikons ALL nailed whatever I aimed them at. For a bit a few years ago when the PL-1 came out I grabbed one and a few nice Panny lenses. It produced wonderful files that printed easily to 13x19 all day long. But once again it was NO speed machine.

    When the OMD was announced I was curious but not much more. I figured it would bring with it all the typical foibles of the Mft format (I also owned and sold off a GH-2 and G3). I had the opportunity to work with one live at a dealer for a few hours and was smitten. Gone was the plugged shadows, lack of focus lock speed, chancy build quality and more. It had the build I wanted, the instant focus lock I wanted and had the +'s without any of the former issues I'd run into with other Mft cameras. Now 3 weeks into ownership I can safely say my having sold off all my D7000 and NEX-5N gear was NOT a mistake. This bad boy delivers.:biggrin:
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  18. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA would be nice if m43 MILCs could replace current DSLRs for all purposes...they may, depending on your personal needs...for me, they don't, now, but they do offer, in some other areas that are important to me, decisive advantages. So...$adly...I think I can currently justify both.
  19. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2012
    Mississippi, USA
    No, Olympus menus are pretty bad compared to Canon and Nikon. Things are sometimes organized strangely and wording isn't always self-explanatory even for experienced users. The use of on-demand additional info via the Info button helps, but they could do with some renaming work to make the Info button less necessary.

    Then again I don't find myself going into the menu for any regular shooting settings. Maybe you consider the Super Control Panel (SCP) a menu since it doesn't involve direct buttons? While I would also like a bit more direct control of some settings via buttons, I'm able to control most through the available buttons and dials. In Aperture Priority mode where I normally live I can set all the basic settings directly without going into the SCP--aperture, exposure compensation, ISO (mapped to Fn. 2), and AF point. That's not to say that I wouldn't like to be able to access other settings directly like IS, AF mode, drive mode, metering, etc., but the SCP puts those 1 extra button press away which to me isn't too terrible. Still, more buttons please!

    Continuous AF is one of those things that doesn't get much testing even by the big review sites, therefore it's something that's not so easy to research. On the other hand it is and has been one of the main weaknesses of all mirrorless systems including m4/3, and as such has been discussed a lot in various forums so there's a lot of info out there just slightly off the beaten path.

    Different strokes. I got used to my E-P1 pretty quickly after I started using it coming from 6 years of Canon DSLR use at the time, but no camera fits every person out there. Even on the DSLR side I see all the time where Canon users can't come to grips with Nikon ergonomics and vice versa despite (or because of? :) ) the plethora of buttons and dials. I hope you get comfortable with your camera because it really is fun to use once you do.
  20. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    If you are invested in photography, the camera type makes a difference. No camera is perfect, but will influence the way you work and the outcome. It has nothing to do with what you are familiar with, although with a new camera I do need a breaking in period with which to figure it out. I have used more camera types than you can shake a stick at. Not one is good for everything.

    The biggest problem I have found it how do you get a camera system that is easy to transport as well as easy to use. Those are not the same things. m4/3 is great to carry around, but I do not find it optimal for shooting. So my answer is I have two systems. The m4/3 is a compact system that supplements my primary system. That is my answer, others have found a different solution.
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