The Olympus vs Panasonic Sensor Difference!

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by Jonathan F/2, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I just got an E-PL2 to compare to the G3/GF2 and wow what a difference. The Olympus processing is only so-so at high ISOs, but at low-ISOs I have to say it's probably one of the best I've seen for a small sensor. The E-PL2 metering and adjustment curve is far superior to Panasonic's implementation (with Panasonic you only have EV comp and metering to adjust). Pixel sharpness seems more acute as well with the E-PL2. Shooting text with the E-PL2 consistently yielded sharper results versus my G3. I'm sure I'm just preaching to the choir here, but the differences are really interesting. In fact I'm somewhat confused now as to which brand I really favor! I'm now very tempted to get an E-P3, but I don't know if I could fully give up Panasonic as there are things that I like about their implementation as well!

    Anyways here are 3 examples using the 45mm 1.8 on the E-PL2, G3 and GF2:



    • Like Like x 3
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    There's no need to fully give up one or the other! They both use the same system, and it's just as cost efficient to use both brands in your system as one.
  3. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Tempted, but not going to do it! :wink:

    I think I may stick with the G3, E-PL2 combo. I was tempted to get a E-PM1, but I really don't like not having a built-in flash since my m43 kit was supposed to be just my family camera (wife friendly)...which as you can see has grown out of control! :biggrin::eek::tongue:
  4. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    GF2 was my first m43 cam but I couldn't warm up to its output so a few weeks later I decided to buy E-PL2. I put GF2 for sale the same day. The difference was shocking.
    After a few months using E-PL2, I wanted a built in EVF so I got G3. I sold it 3 weeks later as the output I was getting was far inferior to E-PL2 despite lower noise. Color renditition, sharpness, WB, metering all were dramatically different with G3 and far less pleasing than E-PL2. Raw files also needed far more corrections than ORF files from E-PL2. No more Panasonic for me for a while.
    Now I added E-Pm1 which I enjoy very much primarily due to much improved AWB (the best I've ever seen).
    • Like Like x 2
  5. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I love my E-PL2 so much that I'm passing on all the Olympus new "3" models....
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have to admit, the E-PL2 is a nice sweet spot camera. It has all the image quality of the 3rd gen Pen bodies, at 2nd gen Pen prices! :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  7. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    Geez, you folks give up easy. did you even attempt to adjust the image processing parameters of the Panasonic cameras? You can make the jpegs look like almost anything you want between the various settings and their adjustments. More saturation, more (or less) contrast, color balance and sharpening are all adjustable over a wide range.

    Even better, shoot raw and get even more control over output.

    To each his own, but I wouldn't give up the built-in EVF of the G and GH bodies for the jpeg output of the Oly, especially since I can fix the output problem easily.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    It is, of course, very tough to judge from those shots, but I like the rendering on the G3 better -- tones and color transitions, even though it's not as sharp (and I'm an Oly owner). Were these RAW or jpgs? Any post processing?
  9. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I shot jpeg with minimal post processing on these images. I don't think it's a matter of processing. The output is definitely different. I guess Olympus does have a very weak AA filter, because pixel sharpness is definitely more noticable versus the G3. I like both brands and can comfortably shoot with either no problem. I don't like shooting RAW, I prefer jpeg and editing in Photoshop. I use several layers of F-keys with macro'ed actions which I find easier to use. I can batch edit hundreds of photos fractionally faster than Aperture or Lightroom users.

    I'm not saying the G3 is worst by any means, in fact the 16mp sensor is better all-around. I just think Olympus looks truly different and does allow for more in-camera adjustments to your final output. :smile:
  10. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2010
    Ultimately, the choice is yours to make as to which camera you will keep. Others have expressed their opinions but you are the one who will be making the final decision. I, personally, don't think that a bad choice could be made here as they are all great cameras.

  11. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Thanks for the details.

    IMO the G3 looks more film-like, which I prefer, but there are other quirks around Panny (personal preferences) which keep me with Pens, but looking at that G3 shot, maybe I'll take a second look.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Here are a couple more!

    E-PL2 45 1.8:

    G3 45 1.8:

    GF2 45 1.8:

    Just for fun a Nikon D3 & 85 1.4 G :

    The G3 is the low light champ. I actually don't mind the GF2 cooler rendition. The E-PL2 renders entirely different though. The D3 & 85 1.4 G are in a different league, but huge and heavy as heck!
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  13. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Metering is somewhat abysmal on the G3 though. I'm used to Nikon's solid metering system. Olympus metering is excellent as well, but Panasonic despite getting their jpeg engine on par, still has issues with metering in varying light levels. I find myself tweaking contrast/brightness more with my G3 or fudging the EV comp. I like that Olympus gives you adjustments in shadows and gradations. A very nice touch.

    If I had to get rid of one, it would probably be the GF2. I find the dynamic range is sub par and needs the most tweaking. Strangely enough it's probably my favorite m43 body. In my opinion it hits the sweet spot of size, usability and simplicity while still retaining the hotshoe. The GF3, cut out too much.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    I do prefer your images from the Olympus, but I also wonder how the Panny would have performed in side-by-side shooting under the same lighting conditions?

    Compared with my Canons (5D, 40D), I much prefer the out-of-camera images (I only shoot RAW) from the Olympus. The exposure and WB seem to be spot-on much more often than with my DSLRs, saving me time in Lightroom.
  15. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    One thing I am sure of -- you're daughter is as cute as a button! Love that first shot in post #12.
  16. JCD

    JCD Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 10, 2010
    Palermo, Italy
    Did you take all the photos directly to jpg? Because if it so, it's known that the jpg pulled out from Olympus are superior. Panasonic cameras need to set them right, especially the values ‚Äč‚Äčthat affect the NR (for my GF1 for example, I set this value to the minimum, -2).
  17. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Real Name:
    I'll agree with the metering comment. I've had a G3 for about three weeks and, although there are some things I love about it, I too find the metering pretty inconsistent. It just takes more work to ensure a good exposure than any other m43 camera I've owned (G1, GF2, E-Pl1). And the WB is also pretty hit-and-miss.

    The JPGs from the G3 are very different than the Olys. I find them much better than the G1 but not quite as good as the E-PL1. The problem is that exposure (and to a lesser extent, WB) is so often wrong that the images require adjustments in PP, and you have a lot more leeway to fix things when you shoot in RAW. So with the G3 I shoot in RAW only. With the E-PL1 I shot in RAW + JPG, and ended up keeping the JPGs about 30% of the time, because the colors were so 'perfect'.
  18. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    One of the reasons I bought Olympus was for their color management. It isn't always true that you can process two images from two cameras to look the same. It really matters how the channels are processed and how well the colors are mapped to the color space. It can be quite complex to match color, not something I would want to do with each image.
  19. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    It's EXACTLY a matter of processing. Processing in the camera, not post processing. Whether you let the camera convert the raw image to jpeg, or do it yourself, it's still processing. And it's widely acknowledged that Oly does a much better job of jpeg conversion than the Panasonic defaults. But you don't need to accept the default conversion.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Very nice Jonathan, :2thumbs::2thumbs:
    The Oly jpeg output is probably the best of any camera, they translate a warm personal feeling. :2thumbs::2thumbs: