Just recently I had a friend (that owns an E-P3) ask me why I used Panasonic cameras. He thought it was ridiculous that I would use one because the Olympus had better color, IBIS, etc...same stuff we've all heard a zillion times over. I simply said that I found it more comfortable and ended it at that. Since then I have been thinking about that question some more and thought it would make an interesting topic. So...why do I prefer Panasonic over Olympus? Well, first off I don't have any issue with Olympus. It's not that I think they are inferior or the Panasonic superior I simply find that I prefer one over the other. I have had several different Olympus M43 boides and while they have all had things to recommend them, I find myself always going back to Panasonic bodies. I think it has to do with the fact that Olympus and Panasonic have very different kinds of goals when it comes to cameras. Olympus cameras put an emphasis on the design of the camera in terms of how they look and they leverage their PEN and OM designs to tap into the considerable goodwill out there for those cameras. It's a brilliant idea and if I were them I would probably do the same. Olympus cameras are gorgeous but I do feel like sometimes they sometimes go for form over function. Panasonic on the other hand seems to gone the "functionality is king" route. Their cameras are all about comfort, ergonomics and stuff being where you expect it to be. Panasonic cameras are more reminiscent of mainstream cameras like Canon and Nikon. If you sit them all side by side they are a stunning example of dull industrial design. Having said that, I find that when it comes to grabbing a camera to use I almost always grab my Panasonic G2 or GH2. For me it isn't a matter of Panasonic cameras being better but simply being more suited to what I like and want in a camera. When I took the time to think it over I found that it really boils down to a few small things. First, I absolutely LOVE the clickable thumbwheel of the Panasonic cameras. I wish my E-P1's thumbwheel had similar functionality. The clickable thumbwheel alternates between aperture and exposure compensation and when in MF mode it allows you to zoom in for focus assist. Second, I really like having a built-in EVF. I have had two VF2's and while they are definitely nice in terms of their resolution I find them a bit clumsy when attached to the camera. I like to keep my camera with me all the time and I can't tell you how many times I have knocked it off taking the camera out of it's bag. Third, I really like the articulated LCD. It's more convenient to me than the flip up aspect of the VF2 in that it allows me some photographic possibilities that I otherwise would not have. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dixeyk/7066219113/" title="Fae by dixeyk, on Flickr"> "684" height="1024" alt="Fae"></a> For instance I could not have gotten the shot above with without laying in the mud and blackberry brambles if I had to use the rear screen. A flip up LCD would have been a bit better but still it would have required a lot more acrobatic posing. The articulated LCD just make this kind of thing a lot simpler and FWIW I quite like the extra possibilities it offers. I suppose if I did street photography I would be more inclined to use a flip up as it seem it would be more discreet (that or learn to zone focus). Finally, I really like the way the Panasonic cameras that I have had (including the GF2 I had) fit in hand and have all the controls laid out in a logical fashion I feel like everything is where I expect it to be. In addition, the grip on the G2 and GH2 is very comfortable and makes the cameras a pleasure to hold. The E-P3 came pretty close when outfitted with the larger optional grip but I found the controls to be less intuitive. Of course a lot of that may be just what I am used to and ultimately this is not meant to say one is better than the other simply that I found one a better fit for my particular tastes. The last little bit concerns IBIS, color and the other Olympus strengths. My friend was keen to point out that my Panasonic could not hope to keep up with the far superior Olympus cameras in this regard. I like IS...I have it on my P14-45 and P45-200. It has its uses but its not something I feel I need to have. I learned how to hold a camera steady years ago and while its nice to have, I can live with it either way. The much ballyhooed Olympus color is another matter. I have my GH2 and G2 tweaked so that they give me nice JPEG color and of course RAW is going to give you the vert best quality and flexibility with either brand of camera. Some areas where I agree with my friend is that I think the Olympus cameras have better AWB and better default metering. If all things were equal that might be enough to make the difference for me but all things are not equal and I willingly trade AWB and metering issues for better handling and comfort. In the end it's all about what we prefer individually. For some the Olympus bodies will be ergonomic heaven and the Panasonics a frustrating P.I.T.A. I still keep my E-P1 and use it. I like and appreciate it for what it is. It's not my principal body but I wouldn't give it up either as there ar some times when I like the slightly smaller form factor. It's especially nice with the P14 attached to it as the P14 focuses quite quickly on the E-P1. I am not a huge fan of the RF style body as it doesn't suit me for a lot of what I do but if my E-P1 were to die on me I'd likely pick up something like an E-P3 or GX1 to replace it. The beauty of m43 is the fact that we have the choice of some really nice bodies and an ever growing selection of very good quality glass.