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Thread: Micro four thirds redux
09-29-2010, 09:21 AM #1
Micro four thirds redux
Just did a search and it looks like it's been a while since the subject of micro four thirds has come up here. For the most part it would seem that DSLRs are still very popular at least among the maggots who consider themselves serious photographers. However, there have been quite a few new micro four thirds models in the past few months and Panasonic is set to release a new model (the GH2) that looks pretty intriguing: http://www.dpreview.com/previews/panasonicdmcgh2/ The downside to me is the price. With the cheapo 14-42mm kit zoom the price will be around $1,000. With the much nicer 14-140mm the price is $1,500.
I've been seriously considering the Panasonic G2. I have a discount through work and can get it for $600, but I'm still debating whether I should just go the DSLR route with something like the Canon T2i. Any thoughts? The big question mark for me is whether the portability of the G2 would actually cause me to carry it in situations where I would have left a DSLR at home. The G2 with the 20mm pancake lens makes for a very compact package.
And has anyone else been eyeballing the Fuji X100? Too expensive for what it is for my taste, but it definitely looks great! http://finepix.com/x100/en/
09-29-2010, 11:10 AM #2
For this reason a P&S is the best camera for some people, while an SLR is fine for others.
One thing to consider with micro 4/3s is that the larger sensor (compared to a P&S) results is less depth of field. That means the autofocus system will need to be more responsive to keep up with moving targets, such as skiers.
So far I haven't seen any non-SLR cameras that have autofocus tracking that is even close to the most entry-level SLR, mainly because they can't do phase detection auto focus. So if you want to do a tight shot of a moving skier, mirrorless cameras such as micro 4/3s will simply not be able to keep up with focus. (Notwithstanding the wide angle shot of a distant skier that someone is now bound to post. )
Despite their many limitations, those tiny sensor P&S cameras can actually handle action quite well, due to their almost unlimited depth of field. If the focus is even close, the image will be sharp. (That's why P&S cameras don't even attempt to refocus between shots in their faster FPS modes.) But once you move up in sensor size, then focus ability becomes critical for action photography.
Unfortunately none of the popular camera review websites look at this ability in a meaningful way. Most consider taking pix of moving children as "action" photography."Good girls go to heaven. Bad ones go to hell. And girls on fast bikes go anywhere they want." Elena
09-29-2010, 11:47 AM #3
It does sound like they've made significant strides in the AF:
One of the reasons that the G2 feels so snappy is that its AF speed is very impressive indeed. In normal use, the G2's AF feels almost as responsive as a typical midrange DSLR with a kit lens attached. In most shooting conditions, AF acquisition is very speedy, and almost infallibly accurate. Like all contrast-detection AF systems we've used, the G2 does display a momentary 'hunting' when AF is first initiated, but with the 20mm f1.7 pancake lens fitted it takes a mere 0.5 seconds (approx) to alter focus from its nearest focusing distance to a distant object, close to infinity. With the new 14-42mm kit lens, AF is even faster, with the result that to any practical extent, the G2 offers equal or superior AF speed with static subjects to most entry-level DSLRs.
With skiers, though, even "momentary hunting" could mean losing the shot. To be honest, high speed action shots have accounted for a very small percentage of the photos I've taken in the past and I don't see why that would change so it might not be a major issue for me.
09-29-2010, 11:54 AM #4
I'm selling all my Canon gear, older 20d and lenses to get into the micro four thirds platform. It has pretty much everything I need right now.
The GH1, when hacked shoots some of the best HD video in the market. It's very compact, perfect for traveling, the GF1 can be put in the pocket. Some of the new lenses coming out are really nice. The already released 20mm 1.7 is slick and extremely compact.
The only downsides as I see it are the electronic viewfinder and lack of resolution/low light compared to say a 5D mkII.
09-29-2010, 04:43 PM #5
Yes, focus speed for static subjects is really quite good, but focus tracking of a moving subject is a much more difficult challenge.
The reason why these cameras often do an initial hunt for focus is that contrast detection systems cannot tell which way the focus is out, I.E. if the lens is focused too close or too far away. That really limits the ability for continuous, predictive focusing like you find on any digi SLR.
Of course that is just technical mumbo jumbo, and if you don't plan to shoot much action, then a micro 4/3s might be a good choice.
One thing to consider is that although the cameras themselves are small, things get bigger quickly when you add a longer lens. Handle the camera at a store with something other than the pancake lenses, and think about how you would carry it for skiing. If it is not pocket size, will it go into a pack? If so, should you then just get an SLR? Or maybe go back to a P&S? (I'm not being much help here, I realize.)
Luckily you're an AD, so you should be immensely wise and knowledgeable and be able to decide what to do."Good girls go to heaven. Bad ones go to hell. And girls on fast bikes go anywhere they want." Elena
09-29-2010, 07:05 PM #6
I have a GH2 on preorder for now. If the reviews are below what is expected, then I would certainly consider putting my money elsewhere. Personally I would have preferred the sensor improvements without an increase in MP. I have yet to see a demo with the stills AF speed on a moving subject, but this video seems to indicate that they've made big strides over the GH1:
My usage will be split ~30/70 between stills and video, with weight and portability a bit of a factor. Being able to adapt just about any lens is a big plus in my book. It's too bad consumers still have to make a compromise on stills or video quality in a single body (see Canon's "wonder camera"), but I think GH2 will provide the best overall video experience for my needs and budget, especially if a hack materializes again.
It'd be great to have a 5DMII or 7D for stills, AF-100 for video and that new Fuji X100 for a walk around camera...that's the way the cookie crumbles.
09-29-2010, 08:37 PM #7
While we are on the subject of interesting cameras that don't fall under the standard SLR moniker, anyone else read this article about the new Sony A55:
"Sony’s A55 camera adopts a new spin on a decades-old photographic idea: the mirror is translucent. It splits light between the focusing sensor and the image sensor — all the time. The mirror never has to flip up to take a picture, so the autofocus never goes blind when you take a shot. As a result, the camera can shoot an incredible 10 shots a second, refocusing all the way. Sony says no other camera in the world can do that. The camera also shoots beautiful, high-definition video — and it can change focus as you pan the camera, gorgeously and cinematically. Very few S.L.R.’s, or even I.L.C.’s, can do that trick, refocusing while filming.
But the Sony doesn’t just change focus in video. It changes focus fast. According to Sony, the A55 is the first camera — or camcorder, for that matter — to use what’s called phase-detection focusing for video. (Other cameras, and all camcorders, use a slower system called contrast detection.) That’s only possible because, in this camera, the autofocus sensor can see the scene all the time."
Very interesting- be sure to check out the example shots. I think the real downside of that camera is low light (judging by the examples)- the new crop of Canon/Nikon SLRs are ridiculous in their ability to shoot at high ISO and produce great pictures.
09-29-2010, 09:09 PM #8
The A55 is interesting for sure, but my quibble is that it doesn't have full manual video controls at the moment (promised in a firmware update). A gold award from dpreview is nothing to sneeze at on the stills side though.
09-30-2010, 12:14 AM #9
09-30-2010, 10:59 AM #10
The optional electronic viewfinder on the Olympus micro 4/3s is very nice. I played with it in the shop last month. It's also pricey. How is the viewfinder in the new panasonic?
I have a G11 that I carry when I don't want to carry my DSLR.
09-30-2010, 03:29 PM #11
i have never used a DSLR. i got a GF1 as a step up from compacts cameras and I am pretty pleased with it for general use. skiing is one of the things i take pics of but not the only thing so skiing performance isn't absolutely paramount. that said, i've had some decent results. see this thread for more:
the EVF is OK but not great. i like using it because it helps in strong light and i like shooting with my camera close to my face. it is expensive for what it is though
i'd love a GF1, maybe slightly bigger, but with a nice big integrated OVF - like a poor man's Leica rangefinder
there is a GH2 on the way with more bells and whistles on the video shooting if that's your thing, although the video on the GF1 is by no means bad
Last edited by Arno; 10-18-2011 at 11:31 AM.fur bearing, drunk, prancing eurosnob
09-30-2010, 06:57 PM #12
The EVF on the GH2 has been improved to 1.53M dots and has 100% coverage. Magnification of 0.71x (Nikon D3 = 0.7x and Canon 1Ds = 0.76x). Supposedly quite nice from the first impressions. Eventually we will hit a point where EVFs will match OVFs, probably sooner rather than later.
Looking forward to the reviews and some RAW tests, along with the final production firmware. I think there might be a few additions yet.
09-30-2010, 09:17 PM #13
I've been playing with a Leica X1 for shooting in clubs and general walkaround. So far, so good. I like the control layout. Like some of the reviews say, RAW looks way better than JPEG (although I thought that about the GF-1, too.)"Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
-- Jack Tackle
10-01-2010, 10:37 AM #14
10-01-2010, 04:58 PM #15
Am I correct in my assumption that the Micro four thirds sensors are smaller than the sensor in something like the new Nikon D7000? Does this necessarily mean worse performance in low light? If it is smaller, I am amazed they can fit so many pixels in there. That GH2 is interesting though... as is that Sony Alpha55. From a strictly a picture quality, still shot point of view, could either of these compare with the D7000? Yes, I know they are smaller and therefore easier to haul around, but once you get a nice lens on there, they really are not that much smaller.
10-01-2010, 06:18 PM #16"Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
-- Jack Tackle
10-01-2010, 09:57 PM #17
Best of both worlds, Sony Nex 5. DSLR sized sensor, small size, interchangeable lenses.This is the worst pain EVER!
10-02-2010, 02:10 AM #18
doesn't the fact that the NEX sensor is bigger mean that the lenses will always be bigger than micro 4/3? i was looking at the NEX yesterday and the body is incredibly small but then the kit lens looks huge in comparisonfur bearing, drunk, prancing eurosnob
10-02-2010, 06:23 AM #19
[ame="http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18549"]A list of lenses that have been tested on the NEX--good and bad! - The GetDPI Photography Forums[/ame]This is the worst pain EVER!
10-02-2010, 11:05 AM #20
Originally Posted by alembical
Originally Posted by Lonnie
10-06-2010, 05:37 PM #21
As far as the p&s vs. slr. I have the panasonic waterproof/shockproof cam, and it rules. Takes nice still, 720p video and its tough. It's not as good as my slr, but it suffices when I wanna be a tourist in normal location and the videos good for skiing. If i'm in some place world class I always tote the SLR. If i had a p&s that shot raw it might be a different story.
The NEX is really nice to handle and shoot with, but I want my next cam to have some good auto focus for skiing video, and general video and I don't think the nex would cut it. On the other had the form factor is unbeatable. The GH2 video is looking real nice too.
A red scarlet would be the shit, but a $6000 camera might be hard to swing. I'd have to figure a way to make money off it.
10-11-2010, 04:09 PM #22
i'll post some pics when i get the chance to use itfur bearing, drunk, prancing eurosnob
10-11-2010, 04:56 PM #23This is the worst pain EVER!
10-18-2010, 03:35 PM #24
I just noticed today that Panasonic has drastically reduced the price of the G2 on their site. Most retailers have been selling it for around $650-$700. As of today it's $480 http://www2.panasonic.com/consumer-e...00000000005702
edit: oops! Looks like Panasonic screwed up. When I tried to order it still showed $480, but when I was ready to check out all of a sudden the total was $860. I called Panasonic and they told me "yeah, we're having some problems with our website." I should have known it was too good to be true. The bastards should honor their advertised price!
Last edited by The AD; 10-18-2010 at 04:15 PM.
10-18-2010, 10:27 PM #25
I've got an Olympus Pen E-P2. It's the replacement for my film SLR (Canon F1.)
The size is great. The camera, 3 lenses, and flash all fit into a camera bag designed to fit a DSLR and a single medium zoom lens. I find that I am carrying the camera and lenses more than I would have with my heavier, bulkier SLR. As an added bonus, using an adapter, my legacy Canon FD lenses work on the Olympus (and make use of the in-camera image stabilization) so I have access to a bunch of nice telephoto lenses by using my old Canon FD lens arsenal. (The 85mm f:1.2 makes a great, fast 170mm equivalent telephoto.) For my purposes, the micro 4/3 is pretty much ideal as a DSLR substitute. The Olympus Pen and my LX5 pretty much cover all my bases.