new MFT Camera

Started Jan 29, 2013 | Questions thread
Entropius
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,167
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Re: new MFT Camera
In reply to stinkin, Jan 30, 2013

My experience is with an E-M5 (rented by me), Panasonic GH2 (bought for Christmas for my mom, but I shot a bunch with it), and a handful of lenses.

The E-M5 is a tiny thing, but the ergonomics are really not bad. The menu is a little perverse, especially if you're not used to Olympus, but you only have to use it for obscure things; Olympus has a thing called the "Super Control Panel" on the back LCD that lets pretty much anything you'd want to change in a hurry be changed without diving into the menu. It is a little small if you have large hands, though, but there is an accessory grip that you probably know about.

Image quality is very good; shadow noise is quite low, dynamic range is high, and colors are very nice. It's the best Four Thirds sensor out there, maybe even with the GH3 but a bit better than the GH2. The JPEG engine really needs Noise Reduction and Sharpness turned down for a more natural look, but it has the standard Olympus rich-but-not-lurid look. Colors are more subtle than in earlier Olympus models, with subtle brassy/yellow colors especially more visible; the look actually reminds me a lot of Kodachrome slides I've seen.

Single-servo AF using the 45/1.8 (and by reputation other lenses too) is lightning fast and very accurate, but continuous AF is not going to be as good as a high-end DSLR. The shutter is quiet. The IBIS is very effective.

The GH2 is a little bigger and more "conventionally-shaped". Its EVF is different, using a field-sequential (red then green then blue) design rather than a color filter; I found the E-M5 one to be a bit better. The shutter is louder, the interface seems less intuitive at first but the extra space is used for some direct controls of the focus mode, which are nice. The imaging is slightly worse than the E-M5, and the autofocus might be a bit worse (the E-M5 is basically instant with lenses like the 45/1.8). It has no IBIS; you may or may not care.

As far as lenses go, Micro 4/3 primes tend to be quite sharp even wide open. Ones with especially good reputations are Oly 12 f/2, 45/1.8, 60/2.8 macro, and 75/1.8, and Panasonic 14/2.5, 20/1.7, and 25/1.4. I used the 45/1.8 and it is a stellar portrait lens. Lenses are really the strength of the system, but not above 100mm; the only things there are slow zooms, which while not bad optically aren't top grade either.

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