12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge

Started Feb 23, 2013 | Questions thread
ken henke
Contributing MemberPosts: 736
Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to jalywol, Feb 24, 2013

jalywol wrote:

ken henke wrote:

On to the questions:

1. Are they significant issues with sensor dust on the Oly and GH3?

No. This is one area that M43 cameras are far advanced over many brands of DSLRs. All of the M43s contain an ultrasonic sensor cleaning mechanism which automatically shakes the dust off when you start the camera. It works. After owning several M43 models over the past couple of years, I have had exactly one glob of dust that I had to do a wet sensor cleaning for, and that one was on the sensor when it came from the factory. Since then, I have not had to do any other cleanings, and no, I am not super careful about lens changing.

This commnet is very encouraging. I am getting quite tired of sensor spots on my Nikon. Also, great to know one can clean the sensor themselves, at least on the GH3. Sounds a lot more risky for the Oly.

2. If so, can one clean those sensors themselves?

The automatic sensor cleaning mechanism can be activated manually, and all of the M43 cameras EXCEPT the EM5 are easily cleaned using a proper sensor cleaning swab, if so desired. The EM5 has a floating sensor mechanism, so they do not recommend that users clean it themselves with a swab system.

3. For macro images, my technique is primarily focus stacking. Thus, I either use a focus rail or better yet, use very small incremental manual focus movements of the lens. Can anyone comment on their experience with focus stacking using one of the oly/gh3 macro lenses? The ability of a macro lens to have a lot of manual movement is typically called "lens throw." The more, the better. I have to say, I have seen some of the macro images taken by these cameras/lens handheld and was quite impressed. However, I never handhold my macro images so I'm encouraged that the quality will be outstanding with a tripod.

I do a lot of macro work, and, oddly enough, I use a very vintage micro Nikkor 55m f3.5 non-AI lens for most of it. You could use your current Nikon lenses with a simple adapter (I use a Rainbow Imaging one, about $20), and keep the lens throw you are used to.... There are two M43 macros at present, and both are very good, but to be honest with you, after trying one of them out, I realized that since I use manual focus almost exclusively anyway for macro work, and the Nikkor was just as sharp as the native lens, that I didn't really feel the need to spend several hundred dollars to get the performance I desired. YMMV, of course....

Thanks for your response on the experience with macro. And, yes, there really isn't any need for auto focusing with macro work, thus, my Tamron 90mm could be a choice. However,  I would most definitely be looking at teh weight difference between the Tamron/adaptor and the micro 4/3 choices.

4. For those who use Aperture for RAW processing, any advantage to either the oly or gh3?

Can't answer this, I use Lightroom and Photoshop....

5. I am still confused over the Oly lenses(Zuiko). Do they need an adaptor to fit onto the OM-D?

M. Zuiko lenses fit M43 cameras natively with no adapters. The Oly lenses for regular 4/3 cameras need an adapter, and will autofocus and meter, but are slowwwww.

6. I really like the idea of the articulating screen on the gh3, particularly as it relates to macro photography. However, for those with the oly, is their tilt screen sufficient or do you wish it had the same movement capability as the gh3?

Have only the articulating screen myself on my GH3 (and GH2), which I find very, very useful for macro work.

7. Anyone can relate experience with the gh3 wifi and a Mac?

The GH3 Wifi is not happy interacting with Macs yet (Nor does it seem to want to behave with my Windows Vista 64 machine, so I wouldn't take that as a slight ) Otherwise, the image processing with Macs seems to be fine; no user complaints have popped up yet here except re:Wifi use.

8. Probably to early to tell on the gh3, but any bugs or issues folks can related on either model (i.e. back focusing, build quality, battery life, etc.)

No back focusing on CDAF cameras. Battery life on the GH3 is head and shoulder better than any other M43 to date, in part because they finally designed one with an ample battery. Battery life on the OMD is not as good, but spare batteries are widely available and aftermarket ones are quite inexpensive.

Build quality on both the OMD and GH3 is excellent. The GH3 is a bit larger and is a really solidly built camera with a better built-in grip. The OMD has an external grip which can be added to give a better grasp if necessary. Both are water-resistant, and I don't think you would go wrong with either from a build standpoint.

If you like to use fill flash, the built-in flash on the GH3 is more convenient than the attachable flash that comes with the OMD.

The only hiccup so far I have had with the GH3 is that the SD card door can come open more easily than it should (mine has opened when I have put it in the camera bag). The card is still firmly anchored in, of course, even if the cover does open, though.

9. I am assuming on all Zuiko and Lumix lens, one can utilize a manual focusing mode?

Yes you can. However, remember, this is focus by wire, which feels a little bit different than mechanical manual focusing. It works fine for me and it is implemented very well, but you may want to try it out for yourself.

10. What are the experiences folks have on moving focus point via the rear screen? I believe both cameras have that ability? I would find that quite a nice advantage over DLSRs. Oftentimes, I have to use focus stacking to get DOF in a landscape scene.

Focus point on the rear screen is a great addition to the cameras' capabilities. It works very well. The GH3 has the additional capability of doing this remotely via the wifi-link to your android or apple smart phone or tablet.

If you want a tiny, tiny focus area, however, only the GH3 has a pinpoint focus capability. Implementation of the focus area size is also simpler on the Panasonic cameras, although Oly has improved it on their current generation of PENs (EPL5, EPM2).

11. For landscape images, I am often confronted with high dynamic range scenes. Thus, HDR software or exposure blending is often used. I noticed both cameras have a nice range of multiple auto bracketing exposures available. In fact, more exposure range than my Nikon. Any experiences with auto bracketing you can relate?

I have not used it, but others have reported that the OMD has a more convoluted process to access autobracketing than the Panasonics do.

12. With the HDR setting in the gh3, is that achieving decent results? I have seen very few examples.

I have seen several examples of this that look pretty good, but have not yet had a chance to try it myself.

Considering the questions and my general explanation on my photography, if anyone wants to chime in on either camera (plus or minus), it would be appreciated. I would particularly like to hear from folks who moved from a DLSR to a 4/3 system.

I moved from a Nikon system to all M43 a little over a year ago. I started with the EPL1 as a complement to my D90, and after 9 months, moved to a GH2 and sold the Nikon gear (except for the ancient macro lens ). No regrets whatsoever. The M43 kit fits in a very small bag (yes, even with the GH3!) and it's so light I can carry it for hours without noticing it. IQ on these current generation M43s is truly excellent, and I suspect you will find that it goes with you more than the bigger DSLR gear too.

Like others I suppose, I am struggling on which camera to go with. With some financial issues Olympus reported last year, that makes me somewhat nervous. I certainly like having more external buttons on the gh3. It would make the transition to 4/3 much easier. And although I don't have monstrous hands, I believe the GH3 would fit better? Wish I could try them out, but there are NO camera stores in Colorado where I live that have them. Another transition I would have to get used to is the 4:3 aspect ratio. I have become quite used to printing 16x24 (3:2). Yea, no doubt I can crop, but that will be an adjustment.

The GH3 is very simply the best balanced camera to hold that I have ever used. I have really tiny hands, so it took me a couple of outings to get used to the grip, but it is extemely comfortable now. If you have average hands, you will love how it holds from the first time you pick it up.

As to the 4:3 vs 3:2 ratio...I never warmed to the 3:2, so 4:3 always worked better for me. However, you can select the 3:2 aspect ratio in the camera if you prefer (although you will lose s few pixels due to the in-camera crop.)

I certainly have enjoyed reading this forum since it is the best source of 4/3 info on the net! So, any words of wisdom will be appreciated.

Both the OMD and the GH3 are terrific cameras. If you do a lot of tripod work, the IBIS in the OMD is less of a draw than if you were doing more hand-held low light photography. The ergonomics of the GH3 are beautifully designed, and for macro work, the articulating screen also has an advantage.

You hit the point precisely...the IBIS may not be my biggest conncern since I use a tripod a lot. In fact, in most cases, at least with Nikon, one should turn off image stabilization when using a tripod. That said, with the lightness of these 4/3 cameras, I may start to expand my photography to move to more spontaneous images utiliziong hand holding. Thus, if the GH3 was my camera, I would be limiting myself to Lumix lenses. Which, by the way, I don't see as a problem right now with the great choices available.

My advice? Order the one you think meets your needs best from a place with a good return policy. If you have the spare change, order both cameras, and return the one you like the least....Unfortunately, without brick-and-morter stores anywhere anymore, that really is your only option to work with both before you decide.

Good luck!


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