Decided to jump into the u4/3 pool...

Started Feb 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Decided to jump into the u4/3 pool...
Feb 28, 2013
After a bit of research looking at a variety of mirrorless interchangeable lens and smaller DSLR cameras and lens systems, I have decided to jump into the World of u 4/3. We have owned a Canon DSLR (EOS 30D and a 50 mm F1.4 prime, 60 mm macro and a 17-40 mm zoom for about 5-years. My wife uses this system more than I and occasionally will rent a telephoto. I use the DSLR for still-life macro photography. I would never travel with the DSLR like my wife because its very heavy. I also have a Canon S95 point-and-shoot that I travel with and also use with an underwater housing when we scuba dive in the tropics. I likely shoot 80% of my shots using aperture priority and 20%  fully manual.
I am looking for a camera/lens system for two reasons: 1) for taking photos while traveling. I like to shoot landscapes, cityscapes, smaller nature subjects and some architectural interiors. I want something that will be easy to carry around with excellent image quality. 2) a camera to take still life's of my other two hobbies; macro photographs of mechanical watches and photos of my guitars.
I have decided to buy a camera and lenses of my own. I obviously considered that we already own some Canon glass, but I did not want to let that constrain me with my choices. I began to investigate smaller DSLR bodies from both Canon EOS 650D and Nikon D7200 and full-size pro-consumer models like the Canon EOS 6D and a Nikon D600. After handling these and some associated lenses I came to the conclusion that despite the stellar image quality, I would never take one of these cameras with me traveling due to their weight. 
This spurred me to look at the array of mirrorless options. In this category, I looked at offerings from Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony. None are perfect, but some seemed better suited for my needs than others. The micro 4/3 format really stood out to me because of the diversity and quality of the lenses compared to the other options. I wanted to like the Fujifilm,  but they seem like they are a generation or two from being there (autofocus etc.) and the lenses are full sized. The same was true of Sony. The lenses just don't seem to be there yet. 
The realization of the inherent weight savings of the lens architecture became evident. Yes, you give up on ultimate image quality based on sensor size, yes you lose some depth of field and low light capability, but boy the quality of the images look very good. More than good enough for my hobbyist purposes. So I decided, despite the uncertain future of a non-standard system (compared to buying into Canon or Nikon full sized glass) the future of this multi-company system seemed reasonably sound despite the business challenges that both Olympus and Panasonic seem to be facing. I have believe after smartphones continue to cannibalize the point-and-shoot camera business only quality systems will remain and the size benefits and quality of images of the u 4/3 system seems to offer a unique value proposition to hobbyists and professionals.
I focused on the current two top-end bodies, namely the Olympus OM-D M-E5 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3. The size of the the OMD was attractive but the controls and handling of the GH3 was as well. Both seem extremely robust and well built. I think in the end, the GH3 is one body for me. Body decisions are fugitive, but glass is eternal. I can altos buy a new body, but once I am in the u 4/3 pool, I am in.
In terms of lenses,  I am thinking that the Panasonic 12-35 mm F2.8 which seems like a great single travel lens to start out with. I can always a 35-100 mm or a prime later. For macro use, I like both the Olympus 60 mm F2.8 and the Pansonic Leica 45 mm F2.8 macro. I think, I like the 45mm a little better. I can add a fast prime later if I want one.  
I have found this forum to be an extremely helpful resource, so thank you very much for being a great source of information. A couple quick questions now that I have decided upon a camera body a lenses.
1) which type of wearable high quality  case would you recommend for a GH3 with a 12-35 mm zoom, extra battery, memory card and lens cloth?
2) wrist or shoulder strap and which make/models?
3) I was also thinking about a polarizer for water photography. I like B+W historically. would you recommend a circular or linear polarizer? Do any work with the Panasonic lens caps?
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