I listened to you. Now what?

Started May 5, 2012 | Discussions
BobT
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I listened to you. Now what?
May 5, 2012

You pretty much convinced me that my entrance into the world of m4/3rds, with the gear that I've chosen, might not have been the best. My gear? G1, 14042, 45-200, and a couple of prime Canon FD lenses w/adapter. It's not delivering the IQ I was hoping for, and you pretty much agreed. I almost decided to bale on the whole m4/3rds scene, but am having second thoughts. Unfortunately for you folks, here comes another question.

I figure that my existing MFT gear is worth $400-$500; probably closer to the lower amount. Agree ot not? If not, what then? At the bare minimum, I think I need a MFT system with a single lens for general (walkaround) photography right now. So, if I were to sell my current gear, what camera and lens would be a good replacement for me? I MUST keep within the confines of what I can sell my current gear for.

And finally, the whole objective of all this is to remain with a minimal MFT system, with BETTER quality than I currently have. Can this be done, or not? If not, I might sell out and get a wide to standard lens for my DSLR. But I'd really like the MFT option to work out.

stimmer
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Simple..
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

Get the latest generation sensors. GH2 or EM5, 25mm, 45mm, 12-50mm, and a flash.

Then immediately get the 75mm when it comes out.

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BobT
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Re: Simple..
In reply to stimmer, May 5, 2012

For closer to $400? I don't think so. My dollar amount is everything, and probably the deal breaker in coming up with an IQ upgrade over my current gear.
Thanks, though.
How about some used E-PL?, or used NEX?

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jazzbass62
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Re: I listened to you. Now what?
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

Get E-P2, body only for about $229 (brand new, not refurbished) at Cameta. Add an Oly 14-42mm MkII (R or not - doesn't matter). Add Oly m.zuiko 40-150mm. You can find the latter two lenses refurbished for about $300 total. Or get them a bit cheaper used on eBay. Don't say I didn't tell you.
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PGR streetshooter
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Re: I listened to you. Now what?
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

Hey, Don here.

First off you must learn what form in a camera can you work with. Many have no real clue and thus end up changing cameras like their underwear.

After your discovery of a camera, then you work on your natural FOV to find your main lens. So I'll explain my thoughts about what I use.

I don't like viewfinders. I don't like EVF things either. I like a camera screen only. I set the screen to a B&W image.
I prefer a 35mm FOV buy don't have it so I've been using the 28mm on the GXR.

I use the 20mm (40mm) on the GX1.That's it....a few batteries, cards and I'm already there....

So tell me....what kind of camera do you prefer?
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Vlad S
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Could you give some specifics?
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

BobT wrote:

You pretty much convinced me that my entrance into the world of m4/3rds, with the gear that I've chosen, might not have been the best. My gear? G1, 14042, 45-200, and a couple of prime Canon FD lenses w/adapter. It's not delivering the IQ I was hoping for, and you pretty much agreed.

I took a look at your gallery, and if you compare this kit against Canon 500D, then I am not surprised at all. I think G1 and G2 in particular have more of a P&S look, and require extensive post processing to get the best out of the sensor.

I think GH2, G3, or GX1 would give a lot more pleasing photos, and G3 is not very expensive these days. The difference is in the color, noise levels, and in case of GH2 also the dynamic range.

You 14-42 and 45-200 lenses are also not particularly inspiring. You have to remember that they both are economy level lenses. I actually used my Canon FD 100 f/2 more than I did 45-200, because I felt the more interesting rendering of the Canon trumped the utility and the range of the zoom.

And finally, the whole objective of all this is to remain with a minimal MFT system, with BETTER quality than I currently have. Can this be done, or not?

I did not keep track of your previous threads, can you specify which aspects of the IQ were the most disappointing to you personally? Is it sharpness, DR, tonality, IS? Then we can suggest what the fix might be.

Vlad

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jalywol
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Re: I listened to you. Now what?
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

BobT wrote:

You pretty much convinced me that my entrance into the world of m4/3rds, with the gear that I've chosen, might not have been the best. My gear? G1, 14042, 45-200, and a couple of prime Canon FD lenses w/adapter. It's not delivering the IQ I was hoping for, and you pretty much agreed. I almost decided to bale on the whole m4/3rds scene, but am having second thoughts. Unfortunately for you folks, here comes another question.

I figure that my existing MFT gear is worth $400-$500; probably closer to the lower amount. Agree ot not? If not, what then? At the bare minimum, I think I need a MFT system with a single lens for general (walkaround) photography right now. So, if I were to sell my current gear, what camera and lens would be a good replacement for me? I MUST keep within the confines of what I can sell my current gear for.

And finally, the whole objective of all this is to remain with a minimal MFT system, with BETTER quality than I currently have. Can this be done, or not? If not, I might sell out and get a wide to standard lens for my DSLR. But I'd really like the MFT option to work out.

Unfortunately, the sensors that will give you better IQ are all in cameras that are more expensive than your budget.

If you could find a used GH2, that would be the best choice, but right now on Ebay the bodies alone are selling for between 650 and 700. Second choice would be a G3; those can be had for less; possibly in your budget (new G3 bodies are going for $499 at assorted retailers at present).

I think, perhaps, right now your best option within your budget might be to go with the DSLR lens option, and wait for more M43 cameras with the more advanced sensors to come onto the used market in the next year. Unfortunately, the technology you want is still expensive in the M43 format at this point. If you wait a couple of months, though, the G3 will come down in price as the G5 is released, and that might be the best solution for you if you want to stay with M43.....

I found myself in a similar situation a year ago, (I tried the EPL1, G2 etc.) and finally sold some other stuff to buy a GH2. That camera really has better IQ than any of the 12MP sensors, and for me it was worth the hassle of scraping up the funds for it. The EPL1, G2 et al do a credible job, but the GH2 is in another league....

I know this is not exactly what you want to hear, but unfortunately I think these are the best options open to you with M43 at the moment....

-J

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SirSeth
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Bob, I think that is asking a lot.
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

My take on it is that expecting to sell older equipment for much better newer equipment without putting extra money in is unrealistic. The reason the G1 and lenses are not worth more is because the G1 is very old by mirrorless timetables and the kit lenses are.... kit lenses. Sure, there are better options now, and there should be, but for $400?...

What did you expect your entrance into Micro4/3 to be like? What's wrong with the G1 and kit lenses (for what they are)? They were good for their day and the newer cameras are even better. The OM-D is the best yet and priced reasonably for it's skills.

Maybe sell your G1 and 14-42mm and buy an E-PL2 or E-P2 kit and 45mm f1.8? That might be moving from decent to good, but probably not decent to amazing. Used Nex5n is an option too, but I don't know what the going price is these days. I think it would be more than $400.

Cheers,
Seth

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rrr_hhh
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Re: Simple..
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

Most mft cameras have the same 12mp sensors. The GH1/2 are apart with their multi aspect ratio sensor, but they are out of your budget, like the E-M5 or GX1 which are 16mp. The G3 is somewhat smaller than your G1 but with the bigger 16mp too.

But I found less difference than I thought with respect to the G1 which also has a better ergonomic.

You may see a bigger difference if you get a good prime lens than if you update the body. I'd say buy a good lens now, like the 20mm F1.7 or the 45mm F1.8, or even the 25mm F1.4 if you can afford it : you will get more out of them. Then when the prices comes down, get an O-M5, or a GX1 if you want something more pocketable.

The last Pen generation (E-P3, E-Pl3 and E-Pm1) will be faster and more reactive than the G1, the E-P3 has got a touch screen, the E-Pl3 a flip up screen and the good Olympus jpegs, but in terms of raw there is quasi no difference.
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BobT
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Re: Could you give some specifics?
In reply to Vlad S, May 5, 2012

Vlad,

It's sharpness. For my photo subjects, sharpness is #1 with me.

To others,

Perhaps the idea of clearing house of the enses that I currently have, getting a nicer single prime, might be worth some more consideration. Good idea.

AS to what it is that I'm not presently unhappy with....it's the lack of sharp, handeld images. If some faster primes would solve the problem......well.....I'll look into that.

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rrr_hhh
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Get a new lens rather than a new body. The G1 is good.
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

For sharpness, upgrade the lenses rather than the body : get a 20mm or a 45mm they produce sharper results than the 14-42mm.

An E-Pl1 won't be sharper, it will have more pleasing Olympus colors, more saturation, more contrast, but that can be adjusted on the G1.

BobT wrote:

Vlad,

It's sharpness. For my photo subjects, sharpness is #1 with me.

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rrr_hhh

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Henry Richardson
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Where can I get all of that for $400?!
In reply to stimmer, May 5, 2012

stimmer wrote:

Get the latest generation sensors. GH2 or EM5, 25mm, 45mm, 12-50mm, and a flash.

Then immediately get the 75mm when it comes out.

Wow! Where can I get all of that for $400?!?!?! I love your advice and am waiting to find out where your source is for all that great stuff for such a small amount of money!

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Henry Richardson
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Re: I listened to you. Now what?
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

BobT wrote:

You pretty much convinced me that my entrance into the world of m4/3rds, with the gear that I've chosen, might not have been the best. My gear? G1, 14042, 45-200, and a couple of prime Canon FD lenses w/adapter. It's not delivering the IQ I was hoping for, and you pretty much agreed.

Can you be more specific about the IQ that is not satisfying for you?

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Vlad S
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Sharpness
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

BobT wrote:

Vlad,

It's sharpness. For my photo subjects, sharpness is #1 with me.

Panasonic JPEGs are notoriously mushy. Unless you shoot RAW you will almost always see softness at the pixel level. If you use RAW then you can achieve very good sharpness with a good RAW processor, like a later Lightroom, or the included SilkyPix.

I do not have first hand experience with 14-42, but heard it was not as sharp as some other better kit lenses, with 14-45 being the best regarded. Nevertheless, I think replacing the lens will not give you a dramatic change.

The 45-200 was widely panned for its softness, and my guess is that when you see good images from it they all have been reduced in size and/or sharpened in the postprocessing. The 100-300 has a very sharp lower range, but at the long end it is also quite soft.

With the legacy lenses sharpness also can be an issue. Firstly, they were designed for a larger frame, and so their resolution did not have to be as high as µ4/3 lenses. Second, they are almost never sharp wide open, and you have to close them a stop or so to get a better sharpness. Third, sometimes poor or absent coating can reflect the light off the surface of the sensor, and reduce the contrast this way.

There are some manual lenses with outstanding performance, but you can never count on all of them delivering sharp results. You have to look for their reviews with a µ4/3 camera, and you should compare not only the aperture and focal length, but also the edition because of the differences in the coatings.

My advice would be to take some shots in RAW with the 45-200 at the focal lengths below 150mm, open them in your favorite RAW processor, and then follow some good tutorial for that processor that covers sharpening. I found that without studying a tutorial I could not achieve as good results on my own.

Secondly, take into account the way you display your images. If you scale them down, then apply some sharpening just before export. My favorite method these days is High Pass sharpening - google it, and the High Pass filter is common to many graphic editors.

Vlad

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BobT
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Re: Sharpness
In reply to Vlad S, May 5, 2012

I appreciate all of the comments thus far. However, they are going back and forth with almost each contirbution. I just get the idea that maybe purchasing a nice, highly regarded prime lens as my solution for sharpnes, but then a comment about the poor quality (sharpness) of ALL Panasonic cameras enters the scene.

Perhaps the earlier commentor who mentioned, go for the DSLR lens and wait for MFT to improve and prices to drop, before venturing inot MFT, might make the most sense(as of this point in this thread).

I'm looking for economical MFT gear (1-camera, and 1-lens) for my walkaround kit.

But, if even this modest acquisition is too much money, I'll have no other recourse but to table the MFT for now.

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Diane B
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Re: Get a new lens rather than a new body. The G1 is good.
In reply to rrr_hhh, May 5, 2012

Agree. Even if you can find a used copy of the original Panny 14-45 its better than the 14-42s. The 20 is reasonably priced and is a very nice FL and fast, sharp. I just bought the 25/1.4 and am in love with it but it will take you out of your budget, so I'd consider the 20 or Oly 45/1.8 I think--using it with G3 which I plan to stick with until next generations. I do still have my G1 and GF1 and occasionally still shoot with the G1.

Diane

rrr_hhh wrote:

For sharpness, upgrade the lenses rather than the body : get a 20mm or a 45mm they produce sharper results than the 14-42mm.

An E-Pl1 won't be sharper, it will have more pleasing Olympus colors, more saturation, more contrast, but that can be adjusted on the G1.

BobT wrote:

Vlad,

It's sharpness. For my photo subjects, sharpness is #1 with me.

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rrr_hhh

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Boris
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Re: I listened to you. Now what?
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

I take it you like the ergonomics of the G series? Squeeze that wallet and get a GH2....noticeable upgrade from my G2. I use the oly 45f1.8 as my only m4/3 lens...very sharp lens!
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Vlad S
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Re: Sharpness
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

BobT wrote:

I just get the idea that maybe purchasing a nice, highly regarded prime lens as my solution for sharpnes, but then a comment about the poor quality (sharpness) of ALL Panasonic cameras enters the scene.

You can find this comment in any review of a Panasonic µ4/3 camera on this site. Nevertheless, it should be taken in perspective. An overwhelming majority of the time we do not view images at 1:1 scale, and so aside from a theoretical limit, the sharpness from Panasonic cameras is sufficient for most methods of displaying an image. Postprocessing is more important for sharpness, in my opinion, than the camera body. If you just want to use the OOC JPEGs then try to set sharpening to +2 and see if that satisfies you. I also agree with other posters suggesting to replace your 14-42 with the 20mm lens. If you are willing to try RAW then you can get outstanding results from Panasonic.

Perhaps the earlier commentor who mentioned, go for the DSLR lens and wait for MFT to improve and prices to drop, before venturing inot MFT, might make the most sense(as of this point in this thread).

Although it can be the best solution for you, I would not equate all DSLRs with great sharpness - I would look at the samples for the specific camera+lens combination that you can buy, so you avoid the same disappointment in the future.

I'm looking for economical MFT gear (1-camera, and 1-lens) for my walkaround kit.

But, if even this modest acquisition is too much money, I'll have no other recourse but to table the MFT for now.

I don't think that if you are determined to look individual pixels you will find happiness with Panasonic. I don't know what can give you a pixel-level sharpness for $400 - it may be an unrealistic target.

Vlad

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.Sam.
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my solution
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

I would sell everything and buy;

  • Olympus E-PLx or Panasonic GF1

  • Panasonic 20mm F/1.7

  • A copy of lightroom

Choose one of the Oly bodies if you shoot in JPG, or the GF1 if you can shoot RAW. With these smaller bodies and the 20mm lens, you will gain much more potability (as well as Video capabilities - better with GF1).

I've carried the GF1/20 with me for the past 2 years, and it has changed the way I take pictures. the lens is VERY sharp, and extremely versatile. Night photography, street photography, family gatherings, flowers, .... it has opened a new world to me.

I took this image by setting the camera on a coffee can for support and using a 2sec timer... it's just about having the camera with you when it counts Is this sharp enough for you?

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Raist3d
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You need to listen to yourself
In reply to BobT, May 5, 2012

Think long and hard what you really want to do photographically first, don't listen to the forum too much.

Download raws, make your own assesment
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