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

Started Feb 23, 2013 | Questions
ken henke
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12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
Feb 23, 2013

As I seriously take a look at a 4/3 system, I wanted to ask some pertinent questions that I believe this forum will be able to answer. I wish the GH3 was in the hands of more folks so these questions could be answered, since I am leaning toward that camera.

For some background, my digital photography has lead me down a path of taking a variety of subjects. I am primarily a nature photographer, thus, landscape and macro close-up images are most photographed. Can be anytime during the year, so cold weather performance is somewhat important. I also have started taking night images as well, primarily Milky Way images. With my son grown up, child/family photos are not important as they once were. Video capability is also not as important as it once was, but having a camera such as the gh3 would be added advantage for sure. Currently, with the variety of photography I'm interested in, I have a Nikon D7000 system with all the associated lenses, flashes, remote cords, etc.

With the new 7100, I'm at a crossroads now of deciding whether to stay the course with Nikon or move to a new system. My most important reason for wanting to change are weight and cost. I certainly noticed last summer trying to carry that 17 extra lbs of camera gear backpacking is not enjoyable! From the research conducted so far, I am encouraged to know there are great 4/3 lenses available at reasonable prices, not to mention a significant reduction in weight. I am also very concerned about the cost of high end Nikon/Canon cameras. I believe they are inflated, particularly in an age with electronics are mass produced. And although higher resolution of full frame cameras can be appealing, a 36mb raw image is overkill in most situations. 16mb is sufficient for the 16x24 images I print.

On to the questions:

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

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

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.

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

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

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?

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

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.)

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

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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.

Ken

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Nikon D7000 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
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goshane
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to ken henke, Feb 23, 2013

ken henke wrote:

As I seriously take a look at a 4/3 system, I wanted to ask some pertinent questions that I believe this forum will be able to answer. I wish the GH3 was in the hands of more folks so these questions could be answered, since I am leaning toward that camera.

For some background, my digital photography has lead me down a path of taking a variety of subjects. I am primarily a nature photographer, thus, landscape and macro close-up images are most photographed. Can be anytime during the year, so cold weather performance is somewhat important. I also have started taking night images as well, primarily Milky Way images. With my son grown up, child/family photos are not important as they once were. Video capability is also not as important as it once was, but having a camera such as the gh3 would be added advantage for sure. Currently, with the variety of photography I'm interested in, I have a Nikon D7000 system with all the associated lenses, flashes, remote cords, etc.

With the new 7100, I'm at a crossroads now of deciding whether to stay the course with Nikon or move to a new system. My most important reason for wanting to change are weight and cost. I certainly noticed last summer trying to carry that 17 extra lbs of camera gear backpacking is not enjoyable! From the research conducted so far, I am encouraged to know there are great 4/3 lenses available at reasonable prices, not to mention a significant reduction in weight. I am also very concerned about the cost of high end Nikon/Canon cameras. I believe they are inflated, particularly in an age with electronics are mass produced. And although higher resolution of full frame cameras can be appealing, a 36mb raw image is overkill in most situations. 16mb is sufficient for the 16x24 images I print.

On to the questions:

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

No issues with sensor dust

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

very easy to clean if necessary, take the lens off, and the sensor is right there

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.

there is a lot of lens throw as you call it, so focus stacking should be ok, that being said, i haven't done any focus stacking.

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

should be equal in this regard

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

The old 4/3 lenses would need an adapter, any olympus micro 4/3 no adapters needed, panasonic and olympus all interchangeable.

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?

can't comment on olympus, as I shoot GH2, and GH3, try the olympus at the store and see what you think of the screen.

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

Not useable at least not that I have found. Maybe a firmware upgrade it will work....

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.)

just the SD card door opens too easily, and the wifi implementation is a little lacking

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

yes, they can all be manually focussed

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.

touch focus is awesome, i don't use it too often but changing focus points at a touch is great.

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?

auto bracketing is fine, no issues, I use it all the time.

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

very poor results, i shoot my own brackets and do them in photomatix, far superior

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.

Both the GH3 and olympus OMD are great, I would lean to the olympus if it fits your hands, and you do stills. GH3 if ergonomics and video matter. The GH3 is much larger, but feels great.

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.

GH3 is amazing ergonomically...... oly is too small for me, but maybe ok for you. They are both great cameras

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.

Ken

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Vlad S
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to ken henke, Feb 23, 2013

ken henke wrote:

As I seriously take a look at a 4/3 system,

Here's the first important thing. You are looking at micro 4/3 system. This distinction is important when you buy lenses. Regular 4/3 is a DSLR system, and the 4/3 lenses require an adapter to work on the micro 4/3 bodies. All micro 4/3 lenses and bodies are mutually compatible without any adapters.

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

The dust removal system is very good, but sometimes you can still get dust. But it's definitely less significant than in Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

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

I have wet-cleaned sensors in Panasonic cameras. It's the same as in regular DSLRs. I would not do it myself in an Olympus camera because the sensor is free floating, and I would be weary of damaging the IBIS mechanism.

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?

I have not done focus stacking myself, but the throw on the native macro lenses is variable (possible because of the fly-by-wire design). The slower your turn the longer the throw becomes. You can easily adjust focus in extremely fine increments.

You can also adapt a manual focus macro lens - the adapters are around $20-25.

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

There are Zuiko lenses that have been developed for several mounts. Any micro 4/3 lens does not require an adapter. Regular 4/3 lenses do require an adaptor, but the AF functionality can be either full or limited, depending on the specific lens. The aperture will function though. Some people like to keep their old regular 4/3 lenses because they offer outstanding image quality, but it's probably not practical to buy them for a new camera.

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?

I have had both Panasonic cameras and now the E-M5. No, the tilt is not sufficient. It's totally useless if your camera is in the portrait orientation.

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

Yes. Together with the magnified view it works extremely well.

10. What are the experiences folks have on moving focus point via the rear screen? I believe both cameras have that ability?

Yes, both cameras do. Nevertheless, the E-M5 eye detector is extremely sensitive, and it will blank out your screen if you do not angle your hand. That aside, I am a huge fan of the touch selection. It's so much faster and more precise than selecting the focus points with wheels or buttons.

GH3 will have an advantage over E-M5 in smaller AF points, down to "pinpoint." E-M5 AF points are on a grid, and you are restricted to specific positions; GH3 AF points can be placed absolutely anywhere in the frame. I could imagine for focus stacking this could be a great use of the AF.

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?

Bracketing is more difficult to access on E-M5. It takes a lot of key presses, even if you record it as a preset. Another difference is that GH3 always does bracketing in a burst, E-M5 can do bracketing in either burst or single shot mode. The last option has confused me when after switching from burst to singles my bracketing was still on, and my exposures were all over the place.

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

Send PM to this guy: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50770146 for a personal experience.

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 think in your place I would go with GH3. The articulated screen is better, and its controls will be easier to use in the cold. The CA corrections are also wonderful on Panasonics - after switching to Olympus I was quite dismayed at having to fix them in PP. Of course if you shoot raw it is less important.

I have become quite used to printing 16x24 (3:2). Yea, no doubt I can crop, but that will be an adjustment.

You can use the 16x20 size, which is also pretty standard. It's only 1.3 inches shorter than the 4:3 aspect ratio, and gives an excellent frame utilization.

Good luck and write if you have any more questions.

Vlad

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jalywol
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to ken henke, Feb 23, 2013

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.

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....

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.

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!

-J

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Rol Lei Nut
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to ken henke, Feb 23, 2013
1. Are they significant issues with sensor dust on the Oly and GH3?

All answers about OM-D: No. Only had something else (pollen?) stick to the sensor a couple of times

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

People say that the OM-D shouldn't be self-cleaned, but I cleaned mine those couple of times with no ill effect

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 use a legacy macro lens (Leica 60mm) with a bellows for those kind of shots...

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

If you mean 4/3 lenses (as opposed to m4/3), yes.

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?

Sometimes, but not that often.

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

Yes.

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.

On a tripod, can be very useful.

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?

The OM-Ds bracketing is akward to turn on, but in fact I rarely need or use it.

IMO for nature, landscape and macro work, I'd strongly prefer the OM-D.

Especially if you use legacy lenses (say a Leica 60mm macro), IBIS can really help.

Also, I prefer the Oly 75-300 to the Panasonic 100-300 as it's smaller, lighter and handles better. But using it on a camaera without IBIS (=no IS) would limit its usefulness greatly. Many more examples of that kind can be given (Panasonic's folly in not adopting in-camera IS).

The GH3 is larger, gets more noticed and tends to intimidate subjects more than the OM-D. If you *want* to be noticed that's fine (just add a huge white lens and you're set!), but for travel the OM-D will help keep you keep below the radar...

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Just Having Fun
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Super sonic wave filter...
In reply to jalywol, Feb 23, 2013
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YouDidntDidYou
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focus and metering speed....
In reply to jalywol, Feb 23, 2013

If the four thirds lenses are contrast auto focus based then they will focus and meter reasonably quickly on micro four thirds via an adapter, older pdaf Olympus lenses are much slower....

living life to the Four Thirds!
http://www.YouDidntDidYou.com/blog

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KenBalbari
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to ken henke, Feb 23, 2013

On print sizes, you can crop if you like, but 16x20 and 18x24 are also common sizes that you should be able to print at, find frames for, etc.  I like 4:3 aspect ratio in general, though it is nice to have something wider for wide angle landscapes.

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SwatOx
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GH3 wireless and iPad
In reply to jalywol, Feb 23, 2013

All the comments re: GH3 and its virtues I would confirm. I haven't tried wireless with my Mac (because of bad reviews) but I can tell you it works swimmingly with an iPad tethering, so you can run your GH3 from your iPad at quite a distance, including focusing.

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idiotekniQues
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to ken henke, Feb 23, 2013

to me it sounds like a GH3 is for you. the IBIS on the Oly is usedful for handheld macro but you use tripods - there are no stabilized macro lenses for mft AFAIK. as you know IS is not nearly as necessary for UWA shooting like your landscape photography.

however you may start to enjoy IBIS depending on if you go with Oly lenses and perhaps leave the tripod at home. or just buy the panny lenses with OIS in them.

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Raven15
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to ken henke, Feb 23, 2013

I'll answer the questions I can, since I only have the E-M5 and my DSLR also was 4/3's.

ken henke wrote:

... thus, landscape and macro close-up images are most photographed. ... so cold weather performance is somewhat important.

With only electronic viewfinder these cameras eat batteries fast, especially the O-MD (turning off features like IBIS can help). You'll need to take more batteries and precautions in the cold than normal. Otherwise, no camera I've used has had issues in the cold, nor would I expect any camera to have issues. In fact cold results in noticeably less noise for long exposures. If it doesn't work because of a little cold throw it at a big rock because it sucks.

I also have started taking night images as well, primarily Milky Way images.

These two cameras have the first 4/3 sensor I'd feel confident in for Milky Way - type shots. See end of reply for an example.

My most important reason for wanting to change are weight and cost. I certainly noticed last summer trying to carry that 17 extra lbs of camera gear backpacking is not enjoyable!

That would be intolerable. My entire pack weighs 17 pounds for a weekend if I didn't carry a camera. When I first started photography a few years ago, I used to compare the prices and weights of combinations of cameras and several lenses from different manufacturers in a spreadsheet. In every case Nikon had the heaviest and most expensive system, with a wide variety of cameras, lenses, and manufacturers compared over three or so years. There was never a single exception. With micro 4/3, the difference is even more pronounced. People who want to minimize price or weight or especially both would do well to avoid Nikon.

On to the questions:

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

I have never had a dust problem with any camera using the Olympus dust buster (all m4/3 cameras do) in five years, and I shoot in some appallingly dusty environments and have no caution whatsoever when changing lenses. I can't speculate on #2 as a result.

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

They should be close to identical, but I only have the E-M5.

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

Mirrorless 4/3 lenses need no adapter. DSLR 4/3 lenses need an adapter and they'll lose focus speed. Panasonic also made DSLR 4/3 lenses. If slow or manual focus and the larger size is OK with you, adapting an original 4/3 lens can get you higher-quality glass and more zoom range for the money. (For example the Olympus 14-35mm and Panasonic/Leica 14-150mm lenses likely have the best image quality of all mid-range and super-zoom lenses ever made for interchangeable lens cameras, respectively. Other options represent great quality and range for the money).

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?

I frequently wish mine had more articulation, this is the worst possible implementation of a moving screen. Pointing the camera away from you in landscape orientation will be perfectly fine however.

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

Yes, the Olympus 12mm and 17mm especially have the option to focus directly rather than by wire. There are also some nice manual focus lenses, for example Samyang 7.5mm fisheye and Voightlander 17.5mm and 25mm f/0.95 lenses.

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.

Touch the screen and the focus point goes where you touch. You can have it activate the shutter at the same time. Very useful.

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?

While the E-M5 has many bracketing options, it is not easy to activate them (and once it is set to bracket it takes as many button presses to turn off).

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.

Image quality should be about equal, with each camera having a few features that would move it a little bit in either direction depending on shooting conditions. E-M5 notably has built in stabilization, which may not matter to you.

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.

Since both manufacturers are completely interchangeable, you could continue right on with your lenses either way.

For your use shooting RAW and using a tripod, the GH3 is probably the best choice. However, the E-M5 has the same image quality and a few different features for less size and money. The GH3 is the largest and most expensive m4/3 camera, which does go against the point of switching in the first place. Still, the lens system counts for far more than the camera in terms of size and weight. There's no sense getting a camera that is too small and fiddly for you to use.

The 7.5mm fisheye is great for the Milky Way. There is more noise here than there should be because I was trying to expose the foreground also. I still need to work on my technique.

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Mike Ronesia
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to idiotekniQues, Feb 23, 2013

idiotekniQues wrote: there are no stabilized macro lenses for mft AFAIK.

The Panny  45 2.8 macro is stabilized and works very well for hand held macro work from that perspective.

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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to ken henke, Feb 24, 2013

Since you are into macro then the OM-D and the Zuiko  60mm macro lens is exceptional.   Even the 12-50 kit lens has a macro setting and can take very nice shots.  Look at sample images.   If you are into video mostly then go the GH3.  I think the OM-D is still the best for stills but from what I've seen the GH3 is pretty close.  The OM-D is small and takes getting use to.

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jalywol
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to rialcnis, Feb 24, 2013

rialcnis wrote:

Since you are into macro then the OM-D and the Zuiko 60mm macro lens is exceptional. Even the 12-50 kit lens has a macro setting and can take very nice shots. Look at sample images. If you are into video mostly then go the GH3. I think the OM-D is still the best for stills but from what I've seen the GH3 is pretty close. The OM-D is small and takes getting use to.

Um, there are a lot of GH3 users out here who do not use the camera for any video whatsoever.  It is an exceptional stills camera (with the added bonus of being an exceptional video camera).  It also is ergonomically better laid out than the OMD......The OP really needs to get his hands on both to see which one is the best choice for his purposes; IQ for stills is probably not going to be the deciding factor here as they are both so close in overall sensor performance.,,,

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Roberto Tolin Sommer
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to ken henke, Feb 24, 2013

About the Aperture question. I have tried Capture One, Lightroom, Aperture and Silkypix looking for the best image of my GH3. Aperture was the winner, Lightroom second, but close. Capture One and Silkypix are the worst. The image quality with Aperture is stunning for so a little sensor.

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billbourd
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to ken henke, Feb 24, 2013

ken henke wrote:

With my son grown up, child/family photos are not important as they once were. Video capability is also not as important as it once was

Don't be too sure about that. My daughter grew up, got married and my grand daughter arrived at which time I added a GH1 for its video ability. Then about two years later bought the OM-D and gave the GH1 to the mother of my grand daughter. Every one is happy.

I feel which ever one you buy, the GH3 or the OM-D you too will be happy.

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ken henke
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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!

-J

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ken henke
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to Raven15, Feb 24, 2013

Raven15 wrote:

I'll answer the questions I can, since I only have the E-M5 and my DSLR also was 4/3's.

ken henke wrote:

... thus, landscape and macro close-up images are most photographed. ... so cold weather performance is somewhat important.

With only electronic viewfinder these cameras eat batteries fast, especially the O-MD (turning off features like IBIS can help). You'll need to take more batteries and precautions in the cold than normal. Otherwise, no camera I've used has had issues in the cold, nor would I expect any camera to have issues. In fact cold results in noticeably less noise for long exposures. If it doesn't work because of a little cold throw it at a big rock because it sucks.

I also have started taking night images as well, primarily Milky Way images.

These two cameras have the first 4/3 sensor I'd feel confident in for Milky Way - type shots. See end of reply for an example.

Thanks so much for answering this question and posting an image. It was just what I wanted to hear!

My most important reason for wanting to change are weight and cost. I certainly noticed last summer trying to carry that 17 extra lbs of camera gear backpacking is not enjoyable!

That would be intolerable. My entire pack weighs 17 pounds for a weekend if I didn't carry a camera. When I first started photography a few years ago, I used to compare the prices and weights of combinations of cameras and several lenses from different manufacturers in a spreadsheet. In every case Nikon had the heaviest and most expensive system, with a wide variety of cameras, lenses, and manufacturers compared over three or so years. There was never a single exception. With micro 4/3, the difference is even more pronounced. People who want to minimize price or weight or especially both would do well to avoid Nikon.

On to the questions:

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

I have never had a dust problem with any camera using the Olympus dust buster (all m4/3 cameras do) in five years, and I shoot in some appallingly dusty environments and have no caution whatsoever when changing lenses. I can't speculate on #2 as a result.

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

They should be close to identical, but I only have the E-M5.

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

Mirrorless 4/3 lenses need no adapter. DSLR 4/3 lenses need an adapter and they'll lose focus speed. Panasonic also made DSLR 4/3 lenses. If slow or manual focus and the larger size is OK with you, adapting an original 4/3 lens can get you higher-quality glass and more zoom range for the money. (For example the Olympus 14-35mm and Panasonic/Leica 14-150mm lenses likely have the best image quality of all mid-range and super-zoom lenses ever made for interchangeable lens cameras, respectively. Other options represent great quality and range for the money).

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?

I frequently wish mine had more articulation, this is the worst possible implementation of a moving screen. Pointing the camera away from you in landscape orientation will be perfectly fine however.

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

Yes, the Olympus 12mm and 17mm especially have the option to focus directly rather than by wire. There are also some nice manual focus lenses, for example Samyang 7.5mm fisheye and Voightlander 17.5mm and 25mm f/0.95 lenses.

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.

Touch the screen and the focus point goes where you touch. You can have it activate the shutter at the same time. Very useful.

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?

While the E-M5 has many bracketing options, it is not easy to activate them (and once it is set to bracket it takes as many button presses to turn off).

That is a definitely strike against the Oly for me. I bracket quite frequently, thus, it must be easy to operate.

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.

Image quality should be about equal, with each camera having a few features that would move it a little bit in either direction depending on shooting conditions. E-M5 notably has built in stabilization, which may not matter to you.

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.

Since both manufacturers are completely interchangeable, you could continue right on with your lenses either way.

For your use shooting RAW and using a tripod, the GH3 is probably the best choice. However, the E-M5 has the same image quality and a few different features for less size and money. The GH3 is the largest and most expensive m4/3 camera, which does go against the point of switching in the first place. Still, the lens system counts for far more than the camera in terms of size and weight. There's no sense getting a camera that is too small and fiddly for you to use.

Yep, your right, the lenses are the primarily issue for weight and size when sticking them in a backpack.

The 7.5mm fisheye is great for the Milky Way. There is more noise here than there should be because I was trying to expose the foreground also. I still need to work on my technique.

What ISO did you use. I typically use 1600-3200. From night images I have seen with these cameras, it appears 1600 is good, with more concern over noise at 3200. Fortunately, I don't conduct a lot of  night imagery, thus, degradation of image quality above 1600 is not a deal breaker for me.

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ken henke
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to idiotekniQues, Feb 24, 2013

idiotekniQues wrote:

to me it sounds like a GH3 is for you. the IBIS on the Oly is usedful for handheld macro but you use tripods - there are no stabilized macro lenses for mft AFAIK. as you know IS is not nearly as necessary for UWA shooting like your landscape photography.

however you may start to enjoy IBIS depending on if you go with Oly lenses and perhaps leave the tripod at home. or just buy the panny lenses with OIS in them.--

That is one of the key decisions to consider between the two cameras. If I go the Lumix route, for stabilization, I will be stuck with Lumix lenses. Stuck isn't a bad thing in this case. I am amazed at the glass available for the Lumix cameras. Additionally, I have no problem with manually focusing a lens.

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ken henke
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Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge
In reply to Roberto Tolin Sommer, Feb 24, 2013

Roberto Tolin Sommer wrote:

About the Aperture question. I have tried Capture One, Lightroom, Aperture and Silkypix looking for the best image of my GH3. Aperture was the winner, Lightroom second, but close. Capture One and Silkypix are the worst. The image quality with Aperture is stunning for so a little sensor.

Well, that certainly was the answer I wanted to hear for sure. I realize this may be a difficult question to answer, but did you find yourself having to conduct extensive editing to get the RAW images processed to your liking?

I have noticed with my Nikon that the images are quite "flat" and need a lot of processing. However, that is what RAW is for, but it just seems excessive for NEF RAW images.

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