filmlaw: I am really torn and solicit everyone's opinion. I can't decide between a Sony NEX 7 and E-M5. Kit lens with both to start. I want a camera that delivers great images after enlargement and post-processing and is easy to travel with thus the reason the DSLR must stay home. I have now ordered both but will only purchase one. I like the idea of the size of the APS-C sensor over the 4/3. I have downloaded and thoroughly read both manuals and every review and I am still looking for the definitive reason to select one over the other. Conversely, the E-M5 image stabilization in the body seems superior to optical stabilization. Thank you for any help.
In the main there isn't enough difference to worry about. If you like how one operates over the other go with that one. Sony may have the best senors but it has the a so-so processor. I've owned a 5n and borrowed a 7 so I know how easy it is to fool the processor. Operation is where the biggest difference will be.
NikonScavenger: Whether it's the fact that Nikon started development of this project back in 2007 and missed the bus when micro 4/3rds surpassed them, or whether Nikon feels they need to make a half-assed product for every great product they make (like the D7000), this camera system is a compromise.
The whole point of micro 4/3rds was sacrificing some of the quality of a DSLR for incredible portability. Making a photosensor smaller than micro 4/3 pushes it to the enthusiast compact market and further and further away from DSLR. It comes down to whether you want a point and shoot with an interchangeable lens. I have no idea even if you could or would want to use your Nikkor lenses with a 2.7x.
Mirrorless ultracompact interchangeable lens cameras also appeal to the crowd that thinks that you can only take great pictures with a DSLR but can't be bothered to deal with the bulk and complexity of using one (the guys who use a 300mm zoom with the popup flash outdoors), so it just has to look the part.
Did you know that Olympus made small 1/2 frame (1/2 of a 35mm) cameras. I believe their name was also PEN.
I hesitate to call the sensor crummy. Other than a small bit of dynamic range what do you find missing? If you read the Olympus reviews you will note reviewers commenting on the beautiful jpegs in most situations and yes they note that it lacks dynamic range of other brands.