My Joys/Struggles with m4/3rds (Longer Post) Pt 1

Started Sep 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
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larrytusaz Senior Member • Posts: 2,437
My Joys/Struggles with m4/3rds (Longer Post) Pt 1

My apologies in advance if this post is LONG and "all over the place." I'm going to try & make it to where it makes sense & doesn't take quite SO MUCH long-winded endless chatter to make my points & ask my questions.

Short Version --micro 4/3rds has been so great & blessed me with so many great images, and I just love the portability vs a DSLR, but I've experienced elements of frustration at times & can't seem to get one single body that addresses the entire element, and at the same time I wonder if it's really me all along. I wonder if I should've just stayed with my good-old E-PL1 while waiting for the E-PL5 or E-PM2 to be available, as the PEN form factor is, I THINK, the most suitable for me vs the OM-D/EM-5 form factor (which would give me the updated technology now).

E-PL1--great for landscapes, even with straight Superfine-Large JPEGs, flash is always on hand for "fill flash" if you need it, but has a tendency to not want to focus on close objects against a far-away background, making it hard to get decent child shots with it. It also takes longer to "shift the numbers" with the buttons vs a "jog dial"

E-PM1--more reliable with focusing, love the "jog dial" & smaller size, but still some focusing misses (which may be me after all) and I've noticed some landscapes where the sky had noise in it even at base ISO, whereas shots with the E-PL1 were "clean" practically everytime

Panasonics--lower dynamic ranger (DR) than the Olympus, less JPEG engine excellence, a fail since I do landscapes a lot & need the best DR that m4/3rds can do (short of getting the 16mp generation just yet) and also part of the appeal for me is not having to goof around with RAW so much

Long Version

E-PL1--Great for Landscapes, Hit-Miss with Kiddy Clicks

I first bought an E-PL1 last November, a week later I sold it because, while I got great landscape images with, everyday shots of my kids were blurry often-times in situations that my various DSLRs handled just fine. At the time it appeared to be the "lens wobble" issue, as I was using the original 14-42. (Although I read & critique equipment with a fine-tooth comb, probably to the point of schizophrenia sometimes, somehow that particular tid-bit of history escaped me initially.) Although people assured me my problems would be solved simply by changing the 14-42 "original" for the II MSC or II R version, I wasn't yet "ready" to really max out my m4/3rds experience, as this was basically an "experiment" at the time, so I just sold it a week later.

Last February, though, I felt ready to try again. I got another E-PL1 and upgraded to the II MSC version immediately. For the most part, it was great. Especially with landscapes, this thing was a champion--so much so, last July I took a trip with it & also took my Nikon D5100, which besides the obvious DSLR advantages, it also sports a more up-to-date sensor that's even a littler better than the OM-D/EM-5 one. Yet, the E-PL1 did so well, especially with straight Superfine-Large JPEGs, that I made as many, if not more, blow-ups (AdoramaPix) from that one as I did my D5100. For that purpose, it was an unqualified success, other than it being hard at times to see the screen during sunny days.

However, all along, with shots of my kids, it's been hit or miss, mainly due to focusing accuracy with regards to focusing on the child vs the background. When it doesn't do it, I'm fine--but there have been a lot of misses. It's driven me crazy--I know about taking control & having the active AF sensor be on the child vs having the camera "auto-choose" which sensor it thinks is correct, and I was doing, yet often-times the camera STILL would choose the background. Yes you can do the "magnify" mode, which lets you easily zoom-in to verify it's doing the job right and gives you a smaller AF sensor besides--but then, you're locked out from changing other parameters while doing so, slowing you down considerably.

GF3--Still Hit or Miss--Maybe It's Me?

So, recently, I sold my E-PL1 and got a Panasonic GF3 and also the Cameta Olympus E-PM1 kit with the 14-42mm II R lens. After doing this, I figured my problems would be over--but they have not been, and so now I'm thinking--gee whiz, is it me? Do I suck that bad?

The GF3--it has that touch-to-focus & fire feature, so I'm thinking--well, there you go. I can touch my child's eyeball and it will focus there and fire. So long as my shutter speed isn't too slow (I know about the 1/effective focal length rule), they're not jumping around (and they're not, they're stationery), and I shoot at (say) f/5.6 or f/8 so as to allow for a bit of depth-of-field (vs, say, shooting with the 45mm at f/2 if I had that lens) it should nail it every-time.

But--guess what. Even then, I've had shots that weren't particularly crisp. I've been like--gee whiz, what does one have to do? But then, at the same time, I'm wondering if it's me. Heck, I've even had shots I took with my D5100 and 50mm prime set at f/2.5, with me placing the AF sensor on my DSLR right square on their eyeball, and I could tell through the optical viewfinder what it was doing--yet, when I viewed the shots on my 22" LCD, they STILL weren't good enough to me. With that, I've been like--well gee, is it me then? Do I stink that bad? Or am I just too critical?

The rest, including my questions, in the next post.

 larrytusaz's gear list:larrytusaz's gear list
Nikon D3100 Nikon D3300 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
Nikon D5100 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus PEN E-PM1 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
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