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

Started Feb 23, 2013 | Questions thread
rrr_hhh Veteran Member • Posts: 6,022
Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge

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 at all : this is one of the strong points of Olympus. Just power off when you change lenses.

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

Olympus say not.. Because the sensor is not hold firmly due to in body stabilization. But SSWD vibration at power up for sensor cleaning is very effective.

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.

Look at his thread. Vittorio Fracassi, once a FF Canon shooter uses Helicon software to stack pictures of closeup. I don't have much experience in macro, so will let other people discuss that matter. But MFT offers more DOF than DSLRs : two stops with respect to FF and one stop with respect to APSC. Diffraction also strikes earlier however. If you get the Panasonic 45mm macro, it is stabilized, but the 60mm Olympus will only get stabilized on Olympus bodies. I have recently compared the 60mm and 45mm reviews and it seems that the 60mm has somewhat better corners than he 45mm. The 45mm is very sharp in the center and the 60mm is on parr with it.

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?

There are two different types of cameras : four thirds DSLRs and micro fourthirds mirrorless cameras. The first use phase detection to AF, like Canon and Nikon DSLRs and the bodies are way bigger than micro fourthirds bodies. The micro fourthirds cameras use contrast detect autofocus. You need an adapter to mount FT lenses an an MFT body. Further, most of the FT lenses are really slow to AF on MFT bodies. Zuiko lenses are for FT bodies. MFT lenses are labelled m.Zuiko.

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's with the fully articulated LCD and the E-M5. Both have advantages and inconvenients. The E-M5 can be used like a waist level VF, which the fully articulated LCD doesn't allow as well. I thought that I'd miss the flexibility of the Panasonic LCD, but in fact I don't. On tripod it is mre or less the same. I only missed it once or twice while photographing in a narrow room with the Panasonic I could have positionned the camera nearer of the wall and still view the picture while getting more int the frame. I thought that I'd miss it for picture in portrait mode, but I don't. Flipping the Panasonic LCD out in portrait mode is rather cumbersome too. In fact the flipped out LCD is also more cumbersome in landscape mode. The LCD is better protected on the Panasonic cameras, but after using th E-M5 and E-P3 every day for several months, none got a scratch. On tripod, both are very agreeable to use, with the above caveat that in a narrow room the GH3 will have an advantage.

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

no, sorry ! But the E-M5 can work with a WIFI card too. However it is slow to transfer whole pictures. And forget about raws. It is OK for smaller jpegs, for instance if you shoot raws plus small/medium jpegs.

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.)

there is no front/back focusing with CDAF (contrast detect AF); however while SAF is very fast and precise, CAF and CAF with tracking on moving subject is not n parr with DSLRs.

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

yes, bit there s no sdistance scales on the lens barrel. Also, MFT lenses are using focusing by wire, n stead of a mechanical focusing. With many lenses, you lack the kind of feedback you are accustomed too. In particular, there is no hardware stop, you can turn the focusing ring indefinitely.. it can be puzzling with long focals. There ar only two exceptions : the Olympus 12mm F2 and 17mm F1.8. These lenses offer a snap ring to focus manually, it unveils distance scales for zone focusing and has a hardware stop and you get more feedback when you return the ring. The distance scales of the 12mm are more a gimmick given the deep DOF, they aren't that usefull because they lack precision where you need it. I don't own the 17mm, so can't speak for that lens.

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.

I think that you will need less stacking in landscape, since you will have more DOF. On the E-M5, with the camera on tripod it is very nice to use. You can tap only to focus, or you can tap to focus and shoot at the same time.

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 E-M5 has the widest DR I have ever had, it is wonderfull, used in combination with ACR7 and LR4 it will drastically diminish the need of HDR.

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

i have seen fine example of astro photography on this forum. make a search for HD and OrioI, you should find that thread.

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 had a Canon 5D and the DR of the E-M5 is better ! The only thing I miss are the TSE lenses ( I think the Nikon equivalent is named PC lens)

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.

You can choose the ratio in camera. I don't know wat aperture does, but Adobe program would crop it to the chosen ratio without asking (which I resent). You have the choice between 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1. The Olympus bies will keep all the 4:3 raw (so you can recover it with Olympus proprietary converter, or C1Pro, but not ACR); Panasonic cameras don't keep the whole picture when you Choise a cropped ratio, if my memory serves me well.

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.

This is the micro 4/3 forum. The FT bodies are discussed in the Olympus DSLR forum. But you are in the right place to discuss the GH3 and E-M5.

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