Why aren't 2018 camera's really better than 10 years ago?

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Mr_D New Member • Posts: 17
Why aren't 2018 camera's really better than 10 years ago?

I've been using digital camera's since they first came out starting with a Ricoh, then a 2Meg Nikon, Canon G2, G3, S95, S120, A640 and many others.

I need a travel camera for personal use with
*16meg+ resolution
* external controls
* small as possible
* decent low light performance
* At least a little zoom with it.  
f2.8 or better would be nice but f2.0 with a zoom only seems to come on small format cameras.

After much research I settled on Micro 4/3" or APS-C size sensor due to so much greater detail and dynamic range improvements over the 1/1.7" consumer level units I had before. Or so I thought.

I added some native size cropped photo's at the bottom to show what I'm seeing.

After compiling an entire page of pro's and cons for most models I bought a new Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III with the standard Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ lens.

It has a sensor 5x larger than my old camera's, is physically twice as big, costs a lot more and is 10 years newer, or more. It should be far better than all my old cameras.
But it's not.

Side by side with my tiny 10meg Canon S95, both on Program mode, low ISO, auto everything else other than Program mode, and set to the highest resolution, on a tripod, in full daylight, or at night the little $200 Canon often produces clearer photo's than the new $600 OM-D E M10 Mark III.   20% of the OM-D shots are totally out of focus vs about 1% on any of my old cameras.   And the shots that come out aren't great.

I expected something was wrong with the new camera so I replaced it.
The 2nd one is about 20% clearer which helps a lot, but it's still barely better (if at all) than my old cameras from a decade ago.

To figure this out I took tons of photo's at every setting and aperture and figured out what's going on.  mostly.  But my main question still remains,, why aren't new camera better than a cheap one from 10 years ago?

The first OM-D E-M10 Mark III I bought had issues with stuck pixels on the display and on the sensor, sometimes the lens would fail to retract when powered off, or the interface would get hung where no buttons work so I had to power it off.   The 2nd unit was better on all those items and only froze up once so far but it still had the same image problems.

The fancy 5 axis Image stabilization (S.IS mode) didn't work on either unit I bought.
IF I.S is on, the photo is often blurry mostly on the horizontal axis. That happens at 1/100th, 1/60, 1/10 1, 2, or 5 seconds, etc.   8 seconds long is actually better, maybe it's averaging out the I.S. movements. 
I know to leave I.S off for tripod shots since it apparently can't figure that out and stop moving around.    but why does I.S enabled make it so blurry at 1/30, 1/60 or 1/100th also?    It's far better with it off in 100% of the shots I took.   Some were "ok" but  I saw no shots that were better with I.S enabled.

I have a steady hand and can produce pretty good shots often at 1/4 second or more but if I.S was turned on those were totally blurred.

I found out a 2nd issue on that model; f3.5 lens or processing distortion.

After hundreds of photo's over a week I was surprised that by going back to my old camera many images were much sharper after getting used to the OM-D.

So I found the 2nd issue.
When set to f3.5 or f4 the photo will be very soft, even in the center of the frame.  By going to f7 or higher it's getting better and by f9 it's pretty good (assuming I.S. is still off). So that's most of the answer.

1. Turn off I.S to have any chance at all
2. Don't try f3.5
3. Don't use HDR mode since that doesn't work either.

HDR can work in full daylight sometimes, but any slow speed shots won't work such as med light indoors, or city skylines at night. There is no chance because HDR mode disables the timer. You HAVE to physically press the shutter which creates a small movement and blurs the shots.

If I preset the timer and then turn on HDR it will still disable the timer.

If the smart phone WIFI app worked better I'd use that but it's not convenient to connect another device to take 1 photo and it doesn't have bluetooth.
I have a list of 50 good points and 40 bad points with this camera and ultimately returned both OM-D units because the chance of a good photo wasn't very good.
I don't see how the review sites got average photo's with the OM-D.

I tried a full reset on both cameras and updated the firmware but it didn't matter.
I did gain remote hot shoe flash control with firmware 1.1 though.  That adds a whole page of new settings.  cool.
By manually configuring all settings to compensate for the built-in issues I was able to get some photo's that were a little better than my 10 year old budget cameras.
Sometimes.  and not by much.

Even my entry level 4Meg Canon G3 from 17 years ago gives the new 16meg OM-D 4/3" a run for the money if you compare the detail levels in the photo. I find that pretty odd.
and that's why I posed the question.  I must have the clearest G3 ever made and 2 lousy OM-D's.

So I need to buy something else but I can't imagine why cameras at a higher price, 10 years newer with advanced features and a new sensor 5x larger aren't vastly better than old models.    I'm not hand picking bad photo's.
I wanted this camera to work out as I like the layout and many features and I bought a new case, extra's batteries and chargers, a screen protector, etc.     I just had so many dozens of blurry photo's I eventually had to figure out why it tries so hard to make blurry photos.  
I've never seen this before in the 12 cameras I owned previously.   most were fine.  
I sent back an old Ricoh in 1995 since even 1 cloud in the sky would blow it away but the rest I kept and used for years.

Please don't be to hard, I realize I'm not using all the right technical terms.
Thank you for any honest suggestions, particularly on what else to get.

I like various Sony's but not the menu system complexity and the 1" sensor in the RX100 series is a bit small.
After removing many models from the list due to having a fixed lens or no flash I'm considering Canon EOS M6, FUJIFILM X-T20, Canon G7X Mark II or Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III.

Thanks for any insight.  unofficial test photo's are below. 
I'll be more scientific next time.

Canon s95 vs new OM-D III

Another test. neither camera is zoomed in. everything set to best quality, auto white balanced, non-edited other than added text.

OM-D vs itself. f3.5 vs f9. not zoomed in. photo editor was off 1 click.

OM-D vs itself. f3.5 vs f9. not zoomed in.  position was moved slightly closer.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III vs Canon S95 from 10 years ago.

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