E-P1 better than 1dsMkIII?

Started Jul 31, 2009 | Discussions
John Mason
John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 6,017
E-P1 better than 1dsMkIII?

I got my E-P1 a bit over a week ago. This past weekend was a big birthday bash for my 5 year old grandson. I took along my new E-P1 with kit lens and my Canon 1dsMkIII with 85mm F1.2 L lens.

The next day the 'party' continued with a trip to Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. This time I put my old E1 14-54mm lens on the E-P1. I stayed with the 85mm 1.2 L lens on the 1dsmkIII.

Here are the results of that experience:

1st day - the kit lens - not bad - but IQ way way below the canon
2nd day - the 14-54 f2.8-f4 E1 lens on the E-P1 gave better shots than the canon

This blew me away. Here I was thinking the E-P1 was my G9 replacement. I had friends and relatives take a look on my calibrated monitor and choose which shots they preferred. On the 1st day with the E-P1 kit zoom they all prefferred the Canon shots. On the 2nd day with the much better quality 14-54 lens on the E-P1 people preferred the E-P1 shots.

Now I've continued to test them back and forth in different situations with this:

That's the e-p1 acting as the rear lenscap on the 14-35 f2

At F2 it's one of the sharpest lenses I've ever seen. At F2.8 it is the sharpest lens (well - except for the 50mm F2 macro which matches it unless you are looking at Bokeh in which the 14-35 wins again).

On my canon I have to carry 2 lenses to get what I get with the one lens on the e-p1. I have to carry the 1.2 85 L for my portrait shots where I want the unreal 3d effect that lens can give, and the 24-105 F4 L for the high quality walkaround lens.

I'm still continuing comparison shots. I'm about to go on a Scotland trip. I was going to bring the Canon like I did last year. That was 6 pounds on my shoulder. (1dsmkIII - 24-105L F4 - spare battery)

The E-P1 with 14-35 is the densest photographic combo I've ever touted. But at 4 pounds that's 1/3 lighter than the Canon which will be a big difference over the course of the trip. (E-P1 w/14-35 F2 and spare battery)

Here is an old shot with an earlier 1ds and the E1 in their respective bags. The e-p1 with 14-35 fits fine with the hood reversed in the blue bag so this picture, while different equipment, is completely representative of the size difference of my 2 current kits.

I'll have to borrow my E1 with macro back from my son so I can update that picture as the Blue bag is a bit more 'filled out' with the e-p1 and 14-35 in it.

I've also been playing around with the focus. I don't shoot sports. Shooting the grandkids this weekend worked fine with either camera. Indoors neither is ideal because they are moving and at the shutter speeds either camera is using they are going to blur sometimes.

But in very very dark conditions like I get into with night panoramics I have to really push my vision to see if the 1dsmkiii is focused. (the infinity stop is never a best focus for night landscapes so you can't depend on that) The E-P1 actually still focuses in contrast detect mode in near complete darkness. I've only tried this with the F2.0 lens though.

All this is most disconcerting. I've now spent nearly 2k extra adding to my initial E-P1 purchase when my original idea was a knockaround camera to replace my G9 and if it was good enough something smaller/lighter for my Scotland trip. But then I wasn't that happy with the kit lens and popped on my old E1 lens and was wowed. I alternated both cameras and let others blind choose just to make sure I wasn't deluding myself and on the basis of the E-P1's superior showing got the 14-35.

Over the last number of years I have just been upgrading my 1dsmk series every 3 years and had that E1 as a spare that my son permantently borrows for macro shooting. I had not kept up on what olympus was doing. I did not know they had created their SHG line.

Now I'm in SHG lust. I'm approaching the tipping point on selling off all the Canon stuff.

My next wedding where I'll need the superior focusing of a high end Dslr isn't till next May. If an E3 replacement isn't out yet I'll rent one. But for now the best zooms on the planet may be the SHG series and the best Sensor/Processor out of the Olympus line is the E-P1.

This is one amazing combination.
--
John Mason - Lafayette, IN

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DriftForge Senior Member • Posts: 1,208
Re: E-P1 better than 1dsMkIII?

Interesting read. The other thing I'd note is that the 14-35 F2, if designed for µ4/3, would be much, much smaller. This is the lens (or one close to it) that I would love to see come out as the 'kit lens' for the upmarket model Olympus is mumbling about for later in the year / early next year. That is when µ4/3 will really come into its own in terms of size / weight reduction..

R Stacy
R Stacy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,143
Wow, some testament !!

You will no doubt hear shouts from glee to disdain from all sides of the aisles about this... Five years on an E System user I have no doubts about Zuiko as you are discovering.

I do suspect a couple factors going on that make this combo so attractive in the final result. With the new low pass filter on E Pen we can only hope OLy continues on with further enhancements to the 4/3 sensor tech... that and no doubt the SHG Zuiko glass, optimized for 4/3 from the getgo, combined with this newest sensor approach, hmmm........... well lets just say we could be moving into some interesting developments on the 4/3 (and m4/3) front.

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TomD123 Regular Member • Posts: 434
Re: E-P1 better than 1dsMkIII?

John Mason, I posted in another thread. And now I'm partially re-posting here in an effort to maintain continuity. It's hard to keep up with these fast moving threads!

John Mason wrote:

I had friends and relatives take a look on my calibrated monitor and choose which shots they preferred. On the 1st day with the E-P1 kit zoom they all prefferred the Canon shots. On the 2nd day with the much better quality 14-54 lens on the E-P1 people preferred the E-P1 shots.

John, just what did people llike over the Canon images; color,clarity, sharpness, etc.?

Over the last number of years I have just been upgrading my 1dsmk series every 3 years and had that E1 as a spare that my son permantently borrows for macro shooting. I had not kept up on what olympus was doing. I did not know they had created their SHG line.

Now I'm in SHG lust. I'm approaching the tipping point on selling off all the Canon stuff.

My next wedding where I'll need the superior focusing of a high end Dslr isn't till next May. If an E3 replacement isn't out yet I'll rent one. But for now the best zooms on the planet may be the SHG series and the best Sensor/Processor out of the Olympus line is the E-P1.

And I had no idea of the beauty of Olympus lenses either. Oly tech support was "raving" on & on about the 14-54 f2.8-f3.5 as well. And it's CDAF compatible!

Looks like my second PEN will have the 14-54 f2.8-f3.5 mounted permanently!

EmmJay Regular Member • Posts: 212
Re: E-P1 better than 1dsMkIII?

How was the focus speed on the 14-54 and adapter? I'm weighing my options.

John Mason
OP John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 6,017
m4/3rds future lenses

I think they'll do that for sure. I'm looking at the 7-14 4/3rds and the m7-14 4/3rds from Pana is much smaller and 1/2 the price.

We won't see those lenses till they come out with a more semi-pro or better camera in the m4/3rds format which I think is inevitable.

I've had digital cameras E10,D30,D60,1ds,E1,1dsmkII, 1dsmkIII, now e-p1 plus P&S galore. This history goes back nearly a decade and look at the incredible advancements.

If small can still do the job, truely great lenses get smaller too.

The 14-35 isn't small but imagine how big a lens like that would be for a 35mm full frame!

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John Mason - Lafayette, IN

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John Mason
OP John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 6,017
Here is what they liked on the 1dsmkIII shots

Clarity across the focus plane, accurate colors, a buttery smoothness in the unfocused areas.

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John Mason - Lafayette, IN

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John Mason
OP John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 6,017
abt a sec

it's about a second

The other thing I like on the E-P1 is the manual control and ease you can focus when you want an exact focus point in your frame to be the sharpest.

This takes me back to my rangefinder days. But then I'd point off center and then move back which actually isn't the most accurate way to focus. On the E-P1 I can place the focus point where ever I want, touch the focus ring and I'm 10x zoomed, rotate the knurled dial and can zoom in to 14x and get an exact focus.

On an F2.0 lens if you are shooting full wide open, the ability to take over from the camera and pick the exact spot is great.

Obviously we are not talking action photography here but zone focus or quasi-posed portraits (whether the people know they are being posed or not) works fantastic this way.

It's like my 1dsmkIII live view on steroids.
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John Mason - Lafayette, IN

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Tenken777 Contributing Member • Posts: 503
Re: m4/3rds future lenses

Thanks for the post. I too am considering coupling my 14-35mm to the EP1, as my everyday walkaround combo. I don't get what all the hype is about slow AF, if they want faster AF for sports, they can go for DSLR. But for my everyday use, I don't think anything can beat that EP1 + 14-35 combo for weight and size advantage. And as we get older, the smaller package begins to look more and more attactive. I hope to see more of your comparison pics with the 1DSIII.

John Mason wrote:

I think they'll do that for sure. I'm looking at the 7-14 4/3rds and the m7-14 4/3rds from Pana is much smaller and 1/2 the price.

We won't see those lenses till they come out with a more semi-pro or better camera in the m4/3rds format which I think is inevitable.

I've had digital cameras E10,D30,D60,1ds,E1,1dsmkII, 1dsmkIII, now e-p1 plus P&S galore. This history goes back nearly a decade and look at the incredible advancements.

If small can still do the job, truely great lenses get smaller too.

The 14-35 isn't small but imagine how big a lens like that would be for a 35mm full frame!

John Mason
OP John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 6,017
Here is the e-p1 kit zoom by comparison

I'm not taking the time to recrop, etc. But on the 30in calibrated monitor I can tell you the kit lens is not bad but the 1dsmkIII with 85mm 1.2 is in a completely different league.
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John Mason - Lafayette, IN

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John Mason
OP John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 6,017
And here is the E-P1 the next day with the 14-54

And on this day when we compare all the shots on the calibrated monitor people consistently preferred the E-P1 shots to the Canon. The E-P1 is a completely different camera when great glass (or whatever they are using) is put on it.

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John Mason - Lafayette, IN

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TomD123 Regular Member • Posts: 434
Re: And here is the E-P1 the next day with the 14-54

John Mason wrote:

And on this day when we compare all the shots on the calibrated monitor people consistently preferred the E-P1 shots to the Canon. The E-P1 is a completely different camera when great glass (or whatever they are using) is put on it.

Whoa! A 3-D look about it!

Gotta sell my Canon gear fast.

Thanks for posting images.

John Mason
OP John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 6,017
It is a different beast when a real lens is put on it

I have no idea how these pics compare on other peoples monitors, but at home on the raws converted and left in adobe RGB then viewed with Thumbs Plus 7 which has the color management built in, the IQ in every way was better on the Oly shots.

I could spend some time and indeed on the weddings I've done with the Canon I've spent hours creating the perfect books for the people I've done the weddings for.

Be it dust or colors or tone curves, the Oly is going to save me a ton of time on my next one. (but I won't use the E-P1 for that - though I could and might for all the posed formals, just the walking down the aisle shots I'd rather have an E3 follow-on)
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John Mason - Lafayette, IN

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John Mason
OP John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 6,017
you can dial in a 3d look

Just pick A mode and force a more open apeture. Obviously the kit lens would have a problem getting the shallow DOF more often then the 14-54 and the 14-35 is better still.

But what struck us on the big monitor was the clarity across the focus plain edge to edge. Those 12mp are earning their keep.
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John Mason - Lafayette, IN

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John Mason
OP John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 6,017
I have the older version of the 14-54

I have the older original 14-54 lens that came with the E1 as a kit lens.

I think the newer lens is supposed to be better for CDAF focusing. (even though I'm not having any problem with the old one)
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John Mason - Lafayette, IN

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John Mason
OP John Mason Veteran Member • Posts: 6,017
interesting developments for sure

and with a hit like the E-P1 they'll have some funding and momentum

I looked at the E3 last week when I picked up my E-P1 and compared to the 1dsmkIII I didn't care for the viewfinder. But I'm spoiled. Still, it's a capable camera. Just for now, the E-P1 has the best Oly camera sensor.

If I do switch systems, the physics of the smaller mirror is probably still going to give me not as nice of a viewfinder. But my new 'roll of film' won't cost 8k either.
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John Mason - Lafayette, IN

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TomD123 Regular Member • Posts: 434
Re: you can dial in a 3d look

John Mason wrote:

Just pick A mode and force a more open apeture. Obviously the kit lens would have a problem getting the shallow DOF more often then the 14-54 and the 14-35 is better still.

But what struck us on the big monitor was the clarity across the focus plain edge to edge. Those 12mp are earning their keep.

John Mason;

Call it clarity or actuance, it's quite amazing.

The M2 version, of the 14-54, per Oly support is supposed to be even better; in that it was re-done to be CDAF compatible. Increasing the contrast of the lens!

These images are a real eye-opener as to the potential of the E-P1 with SHG & HG Olympus lenses. And the color, wow; it really pops. Did you have vivid mode on?

Positively "drooling" at the prospect of working with the 14-54 lens.

WT21 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,250
Re: E-P1 better than 1dsMkIII?

John -- I had the EP1 for two weeks. I have to say I liked the camera a lot, but there's something in your post that I don't quite -- what's the word -- understand? believe? accept? You indicated that in low light you were raving about EP1 focus, the very thing other folks are complaining about, and also what I struggled with.

I only used the kit lens, and you are using a superior lens, but I also suspect that you manual focus a lot, and that your success with the camera comes from your expertise in MF, something which I like. Is that a fair comment? That you manually focused a lot?

If you did AF, how did the AF with the 14-35 compare to the kit lens? Same? Quicker? Slower?

Finally, have you done a lot of work with, say, sub $600 or even sub $900 lenses, as opposed to the $2K lens? I never did try any other lenses, and I couldn't affford that one! (then again I couldn't afford a 1d either, lol).

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Christian Wagner Senior Member • Posts: 1,547
Re: E-P1 better than 1dsMkIII?

DriftForge wrote:

Interesting read. The other thing I'd note is that the 14-35 F2, if designed for µ4/3, would be much, much smaller. This is the lens (or one close to it) that I would love to see come out as the 'kit lens' for the upmarket model Olympus is mumbling about for later in the year / early next year. That is when µ4/3 will really come into its own in terms of size / weight reduction..

I would LOVE a smaller version of this lens. It will make me feel a little more at home as the 24-70 is the standard walkaround lens on my 5D.

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Jogger
Jogger Veteran Member • Posts: 8,441
For those thinking of the 14-54 on the EP1...

Keep in mind that it is significantly larger than the kit zoom (with adapter as well) and marginally better, imo. Although it is faster at all fl points. In terms of image quality, i would rate it below the 50-200, and way (WAY) below the 50 f2.

When i was shooting my E1, if i need to shoot 40mm or above, i would always switch to the 50 f2 because it is sooo much better. The 14-54 is similar to something like the 18-70 Nikon (better than consumer kit, but, still meh).

One option is to keep the EP1 kit zoom and add the 50 f2.. it complements the fl range rather than replacing it, and the 50 f2 is already compact. It is also miles ahead of the 14-54 in image quality. Its also a macro lens. The only downside to that lens is the atrocious focusing and horrible bokeh for anything other than macro shots.

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