the early versions of micro m43 ......... not that great ?

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Eric Nepean
Eric Nepean Veteran Member • Posts: 5,884
Re: the early versions of micro m43 ......... not that great ?
2

I had (still have) the G1 and liked it.

I found with many of the early Panasonic M43 cameras that I wanted more vivid colors. On most of those cameras I set the color profile to vivid; I think I redued the vivid profile's saturation half a step, and reduced the noise reduction and sharpness 2 steps.

After that I was fairly happy with the results. I didn't do that witth the GX8.

I used Aperture for many years, and then migrated to Capture One. I find that with Capture One, I have to make fewer changes to its default rendering of Panasonic raws than Aperture.

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Eric
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JosephScha Veteran Member • Posts: 6,660
Re: the early versions of micro m43 ......... not that great ?
1

Just want to say I had a 12MP Lumix G10 (a slightly defeatured G2). Obviously, the G9 I have now is much better in every way I can think of. But at that time, I came from a 6.2mp 2/3" sensor superzoom, that had horrible dynamic range. The G10 was an improvement for sure, at that time. Also, at that time, there was no Topaz Denoise AI or DxO software, and I was using Photoshop Elements. (One of the reasons I subscribed to Adobe Lightroom (classic) and Photoshop when they offered it is that PSE had a new version every year, and if you bought it every year, well, the subscription wasn't much more!) So, at that time, there was certainly no way to make it look like a modern m43 camera. And now ... well, I wouldn't use the G10 now even if I still had it.

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js

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George1958 Senior Member • Posts: 1,440
Re: the early versions of micro m43 ......... not that great ?

Mr Giggles wrote:

I remember using an early version of the GH series and being really underwhelmed by the image quality.

there was a really boring rending to the images which reminded me of the Oly SLR cameras from 15 years ago ...... which I hated

I had sworn off m43 and then I got an unbelievable deal on a G9

I was started by the difference in quality .... while not quite up to FF it was fine for smaller prints up to 16 x 20 which is what I print anyway

now here is the thing

I could have been wrong

maybe the editing software was not optimal and to be honest I forget which RAW editing software I even used ..... I always shoot raw so I know I was not seeing in camera JPEGS

so I am curious what you guys think - who have being using M43 forever

was the image quality ok for you ?

did you discover a special raw editor which brought quality similar to the modern M43 ?

The problems always start when you move away from the content of an image and start discussing the attributes of a given digital file. I think most would agree that the most important element of an image is the content. That is after all what people look at. 
Image quality as frequently discussed in terms of noise or DR, etc was rarely an issue for early  M4/3. Where there are issues of noise etc, most often these were down to exposure problems or very difficult lighting.

use an older M4/3 camera with more recent lenses and nail the exposure, you will be pleasantly surprised and rewarded

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Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 20,203
Re: QI vs. IQ
1

Henry Richardson wrote:

Radical Transformation: Magnum Photos into the Digital Age

I wrote about it at the time (note the part I made bold below):

The photos were excellent and the presentation was good too. The prints were of various sizes by many Magnum photographers. I am sure lots of the people on the internet would have hated almost every single photo though because even many of the smaller prints (5x7, 6x9) were not eye cutting sharp when viewed at 3 centimeters. There would have been screaming and derision by the dogmatic extremists with their 10x loupes. Not sure about CA, distortion, and all the other things that so many people are obsessed with since I didn't even bother checking. They were wonderful viewed from a normal viewing distance. Very nice exhibition.

Probably about 90% of the photos in the exhibition were B&W. Some of the photos are famous iconic photos from Capa, Cartier-Bresson, et al that you have seen before.

Later I was walking around with my camera and I sort of wondered if all the photos in the exhibition had been taken with digital cameras if some of them, maybe a bunch of them, would have been deleted in the camera? I imagine these photographers are smart enough to not be over concerned (concerned, of course, but not over concerned) with all the technical details and let those things override what the image looks like and whether it is interesting. Fortunately, the photos had not been deleted.

Most of the photos in the exhibition could have easily been taken with my Canon G15 and the technical quality in many cases would have been even better. Just being able to quickly change ISO or use Auto ISO is a huge advantage. Good ISO from 80 on up to, oh I don't know, 3200. Even 12,800 is usable and quite good compared to just slightly fast film from a long time ago. Especially if shooting in raw. A long time ago ISO/ASA 400 B&W film was fast. [And ISO/ASA 32 color slide film was high speed.]

Here is the exhibition info:

https://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/2013/radical-transformation/

I should also mention that the Canon G15 has IS which is also a great boon!  And the 28-140mm-efl f1.8-2.8 lens too.  Just imagine how much many of the old greats would have loved this camera if they had it 60-80 years ago!  I replaced the G15 with the even better Canon G16 in 2014.  I still take it out for a spin from time to time because it is such a nice camera.  Just a 1/1.7" 12mp sensor, but still I enjoy using the camera.

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StefanSC Regular Member • Posts: 315
Rather poor cameras tbh ...
1

I still have my GF-1 around here somewhere and a GX-7 in it's box, perhaps I should do a comparison to see how m43 image quality has evolved.

When I first got into m43 , back in 2010, the cameras were a bit ... poor to put it nicely. The 12 Mpx sensor was behind the curve back in 2007 already and the competition was pushing 16 and 18Mpx APS-C sensors that had a visible advantage over m43.

Also, the bodies were a bit too toylike, the screens were poor (I remember comparing the ones from the GF-1 and E-P1 to the D300 I was using back then) and the AF was basic.

But at the time, there wasn't anything as small as a GF-1 and 20mm f1.7 that offered that level of image quality and controls that advanced...

The 16Mpx sensors represented a great leap forward for m43 and the 20Mpx sensors are still competitive with most APS-Cs out there on the market these days.

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pannumon Veteran Member • Posts: 3,609
Blame the early raw processors

ahaslett wrote:

Mr Giggles wrote:

I remember what happened

I bought a GH2 or 3 because of the hype about its video prowess

so on the first outing I wanted to see what the photo quality was like

I took a number of different images using RAW and I downloaded the Panny raw editor - what ever that was at the time

I then loaded the images and processed them

I remember looking at them and being startled

" these look like crap " .... I thought

Lots of people have been shocked by the flat rendering of RAWs in their first processor, unless it uses something like the camera jpeg parameters as it’s starting point.

You are absolutely correct. Back in 2009, I tried raw development with SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0 that came with GH1. The images were extremely flat, something similar to how ungraded log video looks today. I spent an hour or two trying to get the images look nearly as good as the JPEGs. The software was very slow. I did not succeed. I gave up. Later I got Lightroom version 3, and was blown up that the raw images looked totally normal and usable right after import!

Newer versions of SilkyPix of course do the initial things for you.

TLDR; Don't blame the early µ4/3 cameras, blame the included raw processing software.

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Marty4650
Marty4650 Forum Pro • Posts: 16,096
My experience

In 2010 I purchased an Olympus EP1 to use alongside my Olympus E30. This was my first (of many) M4/3 cameras.

Here is what I discovered:

  • The image quality was virtually the same, which makes sense since both cameras had the same 12MP Four Thirds sensors and the same processing engine.
  • The body and new lenses were much smaller and lighter than their Four Thirds counterparts. Just comparing the bodies alone the EP1 was about half the size and weight.
  • The E-P1 lacked some features, but this was to be expected when you compare a first effort MILC camera with a highly refined DSLR.

Over time, the image quality coming from later M4/3 iterations was much better. But that was because they had newer sensors and processing engines. If someone built a Four Thirds DSLR today with a newer 16MP or 20MP sensor I have no doubt the IQ would be the same as a MILC version. Removing the mirror has absolutely no affect on image quality.

The new M4/3 lenses were generally smaller and lighter, but not as well made unless you bought PRO lenses. Often they had fewer elements. But they worked well enough, even if they used more software correction than Four Thirds versions. And sometimes the new version cost a little more, other times it could cost substantially less.

When the dust settled, it seemed that Panasonic and Olympus had made a vast improvement over Four Thirds, while using the same sized sensor. We ended up with a much better system that featured more body and lens options, and generally smaller and lighter cameras and lenses. And even the cost was reduced if you account for inflation. (Unless you are looking at the unique exception of the EM1X). And even the PRO lenses were considerably cheaper and smaller than similar quality Four Thirds SHG lenses.

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RobBurke Regular Member • Posts: 293
Re: the early versions of micro m43 ......... not that great ?

I got my E-P2 in 2010 as an impulse buy, travelling through an airport with a group. I think they were slightly horrified that I dumped the box in a bin at the next airport :-). I needed a camera with a viewfinder, as looking at a screen on the back was getting harder with age.

I was pleased with the image quality, compared to a compact camera, but for some time I preferred the JPEGs, using raw only as a fallback. I did notice the improved dynamic range when I got a Fuji X100 only a year later. The E-M5 I got in 2012 was much nicer to use, as well as a step up in image quality. After that, my camera buying slowed up a lot.

This is the 19th image from the camera, 1/60s at ISO 1250, slightly cropped.

jdu_sg Regular Member • Posts: 207
Re: the early versions of micro m43 ......... not that great ?

Mr Giggles wrote:

I remember using an early version of the GH series and being really underwhelmed by the image quality.

there was a really boring rending to the images which reminded me of the Oly SLR cameras from 15 years ago ...... which I hated

I had sworn off m43 and then I got an unbelievable deal on a G9

I was started by the difference in quality .... while not quite up to FF it was fine for smaller prints up to 16 x 20 which is what I print anyway

now here is the thing

I could have been wrong

maybe the editing software was not optimal and to be honest I forget which RAW editing software I even used ..... I always shoot raw so I know I was not seeing in camera JPEGS

so I am curious what you guys think - who have being using M43 forever

was the image quality ok for you ?

did you discover a special raw editor which brought quality similar to the modern M43 ?

There certainly is a difference from 2010 to now, but that's mostly down to the chip technology, not specific to MFT. You would have had similiar performance from most of the digi cams of the era.

Using my G1, the auto exposure (jpeg) programs weren't always making optimal changes, and I found that I needed to go to raw to get the image I thought I was taking.

The biggest limitation I (personally) came across was dynamic range; if the original wasn't close to the right exposure, there wasn't a lot of latitude.

When you say "SLR of 15 years ago" do you mean something like the E500 (DSLR), not film.

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Marty4650
Marty4650 Forum Pro • Posts: 16,096
Were any early versions of anything really great?
1

How about the first Sony NEX-3? Or the first Fujifilm X-E1?

Or even the first Nikon Z and Canon R cameras, that were replaced by better versions.

I even remember the Sony A55 being hailed as the camera of the year in 2010 due to the revolutionary SLT design. Today, I would have a hard time giving my A55 away for free. In fact, I DID give it to my brother for free, and he returned it because he didn't like it. Even if I still think of it as a great camera.

Back in 2008 M4/3 was truly revolutionary. Today when compared to cameras from the same system today, not so much.

Every technology gets better over time, and MILC cameras are no exception to that.

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OP Mr Giggles Contributing Member • Posts: 805
Re: Blame the early raw processors
1

pannumon wrote:

ahaslett wrote:

Mr Giggles wrote:

I remember what happened

I bought a GH2 or 3 because of the hype about its video prowess

so on the first outing I wanted to see what the photo quality was like

I took a number of different images using RAW and I downloaded the Panny raw editor - what ever that was at the time

I then loaded the images and processed them

I remember looking at them and being startled

" these look like crap " .... I thought

Lots of people have been shocked by the flat rendering of RAWs in their first processor, unless it uses something like the camera jpeg parameters as it’s starting point.

You are absolutely correct. Back in 2009, I tried raw development with SilkyPix Developer Studio 3.0 that came with GH1. The images were extremely flat, something similar to how ungraded log video looks today. I spent an hour or two trying to get the images look nearly as good as the JPEGs. The software was very slow. I did not succeed. I gave up. Later I got Lightroom version 3, and was blown up that the raw images looked totally normal and usable right after import!

Newer versions of SilkyPix of course do the initial things for you.

TLDR; Don't blame the early µ4/3 cameras, blame the included raw processing software.

WOW

thats it - you hit the nail on the head

I believe it was silypix that came with it and the images were extremely flat

its not so much an issue with the dynamic range as it  was how dead looking the images were

it must have been the dopey editing software they packaged with the camera

ahaslett
ahaslett Veteran Member • Posts: 9,081
Re: Were any early versions of anything really great?
1

Marty4650 wrote:

How about the first Sony NEX-3? Or the first Fujifilm X-E1?

Or even the first Nikon Z and Canon R cameras, that were replaced by better versions.

I even remember the Sony A55 being hailed as the camera of the year in 2010 due to the revolutionary SLT design. Today, I would have a hard time giving my A55 away for free. In fact, I DID give it to my brother for free, and he returned it because he didn't like it. Even if I still think of it as a great camera.

Back in 2008 M4/3 was truly revolutionary. Today when compared to cameras from the same system today, not so much.

Every technology gets better over time, and MILC cameras are no exception to that.

I think that the A7R must be close to the worst camera that ever started a new movement.  I still have mine (bought used at a low price).

Andrew

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Bassaidai Contributing Member • Posts: 790
Re: Depends

What a great collection of photos !!

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mtnroads Regular Member • Posts: 178
Re: Depends
1

When I first traveled to Southeast Asia in 2014 I brought a Lumix GF1 with 14-45 and 20/1.7. I got fantastic photos, ones I still enjoy today - plenty of detail and beautiful color. When I see them I realize how little I have gained by chasing technical specs. The images were fantastic because of what I was seeing, and experiencing. And they really are more than good enough to convey that effectively.

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larsbc Forum Pro • Posts: 17,509
Re: the early versions of micro m43 ......... not that great ?
1

Mr Giggles wrote:

I remember using an early version of the GH series and being really underwhelmed by the image quality.

there was a really boring rending to the images which reminded me of the Oly SLR cameras from 15 years ago ...... which I hated

I had sworn off m43 and then I got an unbelievable deal on a G9

I was started by the difference in quality .... while not quite up to FF it was fine for smaller prints up to 16 x 20 which is what I print anyway

now here is the thing

I could have been wrong

maybe the editing software was not optimal and to be honest I forget which RAW editing software I even used ..... I always shoot raw so I know I was not seeing in camera JPEGS

so I am curious what you guys think - who have being using M43 forever

was the image quality ok for you ?

did you discover a special raw editor which brought quality similar to the modern M43 ?

In terms of image quality, my GX7 was a step up from my G1.  It was the GX7 that convinced me to sell the rest of my Nikon APS-C gear and fully switch to micro four thirds.  My G9 results are better than my GX7 although by a lesser amount than GX7 vs G1.

Jefftan Veteran Member • Posts: 3,447
Re: the early versions of micro m43 ......... not that great ?

Ab Latchin wrote:

I always liked the 12mp sensor look. In fact, I liked it so much I just bought an EP3 used. I gave my youngest boy my EP2 to have fun with.

Personally I think sensors have "looks" rather like film. older E1 Kodak sensor output looks different to the 10mp E3, which is different to the 12mp EP2 and the 16mp Em5 etc.

Obviously newer software can get more from older sensors, I might put a quick test up as I have an E1, E3, EP3, EM10.3 and EM1.3 for each sensor resolution.

i have e-pl1 and i agree. the ofc jpeg color really is film like, one may like it or not. it may be due to processing and not sensor related

Henry Richardson Forum Pro • Posts: 20,203
$4.50: Canon 300D body
4

Marty4650 wrote:

How about the first Sony NEX-3? Or the first Fujifilm X-E1?

Or even the first Nikon Z and Canon R cameras, that were replaced by better versions.

I even remember the Sony A55 being hailed as the camera of the year in 2010 due to the revolutionary SLT design. Today, I would have a hard time giving my A55 away for free. In fact, I DID give it to my brother for free, and he returned it because he didn't like it. Even if I still think of it as a great camera.

See this recent thread of mine:

$4.50: Canon 300D body

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/65296503

Good camera!

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Jefftan Veteran Member • Posts: 3,447
Re: Rather poor cameras tbh ...

sensor has improved a lot, even my TG-5 1/2.3 sensor can be great if one know what u are doing

for example in situation which i know will blown out highlight, i first lower ev by 1/2 so i won't blown out highlight

and than back home i use c1 to add back the 1/2 ev first (also highlight -20 by default) and recover more highlight if needed

in low light with DeepPrime, i can use up to ISO 1600 if not too picky

shinndigg Veteran Member • Posts: 4,476
Re: the early versions of micro m43 ......... not that great ?

Mr Giggles wrote:

I remember what happened

I bought a GH2 or 3 because of the hype about its video prowess

so on the first outing I wanted to see what the photo quality was like

I took a number of different images using RAW and I downloaded the Panny raw editor - what ever that was at the time

If I recall correctly, was it Silkypix? I personally wasn't impressed with Silkypix.

I then loaded the images and processed them

I remember looking at them and being startled

" these look like crap " .... I thought

I turned up saturation and played with adjustments

now at the time I was using a Sigma SD15 and the difference in quality was dramatic

I panicked

I then got a horrible sick feeling in my stomach

the Panny went right back in the box

the next morning I got right back in the car and drove an hour to return it

there was an unbelievable sense of relief when the return credit card slip came out of the machine

as I left the store in my mind I thought

" I gotta stop screwing up "

( luckily my other photographic purchases have been extremely less dramatic )

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Adrian Harris
Adrian Harris Veteran Member • Posts: 6,882
Re: the early versions of micro m43 ......... not that great ?

ahaslett wrote:

Don't know about early Panasonic bodies but there was a surprising step up in IQ between the 16Mpix Pansonic sensor in the EM1 and the 20Mpix Sony one in the EM1.2.

This is shooting RAW and processing in C1.

Andrew

Yes there was a huge step up in dynamic range and image detail when I moved from the 16mp gx7 to the. 20mp GX8.

Trying to shoot astro with the gx7 was not a great experience, but the GX8 does a grand job of it.

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