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02-02-2012, 12:32 AM   #1
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Pentax...I had an affair with Olympus...but it was only for a couple weeks!

With all the talk of the Pentax K01 mirrorless camera these days, it made me think of the recent decision I made to stay with Pentax after picking up an Olympus E-P3 kit. My first DSLR was Pentax K100D Super and I have never owns anything other than Pentax since. I recently thought I would try out the PEN camera because of the idea that a pocketable camera with IQ slightly less than my Pentax K7 would be a nice thing in concept. I wanted to see what the m4/3 system had to offer.

So, I picked up an E-P3 kit, with VF-2 EVF, and 20mm F1.7 pancake prime. After a few weeks of shooting with the E-P3 with mostly the 20mm Panasonic, and VF-2 EVF attached, I realized the grass was not greener on the other side. While there are some super nice primes on the m4/3 system (making it a much nicer system than Sony's NEX lens lineup), only the Olympus 12mm was metal. While the others had a nice plastic build quality to them, I kept going back to my Pentax DA15 and DA100 WR and thinking how absolutely in love I was with the metal build on them (not to mention their IQ). The PEN was also nowhere near as nice to handle as the K7. It had considerably less direct buttons, no real grip, and no green button (man I love that button!). Ultimately, the straw that broke the camels back as they say, was the fact that the camera was not really pocketable. Being able to carry a camera with DSLR-like IQ in your pocket was the single biggest alure to the PEN m4/3 system; or so I though! After using the camera with the 20mm pancake, I realized that it was not pocketable in the real sense of the word. I would imagin 90% of PEN owners out there end up buying a pouch or bag. In my mind, if you are going to carry a pouch or bag around, you might as well be carrying a K7 inside with some nice Limited primes!

With all that said, I came to the conclusion that IMO, a truly pocketable camera has to be about the width of the E-P3 body alone....so around 40mm or less. Now i'm not a optical wizard, but until flange distances get down to 20mm or so and you can design a fast 20mm long pancakes on those camera, I don't think we will see a truly pocketable large sensor interchangeable lens camera.

PS. I hope I am not coming across as a m4/3 hater. The build and style of the E-P3 was wonderful, and I did love the touch screen feature of the E-P3. It allowed you to touch the exact area of the image you wanted the camera to focus. Along with the very FAST focus speed of the E-P3, it made it really easy to pick your focus point and snap a shot off. With the K7, I would have to use the focus/re-compose method, or mess around with selecting the focus sensor for the camera to use.

Anyway, with all this said, I hope it helps someone else that was in my shoes and saves them the time of purchasing, testing, and then re-selling a m4/3 or other mirrorless camera. Not to mention saving you from having to break the news to your Pentax gear that you've been fooling around!

02-02-2012, 12:56 AM   #2
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So the only reason you got rid of it was because you couldn't fit it in your pocket?
02-02-2012, 01:26 AM   #3
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Lets put it this way, the only reason I was considering switching to the Olympus was if it was truly pocketable compared to the K7 + kit. In the end, like I mentioned in the OP, I missed the ergonomics of the K7, and the lenses of the Pentax too much. There were of course other factors that I didn't mention as well, like the optical VF and weather sealing.
02-02-2012, 03:30 AM   #4
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Try the Q now I wonder if they can make an XS version of the Q prime too...

02-02-2012, 04:34 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alizarine Quote
Try the Q now I wonder if they can make an XS version of the Q prime too...
Don't try the Q - you will want one just from the look and feel the first time you pick one up! Also, when you take some test shots you will see the nice colors, like the deep rich reds, on the camera's screen.

It's a good thing I already had my pocketable camera (the Olympus XZ-1) when I tried the Q, so I knew I wouldn't be buying one. BTW, I don't regret getting the XZ-1 last summer, even though the Fuji X10 has come out since. Even though the Fuji appears better in some ways, it won't fit in my front jeans pocket like the XZ-1 will. And that makes all the difference. Otherwise, like you said Arrvon, why not just take the DSLR with you?
02-02-2012, 02:45 PM   #6
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Actually, I can understand the allure of the Olympus. I really like how they implemented the touchscreen on the E-P3 and even the Panasonic GH2. I like how quick it is to AF and how focus point can be set by touching the screen. It just makes sense in this day and age of tablets and smartphones. In any case, although m4/3 cameras are indeed not pocketable, they are still very light weight in comparison to DSLRs, which is an advantage to me as I prefer the lightness when traveling. The upcoming Olympus OM-D is much more exciting to me than the Pentax K-01. If the rumors are true, if it is indeed weather sealed, has an OM retro styling, and has a fold out touch screen, I might be pre-ordering one ASAP.

I know that Pentax is really touting "styling" for the new K-01, but to me it's not a very appealing style. Not ugly, just not appealing. A lot of people say the retro look is over done, but beyond Fuji and Olympus, I haven't seen anyone else really doing it. And for me, since I never owned any of those older cameras, I really dig the retro look.

Last edited by einstrigger; 02-02-2012 at 02:52 PM.
02-03-2012, 07:58 AM   #7
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For many of us, the allure of the small mirrorless camera isn't a replacement for our DSLR's but an addition to our kits. To me, the K-01 is a bit of a disappointment. It's far from pocketable while a camera the size of the NEX with Limited lenses certainly would be, even with an adapter.
02-03-2012, 11:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
For many of us, the allure of the small mirrorless camera isn't a replacement for our DSLR's but an addition to our kits. To me, the K-01 is a bit of a disappointment. It's far from pocketable while a camera the size of the NEX with Limited lenses certainly would be, even with an adapter.
In my case I was looking for a pocketable replacement for my dslr. I couldn't afford to keep both a m4/3 system and a dslr system. Also in my case, I had the belief that a small body Nex/Pen, both around 40mm with small lenses attached would be pocketable. In my case I found out that this wasn't the case. A limited, or even the Panasonic 20mm pancake at about 2cm, gives you a 6cm wide canera to put in your pocket. That's not much slimmer than the K01 w/ the 40mm dx which would get you to around 7cm in depth. I found a 6cm wide camera still a bit too bulky to be a pocketable camera.

In hindsight now, if/when I look for a portable camera to supplement my dslr, it will have to be an Olympus XZ or Canon S type for it to be a truly pocketable size.

02-03-2012, 11:37 AM   #9
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It also depends on the pocket you use - I leave my Super ME in my jacket pocket (I always wear jackets).

Also - you hussy~!
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