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06-03-2012, 08:23 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
I've used both systems.

m4/3 systems have a tremendous advantage over DSLRs in terms of size and weight. It is so great that it may outweigh all other considerations put together. When it comes to handling, IQ and, I have to say, value, the advantage goes a (Pentax) DSLR.

Handling
I'd say the more control surfaces the better. An eye-level viewfinder as standard rather than an expensive add-on is a definite advantage. The E-PM1 you're talking about does not handle at all well. It is almost completely lacking in external controls and is aimed at upgraders from a P&S who won't feel a need to go beyond iAuto. I used to own an EPL-1 and I found that I quickly outgrew it: trying to go beyond automatic was simply frustrating and the EPL-1 had a lot more controls than the M.

That said, Pentax do make particularly well handling DSLRs. The highly desirable Olympus EM-5 seems to have just as many controls which may eliminate the handling advantage altogether.

I agree that Pentax dSLR's (at least the ones I've used - K20D, K-7 and K-5) handle exceptionally, and that some of the 'brick' form MFT bodies don't (although some, like the GF1 and GX1 have very nice handling if you can do without a built-in EVF). However, my experience of the Panasonic GH2 and Olympus EM5 suggests that they're very close to the best dSLRs.

Value
There are a few reasonably priced lenses in the m4/3 lineup: the 14mm and 20mm from Panasonic and the 45mm from Olympus may well be all you need. Otherwise, things get very expensive. £500+ for a bog-standard superzoom is not good. Panasonic have just released a (very expensive) fast standard zoom but you're lacking the next step down which would be something like a 12-50 F4. m4/3 is a compact system, not a cheap one.

To be fair, precisely the same could be said for Pentax. None of the Limited primes (the real gem in the Pentax crown) could be described as cheap, and the DA* series is downright embarrassing after the latest price hike ($1500 for a DA* 16-50/f2.8 is notably more than the new and 'very expensive' Panasonic 12-35/f2.8)

Couple of asides. None of the three mentioned lenses have IS which would make an Olympus body more desirable. Also, the comparisons above between the Panasonic 20mm and Pentax 31mm are meaningless because you're not comparing like with like. The 31mm is far superior to the 20mm. So it should be at three times the price.

Um, the whole point of the 31mm to 20mm comment was that perhaps the Ltd was not far superior to the Lumix, and perhaps was not worth three times the price...

IQ
DOF should be a non-issue. There are just as many situations where a deeper DOF is more desirable as there are situations when you want a narrower one. Swings and roundabouts. That 45mm F1.8 is a 45mm F1.8: you'll get shallow DOF and bokeh. That said, there is a noticeable difference between the two systems: with a kit lens and a DSLR, you're able to get perfectly decent subject isolation. With an m4/3 kit lens, isolation is rather more rudimentary. The Olympus XZ-1 actually gives you better blur than a m4/3 kit lens.

As for IQ itself, I have to say there's a clear winner. You can do the comparisons on this very site:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/non-pentax-cameras-canon-nikon-etc/171876...irds-club.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/96267-da-zoom-club.html

I've chosen the DA zoom club to give maximum advantage to m4/3. However, the m4/3 thread does not make me go "wow" and is a useful check for when I'm looking at the EM-5 and thinking "I really, really want one of those".

Haha are you honestly taking the piss? You post a link to a page with perhaps a dozen notable contributors, and deduce from that that there's a 'clear winner'? Right...

Lumix 7-14/f4

m.ZD 12/f2

Lumix 20/f1.7

Lumix/Leica 25/f1.4

CV Nokton 25/f0.95

m.ZD 45/f1.8

And the OMD user group on flickr
Five characters

06-03-2012, 08:48 AM   #17
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The Micro-4 thirds lens lineup is very strong if you are into primes. I have used Pentax, Zeiss, and Leica lenses, and the Olympus and Panasonic m43 primes e.g. 12mm f2, 20mm f1.7 and they are on par or exceed those of the traditional SLR lenses. In addition they are supremely compact..pictures and measurements don't do justice in terms of the difference in handling between the two. If you are not into primes and prefer zooms, perhaps m43 not as compelling a lineup as the Pentax K mount, though the new X primes from Panasonic should address that (still vaporware at the moment).
06-03-2012, 12:24 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by taurus9 Quote
The Micro-4 thirds lens lineup is very strong if you are into primes. I have used Pentax, Zeiss, and Leica lenses, and the Olympus and Panasonic m43 primes e.g. 12mm f2, 20mm f1.7 and they are on par or exceed those of the traditional SLR lenses. In addition they are supremely compact..pictures and measurements don't do justice in terms of the difference in handling between the two. If you are not into primes and prefer zooms, perhaps m43 not as compelling a lineup as the Pentax K mount, though the new X primes from Panasonic should address that (still vaporware at the moment).
Yes Taurus, i love shooting primes, this is one of the main reason i take M4/3 into considerations because i have seen good reviews about 12mm , 45mm ,20mm and 14mm. I am currently on budget that's why i downsize my M4/3 camera options to EPM-1 so that i can get 45mm & 20mm lens. But i think it will ruin my low light photography as i will be shooting quite a lot of night event. So i guess now i have to really thinking of getting Em5. Anyway, do you guys think Olympus EM-5 comparable to Pentax k-5 or at least K-30 ??
06-03-2012, 12:56 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by jogiba Quote
M4/3 cameras are much smaller and both the prime & zoom lenses are sharper than Pentax lenses.




Pentax smc FA 31 mm f/1.8 AL Image resolution :


Panasonic G 20 mm f/1.7 ASPH Image resolution :


Pentax smc DA 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II Image resolution :


Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12-50 mm f/3.5-6.3 ED EZ Image resolution :
Do you understand that quoting LPMM measurements for different formats doesn't actually make much sense?

06-03-2012, 03:37 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Do you understand that quoting LPMM measurements for different formats doesn't actually make much sense?
That was the point I was trying to make about the meaningless comparison between the Panasonic and Pentax lenses by reproducing the graphs from Photozone.

@nickthetasmaniac No, I'm not taking the piss. On average, IQ from m4/3 is somewhat worse than the IQ from APS-C. Given that the average ability of contributors to both threads is likely to be the same, they give you an idea of what you can expect to achieve yourself. It shows that, all else being equal, you're making a tradeoff between compact size and image quality. Of course, APS-C is on average worse than full frame which is, in turn, on average worse than medium format. But then you're talking cost differences of thousands.

@suoersta M4/3 is a good system, but the E-PM1 is not a particularly good camera. Diving into menus to do something as fundamental as changing aperture is not fun. I've been there. The E-PL2 is a good compromise between low cost and decent handling (at least it has a dial). The E-PL3 does not bring additional advantages, IMO. I'd say that Olympus bodies are preferable to Panasonic, just because of built-in stablization.

When I wanted to move up, I thought about the features I was looking for: eye-level viewfinder (believe me, it's better than live-view), AF assist lamp, high-res screen, dedicated controls for changing shooting parameters, decent low-light performance. As an Olympus user, I wanted an EP-3 with the VF-2. But my research showed me that I could get a Pentax K-r which gave me something a little bit better for a lot less than half the cost.

Reasonable cost comparison:
EPL-2 + Panasonic 20mm F1.7 + VF-2: £600+
Pentax K-r + 35mm F2.4: £450-

Just a thought: I've not tried one, but the NX system has a very nice 30mm F2 pancake so it might give you the best of both worlds.
06-03-2012, 03:46 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by suoersta Quote
So i guess now i have to really thinking of getting Em5. Anyway, do you guys think Olympus EM-5 comparable to Pentax k-5 or at least K-30 ??
The EM5 is an exceptional m4/3's camera, but no it doesn't have the IQ the equal of a K-5, but then it's much smaller than a K-5 too. To a lot of people I'd imagine the small loss in IQ is worth the much smaller body (and lenses) to be honest. I love my K-5 but there are times when I don't take it with me on an outing because it's too big, whereas with a EM5 I'd be more likely to.
06-03-2012, 08:20 PM   #22
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I have the E-P1 and just got the OM-D. The E-P1 is nice and fun, but I always felt like it was a little bit of a compromise. The OM-D doesn't feel like a compromise, though I'm sure the K-5 could best it in high ISO. However, the OM-D really seems like a complete camera and the 12-50 kit zoom makes a nice companion. The M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 is a lovely lens and produces great images, similar to the DA Limiteds (I have the 15, 21,40 and 70).

I'll be selling my K-01 since I have the OM-D. Image quality is close enough that I'd rather have the smaller size and greater control the OM-D give me. Plus, I love the way it looks (I like the K-01 looks also, but not as much).

Here are a few shots taken with the OM-D.

M.Zuiko 40-150 handheld (cropped a bit)


M.Zuiko 12-50 kit zoom in macro mode (cropped a bit)


M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8
06-03-2012, 09:42 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
I have the E-P1 and just got the OM-D. The E-P1 is nice and fun, but I always felt like it was a little bit of a compromise. The OM-D doesn't feel like a compromise, though I'm sure the K-5 could best it in high ISO. However, the OM-D really seems like a complete camera and the 12-50 kit zoom makes a nice companion. The M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 is a lovely lens and produces great images, similar to the DA Limiteds (I have the 15, 21,40 and 70).

I'll be selling my K-01 since I have the OM-D. Image quality is close enough that I'd rather have the smaller size and greater control the OM-D give me. Plus, I love the way it looks (I like the K-01 looks also, but not as much).

Here are a few shots taken with the OM-D.
Nice Photos rfortson !! But it seems like the noise are pretty visible, aren't they ??

06-04-2012, 01:46 AM   #24
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I'm running both systems and currently own MFT cameras by both Panasonic and Olympus. I got frustrated with MFT though and in particular by the number of my landscape pictures that got ruined by the inherent lack of dynamic range in the sensors. The early cameras were the ones I purchased - the G1, GF1 and E-P1 respectively. To a degree, there have been improvements made, but probably the latest Olympus model is the only one that represents a significant step forward. That has unfortunately come along too late in the day for me and is too expensive anyway at the moment.

For the kind of photography you do, MFT would serve your purposes very well. The Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens is ideal for street photography, although some of the flaws in the lens are adjusted better by a Panasonic camera than an Olympus. Against that, Olympus cameras have built in stabilisation. You would have to contend with significant vignetting in either case, but that can easily be corrected afterwards. The 14mm f2.5 is a waste of money in my opinion. Image quality is better using the original Panasonic 14-45mm kit lens, which incidentally is a vast improvement on the Pentax equivalent.

It's easy to get hold of cheap 50mm legacy lenses that can be used for portrait purposes on either system. Manual focus fine tuning adjustments are somewhat more accurate with a zoomed-in electronic viewfinder - if you use the LCD, you may find yourself moving the camera slightly by accident by the time you press the shutter. Note that Pentax bodies will also give you stabilisation on all of its own brand of film lenses, which are superb and affordable.

Bear in mind that practically everyone using a range-finder styled camera regrets the lack of a viewfinder sooner or later. As I say, I bought both a GF1 and a E-P1 but used my G1 ten times more often than both of them put together.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
06-04-2012, 02:54 AM   #25
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@rfortson

Nice examples to show the capabilities of the system. I'd say that the bokeh on the first shot is a bit distracting, but it is more than acceptable for a low cost lens. How do you find macro on the 12-50? It's F6.3 max at the long end. Does that make framing and focusing difficult or does the EVF compensate for the inherent lack of light? Again, not sure about the bokeh here, but dedicated macro lenses for m4/3 are very expensive.

A possibility for lowish cost macro is to use the four thirds adapter and the Zuiko 50mm F3.5. The Zuiko 50mm F2 is very highly regarded but not cheap.

The rendering with the 45mm is really rather lovely. That looks to be quite the gem in the Olympus / Panasonic lineup. Since we were discussing DOF, what was the aperture for this shot?

@Michael Shea

I was forgetting that aspect of m4/3: aberrations and distortions are corrected by the camera body firmware rather than optically. This is generally invisible to the user (although distortion correction removes stuff from the edges of the frame) but Olympus bodies do not correct chromatic aberration which I've heard is quite bad with the Panasonic 20mm.

Dynamic range of the new sensor in the EM-5 looks to be pretty good:
http://cdn1.mos.techradar.com//art/cameras/LabCharts/Olympus/Olympus_EM5_TIFF_DR-580-100.JPG
06-04-2012, 04:30 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by suoersta Quote
Nice Photos rfortson !! But it seems like the noise are pretty visible, aren't they ??
Not to me. You might be seeing artifacts from over sharpening which is my fault, not the camera/lens. I don't see noise in any of the OM-D shots until you get to much higher ISOs. In fact, I have the AUTO ISO upper range set at 6400, which is also what DPR found and recommended.

Last edited by rfortson; 06-04-2012 at 08:02 AM.
06-04-2012, 05:58 AM   #27
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Seems like M4/3 can really fits me well..... but if i were to go for the best which is the Em5 ,with the money left i only able to afford 45mm & 20mm . Which means i can only shoot with primes for at least 5 yrs(before my graduation)<-----no financial ability. But with the same price, there's a bundle kit options come with the Panasonic G3, i can get 14-42, 45-200, 45 & 20. Do primes alone are enough ??
06-04-2012, 07:40 AM   #28
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@suoersta

If I were buying something now to last five years, I would definitely pick the EM-5. The G3 is far from cutting edge. I would suggest getting it bundled with the 12-50 kit lens for a number of reasons:
  1. Max aperture is a bit sucky throughout the range, but the range is a very useful one.
  2. It's a lot cheaper than buying the 12-50 as an afterthought.
  3. The 12-50 has sealing to match the body giving you all-weather capability.
  4. It can double up a fairly decent macro lens.
If that looks like it may put you over budget, bear in mind that Sigma have a couple of very inexpensive F2.8 primes: 19mm and 30mm (they come with a three year guarantee too).
06-04-2012, 07:45 AM   #29
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I have the older cameras, the ist ds and the Oly E-pl1 which I made a PK adaptor for.
So I can't of course comment in the IQ of the latest cameras
https://www.box.com/s/db2d50c7edecf721ca74

The M4/3 with a PK lens is almost as large as the ist ds, and not so easy to hold.
My big problem (old eyes) was the lack of a VF, and I am tossing up whether to get the Oly VF.
For my use the old ist ds is a better camera than the M4/3, for example I travel with the ist ds and the 40mm pancake.

To properly take advantage of the M4/3 I think I need a VF and use at least one of the native lenses.

But I just got a set of 3 of the old Pentax 110 lenses for $52 including the 18mm which I will make m4/3 adaptors for.
06-04-2012, 08:01 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
@rfortson

Nice examples to show the capabilities of the system. I'd say that the bokeh on the first shot is a bit distracting, but it is more than acceptable for a low cost lens. How do you find macro on the 12-50? It's F6.3 max at the long end. Does that make framing and focusing difficult or does the EVF compensate for the inherent lack of light? Again, not sure about the bokeh here, but dedicated macro lenses for m4/3 are very expensive.

A possibility for lowish cost macro is to use the four thirds adapter and the Zuiko 50mm F3.5. The Zuiko 50mm F2 is very highly regarded but not cheap.

The rendering with the 45mm is really rather lovely. That looks to be quite the gem in the Olympus / Panasonic lineup. Since we were discussing DOF, what was the aperture for this shot?
The bokeh on the macro function can be a little weird, but it's still a handy function to have. The slowness of the zoom hasn't bothered me yet, but I haven't really used it in a low light situation. The OM-D handles high ISO really well, and the IBIS seems really good, so that should help mitigate the slowness of the aperture some.

The 45mm f/1.8 is a lovely lens. The shot above was at f/1.8, but the subject was about 15 feet away so not much isolation. That is a limit on the MFT system with the smaller sensor. The only knock I can give to the 45 is a tendancy toward CA. See the metal poles in the shot above with the fringing along the sides. Still, I really like it, and I'll have to fight the urge to get the 12/2 and the new 75/1.8. I might get Sigma's 30/2.8, though. It's cheap.
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