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06-01-2012, 03:13 AM   #1
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Pentax + M4/3 users pls help!!!!

Any users of Pentax and Micro four thirds, please help me out with my decision!! ... I can't decide whether to go for Olympus Epm-1 or upcoming Pentax K-30. The main reasons i consider MFT over Pentax is their size and the choices of prime lens available(i know currently there are not much but the 3rd party lens maker has joined the M4/3 alliances). But when i see the photo samples through Flickr, it seems like pentax took crisper and sharper photos than MFT does. But, from a few reviews which i have read, most of them said that MFT's IQ is much on par with current DSLR (including K5)...so i am very confuse whether which to get. Pentax does have plenty primes, but their best primes are way expensive. T.T

What i like about M4/3 : Size , prime lens , portability
What i like about Pentax : IQ , weather sealing

I emphasize on IQ and i manly shoot portrait and street candid


Last edited by suoersta; 06-01-2012 at 06:20 AM.
06-01-2012, 03:42 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by suoersta Quote
Any users of Pentax and Micro four thirds, please help me out with my decision!! ... I decide whether to go for Olympus Epm-1 or upcoming Pentax K-30. The main reasons i consider MFT over Pentax is their size and the choices of prime lens available(i know currently there are not much but the 3rd party lens maker has joined the M4/3 alliances). But when i see the photo samples through Flickr, it seems like pentax took crisper and sharper photos than MFT does. But, from a few reviews which i have read, most of them said that MFT's IQ is much on par with current DSLR (including K5)...so i am very confuse whether which to get. Pentax does have plenty primes, but their best primes are way expensive. T.T

What i like about M4/3 : Size , prime lens , portability
What i like about Pentax : IQ , weather sealing

I emphasize on IQ and i manly shoot portrait and street candid
(1) Not the same image quality. The ISO (low light) advantage of the K-5 compared to EPM-1 is huge, and there's not comparison between the dynamic range capabilities of the two cameras:
DxOMark - Compare cameras side by side

(2) For portraits you want to have a thinner depth of field. K-5's APS-C sensor is much better for portraits.

(3) Using old primes (you can have a 28mm and a 50mm for less than $150) is easy with focus trap--almost no difference btw MD with focus trap (or catch-in-focus) and AF, IMO.
06-01-2012, 09:21 PM   #3
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I have both G3 and K5.

1. IQ - close for base ISO, but not same. K5 and by extension K-01 and K30 will be more robust to post processing due to the low chroma noise and very fine noise grains. At high ISO (3200 and above), K5 is still better by at least a stop.
What I've just said applies to the newer/better 16mp sensor. The EPM1 uses the older 12mp sensor which is a step behind. (I had a GF1 which used this sensor).

2. Streets and Portraits - Both cameras will do fine. However, if shallow DOF is your thing for both genres, then the APS-C sensor for K30 will be easier to achieve it.

3. m4/3 does have a nice set of fast primes already avaliable. Ranging from 12/14/20/25/45mm. There are also a decent range of zooms.

At the end, it depends on what you want. A bit less size or a bit more IQ.
This being a PF, I'd also point you to a K-01 as a viable option.
Coupled with DA and smallish FA primes, both a K-01 (or a K30 )can provide that bit better IQ and not be that big/heavy.
06-01-2012, 10:14 PM   #4
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I have the GF2 and a K-7 and everything pinholecam is about right. One other thing I've noticed is that the m4/3 primes (the 14mm and 20mm) perform a lot better wide open than any equivalently fast APS-C / full frame lens that I've used.


Last edited by br.davidson; 06-01-2012 at 10:15 PM. Reason: grammar
06-02-2012, 03:48 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
I have both G3 and K5.

1. IQ - close for base ISO, but not same. K5 and by extension K-01 and K30 will be more robust to post processing due to the low chroma noise and very fine noise grains. At high ISO (3200 and above), K5 is still better by at least a stop.
What I've just said applies to the newer/better 16mp sensor. The EPM1 uses the older 12mp sensor which is a step behind. (I had a GF1 which used this sensor).

2. Streets and Portraits - Both cameras will do fine. However, if shallow DOF is your thing for both genres, then the APS-C sensor for K30 will be easier to achieve it.

3. m4/3 does have a nice set of fast primes already avaliable. Ranging from 12/14/20/25/45mm. There are also a decent range of zooms.

At the end, it depends on what you want. A bit less size or a bit more IQ.
This being a PF, I'd also point you to a K-01 as a viable option.
Coupled with DA and smallish FA primes, both a K-01 (or a K30 )can provide that bit better IQ and not be that big/heavy.
Thanks very much for dropping by guys, since you have both M4/3 and Pentax, which would you tend to use more ?? And ... for the differences in term of IQ of both, out of 10, how much would you rate it ?? (the higher the rating, the less is the difference)
06-02-2012, 05:25 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by suoersta Quote
Any users of Pentax and Micro four thirds, please help me out with my decision!! ... I can't decide whether to go for Olympus Epm-1 or upcoming Pentax K-30. The main reasons i consider MFT over Pentax is their size and the choices of prime lens available(i know currently there are not much but the 3rd party lens maker has joined the M4/3 alliances). But when i see the photo samples through Flickr, it seems like pentax took crisper and sharper photos than MFT does. But, from a few reviews which i have read, most of them said that MFT's IQ is much on par with current DSLR (including K5)...so i am very confuse whether which to get. Pentax does have plenty primes, but their best primes are way expensive. T.T

What i like about M4/3 : Size , prime lens , portability
What i like about Pentax : IQ , weather sealing

I emphasize on IQ and i manly shoot portrait and street candid
First, have you handled the two bodies? The is a huge difference in style between the two bodies for things like ergonomics, user interface, form and so on. It's quite possible that you'll love one and hate the other, making the choice between the two obvious. In my mind this is far more important that a 3% difference in IQ...

So anyway, moving onto your actual question...

If you have been reading reviews where people say Micro Four Thirds offers similar IQ to a DSLR, I can almost guarantee that they are referring to the newly released Olympus OMD-EM5, which has a new (and very good) 16mp sensor. The old 12mp sensor used in the EPM1 is far from the performance of the K-30/K-5...

Also, you say that you like the size/portability of Micro Four Thirds, but the weather-sealing of the K-30 - wouldn't that make an OMD the Micro Four Thirds most suitable then (assuming you can afford it)? As well as having a much better sensor and being sealed, the OMD also has some other very real improvements over the EPM1 - in-built EVF, articulated rear-screen, twin control dials and much more direct control.

For candid street shooting and portraits Micro Four Thirds is fantastic. It very unobtrusive and has some brilliant primes - especially gems like the Lumix 20/f1.7 and m.ZD 45/f1.8. If you get a $20 adapter it's easy to mount any legacy 50/f1.4 of f1/8, which make excellent portrait primes
06-02-2012, 06:04 AM   #7
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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 :
06-02-2012, 10:49 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by suoersta Quote
Thanks very much for dropping by guys, since you have both M4/3 and Pentax, which would you tend to use more ?? And ... for the differences in term of IQ of both, out of 10, how much would you rate it ?? (the higher the rating, the less is the difference)
I use the m4/3 more often, but the k-7 is my default choice if I have space to bring it. The handling on the k-7 (and probably the k-5) is the best I've ever used and the GF2 just isn't as nice to operate. The EPm-1 (or however it's supposed to be typed) has some nice advantages over the GF2, but it's handling won't be as nice as the Pentax options. The handling on the EVF-equipped m4/3 is way better (almost on par with the k-7), but you lose a lot of the portability advantage. If I went m4/3 only I'd probably have something like the Epm-1 for portability and a GH2 or G3 for whenever I have the space.

As for image quality, I think you need to break it up by lenses and sensors. I'd give the lenses an 8 for similarity in image quality with m4/3 winning, but Pentax wins for zooms and "character" (or pixie dust, or rendering, or whatever you want to call the subjective qualities of a lens). No doubt the m4/3 lenses are sharper, but they tend to be more clinical (based on the lenses I own like the 20/1.7 vs the Pentax FA50/1.4). Best fast primes for the money, m4/3 wins hands-down.

Sensor quality depends a lot on the camera and you can use DXO Mark for objective comparisons. Between the GF2 and the K-7, I'd give a 6 for similarity with the K-7 having better dynamic range and better high-ISO performance. I'll use the K-7 up to ISO 1600, but the GF2 struggles even at ISO800. I believe the Epm-1 has a similar sensor to the GF2. The difference in quality would jump even higher for a newer Pentax like the K-5 or K-30, but the new OM-D would close the gap. Subjectively, I really like the look of my K-7 files in terms of color, contrast, and grain, but those things are pretty malleable in post processing so I wouldn't get too hung up on them.

I'm personally attached to my Pentax equipment and I don't plan on using m4/3 full-time, but the reasons for that are all based on personal taste.

06-02-2012, 12:35 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by br.davidson Quote
I use the m4/3 more often, but the k-7 is my default choice if I have space to bring it. The handling on the k-7 (and probably the k-5) is the best I've ever used and the GF2 just isn't as nice to operate. The EPm-1 (or however it's supposed to be typed) has some nice advantages over the GF2, but it's handling won't be as nice as the Pentax options. The handling on the EVF-equipped m4/3 is way better (almost on par with the k-7), but you lose a lot of the portability advantage. If I went m4/3 only I'd probably have something like the Epm-1 for portability and a GH2 or G3 for whenever I have the space.

As for image quality, I think you need to break it up by lenses and sensors. I'd give the lenses an 8 for similarity in image quality with m4/3 winning, but Pentax wins for zooms and "character" (or pixie dust, or rendering, or whatever you want to call the subjective qualities of a lens). No doubt the m4/3 lenses are sharper, but they tend to be more clinical (based on the lenses I own like the 20/1.7 vs the Pentax FA50/1.4). Best fast primes for the money, m4/3 wins hands-down.

Sensor quality depends a lot on the camera and you can use DXO Mark for objective comparisons. Between the GF2 and the K-7, I'd give a 6 for similarity with the K-7 having better dynamic range and better high-ISO performance. I'll use the K-7 up to ISO 1600, but the GF2 struggles even at ISO800. I believe the Epm-1 has a similar sensor to the GF2. The difference in quality would jump even higher for a newer Pentax like the K-5 or K-30, but the new OM-D would close the gap. Subjectively, I really like the look of my K-7 files in terms of color, contrast, and grain, but those things are pretty malleable in post processing so I wouldn't get too hung up on them.

I'm personally attached to my Pentax equipment and I don't plan on using m4/3 full-time, but the reasons for that are all based on personal taste.
Thanks very very much for your informative advises Davidson!! i think i have a rough idea of what are both of them capable of..... From what i've read and what i've got from all of you here, its proven that M4/3 are quite capable of what an APS-C does (other than the ISO issue) in addition to their size advantages, and plenty primes choices, i think my priority would be M4/3. But of course i would hands-on both before i make my final decision. Sorry to disturb you with another question, deep depth of field of M4/3, what does it mean by this ? How does it affect ??
06-02-2012, 01:28 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by suoersta Quote
Sorry to disturb you with another question, deep depth of field of M4/3, what does it mean by this ? How does it affect ??
That's something that people seem to have tons of arguments over. My opinion is that difference is minimal and it is perfectly simple to get shallow depth of field with a m4/3 camera and a fast lens. So, there is is a measurable difference, but it won't affect your pictures.
06-02-2012, 01:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by br.davidson Quote
That's something that people seem to have tons of arguments over. My opinion is that difference is minimal and it is perfectly simple to get shallow depth of field with a m4/3 camera and a fast lens. So, there is is a measurable difference, but it won't affect your pictures.
owhh..ok....once again thanks davidson !! appreciate that very much. =)
06-02-2012, 05:39 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by suoersta Quote
Thanks very much for dropping by guys, since you have both M4/3 and Pentax, which would you tend to use more ?? And ... for the differences in term of IQ of both, out of 10, how much would you rate it ?? (the higher the rating, the less is the difference)
Too vested into Pentax to use it less
I still use my K5 more (much more). I know what I can tweak out of the files and they are ultimately better quality.
My G3 serves as my 'when photography is an afterthought' system. Days out shopping or a usual 30mins with the kids in the playground, that sort of usage.

If I were to rate them :

IQ (pure file o/p) :
K5 : 9
G3 : 8

Photographic options (eg. optical quality; DOF control; color, etc)
K5 : 9
G3 : 8

Usability (body, buttons, screen, LV, OVF, etc) :
K5 : 9
G3 : 9

Portability :
K5 : 8.5
G3 : 10


All said though, I would be totally comfortable to use a G3 as my primary system if need be, esp if I wanted a very small/easy package.

There is always this DOF for the equivalent FOV and poor ISO performance due to small sensor armchair arguments going around here.
However, personally, I find that these are mainly theoretical in real usage.
m4/3 does give 'enough' shallow DOF in many cases, coupled with the fast native primes.
Not as much as APS-C of course, but usually enough to give a bit of subject isolation in most cases (if you do mainly "My f1.4 lens can do this" type shallow DOF shots, then maybe the system is not for you )
ISO performance is good enough with G3, GH2, GX1, OMD which uses the newer 16mp sensor.
The key thing is that native m4/3 primes are very sharp from wide open and therefore can be used straight from wide open, mitigating some of the DOF and ISO disadvantages. (they do have a bit more distortion though)
06-02-2012, 09:09 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
Too vested into Pentax to use it less
I still use my K5 more (much more). I know what I can tweak out of the files and they are ultimately better quality.
My G3 serves as my 'when photography is an afterthought' system. Days out shopping or a usual 30mins with the kids in the playground, that sort of usage.

If I were to rate them :

IQ (pure file o/p) :
K5 : 9
G3 : 8

Photographic options (eg. optical quality; DOF control; color, etc)
K5 : 9
G3 : 8

Usability (body, buttons, screen, LV, OVF, etc) :
K5 : 9
G3 : 9

Portability :
K5 : 8.5
G3 : 10


All said though, I would be totally comfortable to use a G3 as my primary system if need be, esp if I wanted a very small/easy package.

There is always this DOF for the equivalent FOV and poor ISO performance due to small sensor armchair arguments going around here.
However, personally, I find that these are mainly theoretical in real usage.
m4/3 does give 'enough' shallow DOF in many cases, coupled with the fast native primes.
Not as much as APS-C of course, but usually enough to give a bit of subject isolation in most cases (if you do mainly "My f1.4 lens can do this" type shallow DOF shots, then maybe the system is not for you )
ISO performance is good enough with G3, GH2, GX1, OMD which uses the newer 16mp sensor.
The key thing is that native m4/3 primes are very sharp from wide open and therefore can be used straight from wide open, mitigating some of the DOF and ISO disadvantages. (they do have a bit more distortion though)
Thanks Pinholecam. I am so surprised that you have rated them so close expecially in IQ. Since you have rated M4/3 that high, I think i have no more worries to go for it. But do you think your G3 can produce images as good as EM5 and other APS-C camera ??
06-02-2012, 09:34 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by suoersta Quote
Thanks Pinholecam. I am so surprised that you have rated them so close expecially in IQ. Since you have rated M4/3 that high, I think i have no more worries to go for it. But do you think your G3 can produce images as good as EM5 and other APS-C camera ??
Just take what I've mentioned as reference, as usual YMMV depending on needs.
The best is still to look at the samples posted here and on the m4/3 forums.
G3 is a pretty good camera, though I've never compared it to OMD.
However, I've no doubt that OMD is better and perhaps the best for m4/3 for now. (new 16mp sensor; IBIS, retro styling)
For the price, I just treat G3 as a OMD-Minus (more like 1/2 the price)
06-03-2012, 05:58 AM   #15
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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.

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.

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.

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".
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