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Friday, 06 November 2009

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Just a quick "Whoo!" for Chuck Roast vests, Disc cameras and the homogenous appearance of shopping malls everywhere.

Miniature sensors have gotten much better, and "DSLR" no longer equals "APS-C"—DSLR quality has shifted upward too

Mike, I'm hoping you can tell me where we are at with IQ for DSLRs nowadays. Have we passed 35mm film with APS-C? Are we close to medium format type smoothness and tonality with full frame sensors?

Coming from film, I'm a little baffled about how to ask the question. I mean, I know that dynamic range is a bit more difficult compared to film, and grain doesn't look the same as noise, but

So, is a newly updated model coming out every 5 months a sustainable situation? I think not. If I had bought the EP-1, I'd be mighty unhappy, not having known that my new camera would be "refreshed" within a few months. This whole scene is out-of-control.

Mayfair Mall's Barnes & Noble..... One of my favorite haunts, next to the Apple store that is.

I'd love to have an Ep2 but will I'll wait until the lens selection is more to my liking and hopefully they address the slow focusing issues. What a fun toy to use!

Mike

Mike,

So what about using the Panny-pancake on the Oly-body? Any issues or was it really just smooth sailing?

(On my end, I have a rather perverse thought, using the Zeiss ZM 50 f2 with an adapter on an EP-1 when the Leica year is over as a long lens. Just loving how that lens draws.)


You wrote
"There's nothing so sacrosanct about the DMD idea: all I thought we needed were pocket digicams with image quality good enough that we could put prints made with them up next to prints made with our DSLRs.."

These line exposes the fundamental dichotomy in the digital photography world.
While we need and want a good quality picture making tool we are not willing to carry a bulky camera. Olys and Panas would have filled the gap had they gone for lower pixel density and the consequent lower mega pixel rating. Then those cameras would have matched or even bettered the DSLR outputs in the world of printed pictures.
Most photographers do not go for prints larger than, say, 12 inches in size. Such being the case an eight megapixel mirror-less prism-less camera would have made a significant paradigm shift in the photographic scene.
Again to take a few words from your page, these cameras are not good enough to be the sole camera of even a serious amateur, making a DSLR an absolute necessity. But why should we have different cameras for different uses? Had they (Olys and Panas)been "good enough" we could have lived with just one camera for all purposes and uses, much like the Leica-philes in the film era. Which makes better sense, money wise, bulk wise and weight wise.
Another suggestion is to have a square sensor in a small body camera. That will make holding a camera vertically unnecessary. The final picture can be cropped as necessary. Holding a camera vertical is one major reason for camera shake. No one can hold a camera vertically as steady as a horizontal camera. More over there is no natural law that says 'Thou shall not have a square picture' or 'Thou shall not crop a picture'.
At the present moment these "large-sensor-small-cameras" are just curiosities. They have miles to go before firmly setting a trend.
ranjitgrover
India

"Mayfair Mall's Barnes & Noble..."

Wow, good call! You got it.

Mike

How lovely. I just decided on that very combination (E-P1 & 20/1.7) after much waffling and hand wringing. Now to get back to actually taking pictures - guaranteed to be better because I'm using a TOP certified combination. Just like my award winning portfolios with the Optical Paragon a while back. :-|

Interesting. This is the second review that I've read in the past week that has come out in favor of the Olympus. The other was by Thom Hogan who chose the E-P1 for completely different reasons (better IQ). It just goes to show that an accumulation of features does not necessarily make for a better overall camera.

"Mayfair Mall's Barnes & Noble..."

No, no, it's the Barnes and Noble in downtown Evanston, IL.

:-)

Mike you score 9.5 for the 2 part review and 10 out of 10 for diplomacy.I've got the Gf1 myself but can understand your reasoning re IS pulling you to the Oly being a golfer myself I think it is certainly a big plus factor.

Thanks Mike. I think I'll wait 5 months and get myself a GF2 ;-)

Mike, Thanks a lot for the (double) review...
I'd just like to know... At the end of the day, how important is that to shoot the übersharp shot? Granted that the 'Artwalkingsmall' pic is super sharp but is it so much better than the two other ones? And I'm not talking about blowing up prints to A3 sizes or the likes...
Nick

Mike

You, like all camera users, determine Brand,features etc based upon how you shoot and thus your personal needs.

People who consistently need high ISO would not agree with your choice of brands (Nikon would come to mind), People who need rapid frame rates would also not agree (Canon 1DMk4 comes to mind etc)

I am not knocking your choices, just saying they are not universal.

Best

Woody

"At the present moment these "large-sensor-small-cameras" are just curiosities."

If a compact 35mm film camera was good enough to be our sole camera, then these cameras are good enough to be our sole cameras.

I don't want to start an argument, but I believe there is some sort of supernatural thinking going on in many of the discussions I hear about cameras today and the good old days of film cameras. I agree that there are cameras today that can produce better image quality than the GF1 or E-P1. I have a full frame Canon and have used medium format backs, so I know image quality can be better. I also won't argue the fact that just in terms of IQ, these cameras can be beaten in some respects by 4X5, 5X7, 8X10 or maybe at times even by medium format film cameras under the right conditions. BUT - to call a camera a curiosity that in essence blows away the image quality of virtually any 35mm film camera ever made just seems unfair. One can argue from an artistic point of view that one personally likes the grain or tonality of film, but in technical terms and overall versatility, film cameras don't come close.

Just the ability to change ISO mid stream, low light sensitivity with much less noise, and a lot of other factors put cameras like the GF1 and E-P1 in another league.

This is especially true when you look 100 negatives carefully shot in an afternoon vs 100 files taken with the GF1 or E-P1. The number of technically good, potential keepers is almost always higher in the digital group.

Look at any image taken in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s and you will see we have the technical advantage today. I did this for a living, but my negatives (even medium format) from those decades almost never measure up to the digital files of today, even on these compact cameras.

I believe that these new compact cameras will be overshadowed by future developments, but right now, they are absolutely able to fulfill the needs of professionals and artists as well as 35mm film ever did.

How are the cameras setup for scale-focusing? Can you set focus to about 2.5 or 5 meters, aperture to f8/f16 and blast away like with a Leica RF?

Thanks

The dilemma is when you have a Pentax system with those small limited lenses.

Although I want as small as possible... how much bigger is the new Pentax K-x body with the 35mm limited lens compared to the e-p2 and that big EVF ?

Also, from the reports I've gathered, the Panasonic GF1 with it's dedicated Video button is much better in capturing video (I know you had no intention of testing that ;-)

Want I want is a Pentax (JVC) body with no mirror and as small as these two ;-)

I find, now that I own two "IS" lenses (well, one Nikon VR and one Sigma OS) plus an LX3 with stabilization in it, that it's a much nicer idea in theory than in practice, at least for my photography. This is perhaps partly because I have apparently gotten very good over the years at holding a camera steady, and using environmental supports. I can quite often hold down to the point where subject motion is the issue without IS, and there's no point going slower than that.

So, Mike, how COULD YOU be one of those who "haven't actually bought a digital camera in a long time"??? Shame on you!! How could you write on and on about new cameras, without ACTUALLY purchasing any new one? Didn't you realize about their HUGE improvements, so that you REALLY NEED a new one, at least, every year?

Mike? Wake up to reality!! I have my Pentax K10D and I feel I really need the new K-7... otherwise my picstures are doomed for sure. :P


Now seriously: hats off once more, great article, and one of those evidencing that bias is nothing to be ashamed of. I would be ashamed of writing pixel peeping articles, but not of articles like yours: intelligent, well written, going to the core of the topic. Proudly showing you have made your choice, longtime ago (IS and primes, so what?), and most of all: FUN.

THANKS Mike, you really are putting the bar high. :)

Dear Carl,

Depends on what aspects of image quality you care most about, but even really good small-sensor cameras have surpassed 35mm in terms of ISO versus noise/grain and exposure range. In the 4/3 to DSLR realm, anyone who is complaining about exposure range hasn't learned how to properly meter; your typical camera has 11 stops range. Good luck doing better with film... or making use of it in a print, if you do.

The folks complaining about noise problems with digital cameras are not comparing them to film; the bar has been hugely raised. Photographers now expect (sometimes even with justification) noise/grain levels that are comparable to view camera quality.

As for overall sharpness and color accuracy, unless you're planning on printing larger than 11 x 14, almost any good camera you can buy is going to produce a sharper picture than you got out of 35mm.

Comparisons to medium format are tougher (in part because medium format actually spans a range of a factor of two). So let's just leave it at the comparisons to 35mm.


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
======================================

Using the Panny 20/1.7 on the EP-1 seems like a best of both worlds solution. My only question is does the in-camera lens
correction (if any) work across brands?

bd

Mike, thanks for this - the E-P1 + 20mm f1.7 is a dream combination... you nailed it!

Cheers

Brian

Hi Mike,
i enjoyed reading your comparison. Very well done and i think you've all said and mentioned about this two MFT "street compacts". As i stated here yesterday in Pt.I's comments i use the E-P1 with the 17mm and VF-1.
I think many people will buy one of these cameras because of your writing and i want to give a tipp for transporting. It's not a fleece jacket ;), but a bag for your camera, a second lens, your mobile phone, your wallet, keys, 2nd/3rd battery, memory cards, concert tickets, maybe your cigarettes [better not]. I have bought this small shoulderbag from jack wolfskin and took an unused padded divider from another photo bag to have a division for a second lens, fixed it inside with Tesa sew & stick on tapes. This is my all day going-out-the-house and i really can recommend it!

Nicely
XebastYan.

What does DMD stand for? "Digital Madness Defined" or "Dead Man's Digital" or "DSLR manufacturer's Demise?"

I have been trying to figure it out for months.

I agree with you about IS. In this era of pixel-peeping, all my favorite Koda/Ektachromes are not quite as sharp as they should be... yip, yip, yippee for IS.

I now drive a Pentax K10D

Bravo, Mike! For the first time in, oh, two or three days, I find total agreement with your opinion (the last time was when you told us just how much you dislike learning new photo software). For us, we want IS inside. I've used it in my KM7D, and now in my A700. Simply put, it extends the range of available exposure choices. I can use slower shutter speeds & ISOs, or smaller apertures, at will. Smaller, cheaper & slower lenses will suffice, instead of the big f2.8 zooms. Hard to explain that to Nikon & Canon shooters who lug around five pounds of glass for every shoot, but we know it's true.

Richard,
It stands for "Decisive Moment Digital" in honor of the original "Barnack" cameras (Leica screwmount) that Cartier-Bresson started with. Admittedly not the best name, but then I had no idea when I wrote that old column that I'd still be talking about it four WEEKS later, much less four years later.

Mike

"So, Mike, how COULD YOU be one of those who 'haven't actually bought a digital camera in a long time'???"

Jose,
I know you were kidding, but do bear in mind that I keep getting cameras to try from the manufacturers (more than I have time or energy for, actually). Should have an A850 arriving on Monday if all goes according to schedule.

Mike

Having some time ago settled on B&W film and the Voigtlander Bessa as my main camera of choice (and affordability) and having put aside my Nikon FTn SLR kit because of bulk and weight, I nevertheless can see that a reasonably compact digital camera with good auto/manual options and a built in flash has its application and convenience so I bought one this week - the GF1 with EVF and the kit zoom lens. (Most of my shooting falls within the 28-90mm equivalent range of the zoom and I'm one of those people who can't cope with the LCD viewing screen on the back of the camera, and I doubt I'll ever take the zoom off).
I would have bought a Canon G11 as it's more compact and pocketable but the optical viewfinder is so badly misaligned with the camera's view at certain focal lengths as to make it a non-starter for me.
Then I spent most of the week studying workflow in Photoshop and Camera Raw.
My film cameras with prime lenses will still get most use. I know I could fit the primes to the GF1 if I wanted to, but why? I've got a choice of film from ISO 100 to 3200 and I'm fortunate to have a small darkroom setup in a cupboard in our laundry and I get more satisfaction from using that than spending hours hunched over my computer. Less neck pain too. So the GF1 is not the be-all-and-end-all camera for me. It just fills a gap in the range. Instant result, built in flash, zoom lens, good IQ. Convenient.

"They're fun to use and if you love mucking about with cameras half as much as I do I think you'd find them enormously pleasing."

I agree. I enjoy just holding my GF1 or even just having it sitting on my desk.

(I agree about lack of in-body IS. What a flub in an otherwise amazing camera. I guess the chances of them correcting it is smaller than the chances of the next Oly being much faster.)

Ed Taylor, Ctein, what they said. Right!

DDB, I'm convinced that all of my cameras with "stabilization" are broken; I seem to be better; though the newer systems, that work on a tripod have allowed me to reduce the weight of said tripods.

MJ, your friend, Art, is printing large, pleased you, and he's using a 2 gen old camera. We have come far in just a few years.

John-
lugging around "five pounds of glass" in the form of an f:2.8 zoom does have a virtue beyond faster shutter speed: those nice creamy defocused backgrounds. For a while I tried a reasonably compact (APS-C sensor) D-SLR with a smallish, slowish zoom (with in-lens IS, for what it's worth). Seemed to make sense for a 'walking around camera', but it drove me crazy. Out of focus backgrounds consistently had just enough recognizeable structure to ruin my people pictures, even wide open, no matter what I did. I was much happier after reverting to a fast prime, and I didn't miss IS at all. As always, YMMV. It's very dependent upon what and how you like to shoot.

What Ed Taylor said;

Plus -- *Many* serious photographers want prints larger than 12 inches. Probably, most. Small prints were artifacts of film production. Look at paintings in a museum. For hundreds of years, paintings could be any size that the master artists wanted them to be, and very few chose to make their paintings twelve inches or smaller. Why? Because you can't see them as well.

I actually held an EP-2 tonight. An Olympus representative was at the local camera shop and he had received it yesterday. I like the color better than the EP-1 (yes it’s a trivial issue but I prefer darker camera bodies) and the size. The new EVF doesn’t make the camera too big but you will need a big pocket if it’s attached. The EVF did seem to work well (in my very quick and unscientific test).

I am looking for a smaller camera and the EP-2 may work. I do like the idea of the EP-2 and 20mm f1.7 combination. I would also be interested in knowing how well non-4/3 lenses work using the various adaptors that have come out for the Micro 4/3 systems.

Absolutely, Mike!! The E-P1 + 20mm f/1.7 is the camera I most use now... by a large margin!

Ctein,
Thank you for your lovely reply. You answered many questions I did not know I had. Thank you for pointing out the different aspects of what image quality is.
You are right about learning how to properly expose: I learned on TMAX, which I interpret as pretty forgiving, and mainly used the darkroom to manipulate my exposures. That never translated very well for me to working in color film, anyway.
Should you ever write about medium format (say, 6x6) and how it compares to different digital formats, you will have my full and undivided attention!

Mike, thank you for letting me wander far off topic :)

Carl

Mike, thanks for the conclusions, but also -and not sure if this is quite on topic- for the style of writing. I particularly like the phrase "when the spirit moved me". It is like that indeed. I like how you sneak such observations in a camera review.
- Ramses

Mike,

Thanks for review! As I was reading, I kept glancing over to the side of the desk at my first camera, an Olymus OM1, bought new in '77. It's not's much bigger than either of these, has a mirror prism, and obviously full framed. Why isn't something similar a better "model" for the DMD? Keep the mirror, keep full frame. Compact, fit's in vest pocket with primes. I'm not remotely an engineer. but it seems that as basis for a manual camera it exceeds a rangefinder.

I can't believe that the sloooow auto-focus of the E-P1 doesn't bother anyone. I had the E-P1 and ended up with 1 out of 10 attempted shots because of the shutter delay. Totally unacceptable at this day and age. The GF1, I'm completely happy with... hands down... so much faster and capable.

Conparing the E-P2 & GF1, I've noticed that-
-The Oly has IS = Panny has a flash
-Oly has stereo & mic jack = panny has video key
-Oly has lo-res LCD + Hi-res VF = Panny has hi-res LCD + lo-res VF
and the only real advantage of the GF1 is the AF speed, which is meaningless if you manually focus.
And to those worried about the obsoleteness of the E-P1, remember the G1-GH1 tale...
P.S.
To ranjitgrover,
"Holding a camera vertical is one major reason for camera shake. No one can hold a camera vertically as steady as a horizontal camera."
-You see, if I'm not wrong, the IS of compacts works quite well vertically. The one on mine works BETTER vertically than horizontally.

Hi
The 17mm is only at its best when used with the corrections provided by Olympus's software and there are no third party corrections built in yet as olympus are still talking to people like Adobe et al.
It ads another step but try the Olympus software and you will see a difference.

David

I bought a Sigma DP2 this year BECAUSE of all the controversial discussion here.

It's black, it can do scale focusing with a dedicated focus wheel, shutter is quiet like a mouse, and with manual focus it IS a DMD.

I still wonder why Mike didn't like it very much: it is very light (just above 200g), tiny and really CHEAP (it's available for around 1/3 to 1/4 of the price of the offerings from Olympus and Panasonic). And of course the images that it produces are really great!

I'd recommend anyone to give the DP2 another chance !

I don't know about you, but when I hear "chuck roast jacket," I imagine a baggy coat with large pockets inside that might be used by supermarket shoplifters.

Both of these cameras are the worst of two different worlds: the image quality and versatility falls short of a DSLR, and the size of the cameras, even with a pancake lens installed, is too bulky to be a true stealth compact camera.

But more ironic is the truth that for the type of photography these cameras will be employed (snapshot/ note-taking) medium format quality (relative to film) is unnecessary.

I have nothing against toys, but I wouldn't pretend that we could arm our troops with BB guns, or that you need to carry around a laptop loaded with MS Word for casual note-taking.

@Lloyd,

I sold my E-P1 the night before the E-P2 was announced (in anticipation of the announcement) but I kept all of the accessories that I had purchased. One of the accessories was the Rayqual "Nikon F to MFT" adapter that allows you to use Nikon F-mount lenses with an aperture ring on MFT cameras. I can tell you that I rarely removed my Nikkor 50mm 1.2F (with 9 aperture blades) from the E-P1. I loved the pictures that came out of it (superb bokeh), and video (stopped all the way down) was an incredible sight to behold.

I got this camera to complement my Nikon system, and I can highly recommend that the build quality and usefulness of that particular adapter, provided that you have access to older (aperture ringed) Nikon glass.

The new E-P2 is a definite purchase for me (and as a vanity bonus, it seems to match up with the finish on old Nikkor lenses, perfectly!).

Nice comparison! I came to the exact same conclusion and currently shoot with an E-P1 and the 20mm F1.7 lens :-).

My preference is still for the GF1, primarily because of the better LCD and faster responsiveness. Also, having used an LX2 and then LX3, I'm a big fan of Panasonic Lumix.

That said, I see the world in 28mm (24mm since I got the LX3) and I'm holding off for now because there are no good (or at least affordable) wide angle primes for MFT. By "good" I mean (among other things) that it has to be at least f2.8.

But halleluja, it Panasonic is going to release a 14mm (28mm equivalent) f2.8 pancake in the new year. If it were a f2.0 I'd be setting up camp in front of the camera store right now. If it were f1.7 I'd be on a plane to Japan right now with a suitcase full of Yen to bribe someone into giving me a pre-production model.

In the meantime, all I can do is wait.

(Unfortunately I can't find a link to the pre-announcement about the new pancake, but I've seen it written up in a few different places.)

I'd be curious to read more about the differences, real or perceived, between the IS of the last Minolta/early Sony mentioned, later Sonys Olys and Pentax SLRs*- and how particular lenses may or may not factor into it.

*(I'm increasingly not in favor of the "D" in DSLR for the same reason my Elan II isn't a FSLR.)

Can I paraphrase this as "I won't buy a camera without jiggle away so I went with the E-P1."?

"TMAX, which I interpret as pretty forgiving"

You must be kidding. Not to be snarky or anything, but TMAX is the only film that I could simultaneously get no shadow or highlight detail and have lousy mushy contrast in the midtones, and usually it wasn't even as good as that. Awful nasty stuff.
The old Vericrome Pan or Pan-X were forgiving, just overexpose and use a compensating or an A+B developer. I understand some of the eastern european films are like that

Dear Player,

I don't think the EP1 is anything like a toy (can't speak to the GF1-- haven't used it). What I'm trying to decide is whether it's good enough to be my primary, or even only, digital camera. Haven't made up my mind, but that I'm even considering it says this camera is way beyond the 'toy/casual/snapshot' level of quality.

Prints up to 11x14 (haven't tried larger) are definitely superior to anything I can do with 35mm film, save for the rare and extraordinary. May very well hold up well against 645. Haven't decided, but seeing how many pros found 35mm quality entirely sufficient, hard to dismiss this camera as frivolous.

Sure, DSLR is better. So are $30K medium format digital backs. So? Better's not important; good enough is.

pax / Ctein

Dear Hugh,

You talking about the negs or the prints? In my experience, both TMAX 100 and 400 have a long exposure range with a very straight characteristic curve. Huge amounts of information in the extreme shadows and highlight.

Good match for papers with really shallow, long toes and shoulders. Otherwise, total hell to print in the darkroom.

pax / Ctein

"You talking about the negs or the prints? In my experience, both TMAX 100 and 400 have a long exposure range with a very straight characteristic curve. Huge amounts of information in the extreme shadows and highlight."

Yes, this.
I recall one negative, where no matter how dark I printed it, I kept seeing new detail in the highlights. With this negative, it happened to be a good thing - most of the different steps produced really pretty pictures, just emphasizing different things.

p.s., Ctein, say wait, what? Holds up well against 645? ZOMG! That's so cool!

Over the last decade I've moved from a Canon D60 to a Sony a900 full-frame. All have been very satisfying, much more so than the 35mm film SLRs I'ld been using since the mid 1970s. However, two months ago on vacation in Italy the weight of the a900 and three lenses was just too much; most of the time the equipment was left behind. So several weeks ago, after reading many reviews and discussions, I purchased a GF1 with the 20mm pancake and the image-stabilized 14-140mm.
We had the opportunity to visit the Palomar observatory on a private tour last week, where I was able to use the GF1 in hard-to-shoot conditions. For testing several shots were printed on 13"x19" glossy and matte using a calibrated HP B9180. The results were very pleasing to me, at least through ISO800, which has what I feel is quite attractive, fine-grained luminance noise but no chromatic problems, or almost none. I've had to be more careful in framing the original shot since there isn't as much room for cropping, but this is helping improve technique.

So last week I sold all of my a900 equipment and ordered the Panasonic 7-14mm.

Hey Mike,

Great comparison articles. I like the real world style of the reviews.

Regarding how good the IS is:

Check out the Olympus Australia website's sample page of E-P1 pictures (not sure if the URL address will be truncated - if it is use http;//www.olympus.com.au)

http://www.olympus.com.au/component/option,com_product/id,347/Itemid,69/task,gfx/

There's a picture of some people coming off a tram which, if you look at the EXIF data, was shot at 1/2 second using the pancake 17mm lens. This is just a little bitsy bit past 4 whole shutter speeds. For a handheld shot, it isn't too shabby.

I have been able to shoot handheld pretty well with my E-P1 and I am very pleased with its IS performance.

Out of camera JPEGs are pretty stunning with this camera too because of the supposedly very weak AA filter in front of the sensor.

The other thing is, I have found the E-P1 takes pictures with a lot more analog look than many other digital cameras I have tried. Yes, there's visible noise at the higher ISOs (which camera doesn't) but the amount of detail the camera retains even at say 3200 is quite astonishing. And the noise is so filmlike. This is very important to me as a film shooter.

KH

Mike, either my English is not good enough, or else your update on this article is contradictory with your own initial article. In the article, you said:

"What's my own pick? (Drum roll.) Well...a little of each, actually. While I really liked the GF1 and could easily live with it long-term, I've written many times of my great fondness for image stabilization or IS (as well as my genial dislike of zooms), so my choice is clear: it's the Olympus E-P1 for me."

So, if your choice is clearly the E-P1, I don't understand why you purchased the GF-1.

This is for the sake of clarification: I can perfectly understand your explanations about both cameras. My point is that the update does not make sense with the initial article, only that.

If I tried to hide my camera in my jacket, people would think I was kidnapping a baby. The only disadvantage to medium and large format cameras.

I always enjoy reading TOP's reviews as a nice counterpoint to DPR's productions, which I find sometime miss the forest for the trees.

That said, I can't let this comment go unchallenged:

"Plus there's the nagging sense we all seem to have that the Micro 4/3rds offerings aren't quite up to DSLR quality in the IQ department, although no one, including the manufacturers' reps, seems to quite know why."

If you try a current generation 4/3 DSLR, I think you'll quickly discover this is not the case. m4/3 and 4/3 are equal - the only meaningful difference is at the lens level.

I think what you're really saying is the m4/3 cameras do not measure up to APS-C DSLRs. I agree, and I think a quick glance at DXO's noise and DR test result gives a good explanation as to why.

Very useful site, I'm glad I found it and will re-visit often.

I have the E-P1 with zoom. Love it. Love the style, love the results (JPEGs are great). The only thing I don't really like is the menu system, but that's lack of familiarity (my background is Canon and more recently Leica).

I want a pancake lens but would prefer the Panasonic f1.7, from the articles I've been able to read. Will I have issues with "image correction" as a few writers have mentioned? Also, how bad (compared to the Panasonic) is the Oly pancake, as it would make a slicker looking unit and "made to measure".

Finally, the Panasonic lens here in the UK is about £329, but the camera/pancake kit is about £679 - therefore only about £350 for the GF-1 body. Must say I'm likely to go down that route myself so I can truly compare because I see this as a viable format for the future and would like to decide which way at this stage, before acquiring accessories & lenses.

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