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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Comments

"all the while devoting significant resources to their DSLR system"

Don't forget the resources to the video systems (i.e., the C300), which is where Canon's heart is now, IMHO.

While I agree that small, fast, affordable moderate wide-angles -- my desert island lens -- are in bewilderingly short supply, you neglected to mention the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, a great little number which single-handedly makes m43 frequently worth the compromise. That said, I applaud Canon for doing the obvious by making this their first new optic for the system. Seems like a no-brainer to me, but apparently not to many other manufacturers. I just hope it's as popular as the Pany and that other lensmakers see the light (pardon the very bad pun).

But MFT has a small fast 40mm equivalent prime lens for under $400, if not quite under $300. I can't believe that the difference between 35mm and 40mm is really significant.

Ultimately, the Canon 22mm f2 lens is the ONLY thing interesting to me in this system. The NEX cameras offer better and slightly larger sensor technology, customizable buttons, tilt LCDs, manual focus implementation, lens choice (for now,) EVF options, faster AF, and the list goes on.

Sony has a pancake on their lens roadmap for next year, but why it took them this long, (outside of the initial 16mm pancake,) I have no idea. If they offered a similar 22/2 for NEX, there would literally be nothing appealing about EF M in its current state, unless maybe you're a Canon user who wants to use big SLR lenses and adapters.

... it's been a long time since it has been an upstart.

Canon is an upstart in the cinema business where they have demonstrated their ability to develop a sophisticated and competitive system.

"Canon is the cool kid late to the party—but it's been a long time since it has been an upstart. Despite a promising entrace, Canon's ultimate success at this party is not assured."

I had noticed a leak of this new camera last week and sent a heads-up to Mike. But frankly I was busy and gave the announcement little attention, just enough to get the idea.

I've really no idea where Canon will ultimately head in this arena. I absolutely agree with Amin that successful incumbency in the traditional market segment is no guarantee of a win here. But I suspect that they, and Nikon, are just warming-up. They know well that the marketplace is fickler than a teenage girl. They also know that the camera biz is a marathon, not a sprint. Specifically, they know that cameras are the tail wagging a big-ass dog: lenses! Establishment of the EF-M lens system line was the BIG news here, not the camera.

And let's also not forget that Canon and Nikon were once deeply involved in the original rangefinder camera marketplace; they know how that small camera model works. I wouldn't expect to see them build another genuine rangefinder -- that would be pure folly. But they now have the platform to expand their lens biz in any direction. Imagine, for example, Canon introducing an "EM Black" line of premium EOS M lenses with specs comparable to Leicas. It would be a trivial move that would immediately marginalize today's big mirrorless names.

So although I'm invested in the Micro Four-Thirds system (with the wonderful Oly OM-D and EP-3 cameras) it's not my long-term bet whatsoever. I don't see it as much more than a transition. My long-term bet is on Canon and Nikon in the "mirrorless" arena.

My tip: Watch the LENSES, not the cameras, in the coming years. That's where the money is and that's the main evolutionary topic for the giants of today's dslrs. But the global economy doesn't yet encourage big bold moves.

I find myself with exactly zero interest in this Canon camera. Why? Not sure, but Canon bodies have only rarely interested me and their lenses, while competent, have never pushed me to say to myself, "I'll put up with the body to use that nice lens.".

Such it is ..

If I did my maths correctly, Canon's 22mm lens on its APS-C sensor offers very nearly the same FoV as the Panasonic 20mm lens on an m4/3 sensor once the APS-C files are cropped to the same 4:3 format.

But I am the only person crazy enough to shoot with a 3:2 format camera and then crop the files to 4:3 during post-processing, correct?

Canon & Nikon own the entire aps-c DSLR business without producing any fast wide-angle lens. Thus, it is better to watch m43 sensor technology getting as good as the already existing m43-lenses. There is no risk of being disappointed in it.

One thing that is not made explicit (unless you spelunk for the details) is this is a Canon APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm) 1.6x crop factor sensor. That's a bit smaller than the Nikon/Sony/Pentax/etc APS-C sensors.

For more see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_sensor_format

Initially I was thinking "33mm equivalent" (assuming 1.5x crop factor) was an odd size to choose but the 22mm lens on a crop factor 1.6x is 35mm.

It's not that different from 40mm.

The Sigma 19mm gives 38mm on an m43 body (if you want to get closer to 35mm) though it's not a pancake lens it does appear to have good performance (low distortion).

"How many modern systems have a 35mm equivalent ƒ/2 or faster compact autofocus prime for under $300? Or even under $500? None of the mirrorless compact system cameras."

Micro Four Thirds has the deservedly well-regarded Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7, which isn't 35mm, but close enough at 40mm. And it costs under $500, at least in Europe.

I'm a Canon user because they were first to market with serious digital cameras. Once I had invested in that system I didn't (and still don't) have the $$$$$ to jump to a new system with every change in the winds of technology. I had a couple of Olympus P&S cameras (4040Z and 5060Z) and they were good but I'm kind of old fashioned. I like sticking my eyeball up to a viewfinder. If I feel the need to compose at arms length I have a Wista 4x5.

So does this camera appeal to me? Yes and no. I like that I could manually focus with a ring around the lens but I'm not pleased that there is no provision for an EVF nor is the screen articulated.

I would tend to disagree with Ken Tanaka here (though I think there's a 49% chance that he's correct.) Canon seems to me to be the same kind of blundering elephant that Sony became after 2000. When you think of the kinds of tech that Sony created in the 80s and 90s, and who now owns that space...(Though Sony has recently showed some signs of new vigor.)

The problem with this new camera isn't that it lacks some things that this guy or that guy thinks it should have, the problem is the lack of imagination and commitment. Two lenses, the street-shooter of which apparently has dead-slow autofocus? No IBIS? No provision for an eye-level viewfinder? And hey, I've got a message for Canon -- you're not protecting your DSLR line by selling a crippled mirrorless camera with an adapter. Very few people are going to buy this camera so they can hook up a giant 70-200 zoom.

If Canon had come out with a Micro 4/3 camera with a couple of lenses that would also accept the other Micro 4/3 lenses, it would have then had an instant system, and then, in the long run, it could have used its camera-marketing muscle and brand and camera-knowledge and technology to squeeze the other Micro 4/3 companies. But this is a head-scratcher. In my opinion, it will no more dominate the mirrorless space than the NEX has.

The real danger to Canon here is if Sony should slide into the Micro 4/3 space. Then you'd have two huge and very rich companies, Sony and Panasonic, pushing a particular tech. As that gets better and better, and FF gets cheaper and cheaper, I suspect that the whole APS-C segment may become less and less tenable.

It is pointlessly ugly.
A Maserati wouldn't be what it is if it was simply a powerful car with a big inside: it is also beautiful. If you replaced any camera in the "big-compacts" shelf of your local superstore with this Canon, nobody would notice it is there. In terms of design it is just another one, and it is not even a Maserati inside.

As Thom Hogan points out, Canon appears to be headed towards eventually replacing their low-end DSLRs with mirrorless, whereas Nikon appears to be preserving both. This is the conclusion mainly from the differing sensor-size decisions. (APS-C for Canon, much smaller for Nikon).

My own view is that any sensor substantially larger than m4/3, such as APS-C, is more sensor than this class of cameras needs and makes the lenses too big. I think m4/3 is the sweet spot.

like 35mm but none in my nex &alpha mount ... wonder why? is it hard to make even real 35mm for full frame is missing why then canon can make one as their first entry in this computer model design lens era why?

The big problem with this camera is the price: $800 B&H, €1000 preorder here. At that price point, there are cameras with a lot better features.

Canon naturally looks at the long run, but it shares two weaknesses with Nikon. The first is that the longer smaller companies hold the lead in the mirrorless arena, the better their chances are to establish themselves as household brand names for high quality serious cameras. As soon as the consumer considers CaNikon merely as good as say Panasonic, the big ones are in big trouble.

The second reason is that CaNikon have to balance mirrorless with the sales of their current systems and not cannibalize existing markets. The challengers have not such problem and can offer the best they have on mirrorless.

I wish Canon had joined the micro 4/3 mount - imagine the benefit to photographers with more lenses and bodies to choose from.

If forced to make a choice now, with what's available today, I can only see the sensor technology improving and the lens selection already gives me what I need. I'm upgrading my much loved GF1 for an OMD. It's a no-brainer. And I say that as Canon user with a bunch of L lenses. I'm not quitting Canon, but I am willing to fork out for a second small system I can carry around most of the time.

Does the P&S upgrader really exist, have you seen one lately, or has that species gone extinct?

Canon seems to think that there is a new species they call "camera-owners who don't think of themselves as photographers." Has anyone captured one in the wild? Or is this all just conjecture?

In a few years I think the market will look like this. Pjs and non-hobbyists will be using smartphones. Sports and commercial shooters will be using M43. Hobbyists will still be waiting for Full Frame Mirrorless. And Juergen Teller and Martin Schoeller will still be shooting film.

I think John Camp may be more on the mark than Ken Tanaka regarding Canon's current mind set. As a long time Canon user,I see this as the latest example of too little, too late. I keep hoping Canon will wise up and deliver features and a reasonable price. This one is just the latest example of price, but feature crippling. While touch screen is great (love it on my OMD), most times I prefer viewfinder usage - probably because of coming from many years of film shooting.
This one is clearly aimed at the casual user, and does give Canon the foundation to build yet another lens mount system. One can only hope that the enthusiast / semi pro is not ignored too long.
Using myself as an example, Canon lost a not insignificant amount of money by not offering what I desire at a reasonable price point. I went with the Olympus OMD E-5M and a bunch of lenses, after seeing the $1000.00 premium added to the 5D (and this was for features Nikon users have enjoyed for YEARS). It performs much better that I thought it would and my 5DmkII / 40D are just gathering dust . I won't sell them yet, but I've no incentive to upgrade them either. I've hit the good enough level with 20x30" prints looking quite spectacular. Ctein's bridge print validated the m43 image quality for me and the m43 lenses currently offered are hitting some high marks in terms of quality, making Canon's entry all the less exciting to me. Time for the sleeping giant to wake up.

"Always in motion, the future is." Yoda.

With best regards.

Stephen

@David @Mike Scott @Jeffrey Goggin @Kevin Purcell @Ahem

I've said it many times: The Lumix 20 is the lens that sold me on Micro 4/3. I put that lens on my camera, a GH1 at the time, and before a week was up I knew that this system which had been an impulse buy was going to replace my Nikon DSLRs. The Pana 20 is one of my all-time favorite lenses for any system. I'm using some other lenses more these days (P14 most and PL25 second most), but the P20 is the one I know I won't sell for as long as I use the MFT system.

Yet as wonderful as 40mm is, and as great as Mike's essay about that length was, there's a difference between a 40 and a 35. 40 has always been uncommon, a tweener, while 35 was a classic, or I should say the classic wide. To me, the difference between 40 and 35 is as great as the difference between 50 and 40. There are days when I want to use a 35, and a 40 doesn't cut it.

It doesn't make sense that despite remaining one of the most popular choices amongst prime shooters who use the Canon 5D, Nikon D700/800, and Leica M9, the 35mm equivalent is so poorly represented amongst the smaller formats. When was the last time we saw a small, f/2 or faster 35mm equivalent prime on a small camera? The Fuji X100, a camera with enormous reach and appeal.

I think Ken's tip to watch the lenses is on target. If Sony had brought out a very good and compact 35mm equivalent f/2 for $300, we would have seen a lot of Micro 4/3 enthusiasts move over to that camp. Instead, lenses like the Oly 45 and PL25 helped MFT extend its lead. It only takes one or two key lenses here and there to bring about a shift in momentum though. I'm not counting anyone out just yet.

Excellent article - very enjoyable, thank you. I like these punchy opinion filled pieces.

I recently jumped into 4/3rds for the first time, but I don't feel I've made a mistake by choosing Olympus. The new Canon doesn't tempt me or make me kick myself. I think 4/3rds and Micro 4/3rds are versatile and mature enough to accommodate my growth.

If I feel jealous of Amin's GX1, I can buy a GX1 body and use my Oly lens on it, and vv with the Pana 14mm lens on my E-PL2 body. Perfect! Best of all worlds.

Another thing, Mike. I think it's time you, and we, paid homage to the Japanese camera industry.

I was looking at a semi transparent view of a Nikon D800 recently and I marvelled at how Japanese camera makers have moved from those all mechanical precision masterpieces of the 1970s and 80s to the even more precision electronic masterpieces of today, while still retaining all the features of old, retaining lens mount compatibility, improving EVERYTHING else and actually getting them to us at REDUCED prices compared to the old days.

I remember the war days between those who declared they would never accept plastic bodied cameras! Metal was required, none of this plastic stuff. But look what's happened. We are being treated to near perfection and it's getting better and cheaper all the time. If the makers are releasing these models now, I can't wait for Photokina! Pentax, I'm looking at you. Do I sniff full frame blockbuster?

Agreeing with Amin on the 35 vs 40. After two years of shooting almost exclusively with a 35mm lens (Nikon F), I got a Leica CL with its 40mm, and that was heaven for my way of working at that time. OTOH, the height of a frame with 20/40 on m43 is the same as the height of a 22/35 on the Canon. It's the width that is different. So not so much difference. But if you set your m43 to the 3:2 ratio, then the difference is meaningful, although perhaps not to the Canon's intended audience.

I just moved from a Canon 5D plus several Canon lenses to a Samsung (!) NX20. While I'm still getting used to its much-smaller size and lower weight, I'm pretty sure it's a keeper. The Samsung lenses--I have the 18-55 kit and the 50-200, and soon to arrive is the 60/2.8 macro--while not Canon-L quality are plenty good enough. The EOS-M seems a 'tweener to me--too small to be easily handholdable, and that 22(= 35 in 35e) is a 'tweener too--not really a WA and not really a 'standard' length. The M-to-EF adapter might save the EOS-M, but only with serious fotogs looking for a super-light-weight extra body.

And yes, Jeffrey Goggin my friend, you are indeed the only fotog who crops his 1.5s to 1.33. :-)

Judge the EOS M on this camera alone, not the future of the system. I could have very easily been tempted to get one of these, but the examples shown so far of the AF speed have me backing away in a big hurry. A highly polished touchscreen interface is somewhat wasted if it doesn't have the AF system to match. I await to see what the final production models can do.

Incidentally, if the name of this particular camera is just going to be plain "EOS M", what are they going to call the next version?

Just out of curiosity, what the GX1 has that the E-M5 has not ? I do not understand the need to have both bodies.

Concerning the Canon, like many people here I can only lament about the lack of 35mm-e lenses for other systems ;)

Panasonic GX1, Panasonic 14mm, and Ricoh GV-2 viewfinder.

Is that just an optical viewfinder? It appears to cost about half the price of the camera according to the links.

Thinness, I think, Antoine. The GX1 looks as if you can slip it into your pocket, whereas the OM-D E-M5 doesn't. Even its name catches on my pocket.

I wonder how the new Canon going to be. All my gear is Canon so it's only make sense to wait to see how is the new EOS-M

Like Amin I too converted from a dSLR system to M43 after getting the 20mm/f1.7. There's just something "right" about that focal lenght. I was just as surprised as many since I thought I "had" to use a 35mm to walk in the footsteps of Cartier-Bresson.

I now shoot three M43 cameras with three different lenses. They cost me less than my 70-200mm/f2.8 zoom for my Canon dSLR system, which is now part of my very expensive $30,000 junk collection...

The new Canon is simply too little, too late, and any prosumer investing in a traditional dSLR these days must surley be choosing a Nikon over a Canon? But we all know that most of the revenue comes from the toy cameras, so Canon will probably sell loads of whatever they make. It's allready the second best seller on Amazon after the Sont RX100!

The Canon is competing primarily with overcrowded APS-C-sensor mirrorless crowd, including Samsung NX, Sony NEX, Pentax K, and FujiFilm X/XF. This is good for the customers and tough for the manufactures.
The good news is that the EOS-M would attract more customers to consider a mirrorless as they next camera instead of an DSLR. Therefore, it may bring more interest to the mirrorless ILC system as well. As a Micro 4/3 user I am glad that Canon has finally joined the mirrorless system, even though I am quiet happy with the current Micro 4/3 cameras and lenses.

Agreed that the 22mm lens was the smartest move for Canon. Sony doesn't have one. Yes, they do have the CZ 24/1.8 but's it's like 3x more expensive, 2x more fat and heavy, so in the end, who cares? The 16mm doesn't count. Stupid move, Sony.

And yes, m43 is more mature. I also use the GF1+14mm. And no, that combo is not pocketable. Even if you have a labcoat with big pockets, it's going to hang around. Just forget about it. But it is light, and will hang around yuor neck wihout causing strain. It also fits in a lens case big enough to accomodate a 17-40/4L- that what I'm using to carry it around in my normal non-photo bag.

Amin, a slightly more down-to-earth question: can you comment on the AF speed of your 14mm on GX1 vs on OM-D?

I have an E-P3 and its 17mm kit is unused and destined for ebay (any takers?). I use the 14mm Panasonic instead and love it - apart from the AF speed. I know the latest PENs can be much, much faster than that. Maybe it's the combination of Panasonic lens and Olympus body that's the problem...?

So the eos-m is essentially an e-p1(no evf and slow af were the usual complaints) with an aps-c sensor and a touchscreen? And it's the most pre-ordered camrra on amazon. I'm put in the position of admitting that I don't understand the camera market, even though I'm apparently part of it.
I'll just be over here scratching my head at why this kid is considered cool.

Wait, is it because they are rich? Is that it?

It's the phase detection on sensor. That's what was supposed to be worth waiting for, because that's what makes the SLR lenses really compatible. Except that reports from 650D say that it doesn't seem to be working very well. Uh oh.

The EOS-M offers nothing except the ability to put over-sized lenses on a camera inferior to those available for 3-4 years now from Olympus and Panasonic. Few direct controls, no viewfinder. This is only for people who need Canon emblazoned on their camera... and chequebooks. And, as others have pointed out, MFT already have the lenses we need.

You are forgetting about Samsung NX. They have 16mm, 20mm and 30mm pancake primes. They are all very good lenses. Image quality from the original NX line with these lenses-NX 10, NX100 and NX 11-is still very high.

Well said, Amin.

It did strike me that an APS-C sensor choice is a bit large, the way sensor quality is going.

Regarding your two M4/3 kits, I couldn't agree more, they are both amazing. State of the art for the moment.

"Just out of curiosity, what the GX1 has that the E-M5 has not ? I do not understand the need to have both bodies."

@Antoine, there is no need to have both. As the owner of a MFT site, I try to keep a foot in both Pana and Oly camps. Also, I like to have two bodies for less lens switching. Usually I keep the Pana 14 bolted to one body and alternate the P20, PL25, and O45 on a second body. The GX1 is particularly well suited to the Pana 14 because it is thinner (makes the combination easily coat pocketable), transmits lens data for automatic color fringing correction whether in-camera JPEG or processing RAW in Lightroom (Oly bodies don't do auto color fringing correction), and looks good with the GV-2 finder. Also, I don't so much miss IBIS with this focal length.

"Is that just an optical viewfinder? It appears to cost about half the price of the camera according to the links."

Yes, it's just a "dumb" (no electronic info whatsoever) optical viewfinder. There are cheaper alternatives - for example, I've seen the Sigma VF-11 on sale for less than half the price - but the GV-2 is an especially good match for my kit because it has 4:3 aspect ratio framelines for 28mm equivalent. It's also nice and small (made for Ricoh GRD), very well made, and has good eye relief (I wear glasses). Most other OVF options are priced in the same ballpark with the Voigtlander ~$210, Zeiss ~$400, and Leica ~$300 (for X1) - $750 (for rangefinder).

For anyone who hasn't used a hot shoe brightline OVF like this and is used to DSLR viewfinders, it is a pleasant surprise how bright and spacious a view you get. It also frees you of the very slight lag that EVFs impart. When I shoot action with the E-M5 EVF, I often keep my right eye on the EVF and left eye open to get the timing exact. It's hard on the brain, but it works. Alternatively one can just get used to the slight lag and learn to release a touch early. With the GV-2, there's no need for that. The downside to the GV-2 and other OVFs like it is that 1) the framing is inaccurate - in this case the framelines are closer to a 35mm capture than 28mm, which suits me fine because I'd rather get a little extra than less than I am expecting; and 2) you have to learn to adjust for parallax. The view is such a pleasure compared to a typical DSLR that I don't mind the imprecision.

I've a feeling a lot of Canon's target market for the M and those who may be interested in the lower end mirrorless offerings are going to go with the Sony RX100 and call it a day. Everything I've read about it indicates it has great image quality, better video quality than Canon's SLRs and focuses much faster than the Canon's Gs. The lens is fast enough ar wide to semi-wide to match up just fine with the Canon 22mm. I think there will be a lot of S90-100s going on eBay because of it as well.

If there is a market catering to camera owners who don't consider themselves photographers, many if not most of whom probably don't want the hassle of interchangeable lenses, the RX100 nails it.

Addendum ... Just to go on record here, I have no interest in the EOS-M at this time. Although I am a very long-time Canon customer I am most definitely over-stocked in cameras right now. But even if I was in the market for a "mirrorless" camera the EOS-M's features and characteristics wouldn't be attractive against the likes of the NEX-5N/7 or the OM-D. The tilting high-res lcd on these models is their main attraction for me. The tiltable (not the swing-out/rotate) lcd has been the most useful and valuable characteristic for these small cameras, much more so than a viewfinder. I was surprised that the EOS-M did not feature one.

"Does the P&S upgrader really exist, have you seen one lately, or has that species gone extinct?"

C.D.Embrey - I have a couple of friends who have made the switch to mirrorless (Olympus) cameras fairly recently; And they possibly wouldn't have moved to an SLR, or at least were put off by the bulk of an SLR system.

I've also seen quite a lot of chatter on forums of folks looking to upgrade from their P&S cameras being pointed towards micro 4/3 or NEX cameras.

Asking Canon to lead with vision and innovation is like asking Toyota to be sexy. Big corporate behemoths don't innovate or do sexy too well - too many chefs.

My delayed reaction to Amin Sabet's response prompts me, with some reluctance, to question statements made by two people I admire: Amin Sabet and Kenneth Tanaka.

Mr. Sabet writes: Canon has nothing to prove. It has the money, the retail channels, the marketing machine, the fans, and a track record that speaks for itself.

Precisely. Canon is not the cool kid, Canon is IBM, circa 1982.
Innovation would be cool. A Canon one-up to the NEX-7, paired with Canon's accomplished savoir-faire in camera-making, which Sony is deemed to be learning by doing, would be cool. In the meantime, the Sony RX100 looks like the real cool kid, the one leading the party.

Mr. Tanaka writes: But the global economy doesn't yet encourage big bold moves.

Well, Apple's Q3 results are just in, and if they prove anything, it is precisely the fact that purpose-driven large-scale innovation is the winning strategy in the current economy. Heck, even Microsoft, not exactly a byword for innovation over the past decade, is seeing the light and betting the farm on a radically rejuvenated OS and the even more radical introduction of their own tablets. 'Business as usual' is not a winning franchise.

And talking about innovation: Canon has all the means to introduce the kind of redefined camera proposed by Thom Hogan a few years ago: modular, programmable, communicating. They could do it from scratch. Take the simplest item: Wi-Fi.
Samsung and Fuji can do it, cheap, and Canon can't? Won't?
From afar, it just looks like a lack of corporate vision and courage.

I'll do one better than Jeffrey Goggin; I like shooting square format when I can, and the Panasonic 20mm gives the same angle of view as my old 80mm* Yashica TLR, when cropped to 6:6, At f/1.7, gives me the same depth of field (and fractionally more blur at infinity) as the Yashica did at f/8. The EOS-M pancake can't better that.

The thing I find intriguing about the EOS-M's pancake lens, is that it's 22mm f/2 is a drop-in replacement for the Olympus XA, a camera I used and loved. it has the same depth of field and everything! One could even interpret the dodgy decision to only provide a LCD as equivalent to the small rangefinder window with the faint focus patch.

Svein-Frode, if the 20 feels familiar to, it is because the vertical angle of view is 37.3° the same as a 35mm lens. Perhaps Cartier-Bresson cropped a little to a 4:5 ratio, when he had his prints made? Perhaps a little was trimmed off the ends of the 2:3 ratio frame.

Will

*a 80mm f/3.5 Yashinon, a Tessar clone. My most favorite portraits were done with that lens.

"Amin... can you comment on the AF speed of your 14mm on GX1 vs on OM-D? I have an E-P3... I use the 14mm Panasonic instead and love it - apart from the AF speed..."

@lukasz kruk - I haven't done any specific testing, but my impression has been that in good light The Pana 14 AF is super fast on the GX1, GH2, E-M5, and E-P3. I'm surprised that you find it an issue. In low light, the Oly bodies don't focus as quickly, and they hunt more than the Panasonic bodies. Using the Pana 14, my GH2 locked AF better and faster in low light than a 5D II with EF 28/2.8, Pentax K-5 with DA21/3.2, or any Olympus MFT body. I think the GX1 is on par with the GH2 in that regard.


"You are forgetting about Samsung NX. They have 16mm, 20mm and 30mm pancake primes..."

@Carlo Santin - I didn't forget Samsung in this case, although I have confess to having a tendency to do so! They have no marketing presence at all in my area. I've tried the Samsung 30/2, and it's a very good lens. I don't doubt the others are as well. However, my comments still apply - none of those Samsung pancakes is a 35mm equivalent.

To clarify something mentioned above about the difference between the Canon 22 and Panasonic 20, they are even closer than the 35/40 comparison because of the differing aspect ratios, more analogous to the difference between a 35 and 38 in 35mm film terms (as they are only 10% different focal lengths). I suspect for most photographers, the different presentations are fungible. But that is just the angle of view talking. Neither is inherently better than the other (I mean angle/length/format) but to a photographer very tuned in to a specific aspect ratio and presentation of perspective, it could make the decision. Me, I'm happy with my bargain E-PL1 and Panasonic 20. I'm sure I'd be happy with the Canon optic as well, but the kit costs 1/2 month's take home, so that's a moot point.

Patrick

The lens doesn't excite me enough to have an interest in this system. With a choice of affordably and high quality 28mm-e, 38mm-e and 40mm-e lenses, a Micro Four Thirds system has more than enough for me.

Support for legacy oil drum lenses doesn't interest me, I still have my Pentax dSLR for the big guns, keeping the PEN for the pancakes.

"... the Canon 22 and Panasonic 20... are even closer than the 35/40 comparison because of the differing aspect ratios, more analogous to the difference between a 35 and 38 in 35mm film terms (as they are only 10% different focal lengths)."

@Patrick - a few comments

1) While it's true that they are only 10% different focal lengths, the difference in angle of view is not only based on focal length but also format size. Say for example that we were comparing a Canon 20 and a Panasonic 20, there would be a 0% difference in focal length, but but they would not give the same angle of view when used on their respective systems. It would be 32mm equivalent vs 40mm equivalent.

2) The nominal focal length should define the relationship between the diagonal angle of view and the imaging format size. There is no adjustment for aspect ratio necessary since we're talking about the diagonal.

3) The nominal focal length often varies from the actual focal length. Many of us have noticed this when we own two lenses marked with the same focal length (eg Sigma 50/1.4 and Canon 50/1.4) for the same camera where one turns out to be noticeably wider than the other one in practice. Because of this liberty routinely taken by the manufacturers, we wont know just how the diagonal angle of view will vary between the Canon 22 and Pana 20 on their respective systems until we compare them in use.

Micro 4/3 and other compact systems take the nominal vs actual focal length issue to another level in that most wide and wide normal lenses (Oly 17 and Pana 20 for example) have marked barrel distortion that gets software corrected automatically for in-cam JPEG as well as RAW files processed in any of the popular raw processing apps. The nominal focal length tells you the angle of view corresponding to the corrected image, whereas the uncorrected image (eg, RAW file processed in dcraw) will reveal that the lens is actually significantly wider than its designation.

One clarification: you may have a setting to disable distortion correction in your RAW app of choice, but that setting does nothing much with wide angle MFT lenses (even if it allows you to set it to "disabled"), because Panasonic and Olympus have persuaded the major RAW app developers (eg Adobe, Phase One, Apple) to keep those corrections "baked in" so that the lenses can produce the results they were intended to produce.

For those interested in comparing fields of view (diagonal, vertical and horizontal) for the cameras and lens mentioned here (plus full frame and "regular" APS-C) I put together a spreadsheet on Google Docs:

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B0o77KSOJtF3UTJNTlVoM2ZyYUE

This is interesting because the aspect ratios are different between 4:3 and APS-C (as others have mentioned above) and so though the diagonal field of view (the "correct" FOV from lens designers view point) gives different horizontal and vertical fields of view. Sometimes significantly different.

e.g. a 4:3 camera with a 135 equivalent 35mm lens (i.e. a mythical 17.5mm actual focal length) sees more of the scene vertically than an APS-C camera with a similar 135 equivalent 35mm lens. If you set the 4:3 camera to 3:2 crop with that 17.5mm lens the images sizes (vertical, horizontal and diagonal) are identical.

The narrower FOV on a 4:3 combines with the longer focal length of the Pannasonic 20mm lens to give quite a different feel (as Amit mentions).

In fact it's interesting to consider a "vertical crop factor" and a "horizontal crop factor" in addition to the usual "(diagonal) crop factor". For the image maker the aspect ratio does make a difference so these are useful distinctions, I think.

4:3 is taller or more square; 3:2 is wider or shorter. Different strokes.

Is this also why a 50mm standard (bit not normal) lens on a 135 camera (with 3:2 aspect ratio) feels "normal" (i.e. wide enough) but a 40mm normal "feels similar" on a 4:3?

"Is this also why a 50mm standard (bit not normal) lens on a 135 camera (with 3:2 aspect ratio) feels "normal" (i.e. wide enough) but a 40mm normal "feels similar" on a 4:3?"

It's interesting how different people perceive this issue. I hear some people say that the 7-14 feels extra wide on MFT because vertical AOV makes more impression than horizontal AOV when it comes to "wideness". You've basically stated that the opposite is true for you.

Of course, if a person has a preferred print/display aspect ratio, that will settle it. Cropping the frame to print at 16x20" or a square means that for a given diagonal AOV (pre-crop), a MFT lens will give a wider view in the print (sides of the APS-C frame getting chopped more), whereas printing at 16x24" would mean a wider view for the APS-C lens (top/bottom of the 4/3 frame getting chopped).

Kevin cleared up what I was trying to express (but obviously didn't do too well). Thanks, Kevin. I guess the easiest way I could have expressed my point was that the biggest factor in the different presentation between the Canon 22 and Panny 20 is down to the format, not focal length. Given a 22 or 20 on either format, one would see little difference (though as I said, to some photographers it would be important). Unless shooting very close up, a 10% difference in focal length is not very significant.

Patrick

Perhaps you are being swayed by your fondness for all things Olympus. The level of marketing that Canon is able to deliver makes this a guaranteed success. To many people Panasonic means TV and Olympus means, who ? .Especially in the most affluent markets of Europe and North America. Even in its natural home Japan the sales of Olympus are not what has been imagined, the O-MD does not even make it into the top 30 .
http://www.dslrphoto.com

/dslr/space.php?do=jranking&view=all

When Canon and Nikon eventually decide to truly go for it it is game over for mFT.

@amin Re Costco
Costco do prints in 6x4 ,9x6,12x8,18x12 , and 36x24 so I don't see any problem with 3x2.

"Perhaps you are being swayed by your fondness for all things Olympus."

@bobbyt - It's true that I am a fan of Olympus (OM system, XA, etc), have a tendency to root for the underdog, and started a popular Micro 4/3 site. However, my first three Micro 4/3 cameras were all Panasonics, and I've spent more of my wages on Canon bodies and lenses than on all of my MFT gear put together times five. I've also started websites dedicated to Sony, Cosina, Zeiss, a general photography/gear (brand agnostic), Android, and speech recognition. I don't make my living from any of them.

I also consider myself a fan of Fuji, Ricoh, Pentax, Leica, and Nikon, and have purchased at least one modern camera from every single make that I've mentioned in this paragraph. I'm biased like most people, but I'm not even close to being a one-brand guy.

The fact that I don't think Canon automatically gets to dominate this market doesn't mean that I am betting against them. I also don't see any problem with 3:2!

Amin

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