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Monday, 17 September 2012

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More interesting than the actual camera announcements thus far are the persistent rumors that Sony is preparing to make a stakeholder-sized ($640 million) investment in Olympus.

Indications seem to point towards the rumor since the OM-D and, perhaps the new Pen, reportedly use Sony sensors. Of course Sony's main objective may very well be Oly's sweet industrial business rather than its hobby camera business. But either way the real Sony/Oly news would seem to probably be brewing between conferencing teams of lawyers.

The new GH3 is almost a revolutionary camera, if it was not for the GH2. Stills and video in one box that does not compromise at a price that won't break the bank. The Canon still cameras are compromised for video. The Nikon still cameras are compromised for video. The new Sony A99 looks very good but in a much more expensive and larger camera.

The GH3 adds features that all photographers will like but as many have said the video is where it shines and Panasonic has addressed the needs of the videographer well. The GH3 ads higher bit rates, higher frame rates, audio monitoring and control all in a weather sealed body. The video picture quality of the GH2 is a s good as cameras costing 10 times as much with none of the typical HDSLR problems of moiré and ailising and lack of resolution. If Panasonic keeps this good sharpness, they will have a winner.

By the way the GH2 is a great still camera as well and the GH3 will be as well. I love seeing the exposure, focus, white balance and depth of field in the viewfinder. Also not having to take my eye away from the viewfinder to see playback is absolutely the best. Not even my excellent Olympus E-M5 does this.

Thank you Panasonic.

As a gh2 and Oly E5 owner, the gh2 always felt a little too small and fiddly in the field. Easy to hit the wrong button, that sort of thing. The gh3 is the same weight (550g with battery) and close to the same dimensions of the Olympus 520, and that camera that feels just right in the hands to me, and yet it is much lighter and smaller than my E5. I think they got the form just right, from the looks of it. Not sure I'll get it, as I'm saving for a motorcycle.

Mike,

I doubt this will change your mind about the E-M5 but you might want to give the accessory grip a try. I got one over the weekend and it really does improve handling. My big hands not fit the camera.

Really Right Stuff also has a new grip for the E-M5. Almost got that one of those instead of the stock unit. It is probably better than the Oly grip and for less money. Maybe a little odd looking.

I'll have to hold a GH3 in my hand to be sure, but the substantially increased size (about identical to smaller DSLRs) isn't what I was hoping for. I understand they're going after the professional video market that the GH2 was an unexpected hit in, and more power to them for that -- the GH line has a lot fewer compromises than cameras with mirrors for that use. For a hobbyist like me looking for great portability in addition to high quality stills and video, though, I suspect it's going to be a bit large. Oh well, maybe GH2 prices will drop like a rock now and I can replace my aging GH1 with one of those for cheap rather than splurge for the GH3 (which I haven't seen a price on yet -- has the expected street price or availability info been posted anywhere yet?)

That EPL-5 sure looks sweet, though. Video capability seems to be an afterthought for Olympus, but if the EPL-5's stills are as good as the E-M5 then maybe I can live with "good enough" video...

Oh boy...

Maybe, we'll buy it for my son. He's into video (and the apple of his Mom's eye).

Mike,

Obviously the BIG news is the "15mm Body Cap Lens" from Olympus for the M4/3 gang*.

Who in the world cares about new cameras when a new body cap has been released???

Not on Amazon yet, but available as a pre-order from Olympus for $50 U.S. plus shipping and tax. I expect when it hits Amazon and B&H you'll be able to buy a new Miata with link proceeds...

(Uhh...yeah, I've pre-ordered one. Dumb as a post, I can be.)

*Satire alert

Before we see too many complaints about the GH3 suffering from bloat, I'd note that the biggest increase in dimension over the GH2 is in width -- it's a bit more than 1/3 of an inch wider than the GH2. The fingernail on your little finger is probably wider than that. It is also 1/4 of an inch taller, and 1/8 of an inch thicker. Most of the increase in thickness appears to be attributable to a slightly wider grip, probably to make the grip more functional.

I have a GH2, and I doubt that I would notice the change in size. To my mind, the biggest change is in weight, up nearly four ounces, much of that, I suspect, attributable to the ruggedizing.

1. Looking at that Canon G15 makes me wonder if John Camp wasn't right after all. Maybe the company really has dozed-off while leaning on the dead-man's switch. No matter to me, as I'm pleased as peach with my 5D Mark III. "Just sayin' ", as the contemporary colloquialism goes.

2. A digital rangefinder with TTL live view, focus peaking, an accessory EVF (probably Oly's), and 1024p video. You're not dreaming. It's the new "Leica M"! Just "M", no 10. You want a real retro look, baby, pay up ($7,000) or shut up!

All of these new cameras and not one that will allow me to frame in my favorite aspect ratio, 5:4.

"I can say with feeling that the best thing about it is its image quality."

Is that buyer's remorse I'm hearing, damning by faint praise? Or is image quality the most important thing from a camera?

I don't own an EM-5, though I have a number of Oly E-series bodies and lenses, and an E-PM1 that I enjoy. My next body is going to be the EM-5, but I don't seem to mind fiddly little buttons like some people do - and I am looking for that image quality in a camera that doesn't sacrifice my investment in time, experience, and lenses in the Oly family.

The fact that it resembles the Olympus OM-1 ads I used to see on the back of Scientific American 40 years ago is pretty sweet too. (I may be mis-remembering the placement of the ad, but I will forever associate Olympus with SciAm, which is probably why I started out on the E-520 four years ago as my first DSLR.)

The GH3 looks like yet another of this year's "just right" cameras, addressing the major shortcomings of the GH2 (perhaps most importantly the bit rate and codec, build and ergonomics).

Still no in-body IS, though.

Interesting that the body is $1300 (Amazon), or about the same as the EM5+battery grip. The EM5 does have IBIS, but a lesser codec and less flexible video.

Sigh...

Micro 4/3 became life size, finally!

I like they added a second dial on the GH3, that was annoying to not have it on the GH2. The specs look good for an upgrade but I'm disappointed they removed the multi-aspect sensor, I found it was a cool feature.

Of the new cameras nothing really interest me. The D600 fell short of expectations of getting a full frame for 1500$ or less. "Affordable full frame" time is not yet coming unfortunately.

The RX1 is a luxury item, good for those who can afford it but too expensive to justify for the average amateur.

The G15/S110 are clearly behind times now. They even removed one of the feature that made the G15 worth the bulk: the articulated LCD.

The Pen could be interesting to get the good sensor without paying the EM-5 price.

I like that they enlarged the GH3, many of us beef-eaters have XL and XXL mitts. They may have really nailed it with this one and the price isn't out of line either... now to see if Panasonic can follow through with actual shipping units and accessories in a timely manner? It's their marketing and distribution that are problematic.

Also did you see they pre-announced a 43.5/1.2 for 2014? Kind of silly to be that early with it but hopefully that will be a great lens... now they need a good quality 35/1.4 equivalent and it makes a great system. In 2015 ;-p Gotta hand it to the marketing geniuses at the camera companies....

woa very nice

It is practically the same as my brand new 4Ti! Other than videographers either pro or enthusiasts. This bigger new version seems less attractive to still photographers. imo

The GH3 (AFAIK) can't do something my old no batteries included Nikon F can do....tell me at how many meters I'm focussing, therefore I will have to pass on this new, stupid offer of the micro 4/3 syndicate.I use my camera to shoot panorama and high res (over 3 Gpixel VR spheres) and for that I simply need to know at what range I'm focussing....since longer lenses and difraction limit means my DOF starts at 14 meter from the camera so in order to have the floor sharp as well I have to use focusstacking (also impossible using micro 4/3 without the trial and error approach)...therefore I'll rather buy a secondhand D7000 then a GH3. Especially as the size and weight difference between these camera is not that big anymore and about video well I care rats ass....shooting pro video is a nice feature but since pro video also means pro lighting, pro dollies and pro the rest having a 72 Mbit camera is nice but for 9 out of 10 people completely superflous.

Greets, Ed.

Andre in Europe it sells for 1200 euro (just a inch above the OM-D) and Amazon and B&H have it in pre-pre-pre order for 1299 dollars (AFAIK).

Greets.

Yep,I guess we all needs some time to give our heads a shake.

Oly's offerings look good, but I'm lamenting the lack of an EP4 with a built-in finder. Since moving to the NEX 7, I've confirmed my view that the lack of that feature is a deal killer for me.

GH2 (body only), in stock at BH for 699.95 :)
Down from 1K++ just a month or so ago, I think.

Ah, the Canon G series, incremental improvements and compromises ... so beautifully practical. I sadly predict that the new lens will not get even remotely close to the attention the RX100 has taken by having a 50% taller sensor.

What! No hoopla about the new Leica "Super-M" and the "M-E"?

Is it just me or are we entering a really daring phase in digital camera conception? I was going to say innovative but then some of these new products remind me of products of yesteryear.

For example: The new Leica M, is what probably the digital rangefinder should have been right from the start (with the new thumb dial and weather proofing). The new D600 and 6D are what semi-pro camera used to look like (F100 and EOS 5 reborn). I could go on ... but it seems like the DNA of these brands is more or less kept intact.

And then there's Sony. The RX1 is like a Rollei 35 re-imagined. The NEX is what 4/3s should have been from the start. Their SLRs don't have moving mirrors. Every time I pick up their products in the shop I find them so infuriatingly addictive. It's also for me partially because they look so unusual. It's like they've been designed by an alien race who's already figured out this whole digital camera problem thing and been dropped into lab somewhere in Japan...

Pak

G-15, eh? I'll never be able to think of it as a camera. The Bendix G-15 was the second computer I ever used. It had vacuum tubes, not transistors, had a rotating drum instead of RAM (the equivalent of about 4 kilobytes), and was the size of a large refrigerator. It was designed by Harry Huskey, who had previously worked with Alan Turing, and who was one of my grad school professors. It was widely used in the late 1950s because it was relatively inexpensive, and many were still in use in the late 1960s at institutions that couldn't afford upgrades. It was a great machine for its time. The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, has one. If you're in the area, it's worth a visit.

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