Well, this one is certainly going to be the easiest one of these posts to write: 2013 saw the introduction of two of the best Micro 4/3 cameras to date.
Olympus: Three cameras in particular are of interest from Olympus this year. The E-P5 is the current version of the Pen. It's a beautiful and capable camera that is also elegantly styled. If you're particular about your camera's looks and you don't need a built-in viewfinder, the E-P5 belongs on your short list. The Stylus 1, all-new this year, is the company's deluxe bridge camera—dpreview rightly points out that camera companies are (somewhat anxiously) working to figure out what regular people will buy when they want something more than the camera in their smartphones, and the Stylus 1 is Olympus's very slick attempt at an answer. But despite its handsome angular styling and well-specified lens, the Stylus 1 would not be a camera to naturally tempt enthusiasts because of its 1/1.7" (i.e., <8x6mm) sensor.
No, the towering product intro from Olympus for this year for enthusiasts is without question the OM-D E-M1, an improved E-M5 made to a higher spec. I've been using an E-M1 and I have a lot of thoughts about it, which I'll defer to another time. But that it should be a strong nomination for CoY 2013 is beyond doubt.
Panasonic: Olympus's main partner in the Micro 4/3 consortium also introduced its best-ever camera this year.
The Lumix GX7, recently field reviewed by Carl Weese in these pages, takes the GF1's somewhat up-and-down lineage to a whole new level. It is to today's digital cameras just about what Leica's M6 was to cameradom in 1984. Or close. (the Leica M, a replica in digital of the actual M6, is a whole different beast now, with a whole different meaning.) Of course the GX7 will not be anywhere near as iconic because its life will be so much shorter (out, out, brief candle!). But right now....
Another no-brainer nomination for CoY.
So the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the Panasonic GX7 get the invitation to our award show.
We're getting closer to the Big S.
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Featured Comments from:
adamct: "Ooof! For what it's worth, I think the GM1 deserved more serious consideration than you gave it. On paper (or on a website) it is easy to dismiss out of hand as a possibly cute toy that is overshadowed by its larger, sexier, bristling-with-features big brother, the GX7. In the hand, it is a tiny, jaw-dropping jewel of a camera, very responsive, with picture quality the equal of its beefier sibling. It is a camera that makes you want to slip it into your pocket and go for a picture-taking walk. The thing is smaller than an LX7, fer cryin' out loud!!! Anyway, taste is personal, but if you get the chance to actually hold one yourself, you might find yourself surprised...."
JK: "One note about the GM1: just on a size/weight basis, it removes any excuse for Micro 4/3 users not to carry around a backup body at all times. If you'd pulled this thing out a few years ago you'd have had jaws dropping in disbelief. A few years before that and you would have been burned as a witch."