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Monday, 09 November 2009


I'm really please to read this. Congratulations!

"plus Wisconsin State sales tax"

What?! Taxes? I suppose you ordered through the B&H link on TOP. Don't tell me Wisconsin charge taxes on out-of-state mail order...

Well, if that's not a recommendation, I don't know what is.

It's one thing to wax enthusiastic over how great something is, and it's something else entirely to go out and buy one yourself with your own money, especially since you've waited so long.

But from what I've read and from what you've said, I don't think you'll regret the choice.

Wow! Congratulations! This will be a shop heard 'round the web. I think it was apparent that you were having fun with these cameras, even before you let on what they were. I think you did well just to find a GF1 and 20mm in stock locally. I guess you'll have to figure out how to keep it from rattling around in your handlebar bag.

Congratualtions!! I made the same decision and used the same logic. But then I can talk myself into almost anything.
What are the chances of a review of the new Ricoh with the interchangeable sensor? I bet we see that in the GF2 or 3.


Hope you have many hours/days/years (delete as applicable) of enjoyment from it.

I too bought a m4/3 camera (Panasonic G1) just to use the very same 20mm f1.7

I have been working on getting a 'look' out of it I like - still that's the pleasure of this hobby :-)


There is a definite thrill from the new-toy part of the brain. May you make many memorable images with your new cam. BTW, does an Olympus m-4/3 body "talk" with a Pannie no-IS lens? When you are evaluating the mix-n-match option does that get taken into account?

Congrats! I would hope that there will be semi-regular "What my lens has seen" posts coming our way in the future.

Hi Mike, I'm glad to hear that you've not bought a new digital camera since 2004. The same goes for me: my D70 is still as good as new (yes, I'd like a D700, but it's not the be all and end all). The fixation with equipment that is the lifeblood of most photography web sites only strengthens the assumption that photography can't be art because it's the camera that takes the photo - which is about as logical as saying that since the advent of the word processor, anyone has been able to a literary novel. Richard


Congratulations on the purchase!!!

That sounds awfully nice... especially to all of us who a couple of months ago agreed to stick with film Leicas and a prime! You certainly know how to breed jealousy... :)


I can't disagree with your logic ... well, much.

Given the infrequency with which you buy cameras, especially digital, I might have taken that into account.

That is, you are likely to keep this camera for quite a while, thus the in-body stabilisation might be worth the $250 extra. Given your budget, which is similar to mine, the use of other lenses (both those currently in your possession and those acquired at ridiculous prices via garage sales,) via adapters seems more likely. Of course, the 2x crop factor works against that, but you never know when you'll come across the angry divorcee who just wants to dump the ex's 8mm Zuiko for $20. :D

Hope you enjoy the camera man.

Be sensible!

Hmmm sounds good, really it does.

Congrats for the new camera! I am lucky enough to own both cameras (along with the Pana 20mm and the Oly 14-42mm) and it would be really tough to tell which one I prefer.

Using the E-P1 for almost 4 months and the GF1 for about a month, I feel like never going back to carrying a DSLR anymore, not matter how better the "IQ" might be.

It's pure, straight, classic, honest and very human envy what I feel now :)

Uh oh, I fear I hear the rumbling of a bit of discombobulation coming over the horizon....

It seems that "blogging" about cameras has reached (intended) political checks and double checks. While I welcome your description — lens first, camera second — I am a bit perplexed about all the dissociation that has to be mentioned.

Jeez! I hope you remembered to order it through the TOP.

Good luck with the new camera.

good pick, I too wanted "take away the jitters" whizz-bang , but I'll just remember 35+ years of good pictures and not even knowing such technology existed.

I really enjoy my 3 week old GF-1 /20mm combo.

Congratulations Mike.

Doesn't saying your self employed sound better?
Or do we all need to up our subscription to get you to that? Speaking of which how do we change the subscription level? I'm happy enough to have gotten it working once, so don't want to risk to much hassle. Or how about some sort of gift subscription now that Christmas is around the corner. If you can send the lucky guy an appropriate welcome mail, I pledge to subscribe someone for a year.


Congratulations! Enjoy it in good health.

I better sell my Pentax gear and get on the band wagon ;-)

Kiddings aside, I like the fact that I can keep my lenses, and use them on m4/3 with an adapter.

However, I'm still undecided between the ep-2, GH1, GF1. GH1 has the video and eVF, GF1 has the size and AF, and ep-2 has the size, IS/SR and eVF ;-)

I think the eVF seems to be a must if you're planning on using manual lenses.

Mike, how fun!!!!!
Enjoy your new toy and please keep us posted on how you like it as time goes by.

Congrats Mike - enjoy the new camera!

Congrats on the purchase. I love my gf1, and I'm sure you will too!

if you really count your money - why didn't you buy (for example) from ebay (use beachcamera ebay shop for example, it is not B&H or Adorama - but it has a good reputation) and use Bing cashback 8% ? the same $750 - 8% = $690 !

I guess you must like it.

Sounds very wise. But I thought the GF1 was not in stock?

Sounds even wiser after leaks about the new Ricoh GXR. Hopes for a compact with APS-C or mF/T 4/3 sensor and lenses that keep it portable (like a pancake prime) appear not fulfilled.

Well, we're in the same boat, it seems. I'm retired, had a Canon Ixus 60 p&s for illustrating work reports etc, but at age 70 just bought the GF1 with the kit zoom lens. My first "real" digital" camera. It's sitting on my desk but I'm waiting for the EVF to arrive (on back order) before I try to use the camera - as a long time RF user I can't quite cope with the LCD screen to compose my shots!
I'll wait and see how it all goes before I get an adaptor for my M-mount primes.

Mike, you might be wrong about the re-sell value. I think a TOP DMD Edition of an mft E-P1/20mm/1.7 would sell for a premium - especiall if it's signed by MJ :)

Well may it bring you much pleasure in using it.

"The fixation with equipment that is the lifeblood of most photography web sites only strengthens the assumption that photography can't be art because it's the camera that takes the photo - which is about as logical as saying that since the advent of the word processor, anyone has been able to a literary novel."

Well, Richard, I still can't write a novel, but I've said many times that I wouldn't be a writer if it weren't for the word processor. My study carrel at Dartmouth was once littered with cut-and-paste--literally, strips of paper cut out of manuscripts and pasted together in a new order, as a way of editing. The endless typing and retyping of pages to make small changes...when the personal computer came along I took to it like a duck to water, but as a writing tool.

As for cameras, no, they're not all-important, but they are important. Still, you're right, the photographer and technique matter more.


"I am a bit perplexed about all the dissociation that has to be mentioned."

Yes, it's true. We get criticism from many quarters, so it's best to learn to forestall the objections one can foresee.


"I hope you remembered to order it through the TOP."

Actually, I don't get a commission on my own purchases. That doesn't seem to make much sense, until you think about how it might be abused--people might become associates just to make a big one-time purchase, or people might order large quantities of things in order to resell them. So I understand.


Great! congratulations. I'm envious and wondering if I didn't jump the gun too early (I really don't think so) when I purchase the Panasonic G1 as "a present to my wife" back in June. The amount of enjoyment so far does cover any guilt. I'm seriously fantasizing about "another gift" of a pancake. You hear me, Santa?

Not really a comment Mike, more an observation. I know that we're almost exactly the same age, but it turns out we also both bought a Contax 139 in the same year. Mine was with the f/1.7 but I got rid of that a long time ago and bought the f/1.4 instead. I've still got mine - do you still have yours?

The freedom and courage to change one's mind when circumstances dictate is very important.It's great to discover one is not the only person who can do a 180 degree turn about after a carefully reasoned decision.Hope you get lots of enjoyable moments with your new Gf1/20MM 1.7 Mike, I'm loving mine.

'Be sensible'

Yeah sure, whatever. Those of us with many cameras hear but you see they are sooo pretty, make nice sounds(all mechanical don't ya know)and I love to play with them. However, even I'm starting to think 10 half frame cameras is too many!

However-however, I do see that there is an adapter to mount my Pen F lenses on a micro 4:3 camera. And, with the into of the EP-2, well, Olympus may finally have my attention.

You're on! Let me know.



Don't orry, I ork for a company that is 49% oned by Panasonic, & I'm aare of you ;-)

p.s. seems your keyboard has infected mine. No my double-u key isn't orking.

"But I thought the GF1 was not in stock?"

It's not. I have to wait like everybody....


"I've still got mine - do you still have yours?"

No, unfortunately. I wish I'd kept it. I went through photo school with that camera and really liked it. But I guess I needed the money more at one point.


I would hardly call what you do here on TOP being unemployed, self employed and underpaid surely, but not unemployed. Keep up the fine writing, especially on the off topic front.

Christmas is coming,,,, Surely everyone here will be ready to help fill your stocking.

No. Let me start again. Today is Christmas at TOP & I'm starting it out by tipping through the tip jar $100. Anyone care to top that!?


Thank you for this post. I've read your Olympus & Panasonic reviews with great interest, but am now pushed in the 'right' direction due to your purchase of the GF-1, and I will now follow with a purchase of my own...

The Panasonic GirlFfriend-1 !

Mike -

Congratulations! I think you will be very happy with it for a long time. Eventually there will be a lens for it that you really like with OIS. If you're like me, it won't even bother you when the GF2 is announced next week.

You're not really unemployed, just self employed (same difference in some respects). At least you're famous.


"I bought the Panasonic with my own money, paid full price (plus Wisconsin State sales tax), and there's not the slightest hint of quid pro quo in place. I don't know anyone at Panasonic and I have no idea if anybody there is even aware of TOP."

While I am sure there is no quid pro quo here, the idea that nobody would be aware of TOP over at Panasonic is like saying a Catholic is unaware of the Vatican - probably an inappropriate analogy, but I have found that when talking with fellow photographer-types, we tend to all know the "go-to" references..

Rest assured Mike - TOP is one such reference.

I did the same Mike - except that, miracle of miracles, I got it from Amazon three weeks after I ordered it - tax free and shipping free. Came last week.....not sure how this happened. They said I would not get it with the 20mm until December. Its the first time I have felt in love with a camera since I dropped my Leica CL in a lake in 1981. Now I can use its lenses again (the ones that did not drown)
But this 20mm thing is truly wonderful.

"the very first camera I ever bought for myself, in 1981,"

Wow, that's four years later than me. I bought a Konica TC at the age of fourteen in 1977.

Mike, you hounded the photo makers to create DMD cameras to your unique and specialized requirements, then you strongly promoted the caneras to your readers convincing them that they needed own one, or even two. And now we've come full circle with the imminent arrival of your MJ DMD, the only person on earth in which these cameras are suited, for serious work ;). HAHA, just kiddin'.

Congrats and enjoy your new camera!

I love the GF1 and it has replaced my Canon full frame cameras! IQ is good enough, maybe lacking at 400+ ISO, but in the end, a camera I can carry anywhere is more worth than a camera stored in a bag somewhere. Hope to see a lot of images from you on TOP in the years ahead. Keep on keeping on Mike!

Congratulations on your new camera! Now get out there and show us the results :-)

Congratulations, Mike! I just picked up mine in Sydney a few days ago (also the 20mm combo). I absolutely love it! Later today I'll be receiving the Panasonic/Leica M and R adaptors direct from Japan, so that will open up a few more interesting opportunites for my 'orphan' lenses. I really think the possibilities for enjoyment in image-making with the GF1 are endless. It is easy to use, fun to use, feels great in the hands (small/light), and just has 'something' truly special about it ... :-)

speaking of the GXR...on initial consideration, does anyone find this a bizarre/incredibly bad idea for a camera? Awesome...I have to buy a new sensor for every lens? I've only been thinking about it for the last 5 minutes but I still don't get it.

$250 is $250, but I can't agree about having trouble reselling. I wasn't using my GX100's clip-on EVF so I listed it on Amazon for $100. Someone in San Francisco bought it the same day, didn't care that it had no box or instructions. Later, when I upgraded to a GX200, the body minus the EVF also sold immediately, for $300. Point is, in a year you could sell the lens and body separately as easily as you bought them. And probably make more than selling as a kit.


Instead reading a non-human money-does-not-matter reviewer, I see a real person behind this blog as it is always from the day I subscribed to / read about your past ventures.

I still think that it should EP2 btw with that lens.

I guess we in cheer group has not bought enough for you to get the ideal combination yet. Cheer team has to work harder this holiday season then.

Mike... interesting what money can do re 'rational' decision making! Can I ask what happened to the Pentax K20D - and what did you like/dislike about it? I have some interest due
to a 'rational' decision I made recently.
Dennis F.

Mike, amazing how money affects 'rational'
decision making! Have you still got the Pentax K20D? I'm curious as to what you liked/disliked about this particular camera. Dennis F.

Apparently, I have more money than sense because after reading your comments on Friday, I bought an Olympus E-P1 body on Sunday so I can see how my GF1's 20mm lens performs on that. If I like it and keep it, this means I'll have spent ~$1,600 on a camera/lens combo that I could have bought for just $1,150 ... doh!

Mike, I am thinking about this camera to replace Pentax K10D and a number of lenses that is my 8 years old daughter's kit. Yet, I have a question. The distortion of this lens (20 mil) is bothering me. How does one solve this issue if one is shooting RAW? I mean, to buy such a camera and a lens and shoot JPG feels wasteful to me.

Thanks and of course congratulations on your new enablement (wink wink).

You could of course do as another weblog I frequent did when he had need of a new computer: Put up a sign on the front page saying `Pay for Mike's new camera', with a link to paypal. In his case it worked, and you have a much larger group of regular readers... If everyone only donated 1 dollar, we'd get you both the Panasonic AND the Olympus :-)

There are inconsistances in your arguments.
You like Olympus and yet you bought Panasonic.
You plan to keep the lens for further use with 4/3 systems in future.
That means you would sell the body in the near future.
You could do that with the Olympus too.
You like to have Image stabilization and yet opted for the one with no stabilisation.
If you do not buy what you like you will have to like what you buy.
Of course buying a camera based on the choice of the lens makes sense. Here in India, where cameras are not easy to buy and are expensive, many prefer to buy and use independent manufacturer's lenses. That makes sense here.
Many who own Nikon and Canon bodies use Tamron lenses. They seldom sell their lenses if the lens is good, just as you plan to do.
In this situation I would have preferred the Olympus with the built in stabilization and the 17 mm. Of course it is a personal choice. The argument is that there would be very little differences (bar personal, non rational preferences) to chose between the two lenses. For a couple of hundred Dollars one gets stabilization.

"when I purchased the very first camera I ever bought for myself, I purchased the lens first, then saved up for the body"

I bought my first CD - Mozart's 'Requiem' by Böhm, DG - in November 1984. I got my first CD player - Sony's 302ES - in July 1985.

Yup, I'm weird.

Congrats and many many happy hours of shooting with your new friend!

congratulations mike...
creative people are known to be like that...talk something and do something else...ha ha :}

"where do these guys keep all these cams?"
"do they buy another house to keep them?"
"my god this guy has all the old camera junk that's ever been produced...wonder what his wife says"

I find these and some other doubts put to an end in your post...good to know this mike, that you don't have so many of them...well, a bit like me...ha ha :}

Wonder what's the scene with others in your field...

"I bought my first CD - Mozart's 'Requiem' by Böhm, DG - in November 1984. I got my first CD player - Sony's 302ES - in July 1985."

You're not weird by my standards. I bought 20 CDs before I bought my first CD player. I had decided that I would buy the first player that cost below $300, so I had a little while to wait. I think it was a Discman D-50 that cost $299. I really liked that CD player, too--never had another one that was such a neat device.


Cool. Where d'ya get a GF1 with the 20mm? Everywhere I look the camera comes with the 14-45.


It sounds great. Is the any reason to consider one if I have an M8 which I love? Is there a significant different in size which would make it easier to tote around? Probably is a better snap camera. Thoughts?

I guess I just want a new toy.

No camera or kit is perfect, and unless you have unlimited budget you have to consider the cost of additional features.

As player has said above... you now own a camera as close to the one your very mind figured some years ago as the inexcusable boundaries of reality could permit. Hey, it's the kind of camera you have put a name on.

Congrats on your DMD!

I'm waiting for an m4/3 mount 17.5/2. Then I'll decide on a body.

Solid choice. Elegant design. Inexpensive: not really...but a good value. A reasonably compact device with which to unobtrusively* explore wonders of the visible world.

*Excepting, perhaps, motorcyclists...

Congrats on the new camera, Mike. Please keep us posted on your continued use of the camera.

Did I have it wrong, or didn't you buy another camera, that you've still not revealed, sometime last year?

And revisiting the original DMD article, I can't help but notice how well the eventual 14mm/2.8 - 20mm/1.7 - 45mm/2.8 package matches your wishes for a 35mm-e with a .7x and 2x adapter option. Make it 40mm-e and 2.25x, and you've largely gotten what you wanted. One wonders if a clip-on 28mm-e optical finder with 40mm-e and 90mm-e framelines could be a viable product. If I could get these three lenses, I'd likely be tempted to buy one of those. With that in place, the kit would match your original specifications frighteningly well.

Wonder what Thom Hogan of Bythom will buy...

"You're not weird by my standards."

OK then, let's say we're both pretty normal and it's the people who teased me for buying CDs before I could listen to them who are weird instead :)

I did a little programming job for the CD seller and in exchange I got a free D-100. Kept that thing for nine years. And the 302 for 16 (replaced with something whose display cannot be turned off and has no index skip, making many Denon CDs a pain to listen to.) Will I sound like a whiney boy if I say they don't quite make things like that anymore? (I already know I'll sound like a seriously off-topic one.)

Hi, Mike!

Congrats ! I fully understand your reasoning, but I'm still playing with the idea of an Oly EP1 plus Lumix 20mm. It would be very important for me (and certainly many of us), to have answered the last (and really inportant question, nowadays): Both cameras include lens correction for their own lenses. When you mix and match, what happens? No correction? Wrong corretion? (which would be the worst of both worlds.
And how would this translate in real world use, not pixel-pipping?
Thanks, and have a ball with your new toy!

Eudoro, from Brazil

"Did I have it wrong, or didn't you buy another camera, that you've still not revealed, sometime last year?"

Right. It was a Bronica RF645, but so far I haven't used it much, so not much to talk about.



As always, your real world ruminations provide welcome relief to all the theoretical blather that clogs the Web. Am I correct in assuming that with your GF1/pancake combination you will be using the LCD screen exclusively for composing your pictures? If this is the case, is it because you see the GF1 as a device that can help you remember the world in its ultimate imperfection, rather than as a device to pursue some imagined perfect illusion of reality — that it provides "close enough" because that's ultimately all there ever is?


Congrats on the new camera but where did you find one to buy with the 20mm lens? B&H et al only list the 14-45mm lens as a kit with no mention of the 20mm lens kit (and even so the 14-45mm kit is back-ordered indefinitely). I did find one through Amazon but the price is $1200 USD which I think it $300 above the suggested retail price! Is this correct? What should the street price be for the GF1 with the 20mm lens?



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