I have been looking into (more like drooling over) the m4/3 systems for some time now, and I would like to get one once and for all.
I still have my 4 DSLR's tucked away safely at home (two D200's, two D1X's) with plenty of nice glass (zooms and primes). Carrying any one of these cameras feels like a workout.
While I absolutely love my Lumix LX3, I want something a bit quicker with a bigger sensor.
The main use for the new camera will be travel photography (and every day use). My wife and I decided to get annual passes for Disney this year, so I will be spending lots of time at the parks (not my favorite place to go, but it was the cheapest alternative since we live about three hour's drive away from the "Magic Kingdom").
After some research I narrowed it down to two cameras; the Lumix GF2 and the Olympus EPL2. I also like the G2 and newer G3, but they seem to be too "DSLR-like" for my taste; for that matter I could easily get a Nikon D3100 which would be roughly about the same size.
In terms of image quality and low-light performance, I have read mixed reviews on the Oly EPL2 and Lumix GF2. How well do these cameras handle shadow noise? How is the dynamic range on these two? How responsive are they from click to click?
I am currently still using CS2 to process my images, so I am assuming I would have to upgrade to CS5 in order to get a newer version of Adobe RAW that could open up the RAW images of either the GF2 or the EPL2. I have used Silkypix (with my LX3 and TS1)and was frustrated beyond words, so I would have to add the expense of an upgrade to CS5 to my purchase in order to get the most out of RAW images.
To sum it all up, I am looking to stay away from the whole DSLR look. I want a fast, compact camera capable of images with IQ equal or better than what I get with my D200.
#1. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 0Captain Rich Nikonian since 25th May 2006Thu 02-Jun-11 11:36 AM
If you're not committed to interchangeable lenses, don't forget to look at the new Fuji X100 (or the Leica X1 if you're feeling flush with cash). I've also been interested in something smaller and lighter, but haven't been convinced that m4/3 has matured yet. I think my main problem with them is the viewfinder issue. I HATE composing on a rear LCD screen, and, other than the Fuji, I haven't read much favorable comment about the EVF's (for Oly or Panny). Keep us posted on your decision.
#5. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 1Thu 02-Jun-11 07:26 PM
>If you're not committed to interchangeable lenses, don't
>forget to look at the new Fuji X100 (or the Leica X1 if you're
>feeling flush with cash). I've also been interested in
>something smaller and lighter, but haven't been convinced that
>m4/3 has matured yet. I think my main problem with them is
>the viewfinder issue. I HATE composing on a rear LCD screen,
>and, other than the Fuji, I haven't read much favorable
>comment about the EVF's (for Oly or Panny). Keep us posted on
Thanks Rich. Unfortunately the X1 is way out of my budget at this time. I like the idea of interchangeable lenses. I have read that there are adapters available to mount my old Nikkors on an m4/3 body. It would be nice to experiment with some of my old lenses.
#2. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 0
I can only comment on the GF1. I love it. Took it on a trip to Boston and photographed for several days with it using the standard zoom that came with it. The small size was a liberating experience and the image quality was excellent, with a DSLR look, although I never went over ISO 400. Also love the 20mm pancake lens. Once you get used to it, it doesn't get in the way and is great for street photography - no one even notices you with it. So my vote would be for the GF2. Best to try them all out at your local dealer.
A Canadian Nikonian
My portfolio: www.pjr99.500px.com
#6. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 2Thu 02-Jun-11 07:28 PM
>I can only comment on the GF1. I love it. Took it on a trip
>to Boston and photographed for several days with it using the
>standard zoom that came with it. The small size was a
>liberating experience and the image quality was excellent,
>with a DSLR look, although I never went over ISO 400. Also
>love the 20mm pancake lens. Once you get used to it, it
>doesn't get in the way and is great for street photography -
>no one even notices you with it. So my vote would be for the
>GF2. Best to try them all out at your local dealer.
Thanks for the feedback Phil! I plan on starting with the kit zoom lens on whichever model I get, but the 20mm Pancake lens is on my wish list!
#3. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 0
Good timing on this query - I'm just finishing up a lens eval for another site and I have access to an eval GF-2, my personal carry E-PL1 and two of the popular Panny lenses, the 14/2.5 and 20/1.7.
Image quality and low-light performance - let's just set the record straight - because these sensors are a quarter the size of FX, it's correct to deduce that you're not going to get DX level performance. However, I'm happy to report that it is pretty close. I've been shooting at ISO 800 and 1600 regularly for the evaluation in a variety of low to moderate lighting conditions. If you'd like to see a 100% crop sample of an extreme scene, David (mstrbones) requested one in this thread and I was able to oblige.
From a workflow perspective, I tend to put NR on low on the cameras unless it's a long exposure. Lightroom, Nik Dfine and Noise Ninja were all able to eliminate what little chroma noise was there. You can see that in the 100% crop which has no NR applied.
The contrast detect AF works just fine in low-light conditions. I am constantly amazed by how responsive they are compared to the multitude of compact P&S units I've had in the past. Double that experience if you use an MSC (optimized Motion/Still Camera) native u4/3 optic. But I have the old Mark I 14-42 which doesn't do the system justice in terms of optics and AF performance.
Dynamic Range is much wider on these units - remember, while they're 1/4 the size of FX, they're also 9-10x larger than a typical P&S sensor. I have very rare situations where DR was exceeded, but that would have been true no matter what system I was using, and I've shot in a variety of conditions; daylight, nighttime, low-light, hi/lo contrast, bad weather, and the cameras handled them all suitably.
From a form-factor, I am in agreement with you. The Panny G and GH series feel like bridge/hybrids thanks to their integral EVFs. While the G and the E-PLs look like rangefinders, they handle like most compact P&S because the primary viewfinder is the rear LCD. Both systems have EVF options. I will make it clear right now that the situation is tricky depending on what you're looking for, so this presents a dilemma rather than a clear winner. I have access to a friend's Panny EVF for his GF-1 and I finally managed to snag a rare as-hen's teeth Oly VF-2. On the rear LCDs, the Panny wins hands down - it's a higher res and much brighter, higher contrast display versus the Oly. This is true even for the PL2. On the EVF front, Panny went low-res (???) and Oly bumped it to a 1.4M display - very stunning and sharp. Go figure. The Oly's EVF adds a little over an inch and a quarter in height profile though, whereas the Panny adds only about a half-inch at the most.
From a build perspective, the Panny GF-2 looks and feels like an Apple product - very polished industrial design and use of shiny metal. The rear control dial is a definite plus, if you're in A-mode, twirl it to control aperture. Press once and turn and you're in EV comp mode. Bad part - the touchscreen. Having taken several non-brisk walkabouts, I had it slung from both my neck and wrapped around my wrist SLR style and in both cases, any mere bump against my clothing changed shooting mode, WB, AF point overrides and goodness knows what else. I had to keep double checking my settings. Not good. You don't have a mode dial so you cannot visually verify so you end up looking at the screen or diving into a menu. And the menus are awful. Stuff is buried very deeply in there. The Q menu option helps keep some chronic access items at a shallow level but not enough for me. The touchscreen itself feels resistive, not capacative. This is important to know - you know how everyone does those slick finger swipes on iPhones and Android phones and tablets? You're going to have to apply a bit more pressure to make it even come close to responding like that.
Oly is like the old school of photography. There is a real Mode dial. The Quick Access menu puts 90% of my most accessed settings within three button presses. The PL2 improves on this more. You may or may not like the fact that the rear control dial is a top-down ring, ala Canon, but it beats my PL1's four segment button. Suffice it to say, the Oly feels more like a traditional camera - there's very little I need to jump into the menus for, and I haven't even used any of the Custom Functions slots yet. Overall I can't really complain about the ergonomics. The EPL series feels more comfortable to me, so YMMV.
AF focus - okay, another dilemma, so let's be clear - I don't have first hand knowledge of how the PL2 has really improved the AF. All of the feedback from the major review sites and balanced photographers that I respect (not the obvious brand fans ) indicate it is much improved over the PL1. To characterize the PL1 - it has the behavior of focus-overshoot-hit target. It's not slow, but to those of us used to phase-detect lockon in DSLRs, it is noticable. Panny's AF is tenacious and aggressive, happily and near-instanteously (compared to phase detect) showing you multiple lock-ons or in low light cases, the single most contrasty target it found.
I have found in testing and borrowing a Mark II 14-42 that in fact Olympus did the E-PL1 no favors by bundling it with the Mark I kit lens. Compared to it's newer sibling, it's slower, noiser and less responsive. Oly obviously listened to the user complaints and fixed it, but this has been dogging the PL1's AF performance reputation ever since. Most of the other native u4/3 lenses are MSC (motion/still camera) optimized, so they're fast and silent. The easiest analogy is the micro-motor Silent Wave implementation on the 18-55/55-200 versus true ring motor implementation on the 70-200 VR. It's that distinct. I suspect, but again, cannot confirm, that the PL2 is on much more even footing versus the GF-2 on overall AF performance in Single AF. In practical testing, both cameras get about a B to B+ on AF tracking - let's face it, you're not using these cameras to shoot sports or airshows. It's good enough to get the fast moving street photo moment though, so they are responsive.
No shortcuts to be had - you must buy OEM batteries and accessories. There's very few things on the market not built by the two makers that can be used with the cameras. The firmware is hardwired to only accept official accessories. Again, this may or may not matter to you, but worth noting.
Image Quality - both cameras will correct for distortion effects since the majority of the lenses at a pure optical viewpoint are physicall wide or ultra-wide lenses even though the FOV crop factor is 2x. As JPEG shooters, the Oly seems to be the better received unit - it's slightly more saturated, contrasty and sharper compared to the Panny. As you noted, Silkypix is the ugliest and worst-designed RAW converter I've ever had the misfortune of using. Terrible, terrible, terrible. F- if such a grade existed. I also used Olympus Master 2, and despite it being substandard, I would actually use that before I would even consider Silkypix. It's that bad.
In production workflow, I use LR 3.4 to convert, so the ACR on that should match the latest versions on the other Adobe products, you should be fine. Note that Adobe has not built specific lens profiles for any of the native u4/3 or even 4/3 optics, so you'll need to roll your own if you feel like it's necessary. I don't think you'll have to, as LR nicely dials in optical distortion corrections, whether it's ORF or RW2 format. I find I really don't need to add too much post to my photos, which is a nice change from my near clinical problem of tweaking and optimizing NEFs in CNX2. Just convert, add NR if needed, resize and sharpen. Done. I have a small gallery under my name, and some images here in the Non-Nikon forum under the subject prefix Micro Four Thirds if you want to check out some samples. I'm afraid I can't share my other work yet until my review is published for the other site, but I can share smaller samples if you're so inclined via e-mail.
The two Panny primes (20 and 14) are just outstanding. Nothing at all to complain about except if you're a manual focus shooter, you're not going to be too thrilled about the focus-by-wire feel. In MF, the LCD or the EVF jumps to a magnified 10x view (easier if you have the EVFs since you've got a three-point-contact on the camera for stability versus the arms-out move) and you spin the focus ring. It's not dampned, and since they aspire to be pancake size but are more like thick Johnnycakes, there's no detent at infinity or even a ft/m window. Oh - and no OEM hoods! I admire the u4/3 philosophy of keeping the profile low but really? I've seen DIY attempts and a seller on eBay called Heavystar is the darling of u4/3 owners by selling a knock-off version of the Leica vented/tilted 46mm hood. Nonetheless, they are wickedly sharp, and not much is lost at wide-open. Not much to be gained at beyond f11 though, thanks to diffraction and the smaller than DX sensor, so NDs and other filters are the order of the day for certain shots or effects.
In heavy operational use, I walked around Providence's Art Gallery night recently with both cameras (14 on the GF2 and 20 on the Oly) slung around my neck and it felt like I had nothing there. It was the weirdest thing. It's so light it's unnatural after slinging around my D2H, D200 and D300s with the big caliber 2.8s. As for unobtrusiveness, I was literally (almost) sticking the cameras into street level windows to get shots like the greasy back kitchens of the latest artsy Benefit Street restaurant du jour and no one even noticed. Try that with a Dxxx and a 17mm zoom and I guarantee someone would have chopped your hand off to take the camera. In museums that restricted photography, the coat check folks almost missed me carrying despite the fact I had them on my neck.
They are light, the image quality is very much head-and-shoulders above compact P&S and there is enough of a selection of native lenses that will appeal to almost all shooter genres, with the exception of really fast teles and tele-zooms. But quite frankly, you expect this to be a large jacket pocket camera, and long-snouted zooms are philosophically at odds with that expected application. I cannot say enough good things about the system. I think you can't go wrong by picking this as your light/travel camera. This is probably more than you wanted to know, but since you're starting from scratch, I figured you deserved the "straight skinny" as a fellow Nikonian. Happy to take any follow-ups you have.
#7. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 3Thu 02-Jun-11 07:41 PM
Thank you Armando, you have definitely given me food for thought.
The fact that the GF2 has a touch screen is possibly the deal-breaker for me. I can foresee how annoying and inconvenient it would be to have to reset the camera settings every time I mistakenly touched the rear LCD. Is there a way to deactivate the touch screen function?
My only concern with the EPL2 is that the previous model (EPL1) felt somewhat plasticky; the build quality didn't seem all that great. Has the build quality (or feel) improved on the EPL2?
I really appreciate the time you took to respond to my original post. I have read and re-read your response several times over, and I believe you have provided me with a much better understanding of what its like to use these cameras in real life vs. whatever info I obtained reading reviews on other sites. Thanks again!
#8. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 7Fri 03-Jun-11 12:03 AM
No problem. I did not see in the manual nor in my fiddling, of any way to "lock" the screen to prevent inadvertent presses.
I concur the PL1 is very polycarb and the feel is more D3100-like rather than D300 like. I believe the PL2 is more robust, but the real brick house quality feeling units are the older P1 and P2. However, the image quality advantage is with the newer PLs, so that's sort of the pro/con in that regard.
Sorry I can't provide more info than that. Hopefully you'll get a chance to handle some of the above units at a retail store near you to get a better idea. That's what I recommend to everyone who's been considering one.
#9. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 8Fri 03-Jun-11 12:16 AM
I went to Best Buy and HG Craig today, but neither store had the GF2 E-PL2. I was hoping to get a hands-on feel for both cameras but that didn't happen.
I ended up ordering the Olympus E-PL2 with kit lens. I read that the rear dial can be adjusted and the red "record" button on the back can be assigned a different function as well.
I'll keep you posted as soon as I get it. I'm crossing my fingers hoping I made the best choice!
#10. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 9Sat 04-Jun-11 12:21 PM
I tried the E-PL2 in Ritz camera today - what a little jewel! Unfortunately they did not have the EV for me to try.
I've narrowed down my search to either the E-PL2 or the Panny G3. As a landscape photographer, I think either of these will meet my needs.
Here are the trade-offs that are making it difficult for me to choose.
The E-PL2 adds close to $300 for the viewfinder. And it ties up the hotshoe flash area. If it was included I'd probably buy this one. Coming from the D90 I must have a VF.
I love the articulated LCD in the G3. But, I'm concerned about the touch screen in the G3 changing settings as I' just walking (if it wasn't for that, I'd probably buy it). Anyone able to get around this problem?
I do have a couple of questions that I haven't found answers for. I'd like to use as many of my D90 accessories as I can. So...
Can I use the Nikon MC-DC2 or ml-l3 remote release cord with either of them?
What about my D90 filters - should I get step down rings, or just get new filters?
This has been a really helpful discussion - thanks to snegron for articulating what I was attempting to ask in my thread in a much more understandable way.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#12. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 10Sat 04-Jun-11 06:42 PM
No regrets on getting the VF-2. It's an absolute must-have. Did you read my LCD versus VF comments in my lengthy reply to Sandy above? Another option is to get the Olympus 17mm f2.8 pancake - good choice for a moderate landscape lens and the matching VF-1 optical viewfinder.
I'm not aware that any third-party releases will work with the cameras. Panasonic and Olympus have actually locked down their firmware to limit non-OEM use of accessories, so even a hacked approach will not likely succeed.
Filters - most of the native (specifically designed for u4/3 cameras) lenses come in a variety of front filter sizes ranging from 37mm all the way to 52mm. Just be aware that a step-up filter may put additional strain on the lens motors - the idea for these lenses is size, and there is a corresponding decrease in overall mechanical movement since there is less material to move around.
I have seen heavy duty filter users apply step-up rings until they can get to a filter size to fit a multi-insert system like Lee or Cokin. This makes the most economic sense since you're not buying the filters again and again.
Hope this helps,
#13. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 12Sat 04-Jun-11 07:17 PM
Thanks so much for all your help on this forum. I did read your reply to Sandy and it helped in my comparisons. At this moment (subject to change in the next) I'm leaning towards the Panny G3. Just found an amazing deal from Panasonic for it with the 14-42 lens kit for $560 plus tax. So, I'm thinking really hard and fast.
As far as filters, I hadn't thought about the lens motor strain. Probably ok my Singh-Ray as it is light. I expect a no go for my Fadar and Nikon Polarizer as they seem kind of heavy. Bummer!
Your advice on the third-party releases will keep me from jumping in and getting something that I won't be able to use.
Thanks again, I very much appreciate your help.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#11. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 9Sat 04-Jun-11 06:31 PM
Congrats on joining the u4/3 club! You will enjoy it!
The Record Button can be assigned a different feature, just like the Function button on the D200 - see the camera's Custom Setup menu, which should be broken down into letter prefixed settings, similar to the Nikon.
#14. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 11Sat 04-Jun-11 11:04 PM
>Congrats on joining the u4/3 club! You will enjoy it!
>The Record Button can be assigned a different feature, just
>like the Function button on the D200 - see the camera's Custom
>Setup menu, which should be broken down into letter prefixed
>settings, similar to the Nikon.
Thanks Armando! I am excited about this new camera! The only issue so far (it is still in transit)is that I paid $599 for it on Thursday, but the price dropped to $549 on Friday. I sent an email to B&H customer service to see if I can get a credit for the difference. I would be happy if I can at least get a store credit toward the purchase of a spare battery for it (I would pay whatever extra in shipping charges).
#4. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 0
Here is a thorough review of the GH2.
What's impressive in the review, besides the image quality, is that Panasonic has apparently developed a contrast detect AF that is blazingly fast and accurate.
#15. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 4Mon 06-Jun-11 11:15 PM | edited Tue 07-Jun-11 12:50 AM by snegron
It's finally here! My E-PL2 arrived today. My first impression is that it is a tad bit smaller than I expected (also a bit heavier than I expected-it looks lighter than what it is).
It feels comfortable in my large hands, and my thumb doesn't automatically press the small video recording button on the back of the camera as I feared it would. It feels more comfortable to hold than my LX3.
The lens cap is only 37mm! I have never seen such a tiny lens cap! The lens (14-42mm 3.5/5.6 II) made me a bit nervous as it appears to be made entirely of plastic (even the lens mount). It's going to take some getting used to having to extend the lens to 14mm in order to use the camera, then having to lock it back to compact size when I'm done shooting.
The menu system is more complicated than I thought it would be. This will definitely be a new learning curve for me in order to navigate through the menu to get the set up I want. With all the features this little camera has I don't see any way Olympus could have made it easier; it is what it is I guess.
It doesn't seem any much quieter than my D200 in terms of mirror slap noise. I know the E-PL2 doesn't have a mirror, so I'm guessing it must be the shutter making that slapping noise. I wonder if there is a way to make it more quiet?
I decided to read only a few pages of the manual while the battery charged then took a few shots with it (the manual doesn't have an index, so you have to actually read the entire section to get to the particular item you want to know more about). I would love to get a Lantern (or similar) guide for it as I'm sure anything will be better than this manual.
The camera is responsive, much more so than my LX3 in terms of pressing the shutter release button to actually capturing the image. I will go through the manual to see how to optimize the AF and other settings to make it an even faster process.
The images I got were not bad (shot JPEG). Magnified at 100% I can see a small amount of noise reduction blotching. I think one of the settings lets me turn the noise reduction off, but I read somewhere (definitely not in the manual) that if I turn t he noise reduction off there will be much more noise visible in the shadows. I have to experiment.
I haven't installed the image processing program that came with the camera yet, so I haven't had a chance to see what the RAW images look like.
Overall I like the E-PL2 so far. I know it is going to take some time getting used to it, but I think it will definitely be worth it.
p.s. I'm going to look into getting an external flash for it as well as a lens mount adapter that will let me use my Nikon lenses on it. I think I can live without the external viewfinder for awhile.
#16. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 15Mon 06-Jun-11 11:27 PM
Great to hear! You will love it.
One of the very useful undocumented AF tricks I found out there - applied it immediately to mine. Should work with yours I think:
1. from the normal shooting screen, press the "zoom" button once.
2. press the "info" button once. 7x will be displayed in the bottom left corner.
3. press the "up"(exp. comp.) button once you get to 10x & the autofocus box gets smaller, press again you get 14x the auto focus box gets even smaller.
4. press "ok" Just Once now you can move the smaller box around using the keypad.
5. to go back to full size box just press the "ok" button once more.
6. The neat thing is that once you intially set your desired autofocus box size, it can be easily recalled just by hitting the zoom button once.
unless you press ok a second time the smaller autofocus point remains from shot to shot, when the camera is powered down the box resets to full size, just simply hit the zoom button once when you power it up & your back to the smaller autofocus point.
#18. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 16Tue 07-Jun-11 07:06 PM
Thanks Armando! It would be a really neat idea if there were some reference guide somewhere that gives us more cool user tips for this camera.
I was playing around with the settings today and it seems to me that there are a bunch of possible combinations that can be used. Looks like I'll be busy for awhile getting used to the settings on the E-PL2.
While I want to master as many settings on this camera to the point where they get to be second nature to me (like my Nikon equipment), my goal is to use it as a quick shooter to grab spontaneous shots.
I feel I have a long way to go before I get to that point!
#17. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 15Tue 07-Jun-11 10:36 AM
Sandy - I was unsure if the kit lens you got is a Mark II, I think it is because the Mk. I in my kit is a 40.5mm front thread. You will be glad to know that yours has an official OEM hood, not sure if it was bundled.
The imaging software bundled is okay, better than Panasonic's, but not that great. I believe you're on Adobe products of some kind; as long as your ACR is up-to-date, it should be able to read the RAW (ORF) files just fine.
I have Noise Reduction on AUTO and Noise Filter to STD. I haven't seen image quality impacts at those settings. I'll have to try and get some shoot time in good light at ISO 100 and turn them to low and off to see what impacts there are.
#19. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 17Tue 07-Jun-11 07:15 PM
The lens that came with it is the "II" series. No hood came with it though. It looks like it has a thread to snap on a hood. I will probably have to buy one (if its in stock somewhere).
I have a thought on the external viewfinder. I currently have a glass optical one for my LX3, and I wonder if I can use it on my E-PL2? The lines seem like they would be about the same (at the wide and at the long end), but I'm concerned about shorting something out if I install it on the hotshoe of the E-PL2. If it works I think it would be cool because I like being able to see through actual glass. I know I wouldn't have the zoom function, but I can at least have a rough idea on how to frame the shot.
As for the imaging software, I am still using CS2. I haven't updated to the latest ACR because I think it won't be compatible (I think I need a newer version of Adobe CS). My next purchase will probably be CS5 (an update), but I think it will be after summer some time.
#21. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 20Tue 07-Jun-11 11:33 PM
I did some digging through the B&H website and it looks like they have them in stock. It is one of those petal-shaped type hoods. I will order one as soon as B&H opens back up again.
Thanks for the tip of using non-conductive tape. I was thinking about some sort of paper or thin cardboard, but I hadn't thgought about tape! Thanks!
#22. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 21Mon 13-Jun-11 09:53 PM | edited Mon 13-Jun-11 10:07 PM by snegron
I have used the E-PL2 for about 5 days and I think I am going to have to return it.
Turns out that after a few minutes the battery/grip area gets really hot and the front grip becomes loose. Also, all the images look like they are smeared with blown out highlights. I tried several different settings, but even with NR turned off and in late afternoon shade, I get almost no details and it blows out the highlights. I hate to say it but the images are comparable to what I get with my old TS1 Lumix point and shoot; actually, I get better details and less high light blow outs with the Lumix point and shoot. To take it a step further, my old 4mp Sony DSC-S85 point and shoot from 1999 captures better detail doesn't blow out the highlights as much as the E-PL2!
I compared it to my LX3, and it didn't come anywhere close to it in image quality/detail capture.
Maybe I got a bad copy, but I am going to return it. The images are all bordering on useless. I am sad and disappointed because I expected at least equal or better images than what I got with a point and shoot. The hot battery issue seems somewhat dangerous to me as well.
Back to the drawing board I guess.
#23. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 22Drbee Nikonian since 05th Aug 2004Mon 13-Jun-11 10:17 PM
Sorry to hear about your bad luck. I'm looking at the e-pl2 again and others. Still not decided on which way to go.
I'll bet you did get a bad copy. The battery heating can't be normal - stuff just can't fall off a camera because of overheating and still be a consumer product. Whatever is causing the heating could also contribute to the poor IQ - even the excessive heat could cause enough thermal generated electrical noise to drive everything out of specs.
Keep us posted. Are you going to try again? My third look at the e-pl2 was a good one, but now the xz-1 is on the table. My spouse is reluctant to invest in another system and is happy with P&S quality for our travel needs. Drat .
#25. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 23Mon 13-Jun-11 10:33 PM
>Sorry to hear about your bad luck. I'm looking at the e-pl2
>again and others. Still not decided on which way to go.
>I'll bet you did get a bad copy. The battery heating can't be
>normal - stuff just can't fall off a camera because of
>overheating and still be a consumer product. Whatever is
>causing the heating could also contribute to the poor IQ -
>even the excessive heat could cause enough thermal generated
>electrical noise to drive everything out of specs.
>Keep us posted. Are you going to try again? My third look at
>the e-pl2 was a good one, but now the xz-1 is on the table. My
>spouse is reluctant to invest in another system and is happy
>with P&S quality for our travel needs. Drat .
I'm not sure if the excessive heat from the battery is causing the poor IQ; I get the same results when the camera is cold (when I first turn it on). The smearing looks as if the noise reduction on a camera is turned on to the highest setting, however, there are still signs of noise in the image.
I think I am going to hold off on investing in the m4/3 system for awhile; I will probably get a Nikon 3100 for travel shots.
#26. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 24Mon 13-Jun-11 11:03 PM
>Sorry to hear about the disappointing results. Any chance you
>can share an ORF with me? Maybe put it up on a file-sharing
>site of some kind? I can try to troubleshoot.
I just shot these a few minutes ago. The last five photos in the gallery were shot with the LX3 and the E-PL2.
I used the built in flash on each camera (the one from the E-PL2 looks underexposed). I corrected the E-PL2 image in the last shot to match the brightness and contrast of the LX3 image.
I cropped the detail of the hair in both shots to show the smearing.
The sad part is that the image I took with the E-PL2 was at f8 in order to get sharper results.
#27. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 22ChrisPlatt Registered since 04th Jun 2011Tue 14-Jun-11 12:04 AM
It's a shame that you're getting such poor results. The 4/3 format is great. I really like my GF1. I have to believe you just got a bad copy. Nothing sounds right about your experience. Don't give up. They can be very capable cameras.
Visit my gallery.
#28. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 27Tue 14-Jun-11 12:25 AM | edited Tue 14-Jun-11 08:22 PM by snegron
>It's a shame that you're getting such poor results. The 4/3
>format is great. I really like my GF1. I have to believe you
>just got a bad copy. Nothing sounds right about your
>experience. Don't give up. They can be very capable
Very nice moon shot!
There is a possibility I got a bad copy. However, if that is the case I lost trust with this manufacturer. My fear is that if I exchange this E-PL2 for another one, what's not to say the same problem won't develop sometime soon in a few months?
I was really looking forward to using an E-PL2 because of the idea of good image quality in a small package. I guess I will have to play it safe for now and return to my DSLR's.
Sadly, next week I will be going on a vacation with my wife and kids. I was happy that I received my E-PL2 in time, but now it looks like I will have to lug my old D200 with me instead.
p.s. I loaded a few more shots to my gallery. The last four are a direct comparison between the E-PL2 and the LX3.
Imo, there is very little difference between the images I got from my E-PL2 than from my LX3. Actually, in terms of noise and detail capture, the advantage goes to the LX3.
On a happier note, B&H sent me an RMA for return. The only happy ending I see here is that B&H proves once again it is first class company and their customer service is absolutely outstanding.
#29. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 28Drbee Nikonian since 05th Aug 2004Tue 14-Jun-11 09:22 PM
I just downloaded your sample images to CS5 and I'm having trouble drawing any conclusions other than I don't have enough detail to properly judge the focus. What I think I see are the effect of a greater DOF with the LX3 over the EPL2. I think that's to be expected.
If I go over 100% on any of these images pixilation occurs so it's really difficult for me to go very far with the evaluation. However there doesn't appear to be a consistent focus point in these images. The body of the purple monster doesn't seem to be in crisp focus in some while the foliage looks in sharp focus.
On the 100% crop of the yellow doll, there are red strands of the hair that are in crisp focus on the EPL2 image while the bulk of the strands seem to be "behind?" the focus point. The larger DOF on the LX3 stands out in these images.
From my eyes, I just can't draw any conclusions from these samples.
I hope you get this worked out soon. B&H are the greatest.
#30. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 29Tue 14-Jun-11 10:07 PM
>I just downloaded your sample images to CS5 and I'm having
>trouble drawing any conclusions other than I don't have enough
>detail to properly judge the focus. What I think I see are the
>effect of a greater DOF with the LX3 over the EPL2. I think
>that's to be expected.
>If I go over 100% on any of these images pixilation occurs so
>it's really difficult for me to go very far with the
>evaluation. However there doesn't appear to be a consistent
>focus point in these images. The body of the purple monster
>doesn't seem to be in crisp focus in some while the foliage
>looks in sharp focus.
>On the 100% crop of the yellow doll, there are red strands of
>the hair that are in crisp focus on the EPL2 image while the
>bulk of the strands seem to be "behind?" the focus
>point. The larger DOF on the LX3 stands out in these images.
>From my eyes, I just can't draw any conclusions from these
>I hope you get this worked out soon. B&H are the
Thanks Roger! I shot the images of the purple monster from the same distance, both lenses set to f8 to capture a bit more depth of field. My issue is not so much with the focus of the E-PL2 (hand-holding the camera while using the vibration reduction feature can make getting an exact focal point a bit tricky). My biggest problem with the IQ is that the E-PL2 appears to employ more noise reduction than the LX3 despite having turned the NR completely off.
The fine details (like hair, freckles, cloth texture, etc.) are not being captured by the E-PL2; it is as if I had used a heavy degree of noise reduction in each image. The skin in the subjects I have shot with the E-PL2 look very plasticky, very unnatural.
Also, the hot battery/loose grip is raising a red flag with me as well.
Again, maybe I got a bad copy. Unfortunately it is too late for me to get a D3100 before my trip. I guess I will have to order one when I return.
#31. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 30Tue 14-Jun-11 11:49 PM
Not sure what's going on. I've been looking over the images you posted. While there's nothing too technically identifiable as a problem, I made a deliberate choice when I got the camera to get the 20mm f1.7. You've seen my samples, along with the other desirable pancake, the 14mm f2.5. The 14-42 Mk. I is rarely on the camera, making it up there only for video purposes. I have found it to be serviceable, but to be fair, the "raison d'etre" to having an MFT is one of the Panasonic primes or even the Olympus 17mm.
I think the only thing I can suggest is to try one of the primes. I don't think you'll be disappointed there. Please check out my Panasonic 14mm f2.5 Gallery. They lack artistic merit , but on a technical image quality, I think they stand up quite well.
That being said, I have not personally experienced the heating problem, although battery life can be short if one is a frequent chimper. A spare is definitely required. The grip - I know what you're talking about - I have found a comfortable position with my thumb sitting directly over the speaker output, and I have established a "muscle memory" to reach for the right four-segment button to change settings, but it took a while to get there.
Hope you'll give it another try. If not, the disappointment is understandable.
#32. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 31Wed 15-Jun-11 08:52 PM | edited Wed 15-Jun-11 08:58 PM by snegron
The issue with the grip (on the front of the camera) is that when it heats up it becomes loose.
I ended up sending it back today.
p.s. On a somewhat interesting note, I had purchased a Sandisk 8GB SDHC Extreme card (class 10) to use with my E-PL2. I guess I will use it with my LX3 as it is the largest capacity SD card I own.
#33. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 32jpFoto Registered since 25th Jun 2010Thu 16-Jun-11 05:32 PM | edited Thu 16-Jun-11 10:39 PM by jpFoto
I know that this is no consolation, but your experience and conclusions are similar to mine with the GF-1, (not the heated grip part), and I ended up with the D3100 too. Weighing in at one pound, body only, it's a pleasure to carry when you don't want to lug the big gun. But, best of all, the IQ up to 1600 is comparable to that of my D700.
I think that Armando has a good point about the pancake lenses though. During the short time that I had my system, I was very impressed with the 20mm lens, I just couldn't justify owning an interchangeble lens camera when I only liked one lens. I'd rather have the new Fuji X100 if I have to live with that limitation.
Have a good trip to Disney.
Edit: Notice that no one has ever created a link to photos taken with any of the lenses other than the 20mm pancake.
#34. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 31Thu 16-Jun-11 06:04 PM
>I think the only thing I can suggest is to try one of the
>primes. I don't think you'll be disappointed there. Please
>check out my
>14mm f2.5 Gallery>. They lack artistic merit , but on a
>technical image quality, I think they stand up quite well.
Here I am again! Life changes - I'm getting ready to travel and didn't want to wait for the G3 to come out. So, I just ordered the E-PL2 - hopefully without the overheating problem.
I'm getting the kit lens, the 14-42. Since I'm a landscape photographer, how would you rank the panny 14mm against the 14 end on the kit lens? I notice on my D90 pics - the ones I like are almost all done at the 18mm end (I think that's 27mm in 35mm talk). Looking for a comparable prime.
Thanks for all your help.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#37. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 34Fri 17-Jun-11 12:58 AM
The prime will definitely do better. How much is a bit of a question mark. Given the prime probably excelled at around f4/f5.6 I'd say you'd be giving up a stop more by using the kit lens. It would be sweetest around f8 even at the wide end.
The 14-42 really isn't wide enough for most landscape shooters since it's 28mm equivalent, but it's a good starting point. You'll probably get more mileage out of the Panny 7-14mm ($$) or the less expensive but just as competent and slower Olympus 9-18mm.
#38. "RE: Which m4/3 to choose?" | In response to Reply # 37Larry E30 Nikonian since 27th May 2009Mon 27-Jun-11 07:13 PM
If I had the OPP. to start over ...I'd ...;
Panasonic "G" with 8mm,7-14mm,14-150mm,and 100-300mm.
But for now, I'm happy with the better quality of Nikon.
(D5100,Tokina 10-17mm FFFzoom,Sigma 8-16,Nikon 18-55VR,Nikon 55-200VR Plus 2 converters...;plus a Tokina SD 400mm f5.6 on the way.)
For that Panasonic outfit -> I'd trade my whole Nikon and Olympus E-PL1 outfits plus a fairly new Canon SX 30 IS.!
But , a person has to know when to be CONTENT.And I am.
Ya know - camera systems quite match our personalities/being (IMHO),
so really 'to each his own' - to his needs and desires!!!