Anyone currently use one?
I was initially intrigued by the Olympus line of 4/3 offerings, but I have read several reviews suggesting that the autofocus is slow. I am currently looking at a Panasonic DMC-GF1 which has better reviews in that area.
Of course, teh closest dealer is a 10-12 hour drive, so I cannot handle one before purchase.
Before anyone suggests a full sized DSLR I have decided that I am through with large and bulky cameras, and my standard film camera was an Olympys OM-1N, which is no brute.
Anyone currently use one?
I got tired of hauling around big bulky cameras. My last one wasn’t even an SLR, but a Canon S1IS that up and died one day a couple of months ago. It too, was pretty bulky by comparison to whats available in small cameras. Last week I took my tax refund and went looking. What I finally came out with surprised me a bit and I’ve been having a lot of fun getting familiar with it. I got the Canon SD3500IS. It has features similar to the other ELPHs but has this really cool touch screen for control. I thought it was gimmicky at first, but then played with it in the store. Having never used a touch screen anything I still learned my way around pretty quickly. Without making this too long, just go to Wally and check one out before you decide. I can guarantee that this one will get used a lot. It’s not much bigger than a deck of cards and has a whole lot packed in it.
Micro 4/3rds is the way to go!
First things first: if you can cope with the bulk and weight of a full frame dSLR (or even the bulk and weight of an entry level dSLR) then you have better options available to you than ANY micro 4/3rds camera. The Panasonic GF1 (and competitors, though I don’t think there’s a genuine rival at the moment) give you ALMOST the same performance as entry level dSLRs… but the appeal boils down to bulk and weight.
Anyone thinking they can get away with a standard compact should, however, think again: the GF1 may be close to the SIZE of a compact… but the sensor is 9x bigger… and whilst you may occasionally get a passable shot from a compact in good light if you’re lucky enough to point and click sufficiently far ahead of the moment you want to capture… ANY compact is going to struggle (under more typical conditions) to return anything in the same class as what comes without trying with a micro 4/3rds camera.
We’ve taken a LOT of photos with a GF1: it’s a glorious beast. Add a waterproof case (or even a simple raincape) from EWA Marine and the possibilities are wonderful: eclipsing shots from point and shoot waterproof compacts is not setting the bar high… but you’d blow such standards away without trying.
Shooting camera RAW really brings the capabilities of the GF1 into focus: time and again I’ve reclaimed what at first looked like hopeless photos – you are still faced with the basic problem of “rubbish in, rubbish out”… but you can often reclaim detail that initially appeared lost… and asking the software to generate a high impact image doesn’t lead to something so butchered as to be un-distributable!
I really do think the GF1 is the digital camera that outdoor enthusiasts have wanted (but been unable to get) for the past few years: it’s not going to beat a full frame professional dSLR… but it can get you close whilst retaining the proportions (and weight) of a compact.
Ps. For a decent review see http://www.davidclapp.co.uk/blog/reviews/43-panasonic-gf-1-in-the-landscape.html
Canon Powershot D10
I got one of these a few months back and took it to the Caribbean for a 2-week holiday. The one disadvantage is that it is larger than most point-and-shoots. The advantages are: 1) no moving "lens cover" to jam up with sand and grit or dried salt 2) uses same SD card as my other camera, digital sound recorder, GPS, and Digital photo frame 3) brightly coloured so it's hard to lose.
We snorkelled for up to 2 hours at a time: just slip the strap over your wrist and away you go. Has great underwater mode colour compensation in both still and video. Water droplets don't seem to show up when you take pictures with it "wet" (ie, no worries about having to wipe the lense off when you're out of the water). Waterproof to 33 feet (we probably went 15-20 feet) rather than the "usual" 10 feet. Image stabilisation (very important when underwater and the fish keep moving and the waves are moving you in a different direction!)
I too got tired of lugging a waterproof box with an extended zoom digital around on the front deck: by the time I parked the paddle, opened the box, tried not to let the camera get wet, focus, ... there was nothing left to take a picture of! The Canon can fit in a PFD pocket or clip to a lash loop or bungee on your PFD or the deck.
The extended zoom in the waterproof box now goes in a hatch for shore stops.
Thanks for the link
Snowgoose. Very interesting review.
I have come to the conclusion that (at 60) I will most likely never take another 35mm shot as long as I am alive. So to this end I am considering sending my Olympus OM-1, OM-2 and lenses to Adorama as a trade on this camera. Combined with my WP point-and-shoot cameras it may be all I ever need.
Keep your lenses!
If you get a GF1… I’d be inclined to keep any good prime lenses from your OM-1/OM2: they’d be worth more as additional lenses for the new camera (ok, with an adaptor) than you’re likely to get from Adorama.
All Micro-4/3rds cameras use the same mount… so you have quite a choice of lenses… but the pick of the kit lenses is the 20mm pancake (40mm equivalent, f1.7). We normally partner that with the basic 45-200 (90-400 equivalent) but better (albeit pricier) telephoto zooms have apparently been promised. The third must have lens (for me) was an ultra wide angle: several options either current / imminent.
Beyond those lenses… if you’ve an old macro lens, and/or a couple of primes that would work well in low light / as portrait lenses… and/or a really long prime… then great
Micro 4/3 camera
I’ve been using the m 4/3 GF1 since October and find it to be a great travel camera, whether the traveling is by air, foot or kayak. Do keep the OM lenses if you decide to buy a GF1 or the Olympus EP2. The legacy lenses work really well on the m 4/3 after you get used to focusing.
take a look at this link for pictures using the GF1.
Using OM lenses on a 4/3 camera…
...changes the effective focal length by a factor of 2. So, your 50mm normal lens becomes a 100mm short telephoto.
I have an OM1-N and an OM4Ti and a reasonable collection of Zuiko lenses. My beloved 90mm f2 macro lens would no longer be ideal for portraits and the nice, compact 200 would only be good for really long shots. I don't know if the 35mm shift lens will work at all.
There are also other issues related to using OM lenses on 4/3 cameras and here's a good article on the subject:
If only someone would make a digital back with a full-frame sensor for OM cameras...sigh.
haven’t heard about the AF being slow
But I did have a chance to sample one. I was intrigued by the compact size, and the expanding range of lenses. There is enough of a range to make it as useful as a full size DSLR.
I’d advise to take reviews with a grain of salt and consider what’s important to you. Slow AF may be slow compared to a HSM or USM (hi speed focus ) lens, but almost all lenses will focus fairly quickly.
Good advice about legacy lenses
I have a Zuiko 50mm macro, so that one is definately a keeper. For macro use, manual focusing and stopped-down metering should be no problem.
Have to weigh the information some more, but the Panasonic is still the front runner. Yesterday I went and handles an Olympus EP-1. The reportedly slow autofocus was not apparent. Maybe for low-light situations.
But the lack of a built-in pop-up flash on the Olympus EP-1 and EP-2 is a decided negative for me. Fill flash is a common occurence for me, and not having one I think is a major factor.
have you considered a compact DSLR?
Nikon D80 or Canon Rebel? Size isn’t much larger and the range of lenses is almost unlimited.
Ouch. I can buy a Panasonic GF1 w/a 14-45 zoom, a 40 f1.7 pancake and an auxiliary viewfinder (rotates 90 degrees) for $500 less than a D-80 wzoom.
The working concept here is “compact”.
former Olympus-Pen FT owner, if that rings any bells with anyone