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Thread: mFt camera suggestions

  1. #1
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    mFt camera suggestions

    I was going through my lenses and was struck by how little I use my two Lumix lenses. I have the f4-5.8 14-140mm and the f/4-5.6 100-300mm ones. I bought these to use on my Panasonic AF100 mFT video camera, and while I do shoot a fair bit of video, it really tends to be a fair bit less than I do with my still cameras. I have a Novoflex adaptor and can use the Nikon mount lenses on the video camera. The main reason I got these Lumix lenses is that when I do shoot video, I often have my still cameras with me and am switching shooting video and like being able to switch without changing lenses.

    One idea that struck me this morning is to perhaps get a mFT body and get a bit more use out of these lenses. I had a good hard look at mFT around four years ago when I was looking at getting into a more serious digital camera and had a look at the 4/3 and micro 4/3 offerings by both Olympus and Panasonic. I ended up not going that route for a number of reasons; the main ones at the time was a relative lack of lens choice at the time and a general dislike on my part of the quality of the electronic viewfinders that were available at the time. I shot a Nikon 1 V2 a couple of weeks ago, and while I understand it does not have the best electronic viewfinder out there, I was not impressed with it.

    I normally shoot either a 12 MP Nikon D90 and have a full set of lenses that go from a 8mm fisheye right through to a 150-500mm zoom and with a 36MP Nikon D800 with a set of pro lenses that handle everything from 14mm through to 200mm. The 150-500mm is a full-frame lens, so it works on the body as well. My current DX kit lenses (f/3.5 -5.6 18-55mm and f/45.6 55-200mm Nikkors) are around the same size and weigh less than the Panasonic lenses. I can shoot stills (jpeg) on the Af100, but it makes my D800 with battery grip look tiny in comparison and the maximum resolution is 1920 x 1280 (2.5MP).

    So my question is, should I consider picking up a mFT body? If so, what do I gain, other than getting a bit more use out of these lenses. Which mFT bodies should I look at and why?

    Thanks
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 9th February 2013 at 04:38 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    Manfred

    comparing the 18-55 and 55-200 to the 14-140 and 100-300 is a bit unfair. you have much a greater range with the 14-140 and 100-300.... pick up a light m43 body with the 14-42 pz and 45-150 and you'll find it MUCH lighter.

    if you only use those lenses I'd be tempted to sell them but ....

    as to bodies the ? g3 is on sellout so very cheap. the viewfinder won't impress you nor will the fact it has no eye sensor, nice camera for the money though. the g5 might be worth looking at, a friend has just bought one. if you want the best image quality (from m43) then the E-m5 is light and the GH3 though d5200 size is small when you consider that it is weatherproofed

    oh i've read that the v2 viewfinder is a step back from the v1.

    Pete

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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    With a lens stable like yours I would think the obvious answer is to get an Olympus with IBIS though since I have been using Panasonic for years now I prefer their menu arrangement ....I have a GH2 which normally carries the 14-140 and an Olympus E-PL1 [less than US$200 when I got mine, body only] along with the VF-3 [ over $200 ] ... it works but compared to an inbody EVF I don't rate it highly ...I am usually using a legacy 50mm on the Olympus camera. I had a G3 but enjoy the GH2 more these days for all the knobs I gather the consensus is that if you are going to use longer lenses you need a viewfinder if you are going to hand hold. The nice thing about the VFs is that they work off the sensor so show you what you are getting whatever lens you use. Since I have comparable lenses, legacy and automatic, with more reach with the legacy, my preference is to use the shorter automatic lens rather than the great reach legacy so having got the <$20 adaptor its only use is on the Olympus camera. I hope these are pertinent comments about the situation you are contemplating

    EDIT ... Just been to Amazon and from the photos I do not think one can compare the VF1 to the VF2 becuase the VF1 seems not to have the 'leg' which connects to the sensor. The VF2 is rather expensive though and I see my VF3 at only $160 which is an 'improvement'
    The thought did cross my mind that if you get the GH3 or the EMD5 you might leave your Nikons at home ... say no more
    Last edited by jcuknz; 9th February 2013 at 06:33 PM.

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    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    The G3 is $250 body-only on B&H right now. But going to it would, in some ways, feel a lot like going downscale from the D90 to a D3100/D5100. MFT, in rough terms, is one tier lower than dSLRs. There is no pro tier. There is no "full frame" tier; no fast-action crop tier. There is one prosumer model (OM-D/EM5), some higher-end entry-levels (G5, GX1), and entry-levels (EP-L, G3), but there's one tier that's below what you'd expect from dSLR tiering, which are the P&S-bridgers, the EP-M and the GF.

    So how much do you like the higher-end feel of the d90? And what lenses are you liable to want to use?

    If it has to be at D90 or above level of handling, the OM-D and (and maaaaybe the GX1) are the bodies you want to look at. If you're ok with D5x00 or a dRebel, then throw in the EP-L5 and the G5 as well. I wouldn't go anywhere near the GF or the EPM. If you want a supercheap bargain because you're not sure about how much you'll use it, the G3 or an EP-L3 might be the way to go.

    For me, the main two reasons I'd tell you that an MFT might work for you would be the m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, and the Samyang/Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 fisheye. The primes are really where MFT shines. I have a full set of Canon gear. I often love bringing as much of it with me as I can. But now that my back's bad and my leg's queer [snicker], it's a helluva lot easier to pack my Retrospective 5 with five MFT lenses and the G3 and haul it around all day long than it is to packmule a backpack with the Canon equivalents. Now I am compromising on the glass quality of my zooms, because I'm cheap. None of my MFT lenses have cost me more than $350 (I got my 45/1.8 refurbed from the Olympus website).

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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    Kathy.

    I'd suggest the GH3 over the GX1 (a camera I own and like!) I'd argue it's in the same class as the E-M5. probably same sensor!

    I've only used the Panasonic primes 14,20,25 and 45 all are very good. a really good travel kit would be a gx1/e-pl5 with finder and 14/20 and Oly 45

    I recently dumped my Nikon D300 and I now use M4/3 and Fuji X now.

    I'd argue that m4/3 has a much better line up of lenses than Nikon and Canon do for their crop cameras. I appreciate you can add in full frame lenses but I got fed up of 18-xx and 55-xx lenses designed for APS-C.

  6. #6
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    Yeah. whoops. I screwed up the models in my head. Agree completely with you that the OMD on the Oly side and the GH on the Panasonic side are the prosumer candidates.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    Thanks for the carefully considered responses:

    Pete – I have no intention of getting rid of my existing Lumix lenses or buying more (although I have been eyeing the f/ 0.95 25mm Vogtländer Nokton for video work because of the very shallow DoF). I bought these lenses for video work and because of their integration with my dedicated Panasonic video camera; I will continue to shoot with them. In fact, the 14 – 140mm is designed as a video camera and uses a linear motor rather than a stepper motor.

    You are right about the comparisons of the lenses not being all that accurate, but I’m looking at things from the weight I would carry standpoint. The 14-140mm is really fairly close to the Nikkor 18-200mm that my wife loves on her D90.

    I guess I’m a little strange because I prefer heavier cameras and always have because I can hand hold them at lower shutter speeds. I remember when a friend bought an Olympus OM-2, I found I had to shoot one to two stops faster than my Leica R3 because the camera was so light.

    Jcuknz – Thanks. Both lenses are stabilized, so IBIS is not necessary. I agree that longer lenses need to be shot through a viewfinder. I find the GH3 and the EMD5 well above what I would be willing to spend as they would be the ones left at home, not the D800. The GX1 looks nice as well, but I’m not to keen on having to shell out a fair bit of additional money for an external viewfinder.

    I’m not a fan of either the articulated screen (too easy to break) or the touch screen (hate reviewing shots that are obscured by fingerprints), but it looks like this is the way that Panny has gone.

    Kathy – Unfortunately in Canada the G3 is still running at about double the B&H price and any warranty issues are a cross-border pain. I'm not sure what the Olympus warranty is like, but the Panasonic one only covers gear bought in Canada.

    You are right about the controls. I bought the D90 just after the D5000 came out and one of the reasons that I went with the slightly older design was that it had front and rear command dials. I do not like taking my eye off the viewfinder to make adjustments. I prefer the layout of the D800 to the D90 because I can easily make even more adjustments this way.

    I got my D800 in the spring, so have generally been using it most of the time. I primarily shoot the f/2.8 24-70mm and the f/2.8 70-200mm on it. I also have the f/2.8 14-24, which I picked up just before I had surgery on my foot at the end of August, so I haven’t really had a chance to use it (I’ve been out of the cast less than a month). I have several other full-frame lenses too. I do like shooting with heavier gear and have the appropriate equipment to carry it.

    The D90 is now relegated to times that I want a light-weight camera (with the kit lenses) or get into places that are a bit sketchy and want to reduce the risk of loss or damage.

    It looks like I might want to have a quick peek at some of the models at my local camera store. Based on your comments, I suspect I will probably not buy a new body as the ones that might give me the features I want are only available on the high end models. I wouldn’t mind spending a few hundred on a body, but spending money on a piece of gear that I am not going to be happy with is not something I tend to do.

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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    Manfred.

    tend to agree with you on the touchscreens. I turned it off on the GX1. And i think the only body you would appreciate is the GH3 so I think you are right,

    cheers

    Pete

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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    Hello Manfred,

    I bought a used G1 body off eBay $140 and an unused 14-42mm Vario $109; then later the Leica 45mm Elmarit Macro lens $550. I was highly impressed with the huge swiveling LCD and the EVF which switches on automatically when the eye is brought close. The OIS was cool, never had that before. Images were very good indeed (4000x3000px) - but I never tried RAW because the camera does not correct for image distortion and CA and I only have PSE6. I didn't warm to the manual focus-by-wire but would have got used to it, I reckon. Remember, the Olympus equivalent does not have a built-in flash and I've read that the G1 has better controls (more wheels and buttons than the Oly). All sold recently (too many cameras!).

    Hope that helps.

  10. #10
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    Ted - I was also thinking about the "too many cameras" issue.

    At last count I have two Leica film cameras, three Nikon DSLRs (two crop frame and one full frame), two pro video cameras and that not even begin to look at the point & shoot and cross-over cameras lying about. Another camera body may not be the best choice.

    I am thinking of getting a Novoflex adapter for using the Leica-R glass on the AF100, but I have other (Panasonic and Nikon) glass that covers the apertures and focal lengths, so it is a low priority.

  11. #11
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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    I have the Olympus EPL1 with two kit lenses (14-40 and 40-150mm).
    I bought the 4/3rd 70-300mm with adapter, very heavy lens but effective, and also have 20mm Lumix, recommended by Kathy Li over the Olympus 17mm pancake, and very good addition.

    It may not matter to you but 4/3rds cameras use different focusing system (contrast rather instead of phase) than DSLR and it shows when trying to focus in low light, but you can still get very good low light shots.

    I'd definitely give it a go, later versions of the micro 4/3rds have improved the quality of the mirrorless system.

  12. #12
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    I have the Olympus EPL1 with two kit lenses (14-40 and 40-150mm).
    I bought the 4/3rd 70-300mm with adapter, very heavy lens but effective, and also have 20mm Lumix, recommended by Kathy Li over the Olympus 17mm pancake, and very good addition.

    It may not matter to you but 4/3rds cameras use different focusing system (contrast rather instead of phase) than DSLR and it shows when trying to focus in low light, but you can still get very good low light shots.

    I'd definitely give it a go, later versions of the micro 4/3rds have improved the quality of the mirrorless system.
    Thanks John - I'm quite aware of the contrast detect autofocus; my pro Panasonic video cameras have used that technology for years; and in fact, same thing with if I use Live View on my DSLRs. It's not as fast as phase detection, in my experience.

    I'm going to have a look at a few models at a local camera store, but based on some of the other comments, I suspect I will be giving mFT a pass, as the features I would be interested in are likely only available on the top of the line models.

  13. #13
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    Manfred, if the D800 is your basis of comparison for handling, then yeah, only the OM-D and GH3 are liable to make you happy (dual-wheel). However. Panasonic really hasn't come out with their riposte to the OM-D, yet, and the spring camera announcements are coming up. In addition to all of this, the new Sony sensors are now capable of on-sensor phase-detection AF (e.g., Fuji X100s), and hybrid AF systems seem inevitable.

    So my gut feeling is don't waste your time looking at mft bodies right now. Think about doing it after the March/April announcements have come out. (Or look at the OM-D and the GH3 a year from now as used models.) All sorts of rumors are flying and high on the wishlist is a Panasonic equivalent to the OM-D, but with a corner built-in EVF and focus peaking. Also, just as all MFT bodies are (sort of) down a tier, their release cycles are faster, like the dRebels and entry-level Nikons. The typical lifespan of a camera in the MFT lineups is about a year. And the OM-D was announced in Feb. 2012. Even it might have a successor. So the prices on the OM-D and GH3 might start to drop.

    Tiny footnote on handling. The G3 controls aren't exactly like an entry-level dSLR. Instead of a single wheel and the modal button, I have a single wheel that I can press like a button to flip the mode. Not as nice as dual wheel, I grant you, but simpler than holding down the mode button deal.
    Last edited by inkista; 10th February 2013 at 08:46 PM.

  14. #14
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: mFt camera suggestions

    Thanks Kathy - I wasn't expecting something in the same league as the D800. One has to stick with Canon, Nikon and perhaps Sony to do that, but I am looking for something in between.

    Using a camera that makes all the calls for the photographer and one that requires pretty well all the adjustments done through menu options are of no interest, but something in the middle, at the right price might do. With a smaller body, there is a tradeoff with how many knobs and buttons you can place on it and still have a functional camera. I do follow some of the rumour sites, so am waiting to see what falls out of some of the upcoming shows. The 2013 CES showings were rather disappointing all around, so there has to be something coming sooner rather than later. Panny is certainly due for a product refresh on the higher end stuff.

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