Jul 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm #1260775
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
I've used a lot of cameras over the last 40 years, the most recent being the Nikon D70s and the Ricoh GX200. The Ricoh I've especially liked and it has encouraged me to take it with me everywhere I go, and to challenge the way I see things and compose images. It's a wonderful camera with the best ergonomics and interface I've ever used. I was able to operate the controls in the dark on the first time I took it out, they are that intuitive.
The problems are the small sensor with its horrible resolution at anything above ISO 400, the slow focus time, and the terrible low light capabilities.
I like my D70s and 18-200 VR zoom lens, but it's big and bulky and I've never been comfortable with the Nikon DSLR interface. My earlier manual film SLR FM2 was great, but I still much preferred the even earlier Pentax MX, the entire kit having been stolen.
So I'm looking for something with the lightness, compactness, and unobtrusiveness of my Ricoh GX200 and the responsiveness, image quality, and selection of lenses of my D70s. I've narrowed it down to the Pentax E-P2, the Lumix GF1, and the Pentax K-7. The K-7 is fantastic, being full sensor, weatherproof, and boasting a bewildering array of features, but is heavy and big and requires a considerable investment. The GF1 seems to have the highest quality feature set, but with no in-body vibration control it has limited lenses and also requires a considerable investment. The E-P2 seems to answer most of my needs, is a good size, has a HUGE following here in Japan, and has a fantastic array of lens choices (beyond the specifically designed Olympus 43 lenses… with an adaptor I can even use my old Nikon lenses. I'm not sure I like the interface that much. And I'm worried that it will make my Ricoh obsolete. Ryan Jordan commented in another thread that he didn't like either the Panasonics or Olympuses, mainly because of image quality in the 43 sensors. Perhaps after the Ricoh most things will look better, but will it be enough for me when taking high quality images and needing good performance in low light?
I'm a firm believer in the ability to see things and compose them well as being far more important than the camera… I've taken lots of great images using my tiny and limited cell phone camera three years ago… but I've spent enough time out in the field with digital cameras now to know the limitations and desirables so that I can actually take the images that I imagine. Just wondering if the E-P2 can live up to what I ask.Jul 2, 2010 at 6:11 pm #1625856
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
The E-P2 is a beautiful, relatively small camera. In addition to in-body IS the EVF is spectacular compared to that of the GF1, so there's that to consider as well. I like the higher top shutter speed compared to the E-PL1, but the latter does offer in-camera flash and supposedly the cleanest jpgs of any 4/3 camera.
What to do?
I'm sitting on the sidelines awaiting the next round of Oly µ4/3 cameras. I'm hoping for either an up-market E-PL1 or an "E-P3" with built-in flash. I want the higher top shutter speed to facilitate shooting with fast legacy lenses wide open (1/2000 is woefully slow in sunlight).
FWIW Amazon has the E-P2 kit with finder for the lowest price I've yet seen. Yes, it will make your Ricoh obsolete but that's the fate of any digicam, including the M9.
RickJul 2, 2010 at 9:36 pm #1625893
@umnakLocale: Southeast Alaska
I've had the GF1 for about 9 months and have rediscovered image making. I wrestled with the EP vs GF issue and decided on the latter because of my familiarity with the Lumix menu system.( I also use the LX3) I'd say get the EP-2 if that's where you are heading and have at it. I know three professional photographers (2 photo journalists and a magazine geek) who have made the switch to m 4/3 because they are so light and reliable.
this taken with the GF-1 and a 35 year old OM lens.Jul 4, 2010 at 3:46 pm #1626212
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Thanks for the information! It helps to get any viewpoints to help make the decision easier. That being said, I've been pointed to the Ricoh GRX, which is supposed to have the best images of the new micro cameras, though the auto focus is supposed to be really slow.Jul 6, 2010 at 9:56 am #1626577
@michaeltn2Locale: Northern Virginia
and if you want good HD video the GH1 is a good choice, there is now a firmware hack that increases the bit rate substantially.Jul 6, 2010 at 10:58 am #1626596
Beautiful picture!Jul 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm #1629421
@ken_bennettLocale: southeastern usa
I purchased a Panasonic GF-1 last weekend when my Canon G7 died right before a trip. I just could not justify spending any money on a tiny-sensor compact camera.
The GF-1 with the 20mm f/1.7 lens is great — in some ways it's the perfect camera for me. I like the fast wide-normal lens, the compact form factor, and the quality of the raw files. That 20mm lens is brutally sharp, but the out of focus areas at f/2 are just gorgeous. It reminds me most of the old Leica CL with the 40mm f/2 Rokkor lens — a similar compact film camera. For a working photojournalist, it's great to have a small camera that provides high quality images. The files are easily as good as those from my APS-C Canon cameras.
I'm aware that this combo won't appeal to many people, but if you are looking for a small camera, high quality high ISO files, a fast lens, quick autofocus, etc., this is a good one to check out.
The only major downside is the external viewfinder. It is so low-resolution that it's useful only for framing, not focus. But I use it anyway, because I'm old school enough to like holding the camera up against my face rather than at arm's length. (That said, arms-length turns out to be a lot faster in actual use.)
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