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Old Jul 4, 2009, 3:09 PM   #1
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Default One of three cameras that I have never seen

I am considering the Olympus E-620, Panasonic G1, and Pentax K2000. None are sold locally and so I cannot handle them. I am concerned most with IQ, as is anybody, and then after that what I would call responsiveness -- how quickly a camera auto focuses and the shutter responds, then size, and convenience. I have been using Panasonic FZ digicams for the last few years but wish to have better low-light performance in as small a package as possible. I started in the early 1960s with a Voigtlander rangefinder and so have seen a lot of changes through the years.

Responsiveness and IQ in low-light are primary reasons for my switch, so I would be very interested in those qualities.

The Pentax seems the biggest and heaviest of the three and the Panasonic micro 4:3 the smallest and lightest. The reviews have positives and negatives about all three, and it is not clear to me which has the best viewfinder. I saw some comments about the Olympus' being dark (not in a review, just a forum), and that the Panasonic's live view is bright but may be slow to respond at times. The Olympus E-P1 would be a candidate, too, but the lack of a VF is a bit risky to me.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 3:27 PM   #2
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I'd say the Pentax would be the best in low light and the fastest to focus. I don't know much about the Panasonic, but it's likely to be the worst of the three. It has a small image sensor like the Olympus, and it doesn't have any of the Olympus' low light lenses.

Sine you mentioned that you're not considering the Olympus E-P1 because it doesn't have an optical viewfinder, perhaps you don't know that the Panasonic G1 doesn't have one either.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 3:34 PM   #3
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Yes, I know about the lack of an optical VF on the Panasonic, it is an electronic one that gets pretty decent reviews. The FZ18 also has an EVF that I still find better than a LCD in certain lighting conditions and also for balancing the camera.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 5:04 PM   #4
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I think you need to plan a day trip to a nearby city with a broader selection of camera stores because the ergonomics of the small cameras are going to become increasingly important as the manufacturers stuff more and more knobs and switches on the cameras.

Having said that, I kinda of liked the feel of the Oly when I had a chance to try one. For a small camera the positioning of the controls fit my hand surprisingly well and the camera seemed reasonably responsive in a showroom setting.
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Old Jul 4, 2009, 7:38 PM   #5
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I am in central Florida and have checked around the Orlando area but have yet to find a dealer with any of these cameras. Colonial Photo & Hobby, which is a nice dealershop, used to carry the Olympus dSLRs, but no more. Harmon Photo, another independent dealer, does not carry any of them, either. The chain stores do not carry them.

Having said that, I am not concerned about a small camera, as my hands are not too large and so I find small cameras comfortable enough. I would be more concerned about a camera being too big, especially too big a grip.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 3:51 PM   #6
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Feel is a very personal thing, and size isn't always a guarantee that something will feel comfortable. I'm a small female with small hands and don't have any trouble using the much larger Pentax K20 (though it is as big and heavy a camera as I can manage). On the other hand, I find the Canon's grip not comfortable for my hands, and it's smaller. I've owned several Pentax cameras, of several different sizes, and haven't had a problem with any of them (I don't have the KM though).

As far as image quality, based solely on sample pictures I've seen in various reviews, I prefer the high ISO pictures of the Pentax.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 8:20 PM   #7
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For AF speed, the Oly and the Pentax would be best. I'd say about a wash and more lens dependent than body dependent.

Low ISO performance is pretty much a function of sensor area, so expect the Pentax to do slightly better than the Panny of the Oly.

As a side note, I think all the cameras would be much more responsive than your used to. The thing you may not be expecting is the size of the lens necessary to accomplish what you may be accustomed to. The larger the sensor, the larger the lens to get the same angle of view.

I guess the reason I'm mentioning it is the small DSLRs, especually the E620 with no real grip, may be less than desireable with larger lenses. I cannot say I've held the K2000, but it, or the E520 may be a more comfortable camera with the longer, brighter lenses.

Greg.

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Old Jul 5, 2009, 9:08 PM   #8
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You should ask about each camera in the appropriate forum and search the topics for the camera, too. The Pentax people have had nothing but good to say about the K2000 (also known as the K-m in Canada).
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Old Jul 6, 2009, 4:10 PM   #9
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Have only had experience with one of the three - the Pentax K2000 (aka K-m), and have been very satisfied with IQ as well as responsiveness. There are a number of photos posted in the Pentax SLR section of this website that might help you make your decision.
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Old Jul 9, 2009, 3:56 PM   #10
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Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I have a Pentax ME Super stowed away that most approximates the size and weight of the Panasonic G1, which is why that attracts me. I guess I'm even more concerned about the weight of the camera, too, as a larger and heavier one makes it much less likely for me, personally, to carry it around.

I have read many, many posts in various forums with no real conclusion, except that it ultimately is the photographer who makes the equipment work well. I gave my daughter a Nikon S210 for Christmas and after opening it up was showing her some features on it and snapped a peculiarly effective picture of our dog. I printed it as a 13 x 19 that hangs in my office that everyone just loves, principally because of the dog and composition.

I may just have to visit New York and some camera stores to make a decision!
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