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Old Feb 7, 2010, 12:26 AM   #11
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mrmac... believe me when I say that we understand that you couldn't wait. But my advice to you now (especially since you seem to have learned your lesson) is to wait - just a bit more. PMA is later this month and you'll want to see what cameras are introduced that that event in Los Angeles.

Also... please understand about the one, great truth involving technology: There will ALWAYS be something better coming out - just ahead, just around the corner. It can drive you mad if you allow it to.

I tell you to wait now only because PMA is about two weeks way. But, generally, I advise everyone to buy a camera (or computer or whatever) when they need one. Buy what you like and need and just get on with it.

Now.. having said all that, here's my advice to you: You said you want bokeh back in your life. So scratch any camera with a sensor smaller than four-thirds/micro four-thirds off of your list.

You said you prefer an LCD rather than a viewfinder (I don't understand why a viewfinder's diopter adjustment won't work for you after taking your glasses off - but I take you at your word). Advantage: Panasonic GF1 and the Olympus Pens.

Other possibilities include the Samsung NX10 - but once again I urge you to wait: No one has seen a production model yet and there are no real reviews - only previews. Other EVIL cameras are apparently coming. With any luck, we'll have a number of announcements at PMA. But if you don't hear about a new camera that really catches your attention by the end of the month, then I say move on with your purchase plans and don't look back.

Finally, you mention a budget of 500 quid. While the micro four-thirds cameras appear to be what you want at the moment - and you might be able to swing one with a kit lens at your budget limit - adding more lenses down the road will add up.

Now there are a few entry-level DSLRs that might give you what you want:

The Pentax K-x with a two-lens kit can be had in the U.S. for $644.95:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=651672&is=REG

The Olympus E-620 with a two-lens kit can be had for $657.95:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=607510&is=REG

And the Sony A330 two-len kits can be had in the U.S. for $679.99 until February 28 (regular price $749.99):

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search...tialSearch=yes

All three cameras offer Live View in case you can't work with the viewfinders. And the two-lens kits should meet most of your needs for a while. The price of all three might meet your budget or at least be close to 500 quid if it's a simple conversion from U.S. dollars to pounds. But if there are heavy taxes involved, maybe they'll be too expensive. If that's the case, maybe it's back to the cheapest Olympus Pen with one lens.
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 7:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tullio View Post
You are going all over the place. First you should decided whether having the long focal length (long zoom) is a MUST or not. By doing this quick exercise, you'll eliminate a bunch of possible contenders from one side or another. The three cameras you just mentioned are great but have very short FL (less than 5x). The LX3 is probably the best because it has a very fast and excellent Leica lens....
I know... and that's why I posted here! The zoom isn't a 'must' but I would like the option - looking back at my library, I used the 300mm end of my 70-300 a fair bit (i.e. 480mm), and likewise I did an awful lot with just the 50mm f/1.8. For me, I wasn't happy with my 17-85 as an 'everyday' lens both from a range and depth of field perspective (and to be fair, the 50mm was a bit long on the 40D too).

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Originally Posted by Biro View Post
.. having said all that, here's my advice to you: You said you want bokeh back in your life. So scratch any camera with a sensor smaller than four-thirds/micro four-thirds off of your list.

You said you prefer an LCD rather than a viewfinder (I don't understand why a viewfinder's diopter adjustment won't work for you after taking your glasses off - but I take you at your word). Advantage: Panasonic GF1 and the Olympus Pens.

Other possibilities include the Samsung NX10 - but once again I urge you to wait: No one has seen a production model yet and there are no real reviews - only previews. Other EVIL cameras are apparently coming. With any luck, we'll have a number of announcements at PMA. But if you don't hear about a new camera that really catches your attention by the end of the month, then I say move on with your purchase plans and don't look back.

Finally, you mention a budget of 500 quid. While the micro four-thirds cameras appear to be what you want at the moment - and you might be able to swing one with a kit lens at your budget limit - adding more lenses down the road will add up....
OK, first the viewfinder thing.... With my glasses on, I couldn't quite see everything in the vf (not quite enough eye-relief I believe), and with them off, there wasn't enough diopter adjustment - or rather, I need astigmatism correction which isn't available. I just couldn't shoot with my left eye open, and I can only presume that the process of focussing on the viewfinder with my right eye and firmly shutting my left presented blurry vision and inability to focus when I stopped using the camera....... Maybe a DSLR with more eye relief (so I could keep my glasses on) or a 'prescription' viewfinder lens with the appropriate correction would have helped, but I think both these options would have cost a fair amount of money. It seems composing on the LCD is the best option for the most comfortable experience.

I will wait until the next few weeks of announcements have been made... promise (!), but I would like to get this sorted soon. My budget isn't 500, rather I'd like to spend as little as possible to get the desired result... I was simply curious what you would recommend buying at that price point considering what I am trying to achieve.

One part of me wants to just go out and get a 50D with 18-200 and 28mm f/1.8 USM.... (or other manufacturer equivalent)

Another part really likes the idea of a GF1 with 14-140 and 20mm because of the similar results but reduced size.... (or the Olympus E-PL1)

Then again, I can see a Fuji HS10 and Panasonic LX3 covering (almost) every base and being a lot more 'convenient'...

Analysing my photo library, and thinking about what I want to do with my new camera doesn't help me get closer to a conclusion (or maybe it does)....

I want the zoom range, I'd like creative control over depth of field/bokeh, I'd like good live-view composition, I'd like not to carry about lots of lenses but most of all, I want "photographs" and not "snapshots"...... I don't think all that is possible with one camera, unless I go back down the DSLR route.

Aaarrgh!!!
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 11:43 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mrmacmusic View Post
I will wait until the next few weeks of announcements have been made... promise (!), but I would like to get this sorted soon. My budget isn't 500, rather I'd like to spend as little as possible to get the desired result... I was simply curious what you would recommend buying at that price point considering what I am trying to achieve.
Oh... the only reason I was using that budget amount is because you mentioned it in your original post. If you don't have that kind of budget, many more possibilities are open to you.

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One part of me wants to just go out and get a 50D with 18-200 and 28mm f/1.8 USM.... (or other manufacturer equivalent). Another part really likes the idea of a GF1 with 14-140 and 20mm because of the similar results but reduced size.... (or the Olympus E-PL1)
Given what you said about preferring the LCD to a viewfinder for now, I think the GF1 with those two lenses is the perfect solution for you. Those two lenses would continue to give excellent service even if you move on to other micro four-thirds cameras in the future.

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Then again, I can see a Fuji HS10 and Panasonic LX3 covering (almost) every base and being a lot more 'convenient'.
The Fuji has caught my attention as well - it seems like a fantastic camera on paper and might make an excellent all-in-one solution. But its 1/2.3 sensor limits one in terms of narrowing depth of field. At the heart of it, the Fuji is a well-equipped point-and-shoot digicam. It still has my interest - but more as a vacation camera that would be available whenever carrying around my DSLR kit is impractical and I still need the zoom range.

The LX3: I own this camera and it's great. But remember its zoom range is 24-60mm. That's not a lot. It's kind of like having a slightly more flexible, fixed focal length, normal prime on a DSLR. If you choose the LX3, you'll be zooming with your feet. Also, while its 1/1.6 sized sensor is larger than those in most digicams (approximately the same size as the sensor in Canon's G11 - another camera you might consider), it's still substantially smaller than four-thirds/micro four-thirds or APS-C. So there will still be challenges in terms of noise in low light or at high ISOs - and depth of field. That doesn't mean you can't take some great photos with the LX3, the G11, or almost any digicam. But you'll have to understand, accept and work around those limitations. Plus the GF1 would be nearly as convenient as the LX3.

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Originally Posted by mrmacmusic View Post
I want the zoom range, I'd like creative control over depth of field/bokeh, I'd like good live-view composition, I'd like not to carry about lots of lenses but most of all, I want "photographs" and not "snapshots"...... I don't think all that is possible with one camera, unless I go back down the DSLR route. Aaarrgh!!!
Stop and take a deep breath. It'll be fine. See what comes out of PMA. But if there's nothing there that does it for you, I think you can actually get everything (or nearly everything) you're asking for with the Panasonic GF1 and the two lenses (14-140 and 20) we talked about above.

Last edited by Biro; Feb 7, 2010 at 11:55 AM.
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 1:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Biro View Post
Stop and take a deep breath. It'll be fine. See what comes out of PMA. But if there's nothing there that does it for you, I think you can actually get everything (or nearly everything) you're asking for with the Panasonic GF1 and the two lenses (14-140 and 20) we talked about above.
Deep breath taken....LOL!! Thanks biro.

I will definitely need to find somewhere to check out the GF1 properly, and it would make sense to look at the Olympus E-PL1 too wouldn't you say? They seem to offer very similar features, and whilst I wasn't really in favour of the 'classic' styling of the E-P1, the PL1 is more palatable. Olympus lenses appear to cost a bit less due to them not having stabilisation built in too...

The Fuji HS10 has very much caught my interest though too, and having learned my lesson about waiting (!), I'm definitely checking it out. Lots of questions still unanswered at this point of course, and no sample images as of yet....

Coming back briefly to the LX3, I wonder if it would be more worth having this "in my pocket" rather than the 20mm f/1.7 Panny (or 17mm f/2.8 Oly) pancake lens...? Similar cost.

Of course, PMA could throw up something interesting from Canon and I'd be surprised if Panasonic didn't announce something in response to the E-PL1..... we shall see, shortly (hopefully!!).
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 3:25 PM   #15
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Deep breath taken....LOL!! Thanks biro.

I will definitely need to find somewhere to check out the GF1 properly, and it would make sense to look at the Olympus E-PL1 too wouldn't you say? They seem to offer very similar features, and whilst I wasn't really in favour of the 'classic' styling of the E-P1, the PL1 is more palatable. Olympus lenses appear to cost a bit less due to them not having stabilisation built in too...
The E-PL1 could very well be an option - it fixes most of the shortcomings of its two brethren and offers a built-in flash as well. What's more, its long lens is expected to be 14-150mm, which will have a bit more zoom at the long end. The only drawback might be with Olympus's 17mm fast prime, which only offers f/2.8 - quite good but not as good as the Panasonic 20mm with its f/1.7.

But remember: This is micro four-thirds we're talking about. There is nothing preventing you from buying an Olympus E-PL1 and putting Panasonic's 20mm lens on it. Or putting Olympus's 20mm prime on the GF1. But the most cost-effective arrangement might be the Olympus camera and lens.

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Originally Posted by mrmacmusic View Post
Coming back briefly to the LX3, I wonder if it would be more worth having this "in my pocket" rather than the 20mm f/1.7 Panny (or 17mm f/2.8 Oly) pancake lens...? Similar cost.
This will ultimately be a decision based on personal preference on your part. But I suggest you hold both the LX3 and the GF1 (or E-PL1) and compare. The LX3 will be smaller... but will the GF1 fit in the same pocket or bag when equipped with the prime lens? While small, even the LX3 isn't what I'd call a shirt-pocket camera. Jacket pocket, yes. So its smaller size may or may not make a practical difference for you.

And you still have the issue of depth of field with the LX3. Granted, that is somewhat mitigated by the f/2.0 aperture of its lens. But I'm sure the GF1 with its larger sensor, combined with the 20mm f/1.7, will do a bit better.

On the other hand, the LX3 gives you a much wider 24mm at f/2.0. The GF1 gives you 40mm (effective) with its fast prime. There is no right or wrong answer here. If having an LX3 along with the other camera makes you happy, how can that be wrong? The LX3 is still a fine camera. Remember, this is a hobby. It's supposed to be fun. And if you buy certain cameras or lenses over others simply because they please you more, you need no further justification than that.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Last edited by Biro; Feb 7, 2010 at 3:30 PM.
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 6:43 PM   #16
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with the m4/3 form oly, you can get an MMF adapter, and use the oly zuikos lenses form the e-series DSLR. Panny can use the oly zuikos lenses also.
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Old Feb 9, 2010, 3:45 PM   #17
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Waiting patiently(!).

Having seen Canon announce their 550D, and with possibilities of Lumix 'G' updates in early March, I'm now wondering about the differences in autofocus performance between these two designs.....

Unless I've missed something, the 550D whilst still being a traditional DSLR with mirror does seem to offer contrast AF based "live-view", which is presumably similar to the system on mirror-less models like the Lumix G/GF/GH and Olympus Pen range.

How do the live-view systems compare..? I wondered whether composing and focusing on the m4/3rds cameras is more refined/faster/accurate since it's the only way to actually see through the lens, focus and meter. It appears that both the GF1 and E-PL1 offer a feature which simulates shutter speed on the screen, effectively giving you a preview of motion blur in your photo (and video), which is pretty cool....

What about other comparisons between the 550D (with 18-200) and the GH1 with 14-140..? Does one offer significantly better low-light/high ISO performance than the other? What about the differences in live-view between them...?
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Old Feb 9, 2010, 3:53 PM   #18
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The 550 will out perform the GH1 in low light and higher ISO. The T1i already does that also, just in the fact that it is an aps-c vs 4/3. I really do not use live view much. Only use it when doing tripod work, were the shots are set. Not requiring to much stress on a fast AF system. So I do not know how the honestly compare to the pen and panny evf and lcd.
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Old Feb 9, 2010, 4:46 PM   #19
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Before you do anything check out the Panasonic G1 or GH1 if you want to also do video. The camera Im looking forward to the Panasonic NX10. If its what I expect, Im getting it for sure.
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Old Feb 9, 2010, 5:17 PM   #20
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Before you do anything check out the Panasonic G1 or GH1 if you want to also do video. The camera Im looking forward to the Panasonic NX10....
Cheers Bynx. Video isn't my number one priority, but it is something I want to be able to get into - I have seen some very nice footage shot with a GH1, but equally, the 7D is very nice with 50mm f/1.4 or 17-55 f/2.8 glass on the front. Shame that is out my budget though!!

Presumably you meant Samsung NX10..? For me, this shows promise, but the proprietary lens fitting is a turn off. Apparently, there's a Pentax mount adaptor, but from what I've read, this isn't intelligent, so it's manual all the way.... OK if you're happy to stick with Samsung lenses I guess! Maybe I'm wrong, but it strikes me that the GH1 (and 550D) would offer significantly more lens choices in the long run, including fast wide apertures for nice shallow depth-of-field videography work.

Of course, now I have to wait until Focus-on-Imaging in March to see what updates Panasonic have in mind for the Lumix and 'G' range in particular!!
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