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Old Feb 18, 2010, 8:48 PM   #1
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Default Panasonic GH1 or Canon 550D

Hi. I know 550D isn't here yet, so for sake of the argument let's assume IQ is similar to 7D (regardless of fps, viewfinder e.t.c.). Now, I mostly shoot landscapes, macro and portraits, max ISO about 800, tripod, I am sure I will use video once I have it. Shooting in RAW and PP all the time. I had 40D, 5D, got fed up with weight and size, now I am looking for anything smaller, lighter with good IQ. Both systems has their pro and con, as I see it:

Canon - bigger sensor, more MP, more lenses, better high ISO, better LCD (but not swivel), smaller DOF (if needed), less difraction

Panasonic - bigger VF (but dead in low light), more possibility of future progress (or am I wrong here?), swivel LCD, better bracketing option, AF in video, better DOF preview, more alternate lens options

Price-wise they both came very close to each other, size and weight are both acceptable. My main concern is DOF (I like to be able t control it) and color/sharpness quality. I like Canons, never tried Panasonic, Canon looks better on paper spec-wise, but Panasonic with 4/3 sensor has brighter future. Anybody's welcome to share your point of view, thanks for that.
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Old Feb 18, 2010, 9:00 PM   #2
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If you have the lenses form your other canon, I would go with the 550D. Less of an investment. And Panny is very limited on it's lenses still. It can only use panny and olympus lenses right now with AF in M4/3. And only olympus lenses with 4/3 with AF.

I will be getting a oly epl-1 in april, and I find that even my 500D is a bit big for some of my travel needs. M4/3 has it's place. But I know it's limits, so it will only augment my 500D.

Also if Auto Focus is not a concern, M4/3 has over 600 MF lens option with the different adapters out on the market.
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Old Feb 18, 2010, 9:02 PM   #3
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Also panny lenses are really expensive. If you are looking for a big aperture lens, m4/3 will be very pricey with AF.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 3:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calboy87 View Post
Hi. I know 550D isn't here yet, so for sake of the argument let's assume IQ is similar to 7D (regardless of fps, viewfinder e.t.c.). Now, I mostly shoot landscapes, macro and portraits, max ISO about 800, tripod, I am sure I will use video once I have it. Shooting in RAW and PP all the time. I had 40D, 5D, got fed up with weight and size, now I am looking for anything smaller, lighter with good IQ. Both systems has their pro and con, as I see it:

Canon - bigger sensor, more MP, more lenses, better high ISO, better LCD (but not swivel), smaller DOF (if needed), less difraction

Panasonic - bigger VF (but dead in low light), more possibility of future progress (or am I wrong here?), swivel LCD, better bracketing option, AF in video, better DOF preview, more alternate lens options

Price-wise they both came very close to each other, size and weight are both acceptable. My main concern is DOF (I like to be able t control it) and color/sharpness quality. I like Canons, never tried Panasonic, Canon looks better on paper spec-wise, but Panasonic with 4/3 sensor has brighter future. Anybody's welcome to share your point of view, thanks for that.
Having sold my 40D (and associated lenses) for a number of reasons, including size and weight, I sympathise with your situation.

As shoturtle says, if you still have a collection of Canon lenses, you're off to a better start with the 550D for sure, and the lens options for the GH1 are more limited, although with adaptors you could probably stick just about anything on the front of one (although this is also true of the Canon!).

It's early days for m4/3, so no doubt we will see more m4/3 specific lenses with time, but until every base is covered, you won't truly see the benefit of a smaller, lighter package. It's worth noting that because - like Canon - the GH1 doesn't have in-body stabilisation, the lenses themselves have IS and are therefore larger than similar m4/3 choices from Olympus. Of course, if you're using a tripod, this doesn't necessarily come into the equation, as you could opt for smaller, lighter Olympus m4/3 lenses and retain AF on the GH1.

There are indeed pros and cons to both, which I think you've got just about right, although what do you mean by 'smaller DOF' on the Canon side of things... the APS-C sensor in the Canon is only a little bigger than the 4/3rds in the GH1, so physics won't play as big a role here as if you were comparing a compact to a DSLR - the biggest factor in how shallow your depth of field will be, is the aperture of your lens(es). I know you knew that, but I thought I'd emphasise the point ;-)

As I see it, there aren't many options for fast primes on the Panasonic unless you go manual operation - the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 is about the same price as the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, and arguably, the 50mm would be the better 'portrait' option on APS-C (although still maybe a bit short).... the 20mm Pana is a great standard prime lens on m4/3rds and allows for low-light work and creative use of DOF.

If you like Canons, well...... I recently went to town to try the Panasonic GF1 and Olympus E-P1 alongside a 500D. Both the m4/3 options felt really good, and once I got them in my hands, I liked different things about both. The only thing I would say, is that as soon as I picked up the 500D and put it to my eye, it was like being "home"..... It's all about the feel, so you need to try out the Panasonic before you make any decision.

Like you, I'm searching for a smaller package that still produces great images, and allows for creative use of shallow DOF, and I would say that the GF1 (not GH1) with 20mm 'pancake' lens is a superb option, although, I'm concerned about handling with a long telephoto lens, where I think a 'grip' would be preferred.

It remains to be seen how good the 550D is, particularly at video and live-view (one of my key criteria). Given that your main criteria is to be able to control DOF, and by this I presume you mean that you want to employ very shallow DOF effects, I suspect a 550D coupled with 15-85 and 60mm macro EF-S lenses (doubling up as a portrait lens) would just about cover your landscape, macro and portrait requirements, and keep to a relatively compact 2-lens outfit.

Decisions, decisions!!
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 5:24 AM   #5
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I didn't mention having few Olympus OM lenses (35/2, 50/1.4 and 50/3.5 Macro) which I used on 5D. As I am planning to keep whole setup small, I will either go with GH1, 14-140, 7-14 and Olympus lenses, or 550D, 18-55 kit, 10-22, and either Olympus lenses or Canon 30/2 and 55/1.4. That way my set won't go over 1 kg (2.2 pounds) in any combo. Having .8 tripod whole thing would be lighter than my old Manfrotto 055 with 322 ballhead!
If no for few niceties of 4/3 Canon would be clear winner, I really think IQ wise is a bit better, but GH1 got few nice things I want to have (and which never will come to Canon):
-live preview of DOF and shutter speed
-articulated LCD
-EVF with live histogram in it
-multi option bracketing (3/5/7 shots at 1/3, 2/3,1 stop)
-option to get baby 4/3 (GF1, Pen) and use same lenses
All those are tempting, but not essential, that's why I am on the fence. As mentioned: decisions, decisions !
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 5:43 AM   #6
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...unless of course Canon bring out an EVIL/mirrorless body!! Admittedly, the live preview of DOF and shutter speed is a very nice feature, and the multi-bracketing 5/7 frames is especially useful for HDR post-processing.

Any particular reason why you wouldn't go for the 'baby' body from the outset...? Since you shoot with a tripod and only up to ISO800, I see no particular reason why the GF1 or PEN (E-P2 perhaps) wouldn't suit you perfectly, particularly as you already have some nice OM prime lenses...?
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 7:30 AM   #7
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Pen or GF1 look good,but I really like using viewfinder and the ones coming as auxiliary are too small...so both babies 4/3 would be my second camera,also I will dive in video (once I have it) and 14-140 lens coming with GH1 would be perfect for daytime video work. On Canon side I would probably check how Olympus lenses are performing and either keep them or trade them for Canon 35/2 or 50/4, maybe with 85/1.8, depending on needs.

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Old Feb 19, 2010, 9:05 AM   #8
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The OLY evf for the EP2 and EPL-1 is not small at all, it is 100% view and it is actually larger then my 500D VF
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 6:14 AM   #9
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I don't mind the size of GH1, only factor I am concerned is weight. Also apparently GH1 EVF is huge, almost size of Canon Mark Ds series. I am sure I would like to have it, than again, I don't shoot much in dark, so 550D OVF might be good enough for me
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