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Old Mar 2, 2010, 3:03 PM   #1
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Default What about Panasonic SLRs?

Hi, being in a search for a SLR, now I'm widing the horizons and looking all options in the market to be able to decide in store...

I found the Panasonic DMC-GH1, a SLR "four-thirds" sensor. It has all the three features I'm looking for: Tilt LCD (460k mid range resolution), Live View and Movie recording (full HD, full frame rate). It has a nice range of features, as a kit lens 28-280mm eq, stabilization on lens...

It does not seem to be a pro-level camera, looking the size and speed (ISO 3200, 3 fps burst). How do you place this camera in the market? (entry-level, prosumer, semi-pro...)

But my main doubt is about the sensor, very smaller than the APS-C (despite bigger than the Prosumer fixed lens cameras 1/2.33"). Should it cause significant low quality images compared to APS-C (like Nikon D5000, Pentax K-X)?

Will the sensor size be much significant in low light performance? (stil comparing with entry-levels Nikon D5000, Pentax K-X)


Parallel to this, I found a intersting category, between SLR and fixed lens - the compact interchangable lenses, where there is the Panasonic GF1 and the new generation Olympus Pen. How can we evaluate the quality of this category? A bit lower than any dSLR, but still better than prosumers like Nikon P90?
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 4:47 PM   #2
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This is not a slr, it is a evil. It has the best live view out there. You can do a 5 frame bracket, so it is great for hdr. Remember the crop factor for 4/3 is 2x.

But it does not perform well after 800iso form some of the member that shoot it. Also it is a m4/3 system, so the sensor is smaller then the aps-c cameras. With the M4/3 system, you can use any lens design for m4/3 and it will AF fine. There are limited regular 4/3 lenses that will work with it. Right now there are only panasonic and olympus m4/3 lenses on the market. Panny lenses are pretty expensive. But Sigma is suppose to be in development of some new m4/3 lenses.

I just got a m4/3 camera, and it is pretty compact very good for traveling. And with my olympus epl-1 the best you can except in iso performance is 1250 iso, and acceptable at 1600iso, but in a pinch and if you are willing to accept the noise, you can use 3200iso. So if low light is a must, m4/3 is not the best choice.

If you want to see an example of m4/3 iso performance you can check out my thread on first impression of the epl-1. I have included some samples at the higher iso range.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ol...mpression.html
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 10:44 PM   #3
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Short answer, the sensor in that camera actually very slightly outperforms the Canon 500D, though not as good as the Nikon D5000 (and early tests have it very slightly behind the new 550D).

As for the size compared to 1/2.33, well :

(1/2.33)**2=.184
(4/3)**2=1.77

So the area of that sensor is over 9 times as large as that typical compact. It's also about 5.7 times the area of the larger 1/1.7 sensors (like the G10). Meanwhile, the area in a Canon APS-C is about 1.37 times as large as the 4/3 sensor.

I should point out thought that is the best performing sensor yet made for 4/3; most of the 4/3 sensors aren't beating the 500D or matching the 550D, more typically the slightly smaller size means sacrificing about a half stop of high ISO and/or dynamic range.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 10:56 PM   #4
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As well as the chart may say the sensor is. It will not perform well after 800iso. A regular poster in the HDR forum who shoots the G1 has said that it gets really noise at high anything pass 800iso.

So I would take the charts stats with a healthy amount of reality. 4/3 or m4/3 has a iso limit, with the oly it is at 1250iso. The panasonic seems to be around 800iso according to some g1 owners.

I have a m4/3 camera also.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:00 PM   #5
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I just realized that the Panasonic GH-1 is not a SLR when reading Steve's review: "Because the GH1 is a mirror-less camera"... It really seems a SLR!

Well, as you pointed, and as I expected, the sensibility in 4/3 is lower than APS-C. But still may be better than a "prosumer" like P90 (1/2.33"), right? So GH-1 is in an intermediate category!

I really think that it's possible to have a NEW category of Professional cameras without mirrors. Despite most photographers like the true real view of the optical viewfinder, if we have a camera in th GH-1 concept but with a APS-C or even full-frame sensor, it's possible to have a FULL professional quality camera, with high quality exchangeble lenses, with no issues related to live-view, mirror moves and camera size. But it's a question of ataptation to the interface (EVF or LCD) and of course there's a cultural question, as people tends to consider "professional" just bulky cameras with the "mirror noise"...

BTW, what's the difference between 4/3 and micro 4/3 ?
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:06 PM   #6
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It depends on what the pros shoot, The G1 and GH1 are really good camera's. Sports, no. As the technologies is not there yet to be able to match a DSLR is focus speed and AF performance. Weddings, not yet do to the low light performance, as that is the lighting environment that wedding photograph shoot in. Studio work, it is up to the task as you can control the lighting. Tripod night work it is now issue with longer shutter speeds.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:08 PM   #7
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About your review, comparing the EPL1 to the shots you did with the Canon T1i (http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wh...-prosumer.html), we can notice a different kind of noise in them. In the Canon shot the noise is lower, but harder, while in the EPL1 it's intense but softer, suggesting that some NR was performed. But it seems that both have a significant level of noise.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:09 PM   #8
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The G1 is a different camera, which performs more comparable to the Olympus Pen models, or Olypus DSLRs. The GH1 is better. It's also more expensive, but may be good value at current prices with the 14-140 package, as the lens alone is likely worth $800. Check any professional review site, high ISO performance is absolutely comparable to the 500D, or even the new 550D.

The DXO Mark test linked showed the G1 only good quality in low light to ISO 467, with the GH1 good to ISO 772 and the 550D good to ISO 807. Of course the definition of "good" here is a somewhat arbitrarily chosen standard of signal to noise, but it makes for a reasonably objective comparison at that standard.

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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:13 PM   #9
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canon is at 12,800iso, the epl-1 is at 1,250iso. Big difference in low light performance at those lower iso setting that the olympus was in, the canon has next to no noise decreeable with out a extreme crop of over 100%.

Olympus also has the best jpeg engine on the market. It process the data into a really good final copy. You do not need to do much pp editing to get the best imagine if you set everything right. So there is most likely noise reduction when it comes out of the camera.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 11:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
It depends on what the pros shoot, The G1 and GH1 are really good camera's. Sports, no. As the technologies is not there yet to be able to match a DSLR is focus speed and AF performance. Weddings, not yet do to the low light performance, as that is the lighting environment that wedding photograph shoot in. Studio work, it is up to the task as you can control the lighting. Tripod night work it is now issue with longer shutter speeds.
When I talk about a mirror-less PROFESSIONAL camera, I don't mean the GH1 - but it's concept. Consider a high resolution EVF, a processor as fast as in a Nikon D3, and a full-frame high quality sensor. Also improvements from the SLRs can be applied to the AF of this hipotetic camera. So you will have a "PRO" mirror-less camera... I think the barrier may be due marketing strategies and photographer habits.
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