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what do you really think of m4/3?
Old 11-06-2015   #1
back alley
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what do you really think of m4/3?

last weekend i attended a short seminar on studio lighting at a photo trade show...the presenter was an established fashion photographer who really seemed to know his stuff, his images were excellent.
his camera of choice was a panasonic m4/3 model...
i was amazed at the results...his only real caveat was the size of enlargements which he said he kept small, mostly 8x10s...

it got me thinking...the panasonics were nice small cameras, some of their lenses were equally small and incredibly sharp...i had one of the original panasonic m4/3 bodies along with the 14-42 lens and was impressed at first but eventually talked myself out of 4/3...

so tell me...what do you really think of the m4/3 systems?
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Old 11-06-2015   #2
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Originally Posted by back alley View Post
so tell me...what do you really think of the m4/3 systems?
The existing cameras/sensors are a poor fit for my existing lenses and the ones I'm interested in getting. I'm more interested in a fixed-lens camera at this sensor size.
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Old 11-06-2015   #3
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It's all about trade-offs.
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Old 11-06-2015   #4
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I wasn't planning on getting into the m4/3 system, but a cheap E-M1 landed in my hands. I was impressed, even when compared to the D800 sensor. Sharp lenses, sensitivity close to the X-T1 (better than Fuji for my use since I hate the blotchy noise from X-Trans) and 16MP is enough for most things really. Even after the A7rii I can't seem to abandon m4/3s.
For general shooting I believe the GX8 is they way in right now. New sensor, fast AF, 4K.
Also it has the rotating EVF that I miss so much from when I was shooting with the GXR.
The new 14-42 zoom lens looks very compact and a nice fit.
Another choice would be the E-M5ii coupled with the 17mm 1.8. I have shot with that combo and it is very fast and compact! EVF quality is the same with the X-T1. The IBIS from olympus is something unique too. You can get sharp images close to 1" of exposure.
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Old 11-06-2015   #5
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great fit for me in size (compact) and results (no giant enlargements). the viewfinder on my om-d em-5 is amazing. i am wanting a fast 50 equivalent really badly ...
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Old 11-06-2015   #6
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I just can't get into it. The Olympus E-M1 is a nice camera, and there are some really nice lenses, but I don't like the 4:3 aspect ratio. To get away from that, you need to use a cropped jpeg file. That's a no go for me too. I stick to APSC and FF 2:3 formats.
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Old 11-06-2015   #7
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I hate them, mostly because they are responsible for the rise in prices of legacy lenses. Ever since you could put adapters on M4/3 cameras and use practically any legacy lens ever made, the lenses have been priced out of my range.
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Old 11-06-2015   #8
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Had a a couple of early bodies, played around with a couple of the newer, more "pro" bodies, but never fell in love. Much happier with Fuji XF.
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Old 11-06-2015   #9
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I hardly shoot digital now, bu my Oly E-P1 and Zuiko 17/2.8 is probably my all time favorite digital camera. I sold 12x16 prints in a gallery from my E-P1.
I find the Oly 12mp sensor produces the most film (color negative) like results of any digital that I've used.
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Old 11-06-2015   #10
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Apsc sensors are still the sweet spot in terms of price, high ISO performance and overall weight for body and/or lens IMHO.

The m43 world has a vast selection of lens compared to Fuji or Sony, second only to Canikon world. Where I feel m43 really shines is telephoto work. Especially combined w/ the 5 axis Olympus image stabilization system. However, just about the really long tele options from Panasonic and Olympus are zooms. W/ the 2x lens factor, a 600 fov lens is going to be smaller if not lighter than their counterpart from any other sensor size outside of 1 inch.

Me personally...I like the Panasonic over the Olympus.. They have a range of cameras from the most compact (gm series w/ pancake 12-32 zoom) to bigger pseudo dslr like gh series and everything in-between including new gx8 (biggest mp sensor on m43 at 20mp and ibis).

M43 af speed has always been really good. In most cases better than anything else in mirrorless...however, I have not found so-far a good continuos focus tracking capability from either Panasonic or Olympus that satisfies my need for taking shots of birds in flight. Mainly depend on old style techniques, pre-af days.

In terms of dynamic range, the sensor in general are about 1/2 to 1 stop less that the bigger sensor cameras.

If u like to shot street or take a small light package on vacation, something like lx100, gm5 or gx7 would be great for this.

For me personally, I find the gm series too small and I don't like touch screens. I usually turn off touch screens unless I need it. The problem w/ gm series is a lot of the controls are via touch screen. The bigger gx series feels more comfortable to me.

The Olympus omd series is really a nice camera. I just never got along w/ the menu system. The pen series has no built in evf. Depending on model they do have optional evf add on. Just about the same size as the gx series from Panasonic.

My main camera system of choice will always be Fuji x series. But for long tele work, I always use m43.

For vacations, I have settled on the lx100 or the Fuji xt1 (depends on situation) mainly. If there is a chance for shots of animals or birds on vacation, then the gx7 w/ 12-32 on camera and 45-200 in the bag.

If I was ever forced to only have one camera system...it would be Fuji, but the lx100 would be the hardest to part w/.

Hope that helps
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Old 11-06-2015   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
I just can't get into it. The Olympus E-M1 is a nice camera, and there are some really nice lenses, but I don't like the 4:3 aspect ratio. To get away from that, you need to use a cropped jpeg file. That's a no go for me too. I stick to APSC and FF 2:3 formats.
This is my deal. 4:3 is weird.
That and I like easy to accomplish subject isolation. APS-c is the smallest format I would consider.


If I was shooting longer or wider I would think 4:3 is good but for me it's about environmental Portraits most of the time.
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Old 11-06-2015   #12
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Originally Posted by paulfish4570 View Post
great fit for me in size (compact) and results (no giant enlargements). the viewfinder on my om-d em-5 is amazing. i am wanting a fast 50 equivalent really badly ...
While the pana/Leica 25 is an outstanding lens, have u considered the 20f1.7 from Panasonic?

Gary
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Old 11-06-2015   #13
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I still use m4/3 a little, when I want a lighter, smaller camera than my Fuji X. As far as the aspect ratio, it's nice to have a more square format sometimes. I shoot Wholeplate (6.5 x 8.5) for that reason, and it's the same ratio.

For shooting cine lenses, which I like to do, most will cover m43. Most won't cover the APS-C.
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Old 11-06-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
This is my deal. 4:3 is weird.
That and I like easy to accomplish subject isolation. APS-c is the smallest format I would consider.


If I was shooting longer or wider I would think 4:3 is good but for me it's about environmental Portraits most of the time.
If u don't mind losing some mp, just switch to 3:2 aspect ratio.. I don't remember off the top, but may around 12-14mp effective from a typical 16mp m43 sensor.

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Old 11-06-2015   #15
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M43 is my "main" digital camera, a Lumix G5. I love the flip-out LCD, invaluable for video work, especially if I'm the subject.

I do love using "legacy" lenses, although I prefer wider angles of view, hence a 24mm lens is about as wide as I can find in film camera-era lenses that are still affordable. For moderate telephoto lengths, any old fast 50mm lens works great in the context of nightclub band photography.

I know many here eschew the format under the premise that there's not enough "subject isolation," but I find just the opposite; in many cases I've chosen the little Fujifilm X10 over the m43 camera because I need more DOF, not less.

In any case, M43 is a great format, and I love the Lumix bodies; though in all fairness I haven't tried the Olys.

Regarding aspect ratio, I will often crop the raw images in post, depending on what they need; comparing 1:1 between APS-C and M43, they're pretty close, as the sensor heights are similar; it's the APS-C that has a significantly wider sensor than M43.

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Old 11-06-2015   #16
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I switched from Nikon DSLR's (after having been a Nikon shooter for decades), and went to the m4/3 system back in 2009. I have never looked back. For what I shoot, the system is almost perfect. I currently shoot a Panasonic GX-7 and a G5 with a variety of lenses, including the Pana/Leica 25 1.4, which is a superb lens.
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Old 11-06-2015   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryLH View Post
If u don't mind losing some mp, just switch to 3:2 aspect ratio.. I don't remember off the top, but may around 12-14mp effective from a typical 16mp m43 sensor.

Gary
But jpeg only...
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Old 11-06-2015   #18
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I'm a lousy photographer who depends heavily on cropping. Small sensors just don't offer me enough to make me look somewhat competent. I have the E-PL1 and 17 still standing by however, it's a nice little street rig.
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Old 11-06-2015   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
But jpeg only...
Not with E-M1/E-M5ii that I have used. You do have the full resolution, but you see with a 2:3 aspect ratio.
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Old 11-06-2015   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
But jpeg only...
On the lx100 it is maintained even in raw..effective mp remains 12mp no matter what aspect ratio. This is unique to lx family if I remember correctly. On the gx7, off the top..I don't remember the answer since I normally use 4:3 aspect ratio.

Gary
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Old 11-06-2015   #21
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When I want compact, my XM-1 with 27, is perfect and the results are the same as from my XE-2.

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Old 11-06-2015   #22
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My next digital will be micro 4:3 because of use of legacy lenses and compact size. My only DSLR has been 4:3, an Olympus E-410. As Frank S. says, a trade off. It is about what checks off the most boxes. I've always valued compact and light weight. In the 70's I had an Olympus Pen F and now I own one again. Just cannot get away from the 4:3 ratio I guess.
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Old 11-06-2015   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by back alley View Post
so tell me...what do you really think of the m4/3 systems?
I owned a small Panasonic with the Nocticron and I think 17mm Summicron. In the end, never bonded with the "almost square" aspect ratio. And I did not like the DOF penalty compared to even entry level DSLRs.
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Old 11-06-2015   #24
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I have Oly cameras, the EM5 Elite and EM5 Mk II. I like a small camera and the quality of images are fine, to me at least. Recently got the Panaleica 25 1.4 and have decide to sell my Panasonic 20mm 1.7 and Sigma 30mm f2. My other fave lens is the Zuiko 12mm f2, probably my main lens. The Zuiko 45mm 1.8 rarely gets used.
I shoot mainly street stuff and the quality of the shots are really good. As for the menus, they are a little busy but I rarely go into them now I have them set how I want.
I have been trying out some legacy lenses too. They give pretty good results. I've used the Jupiter-8 and a Canon Serenar 50 1.8.
As with most discussions here it's a case of each to their own.

Paul
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Old 11-06-2015   #25
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RAW with my em-5 set at 3:2 ...
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Old 11-06-2015   #26
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i think i need to give it a serious try. my use has been half-hearted, but m43 is really quite good at this point.

i was recently on vacation and hated carrying around apsc size dslr gear. the "best" lens i brought was rarely used because i didn't want to carry it, and i didn't want to walk around with an attention grabbing big lens on the body. so next vacation will probably be m43.

interestingly, most of the other cameras i saw were sony nex, or whatever it is they call it now. in second place were gopros (or something like it) on a stick, which a lot of older folks had. dslrs were rare. i also saw less people taking photos with tablets than i've seen in the past.
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Old 11-06-2015   #27
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Quote:
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On the lx100 it is maintained even in raw..effective mp remains 12mp no matter what aspect ratio. This is unique to lx family if I remember correctly. On the gx7, off the top..I don't remember the answer since I normally use 4:3 aspect ratio.

Gary

I have to admit the LX100 is still very interesting. If a trade ever shows up I'll try and swing it in.
It's hard to justify any purchases when I look at my current stable. It's pretty much a filled at every area of need.
Still, the LX100 is the zoom lens "compact" that I would hope to have someday.
Like a Fuji x30 with a big sensor. Truly intriguing
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Old 11-06-2015   #28
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I find myself looking at the bodies semi frequently, they're well specced, and decently priced for the most part, and I start getting all tempted.

For my use, I'd want a smallish body, fast af and approximately a 50mm equivalent lens.

I price up bodies, get all interested, and then look for the lens I'd be after, and then I find myself going "these aren't really that much cheaper than stuff for the APSC/FF bodies I have" and I've talked myself out of it.

I think there's a bunch of good m4/3 equipment, and I see really good video work done with them, I just can't square the value proposition for me right now.
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Old 11-06-2015   #29
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I have looked a few times at those systems but always I turn away. No ovf available is a real problem for me, just can't get used to them. A bit too small to fit well in my hands. I'm more of a wide lens person so anything wider than 35mm eq is something I rarely use which makes that using legacy glass (which is touted as a plus) is just a no-go. A bit too much video oriented which is something that doesn't appeal me at all. I could see it as a fixed lens camera.

Quote:
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interestingly, most of the other cameras i saw were sony nex, or whatever it is they call it now. in second place were gopros (or something like it) on a stick, which a lot of older folks had. dslrs were rare. i also saw less people taking photos with tablets than i've seen in the past.
Don't know where you spend your holiday but I rarely see anything but dslr's. And that is the whole range from entry model to high-end with expensive glass. Then come the phones and p&s, then the tablets. And very exceptionally I see a mirrorless. And more often a Fuji than a Sony, if it is a Sony it is a A7, never a NEX.

I once a year see a 4/3 camera and that is at a music festival where someone of the press uses one. Otherwise I never see them in the wild. About the same occurence as film cameras (that would be me at that festival ).
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Old 11-06-2015   #30
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It's perfect for the small amount of digital shooting I do. I have a Panasonic Lumix GX-1 with Panasonic 20mm f1.7 and 7-14mm zoom lenses. And a Leica adapter that allows me to use all of my Leica and Canon screw mount lenses and Leica M-mount lenses. And my cost to get it was WAY more reasonable than other options. My motto is: digital is for sharing and film is for caring, so the M4/3 Lumix is perfect for me. And I've never had to turn it in for sensor repair, etc......
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Old 11-06-2015   #31
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Don't know where you spend your holiday but I rarely see anything but dslr's. And that is the whole range from entry model to high-end with expensive glass. Then come the phones and p&s, then the tablets. And very exceptionally I see a mirrorless. And more often a Fuji than a Sony, if it is a Sony it is a A7, never a NEX.
this was in hawaii. perhaps the hot weather discourages heavy kit, i was certainly expecting to see more dslrs. at sunrise or sunset i would see a handful of dslrs at scenic spots, but that wasn't the norm just visting scenic sites during the day.

i saw a couple of m43 users, but most seemed to be what i thought were sony nex - they certainly weren't dslrs. i was surprised to see so many sony's, i didn't realize so many people use them.
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Old 11-06-2015   #32
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I initially got into m4/3 for video purposes, and now use a Panasonic GH4 along with a G6 for backup or B roll. Video files are excellent.

The full-frame cameras are still used for most commercial still shooting, but I do on occasion pull out the GH4 for its quiet electronic shutter. Low ISO files are really quite good, but m4/3 doesn't yet match full-frame at higher ISO speeds.

An old Pano G3 and Oly EP-2 have become my daily carry-everywhere cameras, so cheap that I don't worry about them, but they are very capable for casual street shooting. I agree with Swift1, that the early 12mp Pen cameras have beautiful colors.

I wish Sigma would release an m4/3 mount Foveon-chip camera!
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Old 11-06-2015   #33
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I wish Sigma would release an m4/3 mount Foveon-chip camera!
+1

Whether m43 or apsc, a csc foveon based sensor would be great. If Panasonic would team up w/ sigma...

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Old 11-06-2015   #34
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I bought an M4/3 camera - the Panasonic GF1. Its a fine camera and has that Panasonic rendering which I have found to be very good. But I don't see it so much as a replacement for SLR cameras so much as a replacement for my small sensor pocket cameras where the comparatively larger sensor gives better dynamic range in a body that is not all that much larger.

Having said this I also have Sony NEX cameras (a couple of models including the NEX 7). I do think they have reached the point there they are a viable alternative to DSLRs particularly in relation to dynamic range / image quality where I can shoot easily at ISO 1600 with little visible grain. But the shortcoming of NEX is the system needs more lenses.

I am planning a trip to Japan next year that will involve a good deal of walking along the Nakasendo and so will be inclined to not take my D700 (or more problematically the large pro lenses that go with it) all of which would need to be carried over long stretches of terrain. So I plan to take the NEX system. I may take an M4/3 as back up, the main advantage of which is that the lens range is better. Speaking of which I own a Sigma 30mm f2.8 (excellent lens) the Olympus 45mm f 1.8 and the Olympus 60mm macro f2.8 both of which are also excellent performers.

In summary all sensors are getting better and I freely admit my M4/3 camera is older so performs less well. But something like the NEX has a natural advantage due to its significantly larger sensor size. If that is not an issue for you then M4/3 may be fine. I could imagine it being useful in a studio setting where light can be controlled and dynamic range is less of an issue. But I am still not convinced that this is the case out in the field.
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Old 11-06-2015   #35
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It is an excellent system overall. I use it mainly with my Rolleiflex SL lenses: Zeiss 35/1.4, 50/1.4, 85/1.4.









It has built-in IS and 10x focus magnifying. It is small and light and cheap. The E-PL1 cost brand new $150 with a one year warranty.
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Old 11-06-2015   #36
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I bought into the m4/3 system a few years ago when I got an Oly E-PL1 and the Pany 20/1.7. Although I've been very tempted by the Fuji X100 series (great IQ), I've stuck with m4/3 mainly b/c of the ability to change lenses and the superb roster of excellent native lenses. I now have a Lumix GX1 and an Oly Pen E-P5 and a small handful of native glass (as well as adapters for "legacy" glass). Both the Lumix and the Pen are very compact (the GX1 especially so) and make good travel cameras. As tempting as an X100S or *T might be, for the quality of the images, I have no complaints about the image quality from the E-P5 with the Oly 17/2.8. Both the Oly and Lumix cameras have fast autofocus and pretty decent high iso performance, which is important to me since I often use digital cameras for indoor or low light photography. The AF on the E-P5 with the latest Oly lenses is lightening fast. And I feel that, with the latest Pen model, Olympus has made major strides in making the menu functions more user friendly, although I still think Panasonic has a better user interface. The m4/3 sensors have improved significantly in recent years.

I'm still first and foremost a film photographer, and a digital camera serves as a back-up on travels. If I were just starting out with digital, I might give Fuji a close look. But having started with m4/3 before the X100 appeared on the scene, I've stuck with the m4/3 system and have not regretted it.
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M2, R2A, IIIc, IVSB2, & T, and assorted LTM & M lenses
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Old 11-06-2015   #37
paulfish4570
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gary, the panny 20/1.7 looks like a winner. i'll give it look. love the flatness ...
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Old 11-06-2015   #38
trip-xa
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I want to mostly shoot film and spent my money on Leica and Voigtlander glass. I bought an E-PM2 and shoot it with the 17mm f1.8. It's nice, but it's a $400 lens on a digital sensor. You just need appropriate expectations. I think this is nice, but it's not film:

Drive Thru Bank - Wilmette, IL 2015 by Dan Fogel, on Flickr
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Old 11-06-2015   #39
Keith
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I really liked the output from my OMD when I had it but the camera felt like a toy ... too small for me.
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Old 11-06-2015   #40
kbg32
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I still use my M4/3 system quite a bit. I gave my Panasonic G1 to my wife. I currently have an Olympus OMD. I regret selling my Panasonic GF1. I really loved that camera. The lenses from both Olympus and Panasonic are quite remarkable. The files also lend themselves to black and white conversion extremely well. The color output from the OMD is fantastic.

Olympus OMD and the Panasonic 14/2.5.

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Olympus OMD and the Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 14-45/F3.5-5.6

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