[micro 4/3] Videos

(Via 43Rumors)  Nikon Shooter Daniel Cox recently packed his photo bags to go on Safari in Kenya.  In his briefcase, he packed a Panasonic Lumix GH3 (with a 100-300mm F/4-5.6 lens attached) along with a 15 inch Macbook Pro Retina, cords for two external hard drives, the drives themselves, his travel docs, cell phone and “the many incidentals all of us typically travel with.”

As Daniel puts it, “In other words, the GH3, even with the attached lens, is small.”

In another bag was 40 lbs. of Nikon gear.  During the course of his trip, Daniel got to use the GH3 in numerous real world situations.  He shot in the day and in the night.  He shot stills and video, animals and landscapes and captured just shy of 12,000 images with the GH3 (You can read about Daniel’s experiences and see photos here).  In his article, Daniel details the things that he liked and didn’t like about using the GH3, but all in all when he left Kenya, he was extremely impressed with what the little camera could do. (video above is Daniel demonstrating the touch focus feature on the GH3).

Daniel’s Conclusion…

“Overall I’m extremely happy with the results I shot on my trip to Kenya. The GH3 did a superb job, especially taking into account how inexpensive this camera is, as well as the lenses that go with it. Will this system replace my Nikons at this point? No. But I can’t help thinking the cat’s out of the bag with this Micro Four Thirds camera system. I’m quite confident that any camera company not paying serious attention to Panasonic does so at their own peril. The GH3 exceeded all expectations and will remain a major part of my current photographic tools. Don’t let it’s diminutive size fool you. It’s a serious contender.”

Buy the Panasonic Lumix GH3 on Amazon Here

I have no idea what the guys in the video above are saying, but I do know they’re talking about CP+, and they seem pretty excited.

Maybe it’s because there’s no less than FIVE (count ‘em, FIVE) micro 4/3 lenses that have been announced at the event so far.  There are the 3 new Sigma lenses that we already told you about, and there are two more, as reported by MirrorlessRumors. Looks like another banner year for micro 4/3!

First up, it’s Panasonic with an update (or replacement) to their mediocre 14-42mm kit lens.  The new 14-42mm lens will have the look of Panasonic’s X Lens Lineup and is touted to be video optimized, complete with zoom motors that are nice and quiet, and will be available with the Lumix GF5 and the Lumix G5.

Here’s the Press Release from Panasonic

Panasonic is pleased to announce a new compact standard zoom lens LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 II ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. for LUMIX G based on the Micro Four Thirds System standard. LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 II ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. offers a versatile zoom range of 14-42 mm (35 mm camera equivalent: 28-84 mm) suitable for a wide range of situations from landscape to portrait. Comprising of 9 elements in 8 groups, the lens system adopts 2 aspherical lenses to achieve further reduction of both size and weight yet maintaining its high optical performance at entire zoom range. The inner focus system driven by a stepping motor assures astonishing comfort to take maximum advantage of high speed contrast AF system and in video recording.

Panasonic’s MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) makes it easy to shoot super clear shots even at tele end or in low-lit situations by suppressing the blur caused by a hand shake.

With its minimum focus distance of 0.2 m (14-20 mm) / 0.3 m (21-42 mm) even at full zoom, the new lens provides a maximum photographic magnification of 0.17x (35 mm camera equivalent: 0.34x). 7 aperture blades consists a circular aperture diaphragm and produces an attractive smoothness in out-of-focus areas even shooting at large aperture.

The new LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 II ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. for LUMIX G is refined in its external design to offer metallic color options of black and silver to offer stylish look on the digital single lens mirrorless (DSLM) cameras of LUMIX G in shooting creative snapshots.

Lens specs
Lens type Zoom lens
Max Format size FourThirds
Focal length 14 – 42 mm
Image stabilisation Yes (Mega OIS)
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds
Aperture
Maximum aperture F3.5 – F5.6
Minimum aperture F22.0
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 7
Aperture notes Circular aperture
Optics
Elements 9
Groups 8
Special elements / coatings 2 aspherical lenses
Focus
Minimum focus 0.20 m (7.87″)
Maximum magnification 0.34 x
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Micromotor
Full time manual Yes
Focus method Internal
Distance scale No
DoF scale No
Physical
Weight 110 g (0.24 lb)
Diameter 56 mm (2.20″)
Length 49 mm (1.93″)
Sealing No
Colour Black
Power zoom Yes
Zoom lock No
Filter thread 46 mm
Filter notes Does not rotate on focusing
Hood supplied No
Hood product code n/a
Tripod collar No

Next Up, it’s Tamron…

(via the Phoblographer) Tamron has announced another lens for the Micro Four Thirds system.  Tamron of course, is a company that has become famous for its superzoom lenses, and Tamron’s new MFT lens features a whopping 10.7x zoom factor, ranging from 14 to 150mm (or 28 to 300mm equivalent to 35mm full-frame). This is now the third superzoom lens in the Micro Four Thirds lineup, after Panasonic’s original 14-140mm HD lens that was introduced with the legendary GH1, and Olympus’ 14-150mm lens. From the looks of it, the ’14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III VC’ is quite a bit smaller than the two aforementioned lenses. So let’s hope it will also be a great performer optically. For the full tech specs, head past the break.

Tech Specs

  • Focal length: 14-150mm (28-300mm equivalent)
  • Max. Aperture: f3.5-5.8
  • Min. Aperture: f22
  • Optics: 17 lens elements in 13 groups, featuring one LD (Low Dispersion) glass element, two molded-glass aspherical elements and one hybrid aspherical element
  • Min. focus distance: 0.5m (19.7″)
  • Filter size: 52mm
  • Dimensions: 85.2 x 63mm mm (3.35 x 2.48″)
  • Weight: 280g (9.9 oz.)

Pricing and availability have not been disclosed thus far.

My 2 Cents

More high quality lenses for me to slap on to my G5, GH2 and soon, GH3…  Bring it on!!!

Sigma Corporation announced four new lenses at CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2013 in Yokohama, Japan – 3 of the new lenses are designed for use with micro 4/3 or Sony NEX (E-Mount) cameras.  The fourth lens is an APS-C format.

Two of the new mirrorless camera lenses are updated versions of Sigma’s 19mm f/2.8 and 30mm f/2.8 lenses (which we love – the video above by goslava101, was shot with a Panasonic Lumix GH2 and Sigma 30mm 2.8 lens), while the third is an all new 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, and all the new lenses are part of Sigma’s new Art Product Line, which will be higher end, yet still affordable lenses.

Sigma’s Press Release

YOKOHAMA, Japan Jan. 29, 2013Sigma Corporation of America a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of some of the world’s most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced the release of four new lenses for the ART product line, including three lenses for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and one lens for DSLR cameras with APS-C size sensors. This announcement comes at the start of the CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2013 this week in Yokohama, Japan.
The new and updated Sigma lenses include the 30mm F1.4 DC HSM, which will be available in Sigma, Canon and Nikon mounts, and the 30mm F2.8 DN, 19mm F2.8 DN and 60mm F2.8 DN lenses, which are available for both Micro Four Thirds and Sony E-Mount camera systems. Pricing and availability on all of these lenses has yet to be announced.
The 60mm F2.8 DN lens is entirely new to the Sigma lineup, while the 30mm F1.4 DC HSM and the 30mm F2.8 DN and 19mm F2.8 DN lenses are existing focal lengths that have been redesigned with enhanced optical performance and included as part of Sigma’s new Global Vision category restructuring. All three DN lenses incorporate telecentric optical designs and a linear, auto focusing motor that ensures accurate and quiet focusing for video recording. They also boast metal exteriors and a simply shaped focus ring, with varying textures to distinguish each part of the lens. In addition, DN users can choose between a black or silver finish to match their favorite equipment.
“We’re really proud of the super sharp lenses we’ve produced in the past year and these new Art lenses will continue to impress our fans and critics alike. They’re ideal for the landscape, portrait, still-life, close-up and casual photographer who values creative, dramatic outcomes above compactness and multifunction,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “The lenses are entirely made in Japan and they boast the new product line’s sleek design and enhanced quality control. We’re quite proud of these changes – and additions – to our lens lineup; they’re further evidence of Sigma’s forethought in this fast-moving industry.”

These days, there are a lot of photographers pondering whether or not it might be a good time to consider getting rid of their DSLRs and moving over to mirrorless cameras.  There have been major advancements in mirrorless technology over the last several years that has brought about major improvements in autofocus, high ISO performance, Image Quality, etc., and we’ve witnessed the release of new mirrorless systems like Sony’s NEX 7 (and now, the NEX 6), the Fuji X-Series Cameras (X-Pro1 and X-E1) and the top of the line micro 4/3 cameras from Olympus and Panasonic, the OM-D E-M5 and the Lumix GH3.  But have the advancements in mirrorless technology come far enough?

In the video above, Hybrid Photography Pioneer and MC Contributor Will Crockett (DiscoverMirrorless.com) answers a reader’s question about the autofocus performance on the Panasonic Lumix GH3 vs his Canon 650 (aka T4i) – and as Will states in the video, in most circumstances you can indeed have confidence in the autofocus performance on the GH3.

There’s no doubt that the micro 4/3 system is the most developed of any mirrorless camera system today.  There are more high quality micro 4/3 lenses available than for any other mirrorless system, and since both Panasonic and Olympus make m43 cameras, they seem to be quickly pushing each other to new heights, and soon there will be many more companies joining the micro 4/3 party.

So is it the right time to go mirrorless?

As we have reported on this site, David Taylor-Hughes of SoundImagePlus is currently facing a similar dilemma as he is paring his rather impressive camera collection (He has the Sigma DP Merrill cameras, a Nikon D800E, an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and a Panasonic Lumix GH3) down to just 2 cameras.  Though David is a mirrorless enthusiast, he has stated on many occasions that he would have a hard time parting with his Nikon D800, but in a new article on SoundImagePlus, he seems to indicate that he is leaning towards keeping his micro 4/3 cameras, the Lumix GH3 and the OM-D E-M5.

We’ve been following David’s story, and though nothing is yet written in stone, he does state that “For my own part I seem to be drifting slowly towards the decision that the OM-D and GH3 are the two cameras I’ll keep. Nothing is decided yet, but I don’t seem to want to use anything else currently.

Not a bad choice, in my mind.  These are two superb cameras that produce great results.  They’re smaller and lighter than their DSLR counterparts, and since they’re both micro 4/3, he’ll be able to swap lenses between the two without using adapters (travel small, shoot BIG!).

Image is everything

Yeah, the GH3 and the OM-D will pop out some high quality images, but that’s not quite what I’m talking about here.

You see, in assessing some important intangibles that are driving him in the m43 direction, David lays out the following revelation…

“So what is it that has changed things, why have these two cameras suddenly moved things along, and seem to have “authenticated” m4/3 as a serious digital camera system and format?

Well for me the answer is relatively simple, but involves admitting what many of us don’t really like admitting. They look right.”

Ahhhhh.  The Big Green Hairy Monster that is confronting many who are contemplating the switch to mirrorless has finally revealed itself…  “What will people think if I show up with a tiny mirrorless camera system?”

In an industry that is so driven by image, from the quality of those that come out of your camera to the coolness factor of those whose images you capture, one thing is clear.  Perception is reality, and many ProTogs don’t feel that they’ll be taken seriously if they don’t show up with a 75lb. camera system with bazooka-like lenses.

One of the first people to tackle that big green monster is our good friend, street photography guru and MC Contributor Giulio Sciorio (SmallCameraBigPicture.com and DiscoverMirrorless.com).  You see, G was one of the first bonafide pros to make a wholesale switch to mirrorless, originally to an Olympus PEN Mini and OM-D, and now he’s also added a Panasonic Lumix G5 and GH3 to his camera lineup.

In his excellent article entitled “How To Overcome the Fears of Using Micro 4/3 Cameras in a Professional Environment“, G tackles the top issues confronting pros who are considering adding (or switching to) mirrorless systems, and guess what sits on top of the list…

Fear #1 – What will my clients think?

Here’s how G addresses the perception issue…

“Q – If I show up to a job and the client is expecting X and they get Y then I could lose any further jobs from them in the future.

A – Since photography sales is a long-term relationship based sale, not a one time retail based sale, you want to be sure that your client is confident that you will do the job right.

Often times, my client’s job is on the line if they don’t put on a good show for their company or client, so looking professional needs to be a priority. If I show up not looking like the person they were expecting, then I’ll make them look unprofessional, and not only will I risk losing a client, I could also risk my client losing their job or client as well.

So how did I address this gear fear? Since photography is a “show me” business not a “tell me” business, I strive to show my clients just what I can do with a small camera. In December during Art Basel Miami, I shot street portraits of artists and art lovers. The shots came out great and I told all my clients about it. They already knew that I had the PEN, but it was typically kept in my case while I was shooting their jobs with the 5DMKII.

My clients’ reactions to the Art Basel Street Portraits were very positive, so when I told them I did the project with the tiny PEN, they were really impressed.

What I communicated to them is this -

  • The camera is fast and small, with a large chip so the quality is very high.
  • Since the camera is small, the subjects were more relaxed than if I shot with a large SLR and since it was also very fast I was able to capture the moment quickly and move on.

When I asked them how they felt about me shooting for them with a small camera The reaction was positive. Here’s an actual email -

Having a camera that people are used to as being “professional” does play a role at least in an environment when your career is on the line. It takes a lot of work and resources to earn a client’s trust but it’s so easy to lose a client if you don’t handle the challenges in a professional manner.  (Read the rest of Giulio’s Excellent Article Here)

So Which is Better?

In the end, that question will ultimately depend on your intended use for the system.  There may still be some tasks that are better left for DSLRs, but not very many, and there are many takes that are better left for mirrorless.  For 95% of photographers, mirrorless systems can and will do everything you need just as good as (and in many cases, better than) a DSLR.  Mirrorless cameras are much better suited for Hybrid Photography as well, and since technology is progressing rapidly, you can look for any remaining gaps to be closed in the not too distant future.

Buy the Panasonic Lumix GH3 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 on Amazon Here

WhatDigitalCamera takes an in depth look at the latest addition to Olympus’ popular mid-range micro 4/3 compact system camera lineup, the PEN Lite E-PL5.

Though the E-PL5 is technically a mid level camera, it inherits the same superb sensor and image processor at Olympus’ Flagship micro 4/3 camera, the OM-D E-M5.

Here’s WhatDigitalCamera’s Conclusion

The Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5

At first glance, the E-PL5 seems nothing more than a tweak to the E-PL3, but while it may look similar, the E-PL5 feels like a completely different camera underneath.

This is in no small part due to the rather impressive 16.1MP sensor borrowed from the OM-D. While it probably doesn’t beat APS-C rivals, it’s much closer, making the difference negligible and less of a deal-breaker.

Add to that a host of subtle improvements over the E-PL3 and the E-PL5 is now one of the most competent CSCs at this price-point. There’s still room for improvement however – the grip needs to be refined, while the touchscreen interface needs to deliver more functionality.

Sharing many of the characteristics and features of the flagship model, think of the E-PL5 as an OM-D Lite, rather than PEN Lite, ideal for photographers looking for a quality, compact-sized CSC that’ll deliver the goods. (Read full review on WhatDigitalCamera)

Pros: Impressive results from the Micro Four Thirds sensor, fast single AF acquisition, decent metal finish
Cons: Plastic front grip doesn’t match the feel of the rest of the camera, continuous AF and specifically AF Tracking still needs improving, limited Touchscreen functionality

My 2 Cents

We have witnesses sensor and processing technology advance more quickly in mirrorless cameras over the last few years than any other type of camera.  This is great new for photo and video lovers from novice to pro, because we are seeing that advanced technology trickle down from flagship camera models to lower level cameras in the line, making top level technology accessible for those who may not be able to afford the $3,000 plus price tag of many top line camera models.  The Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5, along with it’s smaller sibling, the PEN Mini E-PM2, are two of the most recent beneficiaries of this trend, and when WhatDigitalCamera calls the E-PL5 an “OMD Lite,” that is indeed high praise.

The E-PL5 is not a pro level camera, but it’s not far off either.  And since it’s a micro 4/3 camera, you have access to the largest selection of high quality lenses of any mirrorless camera category.  It’s small size makes it a street photographer’s dream.  Indeed, the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 is a great camera for the enthusiast photographer / videographer who wants BIG QUALITY on a not so big budget.

Buy the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 on Amazon Here

Panasonic are shaking thinks up in the world of photo-videography of late, and have released some of the best cameras and lenses you’ll find anywhere over the last several months.

With the release of the Lumix GH3, the Lumix G5 and the Lumix LX7, Panasonic have have entered serious “King of the Mountain” contenders in the Pro, Mid-Level and Compact Camera Categories, but it’s the new Pro Zoom Lenses that came out at the same time as the GH3 that has MC Contributor and Hybrid Photo Pioneer Will Crockett (DiscoverMirrorless.com) signaling the “End of Days” for the DSLR.

The 2 new lenses in question are the Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 and the 35-100 f/2.8 Pro Zoom Lenses, and CameraStuffReview.com have just written up an in depth review of the latter lens, the 35-100 2.8.

A 70-200mm f/2.8 is the bread and butter lens for countless DSLR shooters, and because of the 2x crop factor of micro 4/3 cameras, the new Panasonic 35-100 is essentially the equivalent of that B&B lens.  But does the new Panny lens stand up to the legacy lenses in the areas of image quality, depth of field, etc.?

Here’s CameraStuffReviews’ Conclusion

“A fast 70-200mm (full frame equivalent) telephoto zoom lens was missing in the wide range of micro-43 lenses. The Panasonic 35-100 mm f/2.8 fills that gap with gusto. The construction of this lens is – despite its low weight and the compact size – of a professional level. In addition, Panasonic has succeeded in making the Panasonic 35-100 mm the equivalent of a 70-200 mm f/2.8 zoom lens on a camera with a full frame sensor in terms of optical performance. That is a very good achievement, because those lenses are among the best lenses for sale. At a retail price of 1299 Euro’s, we are talking about a lot of money. Given the optical performances and the high quality of construction, this lens is certainly not expensive.”  (Read full review on CameraStuffReview.com  – video above is a great demonstration of the lens’ capabilities, courtesy of mpgxsvcd)

Pros

  • Micro-43 first bright (f/2.8) telephoto zoom
  • Optical performances of professional level
  • Construction and finish of professional level; additionally sealed against dust and water
  • Compact dimensions and low weight
  • Built-in image stabilization

Cons

  • MSRP of a professional standard
  • Prone to flare

My 2 Cents

This is just more affirmation of the quality and outstanding performance of these 2 new lenses.  They’re the real deal, folks…  and they deliver superb results.

M43 for the win!

Buy the Lumix 12-35 and 35-100 f/2.8 Pro Zoom Lenses on Amazon Here

I was reading an interesting article by David Taylor-Hughes over on SoundImagePlus about whether or not he thought that JPEGs could deliver quality images.  As I was gleaning YouTube for a video that could go along with this article, I found the one above by Matt Granger (aka ThatNikonGuy), who delivers what is one of the most practical and unbiased examinations of the “RAW vs JPEG” argument that I have ever come across.  It’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time to watch.

Now back to David.  It seems that He has developed some vision issues (Double Vision) as a result of spending long hours in front of his computer processing and editing RAW files.

In the article, David states that “I am somewhat concerned about the amount of time I’m spending in front of a screen, and together with a decision to shoot less, I have also resolved to spend less time editing.”

I don’t personally know David nor have I ever met him, but I do enjoy reading his articles and appreciate his insights and opinions on cameras and photography in general.  David appears to be a photo purist that’s passionate about his craft, and he even states in his article that “I’ve always been a raw conversion man.”    But his Double Vision, combined with his pledge to spend less time editing (and his optician bills, no doubt ~_^) have him re-examining his mindset when it comes to RAW vs JPEG.

RAW vs JPEG and the Mirrorless Cameras of Today

Can the advances of today’s mirrorless cameras allow you to produce JPEG images of high enough quality so that you can shoot less RAW?

As you may have read on this site a couple of weeks back, David is also paring his rather impressive camera collection (He has the Sigma DP Merrill cameras (1, 2 and 3), a Nikon D800E, an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and a Panasonic Lumix GH3) down to just 2 cameras, and he’s understandably having a difficult time choosing which ones to keep.   But because of his renewed interest in shooting high quality JPEG files (and RAW where needed), David is taking a closer look at one of those cameras (The Panasonic Lumix GH3, which is our pick for Top Hybrid Camera of 2012).

David goes on to say the following…

“In terms of the cameras I’m going to be keeping, m4/3 is now back in consideration.”

“So today I got out my Panasonic GH3 and 35-100mm f/2.8 lens to see what I could achieve with the OOC jpgs.”

“There is an advantage that the GH3 has in that I can set more parameters for the .jpg settings I use than on some other cameras.”

After shooting RAW and JPEG files with the GH3 and comparing the results, David then concludes…

“I must admit that I was surprised at what I could achieve. I still believe the raw files are slightly sharper, but the OOC jpgs. (which have some added smart sharpening in Photoshop) were better than I imagined. Setting the noise reduction parameter to its minimum seems to have kept the files nice and crisp with none of that characteristic  smearing and softening.
It is early days, and I’m going to need to do a real-world shoot to see if I can live with these jpgs. There are also issues about dynamic range and CA removal, but since I’m still planning to shoot raw files as well, I can work on any “problem” files in my usual way. Its an alternative I will explore more and see what I get from it.
Finally, this has all struck me as to how much a generation of “lab rats” we digital photographers are. From the days of film when we were just one element in the whole process, with film manufacturers, processing labs and repro. houses all fulfilling vital roles, to now, when we do it all. I’ve been totally digital for over 10 years now and while I obviously spend more time on this than most people, I don’t think I’m particularly unique in terms of what many professional photographers do. The double vision was a bit of a wake up call, and it very clearly says to me that I can’t go on working in the way that I have been. And while I concede that heavy duty darkroom work could also have its problems, this constant use of computers for everything may well have long-term repercussions that we are as yet unaware of. Hopefully I can solve my “problem”, particularly as driving home with one eye closed is not something I want to do a lot of!!”  (Read full article and view images on SoundImagePlus)

My 2 Cents on RAW vs JPEG

The RAW Mindset

There are a lot of photographers out there who swear by shooting RAW images, and I am not here to bash them in the least because many are highly talented professionals.  But if I were to make a big generalization and break RAW shooters into 2 categories, they would be…

  1. Seasoned Pros who take their time before shooting to make sure lighting, white balance, ISO settings, etc. are set they way they want them before shooting (in other words, getting it right in the camera).
  2. Those who shoot a gazillion pictures without worrying about anything because they’re thinking that “I’ll just fix the pictures in post”  (in other words, they use RAW as a safety net).

Please understand that I’m not judging either.  I mean, whatever works for you…  But I’m thinking that one of these 2 groups is going to spend a lot less time in post.

RAW vs JPEG and Hybrid Photography

Now we get down to the nitty gritty.  The crux of the matter, if you will.  As we enter into the new era of Hybrid Photography, where the lines between photos and videos will become increasingly obscured, it becomes even more important to cultivate a mindset of getting it right in the camera.  After all, you don’t have as much latitude editing video in post as you do with RAW files (at least not yet), and when you’re putting together a Hybrid project, you’ll want your still photos and videos to look like they belong together.  This is one of the most powerful aspects of today’s Hybrid Cameras.  They allow you to quickly and easily set up the camera to capture images the way you want them to look before you take the shot, and you can instantly see what the results will look like on the camera’s screen or EVF, so there’s little, if no guesswork involved.

Photo purists, take heart.  There will always be room for RAW shooting, but if you’re goal is hybrid then make sure your capturing JPEGs too, and take a few seconds to set up your shot so that you can at least be close to getting it right in the camera.  Then you’ll spend less time in post, less money on opticians and more time shooting more photos and videos, or just enjoying your life!  (For more on the issue, here’s a RAW vs JPEG Hybrid Hangout that some of my colleagues recorded a few months back – Great discussion!)

Here are some of our favorite Hybrid Cameras

(From most expensive to least expensive)

Panasonic Lumix GH3 (Best Hybrid Camera)

Olympus OM-D E-M5 (Amazing 5 Point IBIS)

Sony NEX 6 (Most Advanced NEX Camera to date)

 

Panasonic Lumix G5 (Hybrid Powerhouse at a Mid-Level Price)

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 (Same sensor and processor as OM-D)

Sony RX-100 (Bundle – one of the best compacts of 2012)

Panasonic Lumix GX1 (GREAT PRICE!)

Panasonic Lumix LX7 (Best Compact Camera Value!)

Here’s a little visual treat from our good friend Chuck Jones of the CameraForum and DiscoverMirrorless.com.  Chuck has been out and about with one of his favorite new cameras…  the Panasonic Lumix GH3.  This time, our photo/video ninja buddy was snapping up the sights and sounds on Venice beach, CA – and he came away with some truly breathtaking photos and video by using the GH3 and the new Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 Pro Zoom Lens.

The ability to easily flow between photo and video (or even do both at the same time) and get equally stunning results with each is why the Panasonic Lumix GH3 was one of our favorite cameras of 2012 (and why we think it’s the best Hybrid Camera on the Planet today!).  With the addition of the two new Lumix Pro Zoom Lenses (the 12-35 and 35-100 f/2.8), the GH3 a lot of serious pro photographers like Chuck Jones ditching their DSLRs and going mirrorless.  Look for more Hybrid Creations from Chuck and all the Hybrid Heroes at DiscoverMirrorless.  (See photos and descriptions from Chuck’s Day at the Beach on theCameraForum)

Buy the Panasonic Lumix GH3 and the 12-35 f/2.8 and 35-100 f/2.8 Pro Zoom Lenses on Amazon Here

(Via 43Rumors)  DxOmark are have tested the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens for micro 4/3 cameras (selected as one of our favorite lenses of 2012) and call it the best m43 ever.

43Rumors Reports:DxOmark tested the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens and writes that it is “thebest lens DxOMark have tested for the Micro Four Thirds hybrid camera system.“.

At $899 USD, the Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 lens represents an excellent vale when compared to other lenses of it’s quality.

But DxOmark also states that If the cost of the Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm f/1.8 is out of reach, then Micro Four Thirds photographers will be pleased that the less expensive $400 Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 is a good alternative. As we’ve seen it’s not as sharp as the 75mm version and edge sharpness is inconsistent, but it represents better value if budgets are squeezed.

This is an excellent addition to Olympus’ M.Zuiko lens lineup and takes it’s place right alongside other excellent lenses in the line, like the aforementioned 45mm f/1.8.   Unfortunately, Olympus do not include a lens hood in the price of the lens and they’ll whack you for $75 USD to get an Olympus Branded Hood, but you can get a third party hood for $7.89 USD (for the plastic variety) or $29.99 (for a nicer metal hood).

Check out the Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 Lens and Lens Hoods Here

The concept of the Metabones Speed Booster Adapter is mind boggling, to say the least.  Not only is it designed to adapt your full frame Canon EF lenses to E-Mount (for Sony NEX cameras, but a micro 4/3 version is in the works and scheduled for release in March, 2013), but it’s also purported to make your lenses wider, thus effectively making your camera full-frame, while also increasing the speed of a lens by a full stop. Although this sounds too good to be true, it apparently works by concentrating the extra light-gathering area of a full-frame lens down to the smaller E-mount sensor area, for example turning an f/2.0 lens into an f/1.4 lens. Additionally, the adapter supposedly increases sharpness on top of all that, and allows users to access automatic functions of later model EF lenses, such as auto-aperture, image stabilization,  autofocus support,etc.

Will the Metabones Speed Booster lens Adapter be able to live up to it’s lofty promises?

EOSHD got their hands on the revolutionary new adapter and wrote up a full review, including sample images.

Here’s EOSHD’s Conclusion

Because full frame is a ‘premium’ photography product, the Japanese corporate machine has been mindful of limiting supply of full frame cameras in order to maintain inflated prices and margins. We waited a long time for the D800 and 5D Mark III and it is only now in 2013 that for the first time we have two ‘affordable’ full frame DSLRs with stripped down features – the D600 and 6D. Neither do very good video. So to have that full frame look when I need it on my Sony video camera is a real blessing.

The real world performance when you shoot with the Speed Booster and see the result is far better than any lab test of corner resolution would imply. The claims of this adapter defy belief… Scepticism well founded. And yet…

Sure the corners aren’t as sharp as the centre but the same goes for all optics to a degree especially full frame – and look at what you’re gaining here -

Your NEX 7 becomes a ‘NEX 9′ full frame Canon mount mirrorless camera.

You get a full frame FS700 capable of 4K and 240fps 1080p plus a low light king in the FS100 which can shoot wide angle material at an amazing 24mm F1.0, with the same lovely wide angle shallow DOF look of the 5D.

You get a full frame camera for the price of a $400 NEX 5N and $600 Speed Booster.

You get a 24-105mm F4 that magically becomes a F2.8 with a longer range than the $2000 24-70mm L and the gain in aperture is done without the lens becoming bulkier. The list goes on…

One thing which could be interesting to try is a medium format lens on the adapter. A Zeiss 85mm F2.8 for Hasselblad can for example adapt to the EF mount and fit the Metabones. This may avoid any loss of resolution in the corners as the image circle of these lenses is designed to fit 70m!! I have not tested this yet.

I had no issues with the electronic side of the adapter but I don’t have a warehouse sized collection of EF lenses to test with it. My investment is mostly in anamorphic and manual focus stuff. It would make sense to check the compatibility list if you rely on things like IS and AF. Some lenses may have issues with focus on the adapter too – the Canon 100mm F2.8L Macro did not play well on the earlier Metabones EOS adapters.

All in all – if this adapter does not send shock waves through the camera industry I don’t know what will.

Pros

  • 1 stop increase in low light performance

    Metabones Speed Booster Lens Adapter
  • Full frame look – wider field of view, shallower DOF, attractive vignette and light fall off towards corners
  • Extremely good value for money (look at the saving over buying alternative full frame video solution like Canon 1D X / 1D C)
  • Protects investment in existing glass
  • Match glass between full frame camera and Sony E-mount camera on multi-camera shoots
  • Corrects some optical defects in centre of the frame such as purple fringing and coma
  • In-camera electronic aperture control for Canon lenses on Sony body
  • Micro Four Thirds support in pipeline for March (and electronic adapter in June)
  • Turns Blackmagic Cinema Camera into Super 35mm (matching Alexa)
  • Every lens now has dual focal length and aperture (use with or without adapter to change crop)
  • More creative possibilities
  • Excellent build quality
  • Very small and light
  • Tripod mount
  • Infinity focus tuning built into the adapter and straight forward to use

Cons

  • Corner and edge sharpness a bit of a struggle with most legacy glass at fast apertures
  • Soft corners and edges most noticeable at infinity focus with fast apertures or wide open
  • Speed of auto-focus in need of improvement (painfully slow compared to same lens on a Canon body)
  • Some lenses are not yet fully supported by the electronics

(Read full review on EOSHD)

My 2 Cents

If this thing works, this technology represents a paradigm shift in imaging that will make professional photo-videography even more accessible to every day people.  If the Metabones Adpater stands up to every day use, you can look for new lenses and cameras incorporating Speed Booster technology to be released in the next couple of years.  Stay Tuned!

MC Contributor Giulio Sciorio (SmallCameraBigPicture.com and DiscoverMirrorless.com) is back, and this time, he’s pimpin’ out his Panasonic Lumix G5 while optimizing it for Hybrid Photography.

Giulio Writes

“Customizing your camera for hybrid photography gives you the ability to move between stills and video with ease.

Regardless of whether or not you’re using your camera’s EVF or touch screen, having your camera customized for hybrid means you’ll be able to -

Shoot quickly

Shoot well

Have fun

Check out the video to see how I used the accessories to customize the camera. The buttons in the video are made by Gariz but if you’re crafty you can find some like these 3M Bumpon products” (Read article on DiscoverMirrorless.com)

Check out the Panasonic Lumix G5 Here

Announced in July of 2012, the Panasonic Lumix G5 quickly became one of our favorite cameras of 2012 due to it’s high IQ and great performance.  Although it’s technically a mid level camera, the G5 is a well made, feature rich camera that performs so well in both still photos and video that it rivals front line cameras that are much more expensive; and because it’s a micro 4/3 camera, it can utilize an extensive array of high quality lenses.  Yet this camera inexplicably became one of the the most overlooked cameras of 2012 (and the MirrorlessCentral Sleeper Camera of the Year), and now it can often be found at a great price.

CameraLabs just posted an in depth review of the Lumix G5 – Is this camera worth another look?

Here’s CameraLabs Final Verdict

“The Panasonic Lumix G5 is a solid upgrade to the earlier Lumix G3 and maintains its position as one of the best value Micro Four Thirds models in the Panasonic line up as well as more generally. The combination of a new 16 Megapixel sensor and updated Venus Engine processor improves on the low noise characteristics and excellent image quality established with the G3 and adds 1080p50/60 HD video and 6fps continuous shooting. And as my quality and noise results prove, the G5 can keep up with the larger APS-C sensors of rival models in most situations.

The G5 demonstrates that a well designed touch-screen interface can happily co-exist on a body designed primarily for physical control and with features like Touch Pad AF Panasonic continues to explore new ways of integrating the two to improve handling.

A higher resolution EVF would have been nice, but by sticking with the existing big, bright 1.4 million dot viewfinder Panasonic has maintained the G5′s position as a highly capable, yet affordable enthusiasts’ compact system camera. Like the G3 before it, it offers much of the Flagship GH3′s capabilities in a smaller, lighter, cheaper and simplified package.

It’s not just potential GH3 owners who’ll be casting an eye in the G5′s direction. Alongside any current compact system camera equipped with a viewfinder (or, for that matter fitted with one as an optional extra) the Lumix G5 provides a compelling and cost-effective alternative. I should also add the older G3 remains in the Panasonic line-up for now and is even better value for money if you can do without the G5′s refinements.

If you’re looking for a camera that pushes boundaries and redefines how we take pictures, the Lumix G5 isn’t it. But for a rock solid implementation of core features combined with excellent handling at a great price it’s hard to fault and more than worthy of Cameralabs’ Highly recommended award. And lest we forget, as a Micro Four Thirds camera, the G5 enjoys access to by far the broadest selection of native lenses of any mirrorless format, which makes it even more tempting to enthusiasts and specialists.”  (Read full review on CameraLabs)

Good points

  • 920k dot flip-out LCD touch screen.
  • 6fps burst mode.
  • 28Mbps 1080p50/60 movie recording.
  • EVF proximity sensor.
  • Compact collapsible powered kit zoom.
  • Customizable Quick menu.
  • Access to broadest native lens catalog.

Bad points

  • Poor battery life.
  • Lacks Manual exposure movie modes.
  • Creative effects difficult to access.
  • Average wide angle on kit zoom.
Scores
(relative to 2013 system cameras)
The Panasonic Lumix G5 received an overall score of 84 out of 100 and was awarded CameraLabs’ Highly Recommended Status
Build quality:
Image quality:
Handling:
Specification:
Value:

16 / 20
17 / 20
18 / 20
16 / 20
17 / 20

My 2 Cents

After tirelessly researching countless mirrorless camera systems, it didn’t take much convincing to recognize that the Panasonic Lumix G5 is a great camera.  That’s probably why I bought one.  After all, I couldn’t pass up the amazing deals on the G5 right before Christmas, so I pulled the trigger and I’ve been more impressed with this camera each day.  The G5 is easy to learn, easy to use, it’s highly customizable and gives great results.

No…  it’s not quite on the level of a Lumix GH3 or an Olympus OM-D E-M5, but it’s also less than half the price, and it’s not really that far off of those cameras either.  If the GH3 and OM-D are 9′s, then the G5 is a solid 8.5 (There’s no such thing as a 10).

It’s also a much better “Hybrid” camera than the Lumix GH2.  Admittedly, the GH2 is a better pure video camera (You can manually adjust exposure while shooting and it has a Mic Input Jack), but the G5 performs equally well as a stills and video shooter – and it shoots at 1080p at up to 60fps.  Although it would be nice to have a Mic Input Jack on the G5, this isn’t a big issue for me personally because I usually record audio into a separate device, like a Zoom H4n.  To me, the biggest drawback while shooting video is that there’s no HDMI Live Out, so I can’t use a monitor.

Contrary to what CameraLabs lists as a bad point, I personally don’t find battery life to be much of an issue with the G5 as I’m regularly getting through most of a day shooting stills and videos on a single charge (i.e. – Christmas with the family), but you can always buy spares.

Additionally, I haven’t been having much trouble using the creative modes either, and it gets easier and easier the more you use the camera.  In fact, I’ve been having fun experimenting with different creative filters and programing my favorites for quick access using Custom Settings.

On the whole, I highly recommend the Lumix G5.  The 14-42mm standard kit zoom lens (not to be confused with the 14-42 X Power Zoom Lens) is average, so unless it’s included in a deal, don’t be afraid to go body only and start building your collection of high quality M43 glass.

Check out the Panasonic Lumix G5 Here

(Via PhotographyBlog) - Olympus have just announced that there will be five new companies that will be joining Olympus and Panasonic in making micro 4/3 cameras, lenses and gear; including JK Imaging (a US Based company that will manufacture cameras under the Kodak name), innovative digital cinema camera (aka Blackmagic Design – which has already launched a Micro Four Thirds model, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT), Photron (experts in high-speed digital imaging), German company SVS-VISTEK and Japan’s ViewPLUS.

Olympus states “With the addition of exciting new products from these companies, the Micro Four Thirds lineup will become much more diverse, further increasing the potential of this advanced digital imaging system.”

Here’s the Full Press release from Olympus, Japan

Blackmagic Design Pty. Ltd., JK Imaging Ltd., PHOTRON LIMITED, SVS-VISTEK GmbH and ViewPLUS Inc. join the Micro Four Thirds System Standard Group

Olympus Imaging Corp. and Panasonic Corporation jointly announced the Micro Four Thirds System standard in 2008 and have since been working together to promote the standard. Now we are pleased to announce that five more companies have recently declared their support for the standard and will be introducing products compliant with the Micro Four Thirds System standard.

Blackmagic Design Pty. Ltd., one of the world’s leading innovators and manufacturers of creative video technology; JK Imaging Ltd., new representative for the world-famous “KODAK” branded cameras; PHOTRON LIMITED, the world’s leading manufacturer of high speed digital imaging systems; SVS-VISTEK GmbH, an innovative company that develops professional machine vision components and systems and ViewPLUS Inc., a developer of advanced imaging-related equipment. With the addition of exciting new products from these companies, the Micro Four Thirds lineup will become much more diverse, further increasing the potential of this advanced digital imaging system.

My 2 Cents

Since Olympus and Panasonic “collaborated” to develop the micro 4/3 standard in 2008, these cameras have come a long way and have secured their position as one of, if not THE top mirrorless camera classification.  Some of the largest strides that have occurred over the last few years in sensor and processing technology (with a big assist from Sony) have taken place within the micro 4/3 realm, and there are more high quality yet affordable lenses available for micro 4/3 cameras than any other mirrorless camera system (well over 30 and counting).  These were just a few of the factors that led me to personally choose a micro 4/3 camera system after an exhaustive search for a camera that can shoot great still as well as great video (I was looking for a Hybrid Camera – read on for clarification).

The quality of these systems has now progressed to the point where higher end micro 4/3 cameras like the Panasonic Lumix GH3 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 can legitimately be considered “Professional Level” systems.  They rival the image quality of larger, bulkier DSLR systems and IMHO, they blow DSLRs out of the water when it comes to video.  In other words, they’re better Hybrid Cameras (as underscored by MC Contributor Will Crockett in the video above.  Will is a photo/video innovator and a leading pioneer into a new era of Hybrid Photography who believes, as do I, that the new mirrorless systems are well on the way to replacing DSLRs.  You can read more about Hybrid Photography on DiscoverMirrorless.com).

So, What Does This all mean for Micro 4/3?

In my mind, the addition of five new manufacturers into micro 4/3 is a great thing and only serves to solidify the micro 4/3 standard.

One of the reasons that micro 4/3 systems and technology has progressed so far, so fast over the last few years can be summed up with one word…  competition.  Panasonic and Olympus have constantly been pushing each other to produce better and faster cameras with better image quality and better capabilities in all areas, resulting in some of the best cameras available over the last few years in just about any price range, from entry level to pro.  It’s also resulted in the arsenal of high quality lenses I mentioned earlier, which, whether they’re produced by Panasonic, Olympus or a 3rd party manufacturer like Sigma or Rokinon, are compatible with any micro 4/3 camera by any maker.  By adding 5 new manufacturers to the mix, it’ll be like pouring gasoline over a camera division that’s already on fire.

Here are My Picks for the Top Micro 4/3 Cameras

  1. Panasonic Lumix GH3 – Best Hybrid Camera on the Planet today.  Pro Level for stills and video.
  2. Olympus OM-D E-M5 – Great IQ.  5 Point IBIS. Classic Design.  Pro level street photography machine.
  3. Panasonic Lumix GH2 – Still one of the best video cameras around (now at a bargain price).  Great for the indie filmmaker who’s working on a budget.
  4. Panasonic Lumix G5 – Great Hybrid Camera that’s simple enough for a beginner, but advanced enough for a pro.
  5. Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 – Same sensor and image processor as the OM-D, but smaller and less expensive.
  6. Panasonic Lumix GX1 – 1 year old high end compact shooter that’s a great, go anywhere system for those who like high IQ stills and videos.  Now at a bargain price!
  7. Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2 – Same sensor and image processor as the OM-D, but a little smaller than the E-PL5 and with less on body controls.
  8. Panasonic Lumix GF5 – Powerful entry level into the micro 4/3 family.
  9. Olympus PEN E-P3 – A little older, but still gives great results.  Now at a low price.
  10. Panasonic Lumix GF3 – Another great bargain!

EOSHD posted a great story by a young filmmaker named Roberto Miller who has shot a feature film called “Mandorla” using 2 Panasonic Lumix GH2s and LOMO Anamorphic Lenses.  Hats off to Miller for having the passion and commitment to take on such a huge project.  We wish him well with the movie and will keep an eye on this story.  We’re also removing our chappeau for Andrew Reid and the EOSHD Community for inspiring countless young artists like Miller.  We are entering into an exciting new era of filmmaking, due in large part to the advent of cameras like the GH2 (which can now be found in the $500 to $700 USD range) and it’s successor, the Panasonic Lumix GH3 ($1,299 USD) as well as the BlackMagic Cinema Camera (under $3k USD). These cameras are providing young filmmakers with affordable options that produce big results, and it was the affordability of the GH2 that allowed Miller to shoot with a 2 camera setup.

Miller writes:  “We used two GH2 so we could shoot two types of shots in one setup. Often this was a wide “master” shot framing two actors with one camera, while the other camera was used for a close-up on one actor. This helped us get our shots in a timely manner, which is important when your primary lighting source is the sun.”

Here’s a Screen Test of the Camera / Lens Setup Using a Video Stabilizer

Lyon Street Walk Test from Roberto Miller on Vimeo.

Miller goes on to conclude:  “Obviously, cameras and lenses are part of the critical tools that bring a story to life on the screen. At the end of the day, filmmaking is all about storytelling and emotion. Andrew’s blog, Anamorphic Shooters Guide, and the EOSHD community have inspired, informed, and enabled so many of us, who cannot afford the traditional trade routes of filmmaking, to find a way to make our own films.  On Mandorla we are now deep in post and are aiming to have it out at film festivals later this summer and fall. I hope to see you at a screening. Meanwhile, you can follow our progress on our blog or Facebook page.”  (Read full story on EOSHD)

Buy the Panasonic Lumix GH2 and the Panasonic Lumix GH3 on Amazon Here

We recently announced that legendary camera company Eastman Kodak are entering into a co-branding arrangement with American Camera Supplier JK Imaging to produce cameras under the Kodak moniker – and 43Rumors is now reporting that the Kodak Camera will be micro 4/3.

According to 43 >>  PConline just posted these images disclosing a new Kodak branded (and JK manufactured) Micro Four Thirds camera! It’s named “Kodak S1” and has built WiFi transmission function. The camera will be released in the 3rd quarter of this year!

Kodak officially presented the camera in a Press Conference in Peking. The bloggers at PConline also said the sensor used will be a Sony CMOS. But I don’t know if that is an official info or their guess.  (Read article on 43Rumors – video above is a demonstration of a Sony CMOS Sensor in HDR Mode, courtesy of eSato)

My 2 Cents

I have an Uncle who once worked for Eastman Kodak (their headquarters is about an hour away from where I live) who was pretty high up in the Digital Imaging Department until he retired about 10 years ago, and he used to constantly complain about the “poor decision making” (I’m being kind) of the upper management at the company (as evidenced by their sad demise in the camera world).  But if these rumors are true, then this (in my opinion) is some great decision making on Kodak’s part.

By entering into the micro 4/3 camera market, you inherit a huge supply of stellar lenses that will be compatible with your system vs starting from scratch, and Sony make some of the best digital sensors in the world, so if they do in fact use a Sony Sensor, this bodes well for them too.  Of course, there’s also some stiff competition in the micro 4/3 arena, where Panasonic and Olympus have honed their camera and lens designs for almost 5 years, but Kodak made high quality cameras in the past (I still have a Kodak Super Zoom that I got about 10 years ago and it still pops out some great images), and I’m hoping they’ll continue to do so.  Stay Tuned to this one…

 

MC Contributor and Street Photography Ninja Giulio Sciorio (SmallCameraBigPicture.com and DiscoverMirrorless.com) is back after finishing off 2012 with a bang!  Today, the G-man talks about the importance of “getting it right in the camera.”

Giulio writes…

Getting It Right In Camera Is Easy

Talk to any photographer long enough and the topic of getting the image “right in the camera” will come up.

To many shooters, getting it right in the camera can seem like a pretty challenging task, but it doesn’t have to be.

To me, ”getting it right in the camera” means that when I capture an image, I get my exposure, focus, color and composition right for my workflow, so that when I take a shot I’m about 95% finished with the image and will only make some minor tweaks before delivering the final image to my client. Typically, when I shoot a job, I shoot RAW + JPEG.  I’ll give the JPEGs to the client and keep the RAW images for any post production work that might be needed when the client makes their pick.

 

Why is it so important to get it right in the camera?

When I’m out with my wife, I want to spend as much time with her as possible.  So I have no desire to do big, elaborate setups and heavy post production work. For me, this is where “getting it right in the camera” becomes so important, and here’s why:

  1. When I get the shot right in the camera I have more time with my wife.
  2. I don’t have to spend endless hours messing with images in post, and often times I don’t even need to back-up my shots because…
  3. I’ll shoot wirelessly from my camera and send the images to my mobile device, which backs-up my captures to dropbox automagically 
  4. Every time I get the shot right in camera, I become a better photographer and am able to work faster.
  5. Less post means I have more time get out and shoot more and enjoy life.

How does one “get it right” in the camera?

Every photographer is different, but if you focus on what your picture should look like before you take it, then that’s half the battle.  Since my schedule is jammed pack seven days a week,  I like to adhere to some procedures that have become second nature and have helped me to shoot quickly and accurately.

Here’s what I do:

  • Again – I think about what I want to shoot before I shoot it. I’ll visualize the image in my head in as much detail as possible, and while the final image might not look exactly how I pictured it in my mind, most of the time it’s really close (and sometimes I surprise even myself).  Make a game out of this and challenge yourself to get your images as close as possible to what they look like in your mind’s eye.  The more you do it, the easier it’ll get.
  • Once I have the picture in my head, I think about what it will take to make the image – light, subject matter, location, camera, lens, camera settings, post, etc. These are all pieces to the image making puzzle. Knowing what pieces I need to capture a successful shot makes the act of shooting more fulfilling since I now have a pretty good idea of how to put those pieces together to create my final image.
  • Slow down!  It’s not always easy to do when you’re in a hectic setting, but sometimes, the best thing to do is to just relax, take a breath and know that you’re going to get the shot. Since I already know what the image is going to look like, the tools I need and the process, the last thing I want to do is mess things up by rushing.
Following this procedure took a lot of effort at first, but now it’s second nature. Sometimes, I can move very fast when I’m shooting, but that’s only because I know what I’m going to shoot and how I’m going to shoot before I actually take the picture. Using a hybrid camera like the Panasonic Lumix G5 (that’s the camera I’m using in the video above) makes the shoot even faster since it allows me to see what the image will look like before I shoot it (thanks to the real time application of creative filters, white balance and other settings that I can see live on the touch screen).

Getting it right in the camera can be easy. All you need to do is slow down and look at the image in your mind before you actually snap the shot.   Just follow the steps above and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.  (Read Article on DiscoverMirrorless.com)

On Christmas Eve, 2012, we posted the Teaser Video for a video project called “The End of the World Shootout” by Shian Storm, which is a head to head camera shootout pitting the Panasonic Lumix GH3 and it’s predecessor, the Lumix GH2 ($1,298 and $679 respectively) against the Canon 5D Mark III and the new Black Magic Cinema Cam – both priced around the $3,000 range.  Here’s Parts I (above), II and III of the shootout (Below).  Watch the videos and see if you can pick out which camera is which.  Cameras will be revealed in part II and the guys have an excellent discussion of their experiences using all of the cameras in part III.  Enjoy!

End of the World Shootout, Part II

END OF THE WORLD SHOOTOUT – PART 2 from Shian Storm on Vimeo.

 

End of the World Shootout, Part III

END OF THE WORLD SHOOTOUT – PART 3 from Shian Storm on Vimeo.

Editor’s Note: I’ve shot with the GH cams and I know what they can do. IMO, they’ll hang with the best of ‘em, and at $679 USD, the GH2 is still one of the biggest bargains around.

Which camera do YOU think looks the best? (Leave comments below)

In the meantime, check out the Panasonic Lumix GH3 and the Panasonic Lumix GH2 Here

B&H is now running an incredible deal on the Sigma 19mm and 30mm f/2.6 lenses.  They usually sell for $199 USD each, but now you can get BOTH lenses for the same $199.

You can get these lenses for either Sony NEX Cameras (E-Mount) or for Micro 4/3 Cameras.

I recently purchased the Sigma 30mm and have been putting it through it’s paces on my Panasonic G5 (which is now on sale for $599 w kit lens on Amazon), and I’m very impressed with how well this lens performs.  It’s a great deal at the regular price, so if you’re interested, I would definitely recommend pulling the trigger and getting BOTH lenses for the price of 1, because I don’t know how long B&H will keep this deal going.

The video above is from the Phoblographer.  Although he mentions that his camera starts up slowly when these lenses are attached, I haven’t noticed any issues when it’s been attached to my G5.

**NOTE:  I’m not a B&H affiliate, but this is such a great deal that I definitely wanted to make sure that our readers knew about it.  Please let me know in the comments section of you decide to buy this set and how you like the lenses once you get them.  :)

LA based Pro Photographer Steven Lynch (who has just joined the team of “Hybrid Heroes” on DiscoverMirrorless.com) has decided to leave his Canon 60d and T2i in Favor of a micro 4/3 camera system.

Although Steven may be part of the first wave of Photo and Video Pros who have recognized the advantages of today’s mirrorless systems and have decided to travel small but shoot big, we believe he will soon be joined by many more.  2012 was a year in which we saw many advancements in mirrorless sensor technology and significant camera releases, including the Olympus OM-D E-M5, and Fuji X-Series Cameras, the Sony NEX Line and the Panasonic Lumix G5 and GH3, as well as professional grade lenses to go long with them.  These advancements combined with the proliferation of “smart” devices (smart phones and tablets) has smarter photographers predicting the advent of Hybrid Photography in 2013.  In other words, a movement away from traditional printed photos and towards “Hybrid eProducts” (Click Here for an Example) – a combination of photos, video, graphics and audio that can be shared and played on these smart devices.

You’ve probably seen Steven a lot in the comments section here on MC, and we’re looking forward to watching his chronicles as he documents his experiences on the migration to mirrorless cameras.  (Read article on DiscoverMirrorless.com – You can also check out Steven’ website at PhotoLynch.com)

By the way…  Steven’s camera of choice as he starts down the mirrorless trail is the Panasonic Lumix G5.  I’m also shooting with a G5 at present and am looking forward to seeing Steven’s perspective on the camera as he incorporates it into his photography business.

Check out the Panasonic Lumix G5 Here

As part of their in depth review of the Sony NEX 6, CameraLabs compared it to another of our favorite cameras of 2012, the Panasonic Lumix G5.  This comparison is not as cut and dry as some others might be, simply because there really a lot of “Apples to Oranges” features between these two cameras.  Each is well equipped, but each is equipped somewhat differently than the other.

Here’s how CameraLabs breaks it down…

CameraLabs Compares the Sony NEX 6 with the Panasonic Lumix G5

The Panasonic Lumix G5 is one of the more affordable compact system cameras on the market and incorporates a number of key improvements over the earlier G3. Like the NEX-6 it has a 16 Megapixel sensor, though the G5′s four Thirds sensor is physically a little smaller than the APS-C sized sensor in the NEX-6 and has 4:3 rather than 3:2 proportions. With their powered kit zooms attached, the G5 is actually a little bigger and heavier than the NEX-6, but the difference isn’t as big as all that, the G5 can also fit in a coat pocket. But the G5 has more conventional SLR-like styling, with rounded corners, a ‘prism’ hump, centrally located EVF and a big hand grip, so might prove a better fit for those with bigger hands. As always, it’s a good idea to get your hands on one before making a buying decision.

The NEX-6 inherits probably the best electronic viewfinder of any compact system camera, but the G5′s EVF is also very good. At 1.4 millions dots it may lack the ultimate resolution of the NEX-6′s 2.3 million pixel EVF but it is in fact a little brighter and with its 4:3 proportions also looks to be a little bigger when shooting images in their respective native formats. Both cameras have a sensor that automatically switches from the screen to the viewfinder when you put your eye to it, but the G5 also features a button so you can manually switch from one to the other. Both cameras have 3 inch LCD screens with similar resolutions, but whereas the NEX-6′s is hinged at the bottom and can flip up and down, the G5′s is side-hinged which means it can face forward as well as folding inwards for protection. More importantly, the G5′s screen is touch-sensitive, not only can you use it to touch focus when using the LCD to compose for stills and movie shooting, but you can also touch the screen to focus when using the EVF to compose.

The G5′s improved continuous shooting provides a 6fps full resolution top speed but that can’t match the NEX-6 with 10fps. What’s more, the NEX-6 can focus continuously at that rate where the G5′s focus is fixed on the first frame. The G5 does provide a lower resolution 20fps burst mode though. Both cameras offer a 1080p50/60 best quality HD video mode, but the NEX-6 provides exposure control while shooting, As I’ve already mentioned, though, the G5′s ability to touch focus may actually prove more useful in practice.

The NEX-6 powered kit zoom provides a more useful wide angle – 24mm equivalent compared with 28mm on the G5, but other than that there’s little to choose between these two lenses, though some may prefer the switch and ring arrangement on the Sony lens to the twin rocker switches for focus and zoom on the Lumix lens. It’s also worth noting that the G5 has a zoom rocker on the hand grip which is useful for single-handed operation.

While all these factors are significant, none of them on their own will likely swing you one way or the other, but the NEX-6′s ability to connect via Wi-Fi makes it a very different proposition from the G5.To be able to control it remotely using a smartphone or tablet, and to connect to the Internet and share photos is an enticing prospect. But more than anything, the ability to extend it by downloading low cost apps gives it a major advantage over non-connected cameras like the G5.  (Read comparison and full NEX 6 Review on CameraLabs  – Video review of the Sony NEX 6 above, courtesy of John Sison)

My 2 Cents

Each one of these cameras is arguably the 2nd tier camera in their respective lineups, although the NEX 6 is a lot closer to the top of the NEX line (many people actually prefer it over the flagship NEX 7) than the G5 is to the new Panasonic Lumix G5.  That being said however, I feel that either of these cameras would easily claim the top spot in many of their competitors lineups, and there’s a lot to love about each, which is why each one occupies a prominent spot among our favorite cameras of 2012.

These are both great cameras, so in my mind, it’s not so much a question of which is the better camera as much as which is the better camera for YOU.  So here’s my “Cliff’s Notes”, breakdown of how I see these two cameras stacking up to one another…

  • Build Quality:  They’re both well built, sturdy cameras.  Push.
  • Still Photo Image Quality:  Sony NEX 6 gets a slight nod over the G5.
  • Video Quality:  Slight nod (VERY slight) again to the NEX 6.  Those Sony sensors are great and there’s manual control in video, but the G5 is easy to use and pops out some great video.
  • Lens selection:  This one’s not even close.  The G5 in a landslide, with an arsenal of high quality micro 4/3 glass to choose from vs Sony’s limited collection of E-Mount lenses.
  • Mic Input:  Neither camera has one, which is disappointing. So this is a push.
  • Menus and Controls:  Both cameras have easy to use menus and an abundance of on body controls.  Since I feel that this will boil down to a matter of preference or getting used to a specific menu system, this is also a push.
  • Autofocus Performance:  They’re both blazing fast and each has their own quirks.  Push.
  • Wi-Fi:  The NEX 6 takes the honors here as there is no Wi-Fi on the G5.  Wi-Fi is the future, so you can expect to see it on the G6.
  • Form Factor:  This is a matter or preference.  Do you like the G5′s DSLR-like body or do you like the smaller, and flatter NEX 6?  Push on the body, but the Lumix G5 has a fully articulated touch screen which gives it a slight edge.
  • Cost / Value:  G5 all the way.  It costs 40% less than the NEX 6 (that’s $400 USD), and is one of the best cameras that you’ll get for the money.
  • Intangibles:  For me, video is a big deal and the NEX lineup are notorious for overheating in video mode.  Although Sony appear to have addressed this to some degree on the NEX 6, I still personally lack 100% confidence, whereas I know I can shoot all day with the G5 and not have to worry about overheating.  G5 gets the nod here.

Conclusion:

Most experts would choose the Sony NEX 6 in this particular head to head match-up, and on paper, it’s a “better” camera than the Panasonic G5.  But do not underestimate the G5.

Of course, I was faced with the very same choice a few months ago and in the end, I decided to go with the G5.   I would’ve been happy with either one, but the G5 was simply a better camera for ME at the time, and I’m beyond impressed with the way that it has performed.

So which is the better camera for YOU? (leave a comment below).

Buy the Sony NEX 6 or the Panasonic Lumix G5 on Amazon Here

(Video above courtesy of WhatDigitalCamera)

David Taylor-Hughes at SoundImagePlus is in the process of downsizing his camera collection, and a rather impressive collection it is at that.  Among the cameras at his disposal are the Sigma DP Merrill lineup (1, 2 and 3), a Nikon D800E, an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and a Panasonic Lumix GH3 – and needless to say, he’s having a very difficult time paring this collection down to 2 cameras.  So he has posed an excellent question…  “Olympus OM-D or Pansonic GH3 – Which would I choose?”

This is a question that surely has crossed the minds of numerous photo and video pro and indie shooters, and I;m frankly stunned that no one has posted a video comparison of these two cameras as of yet.

I won’t give away David’s decision here (I highly recommend going over to SoundImagePlus to read it for yourself), but here’s a little taste of what he has to say, followed as always by My 2 Cents…

OM-D or GH3?

“…it’s going to be extremely difficult getting either of these cameras packed up and out the door on their way to new owners. Despite my desire (and financial need) to get my camera stock down, I really don’t want to part with either.

If I keep either of the OM-D or GH3 then the D800E will have to go and again that will be something I would find very difficult. There is no doubt that I will incur a financial penalty if I keep more than I need and I have to come to a decision eventually.
At least I have time to use the cameras more and really decide what I can’t live without. Image quality versus pleasure of use. A difficult choice, and though I usually come down on the side of more pixels and higher MP’s, this decision might be difficult and I’ll probably decide with a snap judgement at the last moment.
However, it is worth repeating again just how good I think the OM-D and GH3 are. Both are superb cameras and produce excellent images, both deserve all the attention and praise they are getting and both seem to be what large numbers of photographers want. If you are looking for versatility, speed and quality without having to wear a back support then they pretty much have no equal. These are “real” cameras for “real” photographers and embrace both photographic history and modern technology in a way that benefits rather than hinders us.
All I’m hoping is that “decision day” i.e. somewhere before the end of my tax year on April 5th. comes slowly, so that I can have more time with these excellent examples of camera engineering, design and yes, art.”

My 2 Cents

Every camera mentioned in this article is excellent, and I don’t want to take anything away from any of them, but if I were personally faced with the same dilemma, I feel I’d have a much easier time making final decision.  Of course, every photographer/videographer has different needs that are best suited by different cameras, so no two shooters will look at this question the same way. So what follows is purely from my own perspective.

If I had to narrow the field from the same cameras I mentioned above, the OM-D and the GH3 would be the last cameras standing.  Admittedly, I’ve never used any of the Sigmas, but they never really had much of an appeal to me as they seem to be highly specialized and I’m a video first shooter who wants the best and most versatile piece of equipment for stills AND video.  (I do LOVE my Sigma lenses though!).

The Nikon D800E is also an excellent camera.  But I would find it hard to justify (for me personally) to invest in that camera and it’s lenses because frankly, I believe that the days of the DSLR are numbered.  We can get into all the pixel peeping arguments that you’d like, but as far as I’m concerned, the image quality discrepancy that once existed between high end DSLRs and high end Mirrorless Systems has been greatly reduced and in some cases, eliminated.  If you’re not planning on blowing up images to the size of say, your garage door, then the smaller sensor in a mirrorless system will do just fine.  As for video, mirrorless systems are wayyyyy better, hands down.

When it comes to the final question, OM-D or GH3, for me personally – it boils down the the following…

  • Both cameras are ostensibly operating from the same sensor, the only difference being the GH3′s Venus Processing Engine.  To me, I don’t see much difference when comparing images from these cameras with the naked eye.  This is a push.
  • Olympus 5 Point In Body Image Stabilization vs Panasonic’s Optical Image Stabilization.  That 5 Point IBIS is killer!  Advantage, OM-D.
  • GH3 has wireless connectivity and the Lumix Link App for remote control with a smart device.  None on the Olympus.  Advantage, GH3.
  • Form Factor – The OM-D is smaller and more stylish, but the GH3 has a better grip with more on body controls, plus a fully articulated touch screen.  Advantage, GH3.
  • Lenses – You can use all micro 4/3 lenses on any micro 4/3 camera.  Push.
  • Still image quality – Push.
  • Video – Advantage GH3.

I could go on, but in the end I would personally choose the GH3.  I just feel that it’s the camera that matches my needs the best (has the equal capacity to shoot stellar quality stills and video, and is the most adaptable), and in my mind, it’s the best hybrid camera on the planet today.

What camera would YOU choose?  Leave a comment below!

Buy the Panasonic Lumix GH3 or the Olympus OM-D E-M5 on Amazon Here

DPReview is reporting that specialty accessory manufacturer Metabones is teaming up with optics company Caldwell Photographics to manufacture ‘Speed Booster’ lens adapters for for mounting SLR lenses to APS-C and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras.  The new adapters will reduce focal length by a factor of 0.71x while increasing maximum aperture by 1 stop (Translation – brighter, faster adapted lenses). The Speed Booster Adapters should also produce sharper images compared to using the same lens with a regular adapter.

The first release will allow use of Canon EF lenses on Sony NEX bodies, which will be great news for fans of Sony’s vaunted NEX lineup, and will be available this month from Metabones’ website for $599 USD. Later releases will support additional lens mounts (including Nikon F) and camera systems (including Fujifilm X and Micro Four Thirds).

Here’s the Metabones / Caldwell Photographic Press Release

Metabones and Caldwell Photographic Announce Speed Booster Lens Adapters

Petersburg, VA, USA, January 14, 2013 – Metabones® and Caldwell Photographic jointly announce a revolutionary accessory called Speed Booster™, which mounts between a mirrorless camera and a SLR lens. It increases maximum aperture by 1 stop (hence its name), increases MTF and has a focal length multiplier of 0.71x. For example, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II lens becomes a 59mm f/0.9 lens on a Sony NEX camera, with increased sharpness. The faster F-stop allows for shallow depth-of-field and a lower ISO setting for decreased noise.

Speed Booster is also particularly pertinent to ultra-wide-angle SLR lenses. The combined focal length multiplier of Speed Booster and an APS-C mirrorless camera is approximately 1.09x, making the combination almost “full-frame”. Full-frame ultra-wide-angle SLR lenses largely retain their angle-of-view on an APS-C mirrorless camera when Speed Booster is used.

The optics of Speed Booster is designed by Brian Caldwell, PhD, a veteran of highly-corrected lens designs such as the Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO Macro lens with exemplary MTF performance (focusing done with visible light requires no correction whatsoever for the full spectrum from UV to IR).

Speed Booster serves double-duty as a lens mount adapter, from Canon EF lens (but not EF-S) to Sony NEX, with auto-aperture, image stablization, EXIF and (slow) autofocus support for late-model (post-2006) Canon-brand lenses. It will be available in January 2013 from Metabones’ web site and its worldwide dealer network for US$599 plus shipping and applicable taxes and duties.

Other mount combinations will follow shortly afterwards. Leica R, ALPA, Contarex, Contax C/Y and Nikon F (with aperture control for G lenses) will be supported, as will Micro 4/3 and Fuji X-mount cameras. Support for other mounts will be added in the future.

To learn more details about this revolutionary technology, read the Speed Booster White Paper on Metabones’ web site.  (Read article on DPReview – Video above is a demo of an older Metbones Adapter on a Sony NEX VG20 from rivi1234)

Joey Daoud posted a great article on FilmakerMagazine.com about his experiences shooting a kickstarter video in Mexico using the Panasonic Lumix GH3.

According to the article, it took Joey quite some time to warm up to shooting video with a smaller compact system camera.  That is, until he read about the Panasonic Lumix GH2.

Joey writes:  “For the longest time I refused to get on the DSLR [and mirrorless] bandwagon. I was quite satisfied with my Sony EX1 and its XLR inputs and ability to shoot hours on end. However, even a minimal kit was bulky.

I wanted something small if I had to travel light or needed a second camera. The GH2 caught my attention and didn’t have a lot of the restrictions of other DSLRs. Some control over audio levels, no recording limits, no reports of overheating. Easily hackable to get great quality. Plus it was under $1,000. A great deal when you’re just looking for a second camera.  After hacking the camera I really fell in love with it.”

He then goes on to say “So when the GH3 was announced it was a no-brainer. It was pretty much everything you get from a hacked GH2, plus a whole lot more.” (Note: everything in the above YouTube video was shot on the GH3.)

Comparing the GH3 with the GH2

“…everything is better. The body is bigger and has a much more solid, professional feel. All the benefits you got from hacking the GH2 are now standard in the GH3, plus lots of design tweaks. High bitrates, the option to record either AVCHD or QuickTime, a touch screen menu system that is actually faster to touch than to use the scroll wheel.

For DSLRs, sound was pretty good on the GH2. It’s amazing on the GH3. There’s both audio in and out (and it’s a standard 3.5mm jack instead of the annoying 2.5mm found on the GH2). Sound levels can now be accessed right from the HUD on the touchscreen, and there’s way more than just four levels. The quality blew us away. While we used a Tascam DR-40 recorder with a lav for the formal interviews, the GH3 caught some candid sound bites when were weren’t interviewing that was clear and completely usable.

Also there’s timecode and an iPhone/iPad app. Timecode does your standard free run, record run, or time of day. The iOS app is handy and does what you’d expect – remotely monitor the picture and give you basic control of the camera. But buried in the settings you can synchronize the time on the camera to the time on your phone. This would lead me to believe you could sync multiple cameras with the same phone and have your time of day timecodes playing nice.”

Lenses

“Along with the GH3 [Panasonic] released two professional series lenses, a 12-35mm and 35-100mm with a constant f/2.8. Because of the camera’s crop factor of 2, the 35-100 is equivalent to the 70-200, a lens that I love and was excited to try out for the GH3. It did not disappoint.

On the lens itself is a switch for image stabilization. It was mind blowing. Handholding zoomed all the way in I could still get steady footage. The lens itself produced a great image, and being able to stay at a 2.8 brings the whole line to a pro level.”

Final Thoughts

“In the DSLR world, GH3 is hands down the biggest bang for the buck. The only other camera that could possibly tie with that is the GH2, because it’s still a great camera and now you can get it for a steal for around $700 with a lens.

No other DSLR has so many filmmaking abilities ingrained in its DNA. Canons and Nikons are fantastic still cameras that can shoot video. The GH3 is an equally great still and video camera.” (Read full article on FilmakerMagazine.com, it’s definitely worth the read!)

More about Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is a documentary filmmaker and photographer. He is currently producing <Angels at War and finishing STRIKE – The Greatest Bowling of All Time, a short he directed. He also directed the feature film Bots High, on high school combat robot builders. He runs a filmmaking blog at Coffee & Celluloid. You can follow him on Twitter @C47.

My 2 Cents

I was immediately drawn to this story because Joey’s search for a smaller, lighter camera seemed to mirror my own.  I too came from more of a traditional videography environment and originally looked at larger shoulder rigs and pro caliber camcorder style cameras until I did some research and found out about the GH2.  It’s heartening to see that others have drawn to the same conclusions that I have.  Now that the GH3 has seen wide release, I can honestly say that it has met or surpassed almost every expectation I had for it.  If you want a great stills camera, the GH3 is one of the best.  If you want a great video camera, the GH3 is one of the best.  If you want a great hybrid camera (a camera that can do it all), the GH3 is unmatched.

Buy the Panasonic Lumix GH3, the Lumix 12-35mm Lens f/2.8, and the Lumix 35-100mm Lens f/2.8 on Amazon Here

Consumer Reports talks about the new and innovative cameras they expect to see launched at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2013) next week.

We can’t wait to see all the cool new cameras and gadgets that’ll be launched at the show, and we’re sure that YOU can’t wait either, so be sure to keep coming back to MirrorlessCentral for all the latest news, reviews and updates from the CES!

Until then, we’ll wet your appetite, here’s a list of all the compact cameras that will be introduced by Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony (via PhotoRumors.com).

Fujifilm:

  • HS35EXR: 16MP, 30x zoom
  • HS50EXR: 16MP, 42x zoom
  • SL1000: 16MP, 50x zoom
  • S8200: 16MP, 40x zoom
  • S8300: 16MP, 42x zoom
  • T550: 16MP , 12x zoom
  • XP60: 16MP, 5x zoom
  • Few other models could be announced in different markets: XP200, HS30EXR, S4800, S6800, F820EXR, 850EXR, F900EXR, Z2000EXR, T500, JZ750, JZ700, JX650 and AX600.

Olympus:

  • SH-50MR: 16MP, 24x zoom
  • SZ-16: 14MP, 24x zoom
  • SZ-15: 16MP, 24x zoom
  • TG-2: rugged, 12MP, 4x zoom
  • TG-630: rugged, 12MP, 5x zoom
  • TG-830: rugged, 16MP, 5x zoom

Panasonic will announce 10 different compact cameras (via digicame-info):

  • DMC-TS25 (FT series in Japan), 16.1MP sensor, 4x zoom
  • DMC-TS5 (FT series in Japan), 16.1MP sensor, 4.6x zoom
  • DMC-XS1, 16.1MP sensor, 5x zoom
  • DMC-ZS25 (TZ series in Japan), 16.1MP sensor, 20x zoom
  • DMC-ZS30 (TZ series in Japan), 18.2MP sensor, 20x zoom
  • DMC-LZ30, 16.1MP sensor, 35x zoom
  • DMC-SZ3, 16.1MP sensor, 10x zoom
  • DMC-SZ9, 16.1MP sensor, 10x zoom
  • DMC-F5, 14.1MP sensor, 5x zoom
  • DMC-FH10, 16.1MP sensor, 5x zoom

Sony:

  • DSC-H200: 20MP, 26x zoom
  • DSC-W710: 16MP, 5x zoom
  • DSC-W730: 16MP, 8x zoom
  • DSC-TF1: rugged, 16MP, 4x zoom
  • WX80: 20MP, 8x zoom, Wi-Fi
  • Sony will announce also a dozen of new camcorders and some new accessories