Saturday, July 14, 2012

Andy Hendriksen Reports Why He Sold His Nikon DSLR In Favor of the Olympus OM-D

Olympus OM-D
Olympus OM-D
Image Source:
Andy Hendriksen has written a full report on why he has made the shift completely away from DSLR to Micro 4/3 equipment.
(Click Here) to read Andy's report on The Phoblographer.
Andy explains how the advent of the Panasonic DMC-GF1 a few years back immediately drew his attention (and a purchase), but was not enough to convince him to sell his Nikon DSLR. This had to do with two major points: 1) performance of the GF1 itself, particularly low light performance and autofocus speed, and 2) a lack of a complete lens set. That said, Andy indicates that he thoroughly enjoyed the GF1, and took it many places that his DSLR would not have gone.
Andy feels that the Olympus OM-D represents the tipping point in performance that allows him to replace his DSLR with Micro 4/3 equipment. Timing is also right for him, as there is now a nearly complete stable of lenses available.
Like me, Andy was intrigued by the Fuji XPro1 camera, which is a mirrorless system camera, but not Micro 4/3 format, but decided not to go that way because of some performance points, and because there are less lenses available.
Andy settled on the OM-D body and the following lenses: Olympus 12mm f2, Pana-Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4, and Olympus 45mm f1.8. He sold his Nikon kit. So far, he's very pleased with his decision.
I have not gone as far as Andy. My choice of bodies was the DMC-G3, which I am still quite pleased with. I find the autofocus to be very fast, the options myriad and useful, and the low light performance a giant step up from my previous DMC-G1 and GF1. I should say that both the G1 and GF1 are great cameras, but the new generation surpasses them. My lens kit is not far off from Andy's, either. I lean heavily on primes, most notably the Lumix 14mm f2.5, Pana-Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4, and Pana-Leica 45mm f2.8 Macro-Elmarit. I thought the Summilux would not replace the excellent Lumix 20mm f1.7 for me, but it all but has, even though they're quite different lenses.
I am planning to add an expensive new lens to my kit, which will be my first Olympus lens - the 75mm f1.8, as soon as it's available.
All that said, I am not ready to sell my Nikon D700 DSLR. In fact, last weekend, I shot both kits at a music festival, and each has their merits. They are not interchangeable. I shot the G3s all day long, then switched to Nikon for the evening shows. Part of this was because I have longer lenses in Nikon, and used my 300mm f4 Nikkor quite a lot. Thinking this way, the new 75mm f1.8 from Olympus would have allowed me to leave the much heavier and more obtrusive Nikon kit at home.
Jack Pugh, by Reed A. George
Jack Pugh of Jake and the Burtones, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3
However, any way I look at it, the D700 still significantly outperforms the G3 in image quality, and several other aspects. When I look at some of those images from the D700 over last weekend, the quality is astounding. So, no, my D700 isn't going anywhere.
Iron Horse, by Reed A. George
Iron Horse Band, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 300mm f4 AF-IF
I have come to consider my Micro 4/3 kit (DMC-G3 and a few primes) as my new 35mm film equivalent kit. The Nikon D700 is my medium format film equivalent. I fully believe that it provides every bit as much image quality as my medium format film cameras ever did.
Don't get me wrong - this is not an advertisement of full satisfaction with the Nikon DSLR. If it were, this blog would not be about Panasonic and Micro 4/3 gear. The Nikon gets a tiny fraction of the use of my G3s, in large part due to weight and size. But, one does not replace the other. I'm not sure it ever will.
This does leave me wondering exactly where to draw the lines of lens selections for Micro 4/3. The case in point is the new Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f2.8. This lens is very expensive, especially for Micro 4/3. I don't know if I'm ready to drop that kind of money on a fast zoom for Micro 4/3, or whether I will stick primarily with the excellent prime lenses I already have, plus the new Olympus 75mm. No question, the primes are great. The zoom could be an excellent solution for travel. I'm not sure where I'm going with this one, but my wallet is warming up in my pocket as I write...