Sunday, October 20, 2013

Time for a New Micro 4/3 Body

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I have been focused on other camera systems for most of this year, and have left my Micro 4/3 lenses (mostly Panasonic or Pana-Leica, but also the awesome Olympus 75mm f1.8) largely unused. I think I really need the latest advance in sensor technology (beyond my DMC-G3 and DMC-GX1 bodies) to get me back into the wonderful world of Micro 4/3. Not that the G3 or GX1 are slouches; they're not.
I have been having a lot of fun shooting my Leica M9 this year (see Whole Lotta Leica), and will not lose focus on Leica. I've also had a blast with my film cameras (see Skeletons From The Closet), but am ready to settle in with a few of those cameras for deeper concentration in the coming year. And of course, my Nikon D700 continues to impress and serve as my only choice for extreme low light applications (think live music in small dark venues).
So, with all that, why get back into Micro 4/3? Shouldn't I just sell my Micro 4/3 stuff and focus on the other outfits? Well, no. While many users consider a Leica rangefinder a great travel camera, I frequently need more focal length options than that system offers. I love to travel, so the optimum travel camera is something I'm always seeking. Film cameras fall from this category simply because of the issues of traveling with film. My Nikon DSLR can be a great travel camera, but at great cost of bulk and weight. So, once again, I'm pursuing Micro 4/3 mainly for this purpose.
I've always been a proponent of Panasonic Lumix cameras in Micro 4/3, preferring them over Olympus. This is not a decision based on performance. I have a long history with Panasonic, including working with Matsushita Denki (Panasonic's parent company) over multiple decades in my engineering career.
Olympus is testing my resolve in my Panasonic dedication with the E-M1. In fact, Steve Huff, while being very complimentary about the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, says the E-M1 outperforms it in most ways. Yes, the E-M1 is $500 more than the GX7, but that would not be a deciding factor for me.
(Click Here) to ready Steve Huff's GX7 review.
I am nearing the decision point, and need to look more into the E-M1 before making it final. Subjectively, I like the form factor of the GX7 more than the SLR-like E-M1; that may be enough to keep me with Panasonic.
Regardless of which way I go, I'm encouraged that Micro 4/3 may now be at the performance level to really hold its own against APS-C and larger sensors. I'm hoping that my next Micro 4/3 body will give me the equivalent jump in performance that I experienced in Nikon DSLRs, when I went from the D200 (which is a solid performer) to the D700 (which is simply amazing). If I can get that sort of improvement, specifically in high iso performance, I'll be very pleased. I know Micro 4/3 will not give me the same high iso as the full-frame D700. But, a similar jump in performance relative to the earlier generation will go a long way.
On top of that, I will get in-body stabilization, built-in EVF, and the silent shutter - all nice features that I'll love using.
So, as soon as my "due diligence" in exploring the E-M1 is complete, I anticipate pulling the trigger on a new Micro 4/3 body.