New XZ-2 reviews and an Olympus APP report (on the E-M5)

The great XZ-2 and the even cheaper XZ-1:
Our friend Robin Wong posted part two and part three of the XZ-2 review. It’s a really nice camera and Robin talents really shows how to get the most out of it. But as I told you before…that $199 you pay for the XZ-1 now (Click here) really kills the XZ-2 sales!

The new Olympus phone APP:
The Olympus Image share Application is now available on iTunes and Android store. And our reader Matt Johnston tested the APP on the E-M5:
I just wanted to send a quick update/review of the new Oly app and a Flash Air SD. I live in the US, but bought a Flash Air card a few months ago from Japan just to play around with to see how it compared to my Eye-Fi card.  To make a long story short, I could see the potential, but was turned off by the very rudimentary web interface you had to use for everything (browsing thumbnails, viewing full sized individual pictures, and saving images to your phone/device).  Anyway, after reading your post yesterday I downloaded the app and tried to connect to the card with both my E-P2 and my E-M5… both worked great!  I don’t have any other cameras to test with, but I’m curious if this might work with other brand cameras as well? It’s quite simple and only takes a few seconds to setup.  You first have to connect to the WIFI network that the card generates.  Then just open the Oly app and it shows you thumbnails of all the pictures on the camera. From there you can either view large versions of individual photos by clicking on them, or you can select multiple photos and have your phone save them to the camera roll.  To apply art filters, you have to use a photo already saved to your phone.  The good news is that you can apply Oly art filters to any photo on your phone… including pics taken with the iPhone camera or uploaded from other cameras!
I did have two recommended improvements if you can forward them on to Oly.  First, it takes a long time to load individual, full resolution photos… I shoot RAW + full size JPEGs.  RAWs don’t show up in the app (which is good IMO), but the full resolution JPGs take 10 seconds or longer to view. That delay is also present when using the very basic web interface from the Flash Air card so I’m sure it isn’t Oly’s fault.  It also goes much, much quicker if you set your camera to generate smaller JPGs.  The problem is when you scroll to the next photo (and wait 10+ more seconds) and then scroll back… it doesn’t cache the photos you’ve already viewed.  You have to reload the photos (10+ secs each), every single time you view them!  Maybe Oly could create a cache that resets after the app is closed.  That way for each viewing session you browse quicker.  The other improvement I would love to see is to add an auto-refresh option.  If you were on a paid shoot and your client was watching the progress on an iPad, they would have to refresh the thumbnails between every shot.  Not a deal breaker, but it seems like it could easily be added.
Now to be fair, everything you can do with the Oly app is possible to do with the card by itself — namely, connecting to your smart phone/tablet, viewing thumbnails, seeing full size images, and downloading them to your device.  What the Oly app adds, is a nice interface to everything.  I almost gave up on my Flash Air card as it was so cumbersome to use via their painfully basic web interface.  Before this app came along my Flash Air was sitting unused in favor of my Eye-Fi card.  Now I can see myself using it much more often… way to go Oly!

Thanks Matt for your report!!!

P.S.: A long list of E-PM2 cameras is sold by Cameta on Amazon (Click here) and on eBay (here on slidoo).

Panasonic and Olympus Preorder Links with specs and price:
Special GH3 page at Amazon (Click here) and a full Olympus presentation page at Amazon (Click here).
GH3 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here)Panasonic US and in Europe at Wexphotographic UK and Technikdirekt.
35-100mm X lens at Amazon (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here), Panasonic US.
E-PL5 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here). In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,
E-PM2 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here). In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,
XZ-2 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
60mm macro at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
12mm Black prime lens at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
15mm cap-lens at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).

PEN news: E-PL5 review at PB. Android PEN App available. E-PM2 in Stock.

 

 

Now we know that the E-PL5 is officially the first MFT camera without Anti Aliasing filter. It explains why this camera managed to match and even beat (at LOW ISO) the current E-M5. Today the British website PhotographyBlog (Click here) posted the full E-PL5 review and writes: “The Olympus E-PL5 is a much more intriguing camera than its mid-level price and positioning in the Olympus compact system camera range would first suggest. Not many manufacturers offer the same image quality as their flagship camera throughout their entire line-up, but that’s exactly what Olympus have done with the release of the E-PL5 and the even smaller E-PM2. The new Olympus E-PL5 therefore comes Highly Recommended as a more portable and affordable alternative to Olympus’ best mirrorless camera…

Sounds good!

The E-PL5 is set to ship tomorrow at Amazon (Click here) and Bhphoto (Click here). The little sister E-Pm2 is already shopping at BHphoto (Click here), Cameta (Click here), Amazon (Click here) and on eBay (Click here) -> found via Slidoo. And if you are going to buy them than don’t forget that the new PEN Olympus Application is now available on iTunes and Android store!

 

 

New Panasonic GH3 and 35-100mm X lens hands-on. E-PM2 in Stock at Amazon and Cameta!

The E-PM2 is for the first time in Stock (via third party reseller) at Amazon (Click here).

UPDATE: Also Cameta (Click here) has a lot of E-PM2 kits in Stock! They sell them also on Amazon (Click here) and on eBay (Click here) -> found via Slidoo.

ThePhoBlographer posted the GH3 first impression review: “I feel that Panasonic here has a chance to put a real clamp on Canon’s waning grasp on the video community. This camera has some promising features.

Sgoldswoblog is among the first to have received the new 35-100mm X lens: “Contrast and colour seem excellent and the sharpness improves as you stop down. I was very happy with it. CA, which is an issue with the 12-35mm, didn’t seem to be apparent to the same degree as the 12-35mm

Panasonic and Olympus Preorder Links with specs and price:
Special GH3 page at Amazon (Click here) and a full Olympus presentation page at Amazon (Click here).
GH3 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here)Panasonic US and in Europe at Wexphotographic UK and Technikdirekt.
35-100mm X lens at Amazon (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here), Panasonic US.
E-PL5 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here). In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,
E-PM2 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here). In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,
XZ-2 at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
60mm macro at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
12mm Black prime lens at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).
15mm cap-lens at Amazon (Click here), Adorama (Click here), Bhphoto (Click here).

Olympus XZ-2 review by Robin Wong (XZ-1 still rules the ranking)

Our friend and superb photographer Robin Wong (Click here) reviewed the new Olympus XZ-2 camera. The main question is, is it good enough for street photography?: “I’d say a definite yes. It is small enough to be discreet, light and easy to be carried with you everywhere…Most importantly, the XZ-2 delivers amazing image quality for a compact camera“.

I have no doubts about the quality of the XZ-2 but I think it’s too pricey. Will you spend $599 for the new XZ-2 (Click here) when you can buy the older generation XZ-1 for $199 at Amazon (Click here)? That’s a huge difference in price that may not be justified by the new XZ-2 features and improvements. And the Sony RX100 with much bigger sensor is only $50 more expensive. For now the XZ-1 is beating both, the XZ-2 and RX100 sales at Amazon (here is the ranking).

Surprise: The Olympus E-PL5 has no Low-Pass Filter (no AA filter).

Recent E-M5 and E-PL5 comparisons showed how the image quality is quite different despite the fact that both uses the same Sony 16MPX sensor. Our friend Pierre Paul Lepidi (translation here) may found one of the possible causes that may explain the increased E-PL5 image quality. He contacted Olympus France and got the confirmation that the E-PL5 uses no Low-Pass Filter at all!

The exact info from Olympus France was: “As agreed during our recent telephone conversation, we confirm that the unit E-PL5 lacks the LPF, low-pass, unlike the M5-E device.

This new PEN cameras didn’t excite us a lot when announced back in September and they never managed to jump into the best mirrorless camera rankings. But they are grabbing more and more attention now!

New PEN preorders:
E-PL5 at Amazon, Adorama, Bhphoto. In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,
E-PM2 at Amazon, Adorama, Bhphoto. In EU at Amazon Germany, Amazon UK, Amazon France,

More info about Low-Pass (or so called Anti Aliasing) Filters on Wikipedia. E-M5 vs E-Pl5 tests at M43.eu (Translation here) and Techradar.