New Micro Four Thirds reviews (Including New York Times test of the E-P3)

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Mike Kobal is having fun with his new toys (Click here to read his E-P3 and 12mm lens article).

Olympus E-P3

The New York Times (Click here) wrote about the new Olympus E-P3: “micro-S.L.R.โ€™s use the same slow focusing system as pocket cameras (the ones that miss so many split-second opportunities). So saying that the EP-3 focuses faster than professional cameras would be like saying that Fordโ€™s newest pickup truck gets better mileage than the Toyota Prius. You can turn this camera on, focus and snap in under a second. The blackout time between photos has been cut in half. And when capturing its gorgeous hi-def 1080p video, the camera refocuses smoothly, quickly and silently as you zoom and pan, exactly like a camcorder. Thatโ€™s extremely rare in still cameras.
Steve Huff (Click here) posted his final E-P3 review: “The E-P3 is a camera like no other though. When I shoot with any PEN camera I have FUN. The camera inspires me to take it with me at all times. Its small, sleek, thin and light. The out of camera JPEGS are very good and many times I shoot it just with the B&W art filter as I really love the look it gives. But the big question is IMAGE QUALITY! How does the E-P3 compare to the other cameras? Well, in all reality it is up there and close but you will still get better overall image quality from the X100, X1, and Ricoh GXR.
You can check the E-P3 price and availability by clicking those direct search links: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay (Click on shop name).

Panasonic GF3

Digitalcamerareview tested the Panasonic GF3 (Click here): “The GF3 is capable (with very little effort on the part of the user) of consistently and dependably delivering “pro” quality images. The GF3 successfully combines the look and P&S simplicity of a compact digicam with the larger sensor and lens interchangeability of a DSLR. To put that another way, the GF3 looks and behaves like a compact P&S digicam, but it performs like a DSLR.
You can check the GF3 price and availability by clicking those direct search links: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay (Click on shop name).

Panasonic G3

There is also a new Panasonic G3 review at DC.watch (Click here).
You can check the GF3 price and availability by clicking those direct search links: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay (Click on shop name).

Mixed

Mobile01 posted a triple review. They tested the GF3 (Click here to read the google english translation), the E-P3 with the 12mm lens (Click here to read) and the Leica 25mm (Click here to read).
Dirk Weber sent me this: “I’m a regular reader of your site and this time I’d like to share a personal experience. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just for fun I tried a fashion shoot with the XZ-1 a few days ago and it did a great job there. Here you’ll find pictures and a short review in German and some sort of English. If you like, just have a look at my wedding photography website http://www.brautrausch.de – all Olympus – featuring a 3 minute clip showing work with E-Cameras and PENs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

REMINDER: Those are the direct search links to all the new Pana/Oly stuff:
Panasonic G3 search page at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Panasonic GF3 search page at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Panasonic-Leica 25mm f/1.4 search page at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Olympus E-P3 search page at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Olympus 12mm f/2.0 search page at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Olympus 45mm f/1.8 page at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

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  • napalm

    I LOL’d at the NY Times review hehe

    • GreyOwl

      +1! :-)

  • Neonart

    Awesome work Dirk! What lens are you using for your “fisheye” shots? You do a great job of making that work without overdoing it! Thanks!

  • http://Non Ernest

    XZ-1 rules !!! i got this camera , and i really love it ^^, that 1,8-2,5f is awesome !!!!

  • OlyFan

    Fantastic images on Dirk’s website! Great work!

  • http://youdidntdidyou.com/ YouDidntDidYou

    great work Dirk! will add you a link to your website from my blog ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Jan Francois

    Pogue is a jerk. So sad his “heart was broken” at the “well lit” fashion shoot. Maybe with a “pro” camera, he can get some “sharp” results….Maybe the NYT should find a competent technician for reviews as the results obtained by Dirk suggest….

    • Mr. Reeee

      David Pogue started out as a Mac Tech kinda guy. I remember in the early 90s when he would give smart and hilarious hardware and software presentations at the, AFAIK, defunct New York Mac Users Group.

      Now he’s the Tech columnist at The Times and has to cover things beyond his scope of knowledge. At least he admits not knowing much about some things and writes his articles with wit and humor. When he’s wrong, he’ll admit it and will actually take the time to explain his positions in the comments area.

      I’ll take him over that plump and whiny CNET reviewer chick any day.
      (oh shit, now I’ll get attacked for making a non-PC snarky remark… ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

  • Francis

    I rarely post here but just had to after seeing those pictures from Dirk!! Those were excellent both technically and artistically. It just goes to show what someone who knows what he is doing can get out of these cameras with their “inferior smaller sensors”. I can only wish that I could take a few lessons from Dirk to learn how to coax those type of pictures from my cameras!!! I would be more than willing to fly to Germany for that class. What is ironic is contrast Dirks comments about the Olympus system (and I would include the zx-1 to that list, since it also shares the expansion port) with the sad sad comment comment of David Pogue. I guess these cameras are just not idiot proof enough. They do not qualify for for a full PhD ranking (Press here Dummy). They do require a little more photographic intelligence to get good pictures in extreme situations.

  • Jason

    David Pogue made one or two valid points. That said, he clearly doesn’t write as though he knows much about photography. His statement about Sony’s camera having excellent lenses is ridiculous, obviously he doesn’t know much.

    Steve Huff says the Ricoh GXR is better than the EP-3. What an idiot.

    • Brad

      How so is Huff an idiot?

      After months of deliberating I went oddball and chose the Ricoh GXR with 28mm APS-C module (can’t wait for the M Module!) instead of all the other offerings. I still want a more-prosumer minded MILC but the GXR will do for me in the meantime.

      If we are talking just about image quality then yes, the GXR “should” trump anything from the EP-3 in regards to high ISO performance and DR. From what I could compare to my cousin’s exact same EP-3 setup versus mine; Goliath still winneth (in pitting sensor sizes), but not by a very large margin.

      GXR build quality? Stellar. Ease of use? Best-in-class. Image quality capability? Excellent but oft overlooked.

      But I am jealous of the EP-3 focusing abilities and the resolution of the additional viewfinder. The EP-3 almost erases my bleak outlook on Olympus’ M4/3 commitment.

      My eyes are on Panasonic now to get out of their pander-to-the-masses gameplan and make some more bespoke offerings that endeared people to the Lumix name all those years ago.

      The other players? Who knows with Pencoh but I am looking forward to some Sony releases. They will be stymied by bad UI and optics offerings though.

      • Jason

        Brad– Steve Huff saying a Ricoh GXR is better than an EP-3 is an idiotic statement.

        Dpreview says it best: 57% for the Ricoh GXR http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/ricohgxrs10/page30.asp

        Dpreview also reviewed the best previous generation Olympus MFT camera, the EPL-2 and gave it a 71%: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusepl2/page16.asp

        71% versus 57% tells me that the EPL-2 destroys the Ricoh GXR, so I assume the newer generation EP-3 desecrates the Ricoh. It is not even a contest.

        Generally speaking, the MFT alliance produces cameras with better image quality, better build quality, better lenses, is backed by more reliable companies (Ricoh was recently sold), and so, so much more…..than anything Ricoh has or ever will produce. And you can quote me on that and send it to Steve “idiot” Huff!

        • http://www.43rumors.com/members/nicofoto/ Nico Foto

          Hmmm, basing your opinion on DPReview ratings only might not be the best way to assess a camera, to say the least. Also, its the other way around, Ricoh, bought pentax…

        • David

          Sorry Jason, I meant to put my reply here. See below.

        • SteveD

          Huh? Ricoh recently bought Pentax. When was Ricoh sold?

        • Vlad

          I find it more idiotic to compare some random percentage from some website and doing it wrong on top of that.

  • http://perkylberg.smugmug.com/ Kylberg

    Interesting: I was on the Steve Huff site a week ago and looked up his equipment. – There he claimed he had left m4/3 for Sony NEX due to snsor size. This week he has obviously changed his mind :-) Let’s see what is best next week….

    • http://dennisraines.com Raines

      Yeah, I saw that statement buried somewhere in his “equipment I use” section a few weeks ago.

      I guess he tried using those Sony lenses ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Mr. Reeee

      +1
      While there are some quite interesting articles on the site, Steve Huff’s site is as much about Steve Huff as anything else. AND his love affair with M9s and Seal, of course. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Seriously, what is with egomaniac photographers and their web sites or book covers with the obligatory “action shot” of said photog looking through a camera. What is it with that? I find it kind of hilarious.

      • http://dennisraines.com Raines

        I do find Steve to be much more tolerable than Ken Rockwell ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • http://www.43rumors.com/members/nicofoto/ Nico Foto

        LOL!!! Agree 100%!!!

        As for his reviews, i like the point of view (“i’m a photographer and not a scientist”), but, i don’t know, i sometimes feel he contradicts himself, and, worse, sometimes his statements seem empty. I get the feeling he went out with the camera or lens or whatever, shot his sons in the backyard and then took some snaps of an empty building (to add some “grit”) and calls its a “hands on review”.

        Contradictions: He reviewed the K-5, said it was superduperawesome, and then, said he would not buy it. Lol. As for the E-P3, he started saying the sensor and IQ was exactly the same as the older pens, then he goes on to say the sensor is new, and the ISO has improved (wonder what that means).

        Dunno. I’ll keep coming to his site for the fun of it, but everything i read there i take with a grain of salt, and always thinking he really did not go deep into what he’s reviewing…

  • Joh.K

    admin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN4I4KcvAL0 <– DigitalRev 12mm f2 review

    • Jack

      I picked up the lens at the shop, got it before thinking, it’s seriously that good, and sexy

    • http://www.43rumors.com/members/nicofoto/ Nico Foto

      Now, that’s a review. Heheheh. I love DigitalRev, they are nasty, but in the end, Kai seems to know what he’s talking about. He might be on an ego trip like S. Huff, but he’s fun.

  • nalax

    I got tired of seeing shots of Steve Huff’s kid almost every time he tested a camera or shots of junk on his table so I haven’t bothered with his site for awhile. Not much image quality there to demand use of an X1 or X100 with their better quality…

    • Mr. Reeee

      +1 or his girlfriend or wife. You’re right about that messy kitchen table.

      I found a good site for street photography. It’s worth checking out.
      http://www.135street.com

      @Raines. Yeah. Although Rockwell’s Nikon lens database is a really good resource.

      • David

        I think Ken Rockwell’s reviews offer a nice counterpoint. In a world where most reviews are focused on how much resolution we can get out of a brick wall, he points out that in the end it is the photographer, not the camera that makes the shot. His FART method really does work. I also think he’s right that if you can’t take a nice photo with the kit lens, buying a 24-70 isn’t going to make you better. Buy a cheap 35mm and learn to take photos.

        But yes, he’s very full of himself.

  • David

    Jason,
    I had to comment on your bonehead post. First off, let me say that I like Dpreview. It sets a nice baseline with which to compare raw capability and quality of features. But it doesn’t do real world tests where the rubber meets the road. Steve does.

    Second, even if I accepted that merely looking at the percentages was a valid way to compare cameras (which I don’t), you are still wrong. The S10 module gets 57%. That’s a point and shoot size sensor. The actual module that is relevant for comparison to the E-p3 — the one Steve Huff was talking about — was the A12 sensors. You know, the ones that received a 67% rating. On top of that, the E-PL2, the model you compared it with, is a very much consumer model. It doesn’t have the same features as the GXR, and is in a different class than the GXR for ratings purposes. Note the disclaimer above the ranking: “Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
    ” That means that were you to bump the E-PL2 into the same category as the GXR, it would get a lower score. The more relevant comparison is to the E-P2 (69%) (and then the E-P3 when they post the full review).

    If you look at the E-P2 scoring vs the GXR scoring then it comes out just like Steve said. The GXR is a little better. Like I said, I think the straight numbers comparison is a baloney way to think about a camera’s virtues, but if you are going to do it, do it right.

    • David

      I should point out, I meant that the image quality of the GXR is a little better. The E-P2 best the GXR in other areas.

    • http://www.43rumors.com/members/gino/ Gino

      EPL2, EP2, EP1, EPL1, EP3, EPL3 – they all are same category cameras. I would only put EPM3 as separate subcategory.
      As far as GXR is positioned as “system” and share similar sensor size – all comparisons to m43 are valid.
      What Ricoh made wrong with GXR was the decision to combine lens with sensor – in couple years they will become obsolete because sensor/AF technology never stops. And any lens attached to sensor becomes useless for future generation.
      So that 67% A12 50mm received in 2009 is little less now when you compare it to 2011 cameras and it will keep falling down.

  • Max

    E-P3 is now available on Olympus official website! In all colors and kits!

  • dac38

    Is nt it the same NYTimes review where Ep3 is called crap as compared to NEX C3 ? (paraphrasing ofcourse)

  • Jason

    David – it appears Gino has already corrected you in regards to what category the EPL-2 is in. Clearly, it is the same category, even if MFT cameras are far superior! And another point you foolishly misstated, was that Dpreview doesn’t do real world reviews. They actually do, they always include sample photos. If I was comparing DXO scores, or splitting hairs between close results, then you might have a point – but I’m not — you are dead wrong.

    Ricoh sucks, Olympus and Panasonic rule – sucker.

    • David

      Look man, you clearly didn’t even read my comment. You compared the S10 module. That’s a point and shoot camera. If you feel comparing a point and shoot with a 4/3 sensor is valid, then whatever. Most wouldn’t. As far as comparing the GXR with the E-PL2, I agree with both you and Gino that they are comparable as photographic tools, but DPreview scores them differently and puts them in different categories. Their numbers are NOT comparable. Literally. Read the fine print. That’s not me saying it, its Dpreview. If you have an issue with how the categorization is done, take it up with them. It’s their policy not mine. Finally, acting like a fan boy and calling me a sucker make you look like a tool. I doubt you know very much about photography, but you certainly know nothing about class. Maybe you are m4/3 version of Pablo?

    • Brad

      “Ricoh sucks, Olympus and Panasonic rule โ€“ sucker.”

      You called Steve Huff an idiot, fine, your opinion. However with that single statement I think that you yourself are an idiot.

      Honestly, you are commenting on a category of electronic imaging that is highly disruptive. There is no need, nor is it the right time, to be a fanboy.

      You’ve proven to be ill-informed. If you’re gonna have a criticism, make sure it’s valid.

      For instance, I partially agree with Gino that the GXR system is flawed. The gains of the system are there, but unfortunately they’re not a sensor maker nor a premier glass maker, and cannot price their modules appropriately, nor integrate certain technologies at the right time. Hopefully the possible hot-cakes selling M Module along with the the Pentax purchase (ehh, Jason?) might usher in offerings like a M4/3 module, K-mount module, monochrome module or a HD camcorder module. However with the Pentax purchase they might just abandon the whole GXR system altogether.

  • Jason

    Brad and David – you are a tool and idiot respectively.

    I can use my EPL-2’s built-in sensor and an adapter to connect Leica lenses to my camera – without paying $600 for a redundant sensor module (normal people only need one sensor per camera, douches like you two prefer to pay twice I guess). I can also attach the native MFT 25 mm Leica/Panasonic lens as well.

    Dpreview prefers the EPL-2 over the Ricoh, period. People buying cameras “can” use the numerical scores to compare across different categories, although in this case – it is clearly the same category.

    (Show me anybody credible that says the Ricoh is better than a next generation MFT camera. I have laid out actual facts, whereas both of you morons have shown no facts — just your opinion.)

  • David

    Jason,
    I”m not going to bite. You laid out a faulty comparison, and then pitched a fit because someone called you out on your fanboy BS. If you can’t understand how Dpreview grades cameras, then I am not going to help you out. Btw, I own an E-P2, not a GXR. I find the GXR overpriced. Nevertheless, I find its simplicity and build quality refreshing and if I had the money I would buy one. But what do I know. I’m an idiot. I should probably buy a plastic wonder like the E-PL2.

    • Jason

      David,

      I don’t care if my camera is plastic, aside from being the newer generation, it is also much lighter than the EP-2. Plus, the EPL-2 grip is far superior to the EP-2. Dpreview says the EPL-2 is a better camera than the EP-2 — duh.

      Enjoy your outdated body and shitty 14-42 mm kit lens.

  • stopkidding

    you all suck. I am the best, everyone else is wrong. I am awesome!

    • Brad

      Where’s your justification? Oh well, this time you win the Internets, but only just!

      [sarcasm]

      Anyways, this EPL-2 sounds awesome. I must replace my Polaroid 110B Graflok and Hasselblad H3D. Why? No supporting evidence on DP Review; not even on my GXR A12 28mm module. Instant 0%!

      But you know what? I don’t mind comparing apples with oranges. Stuff the EPL-2, the X100 is 4% higher in the DPR ratings! Never mind the price, quirky UI and its retro front/cheap digicam rear, I’m buying one!

      Now I’m sorry that this isn’t related to M4/3 at all, but I just watched Captain America and I think it’s worth catching yoursehhh… actually maybe Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part Two would be more ample. Doesn’t matter if you dislike the subject at heart, it’s currently at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes vs Captain America’s 79%. Long live metadata!

      [/sarcasm]

  • David

    Jason,
    I didn’t mention this part. I have a special Dpreview edition E-P2. It has a full frame sensor and a 6-185mm f/1.0 lens sharp wide open. It weighs as much as a mouse fart, and Steve Huff hates it. You can only barter for it with crappy photos. You should try and get one.

  • Jason

    David/Brad – if you like the GXR so much, why are you blabbing about it here, no one cares about the Ricoh here. Ricoh cameras are garbage compared to MicroFourThirds.

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