18 March 2016

hm. er.. wow?

The proverbial blind spot strikes again.
Funny how I had ignored Olympus for so long, as it's the micro4:3 product with in-cam stabilization like Pentax. They beat Pentax to the 5-axis and multi-shot resolution SR tricks, though only because their cameras came to market a half-generation sooner (and the multi-shot enhancement methods are quite different). I really liked the E500 camera in 2008 but took the Sony A200 instead, preferring internal stabilization; my E510 tests showed a sensor was so limiting in its dynamic range that I stopped watching Olympus, even when 4:3 became Micro.

Therefore my previous forays into micro 4:3 have been all Panasonic:
  • First G1 and GH1, during the Samsung-partnership era at Pentax; the K-7 was a great body but used an indifferent sensor for the images I was trying to create
  • then the GF2 dropped in, albeit briefly
  • and most recently the G7 with its too-many-amazing features and customization options for this old dog.
With Panasonic bodies it was lens-stabilizing or nothing.  And now I have the NX300, and the same result: currently I'm using the untabilized 20-50 kit zoom so no SR.

Dynamic range has been an issue in the past with the m4:3 sensors (as noted in my e510 comment above) but Sony has recently stepped into this sensor segment, and Panasonic sensors have improved to keep up. When Olympus was reeling from a large financial scandal, Sony stepped up with some investment capital..and quietly handed Olympus a 4:3 sensor. While they had not made this type before many of us know that Sony's 16Mpic history is a good one! That sensor appeared in the EM5, PL5.. and the supposedly-entry-level PM2.  Reviews show its interface is unusual (to keep size to a minimum) but images impress.

So I have picked up a used ePM2 (yes, a red one!) and will give it a test drive. The size advantage to m4:3 sensor size is for telephoto lenses. The NX and Pentax 50-200mm lenses are almost the same size (both for APSc, one mirrorless w/OIS and one dSLR with SR inside the body) while the Oly 40-150 is quite a bit smaller and lighter! All three lenses are 300mme so the size is quite relevant.

Among the new features to test now I have Live Bulb, which looks like a great way to integrate light for astronomy images .. especially if I had a telescope adapter.  Well I have one now, and look at that: it was assembled using a C-mount thread, and i just happen to own a C lens already from my time with the Q!  Bizarre how things connect some times..if you swap enough gear, that is.

 No doubt other cool features await my inspection/ discovery, and it will compete with the nx300 for my small-body affections.  For now it will use the still-unsold 30mm Sigma and the 40-150mm Oly telephoto.  If a 14-42 deal comes along I'll add that - then stop.  Honest!

If the Pen wins out it causes a new wrinkle in that I bought my wife an nx300 also. I'd have to steal her camera away and swap it.. Risky! She'd lose the tilt screen but gain an optional viewfinder. I'm getting ahead of myself though: tests first!