Photographing two seasons with an Olympus E-P3 - Bought Panasonic G3

Olympus E-P3 14-150mm zoom
Olympus E-P3 14-150mm zoom

An afternoon of warm sunshine, provided an unusual photographic opportunity. For some reason there is an autumnal look to many of my local landscapes. Leaves are falling off the trees and many are turning brown and yellow. Its been a warm, dry though not particularly sunny summer, so maybe that explains it. At the same time some of the harvesting has been late, providing an interesting contrast and letting me photograph two seasons at once!
Olympus E-P3 14-150mm zoom
Olympus E-P3 14-150mm zoom

Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Olympus E-P3
Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Olympus E-P3

Because of the slow release of the latest Photoshop ACR update, I have to a certain extent been holding off on using the Olympus E-P3. I've not been that keen to take pictures with the camera only to see the results as jpgs or as unsatisfactory raw conversions. 

Now being able to see the files the camera shoots processed well via Photoshop I can appreciate just how good it is. I mentioned briefly yesterday how when developed from raw, like for like, the E-P3 produces sharper images for me than the Sony NEX-C3. The weaker anti-aliasing filter really does make a difference here, though as I always point out, this is the view of a confirmed "pixel-peeper" who studies images at very close quarters and in great detail. The difference is not that great in real terms as indeed the difference between all the cameras I use is also not that great. However there is one and I can see it.

Olympus E-P3 14-150mm zoom
Olympus E-P3 14-150mm zoom

Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Olympus E-P3
Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Olympus E-P3

I took out my Olympus 14-150mm zoom, which I haven't used much since I bought it. A very useful lens, and very decent quality, apart from the 150mm end which is a bit soft.

I also took out my "clicking" Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4. In the forums where I was trying to discover what the problem was with the lens, a couple of other owners have mentioned how loud it is on Olympus bodies. One mentioned that it sounded like a rattlesnake! I haven't encountered one of those in the flesh, but the analogy is a good one.

With regard to this, I went to my local Jessops store and asked if I could try the lens on a Panasonic G3. I took the E-P3 body along and demonstrated the phenonenon, which caused great interest. It was greatly reduced on the G3. Still there yes, but nowhere near as bad. Panasonic cameras also apparently change apertures in larger steps whereas Olympus bodies do it bit by bit. So when the aperture blades move to adjust to the light its a lot less noticeable on cameras like the G3.

I decided to buy the G3 and I will be selling my E-PL1 and the m4/3 kit lenses I have accumulated to pay for it. Its good to know that the 25mm f/1.4 lens I have isn't faulty, though those planning to use it on Olympus bodies should be aware of what it may do. I should say that its even noisier on the E-PL1.

<Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix G3
Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix G3

When I originally handled a G3 I didn't like the feel of it at all. However trying it in the store with the 25mm it felt a lot more substantial. Getting it home I tried it with a couple of the leather cases I have and found it fitted into the converted Leica M9 case I have been using with the E-P3. This improved the grip even more. Panasonic keep trying to make their cameras smaller and I keep trying to make them bigger!!

Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix 
G3
Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix G3

A short period of shooting with the G3 showed that its a very capable camera, and I particularly like the pinpoint focusing option, which proved to be incredibly useful, and very accurate.

Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix G3
Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix G3

Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix G3
Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix G3

Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix G3
Panasonic Leica m4/3 25mm f/1.4 Lumix G3

I am very impressed with the 25mm f/1.4, despite its strange aperture clicks, and my first impressions are very positive. It is VERY sharp, and its also very sharp wide open. Following on from the 20mm f/1.7 which was also very good indeed at its maximum aperture, Panasonic have followed that up with another excellent fast lens. 

I'm going to be starting a more detailed review with comparison shots soon, but I don't think I'm going to be saying much thats negative about its optical performance.