Why I choose a Panasonic GH3 over an Olympus E-M1


Why I choose a Panasonic GH3 over an Olympus E-M1

VERSION 1 - For the majority of the camera owning internet.

Panasonic are great, Olympus are s**t. Panasonic make great cameras Olympus just copy them and make s**t. Panasonic make cameras for photographers, Olympus make cameras for w*****s. Panasonic GH3 video is great, Olympus E-M1 video is s**t. The Panasonic GH3 image quality is close to medium format, Olympus E-M1 image quality is like a bad camera phone, its s**t. Panasonic AF is faster, battery life is better, lens OIS is better than in-body stabilisation, the Olympus E-M1 is just s**t.

The majority of the camera owning internet can stop reading now. The rest will just confuse you.

VERSION 2 - For those with a brain.

The E-M1 is a classy looking camera and despite all the following reasons, I'm still very tempted. I'm off this afternoon to see my optician about an alternative to polarised sunglasses that will allow me to work comfortably in bright sunlight without OLED viewfinders. This is primarily so I can use the Leica X Vario (See post - Did I mention how expensive it is?) without problems. Obviously if it works (I'm trying a non-reflective coating) then it opens up the possibility of cameras like the E-M1 and GX7. 

But assuming that doesn't happen, that is one of the reasons I've gone for the GH3. The OLED viewfinder makes it much better for me in bright sunlight. The other reasons are, the video is better and since I'm shooting more and more of that, the GH3 is a better option. Olympus also don't seem to have realised that a 'professional' looking camera with lots of options needs a decent battery. I've always had problems with battery life and Olympus. The battery in the GH3 lasts for a days shooting (or more if you don't shoot video) and with two batteries and the grip fitted lasts me several days. 

And that's about it apart from the fully articulating screen which means I can use it for vertical stills. I've written before how screens that just move up and down only, seem to indicate that camera makers don't think that anybody shoots vertically. Panasonic, Nikon and Canon who do offer moveable screens that are of use for vertical shooting however have a different view. I could live without that, since I use it rarely, but it's nice to have it for an option.

I'm not going to go near stills image quality differences because I don't believe there's more than the most marginal difference between them, after viewing lots of Olympus raw files from the E-M1. How you shoot, how accurately you expose and how you post-process has far more impact on the final result than anything intrinsic in the sensor itself. I've used Olympus and Panasonic side by side for years and any differences there might be between the two, in terms of IQ, are minimal.

For all that I still can't get over how good the E-M1 looks. It would look very nice on the shelf next to the GH3. One for stills, one of video. I know that's a bit like supporting Celtic AND Rangers at the same time, but I guess I'm just one of those photographic outcasts who judges gear on its merits rather than its badge.

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.

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