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Tag Archives: Olympus

10 best mirrorless cameras of 2015

Mirrorless or CSC (compact system cameras) are the new thing, have to say I am not convinced, many of them don’t have a viewfinder or make do with a electronic viewfinder (ev). Proper cameras need a viewfinder. Just a little bias on my part, you make up your own mind but go and try one, handle it, take pictures before you splash the cash. The only remaining camera shop in Oxfordshire is T4 cameras in Witney

Tech Radar says In the old days, if you were serious about photography you bought a digital SLR. But now CSCs (compact system cameras) offer the advantages of a DSLR, including a big sensor, interchangeable lenses and advanced controls, but in a smaller, lighter body without the mirror mechanism – hency why they’re also called mirrorless cameras.

But mirrorless cameras (compact system cameras) come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some look like DSLRs, some look like supersized compact cameras. Some have viewfinders and some don’t. The fact is that we’re all looking for slightly different things, so we’ve ranked the 10 best compact system cameras you can buy right now based not just on specs, handling and performance, but size, simplicity and value for money too.

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1. Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

The brilliant E-M10 II ticks boxes you probably didn’t even know about

Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 16.1Mp | Viewfinder: EVF |Monitor: 3-inch tilting display, 1,037,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8.5fps | Maximum video resolution: 1080p

£549.00 
Compact size, lenses too
Excellent viewfinder
Smaller sensor than some
Pricier than original E-M10

We loved the original E-M10 for its size, versatility and value for money, but the E-M10 II adds features that take it to another level. The old camera’s 3-axis image stabilization system has been uprated to the 5-axis system in Olympus’s more advanced OM-D cameras, the viewfinder resolution has been practically doubled and the continuous shooting speed, already impressive at 8fps, creeps up to 8.5fps. Some will criticise the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor format (roughly half the area of APS-C) but the effect on image quality is minor and it means that the lenses are as compact and lightweight as the camera itself. It’s small, but it’s no toy – the E-M10 II is a properly powerful camera.

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Panasonic GX8

Panasonic’s flagship CSC has a brand new sensor, but it’s pricey

Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 20.3MP | Viewfinder: Tilting EVF |Monitor: 3-inch tilting screen, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8fps | Maximum video resolution: 4K

£849.00 
New 20Mp sensor
Mag-alloy build, dust and splash-proof
Larger than the old GX7
Expensive at launch

Panasonic’s compact system camera range is pretty confusing. You might expect its DSLR-style G-series cameras to get the best and latest tech, but actually it’s the the box-shaped GX8 that’s the first to benefit from Panasonic’s new 20Mp Micro Four Thirds sensor – this has performed really well in our lab tests, putting it on the same level as a good DSLR. The GX8 also comes with 4K video and the ability to grab 8Mp stills from it (it’s like continuous shooting at 30fsp). The rear screen is tilting and so, unusually, is the electronic viewfinder eyepiece. It’s a very good camera, but the price is a sticking point, and the Sony A6000 (above) gives you more for your money.

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4. Fuji X-T1

Classic handling, beautiful images – the X-T1 doesn’t put a foot wrong

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 16.3MP | Viewfinder: EVF | Monitor: 3-inch tilting display, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8fps |Maximum video resolution: 1080p

£849.00 
Classic controls
Rugged build
Advanced filters JPEG only
Expensive compared to X-T10

Not so long back the X-T1 was our favourite compact system camera, but things change quickly in the world of cameras, and it’s been pushed out of the top spot. Price has proved the X-T1’s main enemy – it’s a great camera, but the newer Fuji X-T10 is almost as great and much cheaper. The Olympus E-M10 II has come along with its brilliant blend of size, features and value, and competitive pricing means the Sony A7 II is now very good value for those who value performance above all else. The X-T1’s external manual controls for shutter speed, lens aperture and ISO setting are still a joy to use and we love the results from its X-Trans sensor, but its rivals are just getting stronger.

Read the full article here

Olympus Stylus 1

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From Photography Monthly we have a review of the new Olympus

Big camera handling meets compact size, the premium Olympus Stylus 1 is said to be the first of its kind.

There is a lot of choice in the “compact” camera market right now but nothing that combines a larger high quality sensor with a versatile zoom range and full manual control yet remains truly pocketable. Olympus engineers were determined the Stylus 1 would stand out for its excellent quality. Of course they applied the same high standards to the compact design. The Stylus 1 is a genuinely portable, slim, ‘anytime anywhere’ camera with the manual controls, eye-to-the-viewfinder stability and picture quality to satisfy the most discerning photographers, be they compact enthusiasts or D-SLR owners looking for a more compact, second camera.

A larger 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor heads an impressive list of credentials that includes a new and versatile, ultra-slim, constant-aperture 1:2.8 10.7x (28-300mm*) high-power i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens and a high-performance TruePic VI image processor. A premium high-definition electronic viewfinder, Fast AF and shoot-and-share WiFi round off a persuasive semi-pro package.

The Stylus 1 is available in classic black for £549.99, from late November 2013.

The Stylus 1 at a glance

Ambitious photographers demand excellentpicture quality. One look at the Stylus 1 spec sheet and you know you’ve found it. Despite a casing depth of just 52mm, it has a brand new 28-300mm* high-power i.ZUIKO DIGTAL lens that offers a constant 1:2.8 aperturefrom wide to telephoto shots, with a 10.7x optical zoom. Olympus designed this lens to work seamlessly with its large-format BSI CMOS sensor, as well as the TruePic VI image processor that is already familiar to users of its high-end OM-D E-M5 system camera. Other tried-and-tested OM-D features include the rock-solid handling and grip that comes from the D-SLR-style casing and layout. For accurate and professional framing, there is the large,1.44 million dot electronic viewfinder, Fast AF for near-instant, precision focusing via touch screen and built-in WiFi for real-time smartphone access– likewise all OM-D-proven. The Stylus 1 has superb dynamic range and low-light capability, plus the same Hybrid Control Ring for manual or digital control of key settings that has proved so successful on the Olympus XZ series.

Want to read more?

If you need more technical information then DP Review is the place to go

This is their astute opening to the review

The rapid collapse of the compact camera market has pushed all the major manufacturers to look for new markets – to create reasons for people to still need a ‘real’ camera as well as a smartphone. At one end of the spectrum, this has meant attempts at ‘social’ cameras, such as Canon’s PowerShot N but, more interesting to us, it’s meant much more capable, higher-end cameras, such as Sony’s Cyber-shot RX100. The latest example is Olympus’s range-topping Stylus 1.

It’s probably the most capable compact the company has made – a feature-packed, flexible camera with a lot of direct control and the longest zoom range we can remember seeing on a camera with a 1/1.7″-type sensor. In terms of styling, it’s been modeled on the company’s excellent OM-D E-M5, but in concept it’s perhaps closer to being a super XZ-2 – the company’s erstwhile top-end enthusiast model.

Viewing RAW files in Windows

There is a download now available that makes it possible to view RAW files as thumbnails in Windows, being a Mac user for more than 30 years I didn’t realise this was a problem but a friend in Denmark alerted me to the difficulty, so here is the resolution of that

“Overview

  • The Microsoft Camera Codec Pack enables the viewing of a variety of device-specific file formats in Window Live Photo Gallery as well as other software that is based in Windows Imaging Codecs (WIC).
  • Installing this package will allow supported RAW camera files to be viewable in Windows Explorer.
  • This package is available in both 32-bit (MicrosoftCodecPack_x86.msi) and 64-bit (MicrosoftCodecPack_amd64.msi) versions.
  • The Microsoft Camera Codec Pack provides support for the following device formats:
    • Canon: EOS 1000D (EOS Kiss F in Japan and the EOS Rebel XS in North America), EOS 10D, EOS 1D Mk2, EOS 1D Mk3, EOS 1D Mk4, EOS 1D Mk2 N, EOS 1Ds Mk2, EOS 1Ds Mk3, EOS 20D, EOS 300D (the Kiss Digital in Japan and the Digital Rebel in North America) , EOS 30D, EOS 350D (the Canon EOS Kiss Digital N in Japan and EOS Digital Rebel XT in North America), EOS 400D (the Kiss Digital X in Japan and the Digital Rebel XTi in North America), EOS 40D, EOS 450D (EOS Kiss X2 in Japan and the EOS Rebel XSi in North America), EOS 500D (EOS Kiss X3 in Japan and the EOS Rebel T1i in North America), EOS 550D (EOS Kiss X4 in Japan, and as the EOS Rebel T2i in North America), EOS 50D, EOS 5D, EOS 5D Mk2, EOS 7D, EOS D30, EOS D60, G2, G3, G5, G6, G9, G10, G11, Pro1, S90
    • Nikon: D100, D1H, D200, D2H, D2Hs, D2X, D2Xs, D3, D3s, D300, D3000, D300s, D3X, D40, D40x, D50, D5000, D60, D70, D700, D70s, D80, D90, P6000
    • Sony: A100, A200, A230, A300, A330, A350, A380, A700, A850, A900, DSC-R1
    • Olympus: C7070, C8080, E1, E10, E20, E3, E30, E300, E330, E400, E410, E420, E450, E500, E510, E520, E620, EP1
    • Pentax (PEF formats only): K100D, K100D Super, K10D, K110D, K200D, K20D, K7, K-x, *ist D, *ist DL, *ist DS
    • Leica: Digilux 3, D-LUX4, M8, M9
    • Minolta: DiMage A1, DiMage A2, Maxxum 7D (Dynax 7D in Europe, α-7 Digital in Japan)
    • Epson: RD1
    • Panasonic: G1, GH1, GF1, LX3
    • Download here
  • ©Keith Barnes

Olympus PEN E-P3, PEN Lite E-PL3, and PEN Mini E-PM1

Olympus Pen camera

Image via Wikipedia

This preview of the new Olympus cameras is full of information and useful data if you are interested in the new Four Thirds type cameras (does anyone else find Micro 4 thirds an odd idea, if it is thirds how can there be 4 of them?) The preview is by Josh Root on photo.net

“In 2009 when Olympus revived the iconic line with the digital PEN E-P1. The new PEN camera was the first body to use the Micro Four-Thirds mount, which allowed a far more compact body design than previous Four-Thirds cameras. The E-P1’s aesthetic look was reminiscent of the older PEN cameras, particularly the PEN F. The E-P1 was followed in 2010 by the updated E-P2 and the more compact E-PL1. In turn, those cameras were followed by the E-PL2 body in 2011.”...more

Micro Four Thirds the smaller dslr? Is it right for you

These cameras are becoming much more popular, they are chosen because they are smaller than conventional dslr cameras but look and feel more like a dslr than a compact camera. Many of these cameras also have inter-changeable lenses, so they are more like dslrs than compacts. Compact cameras have also improved beyond all recognition in the recent years and most offer a range of exposure and control options that you would expect on a dslr, so the question is why do people still opt for a full size dslr.

One of the defining points of a compact camera is their size, it is in the name, to achieve this things have to get smaller and the sensor is much smaller than on a conventional dslr, the sensor size definitely has an impact on quality and the smaller it is whilst retaining the megapixel count generally means poorer quality, especially with reference to noise but also sharpness. These cameras use software to resolve these issues of noise and sharpness but this is a fix for something that is wrong and so not ideal. A guide to this can be seen in the Canon G10/11/12  The G10 offered in excess of 14 megapixels but with the small sensor size the quality, noise, was less than desirable and the subsequent cameras in the range had reduced megapixels such that the G12 now has only 10.4 megapixel. These cameras are at the top of any serious photographers list when looking for a compact, I bought a G10 and if I am honest don’t use it as much as I expected because of the quality, well noise at higher ISO settings. I had mistakenly thought it would give me similar results to my Canon dslr cameras and have been disappointed.

Sensor size then has an impact on quality, the number of pixels crammed onto a sensor also seems to have an impact on quality, I have had 5 different dslr cameras and only when I bought a full frame sensor dslr 5D Mk2 did I realise what it was I missing from film, that intangible thing called quality, almost certainly measureable, not by me of course, but something that looks and feels right. You would be correct in understanding that the software and hardware improvements going into new cameras means that noise and increase in ISO options continues and much of what I say here might eventually be tosh but for now it seems quality does indeed relate to size. In full size dslr cameras there are 3 sensor size options, the previously mentioned full frame sensor as found in most of the the professional level cameras and the others are the APS C and the APS H, this article explains it in detail and this graphic shows the relative sizes. The size of the micro four thirds sensor is about half that of the full frame sensor

So the micro four thirds, there are a number of manufacturers who have embraced this market, the obvious being Panasonic/Lumix,  and Olympus, but there are also contributions from Samsung, and Ricoh, this site gives an explanation of the benefits of the system and this suggests the best on the market

Understanding that these cameras are not just full size dslr cameras without a mirror and all the space and weight that takes up is important, the sensor is also smaller than that found in dslr cameras and even with all the wizardry of the most recent software the resulting images cannot be as good as those obtained by a dslr.

You have to eventually make a choice based on quality, convenience, usability and that magpie thing that makes most people want new shiny things. I believe that for people actually interested in photography, wanting to make images that have meaning and impact, quality and functionality a full size dslr is better than a micro four thirds camera even though they are heavier and less convenient but as they say “you makes your choice..”