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Andrew Reid

First look - Olympus OM-D E-M1 vs Panasonic GH3

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Very nice this Oly..I ordered it 2 days ago and am really exited to use it for stills and video, I also bought the 12-40 with it and

already have a 14mm 2.5 a 45 mm 1.8  and a 45-150 zoom these lenses I used on a Gx7 that was unfortunately stoolen on my trip to Sri Lanka a couple of weeks ago. I liked the Gx7 but am more attracted to the Oly because of the built and IQ..One thing still gives me some worries is the 30p in Pal country. But is it true that with the shutter speed on 50 there will be no flickering? I still see it a little bit in Dean's (very nice) short movies. I also have to say that I can live with it..Thanks for any input.

 

Siep

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Dean, how do you find the high ISO image quality?  What's the highest ISO the camera can shoot in video mode?

 

One thing I wish the GH3 had was auto ISO in Manual exposure mode.  i.e. fix the exposure at 1/50s and F2.0, but let the camera choose the ISO

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Here is a video of my sister's cat (look, it was - 38* farenheit outside and we had low battery!) shot on a Canon FD 28mm @ f/2.8 and ISO 800. The cat is sort of an interesting subject from a video quality point of view because there's a lot of subtle color detail in her fur.

I think the E-M1 picks it up rather nicely.

Everything shot totally handheld, much of it one handed (I was distracting the cat with the other).

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Great review as always, Andrew. :)

I'm seriously considering the Olympus, but I hope they come to their senses and add 24p (although the phase detect artifact is also a turn-off).

I recently finished post production for a short film that was shot at 29.97p and the director wanted it converted into 24p for festivals. For the most part you won't notice it if there isn't a lot of movement, but I can easily spot the jerkiness that comes from losing a frame around every 6 frames.

By the way, I noticed you had the Sigma 18-35 on the GH3 using the Speed Booster. Does it vignette? Is it useable?

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Sigma 18-35mm on the GH3 is fine. It only vignettes on the oversized mutli-aspect sensor on the GH2. That's a 1.86x crop. It is right at the limit on the GH3 but holds up well even at 18mm.

 

Yes I agree on 30p to 24p - it doesn't quite work :)

 

However I must admit to not hating 30p quite so much as I used to. The reason is not HFR in cinemas, or having watched too much 60p and got used to it, or something! The reason is that 30p suits the stabiliser on the E-M1, it makes handheld work look buttery smooth. On a tripod I still prefer 24p.

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Wow, you give it more credit than I was expecting. I know there's raving opinions and recommendations for being the 2013 best camera and so on, but thought it would be kinda subpar when it comes to video.

 

About a week ago I played around with the Sony A7 (it's very nice, cool viewfinder, well built, feels nice in your hands and it's fullframe, but then again, you can't really use a pancake lens or anything), RX10 (I saw Mike Kobal with this, it's indeed a very capable device, the child conceived when the Sony RX100 II 1" sensor and Panasonic FZ200 f/2.8 had a one-night stand, but I didn't like the electric drive zoom/focus ring) and the OM-D E-M1 and was really blown away by the viewfinder of the OM-D E-M1, also the whole aesthetics, ergonomy of the camera was very nice. I digg the dual settings wheels at your thumb and index finger. Also performance wise really snappy and nice to use. And I'm also fan of the retro and functional look and especially the higher end kit with 12-40mm f/2.8 is very appealing. I also adore a lot of Olympus' other lenses or the choice and pricing of the M43/MFT lenses in general anyways.

 

I currently am a happy Panasonic GH2 user and use it for both photography and to shoot video with. It's rather excellent. I also love the formfactor (I like to just toss it in my regular bag) and lens availlability. But I've been looking to change things up for quite a while now. The 5DmkIII is too big for me and I'm not really being stopped by the step-in price with 24-105mm kitlens, but rather all the other lenses and gear you would want to buy and add up quite considerably in the end. The BMPCC is nice, but I also like to take pictures and you're kind of forced to spend quite some time getting the footage the way you want it to look afterwards, which sometimes you just want to as close in-camera right away. The GH3 imho is not an enough step-up from the GH2, but I'll await the Panasonic announcement 7th of february, to see what's coming, might just be intersting too. You know, I kinda am in love with fully articulated (touch)screens, so that's always a big big plus.

 

In any event, the OM-D E-M1 really caught my interest. Can't wait for the full comprehensive review. Thanks for the initial thoughts on it! ^_^

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Dean, how do you find the high ISO image quality?  What's the highest ISO the camera can shoot in video mode?

 

One thing I wish the GH3 had was auto ISO in Manual exposure mode.  i.e. fix the exposure at 1/50s and F2.0, but let the camera choose the ISO

I know I'm no Dean, but I drove around tonight and shot some video at 6400. I'll put it up tomorrow for you.

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That's great! Looks like the 18-35 has a lot of overhead, since the 2x sensor on the GH3 goes all the way up to 1.42 with the Speed Booster. Nice.

I still have my beloved GH2 with me (bought thanks to you) after almost two years and didn't quite have a reason to get a GH3 apart from the 1080p60. Now here I have a Sigma 18-35 waiting to be speedboosted, so maybe it'd be time to make the switch? I'd really like that 60p.
Now... knowing there's a GH4 coming, regardless of 4K, maybe I should wait. But it's cool to know that I'll be able to use the Speed Booster on it (unless for some crazy reason it also comes with a multi-aspect ratio sensor!)

And these Blackmagic versions of the SB just got things more complicated for me... I can only buy one right now...

Anyways, I haven't been forced to use 30p (neither have I had the luck to shoot with it on a IBIS camera!) so I don't like it, although I understand the benefits. But I can't get over the TV effect I get with it, with that miniature HFR smoothness of motion.

It'd be great to have options and in any case just choose it if it's best for the job, not be enclosed in one single option by the manufacturers.

Thanks for this important insight, Andrew!

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Dean, how do you find the high ISO image quality?  What's the highest ISO the camera can shoot in video mode?

 

One thing I wish the GH3 had was auto ISO in Manual exposure mode.  i.e. fix the exposure at 1/50s and F2.0, but let the camera choose the ISO

 

I find ISO 1600 excellent and only a bit of grain at 3200. Pretty good at high ISO I would say ... not FF sensor good, but definitely acceptable. I have some ISO 3200 footage from last weekend I'll dig up later on.

 

I know I'm no Dean, but I drove around tonight and shot some video at 6400. I'll put it up tomorrow for you.

 

Can you shoot video at 6400 on the E-M1? In video mode it seems to top out at 3200, but if I just press the record button in "M" mode (normal "M" mode not "M" in video mode) it allows you to to record video at any ISO. It's a bit confusing.

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Here a clip of some ISO 3200 footage on the E-M1 from last weekend. For me ISO 3200 is totally acceptable on this cam. In the first part I shot at ISO 3200 because ... well ... it was dark !! The second part, I set the ISO on 3200 on purpose and flicked the aperture until it was exposed properly. I think it landed at around f/8 on the PL 25/1.4. Lots of my street stuff is ISO 3200, but I am certain these two little scenes are for sure. All noise reduction off in cam and none in post. As a bonus for y'all, there's "Footloose" playing in the background at the tacky bar we stopped in at for a beer  :D

 

More useless info ... the second part is in shot in a little arcade in Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui ... one of the many, many, many cluster of shops you can wander around in checking out second hand cameras and old lenses. I was looking for an M3 and there were around 10 available just in the 5-6 shops in this arcade. Great fun. I love Hong Kong !!! 

 

Also, in the second part, the shutter speed is set to 1/50 instead of 1/60 to compensate for the voltage here which is at 50Hz. I found this knocks the flickering issue on it's head nicely. The setting in "Custom Menu --> D --> Flicker Reduction" doesn't seem to do anything when set to 50Hz ... the flickering is still there if the shutter is set to 1/60.

 

Why Olympus doesn't implement 24/25p is crazy, but I have a theory. The sceptic in me really believes there's some secret behind-closed-doors agreement between Olympus and Panasonic regarding IBIS and video technology ... each company implementing one or the other to help drive sales. All at the detriment of us consumers. Why doesn't Oly do 24/25p? Why doesn't Panasonic implement IBIS in video ... the arrangement between these two companies seems a little too cosy. I refuse to believe Olympus doesn't ramp up the video side of things because they don't realise what they have as far as IBIS goes for video or because they are concentrating on stills ... there's some sort of collusion going on here I reckon  :angry:

 

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@ Dean: looks nice.

 

I couldn't help but notice some grey ('hot' I believe you call them) pixels here and there though.

I've had that once before myself with a Kodak Playsport Zx3 (which had a more interesting problem since those pixels were dancing around).

Back then I ended up needing to send it back for a replacement...

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This is incredible - outrageously cinematic:



Dean - so long as you shoot in manual mode, you can shoot at ISO 6400. Not sure on how it works on shutter priority (I have my 2x2 lever set up to control ISO on the front dial in position 2, and I use that to control ISO in shutter priority all the time. I assume it works the same in video? Don't know for sure, though.)

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This is incredible - outrageously cinematic:

Dean - so long as you shoot in manual mode, you can shoot at ISO 6400. Not sure on how it works on shutter priority (I have my 2x2 lever set up to control ISO on the front dial in position 2, and I use that to control ISO in shutter priority all the time. I assume it works the same in video? Don't know for sure, though.)

 

Wonderful find, Jurgen. Looks fantastic. Great to see what can be done. Not a tripod in sight either it seems :)

 

I have my camera set up as you do with the levers but shoot manual in movie mode. Shooting like this the camera won't shoot beyond ISO 3200. I will try just shooting in manual on "M" (on the dial) next time. Shooting as you do also means you can use peaking to set up the shot's focus as well. Can't use peaking at all in Movie mode I'm pretty sure.

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@ Dean: looks nice.

 

I couldn't help but notice some grey ('hot' I believe you call them) pixels here and there though.

I've had that once before myself with a Kodak Playsport Zx3 (which had a more interesting problem since those pixels were dancing around).

Back then I ended up needing to send it back for a replacement...

 

Thanks, Cinegain. Not sure about the hot pixels. I see some blue flare in there which I always seem to get for some reason. 

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As promised, here is an extremely low light ISO 6400 test (shot with the same Canon FD 28 2.8 lens I've used to ... relatively poor effect in the previous two videos :) ):



Now, before anyone asks, yes, that is a public school, and yes, I am driving around after dark with a camera - promise I'm not a weirdo, though. It's the only place in this small town where I could safely drive with one hand while shooting video (that has streetlights). It's -25* out in NY right now and no one is out walking. I kept my eyes on the road the whole time to make sure!

In terms of video quality, this is the straight out of camera image with the standard picture profile on Auto WB (which you can see in action in certain shots). For future test videos, now that I'm kinda-sorta-starting to get a hang of this thing, I plan on properly white balancing beforehand with an 18% gray card.

In regards to light availability, even with the street lamps, these roads are nearly pitch black at night. The fact that any camera could pick up ANY detail at all in these conditions is remarkable, I think. The fact that this one could do it at f/2.8 is even more remarkable.

I've ordered a Panasonic 20 1.7ii, which should arrive sometime later this week. I'll be interested to repeat some of these low light tests then. If anyone has more questions or more requests, I'd be happy to (attempt to) oblige!

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Unless I'm doing something wrong (most likely the case), I really don't think you can record at higher ISO's in normal "M" mode.

 

I tried this and all the ISO's look the same ... ISO 3200, ISO 6400 right up to ISO 25,600 .. no difference in grain. Only in "Movie" mode on the dial shooting in "M" on the setting in the menu can I see any difference in grain and this only allows up to 3200.

 

Is it possible that when pressing the record button in any other setting than "Movie" on the dial that it will record in iAuto or something?

 

It's confusing  :huh:

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@ Dean and Jurgen, thanks for posting.. this helps to prepare for my EM 1 coming next tuesday. Great shots at that high iso settings and the IBS also is very attractive.. What kind of workflow are you using after importing on the computer, I am on a mac.

 

Thanks and greets

Siep

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@ Dean and Jurgen, thanks for posting.. this helps to prepare for my EM 1 coming next tuesday. Great shots at that high iso settings and the IBS also is very attractive.. What kind of workflow are you using after importing on the computer, I am on a mac.

 

Thanks and greets

Siep

 

I've only been at this a month or so, Hitfabryk so can't really offer many suggestions. What I can tell you is that I purchased the "Izzy Video" FCP X training tutorials and sat down one day and did the whole lot. Taught me the basics of FCP X. Can recommend his stuff for sure if your a beginner.  http://www.izzyvideo.com

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Hello Dean,

 

So you just import it on the computer and just put it on the timeline of FCP X, without converting to proress?

Maybe FCPx is doing that for you. Thanks.

 

Siep

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