Olympus and Panasonic are taking care of the m4/3 system Black Friday discounts, and those involve both lenses and mirrorless cameras. The list consists of the most popular cameras and lenses, so there is a good chance that, whatever you were planning to buy, it is now more affordable.
A number of our readers have been asking our team about our recommendations on different mirrorless cameras. With so many different options on the market today, choosing a mirrorless camera can get very confusing. In the new series of articles, we will compare all the options on the market today starting from entry-level, mid-level to high-end. In this particular article, I would like to start off by comparing mirrorless camera systems that are available today from different manufacturers. This below charts will be updated periodically with new / updated information. Please note that the below comparisons are only for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Discontinued systems such as Pentax K-01 and Ricoh GXR are not included. The list is sorted alphabetically and had to be split into two parts to fit. Also, please keep in mind that some of the benchmarks presented in this article are very subjective, based on our prior experience using the cameras.
|Mirrorless Systems #1||Canon EOS M||Fujifilm XF||Leica M||Nikon 1||Olympus M43|
|* Denotes PL Subjective Rating|
|Lens Mount||Canon EF-M||Fuji X||Leica M||Nikon 1||Micro 4/3|
|Announcement Date||Oct 2012||Jan 2012||Mar 2004||Oct 2011||Jun 2009|
|Sensor Size (Diagonal)||26.8mm||28.3mm||43.0mm||15.9mm||21.7mm|
|Autofocus Speed *||3||4||N/A||5||5|
|Native Lenses Available||3||10||26||11||16|
|Third Party Lenses||3||7||39||0||33|
|Total Lenses Available||6||17||65||11||49|
|System Compactness *||3||3||3||4||5|
|Image Quality *||4||5||5||3||4|
|Top Model (Manuf. Link)||Canon EOS M||Fuji X-Pro1||Leica M||Nikon 1 V2||OM-D E-M1|
|Top Model Price (B&H)||$339||$1,199||$6,950||$796||$1,399|
It has been a very busy week for us here at Photography Life with so many new products announced and launched by several major camera and lens manufacturers. The marathon of announcement articles is coming to an end and the last (hopefully) camera that we need to mention is the new m4/3 sensor mirrorless Panasonic Lumix GM1. But, by all means, it is not the least interesting product to come out this week. In fact, the GM1 is rather special. Let me start by saying this – it is tiny.
1) A Few Thoughts on (Micro) Four-Thirds System
Before Olympus mirrorless took entry-level DSLR market by storm, the 4/3 format didn’t really make all that much sense. With a sensor smaller than APS-C, it was distinctly amateurish. Image quality just wasn’t there, either, and the 4:3 aspect ratio, while a classic, was only shared by compact cameras. However, Olympus insisted on putting such a small sensor into rather large DSLR camera bodies, such as the Olympus E-5. A sensor four times smaller than full-frame in a comparable body? Four-thirds was always supposed to be minuscule – win in size where it lost in performance. That was the only real advantage it could exploit and for a long time Olympus made the mistake of trying to keep its DSLR system alive (which, incidentally, had a very loyal group of users). I still remember how they promised four-thirds would continue to exist when they introduced the E-5 in 2010. Make no mistake. Olympus DSLRs are done for. The only way they are going to “live on” is “spiritually” through micro four-thirds system and cameras like O-MD E-M1 that can use original four-thirds Zuiko lenses effectively.
Panasonic has just announced a new member of its mirrorless system with Micro Four Thirds mount. Despite what the model name may suggest, Lumix GX7 is a successor to the popular GX1 camera that came out back in 2011. This time around, though, GX line-up seems to have moved up half a segment. With all the new advanced features, it is now a direct rival to the Sony NEX-6, and possibly even more so to the Olympus OM-D E-M5, E-P5 and Fujifilm X-E1.
1) What’s New?
There is quite a lot of new features to mention when talking about GX7. Starting off with a 16 megapixel m4/3 size sensor, Panasonic claims it is a completely new unit never used in any other camera before. Until we have a chance to thoroughly test the camera, it is difficult to say how good it is. Given Panasonic’s extensive expertise it is probably safe to assume it will be similar to the Sony sensor used in its distant relative, the E-M5, which we found to be spectacular. Also, for the first time in a Panasonic compact system camera, the sensor is now wrapped-up in a sensor-shift based stabilization system. Olympus and Sony have been doing that for a while, while Panasonic preferred lens-based image stabilization. Perhaps such a move is a sign they’ve changed their minds and will now focus on sensor-shift stabilization instead? After all, the most notable advantage of a sensor-shift image stabilization is that it will work with all lenses, even old legacy manual focus optics. Click here to read more about the differences between lens- and sensor-based image stabilization.
I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the Panasonic GX1. Although I have owned some compact cameras and occasionally have the chance to experiment with those of others, this is the first mirrorless camera I have used. As Nasim and others have indicated, mirrorless cameras will increasingly play a larger role in the digital camera market, due primarily to their smaller size, lighter weight, reduced mechanical complexity, and faster FPS ( frames per second speed). They provide an impressive range of features in extremely small packages. But mirrorless cameras such as the GX1 still represent a modest investment and thus do not offer any cost reduction relative to entry and midlevel DSLRs. In this Panasonic GX1 Review, I will provide detailed information about the camera, as well as image comparisons to other DSLR cameras.
Some of my questions prior to receiving my GX1 included:
- How well would the GX1′s picture quality compare against that of my D7000?
- How well would the GX1′s pictures compare to my D800?
- Would I find the weight advantage of the GX1 meaningful?
- How would I adjust to the GX1′s controls?
- What would cause me to consider a GX1 over a DSLR or point-and-shoot camera?