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Author Topic: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors  (Read 8480 times)

bluekorn

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Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« on: February 28, 2011, 01:11:06 pm »

Hello everyone,

I'm buying into the Panasonic MFT system (I think this includes lenses from Olympus) and I'm wondering if there is a general consensus on which of the sensor/processor combinations is optimal for still photography. The sensors are all listed as 4/3 type MOS, some with more pixels, but in the reading I've done it seems that there are various improvements not only in sensors but also in processors. I'm unable to sort out which of these "improvements" apply to still photography (my interest) and which to video photography. For example, is there anything to be gained in IQ by buying the GH2 for stills? Any comments by those of you who have had field experience would be much appreciated.

Thank you, 

Peter

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leuallen

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2011, 02:23:23 pm »

Have G1 and GH2. GH2 is superior in image quality, also much nicer ergonomics.

Larry
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feppe

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2011, 03:00:30 pm »

DXOMark has good comparison of the sensors on their site.

If you can wait 1-3 months, I would do so: there have been plenty of rumors that a new MFT sensor is coming in new bodies from both Panasonic and Olympus in the first half of the year.

By the way, why Panny camera with Oly lenses? I do the opposite: Oly bodies have IBIS, look better - but Panny lenses are significantly better. (Digital) bodies are upgraded more often than lenses and the latter arguably makes a bigger impact on IQ, so it would make sense to invest in the lenses rather than the body.

John Camp

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 03:22:23 pm »

I agree with everything Feppe said, including the suggestion that you wait a bit. Right now, the weak spot IMHO with the m4/3 is the sensor (in both Olympus and Panasonic.) They are pretty good, compared to film, but get blown away by the latest generation of sensors that we see in the Pentax K-5 and the Nikon D7000; and since the strong point of the m4/3 system is street shooting, a good high ISO sensor is pretty important. We may get it in the next generation (though I'm a bit skeptical; I expect some improvement, but not as much as would be ideal -- I don't expect them to approach the K-5.)

One problem with Oly lenses (in addition to the fact that most reviews say that the Panasonics are better) is that they rely on Olympus' in-body image stabilization (IBIS); so the lenses have no built-in stabilization. That means that Panny lenses on the Olympus are stabilized, but it doesn't work the other way around -- the Olympus lenses will not be stabilized on Panny bodies. As body designs leap-frog each other in the future, it'd be better to have Panny lenses that would work with both bodies, than Olympus lenses that will only work with Olympus.

Of course, YMMV: if you really are a hard-core street shooter and don't care much about longer lenses, the Olympus lenses are a bit smaller and less conspicuous than the Pannys. By the way, there are rumors that Olympus is about to produce a 4/3 "pro" body. But then, there are always rumors.

JC
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 03:23:58 pm by John Camp »
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 04:53:43 pm »

We have a G1 and a GF1. I noticed a huge improvement in image quality with the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom, using Process 2010. Very noticeable improvements in high-ISO noise reduction. I am very happy with the results at ISO 800 and find ISO 1600 usable if need be. Combined with the very sharp 20mm f/1.7 Panasonic lens, that lets me shoot in some pretty dark environments and achieve useful results.

I have been thinking about a second camera in this system (the G1 is my wife's camera.) The GH2 looks good, but I think I'm going to wait a few months and see what happens. M43 Rumors has rumors about a G3 later this spring, and there's always the Olympus "Pro" M43 rumor.

However, there is no real reason to wait -- get a GF1 or a GH2 and a couple of lenses and have fun. If you wait for the "next camera" you'll always be waiting and never shooting any pictures.

(As an aside, the older 14-45 Panny is a terrific lens, and the 45-200 is very good, especially for the price. I've been using the new 14mm f/2.5 for a month now, and love it.)
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BFoto

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 05:50:30 pm »

GF1, 20mm. I love it. Iso 800 or less is very workable print 22x17.

At 1600 is ok.

eg: 1/160 f1.7, Iso 1600 under difficult performance light - LR 3.3 quick WB, tonal adjustments and NR/sharpening.

bluekorn

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2011, 06:07:32 pm »

I appreciate this info a great deal. Just this morning I walked into a deal armed with my new info and picked up a Panny 14-45 in like new condition. I'm on my way but I am going to wait and see what appears on the horizon from Panasonic in the next few months regarding new bodies with (hopefully) the new sensor. Thanks again.

Peter
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flaxseedoil1000

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2011, 05:25:47 am »

Some ran-dumb thought for ya:

All things being equal, IS in a lens is supposed to get you 1 or 2 extra stops over IS in a body because the IS is tailored for each specific lens. It also means more $$$ because you are paying for it with each lens purchase.

DXOMark is a contrast in lab tests vs real world results. DXOMark shows GH1 sensor as superior to GH2 sensor, real world shows the opposite.

The GH2 sensor and CPU combo is the best Panny has to date. There's more to it than just adding a video upgrade to a G2.

Panny is supposed to announce a G*3 next month. With their track record of actual delivery expect it next year.

I could have gotten a D7000 or even better. But I wanted mirrorless and an EVF because that is the future.

I took delivery of a GH2 a couple days ago knowing all the excellent Panny glass I invest in will work on future bodies when I upgrade.


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feppe

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2011, 02:54:20 pm »

All things being equal, IS in a lens is supposed to get you 1 or 2 extra stops over IS in a body because the IS is tailored for each specific lens. It also means more $$$ because you are paying for it with each lens purchase.

Do you have proof other than marketing material trying to sell you IS lenses?

Quote
DXOMark is a contrast in lab tests vs real world results. DXOMark shows GH1 sensor as superior to GH2 sensor, real world shows the opposite.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

deejjjaaaa

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2011, 03:26:12 pm »

all the excellent Panny glass
banding as a result of the optics corrections that raw converters do for the excellent glass (20/1.7)

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/798576

http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/4296/acrgh2banding1.jpg



that is ACR/LR - but the same happening w/ CaptureOne and SilkyPix and does not w/ DxO which does not do the optics correction (just because there is no DxO module for 20/1.7)
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feppe

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2011, 03:38:06 pm »

banding as a result of the optics corrections that raw converters do for the excellent glass (20/1.7)

Thank you, I will take this into account the next time I photograph a plain concrete wall.

deejjjaaaa

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2011, 03:44:48 pm »

that is banding on Panasonic 14-140 @ 14mm (not a wall)

http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/7215/gh21425.jpg



make it B/W so it will be better seen

here is the raw file = http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/DMCGH2/DMCGH2FARWTW.RW2.HTM



now, you can make good photos - but the optics corrected by software has flaws, even your eyes are too week to see that, mine are not... too bad for me then  ;D
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feppe

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2011, 04:05:06 pm »

now, you can make good photos - but the optics corrected by software has flaws, even your eyes are too week to see that, mine are not... too bad for me then  ;D

Just because you can produce banding in that shot (which by your own admission was oversharpened and over-processed) doesn't mean that the banding is visible in real-life shots at web resolution or prints. Since you have produced neither for me to look at, you are making an ass out of yourself making assumptions on someone else's eyesight based on what you've read here.

deejjjaaaa

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2011, 04:34:25 pm »

Just because you can produce banding in that shot (which by your own admission was oversharpened and over-processed) doesn't mean that the banding is visible in real-life shots at web resolution or prints.
shots ? what are shots ? you can visualize raw files just by looking at the hex dump ? not w/o raw conversion (and postprocessing) and in my raw conversion/postprocessing when I want to achieve a certain look that banding is visible... and it is there even you do not see it in your raw/converstion/postprocessing.... and what are real life shots ? the raw file w/ the house is a real life shot - the problem is that w/ normal optics you will not get that banding no matter what, while w/ the crippled ones from Panasonic you have to stay within certain boundaries so that effects of the optics correction imposed by the raw converters (you can't switch that off in ACR/LR for example)...

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feppe

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2011, 06:20:12 pm »

shots ? what are shots ? you can visualize raw files just by looking at the hex dump ? not w/o raw conversion (and postprocessing) and in my raw conversion/postprocessing when I want to achieve a certain look that banding is visible... and it is there even you do not see it in your raw/converstion/postprocessing.... and what are real life shots ? the raw file w/ the house is a real life shot - the problem is that w/ normal optics you will not get that banding no matter what, while w/ the crippled ones from Panasonic you have to stay within certain boundaries so that effects of the optics correction imposed by the raw converters (you can't switch that off in ACR/LR for example)...

You are one owner out of tens of thousands who owns these cameras and lenses for up to two years or so. Since you are the only one who sees this issue as far as I know, it's clear that the problem is not a widespread one. It even might be unique to your workflow and/or the look you're after.

flaxseedoil1000

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2011, 07:52:04 pm »



http://www.flickr.com/photos/46756347@N08/5493521060/

GH2 with 300mm and ETC

Bad sensor makes for a bad shot ;)
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2011, 09:01:35 pm »

Hi,

I don't think it is banding but aliasing, probably caused by to weak AA-filter in combination with extensive sharpening. Try to apply some gaussian blur before sharpening and see if the problem goes away.

I did some experimenting in PS, I cannot see the effect in Lightroom.

I presume that you got that image from Imaging Resource side at it may be one of their poster shots? That could explain the aliasing issue, depending on how that poster was printed.

Best regards
Erik


that is banding on Panasonic 14-140 @ 14mm (not a wall)

http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/7215/gh21425.jpg



make it B/W so it will be better seen

here is the raw file = http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/DMCGH2/DMCGH2FARWTW.RW2.HTM



now, you can make good photos - but the optics corrected by software has flaws, even your eyes are too week to see that, mine are not... too bad for me then  ;D

« Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 09:09:19 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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flaxseedoil1000

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2011, 09:07:23 pm »


bluekorn, I answered your pm so check your msgs

I asked LTZ470:

"Since you seem to have a GH1 and GH2, which is the high ISO champ IYHO?"

His reply:

"GH2 by far...."

Here is another shot by LTZ470 to inspire you, I think he's got that bug trained.

GH2 with it's noisy sensor and bad panny glass ;)

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deejjjaaaa

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2011, 09:41:58 pm »

Hi,

I don't think it is banding but aliasing

there was a reply fro Eric Chan of Adobe Labs : http://forums.adobe.com/thread/798576 - see what he claims

and please note that raw converters that do not do optics correction do not have that issue (I tested w/ DxO that does not have module for 20/1.7 correction - no banding).

I presume that you got that image from Imaging Resource side at it may be one of their poster shots?

I got it from Imaging Resource to illustrate that banding is there for as long as software optics correction is in place and to use a 3rd party (= not mine) "real life" shot w/ the lens that is not mine either and w/ another camera body... anyways the point is that this issue prevents certain type postprocessing (like Topaz Adjust -> Sketch/Dark Charcoal preset and similar effects) that I was using a lot and I immediately started to run into that banding as soon as I got GH2 w/ 20/1.7... well, probably need to avoid using Panasonic lenses at all.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 09:44:16 pm by deejjjaaaa »
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deejjjaaaa

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Re: Panasonic MFT sensors and processors
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2011, 09:46:17 pm »

You are one owner out of tens of thousands who owns these cameras and lenses for up to two years or so. Since you are the only one who sees this issue as far as I know, it's clear that the problem is not a widespread one. It even might be unique to your workflow and/or the look you're after.
well, that just speaks volumes about those users... I tend to explore the raw converters that I use...
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