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Thread: why (micro) 4/3?

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    why (micro) 4/3?

    I ask this because I like to make up my mind regarding camera systems and sensor sizes.
    Today I personally use nearly every sensor size from a g11 up to MF including a gh1 which is used by my wife.

    However I just had one thought:
    Remember how many people moved from DX-sensors to full frame d700 and say how much better it is? they say more color depth, more room to bring up shaddows with out noise, etc etc.
    Remember how relativly slow the 4/3 came into market. People saying to much noise etc etc
    So now lets have a look at 4/3:
    Biggest advantage IMO is size and the posibility to use all kinds of lenses.
    But then you give up optical viewfinder and - besides the fun of experimenting - is it that great benefit to use third party lenses? For me not. I once put a Leica M lens on my wifes gh1 but the results didnt blow me away in a way I would give up metering, automatic f-stop and af of the Panasonic lens. So for me its Leica lens on Leica camera, and Panasonic lens on panasonic camera.
    Other than size I see pretty good video capability-if one can manage the focusing etc.

    For me it turns out that for a little smaller size of the camera body (of micro 4/3) we give up quite a bit of sensor size (compared to a Canon 5d or Nikon D700 or whatever other DX or ff camera), we give up also optical viewfinder (which is a disadvantage IMO), we give up AF speed.
    If you take more than a pancake lens into account it is smaller system than DSLR but still not real compact. Lens choices, specially fast lenses are limited of today. Shallow DOF, with the exception of the 20/1.7 or third party lenses is hard to achieve.

    So who does really benefit from micro 4/3 and why? How much is "toy-factor" because it is something new and how much would a small DSLR offer more for less money?

    Regards, Tom

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I ask this because I like to make up my mind regarding camera systems and sensor sizes.
    Today I personally use nearly every sensor size from a g11 up to MF including a gh1 which is used by my wife.
    Tom, If you use the GH1, why ask this question? You should know by now if it is the "toy factor" or is it of any use to you. How can anyone else tell you if it would be of any use to you?

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    Senior Member apicius9's Avatar
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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Well, one of my reasons to focus on the m4/3 system is that I cannot afford to 'use nearly every sensor size from a g11 up to MF', and the m4/3 offers the best overall value for me. This is a little bit like in the Formula 1 - it may not win the most races but it consistently collects points in all races and - in the end - comes in as an overall winner for me. Of course, top range DSLRs have more DR and better high ISO performance, of course an M8 has better built quality, a compact camera is more portable, a bridge camera has more zoom, and a DSLR system that has been around for 10 years has a better selection of lenses. And if I were a professional, I would go for the best in every relevant category. But my personal reasons as a hobbyist for chosing the m4/3 system are different:

    - It's a big quality step up from the best P&S cameras.
    - It is small and light enough that I actually take it with me - something I didn't do with my Leica R in years because of the weight and bulk of the equipment.
    - It has re-ignited my interest in photography because it is the first 'real' new development in a long time.
    - I find it fascinating that I can use 70 year old cine lenses on digital technology - and I don't care one bit about the DR or high ISO performance with these lenses.
    - The adaptability enables me to buy vintage lenses that I couldn't afford in their modern versions, e.g. very affordable Canon FDs that perform very decently.

    After diving into this a bit excessively in the beginning, I probably have invested the equivalent of a very decent mid- to high level DSLR and 2 fabulous lenses - but I wouldn't have had half the fun because in many situations I just would have left the monster at home. And I thought long about the smaller DSLRs like the Olympus lines, but adding all things up, the G1/GH1 is close to what I would have described as the ideal camera for me. That said, of course I wouldn't mind seeing a 58/1.4 lens coming out soon...

    My 2 cts,

    Stefan

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Tom, If you use the GH1, why ask this question? You should know by now if it is the "toy factor" or is it of any use to you. How can anyone else tell you if it would be of any use to you?
    I ask since I am afraid I oversee maybe other advantages/ reasons for the micro 4/3 system. I do not have used it extensivly.
    And I am interested to hear experiences and how happy people are with the micro 4/3.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Hello Tom

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I ask this because I like to make up my mind regarding camera systems and sensor sizes.
    Today I personally use nearly every sensor size from a g11 up to MF including a gh1 which is used by my wife.
    MF ... that would be the more or less 645 sized sensors (even though they're more like 48x36 which is still smaller than 645 anwya) ??

    reading your post I think I understand you quandary. Just recently I was taking some pictures in the local area with my 4x5 and using my G1 as a meter. Inevitably there came some comparisons between the two on my screen.

    I'm also thinking of how and what I will use to take some images of a family funeral this weekend. For instance about 2 years ago at the other grand fathers funeral (why does it always seem to be in winter?) I took this image which many in the family happen to like



    it was on my film EOS with negative using a 50mm at about f2. I was using a 10D for the other images, and to get a similar 'angle of view' I was using a zoom with a shorter focal length but it lacked the wonderful background blur of this one.

    So I understand your feelings about format size / angle of view / background which is what I suspect you're talking about.


    So now lets have a look at 4/3:
    Biggest advantage IMO is size and the possibility to use all kinds of lenses.
    well, that's what I used to think when I got into it, but now I feel that its another format that provided things others don't. Like I have great mid telephoto using a 50mm lens with greater depth of field than a 100mm on a 35mm frame that works nicely in a room size space



    definitely different to 35mm


    But then you give up optical viewfinder and - besides the fun of
    seldom an issue .. as one used to rangefinder and ground glass I find its just another set of overlapping but not identical criteria

    I once put a Leica M lens on my wifes gh1 but the results didnt blow me away in a way I would give up metering, automatic f-stop and af of the Panasonic lens.
    (getting into flame proof suite here) ... well personally I have never felt any special magic about the Leica optics ... perhaps back in the 1930's it was ahead of the pack but as a Pentax and OM user in the 70's and a Canon EF user in the 90's I never saw anything wrong with those optics.

    I'm really pleased to get FD lenses on my G1 for really nearly nothing. This whole set cost about the same as just a Panasonic 20mm f1.7



    and its not just for experimenting ... it takes shots which me and my family like and have prints from.


    So for me its Leica lens on Leica camera, and Panasonic lens on panasonic camera.
    well ... good, but I'm really pleased using my OM lenses on my EOS camera, and FD's and Olympus 4/3 on my G1.

    but I agree that the best use of the Leica lenses is on a body which makes the most of that focal length (I'm assuming you don't have 300mm Leica lenses or even anything longer than 90)

    we give up AF speed.
    can't argue there ... exactly why I'm now considering a EF300 and a 20D ... I'll get better AF, optical view finder IS and I can get that for less than a good Olympus 300mm SWD even used.

    I'm even considering getting a 5D, but will settle on keeping the trusty 630 running on negative for the occasional 50mm and 24mm shot where I want shallow DoF

    So who does really benefit from micro 4/3 and why?
    me for all the reasons I've given above ... and as to why not a DSLR ... well same reason as to why I don't sell my 6x9 film camera or my 4x5 ... they do jobs from time to time.

    like:


    and focus control foreground to background


    which really nothing else can ...

    everything has its place ... and my micro 4/3 is sitting in well :-)

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I ask since I am afraid I oversee maybe other advantages/ reasons for the micro 4/3 system. I do not have used it extensivly.
    And I am interested to hear experiences and how happy people are with the micro 4/3.

    In that case liveview focusing, the swivel TFT screen, the fabulous EVF (all in a G1), in combination with allowing me to use many fabuluos lenses that can not be used in any other interchangeable lens digital cameras.

    AFAIC, no DSLR has the liveview implemented this well.

    To top it all, once I am done with my G1 modification, I would have an UV and IR camera.

    No "toys". Serious tools. (I only speak of one camera and none of the lenses!)

    Yes, the DR and image quality are lacking but not to that extent for my uses.
    YMMV.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Oh

    Tom ... I was a bit rushed before (had to duck out) and I forgot to make the point clearer that I introduced above.

    while I see advantages in the larger formats it just so happens that in many instances those advantages are either unseen by many or simply rare enough in my photography that the 4/3 does 90% of it.

    I guess that its hardly worth buying a 5D (for me) to capitalize on the larger format for some shots when for (probably more) the smaller format does just as well (or I can attain the same another way).

    At smaller print sizes the focus control issues are often less than obvious.

    so I think you are (like me) not caught up in new toy syndrome but enjoying a new format.

    *with respect to telephoto autofocus, if I could get a lens such as the EF300 IS on the micro 4/3 I would probably not be so worried about the optical view finder aspects as the IS and single shot AF will probably be all I'd really need. I don't really want to have a Canon system lying around for the occasions I'd use it and so I get by with my FD 300 on my micro 4/3

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    Oh


    while I see advantages in the larger formats it just so happens that in many instances those advantages are either unseen by many or simply rare enough in my photography that the 4/3 does 90% of it.

    I
    I won't restate what others have said above, but this quote is probably why I now shoot primarily with an m4/3rds (after coming to see the attributes in others posts). I do have a 5D and quite a few lenses, but I choose one of the m4/3rds probably more than 90% of the time.

    Diane

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    (...)while I see advantages in the larger formats it just so happens that in many instances those advantages are either unseen by many or simply rare enough in my photography that the 4/3 does 90% of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Diane B View Post
    I won't restate what others have said above, but this quote is probably why I now shoot primarily with an m4/3rds(...)
    Diane
    I'll second or third, whatever, the fellow posters cited above.

    After using different cameras back and forth I sold my 5D, my 4/3 stuff and my 5DMkII.
    The FF cameras were wonderful tools and great for some things my G1 can't do. So it is.
    But in the end I prefer the advantages the EVF gives me together with the small size. I like my satchel bag and it weights very little with camera and lenses covering 9-50mm (or 18-100 for the FF folks) with a WA zoom and two fast primes.
    Sometimes I miss the DOF control provided by a bigger sensor. I make up for that, partly, with PP. I'm happy to see high ISO noise is slowly coming down with each new 4/3 model and we are now at levels that are good enough for me.

    Yup, as you see, it's about different needs for different users. If you can't live without splash proof stuff, hyperfast AF, noisefree ISO1600 images and an optical viewfinder there is no need to ask about 4/3 equipment. If you have a feeling you maybe could manage without the drawbacks there are only great advantages left to explore.

    regards,

    /Jonas

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    I can clearly see the portability advantage and the "all-in-one" approach of micro 4/3.
    I have some great (and big) Nikon lenses as well as a Nikon pro DSLR which I dont use much at all (because of size).
    I carry the M9 all the time but sometimes I want AF, Tele or macro.
    I am not sure if I should "downgrade" (sizewise) to a smaller Nikon body - or to 4/3 or to micro 4/3. I admit though that the EFV is probably my main concern and reason I have not really fallen in love with micro 4/3 so far.

    Intersting to hear that for many of you guys the larger sensor DSLR even became kind of useless/not needed any more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonas View Post
    I'll second or third, whatever, the fellow posters cited above.

    After using different cameras back and forth I sold my 5D, my 4/3 stuff and my 5DMkII.
    The FF cameras were wonderful tools and great for some things my G1 can't do. So it is.
    But in the end I prefer the advantages the EVF gives me together with the small size. I like my satchel bag and it weights very little with camera and lenses covering 9-50mm (or 18-100 for the FF folks) with a WA zoom and two fast primes.
    Sometimes I miss the DOF control provided by a bigger sensor. I make up for that, partly, with PP. I'm happy to see high ISO noise is slowly coming down with each new 4/3 model and we are now at levels that are good enough for me.

    Yup, as you see, it's about different needs for different users. If you can't live without splash proof stuff, hyperfast AF, noisefree ISO1600 images and an optical viewfinder there is no need to ask about 4/3 equipment. If you have a feeling you maybe could manage without the drawbacks there are only great advantages left to explore.

    regards,

    /Jonas

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    I've said it in more detail other places, but for my landscape shooting APS-C DSLRs offer nothing over 4/3 other than additional weight. Their OVF and PDAF systems are inferior for tripod based landscape shooting, their live view implementations aren't as good, they don't have the articulating LCD (which I now consider a must for tripod based shooting) and they offer no real IQ advantage at base ISO (possible exception for the priciest and heaviest APS-C cameras). The "limited" m43 lens selection of slow zooms actually works wonderfully for landscape. Panasonic has a three lens UWA to telephoto solution comparable to the APS-C systems but at much reduced bulk and weight. The portability difference for an entire system (including tripod) is huge - about a factor of two in weight and even more in volume.

    That's the "why" for m43 for me.

    I can see a definite "why not" if you want to shoot the highest-ISO's, large apertures, fast moving subjects, high FPS. While m43 is essentially indistinguishable from APS-C at base ISO in IQ the move to FF is a different league for sure - as is the move in weight and cost (at that point it is a question of print size really).

    m43 is certainly not a "jack of all trades" kind of system, but it excels in its niches.

    Ken
    Last edited by kwalsh; 12th January 2010 at 07:24.

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I admit though that the EFV is probably my main concern and reason I have not really fallen in love with micro 4/3 so far.

    .
    What is interesting to me is that I was really skeptical of the EVf--I had never used one, only read about them--so when I decided to add the G1 about 13 mos. ago, I found a store that had one to try. I found that it was OK with my relatively quick assessment. Now, after using one for all this time (the really good G1's), I much prefer it to the OVF in my FF 5D. Yes, the OVF has advantages, none of which really apply to my shooting, so YMMV in this regard, but for my style of shooting and subjects, the EVF is much better--plus I have the onscreen histo, etc. Just thought I should add this for those wondering about EVF. I greatly miss my G1's EVF when I shoot with my 5D

    Diane

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diane B View Post


    What is interesting to me is that I was really skeptical of the EVf--I had never used one, only read about them--so when I decided to add the G1 about 13 mos. ago, I found a store that had one to try. I found that it was OK with my relatively quick assessment. Now, after using one for all this time (the really good G1's), I much prefer it to the OVF in my FF 5D. Yes, the OVF has advantages, none of which really apply to my shooting, so YMMV in this regard, but for my style of shooting and subjects, the EVF is much better--plus I have the onscreen histo, etc. Just thought I should add this for those wondering about EVF. I greatly miss my G1's EVF when I shoot with my 5D

    Diane

    Could not agree more, Diane. I first used EVFs on my Ricohs, then on the G1. I cannot go back to OVF - I'm so used to seeing all my information in the finder, especially the histogram.

    For this reason I'm selling my EP-1 and buying an EP-2

    Keith

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    I have sold my D700 and Fuji S5 and all of my Nikon lenses. The micro 4/3 system (that I have been using for over a year...no toy) serves my macro, long shooting and "always with me" needs. I use an M8, M4P, Mamiya 7 and Mamiya AFD (film) for some of my photos, but I find my micro 4/3 set serves me well. I have pared my micro 4/3 kit down to a 14-43 and 45-200 zoom set along with the Pen F 20 f/3.5 and 42 f/1.2. lenses. I rarely use a Leica lens on my micro 4/3 cams, with the exception of my 85 Summarex. My Pen F 42 f/1.2 rivals my Leica glass.

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    I think weight and portability are the main reasons. I can now take with me in a Think Tank Urban Disguise 50, my G1, 14-45mm, Zuiko 50-200mm, Zuiko 50mm, 4/3 adapter, zuiko extension tube, Really Right Stuff TP-243 tripod, L-bracket, couple of books, Arcratech ball head, 2 small collapsible light reflectors, extra battery, battery charger, sd-cards, WhiBal Card, iTouch, small hard drive, Hyperdrive Space, business cards, remote shutter release, and some filters for lenses. All of this will fit under the seat of an airplane, which allowed me to have a carry on bag for my clothes on my trips (one to California and another to Japan). I am able to carry all of this around with me, by either using the shoulder strap or the Think Tank backpack strap. But usually on a day to day bases I will take the G1 with hand strap and put some lenses in my coat pockets (even the tripod sometime) and walk around all day taking photos. This just works great. I don't feel overburdened and the camera is always in my hand because of the handstrap.

    The other item I love about the G1 is the articulating screen. I want one with every camera I get now. The articulating screen just works great for my type of shooting, whether it be low to the ground, way above my head or on a tripod. None of the other bigger cameras give me this versatility while not weighing a ton or two.

    And the pictures are great from this camera. Especially since Lightroom 3, the RAW conversions are better.

    Here is a photo from Takayama, Japan (with Lumix 14-45mm lens)

    and another from Kyoto, Japan (with Zuiko 50-200mm). These photos probably wouldn't of happened if I had a bigger full frame camera, because:
    1. I would of been tired from carrying the camera around and not noticed the shot
    2. Wouldn't of had the camera because I didn't want to carry it around for my whole day walks (which is what I do when traveling and doing photography. I hardly ever go back to where I am staying during the day.)

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    confessions of a Lens junkie... G1 works, I can go from the cLassic cine Look, shot with legacy lens in their native format; to razor sharp blood letting of obscure industrial machine vision lenses... otta go play wif my toy now... bye...

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Wow-thanks of all the experience and input here.
    I shall borrow the gh1 from my wife more often and see if I can get used to the evf.

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I can clearly see the portability advantage and the "all-in-one" approach of micro 4/3.
    I have some great (and big) Nikon lenses as well as a Nikon pro DSLR which I dont use much at all (because of size).
    I carry the M9 all the time but sometimes I want AF, Tele or macro.
    I am not sure if I should "downgrade" (sizewise) to a smaller Nikon body - or to 4/3 or to micro 4/3. I admit though that the EFV is probably my main concern and reason I have not really fallen in love with micro 4/3 so far.

    Intersting to hear that for many of you guys the larger sensor DSLR even became kind of useless/not needed any more.
    I have a couple of FF Canons that I use mostly for paid jobs and for the use of special lenses like the 24 and 17 TS-E's. The cameras do a good job, but they are definitely overkill for many things and I don't feel like carrying them around more than necessary.

    I use Leica M8's (haven't convinced myself that the upgrade to M9's is worth the money) mostly having over 40 years of Leica usage behind me, and pretty much all the lenses I want.

    m4/3 replaced my 'junior' Canon system with 40D and four EF-S lenses that while smaller and lighter than the FF Canons wasn't THAT much smaller. Functionally, the G1, GF-1 and EP-1 give me a number of advantages and some disadvantages compared with the 40D and 20D I had. It's way easier to focus manually on the m4/3's cameras, the G1 viewfinder is generally more useful than the 40D viewfinder, the swiveling LCD is wonderful and my 400 and 560 Telyts have even more reach on the smaller sensor. Also, the 7-14 lens is outstanding and the other lenses are also easily better than the Canon equivalents. Macro is easier on the G1 than on the 40D, mostly because of the swiveling LCD and the manual focus magnification. A 200mm micro Nikkor is fantastic on the G1, and the Aristophot with all the Photars are a joy to use with the G1. Yes, I do give up responsiveness, AF and buffer space but for me the overall tradeoff is worth it.

    But I also have the Canons and Leicas. And by the way, the 75/2 and 50 ASPH Leica lenses are outstanding on the m4/3 cameras.

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by bavanor View Post
    I think weight and portability are the main reasons. I can now take with me in a Think Tank Urban Disguise 50, my G1, 14-45mm, Zuiko 50-200mm, Zuiko 50mm, 4/3 adapter, zuiko extension tube, Really Right Stuff TP-243 tripod, L-bracket, couple of books, Arcratech ball head, 2 small collapsible light reflectors, extra battery, battery charger, sd-cards, WhiBal Card, iTouch, small hard drive, Hyperdrive Space, business cards, remote shutter release, and some filters for lenses. All of this will fit under the seat of an airplane, which allowed me to have a carry on bag for my clothes on my trips (one to California and another to Japan). I am able to carry all of this around with me, by either using the shoulder strap or the Think Tank backpack strap. But usually on a day to day bases I will take the G1 with hand strap and put some lenses in my coat pockets (even the tripod sometime) and walk around all day taking photos. This just works great. I don't feel overburdened and the camera is always in my hand because of the handstrap.

    The other item I love about the G1 is the articulating screen. I want one with every camera I get now. The articulating screen just works great for my type of shooting, whether it be low to the ground, way above my head or on a tripod. None of the other bigger cameras give me this versatility while not weighing a ton or two.

    And the pictures are great from this camera. Especially since Lightroom 3, the RAW conversions are better.

    Here is a photo from Takayama, Japan (with Lumix 14-45mm lens)

    and another from Kyoto, Japan (with Zuiko 50-200mm). These photos probably wouldn't of happened if I had a bigger full frame camera, because:
    1. I would of been tired from carrying the camera around and not noticed the shot
    2. Wouldn't of had the camera because I didn't want to carry it around for my whole day walks (which is what I do when traveling and doing photography. I hardly ever go back to where I am staying during the day.)
    Aaron

    I think your post here articulates the real issue. The M4/3, in your hands, allows you to focus on the making of images. You are clearly not thinking about equipment or features etc. So getting the freedom to make the images you want is a very clear advantage.

    For you and so many others, I wish for you the best images possible. May the equipment get out of the way and allow your creative juices to flow, unimpeded.

    Best

    Woody

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Woody, that is so true. That is why I like the hand strap so much more over a shoulder strap, because it makes me have the camera in my hand at all times. And with the G1 this doesn't bother me at all and is ready to take photos at any moment (as long as that mode dial hasn't moved on me, yarrggh).

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Quote Originally Posted by bavanor View Post
    Woody, that is so true. That is why I like the hand strap so much more over a shoulder strap, because it makes me have the camera in my hand at all times. And with the G1 this doesn't bother me at all and is ready to take photos at any moment (as long as that mode dial hasn't moved on me, yarrggh).

    Aaron, I've had 3 G1's (still have 2) and I have never had the mode dial move accidentally on any of them. Yours might be defective if it is that loose.
    Cindy

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    Re: why (micro) 4/3?

    Naa, I have played with other G1's in stores and the mode dial moves the same as mine.

    All they need is a locking button in the center of it like the olympus E1 had.

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