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Thread: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    I just bought a Panasonic GH1 (micro 4/3) kit with the 14-140 lens as a possible smaller and lighter alternative to my Nikon D300 with the Nikon 18-200 VR lens (similar zoom range after accounting for sensor size), and took both to Yosemite over last weekend. I took a few of the same photos with both so I could compare them, and thought I'd report on what I found here...

    I processed both the images below with ACR (starting with raw), using a similar approach for both. Despite the difference in sensor size, I thought the GH1/14-140 produced very nearly the image quality of the D300/18-200. The D300 was very slightly sharper, mostly in the corners, but that's the only quality difference I could find, and the difference was quite small. (Differences in contrast & brightness are likely just the variation in my post-processing; I processed each completely independently, without comparing with the other one.)

    I still don't feel very comfortable with using the GH1 and its features yet, so I used the D300 for most of the trip, but that will get better with practice.

    The GH1:


    The D300:


    If you'd like a smaller, lighter alternative to a DSLR, the GH1 (or GF1) route is something to consider.

    (I'm also posting this to the micro 4/3 forum.)

    Lisa

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    Re: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    Lisa, I am curious.

    I would have thought a smaller, lighter alternate to the D300 would be the D90 or the D5000.

    The D5000 is only (ever so slightly) larger/heavier than the GH1.

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    Another comment, after doing a low-light (ISO 800) test shot (again, using raw) in my house...the D300 seems to have a little more image detail and sharpness, but a little more shadow noise than the GH1. Again, though, they're very close.

    Lisa

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    Senior Member Lisa's Avatar
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    Re: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    Lisa, I am curious.

    I would have thought a smaller, lighter alternate to the D300 would be the D90 or the D5000.

    The D5000 is only (ever so slightly) larger/heavier than the GH1.
    Vivek, a significant part of the weight difference is the lens. I like to use a wide-range zoom lens, and their weight can be similar to that of the body or more. With the smaller sensor in the GH1, the 14-140 (28-280 full frame equivalent) lens is considerably smaller and lighter than the Nikon 18-200 (27-300 FFE) lens. Before I made the buying decision, I tabulated the weight of the GH1+14-140 and the weight of my 18-200 Nikon lens on a D40 or D90, and the weight difference was considerable. I didn't save the exact numbers, but I vaguely recall that moving my 18-200 lens to a D40 or D90 only saved something like 15% weight, while the GH1/14-140 combo saved something like 40%.

    Lisa

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    Re: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    My experience clearly contradicts that.

    The G1 (presumably better compared to the GH1, especially for lack of banding and noise) for anything above ISO400 is no match for the D300 and not even close for ISO800.

    When you go above ISO2000...

    This is one area (image quality) that the m4/3rds can not compete with the likes of the D300, IMO.

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    Re: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    Interesting thoughts these. I've been considering the GH1 as well, but mostly for the superior video implementation and the possibility of using all kinds of "weird" lenses. What worries me, is the solidity of the system, not to speak about customer service, should a problem appear. The latter will obviously vary from country to country, but I've heard som not so encouraging stories about Panasonic's customer support.

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    Re: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    Lisa, The 18-200 VR would be considered an allround "consumer" zoom in the Nikon lineup while the 14-140 Pana zoom is the most expensive zoom in the m4/3rds line. Rather very different.


    Joergen, The D90 appears popular among pro videographers who also shoot Nikon. Despite the squint they have to put up with (unlike using the swivel TFT screen of the GH1 or the EVF) while using it.



    Yes, good point on the "solidity". Reports of GH1 left lug coming off are there.

    I can confirm that all Nikon bodies have better outer coating (paint, polymer coat, whatever it is called) compared to the Panasonic offerings of G1 and GH1.

    Interesting that you pointed out the possible use of weird lenses. There the m4/3rds have a definite edge over conventional DSLRs (all make).

    But, that advantage is defeated when you are dealing with kit zooms.

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    Re: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    I would not consider the 14-140 differently than the 18-200. It really does target the same market. All around lens. They are not that different in price. The real difference is that Panny went one step further to make this lens a good choice for video with the stepless aperture and the silent motor. The optic are considered better on the 14-140 - or at the very least better corrected.

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    Re: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    Our opinions differ on the lenses as well.

    Terry, As I have confessed earlier, I am a total ignoramus when it comes to markets and such.

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    Re: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    Vivek, I agree about the D90. Although it's a bit crude when it comes to video, there are workarounds. It's also dirt cheap now, and almost identical to my D80 except some major improvements (sensor, video and ISO visible in the VF). It doesn't meter with AIS lenses though, and I have two that are rather important to me. If I don't buy an m43 camera, I'll probably also convert some of my OM lenses.

    As a video lens, the Panasonic is probably superior to the Nikkor, but that is what it was designed for, so anything else would have been highly disappointing. When I tried the 18-200 around two years ago, I was rather disappointed, mostly by the build quality. In general, however, lenses that change characteristics through the zoom range, and most superzooms do, suit me badly. One more thing to take my concentration away while I try to make a photo. So I should probably stay with primes and expensive professional grade zooms, and away from discussions like this

    Nikon, where's my 70-200 f/4.0

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    Re: Micro 4/3 GH1/14-140 comparison with Nikon D300/18-200VR

    I sold my GF1 and assorted lenses; but, kept the GH1, the 14-140mm, and the Pan-Leica 25mm f/1.4.

    I admit, I haven't used it recently. I do think it's a very compact kit with good IQ. Less weight then the D700 and Nikkor lenses and less "vulnerable" then the M9. Good for backpacking or mountain biking. Also, for street shooting, it's a lot less noticeable then the Nikon and gives you more range then the M9 (when you need a little distance).

    I don't know about the durability or service because it's not overused, and hasn't broken down.

    It is fun to use "weird" lens with it. I have Leica, Nikon, and 4/3 adaptors (not very weird). If there's a lens, it seems you can use it.

    I think it's form factor and price do exactly what's intended. Not "pro" and not "point-n-shoot". Cheers.

    http://mdriscoll.zenfolio.com

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