Last night I spent some time looking at the sample images I took with
the three cameras. To say that all three are impressive machines is an
understatement. But that said, there was actually a clear winner, and
it was quite surprising. I had shot RAW+JPG in them to see how the
in-camera engines compared as well as how the files are editable. As
these were super quick-and-dirty, I'll not be posting anything, and I
actually went ahead and deleted the files as I learned what I needed
to see for this test.
First of all, when it comes to the in-camera processing of SOOC JPG
files, all three cameras exceed anything I've ever used before.
Honestly, these in-camera JPEGs are better than most RAW files.
However, when it came to handling highlights and shadows, the
advantage of the RAW files was clear. However, with the G9, I could
add some noise to the JPEG in Lightroom and then pull back the
highlights and things were pretty good.
Let's talk noise. What noise? Shrug. Ain't nothing to see folks. Move
along. And the in-camera processing of the JPEGs was such that even
Moose should be happy. That said, the G9 was a little more glassy than
the Olympus files. In Lightroom, having the noise reduction set to 15
was about the same, but the cameras produced sharper images.
Regardless, I'll express heresy and say that the G9 produced the
better in-camera JPEGs. The indoor, high-ISO pictures had more shadow
detail and the sharpness was maintained the best of the three.
Outdoors, the EM1 III seemed sharper and maintained better exposures.
Indoors, the G9 had far better exposures. The metering system of the
G9 beat both Olympus indoors, but the Olympus beat the G9 outdoors.
This is consistent with what I see with my other cameras too. White
Balance is better in the Olympus outdoors, G9 is better indoors.
Between the EM5 II and the EM1 III, the JPEG image quality was better
with the EM1. Raw files were pretty much equal. Shadow recovery on all
three cameras didn't really reveal any specific nasties other than the
G9 didn't have the PDAF artifacts that show up on the Olympus files
when you go berzerk with image adjustments. Colors stayed correct with
In short, the in-camera JPEG engine on all three cameras is so good
that a person could actually forgo shooting RAW at all. With the
in-camera curves adjustments, the highlight and shadow recovery can be
done prior to the file writing, so no harm, no foul. I wouldn't
necessarily shoot JPEG, but it's nice to know that I can and wouldn't
be embarrassed. The fact is, we've really entered a new era with these
As you know, I'm an Olympus Kodak CCD lover. The colors these cameras
give are in a different league. However, the Panasonics (From the L1
onward) are not bad. In fact, I'd say that except for "golden hour",
the L1 has exceptional colors. And if truth be told, I prefer the L1's
skintones sometimes. To put this in perspective, a Panasonic on a bad
day is still better than most Canons on a good day. And I've
discovered a little processing tweak in Adobe's ACR/Lightroom that I'm
trying to get dialed in, but gives me Olympus CCD colors. Stay tuned.
Honestly, there was only ONE issue with the G9 that give me any form
of hesitation. The AF performance with legacy Four-Thirds lenses is
problematic. With Panasonic m43 lenses, focusing is literally as
instant as the Olympus' PDAF focusing. However, the DfD focus function
did cause viewfinder flickering in some circumstances. Overall, the
EM1 III is the class leader in focusing regardless of lens type. No
comparison. But manual focusing is certainly better in the G9.
Today's visit to the crack store will be a close examination of the
S1. It's essentially the same camera as the G9, but with a bigger
sensor. I'm working on ways to fund such a purchase. The viewfinders
of both the S1 and G9 are REALLY good.
And I must say, that the grip shape and ergonomics of the G9 are
exactly what my hands want. While not exactly like an E-1 grip, the G9
grip is absolutely as comfortable.
And as Moose so eloquently states, this is a very personal thing. And
as big and heavy as either the S1 and G9 are, they really aren't THAT
bad. But the Sony is better.
Themed Olympus Photo Exhibition: http://www.tope.nl/