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Olympus E-P2 vs. Panasonic GF1

As you may or may not know, I made the decision to switch from using dSLR cameras to the world of Micro Four Thirds. After doing quite a bit of research on various brands and models, I ended up purchasing the Olympus E-P2. The E-P2 is a really great camera; unfortunately it was the wrong choice for me. The E-P2 is a quality built camera with great accessories. The problem I ran into with the E-P2 was more of a control issue. The E-P2 had a couple of problem areas for me personally.

Autofocus I found the autofocus to be a bit on the slow side and often times not entirely accurate.

Off camera flash control When purchasing the E-P2 I noted that it did not have a pop-up flash. This was fine because I don't like pop-up flashes, I prefer off camera. Problem is, you need a pop-up flash to trigger the off camera flash. I didn't quite think that one through all the way.

Function wheel The scrolling dial that is used to operate features like changing aperture when in aperture priority mode was less than good. Being that I shoot in aperture priority mode 99% of the time, this dial is a huge part of my photography. The one on the E-P2 was somewhat odd to use and didn't register clicks if you try to ratchet quickly from f/1.7 - f/16.

After doing some additional research, I began looking at the Panasonic Lumix GF2 body to see how it stacked up. The GF2 was looking pretty good until I found out about the GF1. But that is the old model, why would you get the old model!? I know, I know. Here is the catch though, The new model is almost identical in technology, except the GF2 removed all the nice manual controls in exchange for a gimmicky touch screen interface. For a point and shoot, sure. For a camera with interchangeable lenses looking to replace an SLR, no way.

After only one day of shooting with the GF1, I am completely sold on it. It is better than the E-P2 in almost every way. I must not be the only one thinking this, since finding one for a reasonable price was difficult. Seems that the letdown of the GF2 made the market for the GF1 explode!

There is one area I have to give to Olympus, and that is for their EVF (electronic view finder). The Olympus EVF is far superior to the Panasonic; this however is to be expected since it is twice the cost.

A quick note about lenses My main lens is a Panasonic Lumix 20mm F/1.7. Anyone who has used this lens knows it is fantastic. I have used a mixture of Panasonic and Olympus lenses, and I have to say the quality of the Panasonic lenses seems to be much higher than the Olympus lenses, at least in the micro four thirds arena.

An interesting side note, the Panasonic GF1 looks almost identical to the Leica D-LUX 5!! To be expected, I guess, since they are effectively the same company, but still kinda cool!! :) (The EVF is even identical, except of course you pay the Leica name price for the one with Leica written on it instead of Panasonic)