EVIL cameras

I’m disappointed that this most relevant abbreviation of a class of camera has been abandoned, presumably because it it does not sound good. In reality, Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens seems to me the best description, even if some of these cameras (REGRETTABLY) rely on a rear LCD in place of a proper viewfinder.

I should declare my interest – I have the Panasonic G1, GH1, GF1 and GH2, and a Pen E-P1. The micro 4/3 sensor is smaller than the APS sensor used by some other EVIL cameras, though not much, but a good big un will always beat a small big un. In that respect, the Sony NEX sensors seem rated as excellent, the Samsung ones seem rated as not all that great. Of course, in the end what matters is the image the photographer captures.

The main reason for this post is to discuss compay strategy – Panasonic started with very small, light, high-performance cameras which were mirrorless, but they now seem to have decided to move down-market. Well, it is their business decision, but I have to say that as a buyer of many of their Micro Four Thirds cameras I think it is a mistake. Most obviously, the GF2 is not nearly as good for serious photographers as the GF1, and G3 is not as good as predecessors (smaller, might accept doing away with the left-hand-dials, but NO AUTO DETECT ON EVF/LCD is beyond comment). The GF1 EVF isn’t great (tiny image), and makes the camera no smaller than my GH1/2, but the real killer is messing about pressing a button to get the EVF to work.

So I’m not sure where Panasonic are going on Micro Four Thirds – seems to me they either have to abandon one market, or need 4 (FOUR) ranges – a G4 etc range with integrated v/f which are quite small and aimed at compact users, and a GH range which are aimed at serious photographers, as the current GH range are, but please add a more rogged body at the same price. I’d like to seesomething along the same lines for the GF – the serious photographer’s model (GF1) and a different budget model (GF2).

As for Olympus – oh dear! I will keep my E-P1, but they really should have waited till they could do it properly, with the E-P2. The E-PL models have their merits (well, the E-PL2 anyway), but are clearly an attempt to get the price down. Oly seem overdue for an EP-2 update, and a more serious model with proper integrated EVF, and some better lenses (Oly used to be thought of as having better glass, but the m4/3 offerings so far don’t seem to achiive that).

Talking of glass – this is one of three current problems with Sony. Lovely camera to look at and hold, but lens range is poor to put it mildly, and the ergonomics are poor too (even after updates to camera firmware). And no proper viewfinder?

The other EVF firm is Samsung. The main objection to the current range seems to be that the sensor is not all that great, but it has to be said that like almost everything that Samsung has turned its hand to in the past, we can probably expect improvements.

Oh, and with reference to the iPad postings, part 4 is nearing completion, I have some updates to make to the published postings (these will be a separate posting), and there will be an ‘Executive Summary’, and more updates as appropriate.

About Mike Hessey

I'm a BOF (Boring Old Fellow) and MOS (Miserable Old Soul) whose main interests are photography, cycling, walking and computers. Regrettably recent problems with my legs, back and heart have reduced the cycling and walking.
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