Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Canon G1X Get's DxO Review

The new Canon G1X has gotten the ol' DxOMark treatment... and it's disappointing. When Focus Numerique performed its image comparison of the new G1X, the GX1, the NEX 5n, and the Fuji X100, the images out of the Canon were very impressive. They came close to the NEX 5n and noticeable defeated the Panasonic.

Well what a difference processing makes. Both Sony and Panasonic are well known for having horrible image processing, especially Sony. Canon's processing, on the other hand, is known for being excellent. DxO Mark equalizes things by testing on RAW, which is the information that photogs really care about.

Frankly, I was expecting more from this after seeing the comparison. These numbers are unequivocal; if I brought this camera into my workflow, I would see little difference between this and the GH2, if any. That's a real disappointment and a damning indictment of Canon's sensor development. If this is the current state of Canon's sensors, the upcoming 1Dx and 7D replacement are already inferior to the competition, and they aren't even out yet.

This also means that the price for the Canon is wildly out of bounds. A Panasonic G3 and 20mm lens would be cheaper and significantly outperform the Canon, the zoom lens be damned. This is quite the let-down. If the price wasn't so freaking high, this wouldn't be an issue, but at $800, I'd rather take a G3, GH2, GH1, GX1, NEX 5n, or simply save up the extra cash and spring for the NEX 7 or Fuji X100.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Will The Olympus OM-D Be Enough?

Olympus is gearing up to release the camera that they should have released over two years ago: the OM-D. That's not actually the name of the camera, but the name of the line of cameras, all of which will be styled like the oldie-fashioned OM cameras.

Olympus is saying that the sensor will be a new sensor which has been optimized for dynamic range. Sony has just announced a sensor that has been optimized for dynamic range. Coincidence? Hopefully not. Olympus is in desperate need of a new sensor, and one that isn't based on some ridiculous gimmick like the E-P3.

The new OM-D will require a lot more than that if it hopes to succeed at the price point it is entering. The camera will likely cost over $1,000 without a lens, and that puts it squarely against the already-legendary Sony NEX-7. For most applications, 24MP is more than necessary, and if Olympus installed a 16MP version of Sony's sensor, while the deficit would not, nor would it ever, be completely eliminated, the difference could be rendered small enough to not matter.

The camera will be weather-sealed, which is a first for mirrorless cameras. Unfortunately, the only sealed Micro 4/3 lens is the already-lampooned 12-50mm which has an aperture that drops all the way down to 6.3 when at 50mm. Again, the only thing that helps level the playing field against larger sensors is that lenses for 4/3 usually have larger apertures. APS-C sensors are about a stop better vis-a-vis noise, but if your 4/3 lens is a stop faster, that eliminates any advantages. Having a slow lens gives you the worst of both worlds.

Olympus has been a growing joke for some time and transformed from a slow-motion train wreck into a full-speed train wreck after the accounting scandal, so you'll excuse me for taking everything that they say with a grain of salt. I will officially get on board the Olympus express when they release a camera with a sensor that doesn't suck and then adapt, or release Micro 4/3 versions of, their pro-level Zuiko lenses. (An adapter exists, but the autofocus is slow as all get-out. This needs to be fixed.)

It is infuriating because I feel trapped. I have already invested a few thousand dollars into the 4/3 system and don't want to buy into Sony just yet. Owning both Micro 4/3 and Sony would be redundant, so I'm not going to just float both of them. And Micro 4/3 has some great lenses for which no other compact system has a match. Don't let me down, Oly. I know you will, but don't.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Momma Don't Take My Whole Damned Corporation Away

Kodak has filed for bankruptcy. More so than Polaroid, I consider this the end of an era. We have officially, and without doubt, left the analog world behind.

Obviously, this was coming long before analog had even shown signs of weakness. The first time that I ever played with a digital camera was in 1996, and even then I knew that it was the future. Kodak's fall is its own fault.

It is still hard to say that, though. Kodak could have succeeded. It actually did have quite a few things going for it, but instead of leveraging those into something good, they were sold. Kodak sold its medium format sensor business to Phase One. It sold its most valuable patents to... someone. Executives failed to partner up with other companies. They failed to make competitive consumer products. They failed at almost everything.

But most egregiously, they failed to live up to the name. Rest in peace, Kodak. We hardly knew ye.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fuji X10 Gets DxOMarked

Fuji's new compact baby, the X10, has passed its first serious test: DxOMark. The results are about in line with what was expected based on the test images.

Again, the camera does not do so well compared to 4/3 cameras, but it does very well compared to the Nikon V1/J1 and other compact cameras. With only Canon's S100 really providing competition, the Fuji is certainly the best compact camera on the market. The real question is whether it is worth its exorbitant $600 price tag. I'm still leaning towards "no".

The performance difference is certainly real, and it can be seen in photos. The lens on the Fuji is also better than the Canon. But when Olympus makes the XZ-1, which has a better lens than all of them, and Canon's Jpeg processing is noticeably better than the Fuji, I'm sorry, but the highest price in the segment does not warrant some functional give-n'-take. Everything must be the best, and it's not.

I hope that Fuji lops $100 off of the price, because that will go a long way towards making the value equation of this camera equal out.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Camera Recommendations

This post will be continually updated in the future. (Updated 10/20/2013)

Best System: None
I had Canon up here for the longest time, but that time has come to an end. I qualified my choice of Canon on multiple counts but eventually came the conclusion that, as a system, Canon was best.

When I choose a system, I look to all levels. Are the top-level pros satisfied? Are the entry-level soccer parents satisfied? This may seem to be an extreme and maybe even unattainable requirement, but I don't think so. I think that these companies ask for a lot of money and should provide expansive value for that money.

That said, no system can satisfy everyone. Phase One is amazing, but soccer parents would find little to love. Making things more difficult is that almost all of the companies in the industry are run by idiots, meaning that cameras are either crappy, overpriced, or both. With that in mind, I'm looking to which system is best able to offer something to as many groups as possible, and at a fair price.

So, instead of offering a best/runner up sort of thing, I will offer a standing.

First Place: Nikon
Last year, I had Micro 4/3 here. The growing popularity of the system in the world of video was a big reason for that. Sadly for the Micro 4/3 crowd, Panasonic and Olympus included, is that other companies are upping their game with video in a big way. When I say this, I'm looking primarily at Sony, but also Nikon. If Sony's system was more mature, it would win first place, but the lens selection is just too lean. Coupled with the large selection of lenses from Tamron and Sigma, Nikon is the system to beat.

Nikon's full-frame cameras are the best on the market. Nikon's APS-C cameras are among the best. They have a few lenses, like the 14-24mm, that are unparalleled. Their video is even getting better! For me, Nikon represents the pinnacle of the old school of photographic thought. It also represents how stupid that old school can be, with laughable pieces of garbage like the Df. Half-baked retro shit notwithstanding, Nikon is a great system to buy into.
Second Place: Micro 4/3
4/3 hasn't fallen too far. The support of video companies weighs heavily in this recommendation, since the GH4 combined with the Voitlander lenses makes for a cinematic creative package that cannot be matched. And combined with adapters like the Metabones Speed Booster, you lose little in the way of bokeh when using full-frame Canon or Leica glass on it.

Third Place: Tie- Sony & Canon
Canon was on the list last year purely because of Magic Lantern. Now with Sony's stunning video in the A&s and the Panasonic GH4, if you are interested in video, avoid Canon. They have nothing to offer you.

That said, Sigma and Tamron are increasing their lens quality in ways that they have never done. Both companies are releasing world-class lenses for prices that are, at times, a fraction the cost of Canon, Nikon, and Zeiss. And these lenses are usually only available for Nikon and Canon mounts, making Canon a system with lots of value and potential.

Sony's system, with adapter-based inter-compatibility between the E-mount mirrorless and the A-mount SLR cameras, is much smaller. Unlike Canon, though, Sony has shown a willingness to innovate and grow, meaning that the sky is the limit. Once Sigma and Tamron begin to support the mount more, the situation will be a lot brighter. Sony's Zeiss-branded lenses aren't very good and good lord are they overpriced.

Fifth Place: Fuji
Again, considering all of the love that I throw at Fuji, it seems odd to find them way back here. Fuji is a new system. They have garnered immediately excitement, attention, and support, so their system is growing quickly, but it is still new. They need more lenses, more accessories, more software support, really, more everything before they are in the running for the best system. A rumored full-frame system — and current proof that unlike Sony, Nikon, and Canon, Fuji would not abandon its APS-C system — would make Fuji a much stronger candidate.

Sixth Place: Pentax
Pentax is unique. They are the only company on this list who manufacture a medium-format camera. They also make, in my opinion, the best APS-C SLR camera on the market in the form of the K3. But their SLR lens selection is horrible. And strangely, it has been horrible for years. There's very little support from other companies, with many of Sigma and Tamron's best lenses not even available in the mount.

Special Mention: Sigma
Yes, technically, Sigma is a system. The SD1, rocking the Foveon sensor, is one of the quirkiest, most unique cameras on the market. Now that it costs below $2,000, I love it. I can't bring myself to own it, but I love it. If Sigma released more lenses like the 18-35mm, this could become a serious contender for those who want to photograph outside of the norm. Until then, you can buy the Sigma DP1, DP2, or DP3 to enjoy an utterly unique sensor for under $1,000.


Best Entry-Level SLR Camera: Nikon D5300

Nikon has packed the image quality of the D7100 in a smaller, lighter body. The D5300 is the obvious choice for this position since it's nothing more than a warmed over D5200, which had previously been here. The functional limitations of the D5300 obviously make the D7100 still very much worth its premium price, but the D5200 is quite a bit smaller and lighter, so it's not as clear-cut a choice as it would appear.

As some of you may have noticed, entry-level SLR's this is not. This is more like a mid-range camera, with bodies that cost in the neighborhood of $700. That's because the cameras available from the big three below that price range are all awful. You would be better off looking in the mirrorless market.

As with all of my APS-C recommendations, buy the Sigma 18-35mm. Ignore Nikon's lenses unless you're willing to buy Full Frame.

Runner up: None. Just get the Nikon in this price range.

Best APS-C SLR Camera: Nikon D7100
As expected, the D7100 took the spot from the D7000. I am almost constantly bagging on Nikon and Canon for being conservative companies that spend all of their time trying to conceive of new ways to squeeze money from unsuspecting consumers, and that's true, but they also make some bad-ass cameras that do what a good camera should do: expand your artistic horizons. The D7100, combined with my top lens, the Sigma 18-35mm, is a tool that any pro, enthusiast, or family photobug would love. As I always say, it is a tool for making images, and in that regard, it's basically flawless.

Runner Up: Sony SLT A77 II
The A77 comes loaded to overflowing with goodies and significantly better video abilities than the D7100, but I dislike the SLT mirror. A significant amount of light and a small amount of sharpness is lost. For an anal-retentive freak like myself, that's just too much.

Two cameras worth consideration are the Pentax K3, and the Sigma SD-1. Both are very powerful and unique cameras that are otherwise undone by severe limitations. For the K3, Pentax's lens selection is garbage. For the Sigma, it is perhaps the quirkiest camera ever made. It is absolutely not a "walkaround" camera.


Best Full-Frame SLR Camera: Nikon D750
Even though I've worked with the top-end cameras from both Canon and Nikon, nothing I do, and nothing anyone else I know does, exceeds the abilities of the second-rung cameras. Truly, excepting the most hyper-demanding photogs in the world, I see no reason whatsoever to buy the likes of the top-end.

The D750 takes this spot from the D810 because of increased speed, significantly better video, cheaper price, and smaller body. It is an image-producing tool of the highest order and reminds me that, while I may mock Canon and Nikon for being conservative in their philosophy, that same conservative philosophy makes a lot of sense when executed as well as the D750.

Runner-Up: Nikon D810
The D810's resolution is beyond any other FF camera on the market. Its color and dynamic range are amazing. That is one hell of an achievement.

The only concern, and it seems funny since it almost sounds like a humble-brag, is that the resolution of this camera requires extreme care. Extreme care. Likewise, it requires expensive glass to be worth it. There are a few sub-$1,000 lenses that will be able to take advantage of this sensor, but not many. If you don't go through with all this, photos will look blurry and nasty at 100%, and that will drive you insane.


Best Medium Format Camera: I don't know! Do I look like I have the budget to buy MF gear?

Runner Up: Pentax 645D
It's the cheapest MF camera on the market, therefore, the best.


Best Mirrorless Camera: Panasonic GH4
I am so happy about the GH4. It is a true hybrid camera. Combined with a Speed Booster and some bright lenses, there is no other camera that produces video and photo of the same quality. It doesn't do as well as other cameras in low light, but that is to be expected. It's completely usable up to ISO-3200, though, and that gives it plenty of flexibility. It is a dynamite product for a competitive price.

The value of the GH4 has taken a huge hit the Sony A7 II and A7s, but its unique capabilities keep it here. Truly, there is no easier entrance to high-end, cinema-like video than the GH4.

Runner-Up: Sony A7 II
Cutting edge, full-frame camera for only $1,600. Uh, yes please.


Best Point & Shoot: Sony RX100M III
I think that the RX100M III is overpriced, but it's still a fantastic camera that gives you more in a compact package than any other company on the market.

Runner-Up: Sony RX10.The lack of wide angle and large size of this camera prevents it from being the winner, but it's nonetheless excellent.

The Sony RX1 is not here, and never will be, because it is too much of a specialized tool. I don't consider the price an issue, but the fixed lens limits the cameras abilities. Likewise, the new Fuji X100S's fixed lens limits its appeal.


Best Third Party Lens: Metabones Speed Booster
The market for lenses is infuriating. It's a mish-mash of closed systems, overpriced products, poor selection, and zero flexibility. It is for that reason that instead of a lens, my choice for this is a product that opens up the lens market. I am of course referring to the Metabones Speed Booster. Once this product is expanded to include the inevitable APS-C Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts, and the 4/3 and Micro 4/3 mount, every person, and I mean every person in a system should buy a Speed Booster.

Runner Up: Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art
Sigma. Is. Amazing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Image Comparison Of Canon G1X

Focus Numerique has posted a JPEG ISO comparison on its website including the new Canon G1X.

First, the camera performs fantastically. It is, as would be expected, bested by the Sony NEX-5n. The interesting bit, though, is its sensorial and nominal brethren, the GX1. All things being equal, they should be nearly identical, and they aren't.

At all ISO's, The GX1 is outperformed by at least half-a-stop. By ISO 1600, the performance difference has extended to 3/4 stop. That is embarrassing for Panasonic. The Canon manages to produce Facebook-usable photos at ISO 12,800. If the dynamic range and color depth of the sensor holds up, this sensor will stand among the current crop of APS-C sensors on the market. The Panasonic looks terrible in comparison.

Now that I have sufficiently ragged on Panasonic, the bad news. The sensor is great, but the camera will likely not be worth $800. Even at f/5.6, the aperture at which all of the pictures were taken, the lens shows significant softening in the corners, devolving into some extreme softening at the edges.

Compare this to the lens on the Fuji X100, which FN has on their comparison page, or the 25mm lens on the GX1, and the difference is inexcusable. For the price, I was expecting significantly better lens performance. This is quite a disappointment.

UPDATE: I realize that the lenses on both the Panasonic and the Fuji are primes and the G1X is a zoom, but when Olympus has upped the bar with the XZ-1, this lens design no longer flies.

Adobe Changes Carousel to Revel

Adobe has changed the name of its Carousel service to Revel.
We originally chose the name Adobe Carousel because it was descriptive of core functionality in the product – access to all your photos on any device (i.e., viewing photographs in a circular manner, like a carousel).

Revel means to take great pleasure or delight…and that’s what we hope to do in the future as we continue to add more functionality and fun to the app. In the future, you can expect we will also be able to offer additional photography solutions on the newly named Adobe Revel platform.
While Revel might mean delight and pleasure, this rebrand means that Carousel has been more than a disappointment; it's been a complete failure. They tout the number of downloads at four million. If we assume a similar "click through" rate as is usually seen in online advertisements of between 0.1-0.5%, that's 4,000-20,000 people. That's actually not terrible. That can only mean, to me at least, that the numbers are even worse.

I'm not sure what they expected. Online image hosting is not valuable, anymore. $6 per month is WAY too expensive especially when Flickr is $24 per year and Picasa costs $5 per year for 20GB. Even Cnet, which almost never calls anything bad, disliked it. Adobe is a shockingly arrogant company.

Doubly annoying from the perspective of a designer: the logo makes no sense, now! Shouldn't it be a picture of some person eating cake or something?

Panasonic GX1 Gets DxOMarked

703. That's the ISO score for the new GX1. DxOMark's ISO score is the ISO level at which noise starts to swamp detail in low light. The GX1 is the first 4/3 camera to crack the 700 barrier, and that's a pretty big deal. Because even though ISO is important for low-light situations, noise in high-light situations is what results in cheaper cameras appearing smeared and bland in color richness and transitions. The lower the noise, the better images at ALL settings look.

Unfortunately, as was expected, the dynamic range and color depth are identical. That is to say, crap. They were quite acceptable when these sensors premiered over three years ago, but today, they are no longer competitive. They are now outclassed by even the Nikon V1 and J1, which have sensors that are 25% smaller.

Still, the increase in ISO performance means that Panasonic has found new ways to decrease noise in the other elements of the signal pathway. That is always good, especially considering that Panasonic managed to make a significantly noisier camera with the same sensor than Olympus, all because their pathway was inferior.

That's not enough, though. The camera is very expensive and only somewhat improves upon the GF1, and is actually inferior as regards color depth. Sorry Panasonic. When Sony produces a similarly-priced camera that achieves over two more stops of range, you are more than out-classed, you are positively obviated. Please. Don't make me give up my 4/3 lenses. Give a good camera!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fuji X-Pro 1 Impresses

Fuji has launched its new X Pro 1 camera. It is notable primarily because it is innovating with the sensor. The Foveon is the only other sensor on the market that deviates from the standard Bayer layout that all other companies have been addicted to.

I can barely describe how happy I am to see some actual innovation. Both Canon and Nikon have done nothing to push the market forward. As the undisputed champions, they are more than happy to simply lumber along, iterating small advancements every year, slowly milking their dominance for easy money.

If you have not yet read, Fuji's new layout relies on a 6x6 grid of RGB pixels instead of the usual 2x2. The larger layout of pixels will, so says Fuji, eliminate the moire pattern that is the bane of fashion photographers. This is very cool.

Sadly, Fuji thinks that they have a camera that is a poor-man's Leica and have priced it as such. I think that is a bad idea because Leica has a HUGE legacy behind it. People don't buy Leica for the photos, they buy Leica for the camera. Fuji simply doesn't have that cachet. At $1,700, the camera costs more than a Sony NEX-5n and Zeiss 24mm f/1.8, and only slightly less than the NEX-7 and similar lens. That is a difficult value equation to square.

The biggest difference between APS-C and Full-Frame cameras is the noise. There is simply more light being captured. So regardless of the layout of the pixels, their size and number is still dictated by the size of the sensor. And regardless of whatever hyperbole Fuji chooses to use to describe the new sensor, it is bound by these variables.

$1,700 makes this the most expensive APS-C camera on the market: not a place that Fuji wants to be. Only the Canon EOS 7D launched for the same price, and while it was a runaway success, I think is because it was the only APS-C camera in the world that took the enthusiast seriously in that market segment. The world is very different, today. The Nikon D7000, Pentax K5, Sony NEX-7 and A77, and whatever the hell Canon is cooking up all take enthusiasts very seriously and provide world-class image quality in the $1,000-$1,200 range. Some of these cameras are even outperforming FF cameras as regards dynamic range and color depth. In econ-101 terms, that's what we call competition, and Fuji's got it.

That said, the X-Pro 1 offers a beautiful body, assuredly good lenses and image quality, and a system that Fuji has confirmed, in no uncertain terms, will be strongly supported and squarely aimed at enthusiasts. That is certainly saying something, but it may not be enough. Considering the dedication that Sony has expressed for the NEX system, I think that the value equation, for me at least, doesn't equal out.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Canon Reverses Course: Hints At Mirrorless System

Canon has hinted, strongly, at the existence of a mirrorless camera system in the works. This goes against earler statements indicating that Canon was not interested, and instead would work on high-end fixed-lens cameras. The first of these would at least appear to be the G1X, although the 1/1.5" sensor makes that a sad high-end camera.

I do like much of what I'm hearing from Canon, though.
"Camera performance demands a focus on picture quality. Only afterwards is downsizing considered. Even with compact, interchangeable lens cameras, this need must be prioritized. This is the same with a video camera or any other piece of photographic equipment."
-M. Tian Rong Jin, Managing Director Canon Image Communication Business Division
They appear to be subscribing to the philosophy espoused by Sony and Fuji and rejecting that of Nikon and, to a degree, the Micro 4/3 group. Sony wedged a world-class sensor into a super-small body, and while there are limitations and problems associated with the lens size, the increase in picture quality from Micro 4/3 to the NEX-5n or NEX-7 is significant and very noticeable.

Jin goes on to discuss the size of the EOS Kiss (Rebel in the U.S.) line of cameras, and says that their size can be decreased, which is something that I have argued for frequently. The Kiss/Rebel is actually super-small and isn't a serious consideration for enthusiasts because it is cheap, with sub-standard guts, and has access to very few EF-S lenses.

Canon's mistake has not been ignoring the mirrorless market, but failing to recognize that they could have served this market long ago. In a stupid attempt to protect their full-frame business, they left their super-small Kiss cameras rot.

This strangely candid announcement seems to be reactionary. It is coming from the wild success of the Sony NEX cameras and the excitement being generated by Fuji X Pro. It is as though Canon is reminding the blog-reading enthusiast sect that they still exist. Well, Canon, stop being so stupidly conservative and maybe we will start paying attention. Sony innovated. Fuji innovated. Panasonic innovated. What about you?

While I like Canon's language, it is language used by all of the major companies when they feed PR lines to magazines and customers. Much like lawyers, how do you know when a company representative is lying? His lips are moving.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Canon Announces G1X, aka G13 (UPDATE)

GAH! No more X's! For Christ's sake! When there is already a GX1 on the market, do not released a G1X! Are you freaking insane!?

There. Got that out of my system.

Well, it appears that rumors were, this time at least, correct. Canon is launching a large-sensored G-Series camera with a honkin'-big 1.5" sensor. Well, at least I think that is the case. That is a huge sensor, smaller than APS-C, but much larger than 4/3 and Nikon's 1-Series. I wonder if it is actually 1/1.5", which would make it the same size as Fuji's X10.

Then we have the problem of price, though. At $800, a camera with only a 1/1.5" camera would be ridiculous. And I mean that in the literal sense, in that it should be ridiculed. Fuji's X10 camera, at $600, is already overpriced, and $800 puts the camera so close to the X100 as to make them competitors. Canon would have to be out of their mind to release a camera for that price with that sensor. So either the sensor is correct, and it's enormous, or the price is wrong.

If the camera has a 1.5" sensor, then it's incredibly exciting. If it has 1/1.5", then it's incredibly boring. For Canon's sake, let us hope that it is the former.
UPDATE: Well, the information was literally correct. It is, indeed, a 1.5" sensor and is quite a bit larger than Micro 4/3. The camera is officially INTERESTING! If the lens on front is good, and it had better be considering that price, we may have one hell of a camera.

It's not sexy, like Fuji's cameras, but who cares? If Canon has fixed the dynamic range issue with its sensors and brought them up to the level of Sony's current crop, the image quality will be stellar. The maximum aperture is disappointing, though: only f/2.8. Again, even though the sensor will outperform Micro 4/3, I can get a Panasonic G3 and f/1.7 20mm for a similar price and the faster lens will balance the scale.

Canon is a company that gets things like autofocus and professional workflow better than almost any other company on Earth. This camera will have all of that. It is utilitarian. It is meant to get shit done. You may not feel very self-important while using the G1X, but unlike the guy futzing around with a Leica, you will get the shot.

The Fuji X10 was too expensive, and now it has been completely eliminated from an enthusiast's option list. When this camera only costs $200 more, and here's hoping Canon drops the price soon after launch, the X10 is a non-option.

Comparing this up-market to the Fuji X100, the sensors are of similar sizes, meaning that upping your budget to the X100 will probably not net you any significant increase in quality, although there certainly will be some. Thus, by plopping this very cool camera right in the middle of Fuji's price structure, Canon has done significant damage to both camera's prospects. By dropping the price by another $50, the damage could be even worse, so, Canon, I would wholly recommend doing that.

I think that the price is too high to be of great danger to Micro 4/3 as a system. Olympus' overpriced cameras are as good as dead, but Panasonic has the GF3 and G3, both of which cost less than this camera including a lens. That said, the GHx, E-Px, and now the GXx line of Micro 4/3 cameras are in serious danger. They have all been focusing on trying to be the up-market point-&-shoot camera, when they should have been focusing on the specific strengths of the 2x-crop sensor. Now they have been completely leap-frogged by a real point-&-shoot.

Micro 4/3 still has distinct advantages. The GH2 is a world class video camera. Olympus has with its Zuiko line, in my opinion, the best lenses in the world. And the f/1.7 20mm pancake remains such an excellent lens that it goes a long way to eliminating many advantages that other cameras have over the 4/3 alliance. Truly, 4/3 has a lot going for it. Here's hoping that Panasonic and Olympus can leverage those positives into success before other companies put them both out of their misery.

Details Of The Fuji X-Pro 1 Finally Leak

Extensive details of Fuji's upcoming interchangeable lens system have finally released and it is looking good. Remember when I posted that the only thing stopping me from jumping head-long into Sony's system from Canon and 4/3 was that I wanted to wait and see what Fuji produced? No? Read my blog more

While I think that the "Pro" moniker is a little bit presumptuous, the enthusiast market with a little money to burn will eat this up. It has the same retro styling that has made the X100 and X10 such darlings, and is launching with, assuming based on the price, three high-quality lenses. It is a small system, but one that appears well-chosen. Compare this to the large 4/3 and Micro 4/3 market, where they are selling five near-identical 14-42mm lenses with distinctly kit-lens quality.

Details about the sensor will not be solidified until its actual launch. As you would expect, Fuji is touting the sensor as the greatest thing in the history of everything ever, but that is just marketing speak. They claim that their APS-C sensor will outperform full-frame sensors, which I doubt. An engineer can only do so much with a set amount of light.

That said, the sensor is the most interesting sensor on the market, even compared to Foveon. There will be SIX different colored pixels scattered in a random array on the sensor surface. I have no idea how that is going to work, since the non-random nature of the pixels is kinda' important. Still, this has allowed them to use NO anti-aliasing filter, which means that the detail produced by the camera should be very impressive.

Again, I doubt that actual pros will be much interested in this tiny system and its quirky styling, but if Fuji gets the price of a body/lens combo under $1500, Sony will have some serious competition, and Micro 4/3 may be good as dead.