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I used film cameras starting from the 1990s, switched to prosumer DC in 2003, and used DSLR for several years. In Jan 2011, I sold the DSLR and its two lenses, and decided to go mirrorless, finally settling on m43 and the Olympus PEN E-PL2. I was so satisfied with it that before my 19-day Switzerland family trip in August 2011, I purchased the E-P3 and relegated the E-PL2 to a backup camera. After my trip, I sold the E-PL2 since the E-P3 was much better in some critical areas and I did not need a backup when I would not be on any long trip in the near future.
Although images from the DSLR were very good, a major problem was that the DSLR gear was way too heavy. I took a lot of photos while travelling, much more than when staying in my home city. As a small man, it was a pain to carry the DSLR around, especially hiking with a backpack full of other essentials. A smaller and lighter camera with good image quality, suitable for long trips, was thus my prime concern. Before deciding on m43, I considered several mirrorless systems and different camera bodies.
(A) Sony NEX
The main problem with NEX is the lenses, not the camera bodies. Auto focusing is a must for me and there are too few native NEX lens choices at present, which is important when committing to a system. The existing NEX lenses are either optically slow and big, or smaller but having mediocre optical quality. There is not any good fast prime. The NEX may become more attractive in future, but not now. The small and thin NEX cameras with the big lens mounted are a bit unbalanced in my hand and look extremely ugly. The major advantage of NEX is its best-of-class image sensor. However, such advantage is somewhat negated by the lack of good fast lenses. The overall body plus lens package is larger and heavier than the m43 equivalent, and does not provide better image quality due to the less than satisfactory lenses.
(B) Samsung NX
I am a bit worried about the future of NX, as it seems not so popular. The existing lenses are better than those of NEX but the sensor seems even worse than that of the smaller m43. The overall package, like that of NEX, is somewhat bigger and heavier than m43, and does not provide better image quality.
(C) m43 - Olympus and Panasonic
m43 seems to offer the best balance between image quality and size/weight (body and lens). On one hand, the sensors are not as good as NEX. On the other hand, there are many lenses - good zoom lens and excellent fast primes such as the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 or the newer Olympus 12mm f/2.0 and Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (the latter two not yet announced at the time of my decision on m43). The comparable zoom lenses are so much smaller and lighter than the NEX ones and are much more balanced on the m43 camera bodies. There are also many, if not too many, m43 camera bodies to choose from. Among the m43 bodies, the Olympus ones have built-in body image stabilization (IBIS), usually giving two to three stops of advantage at low shutter speed. Olympus is also famous for the superb out of camera JPEG images. As Panasonic bodies do not have IBIS and not all m43 lens has lens-based image stabilization, finally I settled on the Olympus (kit lens for general use), and added the Panasonic 20mm (for low light and indoor) and the tiny Olympus 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 (for landscape and confined areas). These were the lenses that I took to Switzerland, much of the time hiking in the Alps. The E-P3 and the 3 lenses weighed less than the previous DSLR with just the kit zoom, and covered more optical range. With an Olympus body and the Panasonic 20mm f1.7, the combination of IBIS and f1.7 is more than enough to offset any sensor disadvantage against a NEX in low light situations (such as in a museum, restaurant, or church), since much lower ISO values can be used.
My feeling and experience with the E-P3 (and m43).
(1) Image quality comparable to DSLR and much better than prosumer DC or point-and-shoot.
(2) Excellent straight out-of-camera JPEG images with pleasing colours, no need for post-processing, suitable for persons like me who do not want to spend time on post-processing (BTW, I took 2800+ images in Switzerland with the E-P3 and cannot imagine the time required to post-process even a fifth of them).
(3) Much lighter and smaller than a DSLR, even with the couple of additional lenses (I prefer light and small lenses with good optical quality).
(4) Best balance between image quality and size/weight, IMHO the perfect camera for travellers.
(5) Very responsive and quick reactions, extremely fast and accurate auto-focusing in good light (faster than my older DSLR), rarely miss a shot due to sluggishness; simply a pleasure to take photos with it (the E-P3 is much more responsive and much faster in focusing than the E-PL2).
(6) Using the touch screen to set a focus point or to take a snapshot with a single touch (no such features on E-PL2) is very useful and user-friendly, no need to use the pre-focus then recompose method or other cumbersome method to specify the exact focus point.
(7) Feeling right, very balanced and comfortable in my smaller than average hands; although some may find the 4-way circular control wheel too small for their bigger hands.
(8) Well-built, good finishing, metal body shell and sturdy feel.
(9) Lots of customization options making it very user friendly to the more advanced photographers.
(10) Very handsome camera indeed, especially the silver version and cannot find anything equally attractive.
Not so Good:
(1) A bit expensive, the E-PL3 or E-PM1 (both not yet in stock when I purchased the E-P3 in early August) should be better value for money but those do not have the touch screen features and have fewer direct control buttons; a real dilemma. When E-P3's price drops, it will become less of a disadvantage.
(2) The OLED LCD is not very colour-accurate, and the images look better when printed or shown on a computer's monitor. [Update: This one can be fixed by setting the LCD to 'Natural' instead of the default 'Vivid' mode; one of the default settings related issues mentioned below.]
(3) The OLED LCD is a bit difficult to see under bright sun light (E-P3 is not alone, actually problem exists with most camera's LCD) and cannot be tilted or turned; and the optional electronic viewfinder costs extra money (so I do not have one).
(4) The high ISO images for sure can be better with a better sensor; but not a problem for landscapes and can use the Panasonic 20mm for low light shots.
(5) Need to twist the camera settings to get the most out of it; the default settings are not tuned for the best image quality.
(6) Not really pocketable with the protruding lens, even with a small prime, but a non issue if you have been using DSLR.
Updated review... I have been using the Acne.org treatment kit for 10 months now. I still consider these products to be nothing short of miraculous for my complexion. I happended to be browsing through a cosmetics store yesterday, when a saleswoman asked me what skin care line I used. I replied "Acne.org." She looked puzzled and proclaimed, "But you don't have acne!" The ultimate compliment. I have not had a single significant breakout since shortly after I started the Regimen.
I've had acne for two decades. When my acne became so bad that I didn't want to show my face in public ten years ago, I turned to Accutane. Accutane completely cured me of acne for seven years. Over the past three years, pimples had been creeping back into my life. I tried many over the counter treatments (salycilic acid, glycolic acid, sulfur, heat, blue light) without success. Three months ago, my skin had deteriorated back to the same state it was in ten years ago. I had multiple pustules and painful cysts, mainly surrounding my chin. I ordered this on a whim because it had good reviews. I also spent a lot of time on the acne.org website reading Dan's advice (particularily the area on "ingredients to avoid"). I studied the ingredient lists of all of my "anti-acne" products from well-known brands and found not one that didn't include a comedogenic chemical on his list. After two weeks of using these products (just once a day), I had no new breakouts. I have remained breakout free since - not a single one. It has taken a while for the peeling/flakiness to subside (almost two months). I highly recommend purchasing the jojoba oil too, to help with the flakiness, if this is your first time using the kit. Thank you, Dan, for your educational web-site and for your incredible products.
I've had some digestive problems all my life. Had debilitating arthritis at 30, increasingly bad psoriasis starting at 40. Neurological symptoms at 55. I was tested for gluten and casein intolerance early this year and was positive. So I went gluten, dairy and soy free. A little better, but not quite where I wanted to be. Then I ran across this book. It has really changed my life in about a month. I decided to follow the diet and give it a go. Best decision I've made in years. There are a lot of resources out there to compliment the book also. This book can be read in a day, if you want. Half of it is recipes (pretty good ones). In just a month I feel really good and psoriasis is almost gone. Just from changing the foods you eat! Great book.
I bought My Pillow from a local department store for considerably less than most of the reviews I've read. It was $59.99 plus tax, and I had a coupon for 10% off and didn't have to pay any shipping charges.
So far I love this pillow and can't understand why so many people are having trouble with theirs, unless they never gave the pillow a chance. What I like about the pillow is that it is airy and light and you can shape or fluff the pillow anyway you like and it will stay in that position until you change it.
I have trouble sleeping, but I notice when I fall asleep, I stay asleep and wake more refreshed and I've only had the pillow for a week. I'm eager to see how I feel after the two weeks that the manufacture recommends. I believe all these negative reviewers need to give the pillow more time. I've tried many pillows and usually have had to add a small pillow to my regular pillow, but so far I haven't had to do that with this pillow due to the fact that you can shape and fluff as you like.
I bought this bike, over the podium 1, for the better Shimano Tiagra gears for my Triathlon. I had the bike assembled from a local bike shop rather than try to put together myself, being so close to my Triathlon, so I cannot make any comments of assembly. When I picked up the bike I noticed how lightweight it was. For the size, a 56cm, it was as light as my girlfriends women's size Jamis. The bike looks very nice and sleek which I was impressed with (if looks are a factor for you). My first test ride went great no problems and was very fast I felt (at least to lugging my mountain bike on my prior Triathlon). Next ride was actual day of my triathlon. So let me say I'm a newbie and just started biking but I seemed to have no problem keeping up or passing most of those on the bike course. I'm putting that on equipment, definitely not me! I noticed especially on the uphills the gears worked very well over some of the more pricey tri bikes. The straightaways some of the hardcore tri guys passed me up, but overall I felt this was a very respectable road bike. If your looking for an entry level tri bike that won't break the bank you will definitely be pleased with the performance for the price. I'm always looking to get out and ride again to get faster and would definitely recommend this bike. I have about only 40 miles so far and not a single problem. Happy riding!