Micro 4/3 Shooting Steady

I broke down and bought the EVF for the GF-1. I know that I said I wouldn't do it for a few months but I had to. You see, it again was better than free. I will explain that in a minute but first I will tell you why. The two things that I worry about being sans viewfinder are my personal preference, which I am trying to get over and more importantly - the ability to hold the stinking camera still when taking a picture.

No matter how I hold it I can probably hold it more steady than the casual snapshooter that I see jerking the camera with immense force with every shutter release but I know from a scientific and experience standpoint that holding a camera with arms extended vs against your body arms close in is far less steady. I proved it to myself. The included images are my clinical, carefully controlled experiments of shooting with the Panasonic GF1 and my StupidCrap™ sharpness test target that consisted of whatever was in my pocket at the time laid out on my desk.

How did I do? Well with the focal length equivalent of a 40mm, the slowest speed with arms extended with perfect results that I could achieve close up was 1/30 second. I know - you say - that's not so bad, especially for perfect. Well for me it is. I want at least a stop more. What's worse is that the results fall off so quickly that I will not even show you the image at 1/15 - I am too embarrassed. I can do this every time at 1/30 and NEVER even close at 1/15.

And off course the required 100% view - click to see it in all it's pixels.

I know, you are all thinking "hey guy just use the stinking E-P1 with image stabilization - duh". I am thinking that as well but there may be a hang up there. I will report on it as soon as I do some real tests but anecdotal evidence suggests that in a large number of circumstances that I would want it (shorter focal lengths - close up at slow speeds) it may actually be counter productive. The jury is still out on that one.

So I will still use both the E-P1 and the GF1 without viewfinder where possible to cure myself of the bias I have but when push comes to shove and the shutter speeds get slow I will pop on the EVF so that I can hold the camera properly.

So how did I save money on this latest bit of gear acquisition craziness? Well, we'll just pull out the old rationalization math and see won't we.

  1. The GF1 EVF only costs about $100 now so if I buy that it will definitely delay my purchase if not supplant it altogether of an E-P2 w/ EFV kit. So there is somewhere between a $200 and $1000 savings. Either the whole cost or at least the time value savings for when I do buy an E-P2.
  2. Since it fits the LX5 that I just bought I can divide the cost among both cameras and it only costs half as much, let's say $50 spread across two cameras.
  3. It will help me take non-blurry photos hand held which in some circumstances could stop me from breaking the GF1 and the LX5 in a fit of rage down the road - that is like over $1000 in savings.
  4. So by spending the $50 (see how it's half now because we are only talking about the GF1 cost center account) I am going to pocket somewhere between $200 and $2000 of money I don't have. Once that matures with the other $3000 that I put in the "found money" account I should be able to get something really nice.


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