Out of all of the micro four thirds cameras I have owned so far, this is the most usable. It is easy to get used to and very quick to use when out shooting. This has become my favourite camera as the results are fantastic and it “just works” when I need it to.
Battery life is fantastic compared to other micro four thirds cameras. This is mostly due to the battery being twice the (physical) size of other batteries. But also flipping the LCD screen so it is hidden turns it off, which increases battery life. When I go out for a shoot I don’t bother taking a spare battery and I only use the viewfinder. I’m not much of a chimper, so this means I can go all day on a single battery.
The viewfinder has been fantastically useful when using manual focus lenses. My favourite lens (the Jackar 34mm) has been a dream when using this camera. This is not the highest resolution viewfinder, but I’ve found it is enough to do the job. It does suffer from a rainbow effect with moving targets, but for my slower style I’m happy with it.
The base ISO speed (i.e. that with the maximum dynamic range) of this camera is ISO 100. This is fantastic when shooting at wide open apertures (which micro four thirds encourages). Both the Olympus 45mm and Panasonic 20mm work best at f/2.8. This makes a really nice pairing for massive sharpness, nice depth of field and no chromatic aberrations.
The dial with a click button on the front makes switching between aperture and EV in aperture priority mode easy. The same is true for switching between shutter speed and aperture in manual mode. These values are clearly visible in the display so one can adjust settings without taking one’s eye from the viewfinder.
For my eye, noise performance is good at ISO 1600 using Apple Aperture or DxO Optics. This would be ISO 400 if you’re using an Adobe raw converter. I’ve used this camera to shoot stage shows quite a bit. The autoexposure seems to perform a lot better than any other camera I’ve used under harsh blue light.
Sandisk cards seem to perform a lot faster than their equivalents from other manufacturers in this camera. I’d love to know what Sandisk is doing here, but I guess that is why they tend to be double the price.
Colour rendering is Panasonic’s usual Velvia like rendering. This is not my favourite colour rendering, but it works fantastically well when doing back and white conversions as there is more detail in the blue and red channels. When I do colour shifts to achieve a more Sensia like rendering (like Olympus cameras), I really like the results.
I’ve only ever used this as a stills camera, so I won’t talk about video performance.
The two big negatives with this camera are the LCD screen has a strong green tint and the physical size and shape make carrying it around difficult compared to my E-P2. So it does not travel everywhere with me, but comes out when I want to be a bit more serious.