Panasonic GX1 vs Olympus E-P3 – Part 2 – Out of Camera JPEGS, Color and AWB

Panasonic GX1 vs Olympus E-P3 – Part 2 – Out of Camera JPEGS, Color and AWB

Continuing from yesterdays PART 1 with the high ISO testing between the Panasonic GX1 and Olympus E-P3, today we will take a look at out of camera JPEG quality as well as the color output from each camera. Also, the way each camera renders the white balance using auto white balance. Basically, I shot these scenes one after the other, same aperture, same lens. The lens I am using for these tests is the new highly praised Panasonic/Leica 25 Summilux 1.4. I am enjoying the lens quite a bit but how will it do on each camera? One having the latest sensor tech from Panasonic, and one with the old faithful 12MP Olympus sensor.

You can clearly see the color differences below, and this test is ONLY for out of camera color and JPEG QUALITY. I used each camera how it would be used by a potential owner. Each camera was set to evaluative metering, and for almost every images below the cameras were both set to “NATURAL” color. I did one or two in Vivid .

Let’s see how it went.

1st up, the GX1 with the 25 at f/8 – JPEG set to NATURAL color in camera. You can click the image for the full size OOC JPEG, saved a “10” quality.

Below is the file from the Olympus – same light, taken 15 seconds after the Panasonic. F/8, NATURAL color set in camera. Again, click the image for  the full size file. 

I prefer the Olympus rendering here, and again, we are talking only about out of camera JPEG color and quality. Without tweaks, the E-P3 does very good with exposure, color and sharpness. The Panasonic is a bit flat and dull and softer.

Panasonic 25 at f/4 this time…BASE ISO 160

Olympus same aperture – BASE ISO 200

Look at these full size (open each one in a new tab) and look how much more sharp the Olympus is on the hoses. Olympus has the default sharpening higher obviously.

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Panasonic GX1 at f/8 – natural color – AWB seems off when compared to the Olympus below..

The color is off here with the Panasonic, which gives off a yellowish cast…

Olympus E-P3, f/8, NATURAL – I like the way this one was rendered. Better color, AWB, and sharpness

The Olympus is just about how I remembered this scene, from the red to the green

The Panasonic GX1 with the 25 at f/2.2 – VIVID

The Olympus at 2.2 with the 25 – VIVID – I prefer the way the Olympus exposed this over the Panasonic

Another set to VIVID – Lens set at f/4 with the GX1

Olympus, F/4 – VIVID. Again, the Oly is a bit more “punchier” out of the camera.

One more that shows again that the Panasonic outputs duller looking JPEGS. Natural color, f/3.2

Again the Olympus shows it can put out a great JPEG. Detailed, great color and exposure. 

The GX1, f/4, NATURAL color

Same aperture of f/4 but this time with the E-P3

Once again, to my eyes, the E-P3 puts out a more “pleasing” JPEG. The Panasonic looks like it has a haze over it in comparison.

All of the above images are full size out of camera JPEG files. You can download them and tweak them and see how they do for you when editing if you like. If shooting RAW (and I did shoot RAW as well) you could tweak the Panasonic to look just as punchy as the Olympus but if you are looking for a great JPEG camera and do not like shooting RAW then the E-P3 would be the better bet between the two. So far, the GX1 kicked the pants off of the Oly in the HIGH ISO test yesterday, bit this time the Olympus beat out the Panasonic for JPEG output and color AND white balance accuracy. I have to say, side by side in actual use I also prefer shooting the Olympus E-P3. It’s more substantial, feels a little more solid to me, and I like the ergonomics. BUT the little GX1 is a great feeling camera as well and has all the controls you need easily accessible.

Either way, this 25 1.4 lens appears to be very good, with a slightly different “richer” signature than the 20 1.7. What are your thoughts on the JPEGS? RAW performance coming tomorrow!


  1. I shoot JPEG all the time these days. Raw – been there;done that,got the t-shirt. We all know the time/practicality considerations why pros shoot jpeg. (I mean real,working/staffers, not the ‘fine art’ crowd who occasionally sell a few prints). The ‘defence’ of raw (why are the photographers of today so partisan?) mainly seems based on facile arguments. ‘To correct white blalnce’; ‘to correct exposure’. Not heard of a 18% grey card, or auto-bracketing huh?. Or perhaps the most ludicrous..”JPEG is a lossy format”, why are you ultimately creating one from your twiddle-about raw file 😉 Every JPEG I regard as a keeper can withstand a slight levels tweak, a mild curve adjustment without losing the necessary qualities. Incidentally, my camera doesn’t ‘choose those JPEG settings for me’..I choose the parameters myself.

  2. Is it possible to increase sharpness of GX1’s JPGs via camera menu?
    Will GX1 sharpness be the same as E-P3 after that?

  3. Thanks for this comparison, Steve.

    People kept telling me that AWB, coloring and metering of Panasonic camera have been much improved since the G3, and that the GX1 sooc JPEGs is on par with the PENs. This comparison shows that this is nothing but hype. If Olympus would put a new sensor in the next PEN, that would be one special camera…

  4. Most people might not even know that more ‘default’ detail is possible and there are certainly a lot of people that will not pound out every image in Lightroom/Aperture so seeing better default stuff from the olympus is significant. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

  5. Thanks for your interesting review Steve. I wish you having a great 2012 🙂

    The next question to ask after knowing your described difference from a user perspective would be: is there any way you may tweak the GX1 jpeg to your liking? would adjusting the sharpness, saturation, or adding +1/3 to the GX1 make it more like the E-P3?

    or vice versa, tweaking the E-P3 such that its jpeg is more like the GX1 style. (that probably doesn’t make much sense as you like the E-P3 output more, but probably more some that prefer the GX1 output)

  6. If you spend this kind of money and leave the “out of the box” settings on either camera, you are an idiot. Period.

    Dialing in some +exposure compensation on the Panny and some – on the Oly would have leveled the playing field to a draw at minimum. Same thing with tweaking the JPG engine (photo style and WB) on the Panny.

    The Panasonic 16 MP sensors (whether the G3, GX1, or GH2) absolutely annihilate the old 12 MP sensors at anything >800 ISO.

  7. I had the Pany G3 prior to switching to an all Olympus setup. It’s not the colors that beat the Panasonic bodies, it’s the metering! If you look at the shots with high contrast darks and lights, the GX1 has difficulty in those type of situations. For someone who shoots in uncontrolled lighting like street shooting, I’d pick Olympus. Not to mention IBIS does negate the high ISO advantage when shooting night scenic and dim light still photography and since mirrorless cameras are still lacking in proper continuous AF, I think the Pen bodies work amazingly well.

    And seriously, I find the attitude towards jpegs amusing. Lots of pros shoot jpeg, I find it’s mostly amateurs who like fiddling in raw. 😉

  8. I guess that most people who shoot JPEG (I never use JPEG) would tweak their settings to get the final results they like. To me, 16MP with better high ISO made me choose the GX1 (that I love already). I must say that it was a natural choice since I have a GF1. I guess that if I had an EP1 or EP2, I would not be so happy about the fact that the EP3 still have the same sensor.

  9. I have found that Panasonic cameras tend to produce slightly less vivid colors than other brands in the default settings. But that’s why cameras have adjustments. I tweak every one of my cameras (1DsIII, 5DII, GH1, GF1, LX3) to get the results I like. Anyone who simply puts the camera in auto and never spends time to get the know how the camera performs in various circumstances and how to adjust the settings to get the results you want should simply buy a point and shoot. Besides, when you get “that shot,” chances are you’re going to spend some time doing PP work anyway.

    What you can’t tweak is high ISO performance.

  10. You may wish to consider other color profiles on the GX1. You may have lots of experience with Natural on the E-P3, but Natural on the GX1 may not give the best colors. I do not have a GX1, but shoot with a GH1. It is well known that for that camera, the Smooth profile gives the most accurate color. Same with the GH2. So, you should try all the profiles and decide which one is best before doing the comparison.

    Also agree with some other comments that exposure is important. Exposure and color should be judged separately. Yes, the GX1 underexposes, but that is to protect the highlights. Previous Panasonic cameras had a tendency to blow out the highlights. I typically dial in -1/3 to -2/3 exposure compensation on my GH1. On GX1, Panasonic took a different approach. Maybe it needs +1/3 or +2/3 to give exposure more to your liking. It is not hard to dial in exposure compensation for a typical automatic shooter. The comparison on color should only be made AFTER dialing in the correct exposure.

    Just some helpful hints for a better future comparison. In general, I like your comparisons, but color and exposure should be judged separately. All color profiles need to be tested to find the best one for a particular camera.

    • Sure it if I chose smooth on the Panasonic and natural on the Olympus I would have been attacked for using different types of color settings. There is no way to match color output between the two in JPEG as they both produce different color signatures no Matt what. By at least using natural on both it was fair as can be.

  11. Thanks for the comparison.
    I own an Olympus PEN myself and really enjoy the OOC JPEG´s even so I do use RAW at times, usually in combination wit a JPG. I especially like the natural look when saturation and sharpening are turned down a little bit.

    On the GX1 pictures I was surprised to see quite pronounced color moire. On the Pictures of the green tank, on the hose between the A and E, it is quite clearly visible. There is a hint of it on the E-P3 pictures, but not more than that.

    Since I do not care much about high ISO performance, I really prefer the Olympus in Camera processing over Panasonic´s.

    Thank´s again for the nice real world comparison.


  12. Hey Steve,

    Great job on this site. My first SLR was an OM-1 and I LOVED it. Many much more expensive boxes followed over the years but none left the impression of that camera and the seeds it helped plant. Today we have so many choices and they are just that – choices based on our likes/dislikes and ability/expectations and needs, not to exclude budget. I think that many of these cameras are probably sold to people looking for something ‘better’ than a P+S, including those with dSLR experience. These are amazingly competent picture takers overflowing with controls and options.
    I think your baseline test is very credible and relevant for some users but why, if the manufacturer has given me the ability to tailor the quality to my liking, should I ignore that? I agree with you that the Olympus has a more pleasing ‘rendition’ of the scene. How they pulled that out of the camera may be by the same pre-adjusting I might do on the Panasonic; I don’t really know but I would buy either camera with the understanding that I could set it up to my liking?? I wonder how many people – especially your readers – spend this kind of money on a camera/lens combo only to use the ‘ON’ switch? I might say the same for sharpness, whether it be overdone or underdone. Maybe it’s just me but I rarely, if ever, put a loupe on the corners of the image…
    I frequently read the complaint about not wanting to do any post work on images. That’s a shame. I think these cameras allow us to fill up our hard drives with millions of files that will never see the light of an LCD. Those that do are probably worth that second look so why not spend a little time nudging it? Create a corrective action and you can apply it to a thousand pictures with a click.
    Lastly, I am thrilled that these two smaller companies have given us some of the most likeable and competent memory takers. Even with the relatively small number that are produced and the poor availability, they’ve spurred on others like Fuji and Sony to get into the game. I hope the future is bright for us all.


  13. On the tank photo, GX1 displays moire artifacts in the tube texture.
    As for the sharpening, turn it down to -2 to get best detail, having in-camera sharpening actually reduces detail as it rounds up neighbouring pixels.

    I would think buying GX1 now isn’t the best idea since Olympus will be bringing one higher end model soon and I’m pretty sure it’s going to outperform current Panasonic cameras even on sensor front (high ISO etc).

  14. interesting test. But if this is to reflect standard situation test without photographer adjustment, why on earth changing the settings to ‘nature’ or ‘vivid’ rather than leaving the camera on standard settings?
    To me this looks like a comparison of color/WB using nature and vivid, nothing more.
    Love the concept but sorry, big flaw in the methodology here.

    • Olympus doesn’t have a standard, both had a natural setting. This is a basic JPEG comparison. So you are saying I should have had the panasonic on standard and the Olympus on what? I enhance or vivid? Hmmmm.

      • Good point, I didn’t know about Olympus not having a ‘standard’ mode so I understand better why you have done this. Nonetheless, the test isn’t comparing apple to apple, after all, ‘natural’ settings isn’t a standard so nothing tells us that Olympus and panasonic interpreted and implemented it the same way.
        As much as Olympus users may in effect use ‘Natural’ as their standard mode, I would assume that Panasonic’s would use standard, so it would have been a worthwhile addition to the test to also show that. This would have effectively compared what 2 basics users of the respective cameras would have got in JPEG straight OOC.
        Appreciate the good work and objectivity of your site Steve. Thanks!

        • But the ‘natural’ setting is a logical expression of ‘what you see, we will give you’. Whereas a ‘standard’ setting neither implys nor references anything as such it means nothing. In other words a red (or blue or green or whatever) cast should not be evident in natural but could possibly be part of a ‘standard’ setup.

  15. Hi steve seeing you use Pany-Leica 25mm f1.4 with EP-3 did you have any clicking noise many m4/3 forum complaining about?

    It’s nice to see the test in JPEG, while GX-1 is one solid ‘rangefinder’ look m4/3 camera system is still hard for me to left my trusted EPL-1 due to the JPEG OOC perform alone. Even tough I’m very experienced with Photoshop (been use it since version 3.0 and teach how to use it to student for almost ten year) still the last thing I want to do after taking hundred of picture is editing it one by one before upload it to internet.

    Keep the comparison test coming this is one of the best thing I follow during new years holiday….:-)

  16. Great info with these pics. Definately helping me with my eminent decission. I am a little interested, in knowing if you could just boost the pana exposure, sharpening and saturation, and get similar results…(?) Am i the only one seing the red/magenta kind of overlay on most of the oly pics? They all have a kind of red gloom to them. Especially aparent in the first and last picture…? Where as the pana seems to have a very “warm” approach to awb to say the least.

    I really do like both, but would much rather do processing on the pana shots to be honest. Both cameras have some to be desired regarding dynamic range/blowing highlights, and i like pana’s approach to this.

    Looking very much forward to the RAW comparison, I would never buy a camera this capable to shoot in Jpg 🙂

  17. My best advice: buy a refurbished E-P2 for 200 USD and invest your money in lenses like the Pan/Leica 25 or the Oly 45. I took this decision some months ago and I am very happy with the results. Shooting at 1,4 I never need to shoot above 400 ISO and the results are amazing. I love the colour of the Oly and yes, JPG is important for familiar and vacation shots, there is nothing more frustrating that returning from a familiar week-end and spending your free time in front of your computer instead of shooting…

  18. Thanks for the comparison. The AWB test should include indoor light though. I was dissapointed it wasn’t..

  19. Great review Steve!!! I discovered your site appr. a month ago… and what should I say… I´m hooked..
    Since I am planning to buy a m43 ( or a nex 7 maybe ) I appreciate all the info that I can get…

    Happy New Year´s grettings from Germany


  20. Thanks for the comparison – great blog. You mention that you’d need to shoot in RAW to get a punchier output from the GX1. Could you not just boost sharpness and saturation to achieve the same effect?

  21. The E-P3 produces a nicer jpeg, but the GX1 jpeg contains a wider palette of subtle color to work with in Photoshop.

  22. Steve,
    i think you are a very objective, HONEST, and insightful reviewer; you are an extremely generous teacher and a gifted photographer …many thanks to you for the many many reviews and insightful advise you give to all of us…i learn so much from your site-not only from you but from many of the readers’ comments…you are the best!!!

  23. Thanks for a great site, interesting stuff!

    I am planning on getting a gx1 – mainly for its lens support, fantastic video and small size.
    ( planning on gettind rid of my 40D and switching to mirrorless).

    I shoot always jpeg+raw, but still i am quite lazy so color, sharpness and contrast in jpegs is also important and i am not digging the way panasonic is looking here. Would it be possible to adjust the jpeg settings in camera to come close to the rendering in Oly? Of course metering differences would still remain, but still.. What do you think, could you get it adjusted close to Oly?

  24. gotta love the internet! Steve, you rock. Does anyone besides me notice that when steve puts up a review or comparison that he words nearly everything as his opinion and not an unassailable fact? “i like this better…. to my eye… i prefer, etc” . That’s a wonderful way to write and to speak even in real life! Keep up the good work Steve, and if you get the time please just tell me which camera to buy so i dont go INSANE! (ep3, nex5n, or Gx1, other)
    Glad i found your site, but at the same time i’m going nuts from info overload!

    my 4cents

  25. Hi

    Just want to ask how does the new Nikon V1 will perform against this two other same tests?

    If can not do the the test – then just your opinion?


    • Honestly, the V1 would be sharpest, best OOC color but again, no shallow DOF. That is the really the only weakness of the V1 against these two cameras, and some would not even call that a weakness.

      • also you would get 10MP photo (compared to 16MP in GX1) which would not allow a bit better freedom with cropping, you are getting twice as good video in GX1 (compared to Nikon 1 system) – check video samples on youtube, and as steve mentioned no shallow depth of field, but even worse, no fast lens at night.

        Although its sensor is exceptional and arguably even better than GX1 (if not comparable – at least ISO performance) you simply do not have F1.4, F1.7 or F1.8 lenses to shoot at night – making it another P&S camera like.

        I do not like Nikon 1 system so take it with a grain of salt, if I want a compact I buy something much cheaper/portable.

        • That seems completely at odds to my experiences; from everything I’ve seen the V1 has the better video over the GX1, so the basis for the statement that the GX1 has ‘twice as good video’ is rather confusing. The V1’s files seem to be sharper and less artifacted (this may be a result of different post-shooting compression methods), has greater freedom for manual control during shooting and has the faster continuous autofocus.

          The more I read and hear about the Nikon 1 system, and after holding it in my own hands, the less I understand the ramblings of the naysayers.

      • really?
        one would have assumed tat the smaller sensor of the nikon is inferior in terms of details / sharpness.

  26. Nice comparison…even giving the GX1 a chance to redeem itself by shooting in the vivid mode! LOL!
    I never shoot jpegs. Never. I know a lot of people do. I think if that is the case you can go into anyone of the images modes and set the camera up to higher contrast and more saturation and you may find that the jpegs are looking much better out of camera as represented here.
    I own the GX1 I am looking forward to Steve’s next discussion on the RAW comparison. And I learned something here,(AGAIN!)…I did not realize that the camera was doing NR even in the Raw files when set on standard. I actually went in and put NR to -2 so now I think there is no camera alteration of the files. I like to shoot RAW have a flat file and make the image into what I want it to be in post production. Everybody does things differently. …so far ….I am really loving this camera. Its all fun.
    I can see for someone who shoots jpegs and just wants to post on the web and prefers the retro look that the E-P3 is the camera for them, not the GX1.

  27. Great comparison. Thanks for the work. I suspect that most people are like me, and never shot more than a handful of RAW files in their life.

    Should we shoot some more? Maybe.

    Will we? Doubtful.

  28. Thanks a lot Steve, I’m interested to see the raw comparison, or if you could adjust the jog to match oly inside the Panasonic camera.

    I think both of them missed the boat. Gx1 really should have had an articulating screen, as should the e-p3

  29. Mike Mc: I think the ep-3 pics looks unnatural…. Thats not what I look for in a camera…

    Olympus fanboys have always braged about the “nice colors” from jpeg… After testing ep-3 I have to laugh…

    Over the top, unrealistic “velvia” pics all the time…

    No thank you.

    I like realism.

    • This comparison didn’t win me over to the E-P3 camp. The judgments are highly biased, made by an Olympus fan. I didn’t notice that the E-P3’s JPEG images are punchier and sharper than the GX1’s. The exposure of the two isn’t the same, the GX1 colors are darker, richer, and sometimes underexposed, while the E-P3’s colors are lighter, washed out with clipped highlights, and sometimes overexposed.

      In the first comparison of what looks like a septic tank the GX1 image is underexposed, which is the fault of the photographer not the camera.

      In the second image of the green tank with hoses the GX1 wins with richer colors, while the E-P3 image is overexposed with clipped highlights on the fence. I don’t think the hoses appear sharper in the E-P3 image.

      In the third image Steve Huff claims he remembers that the reds are closer to the E-P3’s, but that is subjective judgment.

      In the fourth image of a yellow leaf the GX1 wins again with saturated colors. By contrast, the E-P3’s colors appear washed out, overexposed.

      In the fifth of a floral painting attached to a brick wall the GX1’s colors are more saturated, darker, and warmer than the E-P3’s but not less punchy.

      In the fifth image of straw the GX1’s colors again are richer than theE-P3’s.

      In the sixth image of a shadow on a wall the GX1’s colors are more golden but no less “pleasing” than the E-P3’s. “Pleasing” is a subjective judgment, an opinion.

      Also, buying an E-P3 is a risky investment. The Olympus scandal of $1.7 billion in losses unaccounted for has sent their stocks plummeting over 80%, something they may not recover from. If Olympus goes belly up it will be hard to get their cameras serviced.

      • The underexposure is the fault of the cameras metering system, not mine. I let the cameras choose exposure in these tests as that is how 98% of people will shoot these, with the automatic metering of the camera. What you see is what you get, so it appears the Panasonic underexposes a bit, which is the fault of the metering in the camera. If this was a professional shoot, I would adjust it but this is a test of a camera, and what it does out of the box.

        Also, the E-P3 JPEGS are sharper, no doubt to anyone looking at the images full size. The corners are sharper as well with the Olympus. But this just says the Oly adds more sharpening by default.

        The fifth image appears flat to me with the GX1 BTW, not ‘”rich” at all. You say these comments are highly biased, but that is not true. Sounds like your comments are as well and I am guessing you own or are planning to own a Panasonic.

        Everyone will interpret these images in their own way, and everyones tastes vary. That is why I put these up, so everyone can decide for themselves. What I say is MY opinion, thats it. The RAW comparison is done and will be up tomorrow morning.

        Thanks for your thoughts.

      • You did a good job Steve of letting each camera do what it does…and explained how you are approaching this and it is a fair way to do it. You even discussed the bias of the E-P3…(maybe the GX1 underexposes a little to avoid blowing out highlights!).

        • well that is certainly true for 8bit jpeg files, but what about the ‘reality’ in RAW if the exposure will be maintained?

          will you remember each situation lighting?
          You can’t normaly blow-out highlights in RAW (12-14bit colours mostly) and you even usually suck the information from highlights back in LR (or whichever editor you prefer) without any problem. Problem is – by having bad metering GX1 is screwing each photo.

          I hope this will get addressed.

      • get your monitor calibrated.
        I just run Spyder 3 for 10 minutes (although it’s running automaticaly here-and-there according to condition) if I’m not wrong what I’m seeing – but obviously something is wrong with your display – can’t believe what you just said.

        I’m panasonic fanboy and planing to buy GX1, but truth must be said. Oly has beaten Panasonic here…you don’t see hoses sharper? omg…

  30. The E-P3 looks like it renders JPGs about the same as my E-PL2. The Olympus JPG engine and meter works really well. I get better OOC JPGs than I do from my D7000 or D200. I also shoot in Neutral, and generally AWB. AWB rendered a bit warm (based on R,G,B values) so I set it to -2, on the A scale. Metering is very good except for bright, contrasty scenes, so I set Tone to Auto for those. I also set sharpening to -1. At that setting things look sharp, but there are no noticeable sharpening artifacts even while pixel peeping.

    While I shoot RAW most of the time with the Nikons, it’s nice to have a camera that I can “just take pictures”.

    • I’ll second that – JPEGs out of my E-P2 are fab. I too noticed they were better than my Nikon D300s JPEGs – which I shoot in RAW to get the best out of it too as I’m not overly keen on Nikon’s processing, and I only use the D300s for very specific specialised things these days so not many images to process anyway!

      Initially I shot both with the Oly, but using Lightroom I found I couldn’t better Olympus in-camera processing (though I admit I’m not a LR wizard!) so just shoot it in JPEG now as processing and fiddling with every image to get something not as good as the OOC image just seems pointless, especially as someone else said here, if you come back from a day out with the camera and a few hundred shots to go through! I now just make the odd tweak, usually just a tone curve adjustment to the better shots, or sometimes just use one of my favourite presets to a series of images.

  31. Very pleased with the Olympus colors sooc, they really do shine miles above the GX1. It makes you wonder as Mike MC says, sometimes one doesn’t have the time to process a bunch of RAW files. In the end, its a catch-22 and compromises have to be made. I shoot with the GF1/Oly 17mm and I have to constantly tweak my settings to get the kind of color my EPL2 would get sooc, what are you going to do. If I was in the market for a m4/3 body I’d definitely get the EP3, best of both worlds imo.

  32. Results consistent with the previous Panasonic cameras, more accurate metering than oly, see the picture w. white fence, oly seems to give out the details, also the picture w. leaf. The strange brown cast is still there, I guess oly wins the color accuracy race, again. Anther strange thing is, maybe just me, the Leica 25mm performs better on oly than on Panasonic, images are sharper, especially around the coners, maybe the build-in vr on oly has something to do with that.

    • It’s more likely it’s the oly jpg processing sharpening higher than the Panasonic than ibis doing anything at these shutter speeds.

      In fact it could be argued to turn off the ibis for sharper pictures.

  33. Steve, excellent article as always. Just one little detail: the text on the last photo is “E-P2”, but it should be “E-P3”.

  34. The proof is in the pictures. And I have to agree, out of camera JPEG for the EP-3 is exceptionally better than the GX1. Even on a clear day, it looks as though the GX1 pushes out muted, flat JPEGs.

    My wife and I are going on a trip overseas next year, and I know I won’t have time to process EVERY single RAW photo that’ll be taken during our trip. I hear the argument that if you buy these cameras, you should only be shooting RAW…true. But not everyone has the time to process RAW photos. Especially if you come back home with over 1,000 shots from a recent vacation.

    Great work, Steve!

    • It seems to me Panasonic’s JPEG are more compressed than Olympus ones. Just take a look at first picture in the bokeh right. The field, mud, grass. It’s not that you could not sharpen it, but it is loosing details due to compression, despite being 16MP sensor vs 12MP sensor.

      I believe you can correct the blue cast in GX1 JPGs and add a bit sharpening there, but you can’t beat compression and white-balance evaulation of E-P3.

      Unfortunately E-P3 is useless at ISO1600-3200 where I shoot most today so GX1 for me :/

      • Yea, you can fix blue casts, easier when shooting RAW but still fixable. The cameras put out JPEGS much differently. Be sure to check out the RAW comparison tomorrow where the GX1 sharpens up considerably.

      • also _every_ image was underexposed on Panasonic at about -1/6 EV compared to Oly’s bright picture. I was not shooting so I am not aware of reality which camera got exposure right. On my canon currently I know it is _allways_ overexposing which I like and then I turn it down -1/3 in LR to get the real story.

        So if Oly was right, I would welcome another test with added sharpening, bringing a bit warmer colors and overexposing a little (hard last one) if those can be set in the camera and comparing again.

        Of course brighter images with warmer colors and a bit over-the-top sharpening looks better to a human eye, at first. But it can be corrected to certain degree, although If GX1 is underexposing each image in JPG it’s kind a hard issue. Look at the shadow in the last shot. Either the lighting was different or GX1 has a problem with tackling with the reality!

  35. Like you said; If you rely on the camera JPEG defaults, the Olympus E-P3 appears to produce a slightly more aggressively sharpened and saturated product. However, that would probably also mean that the high ISO noise results would be even more differentiated in JPEG, in favor of the Panasonic GX1.

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