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Charlie Sorrel, you’re so wrong

Recently Charlie Sorrel of wired.com’s Gadget Lab said some something rather questionable in his article, “5 Reasons to Ditch Your Digital SLR“.

Here’s the basic foundation and background of the discussion. He weighs the advantages of the new EVIL camera format compared to DSLR cameras. What’s “EVIL”? It stands for Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens. It’s a mirrorless camera system. Micro Four Thirds is the current standard for the EVIL format. I blogged about Micro Four Thirds the day it was introduced and the great virtues of this newborn format. DSLR cameras have mirror systems and thus are larger than EVIL cameras. Micro Four Thirds sensors are smaller than DSLR cameras which leads to lesser image quality. Check out my image sensor size chart.

Before I tear apart Sorrel’s words, I’ll say he’s right on some fronts. Many consumers will opt to purchase an EVIL camera instead of a DSLR because EVIL cameras are smaller. It offers great quality when compared to standard point-and-shoot cameras.

However, Sorrel made a misleading statement to say the least. He finished his article by saying, “Unless you have a specific use that these cameras can
t meet, or you need the very highest level of performance only a Canon 1D or Nikon D3 can bring, you have no reason to buy a DSLR. Instead, consider being EVIL. You might like it.”

There’s no reason to buy a DSLR when you can buy an EVIL camera? Really? How about image quality? Go to imaging-resource.com’s Comparometer and compare ISO 400 images of the current flagship EVIL camera, the Olympus EP-2 to Nikon
s middle-of-the-road SLR, the D90. There
s no comparison. The EP-2 is terrible when compared to the D90. Shooting at 400 ISO is a widely accepted practice in low-light conditions when you don’t want to use a flash.

So there is at least one very good reason to buy a D90 instead of an EP-2. The image quality is far superior. Clearly Charlie dropped the ball and didn’t do this research or maybe he likes the noisy, less-detailed images from the EVIL format.

It’s embarrassing to see a leading technology information service such as Wired to be making such misleading, inaccurate statements.

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There’s more to life than spec sheets, and there’s more to photography than detailed noise specs. The liberating small size and weight of m4/3 count for quite a bit to many of us. For many shots, the IQ of an E-P2 is quite excellent. Many of us have no interest in a big camera and cannot take it where we want to go. Even APS-C is limited–you should go full-frame if you don’t mind size and pixel-peeping is the sole criterion. EVR’s will continue to advance, and so will noise levels. Meanwhile, with a little care and knowledge, one can… Read more »