7) An amazing collection of little benefits
Control Layout and General Handling
I don't think I can possibly do an adequate job of enumerating all of these. I've had the G2 for almost two months now, and I'm still finding new gems.
In general, the G2 feels more like it was designed to be a photography toy, rather than to win a design award. The button layout seems awkward and sloppy to the eyes, yet each button seems to fall easily within reach when it's needed, and it's very easy to remember it by feel.
When I first chose the E-P2 over the GH1, one of the considerations was the fact that it has two dials. After all, there are two exposure settings to control (M: aperture / shutter speed; P: program shift / EV compensation; etc.) I found the single dial on the Canon Rebel really awkward to use, and love the two controls on the S90. But the reality of the E-P2's dials did not live up to my expectations. The cylinder is fairly difficult to turn (here the tendinitis comes into play again) and the wheel (like that of the S90, to be fair) moves too freely. After just a few minutes with the G2, I realized that they had gotten it right. A single dial with a click switch between two modes is actually more convenient than having two distinct rotary controls. After all, you really want to manage the two values sequentially, rather than changing two variables at once. Now my S90 seems harder to use
But wait ... there's more!
When you have a legacy lens, the aperture control is actually on the lens, so the camera can't do the EV compensation for you. So when you click on the control dial, the camera zooms in to manual focus assist. Quickly and painlessly. Another click on the dial or a half-press of the shutter release zooms you back into framing mode. It's such a natural solution that I discovered it fortuitously. The first time I put a manual focus lens on the camera, I went for the click to zoom in ... and it zoomed in. It took me a few seconds to realize that it had done exactly what my hands had wanted it to do, without having to involve my brain in the discussion. Now that's
Compare that with multiple clicks on the E-P2's Info button to get to focus assist mode, then click the OK button to actually zoom in, then back out of the whole thing, but always make sure you're clicking all of the buttons in exactly the right order, because if you click the OK button first you're already in Super Control Panel mode, at which point the Info button just toggles between Super Control Panel and standard menu settings icons, and if you actually click OK now you're actually changing the ISO value or something like that, and ... and really, Olympus? Would it hurt to hire an interaction design intern some summer to just count the clicks for you? Or do a little usability testing on the design?
The bottom line is that I switched cameras thinking I would find it harder to use legacy lenses (because of the absence of IBIS), and instead found that I use them more easily and comfortably than ever before. On a recent extended weekend to LA (and back along Highway 1!) I brought along only a single legacy lens ... and ended up using it more than half of the time.
Here's another surprise: the iA button. If someone had told me that two months ago, I would have scowled. My two primary modes are Manual when I am being deliberate and Program when I'm doing snapshots. If I stop to mess with program shift or EV compensation very long, I just switch back to Manual. On the G2, I rarely go into Program mode. I just keep the Mode dial on M and tap the iA button when I want a snapshot. At first I was reluctant to let go of ISO, and everything else that goes automatic in iA mode, but after a few tries I realized it was probably making a better overall computation of the various compromises than I could have done in that amount of time. And if I have the time to be more deliberate, I tap the (now bright blue) button again and I'm back in Manual mode.
Here's a little one: On the G2, you can swap out batteries or a card while the tripod quick-release plate is still on the camera.
I said I wouldn't be able to enumerate all of these, but it's clear that Lumix went with Interaction Design, where Olympus relied on more traditional Visual Design and Industrial Design. That worked in the last century, but it doesn't work as well now.