$350: What Would You Get?

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by rkbry, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. rkbry

    rkbry New to Mu-43

    Mar 21, 2012
    central california
    So I was looking to get a nice (serious) compact camera, something that is easy to carry, shoots RAW, and has more controls than just a shutter button. But when I looked at available options, (my budget being around $350) I realized I could get a micro 4/3 camera for the same price. But which one?

    So if you were me, how would you spend the money? Here are a few considerations:
    • For me, physical controls are better than digging through menus
    • Responsiveness is important
    • I love primes. If I can get a kit w/ a prime instead of a kit zoom, I am okay with that

    Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer.
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    My first thought is an Olympus E-PM2 with the 14-42mm kit zoom: http://www.cameta.com/Olympus-PEN-E...-II-R-Lens-Black-Black-Factory-Demo-76873.cfm
    (Cameta has that in various colors in case black's not your thing.) It's not a prime, but it is a great camera with a great sensor under the hood. Panasonic's options low end options tend to short change you on the sensor, which I don't like. I'd rather have the new sensor (which is a big step up) and the zoom. It's also a fast camera when it comes to AF, offers stabilization, and is generally a surprisingly capable camera for the price. I also like the way Olympus cameras are laid out; once you get a feel for how to customize and set them, you can shoot smoothly with physical controls and no real menu diving despite the relative lack of them.

    I should point out also that it might be worth checking out the NEX cameras. Depends on what you're looking for though.
  3. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    "Love primes", "love physical controls" and $350 budget is not realistic if you want to buy new gear. The closest you might get in the Olympus camera line is a factory demo (and menu driven) 2011 model Olympus E-PM1 body $119 + a used Panasonic 14mm f2.5 pancake lens ~ $140 http://www.cameta.com/Olympus-PEN-Mini-E-PM1-Micro-Digital-Camera-Black-Factory-Demo-69474.cfm http://www.ebay.com/itm/Panasonic-L...57232136?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item27d9c41a08 or E-PM1 body with 14-42 kit lens for $189 http://www.cameta.com/Olympus-PEN-M...14-42mm-II-Lens-Silver-Factory-Demo-65960.cfm plus the Panasonic 14mm pancake, or, if you need a telephoto zoom, a used Olympus 40-150 for $99.00 http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/out...40-150mm-f4-0-5-6-r-silver-reconditioned.html
  4. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    If you are willing to go for just the camera body and kit lens right now, then this is the best bet in your budget:
    It's the best sensor Olympus offers, at an amazing price for a limited time.

    If you want to start out with primes, I'd say to go with the older E-PL3:

    Then get one of the Sigma primes or the Panasonic 14mm or Olympus 17mm.
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    With those criteria I would get a Panasonic GX1 (I chose the E-PM2 over this, but the GX1 has better physical controls) as the camera. For the lens, you can get a kit zoom for about the same price as a Panasonic 14/2.5, Olympus 17/2.8, Sigma 19/2.8, or Sigma 30/2.8. That assumes you do some searching for good prices on the GX1 and those lenses, but you can definitely meet your budget requirements with any one of those lenses.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    Check out the G5 -- a bit bigger, but has most everything you want.
  7. kahren

    kahren Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 21, 2010
    spend $400 and get gf1 with 20mm 1.7
  8. jarl

    jarl Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2012
    Well... right now you can get an Oly e-p3 with the 17mm Zuiko plus the 40-150 zoom (all refurbished, of course) for $360 :) Check the "found deals" section... some of the stuff is just amazing

    Sent from my MB860 using Mu-43 mobile app
  9. Halaking

    Halaking Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 17, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Maybe Canon EOS M with 22mm lens kit for $300-350, it's not M4/3 but you get APS-C sensor with prime, better screen and the 22mm prime lens is very sharp.

    But Olympus stabilized all your lenses, many lenses to choose from, focus better, faster operation, much more custom setting than Canon.
  10. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    rkbry , in your shoes I would go with a Fuji X-10. Used for $250.

    Otherwise, I like the GX1 + 14/2.5 idea. The Canon EOS-M +22mm is interesting as well, but limiting if you'd potentially want additional lenses in the near future.
  11. rkbry

    rkbry New to Mu-43

    Mar 21, 2012
    central california
    Thanks to everyone for answering. There are a lot of interesting suggestions to look at. I'm going to make a cup of coffee and start looking through these ideas one at a time.

    Thanks again, everyone!
  12. lrlebron

    lrlebron Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 8, 2013
    Huntsville, AL
    Real Name:
    Luis R. Lebron
  13. MarylandUSA

    MarylandUSA Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 3, 2013
    Poolesville, Maryland
    Real Name:
    Paul Franklin Stregevsky
    if you get a system camera, $350 will be just the beginning. When I got into the M43 system, I told myself I'd be content with one lens, the Panasonic 20/1.7 prime. To see how that plan turned out, see my signature. I've now spent about $1300.

    If you like having an electronic viewfinder, take a close look at the Nikon CoolPix P7800. It's still $550 to $600, but that would be the end of your investment.
  14. Dduval

    Dduval Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    You might want to look at the sony RX100, used prices are coming down close to $350.00 recently...great quality if you want portability.
  15. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    Doug Green
    In general, I'd agree with this, but I prefer the E-PL2 to the E-PL3. Both cameras have the same image quality, but I prefer the ergonomics and built in flash of the E-PL2. The E-PL3 has a tilting LCD, though, and is slightly smaller and lighter - but basically, they are equivalent cameras with slightly different features and ergonomics.

    A great 2 prime lens set would be the Panasonic 14mm and the Sigma 30mm.
  16. flipmack

    flipmack Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 23, 2012
    irvine, CA
    You could probably find a Ricoh GRD4 for that price....assuming you're OK with the fixed 28mm FOV.

    otherwise, for external controls, I'd say EP3 with Sigma 19 or if you're OK with an older body, Panasonic GF1 with both Sigma 30 and Panasonic 14.

    Contrary to popular opinion, the GF1 is still an excellent camera below ISO 800 and can be acquired really cheap. Think of it as your gateway camera...lets you get your feet wet and when you're comfortable for an upgrade, you've already got some nice primes.

    Sent from my Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet using Mu-43 mobile app
  17. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    Doug Green
  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    If you're willing to go with refurbished or secondhand gear, you'll have a lot more choices.

    I suspect you can get yourself a Panasonic GX1 and Sigma 19/2.8 for that price, if you look around. Don't forget to budget for extra batteries.
  19. mcentral

    mcentral Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 13, 2013
  20. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2013
    Oahu, gathering place of many cars
    Real Name:
    Peter Gunn
    I have an E-P3 and GX1, both of which were on closeout last summer for $200 to 300. They're a bit more now but still often under $350. Of the two, I greatly prefer the feel and controls of the E-P3. I also prefer the Oly EVF over Panasonic as they have less tearing problems and are better in low light. The IBIS is very nice but only yields a couple stops for me. Finally, love being able to disable the E-P3 LCD and use a clip-on optical finder or sight over the top of the camera for stealth. On the other hand, the GX1 has a little better sensor, not in terms of noise--it about the same as the E-P3--but has more MP. They both have touch screen options but the Oly is much easier to use.