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A Good 4/3 To Start Out With?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Marine Paethor, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Marine Paethor

    Marine Paethor Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    I've been wanting to step beyond the boundaries of point and shoot for some time now, and am finally in a position to be able to do so. For years I always thought I would move to entry level DSLR, but the more I research lately, the more I find myself thinking the 4/3 is the way to go. Having come to that conclusion, I just need to figure out what camera to go with. I've almost pulled the trigger a couple of times, but every time I think I know which direction to go, I either talk to someone, or read something online that gives me second thoughts. I realize that a lot of it is opinion and personal preference, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier. It's also very easy to get enamored with the most recent bodies and features, even though most of me knows that a camera a generation or two behind will be more than adequate to learn and grow with.

    I would love to hear some thoughts on what a good camera to start out with would be. I shoot a fair amount of outdoor/landscape stuff now, but would like to be able to shoot some decent portraits now that I am having kids. I would also very much like to learn new skills and advance myself as a photographer.

    I've been looking at the Panasonic G5, and the Sony NEX 3 and 5, as well as some of the Olympus Pens. I would really like to be able to get the best bang for the buck with the starter kit so that I can buy another lens or two as well.

    As a connected side question, what would be a good lens to pick up in the beginning to go with the kit lens. I know that there a a ton of choices with lenses, but would is a lens that generally know one should be without?

    Thank you very much to anyone who take the time to read this, and to anyone who has any thoughts or opinions to share.
  2. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    IMHO, (and we all have one),
    A Panasonic GX1 will give you the best bang for yer buck. Lens depends on your style...

    As usual, YMMV :smile:
  3. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    Depends. You need to decide on size, electronic viewfinder, video capabilities, and price. Starting out, I would find a good,lightly used previous generation body for $200- ish. A G3, GX1 or epl3 could be had for that price. Add a 14-45( not 42) panny or 12-50 olympus kit lens, used also, for $150 to $250. If you get a panasonic body get a panny lens for image stabilization. Go out and shoot and learn. Then you can make an informed decision. For something more video oriented (and larger bodied, more expensive) perhaps a GH2. But the G3/X1 are very good video cameras for beginners.

    RTP go to bed,man! :coffee:
  4. juangrande

    juangrande Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 2, 2012
    Another post has the G5 listed at Abes of Maine @ $399 w/kit. I'd go for that! If the size is OK with you. It is one of the larger bodies.
  5. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus loser Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2010
    Welcome to the forum! Just as a side note: 4/3 system is dslr system and micro four thirds (m4/3) is the mirrorless version from that. We know you are talking about m4/3 but here are also people who use both systems.
  6. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    As others have said I'd go for a recently replaced model like the Panasonic G3 or Olympus EPL-3 as this will allow you to purchase perhaps one more lens to go with the kit lens to get you started and as you mention portraits I would suggest the Olympus 45mm as one of the best value for money lenses in the m4/3 ranges (along with the Pana 14mm). both cameras are capable of stunning shots ( just take a look at some of the threads on this forum).

    Yes the latest versions may give some image quality benefits but this is only likely to be after some time of using the cameras and finding what their limits are and how this might affect you.

    The 45mm lens does not have stabilisation but that's not really an issue with the shutter speeds you are likely to get with the F1.8 wide open for portraits.

    As to body choice then it depends on how they feel in your hands. My children, like myself, have small hands so preferred the EPL3 and I went for the OMD for the same reason over the Panasonics but these are also excellent cameras and significant jump from most compact cameras and have the benefit of a EVF over the Pen Olympus.

    In the UK the EPL3 are getting harder to find new and new G3's are about the same price as second hand units so may be a good option
  7. cherrywood

    cherrywood Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 17, 2010
    G3/with viewfinder/small body

    Hello MP and welcome to mu43.

    Do you like viewfinders, I think they are usually indispensable outdoors in sun.

    Of course i have always had film cameras and digitals with viewfinders so I am biased in this area. Since you are going to use the camera for landscapes and portraits a viewfinder makes sense for you.

    The Panasonic G3, body only about 250 USD or 399 with kit lens 14-42mm, which I have ,is probably the best buy right now, comes with viewfinder built in and is petite, but if you have big hands you might look at the G5, but it will cost double the G3. Also the GX1, but it does not have a viewfinder, all three of these have the 16mp sensor so nice for your landscape shots allowing cropping and larger prints.

    Olympus E-pl3 is also an option for a low budget camera, but only has a 12mp sensor, and no viewfinder but does have optional attachable VF, but will cost you about 170 usd extra, used.

    Great portrait lens is the Olympus 45mm 1.8, used about 310USD. Your kit lens will give you 84mm FOV so could be used for portraits, but will be slow indoors.

    Used 20mm panasonic , about 275-300 USD is a great all round lens as the EFOV is 40mm, can be used indoors, landscapes and shoots fairly close for flowers etc.

    So Yes my vote for viewfinder camera is the G3, viewfinder less camera GX1 or Oly E-pl3, for low budget cameras right now Feb/2013.
  8. xxjorelxx

    xxjorelxx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2012
    MD, USA
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
  10. rnagoda

    rnagoda Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 12, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    To be clear, when we talk about "large bodies" in this context we really are talking about tiny little camera bodies - the biggest m4/3 cameras are not large by any possible meaning of the word.

    I personally love my GX1, but wouldn't want it for my only camera due to it's size and the handling issues inherent to such a small camera (and it's not even the smallest of the m4/3 bunch). It's great to have around, and it takes great pictures, but given to choose only one camera I'd opt for something larger for better handling, and with easier access to manual controls.

    In light of that, I'd recommend the G5 or you could also hunt for a good deal on a GH2 - they are fantastic cameras (and not just for video, where they really made a splash) and they can be had on the cheap these days.
  11. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    G5 All the way. It is far from large.
  12. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Budget will play a huge role in your decisions, but something like the following would probably set you back around $600 and give you a lot of options to practice and learn about photography while taking great images. Replace the E-PL3 with any other recent generation used body if you prefer a different style.

    1. used E-PL3 with kit lens
    2. used Pany 20mm
    3. legacy 50mm (f 1.4-2 range) for portraits
  13. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Budget is a big factor. But RIGHT NOW the best bang for the buck might be the deal over on Cameta for the refurbished E-PM1 with kit lens for $199. No it does not have the new 16mp sensors or as many manual control options. But at $199? It's a lot of camera for the price.
  14. ReallyBadPictures

    ReallyBadPictures Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 12, 2013
    That or the E-PL2 for the same price if you can deal with the red color.

    I bought my E-PM1 from Cameta (for $240) and there was not a scratch on it and it had around 100 shutter activations.
  15. Marine Paethor

    Marine Paethor Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 17, 2013
    Thank you all very much for taking the time to respond. I appreciate the input. Those cameras were some of the ones I was considering, but its nice to some thoughts other than what I was getting from product reviews, and people trying to sell my stuff.
  16. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    If you coming from P&S and really desire a new/better experience, I strongly suggest a µ4/3 with a built in viewfinder. So, essentially a G series Panasonic. The GX1 is a terrific little camera but lacks an Electronic View Finder (EVF). You would have to hold the camera away from your body Zombie style and compose via the LCD. You can purchase an EVF for GX1 and the Olympus Pen series, then you're in the same ball park price wise as buying a camera with an EVF built in. The plus of a detachable EVF is now you have an option of small camera to a small camera with a big hump on top. The LCD is difficult to see in bright sunlight.

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