Another DSLR'r considering micro 4/3. Advice / comments please

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by davidedric, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. davidedric

    davidedric Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 24, 2013
    Cheshire, UK
    Hi everyone,

    I currently have a (Canon) DSLR, and couple of zooms (17-70mm, 70-300mm), and at the moment I am happy with that for my main interests which are wildlife and travel.

    However, I just don't carry my camera enough, in large measure because the combination of DSLR body and two lenses is just too unwieldy. So I bought a (Tamron) 18-280 "super zoom", but it rarely gets an outing because the compromises involved in designing such a zoom leave me unhappy with the IQ (and the AF is pretty slow, too).

    So I have been thinking about adding a micro 4/3 to my gear, to carry with me, have in the car, and so on.

    My thinking is to buy second hand with just the standard 14-42 kit lens to see how I get on. I won't be shooting sports or wildlife, so high frame rate is not an issue. Low light performance may be, since I don't know what or when I'll be shooting. I do shoot RAW, and as a lifelong eye to the viewfinder person, an EVF is a must. Flip out screen very useful, for those low to the ground shots.

    If I buy second hand and we don't get on I can probably re-sell and not pay too much for the experience. If it goes well then I can think more about what body or lenses I might want and need.

    I can find my way around the DSLR ranges, but am a bit bewildered by the micro 4/3 world.

    My initial thinking is a Panasonic G3 or G5. I haven't really set a budget, but second hand these should be in reach.

    I'd really appreciate any comments on whether my approach makes sense, and what model you think I might consider.


  2. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    If you like the G series look, feel and features I'd probably start with the G5. Budget really matters though. If low light is a priority for this system you really need to get beyond the kit lens pretty quickly. Otherwise you can go with a high end point and shoot (XZ-2; X20; etc.) and get very similar results vs G5 with kit lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. mjw

    mjw Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2013
    Seattle, WA

    You might want to look at the Panasonic 20mm/1.7, maybe even instead of the kit lens. It's a bit slow on focus, but it's small, cheap and has great image quality.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 mobile app
  4. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 8, 2013
    The Lumix G5 is about even with Canons for dynamic range and low light performance. If you were doing OK with what you had, you won't miss anything IQ-wise, but will shave off quite a bit of burden.

    But how much do you want to shave off? You also said you want to get better IQ, so would that mean prime lenses? You could pick up a combo of the excellent 45mm Zuiko and either the 14mm Lumix pancake or the 19mm Sigma for around $400-450 total, used. Stretch some more and you can buy a fast wide prime (20mm Lumix, or the excellent 17mm F1.8 Zuiko which is currently on a $100 discount).
  5. Colorbright

    Colorbright Mu-43 Regular

    Your situation sounds all too familiar to me (similar issues with having nice Nikon gear, but then leaving it behind due to weight and bulk). I therefore started looking around for other options, and found the world of m43.

    After doing a lot of research (and handling a few different cameras) I would definitely recommend an Olympus OM-D EM-5 (or E-M1), in particular the OM-D E-M5. Why? well, at this point the E-M5s are at a very attractive price point due to the arrival of the E-M1s, and yet there isn't THAT much of a gap between them. Yes,of course there are differences, but from the standpoint of someone who is just thinking of getting into some m4/3s gear for the first time, the E-M5 performance/price equation is still pretty compelling (at least to me).

    That being said, I have the greatest respect for many of the people who chose another brand or model of m4/3 camera. In the end (and as you doubtless already know) probably the best thing you can do is go see and handle some of the gear in person at a local store. By the way, what really helped me finally decide on which camera to buy was running into someone who had been shooting with a variety of m4/3 cameras for a while. He took the time to discuss the various options with me, something I deeply appreciated. I'm still grateful to that guy! :smile:
    • Like Like x 2
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    There was a big step up in sensor tech with the E-M5. Similar sensors can now be found in the E-PL5, E-PM2, E-P5 and E-M1 from Olympus and the GH3 and GX7 from Panasonic. Personally, I'd stick with these.

    If you want an EVF, then your choice will narrow down to the E-M5, E-M1, GH3 and GX7. Since you're thinking of buying used though, then you probably should cross off the newest 2 models - the E-M5 and GX7', leaving just the E-M5 and GH3.

    Between those two, you really can't go wrong. The Oly is the prettiest (IMHO), has IBIS and is the smallest, but the GH3 has better ergonomics and video.

    I'd consider getting a prime or two rather than the kit zoom, which really isn't anything special. The 20/1.7 is great IQ for not much money and will always be easy to resell. Pretty much the same can be said of 45/1.8 too.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Everhandy

    Everhandy Guest

    Don't get the G5. Too much like a DSLR. You already have a DSLR. I had a G5 and sent it back. Cheap feel and bluish JPEG's.

    I would recommend an E-P3. $369.00 right now for a new one on Amazon, with a 14-42 kit zoom.

    Compare the E-P3 with the G5 on the Imaging-Resources web site image compare page and be blown away.
    The E=P3 has to be one of the best u4/3 cameras made, especially for the price.
  8. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Based on everything you said, I think a G5 would be a good choice. Some really good deals on used G5s in our Buy & Sell area recently too.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. davidedric

    davidedric Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 24, 2013
    Cheshire, UK
    Thanks for the feedback and comment - plenty to think about there.

    To clarify something. I am only worried about IQ when using the 18-270 zoom, so my assumption is that a 15x zoom is always going to have to make considerable compromises, whatever the format. So to get decent IQ over that range (and staying with zooms for the moment), I'm going to need two lenses. However, I don't feel inclined to take a big jump in the dark to get a complete new system, and in any event I really only use the long end for wildlife, so I thought a micro 4/3 could give me decent range in a more portable format.

    I wanted to start modestly. Hence my idea to get the kit zoom: buying second hand, the body + kit seems to cost about the same as the body alone. Of course, teh downside is that I may not realise what the camera could do with that glass, but you have to start somewhere. It's also why I don't want to jump in at the top end.

    Thanks again,

  10. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    I don't understand all this hesitation. Micro Four Thirds is not new anymore, it's since matured. It's a very capable system, on par with most DSLRs. Just get the G5.
  11. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    when someone says they are confused by m4/3s offerings but says an evf is a must and they would like a tilt screen recommending a camera with neither may not be all that helpful. Just saying... :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  12. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    I have a G5, and it is really nice if you like DSLRs. Basically as smaller, lighter DSLR as far as shooting experience goes. The lenses are where m4/3 really has an advantage, especially with zooms and telephoto which can be smaller than on other cameras due to the 4:3 aspect ratio and smaller sensor size.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. MadMan

    MadMan Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 27, 2013
    Did you two completely miss the part where he said his budget only allows for the price range of a second-hand G3 or G5? And only "if it goes well then I can think more about what body or lenses I might want and need." Also his desire for flip out screen? Your advice is not bad, it just didn't fit the question the guy asked.

    I don't know that much, but FWIW I also think a G5 is a good starting point for your strategy. Should have no problem finding it with kit lens used (or even new!) for <= $250 (USA). At that price point why bother with G3. Then if it seems like it's "going well," get a better lens to really unlock the potential, only after you've done that do you need to even start thinking about a new body. And yes, the EVF is good, and the flip screen is more than good. Good luck!
    • Like Like x 1
  14. foxtail1

    foxtail1 Science geek & photo nut Subscribing Member

    Dec 30, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Another vote for the G5. The G3 does a good job too (mine was my entry into µ43), but the G5 has better ergonomics.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    The EM5 did have a much better sensor in lower light, but the E-PL1 and E-PL3 (and brothers) have wickedly sharp and crisp images if you are using them in decent light.

    I agree 100% on the G5, while it was fun to use and I liked the EVF, the images that came out of that camera stunk. Auto-WB was terrible and I got blue everything as well. There is also no native RAW processor for Panasonics, meaning you can't get the same JPEGs as the camera makes with a ton of trouble. Oly's viewer cooks them just like the camera. Lightroom is crappy with any M43 brand, you are stuck with their lame Adobe profile or buying something like Huelight. I've had 3 Panasonic M43 bodies, the GF3 (still have), GX1 and G5. Unless you love spending hours tinkering with raw, stay away. Oly jpegs are awesome.

    My advice, hold out for a the black friday deals, there will be stuff like E-PL3's with under $200 with the 14-42, which is a good lens if you use it within its limitations. The panny 20 1.7 is great, but the Sigma 19 and 30 2.8's can be had for 1/2 the price and are awesome.
  16. davidedric

    davidedric Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 24, 2013
    Cheshire, UK
    Mmmm There seem to be strong and different opinions on the g5. As a RAW shooter and Lightroom pp'er I am certainly going to follow that one up.

    I've just updated my profile to show I'm in the UK. Since we don't have Thanksgiving we don't get Black Friday either (though Amazon UK seem to be offering it this year!)
  17. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    This advice is bogus. In no way are Panasonic images terrible, and if all you're doing with a RAW processor is making jpegs just like in camera, what the heck are you doing it for? Many people consider Olympus jpegs to be overcooked. I have never had any issue editing Panasonic RAW files in LR.

    The only good advice there was the Sigma primes...
    • Like Like x 2
  18. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    No there isn't. Just a couple guys in the crowd. Since you shoot RAW, I can assure you the G5 files are extremely nice to work with.
    • Like Like x 5
  19. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    Yeah, I don't get this ad hominem "lightroom is crapy with any M43 brand" talk. I think you'll find plenty here who disagree completely.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    First off, I never said you couldn't edit a Panasonic RAW in LR. I just said it took a lot more work to get pleasing results.

    Let me guess, you shoot landscape or street scenes, not people you actually know? Panasonics JPEGs have strange colors (that do seem to work for landscapes). Skin tones are terrible. Why do you think people like Huelight have made a business fixing this problem??

    Why do I want to cook a JPEG just like my camera? Well because sometimes I or the camera screw up exposure or white balance. Panasonic AWB sucks. Sometimes I want to change the color profile. The camera offers better lens correction than LR as well, the G5 does an amazing job of CA correction on the 20mm. Also the G5 does a fantastic job with shadow/highlight adjustment, again more time wasted in LR. With Panasonic, I can't directly recreate the camera's work from the RAW. Not in camera, not on a computer.

    So yes, I do like having that flexibility with Olympus and Nikon.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.