Best all around m43 solution for a budget

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by TDP, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. TDP

    TDP Guest

    My brother needs a camera. I would say a new camera, but he doesn't have anything but a camera phone so he needs "a" camera.

    He isn't rolling in extra money.

    Any suggestions for a body/lens that is a good buy with a great image quality to cost ratio?

    TIA
     
  2. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    For a price/performance ratio you can't beat any first gen camera: g1/ep1/epl1. Though these days the ep2 and g2 are in the same 170-300$ price bracket if you can find em.
     
  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    For something with a warranty, probably an E-PL1. Cameta still has a few refurbished E-PL1 kits for $239 with a 14-42 kit lens. It's a great place to start. It has excellent IQ and can use an external EVF like the VF2 or VF3 if they want to go that way at a later point. Otherwise I'd say look at picking up a nice used first gen m43 body. The E-PL1, E-P1 and G1 can all be gotten for right around $150 for the body. Depends on what you think they'd like with regards to body style (min-DSLR or RF style). In used first gen bodies the G1 is probably the biggest bargain as it has a built-in EVF. In a RF stye body you might consider a GF2 or E-PL2. I just picked up a new GF2 body for around $200 and that gets you HD video, a higher resolution LCD than either of the first generation PEN cameras, touch screen, faster AF and a body almost as small as the LX3/LX5. There are tons of good options.
     
  4. TDP

    TDP Guest

    thanks guys, I appreciate it
     
  5. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Refurbished Olympus E-PM1/14-42 kits are $300 at Cameta. Alternatively, B&H has secondhand Panasonic G1/14-45 kits for $350. Both produce great images. The G1 has a flip screen and an eye-level VF, while the E-PM1 is wonderfully small and does video.

    The only less expensive m4/3 kit option is the Olympus E-PL1 ($250 at Cameta), but the kit lens on it is frustratingly slow to focus and prone to occasional inaccuracies, so the extra $50 spent on the E-PM1 is IMO well worth it.

    DH
     
  6. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    Agreed - the faster AF and the newer kit lens make the E-PM1 a no brainer over the E-PL1 at current prices in my opinion if you are going to go the kit lens route.
     
  7. redington

    redington Mu-43 Regular

    140
    Apr 28, 2012
    I was on a severe budget and after much consternation ended up getting the E-PM1 refurb from Cameta. The G1 at $350 is tempting, though, with the swiveling screen and the viewfinder.
     
  8. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
  9. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    As an E-PL1 owner, I still stand by my original statement that if you are going the kit lens route, its a no brainer to go with the E-PM1 due to the faster AF of both the newer camera and the newer lens. I've been frustrated more often than not with the AF of my E-PL1. If someone wanted to trade me straight up for an E-PM1 I'd jump on it in a second, even if the E-PM1 has slightly worse IQ.
     
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Agreed, I am a former E-PL1 owner and IMHO there are number of cameras that I find more appealing than the E-PL1 (for a variety of reasons). If price is the major consideration then the E-PL1 is a good option. If the budget can stretch a bit then the refurb E-PM1 kit at $300 is an excellent choice. The camera is faster, has faster AF, HD video, a MUCH better kit lens and a higher resolution screen (albeit with a 16x9 aspect ratio). The E-PM1 is a terrific camera. My only reservation is that the E-PM1 is a bit on the small size and not everyone is comfortable with the size. I found it just a bit too small for my hands so if possible see if you can handle one before hand.
     
  11. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    A black G1 with a 14-45mm lens just sold Sunday on eBay for $280 shipped. I probably would have had it except my sniping software screwed up.

    Buy something like that and sell the lens, which should bring around $180 here. Then you're in the body for around $100 net and, as mentioned, the swiveling screen and viewfinder are big plusses.

    Buy an original Oly 14-42mm. Mine cost me $65 here. These much-maligned lenses are not really that bad and they have the advantage of being by far the most compact of the four Oly/Panny 14-4xmm lenses.

    You should end up with a very decent body and lens for under $200.

    Alternatively, a black G1 body alone recently sold on eBay for $143.50 shipped. Even at that price, with a good buy on an Oly 14-42mm you are still not far north of $200.

    Yes, I in the market for another G1 and I am a horrible cheapskate.
     
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  12. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
    Different priorities for different people. My point is to not to hide the IQ advantage of the E-PL1 under the table. For some folks IQ is #1 and focusing speed and ergonomics #2 or #3. My E-M5 is the fastest focusing Oly camera of all and yet I won't use it for landscape or fixed object shooting because the IQ of my E-PL1 is better and it's focusing speed is quick enough, even with the original kit lens.
     
  13. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I don't think anyone is trying to HIDE the IQ of the E-PL1. It's common knowledge that the E-PL1 has a bit better IQ than it's similarly sensored m43 peers. But the differences are not huge. Also, the IQ if the E-PL1 is not better than that of your OMD. The weaker AA filter allows for greater detail to be captured but it can also can lead to artifacting and moire under certain circumstances. The OMD has a larger sensor so even without the weaker AA filter it should capture greater detail. It also has considerably better DR (which also a component of IQ). If you prefer the E-PL1 for landscape work over the OMD then that's your choice and I can respect that but the criticisms of the E-PL1 are also valid.

    [​IMG]

    The sample above looks at the OMD, E-PL1, E-PM1 and GF2 and the OMD as expected has the best detail. Additionally, as nice as the E-PL1 images (and it is terrific) the E-PM1 and GF2 are not that much different. In fact, the GF2 appears to have slightly better detail than the E-PM1 but it has the characteristic blue/green caste of the default Panasonic color settings. The E-PL1 has terrific image quality. I would even agree that it is better than the other m43 cameras that use the same sensor but IMHO we're not talking a HUGE difference here and when the differences are small it is perfectly valid that things like ergonomics, max shutter speed and AF speed might outweigh small differences in IQ.
     
  14. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    Understood. However, while we can't assume anything regarding how/what the OP's brother will prefer to shoot, as his first camera that he will most likely choose to shoot in a variety of conditions, including more than just landscape and fixed object shooting, I still think the E-PM1 offers advantages that outweigh the slightly inferior IQ. I'm not discounting the IQ of the E-PL1 - as I mentioned, I have one and I'm not looking to upgrade- I just don't think that at current prices its is the best all around m43 solution for a budget if we're talking body + kit lens - the E-PM1 is.

    In addition to the faster AF of the body + lens, it has a more detailed screen, the lens can accept a CPL more easily, and can share filters with the other Oly lenses, the camera has a scroll wheel instead of just a button interface, and it is smaller (which either either a plus or a minus depending on how you feel about the ergonomics of a small camera). It loses a built in flash which can be bounced, but that's about it.

    I'm not trying to harp on this, I just know that, having used the E-PL1 extensively, if I bought one for $250 as my general purpose camera and then found out I could have purchased an E-PM1 for only $50 more, I would definitely have buyers remorse.
     
  15. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I agree. Practically speaking all m43 cameras are capable of excellent results. Best value depends on a lot of factors and when the differences in IQ are relatively small things like features, screen resolutions, AF speed and so on will be deciding factors. Even which comes with a better kit lens might be THE thing that makes a difference.
     
  16. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
    Here are the house poster crops at the imaging-resource website. To my eyes the OM-D and E-PL1 are almost the same with a hair sharper detail in the E-PL1. Details in the GF2 and E-PM1 are more smeared out. In real world usage my E-PL1 delivers slightly but noticably more jpeg landscape detail and a brighter overall image with more "jumps out at you pop" whereas the images of the E-M5 look a tiny bit like the camera is wearing a pair a sunglasses. Also, if I view jpeg images at 10x magnification on the camera screen using the magnify button, I can see a bit less smear in the E-PL1 vs the OMD image.
    testy.
     
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  17. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    ROFL! I'd be surprised if "brother" is at a level where these subtle IQ debates are relevant.
     
  18. LegacyLens

    LegacyLens Mu-43 Regular

    99
    Apr 25, 2012
    Epm1 and 40-150 or 45-200?
     
  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    The 40-150 is smaller and probably a better fit with the small bodies E-PM1. They're both excellent lenses. I think the 40-1500 is a bit cheaper.
     
  20. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    As an academic discussion, this is all very well. But in a thread about helping somebody who doesn't have a camera get something likely to work well for their purposes, it seems to be making mountains out of molehills.

    Most new users are concerned with getting well-focused properly exposed images of the things they see long before they worry about JPEGs at 100% magnification, and glossing over things like poor autofocus performance and accuracy and limited controls does them no favors.

    DH
     
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