Best value for 1st m4/3: E-PL1 vs E-PM1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by 99mkw, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. 99mkw

    99mkw New to Mu-43

    4
    Apr 15, 2012
    We're expecting our second child in June and I've been looking for a new camera. I've had a 6mp Minolta 5D for five years and got some good shots of our first child but it's showing its age. More importantly, it's seldom at hand because of its bulk and I mostly use my cheapo Fuji F40fd. At first I was thinking panasonic LX5 vs Canon S95/100 as an upgrade P&S but quickly realized that a :43: would offer much better low light performance for similar money. I would envision primarily shooting indoors using a small prime (probably panasonic 14/2.5 since the 20/1.7 is a bit too much for me now).

    I've been driving my wife crazy scouring the web and after reading dozens of GF vs Pen threads I'm sold on an Olympus body (though I was tempted by the availability of GF2/3 kits with the wide angle prime). I realize that prices are a moving target but these are the two options I'm considering:

    New E-PL1 body for $150 plus panasonic 14/2.5 (~180 on ebay)
    vs
    Refurb E-PM1 c kit lens and 1yr warranty for $330 (add prime later)

    I like what I read about the PM1 AF performance but maybe the PL1 would still feel like an upgrade from my aging dSLR. I loved the IBIS on my Minolta and the consensus seems to be that the PL1 IBIS works better than the PM1. I like the built-in vs clip-on flash (recognizing the limits of both). It also seems better to go straight to the smaller lens if I'm trying to keep the system compact.

    On the other hand, perhaps the PM1 kit zoom would be small enough and fast enough for my purposes and I would enjoy the newer features of the body. I just wrote a huge check to uncle sam but six months down the road I might even spring for the 20/1.7.

    Is this trade-off as close as it feels or is there a clear edge to one?
     
  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    The Panasonic is a nice lens, but are you sure that the focal length will be all right? As an experiment, you can try shooting your Minolta only at 18mm (28mm EFL). Other inexpensive (though larger) options are the Sigma 19/2.8 and 30/2.8 (both $200).

    Indoors, the difference between f/3.5 (on the 14/2.5) and f/3.5 (on the kit lens at 14mm) is fairly substantial. If you're really going to be shooting in low light almost exclusively, the fast lens will definitely be helpful.

    The main knock on the E-PL1 is not the AF speed (it's slower, but with the newer m4/3 lenses it's still reasonable) but the controls and build. There's no dials - just buttons. The E-PM1 is somewhat better in that respect.

    If you can put up with the E-PL1's interface, I'd say go for it. You can add a secondhand kit lens later for <$100 (just make sure it's the ver.II if you do that - the ver.I is very slow), and either the 14/2.5 or perhaps the Sigma 30/2.8 will give you quite a leg up indoors.

    DH
     
  3. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    How do you figure? The LX5 provides much better low light performance for the money. It has a f2.0 lens, whereas the m4/3 kit lens stops at f3.5. If you are thinking about getting the 20/1.7 that will about double your investment.
     
  4. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have both the E-PL1 and E-PM1 with me right now. Honestly the E-PL1 is a darn good deal for the price. Saying that though, the E-PM1 is a more refined camera over the EPL1 in build quality, handling and output. The EPL1 still does the job and yields very sharp jpegs. The EPM1 while just slightly less sharp (barely noticeable) has improvements in other arenas across the board. The EPL1 handling isn't bad at all. The EPL1 has more buttons, while the EPM1 has a dial.

    I'd say if price is a real concern, get a EPL1 and put that money towards glass. But if you want a more refined package, the EPM1 is the one to get. The PL1 still delivers though, it's just that the PM1 feels and performs more smoothly. :smile:
     
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The E-PM1 is a significantly better body, but because the E-PL1 comes with that pancake prime, it is a much better value for the money. You're pretty much just buying the lens with a free body attached.

    As you noted in your E-PM1 option, you would be adding a prime later anyways, right? That's going to become a necessary purchase at any cost. With a deal like that I would start with the lens purchase now, then upgrade your body when you can afford to.

    Unless you really have your heart set on another prime lens instead, then you may want to consider just picking up the E-PM1 now for better support of the new lens when it comes.

    Your space requirements are important, too. If you want a system that will really pack tight, you might find the E-PL1 to be quite bulky compared with the E-PM1. Of course the pancake lens that comes with the E-PL1 will initially make it smaller, but if you wanted the smallest possible package down the road it would be the E-PM1 with another pancake prime added later (like the Lumix 14mm/2.5, Lumix 20mm f/1.7, or m.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8).
     
  6. flipmack

    flipmack Mu-43 Veteran

    252
    Mar 23, 2012
    irvine, CA
    I took the EPL1 route over the EPM1.

    With the money I saved, I got lenses and the VF-2. Can't go wrong with the EPL1 - it may be a bit older, but it's still a very good camera.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. bongestrella

    bongestrella Mu-43 Veteran

    404
    Sep 2, 2011
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    I currently have the e-pl1 but have been thinking of getting the e-pm1. I feel like the e-pl1 is unnecessarily chunky, and besides, the e-pm1 looks like a better second camera to an em-5, which I have preordered.

    Jonathan, do you happen to have a side by side comparison of the pl and pm? I'm mainly concerned about the thickness. Thanks.
     
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, the E-PL1 is a lot thicker and chunkier than the E-PM1. It makes a big difference when packing it in your bag, which is why I've added so many E-PM1s to my kit. I never have to cram things and fight with hard-to-close zippers again. ;)
     
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    For the purposes of low-light, it's true that a 12MP m4/3 body with kit lens will not provide significantly better low-light quality than a good compact like the LX5 or XZ-1, the larger sensor does essentially make up for the 2-stop difference in lens speed, and modern m4/3 do autofocus significantly faster in low light than even the best compacts.

    DH
     
  10. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Get the epm1 and a used 14mm and sell the kit lens
     
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    But when you get a point-and-shoot, you get what you get. You can never upgrade it and improve its performance.
     
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Definitely. My point was simply that even with the faster lens, the compact doesn't have am advantage over the kit in low light.

    DH
     
  13. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    I would say that the advancement of the e-pm1's significantly faster autofocus would outweigh picking up the 14mm prime - while I enjoy using that lens, the focal length hardly lend's itself to taking photos of children!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    The E-PM1 is a nicer camera than the E-PL1 in just about every way. However, it is quite small and not to everyone's liking size wise. If you've never held one you might want to do that first.
     
  15. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
    The E-PL1 delivers slightly sharper, more detailed jpegs.

    The EPM1 delivers substantially more detailed video.
     
  16. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't have any pictures, but the E-PL1 is significantly chunkier. The E-PM1 definitely needs either a good half-case or a grip attachment. My wife looked at both and she said E-PL1 looks clunky and big next to the EPM1. Overall though, if I had to pick one, it'd be the EPM1. It's the epitome of the M43 small form factor and makes for a nice companion to the EM5.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    I understand that, and I would never recommend a point and shoot as a main cam to enthusiasts such as ourselves.

    My original post was to dispute the notion that m4/3 is a more economical option to advanced compacts like LX5 and XZ-1 for low light indoors. I still stand by that. These advanced compacts will outperform any m4/3 cam with kit lens indoors with low light. Yes the new m4/3 sensors have great high ISO performance and there are a trio of bright lenses available, but you will have to spend more (much more). This is all I am saying guys.

    If the OP is interested in expanding his interest in photography beyond simply baby pictures then of course I wholeheartedly recommend the wonderful m4/3 format. But if someone simply wants a great bang for your buck cam that takes great indoor photos, there is nothing wrong with going with an advanced compact.
     
  18. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    I started with the E-Pl1 with the Oly 17mm (an under-rated and over looked lens). It took great photos, nice and sharp, good contrast, great color. You can pick up the 17mm for 160 - 180 here on the forum. I moved on to the E-P1 and now added an E-PL2 plus a variety of lenses. It's a great system to build upon.
     
  19. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    693
    Jul 8, 2011
    I have a EPL1 and also have a Nikon D50 which is similar to your Minolta. The Nikon just feels faster.

    It's not just the AF that feels slow, it's the shot to shot time, the little lag when you press the shutter etc...

    The EPM1 I tried out at Best Buy seemed a bit better in this regard.

    That being said, the image quality on the EPL1 is a lot better than the Nikon.

    I would get the EPM1, sell the kit lens and either get the 14 2.5 or the Sigma 19 2.8, and when there are more funds get the 45 1.8.
     
  20. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    As somebody who has used an Olympus XZ-1 (f/1.8-2.5 lens) side-by-side with an E-PM1/14-42 kit, that has not been my experience. The differences in low light are minimal.

    DH