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Body or lens?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Promit, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Ok, so after trying a whole bunch of stuff I've been busy selling off equipment that didn't hit the mark, which has left me with some slush to work with. I currently have:
    E-PM1 w/kit zoom
    Panasonic G2 w/kit zoom
    20mm f/1.7
    45mm f/1.8

    Apart from the kit zooms, I like the lenses I have. Those aren't going anywhere. The Panasonic kit zoom is rather stiff, which shows up as a distinct problem for me in video. Video is the primary reason I want to hold the G2, so this is becoming a hassle.

    I'm considering shedding the G2 and the PM1 in favor of an OM-D, so that's one possibility. I also considered losing the G2 in favor of a GH2, but the price difference seems somewhat extreme. The M5 is obviously not a cheap camera either. I've considered switching the PM1 and G2 for a P3, but I am wondering if there is really much benefit to the P3 over the PM1. The G3 body is missing all the switches I want and has no video firmware hack, so it's simply off the table.

    I don't have much of an issue with the PM1 sensor, but the M5 sensor is looking to be quite a lot better. The way I shoot, I am driving the PM1 at ISO 3200 not infrequently, which involves substantial NR and sharpening in post. The M5 could give me a lot of headroom here. I am feeling the age on the G2 sensor though.

    Alternately, I could pick up a lens: the 14-140mm or one of the UWA zooms are top picks, though I'm not sure I want to take any UWA photos. The 14-140mm would give life to the G2 as a semi-permanent lens there, especially for video and general photo use. Of course it starts at f/4 and sinks to f/5.8 quickly, and combined with the dated sensor I may be setting myself up for pain here.

    I'll concede that was sort of a rambling explanation, but hopefully I've gotten the basic point across. What do you suggest I do? The options are, in short:
    * Sell both bodies for the M5
    * Sell the G2 for a GH2
    * Buy a 14-140mm
    * Buy a 9-18mm
    * Spend five hundred dollars on something else in my life?
  2. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Asking whether to buy a 9-18 or a 14-140 is like asking whether to buy an apple or a box of nails. What do you want to do with your purchase?
    • Like Like x 1
  3. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 All-Pro

    I don't get why you're willing to streamline your kit down to a single camera, the E-M5, but it hasn't crossed your mind to do the same with the GH2. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the GH2's sensor is better performing than the E-M5, given that the Olympus is most likely using the G3 sensor, or one with no better performance than it. The GH2 has a fully-thought out set of controls, and if you go to DVXuser, you'll find that people are favorably comparing it to larger cameras. None of your lenses are weather sealed either, and besides, I challenge you to find more than 1 in 1,000 cameras at this forum that have been water damaged. I've never had weather hurt any of my cameras, ever.

    The PM1 and G2 use the same sensor and have identical readout for most intents and purposes. If you're finding any difference in noise or loss of colors, it's wishful thinking, or your wallet influencing your eyes (I paid more for my E-PM1, so it must be a better camera).
  4. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    When considering replacing current cameras, I ask myself the following questions:

    In what ways does my current equipment limit me? What can I not do that a new body will let me do? What is now hard to do that the new gear will make easier? What is lacking in my images, and will the new equipment fix that? (Most often, the answer is no, because what's lacking is my fault, not the camera's.)

    Finally, are those benefit really important enough to spend the money?

    The one thing you mention that a new camera might improve enough to make the expense worthwhile is high ISO. (Your comment about sensors is odd, though, since the G2 sensor is identical to the one in your Oly.) The GH2 will provide much better high-ISO performance than either of your current cameras, as will the OMD. Which of those two will be better, and by how much? You'll have to wait and see.

    You comment on the price of the GH2, but the OMD will be even more expensive. Each body offers advantages over the other, I think, but the GH2 shines on video, which you say is important to you.

    As far as lenses, the 14-140 offers convenience and great video capabilities, but other than that overlaps with existing lenses. The 9-18 will give you a whole new perspective. But as Oldracer says, What do you plan to use a new lens for? That should answer the question as to which, if either, to buy.
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Actually Shnitz, the E-M5 sensor is neither the G3 nor the GH2 sensor.
    But that's neither here nor there. ;) 

    I also question why the difference between what to shed with the GH2 and the E-M5, but in the other direction... If you get the E-M5, why would you not want to hold onto the E-PM1? Those two cameras together would make a perfect pair. The most robust m4/3 body with the most extensive controls, along with the most compact yet fully functional m4/3 body. How about selling the G2 and both kit lenses for the E-M5?

    I would consider buying the 9-18mm (although like you I don't shoot much wide angle), but would forgo any thought of buying the 14-140mm with the coverage of lenses you already have.
  6. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I'm not willing to forego IBIS.
    And for those reasons, the M5 's weather sealing isn't the selling point. I would probably pick a P4 with the same sensor instead.
    I would love to, but it's too expensive.
    I don't think it's perception. However, I am shooting about 90% JPEG and it's possible that it's only the Panasonic JPEG engine that's disappointing me and not the actual sensor. I will try shooting the G2 entirely raw for a while and see if I'm getting more acceptable results.

    I don't want the 9-18mm. I just thought it was maybe one of those things that becomes useful after you have it. I've never been shooting at 14 and thinking that I'd like to squeeze even more into that frame. So that's probably a silly idea. As I said, the 14-140 is a consideration mainly for video.

    I think the plan, then, is to take some time with the G2's raw files and figure out if I want to live with that sensor or not. Otherwise I'll plan on acquiring a GH2 and keeping the PM1. Sorry M5 :rolleyes: 
  7. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    If you're focusing on video, it seems to me that the GH2 would be a slam dunk. I know you mentioned IBIS as why you're considering an Oly body, but I think there are a lot more video-friendly features in the GH2.
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