Choice for second camera

gilletthome77

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Dear all

I'd welcome some views. I changed to my Pen EP2 with EVF earlier this year when I traded in a Canon 450D and Pen EP1. Since then I've invested in a number of MFT lenses. I was not happy with the IQ from the Canon and much prefer the IQ from the Pen.

I am setting myself a challenge to get my photos up to stock library standards (landscapes and seascapes mostly). The rest of my photography is family use, although in the past I shot weddings on Bronica gear for a local photographer and I might consider doing so again on digital.

I'm torn between getting a second MFT body (I like the G2 as it would give me more of traditional DSLR feel, useful for taking photographs at Motocross) or reinvesting in DSLR system on a small scale. Given my experience with the Canon, I'm veering towards Nikon and have been looking at the D3100, D5000 and D90 with the standard VR range of lenses (rather than high quality glass).

To coin a phrase, I used to be indecisive, now I'm not really sure! I've read various blogs and a range of reviews and handled the cameras, but they've only served to confuse me. My summary would be that MFT IQ is very good, but DSLR sensors have a wider sensitivity range and the larger sensors can capture more detail and that Nikon handles noise better at high ISO.

I'd welcome your thoughts, particularly if you are using both Olympus and Panasonic or using a DSLR as well as MFT as to the relative strengths/weaknesses of each.

Many thanks

Mark
 
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Nic
There shouldn't have been any problems with IQ from an EOS 450D, although I'm sure there are the occasional bad body/lens samples. I used one extensively and have tried a couple of others briefly and I wouldn't rate the E-P1 as having better IQ. The default jpeg output from the E-P1 is punchier but nothing that can't be fixed by adjusting the parameters in the Canon. Noise control was certainly better in the Canon. In absolute terms of resolution I think that the EOS 500D and 50D (and Powershot G10 for that matter) are fractionally better. The E-PL1 might be slightly better again but then probably so is the 550D and 7D. If you want a full-sized SLR then seriously you can toss a coin between Canon or Nikon.
 

Rudi

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I was not happy with the IQ from the Canon and much prefer the IQ from the Pen.
I'm gonna have to agree with Nic here and say that the Canon *should* have better IQ than the Pen. As good as the :43: cameras are, the larger sensors in DSLRs will give you better IQ! (As in image quality, you won't get smarter! :wink:).

In your shoes, I'd be looking at a DSLR if you want to get batter quality images for stock use. You are lucky in that you have no lenses or other DSLRs weighing you down, so you can choose to go with any brand. If you feel that Nikon might do a better job for you, then by all means go with them, but (personally) I wouldn't be giving up on Canon. The EOS 550D, for example, is a better camera in some ways than the Nikon D3100. (And the same can be said about other Nikon bodies over the competition).

So, in summary: Go with your heart on this, but also use your head. Whatever you do, a DSLR *will* give you better IQ than :43:. So if ultimate IQ is your goal, a small DSLR with a couple or smaller lenses will do the job, and it won't end up being that much bigger and heavier.
 

~tc~

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GH2

Use your existing glass, which, if you bought the better ones, are as good or better than anything Canikon has out.
 

Rudi

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GH2

Use your existing glass, which, if you bought the better ones, are as good or better than anything Canikon has out.
Not if you buy the better Canikon glass... in fact, even the kit lenses are very good these days (the IS/VR versions). The only thing that Mark has that is better is the Panny 20mm prime, and buying a Canikon prime will negate that advantage as well. Couple that with the larger sensor, and Mark will see some noticeable IQ improvements...
 

Grant

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Mark , I have a GF1 and a Nikon D300 and I only shoot RAW. While I consider my Nikon to be my main system camera I about 40% my shooting is with the GF1. Both are wonderful cameras and both deliver excellent results and I am very please with both. The think is that they serve different needs.

The Nikon system is a do everything and do it well type system. I have ten lenses, all good glass, two bodies, three flash units and a ton of accessories. It is a system in the strictest sense. If I am pushing the envelope this is that the system I use.

The GF1 is not much of a system as it is one camera body and two lenses. It fits in my pocket and I can comfortably take it everywhere. If you want to think of it as a system it is a great street system, light weight, compact, versatile yet easy to use and returns excellent results. This is my “Fun System”.

While the images quality of the D300 is stellar the GF1 image quality is excellent. In fact, for all practical purpose, in the middle range where about 85% of my images are shot I am not at all concerned about image quality, as both will deliver the goods.

The two areas where the dSLR shine over the µ43 is in extreme photography use and versatility. An example of extremes is the GF1 doesn’t do high ISO as well as the Nikon nor does it do 8 frames a second. Examples of versatility is that the D300 natively set off external flash, and operate tethered to a computer. Of course the D300 doesn’t do movies but then neither do I.

If I had to do with only one camera it would be the dSLR because it suites my photographic style. If I did more street shooting and more casual shooting it would be the GF1. For me the bottom line is I don’t have to choose and I am happy to have both systems!

P.S. I also use Aperture 3
 

pictor

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There are photographic situations, which need a DSLR to be mastered. If you want to shoot something like that, you will not have many other choices than buying a DSLR again. But if this is not the case, the difference between µ4/3 and entry level DSLRs concerning image quality is IMHO not big enough for such an investment. Maybe I would rather consider a DSLR-like µ4/3 instead, that is, something like the GH2.

If you really want a DSLR, which makes a significant difference in image quality, why don't you consider buying a used full frame DSLR? I would also buy only lenses which I would need for doing things I cannot do with µ4/3.

The kind of gear you mention is too similar to the gear you already own.
 

pjohngren

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I would not buy a DSLR if I were in your shoes, but rather learn how to exploit the advantages and work around any limitations of the m4/3 system. I started with the GF1 and 20mm then got the 14-45, then the 45-200, then added the G1 body. I love both the G1 and GF1. My Nikon D-80 is now only used for photographing a client's folk art, and I am continuing to use the D-80 simply because I have the process all worked out. Interestingly, I am not using RAW for this because with the D-80 I can set the white balance to exactly replicate or balance the lighting system I am using and with jpg, it stays exactly where it is supposed to be and the results, especially the colors, are predictable and consistant.

The Panasonic m4/3 cameras can do the same thing, so I'm sure I could set up the same protocol with G series cameras. If the D-80 gives up the ghost, I will not replace it, but simply learn how to get the results I need from the G1.

The image quality with the m4/3 is perfectly fine - you just have to work with it a little and work within any limitations it might have. But that is exciting and rewarding and as you get the hang of it, you get what you want and you have shed pounds of unnecessary DSLR bagage - litterally.
 

usayit

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From what I read, the decision is based on one of two intentions:

1) You are looking for a 2nd ~system~. In my case, I have a Canon 1D mII which compliments a Leica M8. The weaknesses of each system compliments each other. M8 for most shooting and Canon DSLR for telephoto and macro for example. I rarely carry both systems at the same time... its one or the other depending on what I plan to shoot.

2) You are looking for a ~backup~ camera. This is the case, when you need a 2nd camera to avoid swapping glass or a 2nd camera just in case the primary experiences a failure. Unlike #1, two cameras are intended to be carried together. An Epson R-D1 for example serves as a backup for an M8. Someone might carry a 5D along with a 1D. etc..



If #1, I'd go with a DSLR. As someone already posted, for the bigger sensor and to avoid some weaknesses in the m4/3rd system. Two systems that compliment each others weaknesses.

If #2, I'd go with another Pen of some sort. If not the ~exact~ same model Pen but whatever is the next incremental improved model over the E-P2. Reason being... same lenses... similar operation (avoid mental switching between two different cameras - a problem i have going between R-D1 and M8)... shares batteries... same post-processing workflow... etc. Two cameras that are intended to travel together..
 

Narnian

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I would say look at the galleries here and see what the m4/3 cameras are capable of doing. If there is something you want to do that someone here has not done?

It almost sounds like what you want would be a Hasselblad, a couple of good wide primes and a Leaf sensor ;)
 

drpump

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Oct 28, 2010
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I have a new E-PL1 and an ageing Canon 350D. Right now, the Canon sees very little use because it's so much more cumbersome and the E-PL1 is the "new toy".

But ... the old Canon is still much faster, particularly the autofocus. If speed is important for some of your photography, then I think a DSLR is still worthwhile. Unless you can afford a GH2 :) although it might be worthwhile to wait for the reviews first.

Regarding choices, the Nikon D90 is being sold off at the moment and apparently has great low light performance. While I have a Canon, I quite like the lower-end lens choices for Nikon. They have a nice 35mm f/1.8 that gives ~50mm equivalent focal length on an APS-C sensor.
 
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