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Considering Switching to m4/3

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by letsgocoyote, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. letsgocoyote

    letsgocoyote Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 25, 2011
    Hi guys and gals,

    I have been doing photography for about 13 years, starting with disposable cameras and then moving onto point and shoots, and my first slr.

    Anyhow, right now I have a Canon t3i with battery grip, 18-55 canon, 50mm 1.8 canon, 50-200mm sigma, and 8mm fisheye (rokinon/samyang/pro-optic/etc), plus a couple average flashes and radio slaves.

    It's a great camera! One reason I bought it was for the video, which looks amazing.

    However, it is also a very bulky camera. I am considering selling it all off to get a similar m4/3 setup. There are lots of great m4/3 lenses to choose from. I was wondering if you all could chime in and help me consider various points so I can decide whether or not a m4/3 camera is right for me. My main motivation is to have a camera that will unobtrusively slip into my backpack for day to day use, but still has a full system to back it up.

    Points that I am interested in:

    -I would probably get the E-PM1 body. How good (or bad) is the video feature? I typically either use my t3i with the kit or 50mm lens prefocused on a tripod, or the fisheye where manual focus isnt critical.

    -I rarely use my 50-200mm on my Canon... when I do it's usually for the rare wildlife shot and I feel even at 200mm its too short for that. The Pani 100-300 and Oly 75-300 seem expensive, so I think I would get an inexpensive 3rd party K-mount 70-300mm and an adapter. Seems like I could get that for about $50. Anyone else do this for super long telephoto?

    -Theres a host of lenses I want but could probably only afford 3 or so after selling my Canon gear. I would imagine I'd be stuck with getting a kit lens if I get the E-PM1 ($419 on ebay), and and the Samyang 7.5mm fisheye ($299 on ebay) will be a must as well. I could probably spend about another $300 on lenses beyond that, so I would have to choose between:

    Oly 17mm ($200) + Generic K Mount 70-300mm w/ adapter ($50-75) + 25mm holga lens ($25)


    Panasonic 20mm (would be nice!)


    Oly 45mm (would be rad for portraiture)


    Pani Pancake Zoom

    Is the m4/3 system right for me? I mostly shoot skateboarding, general stuff, and portraiture for friends. What extra lens option would be best?
  2. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2010
    I would definately get a Panny G3, the 14-42, and a 45-200. The 45-200 is a terrific lens for under $300. The camera does great video - or you could get the GH2. These lenses all have image stabilization. But the best thing is that the bodies have a terrific EVF. I would not get a camera without one. It is essential on sunny days, in my opinion.

  3. mclarenf3

    mclarenf3 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 23, 2010
    I'll chime in regarding the choice of body.

    I would suggest using a E-PL3 as it will give you the tilt-screen which I'm pretty sure will come in handing when you are taking video. The size of the E-PL3 vs the E-PM1 is small enough that you shouldn't notice any practical difference there either.

    Also, I'd keep the 8mm fisheye you have right now and just get the appropriate adapter to get it on your u4/3 body. That way you aren't selling and re-buying basically the same thing.

    Between the lenses you mentioned, the 20mm is the most popular, but I think it is a little noisy for video (others may be able to confirm this better). I'd definitely get the kit lense on the Olympus body, and then personally I'd add on the 45mm f/1.8 for great portrait work.
  4. drizek

    drizek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 5, 2011
    It is more expensive, but did you know that panasonic has a fisheye as well?

    I think I would go for the 45mm out of those lenses. It should focus quickly on the EPM1, faster than the 20mm.

    I don't think you will want that 70-300mm lens either. It will basically be comically large on an EPM1. You can get the 40-150mm lens for around $150 (or as low as $99) if you want telephoto, but I wouldn't bother with a manual focus lens that weighs over half a kilogram on such a small camera.

    The pancake zoom, otehr than size, isn't really going to give you anything you don't already have wit hteh kit lens.
  5. ntblowz

    ntblowz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 13, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    for long zoom lens a EVF is a must for stable shoot
  6. leendertv

    leendertv Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 22, 2011
    Rotterdam, Netherlands
    Panasonic body's are better for video then Olympus.
    The G3 is a very good camera! It has builtin viewfinder and swivel LCD! (and good price compared to the Olympus PEN's)

    Or wait a few months for the Panasonic GX1 in kit with the Panasonic pancake zoom. Thats a very nice package! (but no builtin viewfinder and swivel LCD)

    You can add the Oly 45mm F1.8 for portrait.
    (Or buy some cheap fast manual focus lenses)
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I have to respectfully disagree with that. What can a Panasonic m4/3 camera do for video that an Olympus PEN can't? Way back when I was a professional videographer, Panasonic was king for video. Nobody could beat the sharpness of their 4CCD sensors, and that still holds true today. Olympus was not even in this picture, and has to date never manufactured a "professional video camera".

    However, in Panasonic's still cameras I don't see them realizing that potential for professional grade video, except in the GH series. Nor should they need to, as they actually produce a professional video camera compatible with the Micro Four-Thirds system (the AG-AF100). When I shot video professionally, I expected all my cameras to have connectors for audio, hotshoe for lights, as well as manual focus lenses. Any PEN camera can do that. They mount 3.5mm stereo audio instead of XLR but that works and is much more compact, while hotshoe and interchangeable lenses are of course standard. Most of the Panasonic bodies on the other hand can't handle external audio. Selling that as a video camera is like selling a photographic camera without a hotshoe (which Panasonic is actually doing with the GF-3, lol). The new PENs shoot 1080 "full HD" video, and the older PENs shot 720p HD video, but with full hardware support. If you want a full video setup, you can do so just like in the original Olympus PEN commercial "shot with a PEN". Panasonic only allows that kind of full setup with the GH series, a few select other models, and of course the AG-AF100.
    Another thing I don't get is the 2.5mm stereo plug on the GH series... Now, back in my day we used XLR connectors so I may just be out of the loop. However, when I look at digital audio accessories nowadays I see them in 3.5mm, not 2.5mm. Why did Panasonic choose such a non-standard size? The 3.5mm plug on my PEN works with anything "made for digital" that I run across.

    So to cut to the point... Yes Panasonic makes some very worthwhile cameras for video capability in the Micro Four-Thirds standard (ie, the AG-AF100 and the GH series), but to make a blanket statement that "Panasonic bodies are better for video than Olympus." (sorry, quote edited for spelling) is simply wrong, in fact backwards. More Olympus :43: bodies have full hardware compatibility for video than Panasonic :43: bodies, by a long shot.

    To answer the Original Poster's question, if he can't glean it from this post already... the video capability of the E-PM1 is very good... 1080i Full HD video capture, external audio via the EMA-1 3.5mm stereo mic adapter, hotshoe for an LED array (or you could get a bracket for your LED lights and shotgun mic), an oversized sensor for video, live exposure control, and an interchangeable lens mount which can take all kinds of manual focus lenses and specialized video lenses (keep in mind that DSLRs like the Canon 7D can't mount cine lenses or other made-for-video glass). What more do you need? ;) 
    • Like Like x 3
  8. VasManI

    VasManI Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2011
    I have three reasons why not to buy an Olympus body, and go with a Panasonic m43 camera:

    1. Lack of a built-in electronic viewfinder. Although I started out with an E-PL1 and never thought I would need a built-in viewfinder, I fell in love with having one after acquiring the Panasonic G2.
    2. Olympus has yet use the newer 16MP sensor. There has been little to no changes, aside from aesthetics, between all Olympus models since the E-P1 has been released in 2009.
    3. Olympus firmware upgrades are absolutely asinine. Instead of downloading and copying the firmware to a memory card, and then running the upgrade on your camera, you MUST connect the camera to a computer AND connect to Olympus site to install the firmware. This leaves firmware upgrades limited to Windows and OS X, so if you're using Linux, you're SOL (unless you're running Windows in a VM). To top it all off, Olympus servers are sometimes down, and there are certain combinations that are not supported (body and lens upgrades).
    Other than the above mentioned reasons, Olympus and Panasonic bodies are relatively equal.
  9. I am sure that Ned's comments are all valid ( I'm not a videographer). What is missing from that tho, is that Panasonic zoom lenses have OIS, including the kit lenses. For this reason alone you may be better to get a Panasonic body with kit lens.

    I would also suggest the G3, because you are probably used to using a VF, and may end up having to buy one for the E-PM1 (not cheap). You also get better manual controls with the G3.

    Another check against the E-PM1 would be the mismatch with the large legacy zoom you are thinking of getting: it's going to be an awkward combo to hold, and very unstable on a tripod, unless you find a lens with a tripod collar.

    I reckon the G3 with kit 14-42mm (about $599) + the Samyang fisheye would be a good starter for $900, then add the Olly 45/1.8 for portraiture if/as budget allows. If you don't currently use the telephoto you have, why bother? A legacy 70-300mm will weigh as much as the rest of your outfit combined! Another lens to consider instead of the fisheye might be the SLR Magic 12mm F1.6 lens, which will soon be on the market for $499. Not as wide, but wider than the kit lens, and the speed could really work for night-time skate video.

    The reason I would suggest the 45/1.8 over the 20/1.7 is that you get a lens that is fast, ideal for portraiture and quieter than the 20/1.7 for video. The 45/1.8 also gives a shallower depth of focus than can be achieved with the 20/1.7.
  10. dpj

    dpj Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 20, 2011
    I use an E-PL1 for video and find it great. I mainly use older Canon FD lenses for footage, but do have a Sigma 10-20mm from my old Canon that gets great footage. My opinion is to sell your Canon Body and lenses but keep the fisheye and get an adaptor to use it with your M4/3, then invest in a few good Legacy Lenses with adaptors, you will get a nice warm feel to the footage due to the coatings used on older lenses. Just my 2p
  11. letsgocoyote

    letsgocoyote Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 25, 2011
    -Regarding the legacy zoom lens... I have found m4/3 K mount adapters with built in tripod mount, so that is a non issue

    -I would definitely sell my fisheye for the m 4/3 version. the view angle on the Canon version is already slightly compromised with its 1.6 crop vs Nikon/Pentax 1.5 crop, although it is somewhat negligible. But on m4/3 it would be worse enough to be worthless to me, not to the mention it is probably the heaviest lens I have ever owned and would probably but great amounts of undue stress on the camera mount. further more, the Samyang 7.5mm is adorable.

    -I am only interested in rangefinder style bodies. Weight isn't as much of an issue as is size and shape. I think the SLR styled bodies are a no go for me... I know they *are* smaller, but I feel like at that rate I should just keep my Canon.

    I wonder if I might be better served by keeping my Canon and saving up for an XZ-1 or Fuji X10 as a second camera... although I'd prefer to be a one camera kind of fellow
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