Cost Factor??

Batchelor

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Tons of good information here and lots on other sites about the pros and cons of one brand over another.

I don’t see as much discussion around cost factors.

Recently decided to move to M4/3 and ready a lot about the characteristics of the Olympus vs Panasonic systems.

Ultimately the Panasonic system with similar lenses during the Holiday sales was MUCH cheaper than the similar Olympus set up.

Picked up my G9, w 12-35 2.8 and 35-100 2.8 for $1950 USD, all new items.

So curious where brand loyalty/preference versus value comes in.

I have used Nikon, Canon, Sony and Fuji in past and found pros and cons with all.
 

User ID

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I for one have no brand loyalty.
And no format loyalty.

Purchase-wise I'm an opportunist.
 
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When I was in Law School, I supplemented income by working in sales for the then Nikon distributor and had a lot of Nikon gear. I used it for aerial photography for a real estate developer to further supplement my income. I stayed with Nikon until 2018 for a total of 45 years. My wife was a newspaper photographer for a mid size dailypaper and also was a stringer for AP. She used Canon. When we married, she looked at the supply of cameras, lenses, flashes, etc that I had accumulated over the years and she changed to Nikon. We now use Olympus for several reasons. First off it was recommended by others, it fit my changing criteria for lesser weight, the lenses were also magnificent. I had tried Panasonic with a G5 back in 2013 and it never really fit my hands nor made me feel like I had something on an equal basis with all my many Nikons over the years. I guess I have brand loyalty until something causes me to have to change. My broken wrist hastened my change to m43 and Olympus. I must admit that I have picked up and fondled a Panasonic G9 but it still just does not fit my hands and I did not like that feel with the G5 which I still have in its original box. I admit that I have played with a Nikon Z6 and that might make me come back to Nikon one day.
 

Batchelor

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Thanks for the input, I have found that it is a fine balance for myself in terms of size and weight, some cameras were just too small for me to operate even though I liked their light weight.

Controls, menu systems and grip also seem to be mentioned often and I could see that any one of those could lead to one brand versus another. So far the G9 and I are meshing.
 

ac12

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For me, as an amateur, the practical side of brand loyalty is the cost of changing systems.
To switch from brand A to brand B, requires replacing: camera, lenses, flashes, camera brackets, and other dedicated accessories.
So the TOTAL cost of a system change is significantly more than just the camera and lens.

Having said that, like Mel I have pretty much switched from Nikon to Olympus for weight reduction.
As a senior citizen, I cannot carry the kit load that I easily did when I was younger. So in order to keep shooting, I HAD TO reduce the weight of my kit. Or switch to a P&S or phone camera.
My Nikon is now used as a specialty sport camera. On the field, the Nikon 70-200/4 is a dream to use. It is a situation of "it ain't broken, so don't fix it." And the Olympus combo EM1-mk2 + 40-150/2.8 is not much lighter, so I don't gain a significant/worthwhile weight reduction.
 
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Batchelor

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I hear you, trying to keep a light system that I can take hiking and on vacation continues to be the focus otherwise, my phone jumps in, but I am never happy with the photos I get from it. My phone is fine for “pics”, I need my camera for “photos”! ;)
 

ac12

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As for Olympus vs. Panasonic.
I shoot Olympus gear.
But-1, my GP travel/light lens is the Panasonic-Lumix 12-60. Because Olympus did not have a comparable lens. So function over brand.
But-2, The Olympus and Panasonic zoom rings turn in opposite directions. If you are a casual shooter, this does not matter. But if you are a sport/action shooter who zooms by muscle memory, this is critical.
  • I use the P-Lumix 12-60 as a casual lens, not a sport lens, so it does not matter to me that the zoom ring turns in the opposite direction, I just change direction.
  • Whereas the Sigma lens turns in the opposite direction than my Nikon, which for volleyball was a DISASTER. In sports, I zoom with muscle memory, and I kept turning the Sigma zoom ring the WRONG way, and kept losing shots. I gave up on the Sigma, totally frustrated.
 

Batchelor

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Thank you and again, interesting. I debated getting the Oly 12-100 F4 to just have one lens, but cost, weight and versatility led me to go with the two lens set up. The 2.8 vs 4.0 also seemed like a positive though I don’t know if in real world use it is actually that big of a factor.
 

RS86

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I use both brands. Have no interest in getting other systems as I find m43 very good for me. And anyway it would cost too much. I have what I need for a long time.

Latest additions were PEN-F (used 550 €) & 12-40mm Pro (used 430 €) & 25mm f/1.8 (new 190 €). Panasonic versions would have been worse to me.

Zoom more expensive and not so close focus, some say better flare resistance. 80g weight difference is okay for me. 25mm Panasonic is worse and bigger, had it once. I have GX9 already which has great focus in low-light.

Both brands have advantages. I have chosen my equipment based on what I appreciate in certain products. With Panasonic 42.5mm I happily paid more for the close focus distance of 31cm vs 50cm for example.

No bad choices really, just different priorities.
 

ac12

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Thank you and again, interesting. I debated getting the Oly 12-100 F4 to just have one lens, but cost, weight and versatility led me to go with the two lens set up. The 2.8 vs 4.0 also seemed like a positive though I don’t know if in real world use it is actually that big of a factor.
  • With a Panasonic body, you loose the Sync-IS/Dual IS capability of the 12-100.
  • IF you shoot in low light, that 1 stop difference could hurt. Having to push the ISO up a stop to compensate. I have to shoot at ISO 6400 at f/4 rather than 3200 at f/2.8. But for most of my shooting, it is of no practical difference.
  • For ME, the 12-100 is a rather heavy lens to carry around all the time as a GP lens on a m4/3 camera. But at 551g, the 12-100 isn't much different than my DX 18-140 (490g) on my Nikon, and much lighter than a Nikon FX/FF 24-120 (710g). So it depends on what your reference point it.
  • On an Olympus body, the 12-100 is a power hog. I have no idea how it behaves on a Panasonic body.
 

Batchelor

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Thank you, that information is helpful. I am sure what I have will keep me content for some tIme, rarely has my skill surpassed the equipment I use.
 

Bushboy

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I have noticed Panasonic cheaper than Olympus.
Probably because Panasonic is so huge a company.
Olympus, I think, treats it’s customers quite miserably. Just look at the lens hood/battery situation. No customer appreciation there.
 

RS86

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I have noticed Panasonic cheaper than Olympus.
Probably because Panasonic is so huge a company.
Olympus, I think, treats it’s customers quite miserably. Just look at the lens hood/battery situation. No customer appreciation there.
What is this battery situation you mention? I got new original one for 50 € for PEN-F.

Also got a lens hood with my Olympus 25mm f/1.8 for 190 € from Olympus Finland. Much smaller than Panasonic lens.

Also not everyone uses lens hood (I do always, not 20mm Panasonic only). People can also buy JJC ones for cheap.

Lenses like plastic 40-150mm and 45mm f/1.8 are much cheaper than Panasonic counter-parts (I have those).

It depends totally on the lenses and their features in my opinion.
 

davidzvi

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What is this battery situation you mention? I got new original one for 50 € for PEN-F.

Also got a lens hood with my Olympus 25mm f/1.8 for 190 € from Olympus Finland. Much smaller than Panasonic lens.

Also not everyone uses lens hood (I do always, not 20mm Panasonic only). People can also buy JJC ones for cheap.

Lenses like plastic 40-150mm and 45mm f/1.8 are much cheaper than Panasonic counter-parts (I have those).

It depends totally on the lenses and their features in my opinion.
I'm not sure Olympus changes batteries more often than Panasonic. But they did between the E-M1.1 / E-M1.2 and E-M5.2 / E-M5.3. Pen F, E-M1.1, E-M5.1 & E-M5.2 all had the same battery. Personally I'm fine with my E-M1.2 and Pen F not having the same battery, would only be OK with them being the same if it were the bigger one in the E-M1.2.

But I get that some are not happy that the E-M5.2 and E-M5.3 don't have the same battery. But conversely the E-M5.3 now uses the same battery as the latest E-PL# and E-M10 series. So for those upgrading from one of those are OK with it.

Your Oly 25mm is the only f/1.8-2.0 prime that included the hood. the 12mm, 17mm, 45mm, 75mm don't.
 
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I suspect bushboy is talking about the lens hood on the 40-150 2.8 Pro. It is a great idea with not so great execution. Mine self destructed while I was at a nature park and luckily, I was able to keep the guts inside the hood but I immediately bought a substitute hood originally made for a Canon lens. The Olympus replacement hood was worth its weight in gold to replace but I paid less than $15.00 including shipping for the Canon replacement. As far as batteries, try any other maker, I shot Nikon for years and every digital iteration took different batteries. I went through the agony of having a D2X, a D700, a D800 and all took different batteries and chargers.
 

sgt08

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No brand loyalty here, it's is all about cost, or rather value since I'm willing to wait and save up for the higher quality gear. Within m4/3 I mix and match both Olympus and Panasonic cameras and lenses, often buying used. Plus I've had things need repair with both brands. This is just a hobby for me and my budget is pretty limited, I also like to keep the weight of my gear low, so my "value" guidelines have landed me at previous-generation mid-range bodies and the smaller mid-to-upper range lenses. Although the new E-M5 III is tempting me into breaking my rule against paying MSRP for a body…

If I stick with m4/3 I'm looking at buying the PL8-18 and probably the E-M5III, at current Hong Kong grey market prices that's about $1900 USD. That's a big chunk of change for me, so it's caused me to do some research on other brands an eye on value. Turns out that $$ would go a long way towards getting a previous generation body and few good lenses in other systems (Fuji, Sony). Lots to think about, but loyalty to a particular brand doesn't matter to me.
 

rloewy

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I didn't have great success with a Panasonic body in the past, where Olympus bodies worked better for me, having learned the scp, I find the Olympus interface fast and comfortable - so oly bodies for me. I have both oly and Panasonic lens, while I have a couple of Panasonic zooms, I prefer the Olympus direction for zooms. For primes, it is whatever goes, but I think I have more native Panasonic primes than Olympus
 

archaeopteryx

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So curious where brand loyalty/preference versus value comes in.
Branding seems to me a very strange thing. It's not like a company large enough to be a brand has any specific loyalty to its customers or an institutional ability to care they exist on an individual level. But customers are expected to be loyal to the company and, to the extent I've looked at it, much of literature on branding centers on manipulating psychology to get people to buy certain stuff. From the perspective of establishing healthy structures in relationships this strikes me as super messed up.

So I'm value based. That does include things manufacturers do which generate brand capture, such as the cost of buying another set of batteries if changing bodies or the transaction overhead of selling lenses, but those unfortunately apply to every system. (Although arguably somewhat less for m43 than others.) As @Darmok N Jalad recently pointed out, decision fatigue is a thing. I find I go through pulses of a couple years of close review of things followed by longer periods where there's nothing to motivate a change. Phones have a different update model but they're not really a kit lens or ultrawide replacement for me yet.

I have noticed Panasonic cheaper than Olympus. Probably because Panasonic is so huge a company.
At least by Nikkei estimates Olympus has higher unit volume in camera sales, though, which typically implies lower overhead per unit and would suggest things should be the other way round. Without COGS data for the two companies we can only speculate, but one thing I've noticed is Panasonic requires slightly fewer total lens elements and a third the exotic elements Olympus does for much the same image quality (archaeopteryx 2018). That suggests a lower BOM on Panasonic lenses. It's an anecodal observation but, having watched threads go by on mu-43 for years, it also wouldn't surprise me if Olympus also carries higher warranty costs per unit.
 

RS86

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I'm not sure Olympus changes batteries more often than Panasonic. But they did between the E-M1.1 / E-M1.2 and E-M5.2 / E-M5.3. Pen F, E-M1.1, E-M5.1 & E-M5.2 all had the same battery. Personally I'm fine with my E-M1.2 and Pen F not having the same battery, would only be OK with them being the same if it were the bigger one in the E-M1.2.

But I get that some are not happy that the E-M5.2 and E-M5.3 don't have the same battery. But conversely the E-M5.3 now uses the same battery as the latest E-PL# and E-M10 series. So for those upgrading from one of those are OK with it.

Your Oly 25mm is the only f/1.8-2.0 prime that included the hood. the 12mm, 17mm, 45mm, 75mm don't.
Ah, okay I understand. Although when you upgrade 4 years old camera for example, usually those batteries are not the best anymore. Also some sell the camera and batteries along with it.

And like you said, if I had upgraded from E-M10 II -> E-M5 III, I would have had same batteries. Not sure this is Olympus related problem like others have said here later.

And yes the hood for my 75mm was expensive, but good quality and looking. Others can opt for JJC or other cheap ones. The lenses would be more expensive if you were required to buy the hood in the same package. But I understand and agree that lens hood could be included always.

I don't see Panasonic much cheaper than Olympus, and I think also facts about the prices tell same story. It depends on the lens, quality and features. Maybe some parts of the world or shops have different prices.

One more example is the quite old PL 42.5 f/1.2 vs the pretty new Olympus 45mm f/1.2. PL is like 300 € more expensive in Finland than Olympus one. Quality and features are pretty much the same?
 
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Just to add my 2 cents:

I went from Nikon (SLR / DSLR) to m4/3 for 4 reasons: weight of a m4/3 system, price of high quality lenses, second hand availability and not-so-shallow depth of field at wide aperture (which I like for my landscape shots).

And important regarding cost factor is also to have a clear understanding what you need in a setup. For me it's: reasonally compact/light weight, weather sealing and good lenses in the 24-300mm range (full frame equivalent).

I use Olympus for the body as I tend to like the ergonomics a bit better vs Panasonic. Lenses on the other hand are mostly a choice based on features and what image they produce.

For instance I really like the way the pana leica 25 1.4 renders images, not specifically the overall sharpness but I tend to like the color and out of focus rendering a bit more than Oly lenses (I do think the Oly 25mm pro is also very good but don't see enough difference to invest in this upgrade). The same goes for the pana 20mm and 14mm, very nice image rendering.

The 12mm Oly was superb but I've sold it as I mostly use the Oly 12-40 pro together with the 40-150 pro. Which are used for landscape (reach and weather sealing are an important factor).

So overall I think it is amazing what quality m4/3 lenses you can buy within a reasonal budget. It is just a balance between features/rendering vs cost (indifferent of the brand).
To keep cost down there are very good deals to be found for m4/3 in the second hand market.
Most of what I use is second hand, so having lenses I need available second hand is certainly an important factor for me. Switching from m4/3 to for example Nikon mirrorless would mean that I need to buy alternatives to the 12-40 and 40-150 brand new which is a hefty investment and my photography wouldn't improve drastically (if any).

So to sum up I think it helps to be realistic in what you need. The E-M1.1 offers all I need in a camera body. Newer camera bodies are certainly nice but offers very little features relevant for my kind of photography. If my E-M1.1 would break I certainly would again buy a second hand E-M1.1 to replace it.
Although I do fall victim to the GAS trap.. as I could do all my photography with just an E-M1.1 with the 12-40 and 40-150, any additional lens is just nice to have (as well as the Fuji x100t).
 
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