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Done some research, but I'm still torn as to which camera to get.

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Kelton, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. Kelton

    Kelton Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Hi all,

    I have a couple of questions. I went by a couple of shops to get a feel of each other cameras. I do like the form factor of the Olympus but I really like the features of the Panasonic.

    As of right now, I'm looking at either a E-PL1, E-PL2, G2, or G3.

    I sold my DSLR (Digital Rebel XT) in January for a Canon S95 and have been pleased with it. I've been trying to find something with IQ comparable to DSLR, but half the size and I believe that m43 cameras are perfect for me.

    I don't think I would really need the kit lens at first. I'm primarily looking at getting one of these bodies coupled with the Panny 20mm f/1.7.

    Is the G3 worth the $300 price difference between the G2? How much smaller is the G3 compared to a G2? I have pretty small hands and the G2 felt like the size of my old DSLR.

    Is the E-PL2 that much of a worthy upgrade to the E-PL1 that justifies the price bump? Also, I have heard that the AF speeds of the Olympus PEN series are slow. Is this a problem to some people?

    Thanks for reading and I hope to learn more about these cameras!
  2. drizek

    drizek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 5, 2011
    The E-PL1 with 20mm is a nice combo and the focus speed is completely adequate. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that it rivals the speed of a dSLR.

    You can get the EP-L1 for $230 without a kit lens, that's a pretty cheap price for this kind of camera. Add the 20mm and you are done for under $600.

    The E-PL2 has a nicer display. I thought that I would hate using the screen anyway and get a VF-2, so i figured it wasn't worth spending money on a nicer LCD. I'm not so sure about that anymore, the screen works fine, although I definitely would appreciate touch to focus like on the G3.

    My advice is to either jump on the EPL1 for cheap now or wait a bit for a better deal on the G3 if you want those extra features.
  3. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    I'll get the epl2 vs the epl1, it's worth the extra 100 dollars or so it's going for.
  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Hi Kelton,

    You'll find differing opinions on this, but to me the G3 is noticeably smaller than the G2, and the Olympus AF speed being slower (which by the way was improved with the E-PL2 and improved further with the E-P3) is not a big deal.

    For the money, the G2 and E-PL1 are tremendous values, and both are great cameras. Either one with a Panasonic 20mm lens will be much smaller than your Canon camera with the smallest Canon lens - the smaller lenses make a big difference in size.

    The G3 has the latest 4/3 sensor and even faster AF speed than the other cameras you mentioned (the G2 and E-PL2 are already fast at focusing), so it too is a great value, albeit at a higher price point.

  5. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    I have the G3 and my favorite native lens on it is the 20mm. There is just something about the size of the two that works really well together.

    Here's a size comparison of the G3 vs. the GH2
    . The G2 is about the height of the G3, but otherwise has the same dimension (width, grip, etc.) as the GH2. The G3 is noticeably smaller, but whether that would make a practical difference for you will depend on how use and carry it.
  6. Kelton

    Kelton Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks for such helpful replies! I think I have decided that I would not like the G2 as it is too big for me. I will definitely consider the E-PL1 with the 20mm.. it would be one of the cheapest options. It sounds like a great value. Is the E-PL2 worth the extra $100? I may wait until the end of August to see if there are any new product releases that would drop the price more.

    The 20mm sounds perfect for me as I do a lot of night shooting -- particularly in the city. The G3 and 20mm would be my ideal choice but it is also the most expensive at around $850.

    I have been able to hold a E-PL1, E-PL2, and G2. Most stores did not have the G3 in stock or they were sealed. I hope I'll be able to get a feel for it soon before making a decision!

    Thanks again guys!

    (Also, it's really cool that the owner of the forums is very active. It's something that I rarely see these days!)
  7. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    If size is a real concern, a PEN body with the 20mm on it will win every time as the Panny bodies are still DSLR-ish in shape, so therefore not as small overall. But then you have the EVF 'problem.' Do you need one or not is pretty crucial to size and price......
  8. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Good point. If you plan on using an EVF a lot, then you'd have to add $180 or $250 to the cost of the Pens for a VF-3 (lower resolution than the G3's) or VF-2 (about the same resolution, though I believe a lower refresh rate.) If not, then the Pens might be a better choice.
  9. Yotsuba

    Yotsuba Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2010
    If you have no brand preference, feel that both brands' colours are about the same and you don't fancy art filters, then I suggest you get the G3.

    The G3 has a lot of features, nice EVF and reasonable price.
  10. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Personally I'm all in for Olympus because of in-body stabilization. A fast lens like the 20 is great, but IBIS makes the difference for really low light situations.
  11. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    While the E-PL1 is a fine camera and you should have no problem buying one if your budget won't allow anything more expensive (I have owned one myself), I think the E-PL2 is worth the extra $100 if you can afford it. Reasons: better rear LCD screen and faster auto-focus.

    The main flaw of the E-PL1 is that its rear screen is pretty much useless in bright sunlight - meaning that an EVF (you have two choices now with Oly) is virtually mandatory. The E-PL2 is better in ths respect and may allow you to go without an EVF.

    Of course, I think right now the Panasonc G3 is probably the best choice of all with its fast auto-focus, higher-ISO performance and built-in EVF. But those things cost and not everyone can afford it. There is no dishonor in that. If you can't swing it then either of the two Olys would be fine.

    One final note: You might also want to check out the E-PL3 or the E-PM3, as they have the faster auto-focus performance of the E-P3 at a lower price. The only potential issue with these two cameras is that the flash isn't built in anymore. You have to mount it on the hotshoe when you need it. If that's a deal-breaker for you, I'd say get the E-PL2 now or save for the G3.
  12. ccunningham

    ccunningham Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    My opinion, which is just an opinion mind you, would be to ask myself some questions about what I want and what I can realistically afford. Some things you moght consider: will you be using it mostly with a prime lens? I haven't seen much to complain about af speed with a 20 or 17 mm prime on any of my pen bodies, but if the kit zoom is what you'll be using most you might want compare the e-p1/2/l1 af to the other contenders to see if it will be fast enough. The af speed on the e-p2 &e-pl1 with the kit zoom is fast enough for what I udo,but that's me. Primes do seem to af faster though. What about jpeg image quality? Some people like panasonic some don't, some prefer olympus amd some w prefer raw processed on their pc. For me, I don't want to sit in front of apc if Ican avoid it,so i often shoot jpegs, and personally prefer the results from olympus. Not that panasonic is terrible, I just like the olympus jpeg results more. Have you had a chance to handle the cameras yet? That might swing things one way or another. I f you're looking for alot of value,and you want to cover alot of focal length ground, I think the best value is the e-pl1 two zoom kit that includes the 14-42&40-150 zooms. If you prefer to use a fast prime though, the e-pl1 & 20 is certainly a good combo. Personally I also really like the olympus 17, but I seem to be in the minority on that. I don't think there are any bad choices in your list, so happy shopping!
  13. spinyman

    spinyman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2010
    San Diego
    Right now, the G3 with kit is selling for $594 at club Panasonic.$494 for the body only.
    The drawback is their vague ship date.Ships in September,they say.
  14. Andrew Riddell

    Andrew Riddell Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2010
    One point, which may or may not matter to the OP, is that the lens mount on the G3 is set so low that even some native MFT lenses would snag on a tripod mount. I believe that this applies to the 20mm and the 14-140mm lenses (and maybr more).

    • Like Like x 1
  15. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I replaced an EPL1 with a G2 and the size difference is not that significant. With a VF2 installed the EPL1 is taller. Usability is the best argument for the G2. It really has superb handling.

    In reality there isn't a whole lot of real world difference between any if these cameras. I suggest going to a shop and handle them. See which appeals to you.
  16. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 15, 2010
    I have a G1 and now a G3. I assume that the G2 is basically like the G1. I agree that the G3 is significantly smaller, less bulky, and lighter than the G1/2. The G3 is also a cleaner design re: the controls (fewer). Unnecessary buttons, like Film Mode and Q menu have either been eliminated or can be redesignated. The result for me is that even though it is smaller, the G3 is easier to operate and in fact can be operated without taking your eye off the viewfinder, once you have things set up the way you want them, and leave them that way. It is a beautiful little camera which very soon becomes a well designed instrument or tool that can be operated just by feel - you know where everything is.
  17. Kelton

    Kelton Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks for all the replies guys. I did get a chance to handle everything except for the G3. A lot of places don't have it in stock yet. I didn't really like the G2 as stated earlier because my hands are fairly small and it felt like a SLR to me. I may consider the E-PL2, E-PL3, G3. I'd rather save up and buy the best of the best I can realistically afford so I won't have to upgrade for a long time. I'm not sure if I would miss the kit lens if I bought the prime lens. That is also another option that have to think about. I also dont know if a viewfinder is so important that i would pay another 200 for it. I have also heard about how good the Oly jpeg engine is and I would really like to have great OOC shots. I've sent too much time trying to adjust my pictures from the S95. Thanks for all the replies though. They have been very helpful.
  18. drizek

    drizek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 5, 2011
    Something to keep in mind with cameras is that you never "have" to upgrade. Since around 4 or 5 years ago, every enthusiast-level camera that has been released has been fully capable of taking excellent pictures when used properly.

    You might, however, "want" to upgrade, and we're seeing a lot of innovation going on at a pretty rapid pace. I think it is safe to say that the G4 and EP4 will be out within less than 12 months, and even cheaper models like the GF4 or E-PL4 will have features that G3 and EP-3 users will be envious of. The E-PL1 was in many ways an upgrade over the E-P2, for example, so there is no such thing as "future-proofing".

    It's kind of counter-intuitive, but if you plan on keeping your camera for a long time, you shouldn't buy the most expensive one you can find. These things depreciate extremely quickly. In terms of IQ/dollar, the older 1 and 2 cameras are a much better value than the G3/EP3. People who buy the latest and greatest are willing to pay a pretty sizable premium to have "the best", and will probably sell it in a year when the next new thing comes around. It really all depends on how much money you want to sink in to this hobby.

    I think if you can afford to spend ~$950 on a G3 and 20mm lens, and wait a month to get it, it's actually not a bad option in terms of value. But if you don't have the money and you're going to just be sitting around without a camera in the meantime, buy something else. There might be one or two shots you miss by getting an EPL instead of a G3 due to the lack of VF or lack of touch to focus or lower resolution sensor, but it is nothing compared to all the shots you will miss spending the next 3 or 4 months without a camera.
  19. bebrox

    bebrox Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 29, 2009
    IS with 20mm 1.7

    Don't get too concerned about IS, as the G3 + 20mm with the EVF will keep you right as far as keeping the camera steady, gaining the necessary stops in low light.

    A 20mm at 1.7 does not require IS as the short focal length does not lend itself, IS is for longer focal lengths.
  20. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I have to say the G3 sensor is worth the extra cost. The older 12mp feels a little dated to me. The 16mp sensor in my opinion is on par with all modern DSLR sensors and that is saying a lot!
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