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E-P1 versus LX3/S90 for travel?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by 43-Novice, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. 43-Novice

    43-Novice New to Mu-43

    Sep 14, 2010

    I know you might first read the title of the threat and and say..."well the answer is obvious, we're on a micro 4/3 user group site", but it's really a question of weight/quality on a long trip.

    I currently have a Nikon D70 and no compact alternative. In a few weeks I'm doing a trip for 4 weeks through Vietnam and Cambodia. We're looking to travel as light as possible so I'm only taking a 30L carry on bag. The last time I took my D70 on a long trip the weight and size did my head in. So this time I want to take something smaller. And it's fair to say that an impatient girlfriend meant I wasn't really given much time to set up for shots.....and my camera size is in excess of my ability.

    So my question is simple (ignoring price as the difference is small compared the overall cost of the trip); is the extra weight of the EP-1 going to be worth it in terms of image quality and usability bearing in mind that I will be carrying it all day everyday for four weeks?

    I've got two lesser important questions that I wouldn't mind some input into too; will no in-built flash be an annoyance by day 10 (thinking less about night shots and more about using flash during the day in overcast tropical climate) and will the slow auto focus be an annoyance in crowded street scenes?

    Or...do I go small and take the lighter LX3 or even S90?

    Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated, I thought that this is probably the best place to get some feedback from existing E-P1 owners.

    Many thanks
  2. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    Through Australia and New Zealand, I carried a PacSafe MetroSafe 200 with a Nordstrom tissue-weight cashmere shawl lining the bottom, my GF-1, my 20mm Panny lens, my 14-42 Oly, and my Canon FD 50mm + adapter, each in a neoprene bag. I kept the camera inside a warm hat (we were traveling in late winter). The external viewfinder was carried in its case inside the hat. I also carried an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod Nano (the last just as a long flight backup entertainment device), and my passport was in there, too. Also a torch, a small Rhodia pad, and 4 fountain pens in a case.

    In one front outer pocket were my 46mm filters and in the other the 52mm filters, plus a couple of 7ml vials for ibuprofen and vitamins. Side pocket was sunglasses, other side pocket was the day's itinerary and other papers.

    The entire getup weighed 3.7 kilos including the iPad.

    So I think it's very doable, even though I probably could have managed with one fewer lens. Maybe. I don't think I ever got the 14-42 out.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    Both? :smile: Seriously, even if you took both cameras with you (LX3 and E-P1), with one or two lenses for the Oly, it would still be a much lighter load than carrying a DSLR around. I like the LX3 for its wide angle, but if I had a 9-18mm or 7-14 lens, then the LX3 would become redundant, IMO. The Olympus is small enough.
  4. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    To take with you most of the time and not feel that you have it, the S90 size is the one to go for

    If you are quite happy being "slightly" inconvenienced

    and you want a "zoom" take an LX or similar

    If you are content with the 17mm or 20mm - take the EP-1 and OVF

    If you want a built in viewfinder (and zoom and occasional video) and not too worried about a little more size - go for a Canon G11 - great value at £350

    (I would probably take a G11 and put the EP1 20mm in my bag)

    I would want a VF, even a slightly inaccurate one, in all that bright light

    Just my opinion
  5. intense

    intense Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 14, 2010
    I think an E-P1 and a 17/2.8 will be enough for you. The lens is 34mm equivalent, which make it very useful in most cases and is the smallest possible for M4/3 by now. I am sure you can manage without the external viewfinder.
  6. ulugeyik

    ulugeyik New to Mu-43

    Feb 11, 2010
    I think it depends on the type of photography you do, what kind of subjects you like etc.

    I have D70, LX2 and E-P2 . LX3 is much better than LX2 but not extremely different. At the time that I only had D70 and LX2, I regretted leaving D70 at home for few trips in Europe because while I was mostly interested in street photography, there were times were I wanted to do good landscapes, catch a few animal shots etc.

    Recently, I left both D70 and LX2 at home for some trips and kept E-P2. I have mostly regretted leaving behind some of my Nikon lenses but otherwise it was a good choice.

    I think if I was doing the trip you mention,I would bring all three or atleast D70 + LX2.
  7. chylld

    chylld Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2010
    On my last big overseas holiday, I brought 3 cameras: Panasonic LX3, Olympus E-PL1, Samsung NX10 (yes, I'm a gear head)

    Photo count at the end of the holiday:
    E-PL1: ~4000
    NX10: ~1000
    LX3: 0.
  8. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    On my last trip abroad I had a Pentax DSLR and a Pany LX2 (no E-P1 yet). Today, I'd go with both E-P1 (normal angles, zoom) & LX2 (wide shots, times when can't carry a 'big' camera). The LX has an optional leather pouch that can be carried from the waist, roomy enough for camera + extra battery + extra SD. It's a 'don't even have to think about it' case : the LX always make the trip, and I never part with it.

    Then, for expected tourist visits, I take along the 'bigger' camera. The E-P1 wins for me as I'm more a rangefinder kind of person, and I feel like the more time passes by, the more awkward SLRs seems to be.
  9. Rawfa

    Rawfa Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 17, 2009
    I love traveling, I travel a lot, and I like traveling light....and the way I think is "I don´t know when will I be back here or if I will ever be back here, so I want my photos/memories of this trip to be well documented". I´ve travelled to China with a Sigma DP1 and a Pana LX3 and I´ve got some amazing photos, but I have no doubt a micro 4/3 compact camera would have done a better job when it came to speed, dynamic range and iso performance.
  10. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Well, the answer isn't immediately obvious, actually. There are many advantages a camera like the LX5/S95 would have over an E-PEN, portability and flexibility being the biggest ones. You can't easily switch from wide angle to zoom on an E-PEN without taking extra lenses, which would defeat the purpose of your compact travel kit. You could certainly do OK with just one pancake lens like the 17 or 20 on the E-PEN, but invariably you'll find yourself wishing you had some extra zoom.

    The answer also depends on what kind of photos you take, and what you want to do with them. If you're only looking to document your trip for personal reasons, perhaps publish some photos on the web, maybe print one or two on 8X10 photo paper at home, then the compact cameras are more than sufficient and you'll want the flexibility they offer. If you're looking to sell photos to magazines or in print, you'll want better IQ, in which case you'll be looking at least at an E-PEN with a number of different lenses (leave some at the hotel and only take what you need on your daily walks).
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Fred49

    Fred49 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2010

    I own an LX3 and an EP2 , + 14-42 and 20mm1.7

    The EP2 replaced my olympus E420 wich i used when it was the lightest DSLR .

    I hike in remote places during my holidays, i carry up to 2 weeks of food , so everything else as to be as light as possible, i dont even carry a real tent ( just a floorless 900g shelter for 2 people with no inner usualy , ) and no change clothes except one underwear and one pair of socks:) 

    But if i go to someplace i will likely not visit again in my life ( like my hikes in Patagonia or Greenland ), i bringed my E420 , now EP2 + lens kit, i find the difference in quality over a good compact ( now my LX3) to be worth the extra 300-350g including batteries and extra bulk.
    I print my best photos in A3 books and the difference shows enough.

    When i hike in France i usualy bring my LX3 and i usualy print A4 books.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. 43-Novice

    43-Novice New to Mu-43

    Sep 14, 2010
    Thanks everyone.

    I think Fred got me over the line, the e-p1 it is. I'll probably forget about the extra weight when I'm home but will always look at the photos and wonder what if....but I'm not quite going so far as to take the dslr or an extra smaller compact. That said I'm half pie thinking about sneaking a holga into my bag, but that's another story - am not completely ready to give up film in some form.

    On a side note I'm writing this from New Zealand, pleased to see a few of you coming down this way for holidays.

    Many thanks
  13. 43-Novice

    43-Novice New to Mu-43

    Sep 14, 2010
    Thanks Fred
  14. Firsty

    Firsty New to Mu-43

    Apr 16, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    why not pick up the newer E-PL1
    then you get the built in flash and the option of getting the electronic viewfinder later if you are that way inclined
    only a small increase in price but given what you are wanting the camera for it may be a better option in the long term

  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I'm a little late here, but having just done some extended travel with an ep2 setup AND an s90, I'd say it depends. I did most of my shooting with the ep2 with one of three lenses, the 14-150 (which may be all you'd need), a 9-18, and a pancake for low light, street shooting, etc. Its a pretty small and light kit and all fits very easily in a small case, along with other travel stuff. I took the S90 out when I was cycling (I did a lot of riding for one of the weeks of the trip) and took it out one day when I thought I was going to be doing a bit more hiking, rather than just extensive walking around cities and towns.

    If you want a wider focal range, then there's no question, you need the m43 setup. If you want to shoot a lot in low light, you need the m43 setup and the appropriate lens (either the Panasonic 20 or a legacy 50 or 57 with f1.4.


    If you're happy with a relatively normal focal range (14-105 equivalent) and you may do a bit of lower light shooting but its not a huge priority, I'd say you might be happier with the S90. The shots I took with the S90 are as good as any - I just didn't take anything at the longer or wider focal lengths with it and the little bit of low light shooting I did with it wasn't bad, but not as good as with the ep2 and the 20mm f 1.7 lens. But the typical daytime shots I took are just fine. I printed several from the trip and I'd say the S90 shots look just great up to 16x20 but start to really show their warts at 20x30, while the ep2 shots hold up pretty well even at 20x30. But that was kind of an experiment - I don't usually print anything larger than 16x20 and usually 11x17. And the S90/S95 is remarkably small, light, and out of the way. There are compromises, but they're not nearly as great as I thought they'd be.

    I like having a lot of focal length options, so I'd always take the ep2, but if that wasn't a priority, I might not.

    • Like Like x 1
  16. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    Correction: 28-105 equivalent, of course... :smile:
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Right - thanks for the catch!

  18. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    Don't worry, Ray! I've got your back... :wink:
  19. 43-Novice

    43-Novice New to Mu-43

    Sep 14, 2010
    UPDATE: Well after all the input and some strong input from my sister I've decided that I was spending too much time thinking about zoom. On reflection I think keeping the D70 and taking a Nikon 50mm 1.8D might be the better approach. Partially because I already have the D70 and therefore it's cheaper and buying the pretty cheap 50mm 1.8D will give me a good prime lens without much more weight. I will be without a compact alternative, but my girlfriend has a pretty good compact. I really really want a reason to buy an E-P1, but will I be happier with my D70?..possibly. Yes it's bigger, but loaded into my bag with a good prime 50mm will I notice the difference? So unless someone can come up with a good reason to ditch the D70 (size, weight, 6.1MP) i'll stick with it...... will anyone challenge that the D70 with 6.1MP 50mm 1.8D is not better than the E-P1?
  20. Rudi

    Rudi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2010
    For travel, a 50mm (75mm effective) prime will be too restrictive, IMO. But, as long as you don't mind working around that, and potentially missing shots that you'll wish you got, later, it might be a good solution. I think (and this is MHO, of course) that a small kit zoom would be a better travel setup.
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