E-PL1 user here, next best?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by heymecalvy, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. heymecalvy

    heymecalvy New to Mu-43

    Oct 12, 2013
    Hey guys,

    Just wondering if anyone had opinions on what the next best step up from the E-PL1 would be? I figured OM-D/E-P5 are more than one step up. I don't know what's happening in the in-between category though. Sensor differences? Minor tech updates?
  2. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Take an SD card to a camera shop and insert it into an OMD or newer Pen and take some photos of street scenes outside the camera shop. Then take some photos of the same scene with your E-PL1. Then go home and compare. You just might find, as I did, you like the output of the E-PL1 better. Now indoors it's a completely different story, the OMD and all the newer Pens blow away the E-PL1 when shooting indoors because they are much faster focusing, shoot at much higher shutter speeds and have much better white balance under indoor lighting.

    E-PM2 offers nearly the same image quality at the OMD at 1/3rd the cost, but has a menu system controls for aperture and exposure compensation instead of two dials like the E-P5 and OMD. OMD has built in viewfinder, E-P5 doesn't. E-PL5 is a compromise between E-PM2 and E-P5 in that it comes with one dial.
  3. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    Have a look at some of the Panasonic bodies as well, there are a lot of options if you want something a bit better. Though it may be worth considering what features you want that the EPL1 does not give.
  4. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    Doug Green
    I think that you should look at Olympus E-PL5 the Panasonic GX1, and Panasonic G5

    The E-PL5 adds more-better controls, and most importantly, the same sensor as is in the OM-D/E-P5, which will give you a distinct step up in IQ. It will also provide faster autofocus and a tiltable LCD. Figure on $500 for a new body, $400 for a factory Refurb body with a 90 day warranty, and $350 or less for a pristine near mint used body with no more than a couple thousand shutter clicks. Most significantly, since this camera is the evolutionary successor (but 3 generations newer) than your E-PL1, the operating ergonomics will be most familiar to you of all of your upgrade options.

    The Panasonic GX1 would give you a slight uptick in Image Quality (about midway between your E-PL1 and the E-PL5), and substantially better control functions than your E-PL1. Because Panasonic cleared these out before the GX7 came out, you can get new ones for around $250, and near mint used ones for about $200 or so. Panasonic's menus are better than Olympus' menus, but if you're already familiar with the Olympus menus, this might not be an advantage.

    The Panasonic G5 conceptually is like a GX1, but with a built-in viewfinder, and a fully articulating LCD screen. Slightly better JPEGs than the GX1 due to a new image processing engine, but basically the same IQ when shooting RAW. Panasonic also cleared out these as well, so you can get a new G5 nowadays for around $300, and a near mint used ones for under $250.

    I think one of these 3 cameras would be your best choice. The E-PL5 is the most direct upgrade for you, as it's basically a newer better E-PL1 with significantly improved image quality and slightly improved shooting ergonomics. But it also would cost the most of the three cameras I mentioned.

    FYI, in the interest of full disclosure, I shoot with the E-PL5 and the Panasonic G5. In practice, I think that the G5 is better ergonomically for ME (as I come from the world of DSLRs) but the E-PL5 has slightly better image quality - and I always use my E-PL5 with an external viewfinder, which adds around $150 to the cost of the E-PL5). But if you're used to shooting an E-PL1 without an external viewfinder, you won't need one on the E-PL5 or the GX1 either, and the main advantage of the G5 will be less important for you personally.
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  5. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Next real improvement is the e-pL5 (along with e-pM2/e-P5/e-M5) with a great sensor for high-ISO and detail, but loses the pop-up flash.

    These inbetweeners [ e-pL2, e-P3, e-pM1, e-pL3 ] gain faster focus and some features but lose ISO-100-Jpegs and lose some of the colour niceness of your e-pL1

    I use my e-pL1 for daytime outdoor goodness and sometime indoor bounce-flash ... there is not (and perhaps never will be) a direct improved model with all the features of the e-pL1 !
  6. MiguelATF

    MiguelATF Mu-43 Veteran

    Think about the E-PL5

    I'll echo what a number of other people have said - think about the E-PL5. Disclaimer: I liked it so much, I bought one myself when upgrading from my still serviceable PL2.

    The PL5 has a brilliant & wonderful sensor (the same as the OMD M5) - much faster performance - and a remarkably compact body (which is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective). Image wise, IQ-wise, sensor-wise and performance-wise, it's an immense upgrade over the PL1.

    But the best part is - it's the largely ignored smaller brother of the E-P5 - and as such it doesn't command premium prices. New prices are quite reasonable - and if you don't mind buying used, there are astoundingly great/good deals around.

    Another alternative - slightly smaller with one or 2 less bells and whistles - no folding LCD touchscreen - is the tiny but capable E-PM2.

    Either one would be a cool upgrade for you.

    Good luck with your decision!
  7. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    How much does price matter? How often do you switch cameras? Are there specific features you'd really like?

    I'd say that if price is less important, you don't switch cameras too often, and there was nothing missing for you from the E-PL1, go for the E-PL5. It has better image quality and everybody says it's a pretty fabulous camera, and it is not ridiculously expensive.

    When I upgraded from an E-PL1, I wanted to spend less than what an E-PL5 would cost and I was interested in having a viewfinder. I chose a Panasonic G5 and am still getting used to it, but expect that in the long run I'll be very happy with my decision, even if the photos are quite as good as the E-PL5's (it is still a solid upgrade over the E-PL1 though).
  8. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
  9. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    Doug Green
    IMHO, the E-PL2 is better ergonomically and operationally than the E-PL3. But, as you said, neither one offers a step up in IQ relative to the E-PL1. The three cameras I listed (E-PL5, GX1, and G5) all offer both operational/feature advantages and a bump up in IQ (a significant one when discussing the E-PL5) compared to the OP's E-PL1.
  10. MikeyLNG

    MikeyLNG New to Mu-43

    Sep 30, 2013
    I'm in very much the same boat, thinking about upgrading my E-P1, and I think one thing to consider is if you want a viewfinder now or in the future, or if you're grown accustomed to shooting with the screen like on your E-PL1.

    The bodies like the E-PM2 and E-PL5 may seem pretty cheap relatively speaking, but if you're thinking of getting an EVF in the future and factor in that cost with it, you're talking about the same price as a second hand E-M5, which has an integrated EVF and other benefits with it.
  11. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I love the E-PL2, but the E-PL3 does a couple things better like AWB, 2x digital zoom (helps with MF focusing), it can display the VF-4 at full resolution, faster performing art filters, tilt-LCD, has 5fps and a 35 point AF which is at modern Olympus fast focusing speeds. I would not agree the E-PL2 is operationally better (ergonomically, yes).

    If I wanted to step up, I'd just get the E-PL5. It has Pen "DNA" and would offer the most upgrade in performance.
  12. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    Doug Green
    Last month, I got a mint E-PL5 and VF-2 for around $200 less than a used E-M5 would have cost me (I paid just under $450 all in). Without the VF, you can easily find minty used E-PL5 bodies for under $350, which is still around $300 less than a similar condition E-M5 will cost. Depending upon what VF you want, you can get VF-3s for under $100, VF-2s for about $150, or even a VF-4 for about $250.

    And as I said previously, if the OP really wants a viewfinder, the Panasonic G5 is an excellent upgrade with an integrated VF, and can be had for under $300 easily.
  13. msatlas

    msatlas Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 5, 2013
    Madison, WI
    If you want to do a lot of indoor available-light shooting then I'd stick to the stuff with the newest sensor, and IBIS. Those are the E-PM2, E-PL5, E-P5, E-M5, GX7 and E-M1.

    The PM2 and PL5 are several hundred dollars cheaper than the rest. They're not without their compromises (no built-in flash, fewer external controls) but give you IBIS and the good sensor and AF of the more expensive cameras.

    I have a PL5 so I'm biased but I think it's a great sweet spot of price, just enough external controls to cover most of the basics, and the good sensor.