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E-PL3/G3 or E-P3/GH2.. Help me decide!

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by nandystam, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. nandystam

    nandystam Mu-43 Regular

    49
    Aug 16, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    I can't decide which of the above I want, so hopefully the input of others will help me decide which is best for me.

    I'm pretty much a beginner in the world of photography. I've had an Oly E-620 for a little while, so I've got some understanding of the world of 4/3rds, and u4/3 seems the best compromise between size/weight and image quality. I normally only shoot static shots (landscapes, holiday photos, close ups, etc). At this stage I'd only be shooting JPEGs, but maybe someday I'll start playing with RAWs. I usually shoot in aperture priority mode.

    I've handled all of the cameras I've mentioned, except for the GH2. Reminds me a bit of my E-620 so I don't think I'd have a problem holding/using it.

    I really do like the E-P3. I'd probably want the larger aftermarket grip, but it's not too pricey. I guess what does concern me is the lack of a built-in VF. Obviously the VF2/3 can be purchased, but that puts the price above what I could get a new GH2 (imported from HK) for. I'm used to the Oly menu system, and I actually quite like the super control panel. Having had the E-620 I know what to expect in regards to the JPEG output. My other concern with the E-P3 was the colour accuracy of the OLED display, but having read another thread it seems that with tweaking some settings it can be fixed.

    I didn't mind the E-PL3 either. I didn't really find the lack of the extra dial too much of a problem, but I did find adjusting exposure compensation a bit of a pain on it, not because of the controls, but because of the silly lag time in having the animated 'pop up' come up on the display. Can you actually turn that off? It wouldn't be such a problem if it came up on the display instantly. On the E-P3 I guess I could have aperture adjustment on one dial and exposure comp on the other?

    I suppose I could get used to shooting without the VF, but I have that habit of putting the camera up against my face, expecting to have a viewfinder against my eye.

    I didn't have this issue with the G3 obviously, but I found the buttons perhaps a little too small, although I could probably live with that. The grip seemed fine too. However, the menu system seemed a bit dated and 'odd' to me. I've read about some banding issues at high ISOs with contrasting lighting, which is a little off putting, but I doubt I would shoot at ISO 3200 much, if at all. The G3 didn't seem as intuitive as the PEN - I couldn't figure out how to do exposure compensation adjustment until leaving the shop. Having given it some more thought, the click dial actually seems like a clever solution.

    My only other concern with the G3 was that the JPEG output is reported to be not as good as the Oly. I've been given some settings from one of the other forum members here and seem some photos with it, and they seemed fine to me. I don't mind digging through menus and adjusting settings to get improvements. Are the PEN/G3 (tweaked or otherwise) JPEG comparisons a bit overhyped?

    The G3 is ridiculously priced in Australia, but I don't mind getting an import from B&H or HK.

    I already have a 14-54 mk II*lens so I will probably want to use that. I would probably get the 20mm f1.7 or the new 25mm f1.4 as well. Maybe a legacy macro lens at some stage.

    The G3 seems like the most cost effective solution, but the E-P3 just looks so damn nice, despite the extra costs involved. But with that extra cost involved, I could get a GH2 for less. Or I could save a few bucks and get an E-PL3. I have enough of a budget to cover any of these body options.

    So I don't really know which is the best option... help me!

    Oh and if you have experience in breaking the habit of a using a VF, please share it :)

    Thanks :)
     
  2. I can't really help you with the camera choice, sorry.

    Re: the viewfinder. From the moment I first picked up my E-P1 I have hardly missed a viewfinder at all, despite having come from DSLRs. Now when I use a DSLR, I sometimes have the tendency to hold it out in front of me and then wonder why the screen is blank...but that's just me.
     
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I shot for years with nothing but SLRs in the film days. As with Nic, I've completely gotten away from that and now only prefer shooting with a viewfinder when I'm using a long lens. I used to also prefer it in really bright light when it was hard to see the LCD screen, but the screens are now getting so much better than this is almost never an issue anymore. So, 95% of the time or more, I'd rather shoot withOUT one now.

    That said, IF you know you want a viewfinder all the time, I'd go with a GH2 or a G3. They're all very good cameras.

    -Ray
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Hear hear! I'm with both Nic and Ray... I started using the PENs with the original E-P1, pre-ordered a month or so before they came to the country. The lack of viewfinder was the only thing that hindered my decision, having only used a viewfinder with my cameras for decades. It took me a couple short weeks to get used to not putting the camera up to my face, lol. But after that, it became very natural and eventually it became more comfortable than using the eye-level viewfinder. It is so much more liberating than an eye-level viewfinder, because it lets you hold it at any angle instead of contorting your body into a pretzel to get the right perspective. That said, the quality of the VF-2 is excellent and is wonderful to look through as well. This is a great boon for ambient light photographers, especially shooting outdoors on sunny days. You'll find it much brighter and larger than your E-620's viewfinder. It even rivals the most excellent pentaprism viewfinder of my E-3, especially with its close-zoom capabilities for manual focus.
     
  5. EP1-GF1

    EP1-GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Apr 12, 2011
    If you're planning on shooting mostly jpgs, and can get used to life without a VF, then go with Olympus. I've had a GF1 and and GH1 and both disappointed me greatly with skin tones. And from the samples I've seen, the GH2 is similar. I just don't want to have to fiddle around afterwards with a Panasonic file when my E-P1 nails it right out of the camera.

    I am looking at the E-P3 and E-PL3 as an upgrade myself, mostly for the faster autofocus. The adjustable screen of the PL3 makes more sense (for me) than the touchscreen. As much as I like the form factor I can't really justify the extra for the E-P3, but if money were no object I'd get it in a heartbeat.
     
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    IMHO, the EP3 is ridiculously priced for what is now a 3-4 year old sensor design. It truly is what the EP1 SHOULD have been (or at least the EP2). If it was, I definitely would have bought an Oly instead of my GF1.

    As for JPG image quality, it's hard to use the term "better". For every person that loves the Oly colors, there's someone who claims they are oversaturated and a bit too "Technicolor". The G3 JPG image quality is much more pleasing than the older cams, and IMHO, strikes a nice balance between the "cool" coloring of the previous Panny offerings and the "sometimes too warm" Oly colors. Also, as you have noted, the Panny JPG engine is very tunable, and you have nobody to blame but yourself if you complain about it and don't try adjusting it. There are a few threads with several suggested settings on here.

    IMHO, the G3 is damn hard to beat right now considering size, IQ, viewfinder (which I agree is not as big a deal as many make it out to be, but is awful nice to have as an option), etc. It is the only m43 camera available currently with an up-to-date sensor. even the multi-aspect sensors used in the GH cams are a bit dated these days.
     
  7. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    685
    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    As a big fan of Oly cameras, if you can even consider the mini-DSLR-style, psuedo-penta-prizm viewfinder hump...go with Panasonic. More bang-for-the-buck.

    That is all.
     
  8. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    I think up to date the G3 is the best buy for quality/money. IMHO

    Best bang for buck.
     
  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I believe that's true if you want a permanent viewfinder. And if you DON'T want a permanent viewfinder, its a terrible buy and not worth half the price. Just sayin'...

    -Ray
     
  10. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Of course I meant with a viewfinder. If you don't need or want a permanent viewfinder it would be a stupid buy, don't you think so?:wink:
     
  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Indeed I do. No doubt I didn't NEED to point it out, but global sounding pronouncements about THE BEST this or THE WORST that always make me nervous and trigger the need to qualify them. Its a personal issue. :cool:

    -Ray
     
  12. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    No problem. I don't think that the G3 is the best in the world or the universe. By the way I think that the best is the one you use and are satisfied with. I own a K5 that is certainly better than most if not all :43: cameras, but don't use it too much anymore, preferring the G2 or GF1.

    When we answer we are referring to the argument posted so our, or mine in any case, is simply related to that argument so it's always a relative answer and not absolute.

    And it's clear to me that among the cameras we are speaking about, if you need a built-in VF, the G3 is surely the best buy for the money you spend.
     
  13. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Mr. Globalstatement :) - I don't think you can say "half the price". Let's say you didn't want the viewfinder. What in the world could you even get CLOSE to the G3 with at $300?

    Now, the EP3 at $450 ... hmmmm ....

    Even if you never use the viewfinder, the G3 is a smokin' deal IMHO.
     
  14. nandystam

    nandystam Mu-43 Regular

    49
    Aug 16, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    In amongst my original ramblings I had a few specific questions about the various cameras, if I could get those answered it'd be great :)

    - On the E-P3 can you have aperture adjustment on one dial and exposure comp adjustment on the other? The manual says you can change their function, but that's it.

    - The animated 'pop up' for exposure compensation adjustment on the E-P3/PL3. Can that be turned off?

    - The 'superior' JPEG output from the PENs compared to the G3, is it overhyped? There's been one response to this but I'd love to hear more :)

    - Banding issues at high ISO on the G3? Has anyone experienced this?

    Thanks!
     
  15. MacBook

    MacBook Mu-43 Regular

    183
    Jul 24, 2010
    South Carolina
    My G3 produces excellent JPGs. I took about 950 photos (in JPG and RAW) while on vacation in July, and with no RAW converter in Lightroom at that timr, produced outstanding prints using the JPG versions. I was really quite impressed.

    I haven't seen any banding on high ISO (up to 3200).
     
  16. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    Just in case you're not aware, you'll have to pay import duty on anything worth over $1000AUD including postage.
     
  17. nandystam

    nandystam Mu-43 Regular

    49
    Aug 16, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Couple of other questions:

    - The G3 automatically corrects for distortion and CA. Is that for all 4/3rds and u4/3 lenses, or just Panny ones? I always get confused with this.

    - No issues with using the 14-54 mk II on the G3? I know there's a compatibility chart somewhere but I couldn't find it. What's the AF speed like? I read one review where they said it was 'slow' ?

    - No issues using either of the Oly 4/3 -> u4/3 adapters (e.g. MMF-1/2) on the G3?

    Thanks :)
     
  18. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    563
    Sep 3, 2011
    L.A.
    Yes. You can change the vertical scroll and/or the circular dial to perform exposure compensation. The standard setting for both in A mode is aperture adjustment.

    Not sure what you are referring to here. When you engage the exposure compensation, a horizontal scale appears next to the exposure compensation number at the bottom of the screen. I haven't seen any options for turning that off, but then again, it's so small that it's never bothered me enough to explore the menu options further.

    I don't own the G3, so I can't comment on a comparison. What I can say is that the PEN's output, both in JPEG and RAW are very, very good. How good? I would say better out-of-the-camera results than either my Canon 5D or 40D DSLRs. I am spending much less time in Lightroom correcting for WB and exposure with images from my E-P3.

    I almost bought the G3 before the E-P3 came out, and am now glad I waited. The compact form factor of the E-P3 is what attracted me to the m43 format, and the G3 seemed too much like a scaled down version of my DSLRs. I figured if I want a DSLR format, I would just use my Canons. That having been said, if I buy a backup for my E-P3, it may just be a G3. Decisions, decisions....
     
  19. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    afha lskh
     
  20. nandystam

    nandystam Mu-43 Regular

    49
    Aug 16, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    OK, one last question:

    Should the AF performance of the 14-54 II on the G3 be similar to what it is on the new PENs? Is there any feasible reason why the lens would have faster AF on a new PEN compared to a G3?

    Seems like the G3 is probably still too new and not many people have this lens/body combination as yet.