E-PL5 with kit lens, or GF3 with better glass

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by MNWildFan, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. MNWildFan

    MNWildFan New to Mu-43

    Oct 16, 2013
    I'm having a hard time deciding what the more important factor is...

    I have about 550 to spend on a new camera. I sold my D7000 because I never used it. It was just too big to tote around. I used to have a NEX5, but I never really liked the IQ from it. I decided to take a look at the MFT world, and I like everything about it. I've been looking at the E-PL5 the most. I love the features you get with that camera.

    I know the E-PL5 is the better camera, but was wondering if going with an $80 used GF3 body and a better lens (up to $500) would be the better way to go.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. rbelyell

    rbelyell Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2013
    Mountains of NY
    depends. if you dont want to use it in low light/high iso, then i'd go for the G with the better glass.

    you could also consider looking around until you see an epl5 (i have one and honestly the IQ is stunning) for like $400--those deals ARE out there. then sell the kit lens for about $75, kick in another few bucks and get a 17/1.8 or a 20/1.7, or a 45/1.8 if youre a portrait guy. each can be had for about $325.
  3. Rudy

    Rudy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 24, 2013
    Oakland, CA
    What part of the IQ on the NEX5 did you not like and with what lens?
    While there are many reasons why people prefer M4/3 over the NEX, better IQ isn't usually something brought up.
    Maybe you should try out before you buy to make sure your expectations are met...
    • Like Like x 1
  4. MNWildFan

    MNWildFan New to Mu-43

    Oct 16, 2013
    The images just seemed soft. I had the standard kit zoom and the 16mm. The autofocus was slow and that could have been part of it.

    I just never really liked the color and general softness I got from it.

  5. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    Mike Barber
    I wouldn't expect you'd find much better IQ from the GF3 than the original NEX with that 14mp sensor. Get the E-PL5 and the 20mm f1.7 which would be better than any output you got from the kit lens and crap 16mm w/the Nex5.
  6. rbelyell

    rbelyell Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2013
    Mountains of NY
    i can totally identify with OP, as i have never gotten on with the nex 'look'. some gear just isnt for certain people.

    if youre a sharp-a-holic, and i dont mean that in a bad way, i reiterate my epl5/lens recommendations. to add to it, even more in your budget, i note you used the 16mm on nex=24mm. so, if you lean wide, you can get the excellent panny 14/2.5 (28mm equiv) for about $150.
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    If you are on a budget, find a refurbished E-PL5 and a nice refurbished lens at Olympus (if you are in the US). I traded in a GF3 for an E-PL5 and have not looked back. Remember, the E-PL5 has the OM-D E-M5 sensor in it. The GF3 is using a first generation 12MP sensor. The change from one to the other was among the most dramatic changes in sensor technology in M4/3rd's bodies.

  8. From an E-PL5 user/owner

    I've had my E-PL5 for around 6 months. It's a huge upgrade over my previous excellent Pen (an E-PL2) - and the quality of the images it produces rivals that of what was previously the best digital camera I had ever owned, a Pentax DSLR with an APSC sensor. But - and this is really to the point in answering your question - i was surprised at how excellent that lowly (and possibly under-appreciated) Olympus standard/kit zoom is. Word among more knowledgeable users is that the overall IQ of the lens has evolved and improved over different iterations over the last few years - and though it's not scientific, I suspect that the current version (offered with both the E-PL5, the E-P5 and the E-PM2) may be the best yet. In spite of its semi-cheap plastic body construction, it's a fine lens....a lot better than most I-only-shoot-primes-because-they're-so-much-better-than-zooms photo snobs would care to admit.

    Bottom line - in my subjective opinion, the Olympus kit zoom is excellent - and that, coupled with the superior sensor - and general usability of the camera (I happen to love it) - mitigates in favor of picking this combo vs a GF3. And btw, though I've owned and shot several Panasonic cameras - including a cool LX7 compact I currently own and use frequently - I've never tried/handled a GF3....so I'm clueless as to what its finer positive points may be. All I can speak about is the E-PL5 - and even with the kit zoom, it's a great photographic tool.

    Hope this helps. Good luck in your decision.
  9. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    IMHO, the major positive point of the GF3 is its size. I, too shot with an E-PL2, and I much preferred its output to the GF3. For some reason it was a camera that I just never liked. I traded it towards my E-PL5 with probably just a few hundred shots at most.

  10. flipmack

    flipmack Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 23, 2012
    irvine, CA
    ...so it sounds like you're looking for the best sharpness in the most compact size?

    My recommendations, before you make the jump:

    1. Figure out if a tiny form factor camera is something you want. I think the GF3 is about as small as they get (I have an EPM1), so make sure you're comfortable with that.

    2. Figure out if a larger but older body suits your needs - I think the EPL1 can be had for a song nowadays, and to my eyes, it still provided great and sharp pictures. Source: I used to own an EPL1. Similarly, the GF1 is still a wonderful camera, and has the benefit of native ISO 100 and 1/4000 shutter speed.

    3. What focal length do you want? Everyone says the 20/1.7 is the lens to get, but the Sigma 19/2.8 is approximately the same focal length at about 1/3 to 1/2 of the price. Sure, you lose a stop, but the focal length is the same.

    4. EVF or no EVF? Some people insist on an eye-level finder, and to be honest, for some cameras, an EVF is essential due to the LCD getting washed out in the sun (EPL1).

    Anyway, I'm sure you can't go wrong with an EPL5, but take it from somebody who's also budget-conscious...you can get a good amount of kit for the budget you have if you're willing to make a few compromises.
  11. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I've never used a GF3 and I don't doubt that the E-PL5 has a much better sensor, but I have gotten very sharp photos from much less than 12mp. And the 12mp sensor is my E-PM1 is perfectly capable of sharp photos. I guess what I am saying is that I would not eliminate a camera because it only has 12mp. To me, the controls are just as important as the sensor. If I have a hard time changing settings on the fly and end up missing shots, it doesn't matter how great the sensor is. I like dials and buttons more than menus. That is why I became so frustrated with my E-PM1, not the image quality from the 12mp sensor. But hey, you may have a totally different view on that. If I was on a tight budget and really wanted an Olympus, I'd see what I could get an EP-3 for because it has more controls. I bought a dirt cheap G5 and have really liked it. Of course, it is bigger than the cameras you are looking at, but it is still really small compared to a dslr, especially with the small lenses of m4/3. Then, if you like shooting wide, I'd find a used Panasonic 14. That or the Oly EP-3 with a kit lens would be a good starting point I think.
  12. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I just looked in the Buy/Sell forum and there are some excellent deals for cameras a generation or two old. I saw a G3, a G5, and an EP-3 all within your price range that I would consider if I was you. The E-PL5 has a better sensor than all of them, but I have just learned from my experience with the E-PM1 that I want at least the controls of the EP-X series of cameras and don't mind the size of the G5 in order to get the controls. Funny, when I came to M4/3, I wanted the smallest camera I could get. I've since modified that to a small camera with a comfortable grip and good external controls.

    I'll go away now, as I haven't actually answered your question.
  13. MNWildFan

    MNWildFan New to Mu-43

    Oct 16, 2013
    My priorities are as follows (and thusly, how I arrived at the EPL5.)

    1. Size. I need to be able to stash this in a jacket pocket, purse, or stroller.

    2. Autofocus Speed. I missed lots of shots with my NEX because of this.

    3. Image Quality/Sharpness. I can see no discernible difference between MFT and APS-C for my applications. The Higher ISO performance would be the only APS-C advantage. I love the Olympus JPEGs.

    4. Touch screen. I know I'm going to get laughed at for this, but I find it very helpful when it comes to selecting a focus point for my "always on the move" twins. I come from the smartphone world. I'd rather have a touch based SCP than a boat load of buttons. (some are useful and handy, ISO or exposure compensation is not something I need a dial for.)

    5. "Enthusiast" Features. I'd like the ability to bracket, choose smaller focus points, have access to the SCP, etc... I'm not looking for a ICL point and shoot.

    I'm about 80% sure I'll do the EPL5. I'm not opposed to a used EP3 tho...

    Are the refurbished kits from Olympus of decent quality? Anyone have any experience with them?

  14. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I purchased a two-lens refurbished kit directly from Olympus last year. The E-PL2 has an extremely tiny hairline scratch on the LCD, but otherwise it has been fine. The lenses looked brand new, and my 40-150 must have been tuned quite nicely in inspection, as I have some amazing shots from it with the E-PL2. Oly used to give you a thirty-day return period if you were not happy. If you decide to keep what you buy, you can extend the warranty directly through Olympus if you wish. Sometimes they have great deals. I just missed out on a 75 last week that I hould have just purchased at the price listed.

    Good luck,

  15. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    Sounds like a well thought out decision.
  16. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    For a cheap used body why would you want this? ;
    Cheap used bodies with excellent results ;
    Daytime e-P1 & e-P2, no pop-up flash.
    Indoor bounce flash e-pL1 e-pL2 GX1, e-L1 has best colours, GX1 has best high-ISO of the cheapies.
  17. DeoreDX

    DeoreDX Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 13, 2013
    There isn't a single scenario where I would reccomend a 12mp body over a 16mp. The I mage quality is just that much better. Looking over your arguments for the epl5, why not look at the epm2?
  18. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Even more compact, cheaper, same great sensor, and since you don't mind using touch SCP exclusively the lack of dials isn't a problem.
  19. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    If the OP is going to bring the camera and a zoom tele into a hockey game, he'll get better results with the newer sensors when high ISO is needed. Otherwise, in daylight, the older 12MP sensor will hold up to the 16MP.

    I just ordered a reconditioned EPL5 body from Olympus. $369. Only con is a 90 day warranty vs 1 year from Cameta.com, but Cameta didn't have any in stock. Oly had reconditioned VF3's last week for $79, but those are out of stock now.
  20. Darren Bonner

    Darren Bonner Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 1, 2013
    Poole UK
    Go for the EPL5, it ticks all your boxes, otherwise you will be wondering what if. if you're happy with it and you want to stay with M4/3, you can build on your lens collection as you go along.
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