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E-PM1: Buyer's Remorse?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by dan'l, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. dan'l

    dan'l New to Mu-43

    5
    Mar 18, 2012
    Dear Forum,

    I am a new member and this is my first post!

    After much deliberation and a lot of research (including this site), I bought an Olympus E-PM1, VF-2 EVF and a Panasonic 20mm/f1.7 lens yesterday. I thought that it was want I wanted, but now I am in the grips of buyer’s remorse.

    As background information, I have only limited experience in photography. Until now, I’ve only really used P&S cameras, though I have an old 35mm SLR my father gave me, which I am still learning to use. Although my P&S cameras have had zoom, I found that I hardly used it, since the zoom function seemed to lead to degradation of photo quality.

    So, I thought that a MFT would be the way to go. I decided on the Panny lens after reading such good reviews. I can imagine myself using just that lens, since it seems a bit of a hassle to carry extra lenses with me. And now my dilemma: after coming home from the store and putting everything together, it just seems like the E-PM1 isn’t as sleek or compact as I expected. The EVF sticks out quite a bit and I wonder if I will a) lose it, or b) knock it against something and break it, for example when putting the camera in a bag. I thought that this was the camera I wanted, but now I’m think about something like the Fujifilm X100. After factoring in the EVF and 20mm lens, the final cost of the E-PM1 is about the same as the X100 (at least here in Germany).

    My question: does anyone here have experience with both cameras? If I am going to use the E-PM1 with an EVF and a single prime lens, does it make more sense to get the X100?

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions or comments.

    Dan
     
  2. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you plan to have only one lens, then I think the X100 would be the better choice. Saying that I have the EPM1 and love it. It's my most used camera and I bring it around everywhere. The beauty of the EPM1 is that it's modular, small, has an interchangeable lens mount and can be treated as a P&S or a full blown mini-DSLR.
     
  3. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    222
    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    David
    Personally I'd try without the EVF - without it the epm-1 is surely considerably smaller and lighter than the X100?
     
  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    If you want an eye level viewfinder and plan to use only one lens, then the X100 may indeed be a better choice.

    On the other hand, having multiple lens choices doesn't mean you have to carry them around with you. Often times I leave the house with just my camera and 14mm lens mounted. Other times I leave with just the camera and 45mm lens mounted. With the X100, you never get to make these choices, which I would find limiting.
     
  5. dan'l

    dan'l New to Mu-43

    5
    Mar 18, 2012
    Thanks for the replies so far. I've tried a few cameras with viewfinders in person and thought that I would want my next camera to have one. I suppose I could use the E-PM1 without a VF, but similar to P&S cameras, the LCD would be washed out in daylight.

    I'm also wondering what camera is better for someone with limited experience in photography: a) MFT with both auto and manual settings as well as the option of changing lenses, or b) fixed lens camera with plenty of manual control.
     
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I think if you love photography and want to explore the possibilities, an interchangeable lens camera offers more.

    The Pana 14 and Oly 45 are a phenomenal two lens kit.
     
  7. Mandoo

    Mandoo Mu-43 Regular

    38
    Mar 12, 2012
    Essex, UK
    I would echo the sentiments Amin has said above, if you love photography a camera with interchangeable lenses offers more than a fixed lens does.

    I can't really comment specifically on the Olympus cameras as I have no experience with them, but I went down the Panasonic route purely because of the EVF being inbuilt in the G models. I decided to start cheap with a used G1 which is right for my needs at the moment, but I'm hoping to upgrade it to the G5 when its launched.
    I know that my camera isn't the smallest, but I love photography and prefer to loose out on the compactness to gain the better usability and features that I wanted.

    Ultimately though, finding the right camera is all down to personal opinion. Only you know what you're going to be using the camera for and what results you want to get out of it, but its worth factoring in the long term use as well. Is this a long term camera or just a gap filler until you learn more about photography?
     
  8. dan'l

    dan'l New to Mu-43

    5
    Mar 18, 2012
    I think that the E-PM1 would be more of a gap filler and allow me to ease into MFT and photography in general. Whereas the X100 seems more like a long term camera, especially since the build quality seems quite good (at least from what I've read).
     
  9. Mandoo

    Mandoo Mu-43 Regular

    38
    Mar 12, 2012
    Essex, UK
    In my personal opinion, you may find that as your photography progresses you'll start to feel that although the X100 has manual control, it may become a bit more restrictive. I think you could loose out in the future by not having the interchangeable lenses as usually when peoples skills progress more, they want to take pictures of different subjects and genres that they wouldn't normally have considered.
    With the E-PM1 you can pick up lenses as and when you want to safe in the knowledge that if you change your camera in the future, the lenses will still be usable as long as you stick to the m4/3 format.
     
  10. gsciorio

    gsciorio Mu-43 Top Veteran

    636
    Dec 29, 2011
    Miami, FL
    Have you even taking photos with it? I suggest you go out and take some photos for a bit. It's an excellent camera. Stop torturing your self over specs and over thinking the decision. Your world will not end. Take photos and have some fun.
     
  11. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    593
    Feb 23, 2012
    Toronto
    Although the x100 is a beautiful camera, I would regret buying something that didn't hold "upgrade" possibilities. As mentioned, a m4/3 is modular, you can add accessories, change the lens, and ultimately configure the camera to your needs. The fuji is static.

    I thought I only wanted one or two lenses initially...but now that I see what can be done with a small range of lenses, I'm glad I went with a interchangeable lens system...I feel it gives me more value, and that it's something I can use more often.
     
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    A fixed lens camera is long term, and an interchangeable lens system camera is a gap filler? Sorry, but that's totally backwards... :confused: The Micro Four-Thirds system is much more of a long-term investment. Not only are the lenses a long-term investment, but even little accessories like your VF-2 will be compatible with every new body you buy. Every piece is an interchangeable investment, which is the whole idea behind a system camera (a concept which Olympus has always understood, btw. Panasonic always has issues with backwards-compatibility, unlike Olympus).

    If you bought an X100 it would be outdated pretty quick. It's already 1.5 years old, which is a long time for a digital body. The Micro Four-Thirds system will never be outdated. You only need to replace the individual parts which get old, first of which is usually your body. Your entire X100 is tied to the body, which is the most disposable part of a camera system. The rest of your parts (ie, like lenses) can last for decades. That's what I call long-term.

    You said the E-PM1 will "allow me to ease into MFT and photography in general". That sounds like a long-term goal, no? That's no stop-gap.

    If the size of the VF-2 is all that concerns you, take it off and put it in a pocket in your camera bag, attaching it needed. That's the whole point of having a modular setup, so that you can make it as small as you want or build it up when you need. I keep mine in the small velvet pouch that came in your E-PM1 box (for the flash), attached to a wrist strap on the camera. That way it's always there, and it packs into the empty space of the camera bag allowing me to carry the entire package in a tiny little belt pouch! I pretty much put my VF-2 on as soon as I take out the camera, as long as I'm not using flash triggers. This has never been a problem, and I also make good use of the variable-angle the VF-2 affords me.

    Also, if you tie thick thread (double it up if you want) around the VF-2, you can then tie that thread to any kind of lanyard or tether you want, to address the issue you mentioned about the lack of lock. The new VF-3 does have a locking mechanism and doesn't suffer from this dilemma, but it is also lower quality than the VF-2 and doesn't offer as good view quality. I would stick with the VF-2 instead and make a tether for it.
     
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  13. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    If you're really sure that only want to ever use a 35mm equivalent prime lens, then the X100, at least at the level of pure image quality and integrated design, is the better option.

    But if you're just starting out, the E-PM1 will give you lot more room to experiment. You may find that you like other focal lengths, or that zoom lenses are nice, or the near focus is interesting, or a whole bunch of other things. m4/3 is a system. You have the option of matching the pieces to your tastes. The X100 is fixed option. If you decide you want to try something else, you'll have to replace it wholesale.

    Personally, I wouldn't recommend the X100 as a 'first' serious digital camera.

    DH
     
  14. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    The G1 was my first 'serious' camera, and I have zero regrets. My suggestion is to take your E-PM1 with your 20 and take a class in photography. It'll change your world. Getting a different camera won't get you to learn photography any better.
     
  15. NickLeon

    NickLeon Mu-43 Regular

    83
    Oct 20, 2010
    Somerset UK
    Some of the best advice you will ever get!
     
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  16. dan'l

    dan'l New to Mu-43

    5
    Mar 18, 2012
    I appreciate all of the replies so far.

    I guess one of the things that gets to me with the E-PM1 is holding comfort. In the store, it seemed OK, but after playing around with it for a while after getting home, I find that it isn't so comfortable. I've been looking at some of the other threads on grips, cases, etc. I suppose that if I keep the E-PM1, I'll need to consider those options.

    But getting back to my original question, I read another thread in the forum about someone considering getting the OM-D just to use with a single prime lens. I may be in a similar situation, since I am not sure if I really want to get so many different lenses and would just rather deal with one, at least for the time being.
     
  17. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Re holding comfort on the E-PM1, there are several aftermarket grips that mitigate the perceived slipperiness of the camera. After a few trial runs, I settled on the Flipbac G4 model, and I'm very pleased with it.
     
  18. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    How many primes you get and how fast you get them is up to you. The big question if you're only getting one to start is which one. You need to have a reasonably good idea of what focal length will suit most of your shooting or you'll make a bad choice, get quite frustrated and perhaps end up blaming the camera lens when the problem was the choice of lens.

    There's pros and cons with both zooms and primes but a zoom does have advantages when you're only going to have 1 lens for a time and if you analyse the focal lengths you shoot at (found in the EXIF data for each photo) you'll get a good idea of what focal length primes will be best for your purposes. Against that, if you can shoot the same focal length for nearly all of your shots and you know what that focal length is, then a single prime is a better way to go.
     
  19. xwah

    xwah New to Mu-43

    1
    Mar 18, 2012
    I'm on the horns of the same dilemma, but mine is a little different: keep the-PM1 or get a used E-P2 or E-pl2
     
  20. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I'm going to go against the grain here. While the X100 is a great camera, as I said in another recent thread about Fuji, it is not priced, set up, or advertised whatsoever as a beginner's camera. It is a niche product, and I would only recommend it to someone with a definite interest and understanding of photography. Its output is amazing, but the camera definitely has quirks and rewards understanding. Whereas, a micro 4/3 camera is a lot more user friendly and lends itself to inspiring confidence in a new photographer. I tried using a more advanced camera to teach my girlfriend photography, and I quickly pulled away from that, as it was just frustrating her and making it not fun. That is actually what led me to micro 4/3.

    However, for someone that is ready to handle an X100, I agree with you that the E-PM1 is a stopgap, and the X100 is more of a long-term camera. The E-PM1 can quickly be outgrown by someone wanting full quick control of multiple settings, such as the E-P3 or Panasonic GX1 provide. The E-PM1 was definitely made to either be used by someone upgrading to a point and shoot, or by a m4/3 user that wants a tiny portable backup body. However, an E-PM1 still offers all of these manual controls; you just have to go into menus to change these settings. Meanwhile, I think I could give Annie Liebovitz or Ansel Adams an X100, and in 5 years they still wouldn't have outgrown the camera! It was really made to be enjoyed by someone who's been around these things for a long time.

    As I also said recently, if you are going to be keeping the viewfinder on your camera 100% of the time, then consider getting yourself the Panasonic G3 instead of the E-PM1. You'll likely save money, and you'll won't have any of your durability worries from clip-on accessories. Plus, it has a built-in flash. However, since you currently have the E-PM1, take the viewfinder off and go around shooting without it for a while; see if shooting by using only the rear screen works for you. You can always just use the viewfinder for your more critical work and special trips.

    Also, what 35mm SLR do you have from your father, and what lenses do you have (for example, 50mm f/1.8 or 80-200mm f/4.5)? Another bonus of m4/3 is that you can buy an adapter to use these lenses as manual focus on a micro 4/3 camera. So, you may have a stable of lenses that gives you a decent wildlife lens, and a decent portrait lens, etc.

    So, to sum up, even though the X100 is nice, I think that the E-PM1 will serve you better. It will take you a good while until you're at the limits of that camera's capabilities, and by then, you can sell the E-PM1 for a decent price (definitely worth the "rental" fee of using it while you learn), the Panasonic 20mm is always in demand, and you can move on to something else, if you feel that in a year or two, micro 4/3 doesn't have anything for you. However, you'll find that many seasoned photographers have decided that it is a serious enough system to invest in.
     
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