E-PM1 vs G3

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by jgmankos, May 1, 2012.

  1. jgmankos

    jgmankos Mu-43 Regular

    88
    Apr 9, 2012
    Slatington, PA
    John
    Hi...fairly new to m4/3. I jumped in with an e-pm1 with 2 lens (14-42 and 40-150) kit. Shortly afterward added a vf-2 and have been playing around with some manual focus lenses (I bought some of the el-cheapo CCTV lenses on ebay and also recently came across a large lot of Konica mount lenses on craigslist).

    Anyway...I really like the e-pm1. I like the speed, the size, and the quality of the VF-2 viewfinder. However...one thing I can't get past is the fact that I can't use a flash at the same time as the VF-2. I'm a 20+ year SLR user and I don't think using a viewfinder is something I'm going to get past.

    So I'm looking at alternatives and what I'm thinking that *might* suit me better is the Panny G3. However...how much bigger is it? I do like the compact size of the e-pm1 but then again...with the VF-2 attached it isn't all that tiny anymore. By chance, does anyone have a picture of these two cameras side by side?

    I realize I'd lose IBIS...any other major trade-offs anyone can see?

    The new olympus is not an option at this point...I realize that has IBIS and an EVF but too pricey for me at the moment.

    Thanks for any input. Trying to make up my mind
     
  2. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Camerasize has a to-scale drawing of the E-PM1 and G3 side-by-side. The G3 isn't huge, but it is bigger. The E-PM1 is actually taller once the VF-2 is attached.

    The other tradeoff is the JPEG colors - most people find the colors of JPEGs from Olympus colors significantly more pleasing. But if you want an external flash and an EVF, the Panasonic G/GH-series and E-M5 are the only options

    DH
     
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  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I had an E-PM1 and I liked it quite a lot. But between the EPM-1 and the G3 I would choose the G3. It has a better sensor, built-in EVF, built-in flash, articulating LCD (that is not in 16x9 format so it looks larger), has a touch screen and a better grip. That said, they are really aimed at different audiences. The EPM-1 is a small go anywhere camera that is not much bigger than an advanced point and shoot with interchangeable lens flexibility. The G3 is a more traditional mini DSLR body styled camera. They are both excellent and it really depends on what you like.

    As to what you give up going to a Panasonic body...IBIS and Oymous color are the two biggest things. In my case I do not find either of those significant enough to make me regret my decision. IBIS can be very useful but I myself do not have need to have it. As to the vaunted Olymous color, I find that I can adjust the settings in my Panasonic cameras and get them to look very similar to my Olympus cameras. Of course not everyone would agree with me and YMMV. In my mind the most significant loss would be the fact that the EPM-1 (in fact all newer Olympus cameras) have superior metering and AWB.

    Both cameras have strengths and weaknesses and you really can't go wrong with either one.
     
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  4. jgmankos

    jgmankos Mu-43 Regular

    88
    Apr 9, 2012
    Slatington, PA
    John
    Thanks for that link...that's a big help. Wasn't aware of that site.
     
  5. riveredger

    riveredger Mu-43 Regular

    130
    Aug 30, 2010
    Northern NJ
    G3. Using the EVF will give you better stabilization than the the IBIS of the EPM1. You will get the better sensor and articulated screen as well. In my opinion, the G3 is a much more complete solution.
     
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I agree with Kevin. They are not entirely directly comparable, and they also have different strengths/weaknesses. Having said that, here's my support for the EPM1:

    I tried both, and the high ISO of the G3 is better than the EPM1 by a little bit (maybe a stop), but the size of the EPM1, especially with the 14 or 20, is hard to beat. I also found the WB and especially the exposure of the EPM1 to be far more reliable than the G3. I spend a lot less time with EPM1 shots in post, than I did with the G3.

    I thought I'd get more resolution out of the G3's higher MP count, but I didn't see any significant difference. Maybe it's down to a weaker AA filter on the EPM1, balancing it out???

    The small LCD doesn't bother me, though it might for you. I also prefer the Oly menus, which is a personal thing. I did not find the grip of the G3 to be anything of an advantage (YMMV) and ever since adding 2 little clear rubber furniture feet to my EPM1, I think it's actually very easy to hand hold.

    My EPM1 did have an IBIS issue, but it was corrected by Oly through a warranty service call, so that's always nice to have.

    I also think a white EPM1 is just a plain better looking camera. :biggrin:

    Used EPM1s are very cheap right now, too. I noted one on this very site for only $200 (body only).

    That's my commercial in support of the EPM1.

    Good luck with your search!

     
  7. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    CameraSize has a new tool that let's you attach lenses to bodies in the comparison shots. Here are both of the bodies compared from above with the kit lenses attached:

    E-PM1 w/ 14-42mm v. Panny G3 w/ 14-45mm

    As you can see from that link, the G3 is significantly thicker than the E-PM1 (though you also need to consider the size of the EVF on the Mini for a direct comparison).

    Kevin (dixeyk) has pretty well nailed this one as far as the feature differences between these bodies. These are really different beasts and which is best depends on the application. If you want something pocketable, then the PEN Mini with a pancake lens cannot be beat. However, if using flash with an EVF is paramount to you, then it just doesn't fit your needs.

    That said, the use cases for an EVF and flash may not overlap that much in practice: in indoors when you want to use flash, then the LCD should be sufficient (unless you are using the EVF to nail manual focus), while outside in bright sunlight when the LCD is unusable, you probably don't need flash (unless you are using fill flash with a backlit subject).

    Other options to consider (besides the Panny G and GH series and Oly E-M5) would be the Oly bodies which can control an off-camera Oly flash via their optical wireless sensor. This feature is available in the E-PL1, E-PL2 and E-P3.
     
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    WT21 is spot on with the benefits of the E-PM1 and it is a heck of a bargain. It really just comes down to preference. As much as I liked mine it came down to a matter of biology...I found it too small for my hands. If you have the option to go handle them I highly recommend that as a way to help decide.
     
  9. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    Different cameras

    As you can see from my sig, I've got one of each. The reason I have two bodies is because they're really different cameras.

    I pretty much agree with much of what others have written. IMO the G3 is not just a little better at high-ISO, it's a LOT better--probably more than one stop. I find this partially compensates for the lack of IBIS, since I can use ISO-1600 comfortably, which I try to avoid at all costs on the PM1.

    The main reason I say the cameras are different is because of their size. The G3 is a small DLSR-style camera--but it's still a DLSR-style camera. It's got a hump. For that reason it will never fit in your pocket, like the PM1 will do attached to a pancake lens. To me, this is a significant advantage of the PM1 and why I end up having it with me more than the G3.

    On the other hand, when IQ is critical, I always reach for the G3 and shoot in RAW. WB isn't as reliable, and the colors can be a little 'off', but since I plan on correcting all that in PP I don't mind. The superior resolution and sensor performance is worth it.

    Handling-wise, they're so different. The PM1 has a spartan layout, which makes sense since it's such a tiny camera. I came to it from an E-PL1, so was used to Oly's peculiar menu system, and have come to appreciate the way it works. The lack of buttons, sometimes maligned in here, is in my view a positive. The G3 is still pretty simple for a G-series camera, but it has the clickable thumb wheel which I think is one of Panasonic's great innovations. I absolutely love it and wish other cameras used the same strategy--one easily manipulated wheel that can be quickly switched between two purposes (or three . . . in M mode clicking the thumb wheel magnifies the image). And of course it has a flip-out LCD, which is nice, but something I tend not to use very often (but appreciate it when I do).

    Hope this helps. Obviously I couldn't decide which was better and got one of each!
     
  10. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Not to hijack this thread, but I'd love for you to expand on this viewpoint. As you can see from my sig I'm an E-PL1 user and despite using the camera for over a year, I still get lost in the menus at times. I've recently had a chance to play with a GF-1 and I really appreciated its controls. If it weren't for the lack of IBIS I think I would swap my E-PL1 for a GF-1 and not look back.
     
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  11. jgmankos

    jgmankos Mu-43 Regular

    88
    Apr 9, 2012
    Slatington, PA
    John
    Thanks everyone who replied.

    I do realize they're two different cameras. I understand the pocketability factor but I don't see that being an issue for me as I find myself using the E-PM1 with the viewfinder anyway...which pretty much cuts alot of the size difference away.

    I'm probably going to go the G3 route. You all were very helpful.
     
  12. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    Sure. For the PENs, the super control panel is key--you can do everything from it. As far as I'm concerned, the only buttons you really need are: (a) one to activate the SCP; (b) one 'extra' to serve as a magnify button when using legacy lenses, or to lock exposure/focus/whatever; (c) one to access the menu system; and (d) one to review. That's all the E-PM1 has! Of course it also has controllers so you can adjust exposure, f-stop, narvigate the SCP, etc., but I find these conveniently placed and easy to use. So for me the absence of lots of buttons is actually a positive given the small size of the camera. I tried an E-P3 for a while and didn't like it, in part because it was hard to find the button you wanted. IMO the smaller a camera gets the fewer buttons it ought to have because otherwise they become difficult to locate. The E-PM1 is pretty much perfect.

    (This is also why I love the clickable wheel on the PENs . . . a single easily located 'button' that can do so many things.)

    EDIT: Once the camera is set up, I find I rarely go into the menus on the PM1. All that customizability (word?) is daunting and confusing at first, but you only have to explore it once and then you're done. Of course you may change things more than I do, but for me simplicity is the key.
     
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  13. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I'll echo Mellow.

    The EPM1 is surprisingly very easy to use. But you do need to turn on the SCP (which is off by default -- dumb, dumb, dumb!)
     
  14. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I agree, it is IMHO a classic. In many ways it is the most impressive of the the newest PEN designs because of what they were able to accomplish with such a minimal control layout.
     
  15. jgmankos

    jgmankos Mu-43 Regular

    88
    Apr 9, 2012
    Slatington, PA
    John
    I just wanted to post back here to comment. This is exactly what I decided on...I sold the Pm1 and got a G3...but then wound up ditching a canon P&S I had and picked up another PM1 to use for a pocket camera.:cool: