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E-PM1 vs GF3

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by michaelsmp, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. michaelsmp

    michaelsmp Mu-43 Rookie

    10
    Oct 7, 2011
    New Jersey
    Not sure if anyone has done a direct comparison between the 2, I did a quick search and didn't find anything. So here's my brief comparison of the 2 "pocketable" m4/3s.

    AF Focus Speed: Tie. Both are fast, the E-PM1 may be a hair faster but it's hardly noticeable.

    Body Design: GF3 wins. Both feel solid and designs are slick (although the GF3 is a bit more curvy, perhaps to appeal to the female population) but the GF3 has a hand grip which is a big plus. You can buy an add-on grip for the E-PM1 but then you can no longer buy a form-fitting case for it. The E-PM1 does have a hot shoe but is it really necessary? I wouldn't really use a EVF on it since it will serve as a grab & go camera, the only other practical use is the flash but I prefer the GF3 with the flash incorporated into the body. Don't get me wrong, a hot shoe is a very nice feature but not at the expense of eliminating the in-body flash as in the case of the E-PM1.

    Operation & Control: GF3 wins. Both are simple to use with easy to find controls and a dedicated video button. But I like really the touch screen feature on the GF3. Although it's not a captive touch-screen like your smartphone, it still works pretty well. I love being able to focus and shot by touching the object on the screen, a great feature in my opinion.

    Art/Custom Filters: E-PM1 wins. The E-PM1 has much better filters, I love the pin-hole, soft-focus and grainy film. The GF3 has custom filters too but it's nothing special.

    Conclusion: I sold the E-PM1 and kept the GF3. In the end, the in-body flash and touch screen focus and shoot feature won me over. I do need to point out 2 features that the E-PM1 has an advantage over the GF3, the stereo mic and IBIS. Although it would be great if the GF3 had a IBIS, I don't think I will miss it all that much since I will primary be using pancake prime lenses on the GF3.

    Lastly, I would like to point out that the prices for the E-PM1 has been dropping. I wonder if it's a case of people preferring the E-PL3 or GF3. Maybe it's because of all the negative news coming from the Olympus camp. In any case, I feel both the E-PM1 & the GF3 are a perfect choice for anyone wanting a backup pocketable m4/3.
     
  2. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Thanks for the thoughts..but if you're going to only mostly use pancake primes wouldn't IBIS be even more useful (since there's only OIS in the long zooms)?
     
  3. michaelsmp

    michaelsmp Mu-43 Rookie

    10
    Oct 7, 2011
    New Jersey
    I guess you make a good point. I haven't noticed much blur when using 20mm or 14mm lenses. Only when I use longer focal lengths do I notice the blur.
     
  4. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    It depens how you use the camera. To me E-PM1 is not just grab and go (it can be if you want) but a full featured camera. Yes, GF3 has built-in flash but it's underpowered and offers no flash exposure compensation (so much for bouncing). Panasonic cripled GF3 by eliminating compatibility with remote shutter and allowing only mono sound for video. E-PM1 offers full manual control over video including adding external mic.
    Touch screen is a useful feature but I still prefer 35 small AF points on E-PM1. I have no doubt that GF3 has better build (like all Panasonic cameras I've dealt with).
    GF3 pros: bigger touchscreen 3:2? And built-in flash. E-PM1 - everything else.
     
  5. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    To me the E-PM1 is the best of the compact m43. It has exactly what is needed, and no more.

    1) Accepts an EVF. The EVF is a must for me in bright light, and in general I find it easier to frame with than the rear LCD.

    2) Small and light. The E-PM1 is easily 30% lighter than my old E-P2, and substantially smaller.

    3) IBIS. An advantage over the GF3.

    4) No mode dial and the ability to lock the settings controls. No accidental settings changes (unlike the E-P2, and it looks like, the E-P3).

    5) Excellent price. I got mine for $450 2 weeks ago.

    Indeed, I'd say the E-PM1 is the bargain cousin of the E-P3. True, it has fewer controls and a smaller grip, but I use the SCP to change settings, and the $30 add-on grip is at least as good as the one the E-P3 has. The camera delivers equal quality output with not much hassle for half the price.

    I guess if you want a built-in flash, prefer to frame with the rear LCD or use a touch-screen for controls, the GF3 might be the better option. But I think the E-PM1 is definitely the most compelling of the Pens.

    DH
     
  6. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    The E-PM1 isn't a compact, it's a micro DSLR! The E-PM1 does everything my D3/D700 can do, granted on a smaller scale. It's a damn fine camera which has now become my main M43 camera. I'm almost tempted to get another since the prices are so cheap.
     
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Built in flash... over a hotshoe flash? No way! :eek: I'd take a hotshoe flash over a pop-up flash any day! That and the EVF of the E-PM1 make the E-PM1 an obvious choice for me over the GF3.

    Also don't forget that if you really do like the having a tiny consumer flash and don't want a hotshoe flash (that would not be me, lol), that the little accessory flash of the E-PM1 comes in the box. It's not an extra accessory, it's right there with your purchase just like the GF3 flash.

    I don't mean to down the GF3 or make out like the E-PM1 is simply "better", as they each have their advantages and disadvantages. I just find it odd that the GF-3's pop-up flash would be listed as an "advantage" when the advantage clearly goes to the E-PM1 in that regards, which has a hotshoe for external flash, wired sync, or wireless triggers, as well as an accessory "pop-up" flash WITH built-in Remote Flash Commander for full wireless TTL control! Plus the pop-up flash can be removed and packed away for those of us who never use it or don't use it all the time. Like, how many ways is that better than the GF-3's pop-up flash?
     
  8. michaelsmp

    michaelsmp Mu-43 Rookie

    10
    Oct 7, 2011
    New Jersey
    All points well taken. If one was choosing between the 2 as their main camera, then yes the E-PM1 would be the better choice. I guess in my case, if I wanted a stronger flash, remote & EVF, etc. I would use my GF1 or G1. The hot shoe accessories adds bulk to the E-PM1 which I think kind of defeats the purpose.
     
  9. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    563
    Sep 3, 2011
    L.A.
    Jonathan, do you not miss the physical controls with the E-PM1? I would eventually like to get a second body (not just a backup) to my E-P3, and wonder whether the difference in control layout between that and the E-PM1 would not cause me frustration.
     
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Not really. I like the minimalist functions of the E-PM1. I just like the fact it's so small, I don't look like a paparazzi. I really have no problems with the lack of buttons. Though my E-PM1 buttons are all customized.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I agree that all in all, less bulk is better, but some things are essential. Obviously if their was a compact model with a built-in EVF, it would be preferable in that respect, but after 3 years there still isn't one, so no point in holding one's breath...

    With better grip options and a better screen, the E-PM1 is close to meeting my ideal for a modular design. Features when you want 'em. Compactness when you don't. It really is a different camera with the 20/1.7 compared to with the 12-60. It would be even nicer if Olympus or Panasonic explicitly pushed this idea, but it's a good start.

    DH
     
  12. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Don't know where to stick my post

    Before I say anything, I'd first like to say I have had (in this order) a G3, E-PM1, and now GF1 (odd I know).

    Having handled the both Panny and Oly bodies, I must say that I prefer the control layout of Panny (previous LX series owner).

    However, you can find E-PM1s for much cheaper than GF3s! With the cost difference you can pick up a used EVF or tele lens.

    In Canada, the E-PM1 costs a mere $420 at Futureshop.
     
  13. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    I have no idea why they priced the E-PM1 so dang expensive in HK. It is equivalent to over US$600, so I might as well get the E-PL3, with the additonal mode dial and tilt screen, but now that the price of the PM1 is coming down further in the US, it might actually make sense for me to order online and have it shipped to me...

    As far as handling goes, I think people get used to certain control layout, and that becomes their preference. For me, I am so used to the SCP on my PEN, so I prefer its control layout over the Panny's. However, my only complain about the PM1 or PL3 is that the LCD display is too small in the 4:3 configuration.
     
  14. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    You get used to it, just don't use an E-PL2 or E-P3! :wink:
     
  15. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    My problem is I am already using an E-P3, and is looking seriously at the PL3 or PM1 as a second body, but the tiny display is really putting me off. I guess I am already spoiled by the high-res, large display of the E-P3. :frown:
     
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The E-PL3 and E-PM1 have the same display size as the E-P3. They're just a 460K LCD as opposed to a 614K OLED. You won't notice that difference in resolution, but the different monitor types have different qualities. The OLED is brighter and more vibrant, whereas the LCD is truer in color and contrast. I prefer the LCD, myself. I'd rather see what my photo will look like on a computer screen, than to see a mutated version on a different type of screen. The OLED screen has weird color cast problems in different lighting conditions, too. I think the best thing about the E-P3's display is touch to focus (much better than moving around the little green box with the keypad!).
     
  17. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    Thanks for your input, Ned. You are technically correct that both the E-P3 and PL3 or PM3 have the same sized display at 3". However, the aspect ratio of the 2 are different, so one can take advantage of the full OLED display of the E-P3 with the 4:3 ratio, while the two sides of the LCD display of the PL3 or PM3 has two large black space when taking pictures in 4:3 ratio because the display has a 16:9 aspect ratio. Coupled with the lower resolution, I find the difference to be significant. Have you actually compared the 2 displays side-by-side?
     
  18. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I never compared them side by side, but switching between one and the other I never really noticed a big difference besides color balance. The E-PM1 and E-PL3 have the setting info on the sides of the screen instead of overlaying the image. I don't see the point in the wide aspect ratio except for video (which becomes rather small on a 4:3 screen, and with no close-up magnifier to assist in focus that does become troublesome). It is what it is, though. ;)
     
  19. e_kjellgren

    e_kjellgren Mu-43 Regular

    173
    Oct 17, 2011
    Sweden
    Only E-P3 has this feature?

    /Evert
     
  20. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Are you sure about the E-P3? IIRC it has a 3:2 screen. Better than 16:9 certainly, but not 4:3 either.

    Really though, I don't see why we can't finally get a good 920k screen on all bodies, like the Sony Nex or Nikon P7100 have. It's not a cost issue, and it really does make image review more useful. The 600k OLED is okay (I have an XZ-1) but it's not quite as crisp, and it tends to wildly oversaturated colors, which can be quite misleading.

    DH