E-PM2 with two primes: what to upgrade

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by salentijn, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. salentijn

    salentijn New to Mu-43

    Feb 9, 2016
    So I've been using my kit for a couple of years now to great satisfaction. It is a basic kit consisting of an E-PM2, Panny 20mm 1.7 and the Oly 45mm. In addition I have a Sirui tripod for some night photography. This year I will be traveling more intensely and therefore would like to do a small upgrade, but this is limited budget wise as photography is a relatively small hobby for me (mostly travel related and special occasions).

    What I'm looking at is either an E-M10 II or a replacement for the Panny 20mm (probably Oly 17mm 1.8).

    What I'm starting to dislike of the E-PM2 is the ergonomics and lack of good IBIS. I mostly shoot in A mode and changing the ISO and aperture is just not as convenient as dedicated switching wheels. Furthermore this year I'm traveling towards Japan and also Vietnam, and I would like to shoot lowlight/night in cities without a tripod, if possible. I also have a VF-3 lying around but never use it due to poor image quality.

    The Panny 20mm would see a replacement mostly because of its slow AF. It bugs me a lot and have missed shots of people due to slow responsiveness. Also night and lowlight photography can be difficult due to hunting and slow AF. I'm not considering the 25mm of Oly or Panny because that will limit me too much during traveling, the absolute minimum is 20mm in terms of FOV.

    So what would you guys recommend upgrading? I've always claimed that glass is more important and should therefore get the Oly 17mm, and I should simply use the tripod in low light and shouldn't bother with a viewfinder. However I also feel I would really dig the E-M10 II and it would give me the most significant upgrade: wifi, ibis, manual controls, etc. The lens upgrade is only beneficial for AF, from an image quality view the Panny does the job for me at least. But then again, the image quality of the E-PM2 is sufficient to me and the E-M10 II will be no or little better.

    All in all you can read from the above I could really need your help guys, so shoot!
  2. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Get the E-M10 II. The better IBIS, high res EVF, silent shutter (with 1/16000th max shutter in electronic mode) and more tactile controls will give a better overall shooting experience. The 17mm 1.8 is a good lens, but unless you're shooting fast little moving kids, the 20mm will be good enough for your trip.
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  3. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I second the recommendation for the EM10 II (or even a first-gen EM10). It's a significant upgrade over your camera. Of course, there are some nice Panasonic options right now as well.
  4. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 18, 2015
    I would go for an EM10II or a GX7. The EM10 does not have the electronic shutter, which in my opinion is a must have feature to avoid shutter shock or be more stealthy. Choose between panasonic and olympus, depending on your preference. 20mm autofocus is sometimes reported to be better on panasonic bodies but is probably still slow. Otherwise the 17mm is more of a sidegrade and I would probably look towards something that you can't do already, unless you want to keep your kit minimal. I would probably add the .ly 9mm Bodycap or the Samyang Fish to get a different perspective. I love my 9mm and it's less than 100€,
  5. Vivalo

    Vivalo Olympus loser Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2010
    Panasonic body would make your 20mm 1.7 lens focus faster. GX7 could be an alternative for E-M10 mk II. I believe it doesn't have as good EVF and IBIS as the E-M10 but it could make your 20mm faster. One thing to consider is that if you are going to keep your E-PM2 as a backup, then you might want to choose Oly model with the same battery.
  6. Rudy

    Rudy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 24, 2013
    Oakland, CA
    Contrarian view:
    I would recommend the Panasonic 14 mm lens and or the VF4 viewfinder if you can find them for cheap.
    The 14 is very quick to focus and perfect for street shots. On the EPM-2 you won't even notice it's there.
    I had the Oly 17 f/1.8 and sold it, but I'm keeping my P20.
    The VF-4 really turns the EPM-2 into a new camera and I love the tilt feature for low to the ground shots in bright sunlight.
    Since you no longer hold it at arms length the camera will be steadier as well. It is unfortunately still pretty pricey so you will have to decide if you would rather put that money towards a newer body.

    Maybe the better IBIS isn't all that important if your longest lens is 45mm.
    To find a body to upgrade to answer these for yourself. Will you be using:
    electronic shutter
    built-in flash
    faster than 1/4000th shutter
    flip screen
    tilt EVF
    and will any of this result in better images or equally important more enjoyment in your hobby.
  7. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Maybe on an absolute level, but I still found the GX7+20mm unacceptably slow for quick-take shots. Switching to lenses like the 15mm and O25mm was like night and day.
  8. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I have just two points ;
    1. The Olympus 17mm is not a replacement for the Lumix 20mm. Going up in size and down in sharpness would bug me severely.
    2. Since surprising myself with an e-pL7 my e-pM2 doesn't get used ... at all. The newer camera is so well stabilised and faster processing and ... nicer.
  9. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    I took my Panasonic 20mm to My EM-10 (the original) from the E-PL2. It is faster on the EM10 (though perhaps not as fast as other lenses) and just seems like a great match. If you're going to get a new body, maybe keep the 20 at first to see if you like the new combo.
  10. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    I've never noticed that the O17/1.8 wasn't sharp.
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  11. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    To the original poster, I have an E-PM2 and, while I appreciate its compact size, I too feel limited by its lack of mechanical controls. A lower-cost alternative to the E-M10 II, but still with better controls and IBIS than the E-PM2, would be the E-P5 or E-M5 at closeout prices.
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Or of course the first version of the E-M10. $360 refurb ($399 with kit lens) at getolympus.com
  13. stripedrex

    stripedrex Do or do not. There is no try.

    Jun 8, 2012
    Long Island, NY
    Sharpness is most noticeable in low light. If you normally are up to 3200 ISOs the extra grain on the o17 is very noticeable to just about every other prime. Perhaps the Panasonic 15mm is a better option over the 17. Gives you a wider range too, to your o45. And I've have both and notice I could probably crop the 15mm pictures to 17mm and still be the same sharpness. The p15 is VERY sharp and offers nicer bokeh. It has quite a bit more character in my opinion and focuses very fast.
  14. myhl

    myhl Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 29, 2015
    Em10 first or second generation
  15. salentijn

    salentijn New to Mu-43

    Feb 9, 2016
    Thanks for all the input, very useful opinions. General consensus seems to be that a new camera would be the better choice.
    I'm not considering a Panasonic camera as some have suggested. I simply have a 'connection' with Olympus that I completely lack with Panasonic. I like the brand, the heritage: also have a few older analog Olympus camera's so that's simple.
    Also some other lens suggestions: I've already had the 14mm and got rid of it. For me it is not the optimal trade-off between FOV and distortion. Too narrow for really wide landscapes to my liking, too much distortion for photographing people from close.
    Makes me wonder if a 12mm would be a nice addition..... ;)

    I think I'll look around to get an E-M10 II, and maybe even trade my E-PM2 in.
  16. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    I don't understand. High-ISO "grain" has nothing to do with the lens. If the lens is sharp in good lighting, the lens is sharp.
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  17. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    I am happy with the focusing speed of the 20mm on my G5. If I were not happy with it, I would likely have jumped on the $600 E-P5+VF4+17/1.8 deal that Robert's Camera has had off and on for the last couple of months. It'd give you both a better handling camera and a faster-focusing lens. (Downsides are that with the EVF, it is kinda big and it has no silent shutter -- both are reasons I felt it was more of a sidegrade from the G5 than a clear upgrade.)

    I only mention it since I didn't see anybody else mention it.
  18. salentijn

    salentijn New to Mu-43

    Feb 9, 2016
    Sounds like a very good deal! In my country (Netherlands, Europe) the 17/1.8 costs approximately 529EUR/595USD....
  19. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    I have noticed the same thing, but I'm not sure its caused by noise alone. The 17mm 1.8 is less sharp at higher ISO than my 20mm or pretty much any other lens I have, but it's very sharp at lower ISO. Not sure if I'm seeing shutter shock or some kind of issue with focus accuracy in low light with the 17mm? My wife's EM10 doesn't show the banding of the 20mm or the high ISO loss in sharpness of the 17mm 1.8 as much as my EM5. Perhaps the EM10-II and EM5-II improve on that further?
  20. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    I think it comes down to this: will you benefit from the added features of the OMD models? Primarily EVF, controls, and IBIS. Image quality is virtually the same with any of the Olympus 16mp models.

    IBIS is really a game-changer for hand-held low-light photography, but it doesn't negate a tripod completely.

    Keeping the PM2 and adding lenses is probably the best use of your resources.

    The 17mm 1.8 vs 20mm for me is a wash; the 17mm is larger than the 20mm without much difference in field of view, and the 17mm has its own issues with low light... In good light it focuses almost instantly; in very low light, low-contrast it doesn't hunt like the 20mm, but instead s-l-o-w-l-y approaches focus, taking its sweet time. It does usually achieve focus, which the 20mm often doesn't, but the accuracy seems to be slightly off at times. (All this on an EM5, other models may be different.) To be honest, all contrast-detection focus systems will have a hard time in such circumstances, so I wouldn't let that particular detail sway you unless you do a ton of very low light work.

    The 12mm 2.0 will be a great wide-angle lens, but it is expensive. The Panasonic 12-32 would be a good match for the PM2 and give you 12mm FOV, at the expense of a wider aperture. A fisheye (Rokinon, Samyang, etc) will pair well with the PM2 and give you a drastically wider view without breaking the bank...