EP-2 owner - buy the premium 17mm or upgrade the body and use the old pancake

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by Denizz, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Denizz

    Denizz New to Mu-43

    Dec 17, 2013
    Hello everybody,

    I am a bit on crossroads on what my next purchase is going to be. I currently own an Olympus EP-2. I bought it about two years ago and I have never regretted accidently stumbling on buying it 'new' for 250 euros including the 17mm pancake lens. I love how people think it is 1960s camera which you put filmrolls in, and even more how surprised people are about the quality of the pictures which roll out of this camera.

    I currently own the following lenses: Olympus 17mm pancake F2.8, Olympus 14-42mm kit lens (second hand, the old model), and the Olympus 45mm F1.8.

    Now during daylight, all is well. I generally take the 17mm pancake with me. I know its not the best lens around, but for me it does its job perfectly. Ofcourse when I do not need to carry light (or covert when I am in a less safe area and need to hide my camera under behind my jacket) I take the kit zoom instead. However, I also take alot of pictures during parties during night. The light situations are very variable. What I do not like however is a flash. It makes me look like a ghost, and other people as well :biggrin:. I just refuse to buy one for my camera.

    So my EP-2 + F2.8 17mm pancake just barely cope with the task. I get quite some good pictures, but 75% is ruined. I thought, lets buy the 45mm F1.8 because its lower aperature. However it is too cramped for me. It is great for taking pictures at the bar of like 2-3 persons, but when a group whats to get on I have to walk like half the room away from the group, which is not always possible. Please note that I am not a professional and just shoot for fun at parties at (for example) my student association in exchange for some beers.

    Now I am wondering what would be better:

    Get an Olympus E-M5 with my current lens setup or an 17mm F1.8 for my E-P2.

    Is the Olympus E-M5, with its increased 'high-iso sensitivity' able to cope with my F2.8 pancake in low-light situations? Or would buying the 17mm f1.8 be a better idea for my situation? Would the new Olympus cameras provide a noticable improvement in daylight situations over my EP-2, or would the new f1.7 actually provide a larger improvement over my kit-lens assortment?
  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Well, Oly still is giving cashbacks if you buy a lens with an E-M5 right? I think the question is whether the blur/trouble you have is down to camera shake, or people moving. If the former, the E-M5 with its fantastic IBIS is a no brainer.

    I don't own either 17, but 1.8 is a big difference from 2.8, and it is by all accounts a much better lens.
  3. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    i would get a new body... the 17 1.8 is nice but not stellar and ep2 has a thick aa filter and cant handle over 800 so even a 1.8 in poor light will still be an issue for you whereas the new gen camera bodies will give you way more leyway. The 2.8 would be the iq limiter on em5.... that said a new cheaper omd is almost announced... so the ep5-pl-m2 might be drop soon in price...
  4. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Welcome to the user group!

    I would almost always say glass over body upgrades, but it is quite a leap in DR and noise performance when going from the E-P2/3's sensor to the current best m4/3 sensors (E-M5 and newer). I think you will see a more noticeable improvement with the body update than you would on the speedier lens.
  5. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I'd suggest the body upgrade in this case. The IBIS and high ISO performance improvements will help a lot - with the f/1.8 lens you will probably have to stop down a bit for group shots anyway, to get everyone in focus.
  6. MiguelATF

    MiguelATF Mu-43 Veteran

    It all depends on the quality of the 'copy' of your 17mm lens.

    I had the same lens for around a year - and in spite of reading many reviews and analyses which all seemed to demonstrate or prove that the lens was inferior to various other lenses (including the highly acclaimed Panasonic 14mm and 20mm pancake lenses), I found the reverse -

    My slow cheap 17mm Olympus pancake lens was superb and the equal, in real-world photographic abilties, of many higher-rated lenses.

    I still regret selling it - which I did mainly because I wanted a wider angle/field of view.

    The other photographer who also reviewed his copy or should I say copies of the pancake Olympus 17mm lens is Bill Beebe - either on his own blog or on Thew's Reviews, can't remember which - but he also got excellent/superb results from the 'lowly' Olympus pancake.

    Obviously there are good and less good and occasionally bad 'copies' of every lens.

    But if you have a good one - I would suggest by all means that you keep it - and upgrade to a body with a better sensor, wider dynamic range, etc etc. The M5 is great. So is the E-P5. So, surprisingly, is the underrated E-PL5 and its sister camera, the E-PM2. And on the Panasonic side of things, if you've got a bit more cash lying around, the GX7 is superb.

    I realize what I'm suggesting may be at odds withthe advice of other very good and probably more experienced photographers than myself - but at the end of the day there probably is no one 'right' answer.

    Good luck with your decision making process.
  7. Darren Bonner

    Darren Bonner Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 1, 2013
    Poole UK
    I've recently got a copy of the 17mm f/2.8 lens that Olympus UK are giving away with the EPL5 & EPM2. My copy is nice sharp and contrasty and I'm keeping it, even though I have a copy of the panasonic 20mm lens.
    I too have come up from using the older 12mp bodies to the 16mp bodies, I would say go with the body upgrade on this occasion.
  8. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I own and use an e-P1 with the 17mm too.
    I strongly suggest (hear that? Strongly) you buy the mZuiko 40-150mm which are often sold cheaply, even new. I cannot believe you do not own that lens.

    After that, sure, get something new to take a VF-2/VF-4
  9. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    Denizz, if you can swing it, consider the E-PL5 + 17/1.8. I have to agree that the body upgrade is significant. But so is the jump to the 17/1.8 imo.

    You can get the E-PL5 + 14-42 + 40-150 for $500 right now, and the 17/1.8 for $400. Sell the kit lens and 40-150 for $200 and you have your upgraded body + 17/1.8 for $700 out of pocket.
  10. Denizz

    Denizz New to Mu-43

    Dec 17, 2013
    Hi everybody, thank you for your answers.

    I think I need to mention that I am from the Netherlands we unfortunally pay MUCH higher prices for our photography stuff it seems. I checked out B&H photo and wow, the 17/1.8 costs like 400 dollar while back home we pay 559 euro for it (like 700 dollar?)

    I do happen to live in Curacao, Dutch Caribbean now so B&H and other American photography shops are not out of reach due to prohibitive shipping costs (I saw UPS shipping here for 'only' 40 dollars).

    The E-PL5 option mentioned above, isn't it a step back from functionality (I mean with the buttons and stuff) from my EP-2? I am also not good at selling stuff and might sell the kit lens for much cheaper than it actually is.

    @ MichealATF, I dare to say I have a robust copy of the 2.8 pancake. I do not notice much difference in sharpness with my kit zoomlens, although they 'draw' a different kind of image. Ofcourse the pancake gets some 'errors' (forgot the correct terms) in the corners, but nothing which really ruins the image. It doesn't help that I tend to leave my apperature on F2.8 in broad daylight though :p.
  11. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    I actually made this same decision. I got a refurbished EM5, which unfortunately needed further fixing under warranty. Once that was hashed out, it was a great decision. The new sensor, EVF, much better AF, and the superb IBIS make it a huge upgrade from the EP2. I also don't think the old 17 is a bad lens.
  12. Denizz

    Denizz New to Mu-43

    Dec 17, 2013
    Do you have a good source of refurbished EM-5s? I think my EP-2 was refurshied as well (or pixmania, the online store where I bought it had a t****** of them left) so I don't mind that.
  13. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    I have had good luck with refurbs from Cameta camera, but it looks like they are out of stock at the moment.

    It looks like Olympus themselves has them in stock, though, the price seems a bit high ($719) given the rebate on new ($899).
  14. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    For the money you might be able to get both. The PM2 is the cheapest way to the the new 16MP sensor and that's only $300 if you're lucky.
  15. Denizz

    Denizz New to Mu-43

    Dec 17, 2013
    I do not like the micro's. The reason is that my hands are shakey, and they always are. I like my EP-2 because it got some extra 'bulkiness', but not too much. I don't like a Canon or Nikon DSLR hanging on my neck, but the PEN is comfortable hanging on my neck. The extra bulkiness helps me with keeping a stable image. This is also the reason I hate compact camera's. I have a Galaxy S3 as cellphone, which for a cellphone has quite an alright snapper. But if conditions worsen, I just shake too much to get a decent image ;).

    I am actually quite surprised by my EP-2s IS to handle my shakey hands. However, I think the Pen Micros are too 'small' to be able to be propperly handled by me. Also, I am probably too used by the EP-2s handling with the dials to get used to the micro's more 'compact camera like' handling.

    Now we got to that point, how much heavier is an EM-5? I never have seen one in real life, nor handled one.
  16. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Have you ever held a bar of gold? Feels the same :) Camera is heavier but lighter than the CaNikons. You can get them used for a good price now. One sold for $460 on ebay last week but they're still going for around $600 used.
  17. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    E-P2 is 335 g (367 g plus VF-2) without battery
    E-M5 is 425 g without battery

    Using the viewfinder improves stability as your head tends to be more stable than your hands.
  18. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Yes I'm convinced that extra bulkiness helps the (2-axis) IBIS work properly, so for you I think you're quite right.
    I tested a range of bodies with a few lenses and the proper e-P1 & 2 had the best IBIS of my lot,
    I haven't tried the new 5-axis bodies but I don't need to : their IBIS is far superior.