EP2 or GF1

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by ptomsu, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. ptomsu

    ptomsu New to Mu-43

    Jan 19, 2010
    First let me say hello here - it is my first post in this forum and I am new to M43, I really like this place!

    I am considering the purchase of an M43 camera, either the GF1 or the EP2. This camera is for exactly the purpose many of you here like M43, which is to have an always with you cam and light equipment but not compromising the IQ, I would say as kind of my Dlux4 or similar P&S high end replacement. I must say that I am using also 35mm FF DSLR (Sony) and MF digital, but for different purposes.

    I have read and followed numerous threads about GF1 and also some about EP2 (and of course EP1) in this forum and other forums, and I must say I really like the look and feel of the EP2, while I am at the same time not so keen about the Oly lenses, as I like more the Panasonic lineup, especially the 1.7/20. And I am kind of used to Panasonic P&S cameras from the Leica lineup (Dlux2, Dlux3, Dlux4). I know one can intermix brands in M43 like camera and lenses, but I am not so sure if that really makes sense and I would really appreciate your thoughts on wether to go with Pana or Oly.

    Maybe an option would be to wait for a GF2, which will hopefully come with a better EVF like the EP2, but not sure if I want to wait as long. And I am not even sure I will use the EVF too often. Well the EP2 has also built in IS, which is a clear advantage, but again I am sure I also can get great results from the GF1 and non OIS lenses.

    Many thanks for your inputs in advance!
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Welcome Home.......

    The Pen with the IS is a big plus in this format. I use the Pen 1 with the 20 almost all the time....If I were getting another camera, I'd get the Pen 1 with the 20. I have the 17 and the FOV is more of what I see naturally but the 20 is the lens in this format.....

    I don't like thoses EVF things so I only use the G1 for work issues which it does very well....hope this helps....
  3. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Just as an aside, if you haven't already read through this threadhttps://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=511 about "Why" people bought their MU-43 cameras - it might be quite insightful.

    And by the way, welcome to MU-43!:biggrin:
  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    First let me say hello here - it is my first post in this forum and I am new to M43, I really like this place!

    Welcome ptomsu, and glad you like the place!

    I am considering the purchase of an M43 camera, either the GF1 or the EP2.

    Both great choices IMO.

    I know one can intermix brands in M43 like camera and lenses, but I am not so sure if that really makes sense...

    I'd encourage you to reconsider that. The ability to mix and match cameras and lenses from different brands is the beauty of having a standard which more than one company uses. It's a major part of the reason why I use MFT and started this forum! Right now, I have two Pana bodies (G1, GH1), but as I spend more money on lenses (Lumix 14-140, 7-14, 20/1.7, etc), it feels very good to me that I'll be able to put these lenses on any body that comes along from Olympus, Pana, or anyone else who joins the system (? Fuji).

    I would not hestitate to change to an Oly body if that proves to be the best fit for me, despite the fact that most of my lenses are Pana.

    Maybe an option would be to wait for a GF2, which will hopefully come with a better EVF like the EP2, but not sure if I want to wait as long. And I am not even sure I will use the EVF too often. Well the EP2 has also built in IS, which is a clear advantage, but again I am sure I also can get great results from the GF1 and non OIS lenses.

    I don't expect a GF2 very soon... Built-in IS is certainly nice for those lenses which don't have it, but I find the Lumix 20/1.7 very consistently handholdable at 1/30s. For most use, I don't miss the IS. Of course, it would be better to have the IS and be able to hold consistently at 1/15s or better, but I see that as a small (to me) plus for the Oly rather than a neg for the Pana.

    I assume you shoot RAW? If so, and if you use a third-party RAW converter which supports both cameras (eg, Lightroom), then the image quality is virtually identical (slightly light AA filter with the Pana, which can be a plus or minus depending on how you view it).

    If you shoot in-cam JPEG, then I would consider the fact that most people regard the Oly results as better, at least for color photography. There are those who disagree or feel that customizing the Pana settings changes this, but that's why I say most. I think the Panasonic in-camera color results are terrific, but I personally prefer the Oly in-camera color results.

    Again, I don't see this as a knock on the Pana at all. Oly is known for their in-camera color processing. They're the only brand I know where hard core RAW shooters sometimes see the results and decide to ditch RAW and just shoot JPEG. Then again, I know Jim Radcliffe was very happy with the in-cam JPEGs from his GF1 so clearly the quality there is very high as well.

    The Pana in-camera black and white mode seems to be very highly regarded (as it is on your D-LUX 4, but with better image quality). I hear Pana praised for in-cam B&W more often than I hear Oly praised for the same.

    The GF1 has a built in flash (none for the Oly) and from what I have seen in a review, will AF the Pana 20/1.7 slightly faster (ie, 0.4s vs 0.5s).

    If you want the Pana 20/1.7, the GF1 kit arguably offers better value for money than the E-P2 plus buying Pana 20/1.7 separately.
    Above all, though, I would see if you can handle both cameras before choosing. They feel different, and the controls and menu systems are very different. Here, I'm partial to the Pana system (despite being an Oly E-410 and E-420 owner in the past), but this is a personal preference only. You may hold both and find the Oly more intuitive.

    Those are just a few random thoughts...
  5. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hi ptomsu, and welcome to the forum!

    it looks like you've already done a fair amount of research - you mention that you like the look and feel of the E-P2... does this mean that you've had a chance to try it out in person?

    What kind of photography do you expect to use your 'always with you' camera for most often? would it be portraiture in low light for instance? or landscape, or street photography? or general walkabout opportunities?

    Would you be looking to shoot primarily in raw, jpeg or no preference?

    Do you have any preference for B&W, colour or wish to experiment with different styles (I'm thinking Art Filters in the camera, or Post Processing of raw files) of image presentation?

    You mention having a 35mm DSLR and MF digital - are you an experienced photographer then? do you enjoy shooting Manual exposure? how do you feel about noise in your images?

    Just a few questions which could give us more pointers towards which camera may suit you best... but the GF1 and E-P2 are so close, you could hold both and go with your gut instincts... and still enjoy a superb camera.

    Finally, if you're considering the E-P2, I would highly recommend the mZD 14-42mm kit with the 20mm f1.7 as your second lens. It makes a superb travel kit.


  6. ptomsu

    ptomsu New to Mu-43

    Jan 19, 2010
    Brian, all - thanks for the warm welcome in this forum!

    I had the EP1 in my hands, as well as the GF1 - really liked both of them, the main issue is that I am kind of used to the menues and operation of Panasonic because of my Pana (Leica) history, rather than the Olympus menues. Having said that I really like the look of the Oly, and I am sure the IS will be a big PLUS.

    I have yearlong experience with photography, analog and digital, and I had already Olympus 43 cameras, but moved away to Sony as well as MF - Hasselblad over the time. The M43 would be for me a great addition for my daily shooting, where I neither want to carry my H3D or my Sony A900. For example if I travel for business. Or if I just do a walk in the forests. Or if I visit a jazz concert and want to take some pictures. So no special genre but rather multiple areas of usage. Landscape, portrait, still, available light etc.

    I usually shoot in RAW, using mainly C1Pro for all my RAW work except Phocus for the Hasselblad of course. I have used Aperture and Lightroom extensively in the past, but turned away from both, as I am much more satisfied with C1Pro, Phocus and PS CS4. So not an easy answer her, I obviously like high quality, flexibility etc.

    On the other side I am free to be convinced by good JPEG engines in cameras, if they deliver the quality I am looking for, then I could give up for that part of photography my RAW workflows.

    Now coming back to EP2 or GF1, I am very much attracted by the EP2 because it has integrated IS and offers a number of art filters for JPEG, but I do hesitate a bit on the Oly lens lineup for M43, as it is quite restrictive compared to Panasonic. And as I said, I am not sure I will need the EVF, maybe I fall in love with it but then I need to own the camera and use it extensively first with EVF.

    I am usually shooting more color and no B&W so far.

    I think I am more drawn to the EP2 than to the GF1, just do not want to make the failure to buy the "wrong" camera for me and then sell it in order to get the right one. But on the other hand prices for M43 are not so high that one could not just try, but if I can avoid by getting all your feedbacks I definitely would prefer that.

    AND - there are other forums which have a very focused view on one or the other M43 brands, as you Brian are aware of, as you are also posting in this forum. But asking the same question in this forum will not bring any objective answer, so I just stay away from it and try to get the answer here :smile:


    • Like Like x 1
  7. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hi Peter,

    the E-P1/2 is more configurable, and is hence more complex - once you have the camera set to your preferences, you can save the settings to the Custom reset slot (there are 2 available, but I only tend to need 1) for a rapid return to your prefered state.

    The other features worth considering, are inbuilt flash for the GF1, electronic levels for the E-P1/2, Auto ISO in Manual exposure mode for the E-P1/2, high res EVF for the E-P2.

    Also, even for raw shooters, Olympus colour and the Art filters are available via Olympus Master (included with the camera) or Olympus Studio.

    Finally, as Amin said above - the lenses are totally interchangeable... so you can relax and choose the m4/3rds lens you prefer. The Lumix 20mm f1.7 is a fantastic lens for the E-P1/2... really benefits from IBIS.


  8. alc217

    alc217 New to Mu-43

    Hi Peter --

    Welcome to the forums! I'm also new, but have been lurking in the background for a while now...

    I own both GF-1 and the E-P2, though admittedly, I've only had the E-P2 for less than a week at this point. So my thoughts will be skewed on that alone...

    When I bought the GF-1, I had made the decision based on how I typically shoot, and what was important to me:
    1) built in flash
    2) faster focusing (I know, I know, this is hotly debated)
    3) EVF availability

    The built-in flash wasn't that great, but once I added my DIY diffuser, it was fantastic to have portable fill flash whenever I needed it.

    Being used to an SLR (and dSLR), my first instinct was to bring the GF-1 up to my face. But the EVF was a serious disappointment. I thought it was good until someone showed me the G1 and GH1 EVFs, and I seriously wondered what happened at the Panny product development labs.

    Having jumped ship from Nikon, I found that the Panny menus were really easy to get used to and in general seemed very intuitive. With the latest firmware release allowing for 1-click manual focus assist on the Panny, I was pretty much sold.

    Fast forward to the E-P2 release... and everyone raved about the new EVF! But interestingly, the reason why I started thinking about making the switch was that I didn't think about one thing... the lenses I would use. My father found his old cache of MD Rokkor lenses from the 1950s, and they were still in PRISTINE condition. All of the sudden, I had 5 manual lenses, in addition to 2 other MF lenses that I already had. The in-body IS of the E-P1/2 was suddenly VERY attractive.

    So far, this is what I've found with the E-P2:
    1) the in-body IS really is helpful with the MF lenses. I find it a lot easier to pull off the shots now down to 1/10, 1/13.
    2) the menu structure really confuses me. (Granted, it may still be too early to tell, as I'm fresh off the Panny menu.) I dislike that I have to switch to a different screen to get the zoom box in order to go into MF assist. I don't want to have to go to different "live-view" screens to get my histogram, or my level indicator, or my zoom box, or my guide lines...
    3) the EVF really is AMAZING. I was blown away. I feel like it's better than the GH1... but maybe I'm just justifying my purchase to myself. :tongue:

    Handling.. well, I feel that the GF-1 fits my hands just a little better, but again, that could be familiarity rather than something "objective". The E-P2 is definitely heavier than the GF-1, and I won't get into this area too much, cos it really depends on the individual user.

    At the end, it comes down to using the different cameras and seeing what you like. Spending 30 min to an hour at the shop isn't going to do it. If you have a friend that has one of these cameras, beg to borrow it for a day.

    As you mentioned, since you're used to the Panny menu system, you may also run into the same frustrations I've been facing. But I'm also sure that over time, I'll get used to the Oly menus as well.

    (Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now. :redface:)

    Good luck... either way, you'll end up with an awesome camera!

    • Like Like x 1
  9. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Hi Peter,

    Welcome to the MU43 "Pond" and this site in particular.

    For me, my choice of camera has always been driven by the product meeting a certain set of functions "I want and will use", and then just as importantly - how the camera feels to me when handled: is the size right for my hands, do the controls fall easily to hand and do they offer quick access to the functions I need, is the LCD of good enough resolution to allow accurate framing/viewing of the image and two of the most important to me - does it offer fast AF and finally, is there any shutter lag.

    This was the base criteria I used in my choice of the GF1 but I must stress, there is so little to differentiate the EP series from the GF1 in terms of image quality that it does come down to personal choice and the slightly faster AF and higher resolution screen of the GF1 did it for me.

    I like others would not expect a GF2 any time soon, the GF1 has proved itself a worthy contender and it was as a direct result of comparisons and criticisms of the EP1 in comparison to the GF1 that the EP2 with EVF arrived - if you sit and wait, you may never take the plunge and get caught in that next model to be released trap.

    Both the Panasonic and Olympus cameras turn out superb results as can be seen from many posts on this site so again, it comes down to functions and fit for you personally.

    Good luck in your choice.