EPM1 + P20/PL25/O45 vs Budget DSLR + kit lens

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by BigMike, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. BigMike

    BigMike Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Jul 19, 2012
    Hi all,

    Recently updated from a P&S to the EPM1. So far the EPM1 + kit lens has been an obvious step up in IQ from my previous P&S in good light, however in lowlight indoor enivronments, it's still average at best. I understand from reading previous threads, to improve lowlight shots, it's best to invest in a fast lens such as the panny 20mm, pl 25mm or olympus 45mm. But once you factor in the cost of these additional lenses, the overall costs would exceed many budget dslr with kit lens such as canon 550D, nikon D3200 or sony a37.

    Having not used a dslr before, my question is, ignoring the obviously size difference, would a budget dslr + kit lens like the ones listed above give me better overall image quality, especially in lowlight compared to an EPM1 + p20, pl25, O45. Just don't want to be spending all this money on expensive lenses when if it makes more sense to just buy a budget dslr, if obtaining the best IQ is my #1 priority.

    Cheers all for your input!
     
  2. Aegon

    Aegon Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Nov 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Generally, kit lenses work best when paired with a trash can. If you want a body that performs better in low light you should still consider getting a good lens.

    The D3200 with a $200 50mm f/1.8G lens will work wonders in low light, same for the 35mm f/1.8G. If low light shooting is your main thrust, then get the D3200, throw away the kit lens, buy the primes, and be happy.

    The E-PM1 is particularly bad in low light, using the older 12MP sensor.

    When the light gets good then I'd probably prefer an E-PM1 with O45/1.8 over the D3200 with 50/1.8. The 45mm lens is mega, focusing is quick, colors are (in my opinion) better, and the body is more compact.

    Anyway, this is all an exercise in line drawing. The $400 E-PM1 cannot match the $700 D3200, which cannot match the $2200 D700, which cannot match the $3000 D800. Whichever body you choose at least get a good lens.
     
  3. BigMike

    BigMike Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Jul 19, 2012
    Yes, I get your point about the importance of getting a quality lens regardless. I guess I posed the original question because here in Aust, micro 4/3 cameras and lenses are quite expensive (e.g. p20 is $359 in US but $539 in Aust) so it very easy to get the itch and drop a lot of dough on a micro 4/3s kit relative to a dslr kit...
     
  4. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez

    OP, I disagree with the above quote, even though I have read it here more then once.

    I have a E-pl1, with that same older 12MP sensor and It isn't that bad in low light, in fact, some of my shots come in pitch darkness. It just takes a different technique, which btw is the same technique I use on my Sony A65, Canon t2i, Canon t4i.

    I do use fast primes, and one of my better primes is a Sony 35mm f/1.8, that lens is fabulous.

    for low light/night/pitch darkness I prefer the Panny 20mm f/1.7, this lens is a absolute jewel on the (older sensor e-pl1)....

    these were shot with the E-pl1, P20mm f/1.7, in pitch darkness, other then the moon and stars, and some light from my small led flashlight, and I have no doubt what-so-ever that I can get the same results with a E-pm1


    ngt-5.

    ngt-9.


    whatever you decide, get a nice fast prime.....
     
    • Like Like x 8
  5. Low light performance implies obtaining shutter speeds sufficient for hand held shooting, which means higher ISO. That's where the 12mp sensor struggles.
     
  6. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    I go as high as ISO800 with the 12mp sensor......

    which is also why a fast prime is a must, as I shoot wide open, +ISO bump, can give me those faster shutter speeds for non static subjects in lowlight or static subjects hand held.

    but alas, ISO800 may not cut it...
     
  7. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    hand held low light shot - e-pl1 + oly 45mm wide open to enable a faster shutter speed...

    old 12 megapixel sensor did ok.

    mu45-3.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. BigMike

    BigMike Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Jul 19, 2012
    littleMT, those car shots are mighty fine! Fine wheels as well!

    I've tried the p14 expecting better lowlight results but it didn't happen, only marginally better than the kit lens.

    I'm still enjoying travelling light, so I might invest in the p20 and see how that plays out...
     
  9. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez

    I love the p14, but I do find that lens is more noisy for lowlight then the 20mm....

    the p14 is my prefered daytime lens, though it can do lowlight, when I use it in pitch darkness is when the noise crops up.... but some noise reduction helps alittle..

    this was shot with the 14mm at f/2.5, i did use a tripod, and it was pitch black out. you can see noise in the shadows, though the image was still usable, the Vette owner was happy with it... I wasn't so much, I tried over and over and over with the 14mm, and find the 20mm is better for lowlight.

    vt-6.
     
  10. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    When I shoot hand held, I almost always shoot wide open, with the fastest shutter speed the scene will allow, I bump iso as a last resort, and I do this regardless of my E-pl1 12 megapixel sensor or my Sony A65 24 megapixel Apsc sensor.

    I calm my self down, and breath very slowly, get real relaxed, and the camera becomes a extenson of my body, I find this little technique aides me greatly with hand held shots, and yes I get blurry ugly deleters, but always manage to snap some useable stuff..

    if handheld, I try to make myself the tripod...
     
  11. pharaviel

    pharaviel Mu-43 Veteran

    313
    Jun 20, 2011
    Reggio Emilia, Italy
    Daniele Frizzi
    If you happen to trash a 14-45 panasonic kit lens, make sure you use my trash bin :)

    Joke aside, I'm with you when we talk about low light images. Adapting old lenses could be a cheap way to get fast lenses!
     
  12. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    the OMD 12-50 kit lens, on my e-pl1, at midnight, handheld.

    calb12-2.

    calb12-4.


    calb12-1.
     
  13. BigMike

    BigMike Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Jul 19, 2012
    Yes, I need to master the art of becoming a tripod...I have a long way to go judging by my my shots compared to those posted by others.
     
  14. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Wow Lucille ...u are on fire today ..lol
    Love these shots and I don't think buying Nikon D3200 will make OP a better photographer . EPM1 with Oly 45 , Panny 20 and Panny 25 mm 1.4 is much better than D3200 with kit lens . There are enough examples of low light photography my many MFT shooters here . EPM1 will beat Nikon hands down .I would suggest to go for OMD though.
    Cheers
     
  15. BigMike

    BigMike Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Jul 19, 2012
    OMD? I like the idea, now I just need to fine enough stuff to pawn.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  16. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    523
    Sep 5, 2010
    Me too. :smile:
     
  17. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Lets do some maths my friend -
    EPM1 Body USD 299+ PL25 mm 1.4 USD 539+Oly 45 mm 1.4 USD 339+ Panny 20mm 1.7 USD 359 =1539 and u still have some doubts about low light performance .
    Now OMD with kit lens is for USD 1199 and just add PL25 mm 1.4 and Oly 45 mm 1.8 and u are done .
    To confuse u a bit more , I would pick up Pentax K-30 over Nikond3200 anyway actually and Pentax offers truck load of beautiful lenses.
    Cheers
    Bhupinder
     
  18. BigMike

    BigMike Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Jul 19, 2012
    Thanks for the maths lesson, but to clarify, I don't yet have the PL25, O45 or P20...I was just posing the question whether any of the lenses paired with the EPM1 would give equivalent/better results than say a budget dslr + kit lens (which would cost less) before I drop more dough on lenses. In all honesty, I'm not a fanboy of dslr, so I was just fishing for reassurance for people out there that sticking with the EPM1 can give adequate lowlight performance with the right lens, judging by littleMT's photos, there is hope...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    LOL...than the best thing to do is pick up Panasonic GX1 body for 435USD and add PL 25 1.4 and u have a combo which will outperform Nikon D3200 with kit lens combo .
    Cheers
    Bhupinder
     
  20. BigMike

    BigMike Mu-43 Regular

    71
    Jul 19, 2012
    Yes, I've read about GX1's lowlight performance, will consider that option too, thanks!