G3, E-PL3 and m4/3 2 months on.....

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Kiwi Paul, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    729
    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    It's about 2 months since I ventured into m4/3 and sold off all my 4/3 gear so I though I post a thread about my impressions of m4/3 in general and of the gear I've been using.

    I have the the G3 and more recently the E-PL3 m4/3 cameras.



    I bought the G3 because it is a such a good camera, inbuilt EVF (excellent EVF too), flip out touch screen (also excellent), 16Mp sensor and I like it's styling and ergonomics and excellent IQ. It hasn't disappointed either, for me it feels very comfy in the hand and works well with all my lenses (more on that in a bit). It's well built and sized just right and not too heavy either..... However it's not pocketable, not really even with a 20mm pancake lens.

    Enter the the E-PL3, a lovely camera..



    Stylish, small, very functional (tilting screen and IBIS) and very easy to use plus great IQ and pocketable... YES!!! :)
    This is one camera I've really grown to love, it just grows on you, once you have configured it (as with the G3) to your liking. I take it out on dog walks, casual walks, as long as I have a jacket with a pocket it's there with the 20mm pancake lens, what a lovely combo.

    E-PL3, 20mm

    [​IMG]

    The E-PL3 has no EVF but it doesn't really need one, it's design is such that it encourages you to use the screen, it just feels right like that, easy to adapt to, on the contrary the G3 feels more right using the EVF, while the G3 screen is quite up to the task the camera just feels more natural with its ergonomics to use the EVF. I bought a VF-3 for the E-PL3 and wasn't impressed with it, I won't go there, ok it's not that bad but to me the E-PL3 is meant to be used with the screen, it works well like that, just as the G3 is better with the EVF, for me I'll send the VF-3 back and exchange it for the 24mm pancake, I don't think the E-PL3 needs a EVF.

    Lenses... I have the Zuiko 9-18 and 14-150 and the Lumix 20 and 100-300.

    E-PL3, 20mm

    P9250206.

    All really good lenses and all recommended they work well with both cameras, are well built and the IQ is fine. I'll be adding the Lumix 14 f2.5 asap.

    Surprisingly the E-PL3 works well with the Lumix 100-300, looks a bit unwieldy but after you adapt to it they make a comfortable pairing.

    I use the E-PL3 with the 20mm because it's such a portable combo, compact, light and great IQ, the 20mm is a good focal length for a prime lens too and being a f1.7 lens is great for shallow DOF or low light work. I'm getting the 14mm pancake as it's so small it can be carried in a pocket and will enhance my experience when out with the E-PL3 and 20mm.

    E-PL3, 20mm

    P9240187.

    Both cameras have excellent high ISO performance, really impressed, the G3 up to 6400 and E-PL3 12800 (although I feel the E-PL3 limit is really 6400 maybe 8000). Both of them can shoot up to 6400 in the right conditions.

    E-PL3 ISO 6400, Lumix 100-300

    P9200077.

    G3, ISO 3200, Lumix 100-300

    P1000736.

    So do I have any regrets moving to m4/3 and dumping my 4/3 gear?? Absolutely not!!! I love my current kit and really enjoy using it, happy with the quality and the kit in general.

    The surprise for me though is if I REALLY HAD to let one of the cameras go which would it be?? Well the G3 seems to be a better all round package and a slightly higher spec too so would seem the obvious choice, but the E-PL3 has really grown on me, for many reasons and I have to say God forbid if I had to choose, the E-PL3 would be the one I'd keep, but I'd buy a VF-2 for it.

    Long live m4/3!!!

    Paul
     
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  2. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    807
    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Very thoughtful review. Thank you!

    I only have one cam: the E-P3...still everything you've said resonates. I recently got the Lumix 14 and found that I use it more often than the 20mm, so I am selling the latter in favor of the Oly 45. Will be interested to hear your thoughts on the 14mm!
     
  3. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
    Great review, but I'm wondering about about the video quality of the E-PL3 vs G3? Does Oly still clearly lag the Pany in video quality or are the two brands more equal now? In other words, is the 1080 video from the E-PL3 as detailed and colorful as it is on the G3?
     
  4. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    729
    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    I can't answer that, I don't shoot video I'm afraid I'm a still shooter.

    Paul
     
  5. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    In terms of image quality, how do the two cameras compare?
     
  6. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    I'm also curious about that.
     
  7. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    729
    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    To be honest I can't split them, both are very good, even though the G3 has the 16Mp sensor and the E-PL3 a 12Mp sensor.

    The high ISO shots I taken don't favour either camera, nor do the scenic shots at normal ISO's. I don't nit pick so someone who is more fussy than me may pick up a difference but for me I can use either camera and not worry about the IQ.

    Paul
     
  8. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Wonderful review of two of the top offerings in m4/3 bodies today.

    I have a G3, among several other Pany m4/3 bodies, and I love it. Awesome versatility of features, great handling, wonderful IQ.

    And I have an E-PL3 arriving in a couple of days from B&H. I'm looking forward to working with and getting to know the E-PL3.

    I think the pairing of G3 with E-PL3 bodies is a sweet combination of cameras to share what has become a great system of m4/3 lenses.
     
  9. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Based on no real experience but reading reviews and samples, the G3 probably has a slight edge in IQ and noise, but it is definitely not dramatic.
     
  10. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Yes, I'd say so. Each of these two cameras bring different functionality, features, and advantages to the photographer and given that, I think the two make a great pairing of cameras.

    The articulating screen of the G3 and the tilting screen of the E-PL3 allow dramatically different angles of view than typical head/shoulder height angle of view. This is something that I greatly value to enhance creative possibilities in composition and angle of view. For me, cameras which do not have articulating or tilting LCD screens are handicapped for much of the shooting that I like to do.
     
  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Very nice write up. I had very similar reactions, although my comparison point was a GH2. In terms of the EVF, I think you're the only other person who's stated what I felt very strongly with the GH2 - when you have a built in evf and it protrudes both up and back from the camera body, the natural instinct is just to USE it! Maybe not quite all the time, but that always seems to be the most obvious option. I found when I had the GH2, I used the EVF way more than I like using an EVF. I tend to be more comfortable shooting with a good rear screen most of the time, sort of looser, less constrained, more comfortable framing. And a tilting LCD so much the better. So while the Pany was an awesome camera in every way, I just never really grew comfortable shooting with it. Obviously, if you prefer shooting with an evf most or all of the time, one of the Pany's with a built in finder is the clear and obvious choice. But if you don't, its not just another option that's nice to have on the camera, it CAN get in the way of shooting without it. Whether real or psychological, I'm not sure, but I could never get past it and I TRIED!

    With the EP3 I had for a while or the EPL3 that I've settled on, the portable evf is there for the RARE situations where I ever feel I need it (basically just for long lenses these days, and I don't shoot long that much), but its not on the camera the vast majority of the time. And the camera, as you say, just feels more intuitive and natural with the LCD.

    I was also surprised to find that I too was really comfortable with the EPL3 and the 100-300, even before I added a grip to the camera. Without a grip, I don't love the handling of the EPL3 (at least compared to the EP3, but that flip up screen is the "killer app" for me - gotta have it) with smaller lenses. But with a relative behemoth like the 100-300, you're supporting the whole works with your left hand by the lens anyway, so any handling shortcomings of the camera pretty much disappear. And the long lenses are about the only time I use the EVF anymore because the newer, brighter, rear screens are good enough in almost any conditions when you don't need the extra stability for a long lens.

    And in terms of your conclusion, mine was similar but I wasn't going to keep both. If I could have grown to like shooting more with the GH2, I'd have kept it (and maybe added an EPL3). I wanted to - its such an incredibly capable camera with lots of features I liked having and great controls. But, good as it was, I never warmed up to it, never really felt natural shooting with it in my hand (never a problem with the GF1 and LX5 I'd had previously, so I think its all down to the mini-DSLR shape and EVF, not Pany specific) or in any of the ways I tried to frame the image. I also don't love the fully articulating LCD as much as the simpler tilt up of the Nex and EPL3 - just a personal preference as many people have just the opposite reaction, but I like being able to look down or up at the camera without having the screen as an appendage off to the side. So, for me, it ended up being a relatively easy call to go with the Oly, the only hard part was choosing between the EP3 and EPL3. With those, I might have kept both if I could justify it, but I couldn't. I knew I wouldn't be using them both.

    Anyway, sounds like fairly similar reactions but I'm glad you enjoy the G3 enough to keep both - I'm sure its an incredibly good camera (given all it shares with the GH2) and its just a matter of whether it meshes with your personal shooting style.

    -Ray
     
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