G3 or E-PM1 for Newbie

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by pertristis, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. pertristis

    pertristis New to Mu-43

    Dec 2, 2012
    Real Name:
    Hello everyone,

    I'm going to purchase a new camera for SO for Christmas. For obvious reasons for anyone who's been on B&H recently, I'm down to either a G3 or an E-PM1. I'm going :43:, as it's the same system I have, and I'd like for her to be able to use my lenses.

    Right now, her camera is an iPhone; she's not particularly knowledgable about any higher-level camera features. What are the benefits and downsides to each camera, and which one would you choose?
  2. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
    I owned a G3 and loved it. Had a class mate in one of the photo classes I took, who purchased the teacher's E-PM1. Took beautiful pictures. But for me, I need a viewfinder and the tilting lcd would be a huge plus. Hope this helps.
  3. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    G3 sensor is light years better, they might feel its a "real" camera since it has a viewfinder (which can be good AND bad)
  4. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Too avoid getting only generalized answers we would need to know specifically what capabilities she desires (feature-wise and image quality-wise) in a new camera because there are many more inexpensive choices besides the G3/EPM1.
  5. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    Is size an issue, i.e. - will she want to carry it in a pursue?
  6. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Promit Roy
    The way I see it: The G3 is good at looking like a "real" camera, the PM1 is good at looking like a P&S. Both of these have advantages and disadvantages, both real and perceived. That's the crux of the decision. Is it a desire for a 'serious' camera, or just a nice upgrade that is still portable and simple?
  7. runner girl

    runner girl Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 26, 2011
    For what it is worth... My G3 easily fits in my purse. I got a nice, cheap neoprene protector from Amazon for a little extra protection but rarely use it. I LOVE my G3 having taken an average of about 100 photos a day with it over the last year
  8. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    e-pM1 : since she's used to looking and framing on the LCD, the g3's excellent viewfinder and grip would be less important/useful than the e-pM1's superb whitebalance and colours.

    Err, no. If it was a lot better I'd own one now.
    It is better at low-light noise, but that's all in my experience.
  9. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    The iPhone folks that I know want my E-PM1.

    They ignore my G3.

    If your friend's total experience is with an iPhone, I'd suggest the PM1. The G3 is better for fast action AF and less noise in low light, but coming from an iPhone, the differences are subtle, and the size and OOC JPEG performance is outstanding on the PM1. And it's cool! You may want to consider an E-PL3 - the flip screen is worth the extra $100.
  10. aimawayfromface

    aimawayfromface Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 19, 2012
    It's not really a tough call between the two, the G3 is hands down the best value ($299 with the 14-42 lens), considering that an optional EVF for the PM1 would be $240 by itself! If you want the Olympus WB and color rendition, better to get a cheap PL1 or PL2 for now and save up for a PM2 or PL5 in the future.

    G3 pros:
    1) 16MP vs 12MP. WB and color rendition notwithstanding, the G3 sensor is at least a stop better, plain and simple.
    2) Articulating LCD. This is a HUGE plus.
    3) "Free" EVF. Just because she never had one before doesn't mean she won't use one if available. In bright sunlight, it's very hard to use the LCD on most cameras--especially a non-tilting one like the PM1. Also the benefit of having an integrated EVF vs an optional accessory cannot be overlooked lightly. I have a VF-2 for my PL1 and find that I hardly ever use it because I don't happen to have it with me or I'm afraid it's going to fall off while hiking.
    4) Touchscreen interface and user experience is very similar to smartphone operation (touch to focus and take pictures).
    5) Larger body balances much better with longer lenses.

    PM1 pros:
    1) Size. With the 14mm, it's easily jacket or cargo pants pocketable, but not with tight-fitting jeans. However, even in this minimal configuration it will never be as EDC (every day carry) as a smartphone or a compact camera. I had the PM1 for a month and in the end I felt the small size was ultimately a downside. It's just small enough to make you think it's easily pocketable, but reality hits hard when you want any other lens besides the 14mm--and then you wish the body was slightly larger so that it'd be easier to handle with a larger lens.
    2) JPEG color and WB. Popular opinion sways in favor of Olympus, but I have a PL1 (and had a PM1) and don't notice anything special to be honest. I just ordered a G3 so I will be able to compare head to head soon.
    3) Faster performance. Better burst modes, better sustained shooting, faster AF (not sure about this last one).
    4) In camera stabilization (IBIS). Another mixed bag here. At slower than 1/20 or so, it definitely helps--but at 1/100 to 1/200, it WILL blur a significant fraction of your shots (I did extensive testing on both the PM1 and PL1 and they both show it). You have to remember to turn it off when you don't need it.

    Notice that I conclude that the G3 is the best value, not necessarily the best camera--that is something only you can decide for yourself. That said, I believe that the $349 for the PM1 would be better spent saving toward the latest generation PENs instead (PM2, PL5).
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    You can get refurb E-PM1 body from Cameta for $169. I have E-PM1 and had G3 for a brief period of time. E-PM1 pros: much nicer colors (in both jpeg and Raw), much better AWB (both jpeg and raw), better metering, better burst mode, wireless flash capability (great with withFL-300R), small and light.
    G3 pros: articulating touchscreen, about 1 stop better noise handling (in raw), built-in EVF.

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 App
  12. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    For people complaining about the G3 white balance and colors, did you spend any time tuning it to your liking? Didn't think so ...

    I found the G3 to be about 2 stops better than my GF1. I could believe the EPM1 has found a stop over the GF1 through processing, but no more - at the end of the day, it's still the same sensor. Most girls/women I know take ALOT of pictures in bars and indoors where the light isn't so great, and high ISO becomes a big deal. The swivel screen also makes taking "selfies" a lot easier.
  13. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Real Name:
    Cannot comment on the Panasonic but having just purchased my 15 year old Daughters first "proper" camera instead of using her iPhone I have found a few things of note which may be applicable.

    Having been shown how to use DOF to make parts of the image out of focus she now loves doing that and advises it's why she now uses the camera rather than her iPhone. She also loves the tilting screen and mode dial to easily go from full Auto to Aperture priority so I am glad we went for the E-PL3. In UK it was only £50 more than the EPM1.

    Picture quality to most people - using tablet or TV to display them - are considered excellent.

    In only 3-4 weeks she has taken some shots I would have proud to take myself. Don't consider what she needs now but what she might need if she has an eye for an image.
  14. mnr3

    mnr3 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 3, 2011
    my .02 (from someone who hasn't posted in a year and not much even then):
    get the Pen. On paper, for me at least, the G3 is the clear winner, esp. based on price.
    But ask yourself, which one is SHE more likely to fall in love with?
    The size, buttons and scroll wheels of the Panasonic might mean that it gets left home more often, and is only brought out for "I need a good camera" occasions, so that she'll never get used to it and leave it in auto mode, so it's just an oversized p/s with excellent IQ.

    The Pen is more likely to be thrown in a purse or hand bag, is a little less intimidating, and let's face it, it's just cute and has that aesthetic appeal that means she'll use it more, appreciate the excellent IQ of mft, and may even venture outside the auto modes (with your help, of course), so maybe she'll get the bug and then start wanting a bigger more capable body. I think the G3 is a great looker and performer, but don't just look at the paper specs. Reminds me a bit of Apple vs IBM back in the day. Even if (big if) a given IBM machine had better numbers, the Mac just had an appeal.

    To be sure, do this experiment: go camera shopping with her, comparing a more compact dslr from canikon to an advanced p/s. Whether she's moved by the bells and whistles and aesthetic of the dslr or the simplicity and portablilty of the p/s, you'll know your answer. My money would be on the Pen, though. It's cuter, and takes much better pictures than an iphone without being a tank. Not that the G3 is huge. Really, you can't go wrong with either.