G3 or OM-D?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by wbuzatto, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. wbuzatto

    wbuzatto Mu-43 Regular

    55
    Nov 17, 2011
    Campinas, SP - Brazil
    Walmyr T. Buzatto
    I got a GF1 for two years now which I use a lot for UW photo and am thinking on a second body for general use, both for myself and my wife. She is in Paris right now and I'm checking FNAC's website for alternatives. I wanted to get the GH2 and a 14-140, but that body isn't available there. Both the G3 and the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 are available, the latter either body only or with the kit lens 12-50.

    I'm limited to what I can get on that site, because she won't be able to shop around. Which one would be a better deal (not in $ terms) given my current set?
     
  2. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Well it's kinda hard to avoid the whole idea of price. The G3 is likely a third the price of the OMD. As far as which is better...the OMD is faster to AF shot to shot, has a bit better IQ and has IBIS (a really spectacular one at that). Then again as a second body I should think the fact that the G3 is a lot less and also very capable would be a consideration.
     
  3. wbuzatto

    wbuzatto Mu-43 Regular

    55
    Nov 17, 2011
    Campinas, SP - Brazil
    Walmyr T. Buzatto
    I have to rephrase; not 'second body' as a backup, just a new body, and the GF1 would probably be confined to the UW housing from the moment I purchase either one. Anyway, it seems like a bad timing for me; my wife returns next weekend to Brazil and the OMD has a minimum delivery time of 4 days on FNAC in France.
     
  4. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    826
    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    As a G3 owner who would like to upgrade to an OM-D, I am in a similar situation. But what's important is to get an idea of your photography style.

    You said UW photos; by that you mean ultra-wide, I assume?

    Do you shoot a lot in low light(or would you like to do so more), do you use a tripod frequently(or would you like to get rid of it), does weather sealing matter to you, do you need a faster burst rate, and do you often find yourself wanting more dynamic range?

    I think these are the most important questions to consider in differentiating the two cameras. For me, the OM-D would be a valuable investment because I don't only shoot photos in good light; I also use my G3 to take snapshots with friends at restaurants and during night-time outings. I live in NYC, after all. I use my G3 as much for "snapshots" as I do for "photography", and some of the OM-Ds abilities would be hugely valuable to me. The other important one is dynamic range. The most recent calculations I've seen have the OM-D at almost 2 more stops of DR, which would be great for me; there are few things I dislike more in photography than a quick portrait that captures a beautiful scene where I accidentally blew out the highlights in a persons face.

    So, judge for yourself! The G3 is tied with the GH2 and GX1 for second best image quality in the M4/3 arena, behind the OM-D. Whether or not those improvements or the ones in the body matter to you are up to you =P
     
  5. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Either one is a great choice. I've been using GF1 since 2009, then added a GH2, G3, E-PL3, and lately EM-5. I love the E-M5, but honestly, I don't see noticibly better IQ from the E-M5 than the G3 already provides - they both produce outstanding images! One may offer ever-so-slightly better IQ than the other, but whatever difference there is, is of little significant to me. I think the G3 is a superb camera and priced dramatically less than the E-M5. For the E-M5, I like the availability of the IBIS for those occasions where it's helpful, but IBIS is not a super important feature to me. With the very clean high-ISO performance of these cameras, IBIS is less necessary than with previous m4/3 chips. I like the dual controls on the E-M5, but operating the G3 is no problem either.

    If spending the extra money isn't an issue for you, the E-M5 is a great camera and would serve very well, but if saving a good chunk of cash is something you would like to do, I think the G3 will serve you practically as well as the E-M5. Yes, I do like the G3 quite a bit. It is quite well appointed with features, feels great in the hand (to me), has a much friendlier menu system (for a Pany shooter especially), and outputs superb quality images.

    You can't make a bad choice between these two cameras, so if minimizing cost is a significant factor in your decision process, don't feel that choosing the G3 would be a poor choice; it isn't.
     
  6. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    On top of what the others have already mentioned, I would like to raise some ergonomic considerations: What do you like about the GF1 ergonomic-wise? Some people complain about the cramped-up controls on the G3, in which case the E-M5 might work better for you. On the other hand, many panasonic users prefer its menu system over the Olympus cameras, while Olympus users prefer the Olympus highly customizable, but rather complicated menu. I am an Olympus user, and I can't do without the Super Control Panel of Olympus cameras, and cannot quite get used to the Panasonic controls the few times that I played with one borrowed from friends or at the store. So, I figure this might play an important part on your decision also...

    I know you are only asking opinion between the G3 and the E-M5, but is the GX1 on your radar screen also?
     
  7. wbuzatto

    wbuzatto Mu-43 Regular

    55
    Nov 17, 2011
    Campinas, SP - Brazil
    Walmyr T. Buzatto
    Great answers, thanks everybody!

    Well, first things first... as a retired engineer, I'm spending a lot of time with my previous hobbies which are now almost full-time occupations: I have a 125g marine aquarium at home, and I also dive frequently. So, I shoot a lot under water (that's what UW stands for) and of course above, and in both cases subjects tend to be fishes and corals. For corals what matters most is low light and macro performance, apart from dynamic range. For fishes, I have to add fast focusing and tracking of moving subjects. I also do nature, landscape, family and friends shooting, and of course my diving trips give me lots of opportunities above water, too.

    With that said and from all the feedback from you guys, I guess should go for the E-M5 if I would be taking it underwater, but that's the realm of my GF1, as housing and ports change with camera model and I already invested a lot of money in UW gear for my current camera. I still have to face a $1,000+ spending on a new port for the 7-14 zoom. Money matters, of course, so I guess I will stick to the G3 for now.

    Apart from some sluggishness in focusing UW with the 45mm Macro-Elmarit, I'm really happy with my GF1, lenses and accessories. I own a lot of legacy lenses with Minolta MC mount; since I purchased the adapter, I'm rescuing the old lenses from the drawer and having real fun with them!

    Oh, yes: I considered the GX1, too, but I like the idea of a built-in viewfinder on the G3. In terms of ergonomics, I'm at ease with the GF1, and when you shoot underwater, ergonomics of the camera play a secondary role (at least for me; I use a single setup during the whole dive and don't change settings under water). Possibly the tilting screen of the E-M5 will be nice once a manufacturer launches a new housing taking advantage of the more comfortable position when you shoot subjects close to the sand bottom and in awkward situations.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I have done quite a lot of thinking about this lately. My possibly over-simplified take on the question comes down to this: the G3 is a good deal less expensive, but the OM-D offers a more "traditional" (dials and buttons) interface than the G3. I would like to have seen a GH2-like body with the current generation sensor and other IQ-related features.
     
  9. wbuzatto

    wbuzatto Mu-43 Regular

    55
    Nov 17, 2011
    Campinas, SP - Brazil
    Walmyr T. Buzatto
    The fact I'm ordering what my wife can pick up this week at a FNAC store in Paris ruled out the GH2 for me, and maybe a good idea would be to wait for the upcoming GH3? As I live in Brazil and camera purchase is also opportunity-related, my current alternatives are 'buy G3 now, or wait for the next chance to get the E-M5 or even the GH3'? Or even go for the GX1 with separate viewfinder?
    I realize I will be more than happy with any new camera, as much of what differentiates one camera from the other can be more than compensated by photographer skills... which I don't have, of course... :redface:
     
  10. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Agree. Buy now, shoot now. Tomorrow is uncertain. :)
     
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  11. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    If you're edging toward a decision in favor of the G3, you might consider hedging your bets and buying a used one; they appear frequently on this site at attractive prices. Then you could decide whether you really like it without having too much invested in the decision. I have one and I don't use it, but I've decided to give it to a friend who's looking to get into MFT.
     
  12. wbuzatto

    wbuzatto Mu-43 Regular

    55
    Nov 17, 2011
    Campinas, SP - Brazil
    Walmyr T. Buzatto
    Chuck, living in the USA makes things a lot easier... you must realize that customs will charge me 60% flat import fees on CIF (cost, insurance and freight) for any imported goods shipped by mail to Brazil with fair market value above U$60. On the other hand, if you bought the camera on a trip, no problem at all with customs when entering the country.
     
  13. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Wow! Well, then there's no doubt what route you need to take!
     
  14. wbuzatto

    wbuzatto Mu-43 Regular

    55
    Nov 17, 2011
    Campinas, SP - Brazil
    Walmyr T. Buzatto
    Just checked with my wife, deal closed on a G3 + 14-140 (and the 14-42 kit lens she couldn't avoid buying, since that particular shop didn't have the body-only G3 in stock). Will get it next Sunday... oh, yes, and the wife, too.
     
  15. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    995
    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Enjoy your new camera! I think you'll be glad to have the kit lens as an alternative when you don't need the extra reach; the 14-140 is a heavyweight!
     
  16. wbuzatto

    wbuzatto Mu-43 Regular

    55
    Nov 17, 2011
    Campinas, SP - Brazil
    Walmyr T. Buzatto
    Thanks, Chuck. I already own a 14-45 which was the kit lens in my GF1. I use it a lot; in fact, most of the time it is mounted on the GF1.

    I compared specifications and the 14-42 - on paper - looks almost identical to the 14-45, though a lot cheaper.
     
  17. dino8031

    dino8031 Mu-43 Regular

    111
    Jan 27, 2012
    Boulder, Colorado
    The G3 is a good choice. I own both and frankly if the G3 had IBIS I'd probably prefer it to the EM-5. It handles nicely, has an onboard fill flash, built in EVF and a 16MP sensor. What's not to like? Plus you can pick up a used one for under $400.

    Enjoy.
     
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  18. wbuzatto

    wbuzatto Mu-43 Regular

    55
    Nov 17, 2011
    Campinas, SP - Brazil
    Walmyr T. Buzatto
    I have the camera (G3) in my hands now and am very pleased with it. Nice!
     
  19. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Dave
    Don, this is a very helpful post. thanks!
     
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  20. michaeln

    michaeln Guest

    Nice to read an informed and balanced opinion for a change. Thanks!