GF1 or E-PL1 for Fashion and Portraits?

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by andrew00, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. andrew00

    andrew00 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2010

    So yes this is another GF1/E-PL1 thread so apologies in advance heh, I've been spending the last few hours reading this site and the wealth of info on here, but I need some specific advice, please. I'll try to be to the point.

    I normally shoot music videos, and since they're often low budget, I do most the jobs. I find myself getting frustrated as I'm always having to deal with technology and things that take me away from what, as a director, I should be doing - building a connection with the band, making then feel comfortable to give me a great performance and giving them what they need in return, direction wise, to get it.

    I've been becoming enthused again by my photography and originally wanted a HQ P+S as I really like photographers who are a little rough around the edges - guys like Helmut Newton (used cheap 35mm cameras) and Juergen Teller (used Contax G2) and even Terry Richardson (used Yashica T4, Contax T2).

    This also works for me practically and physically - practically b/c it lets me do the above and have a minimal setup so I can focus on this connection with the subject, and physically b/c my eyes aren't great and get strained easily (=headaches).

    I've been shooting with a Ricoh GRD3 and Olympus FL-20 flash a lot and like the combination - it's small, light and powerful. However, I want to get a M43's camera to give me more creative control - higher quality images, DoF control etc etc.

    Essentially whereas the Ricoh is like a Contax T2/Yashica T4 aka great P+S, I want the M43 camera to be more like a Contax G2, more sophisticated and with greater control, but still minimal and small(ish).

    Whatever I do I'll prob shoot w/the Pana 20mm f1.7 as it seems great and also use either the Olympus FL-20 flash or (if I get a GF1) I'll prob get the Pana FL220 (same thing really but will give me TTL on the GF1). Of course if I'm in daylight then the EVF will come in handy (top down would be awesome to shoot as).

    There's loads of threads about the qualities of the GF1 vs E-PL1, but my needs are specific - if I'm shooting a model there will be a lot of posing, yes, and if I am using the flash maybe I don't need super low light ability etc. However, I do like movement and might want the model to twirl or jump or whatever, so shooting someone mid movement is also a possibility.

    I can't fathom whether the E-PL1's IBIS will be better than the GF1's super fast focusing/shooting for my purposes. And so, if say, a model is twirling - will the IBIS give me the focused shot or will the ability to focus and shoot real quickly give me the shot?

    Likewise will I find I really need the EVF and so the E-PL1 is king (aka like a traditional film RF/P+S) or will I find I want to use the LCD most and the E-PL1's screen not good enough and wish I had the GF1 etc etc?

    Put simply I can't decide between the two - I'm going to try to play with them both soon but I'd like some advice please - for my purposes - as I find it hard to project the differences.

    Oh and one thing - I've noticed the GF1+20mm for a really good price (est £475), whereas the E-PL1 would cost about £75-100 more for the body+Pana 20mm. I'm tempted to bite and yet also know I should wait for Photokina - any thoughts on that?


    (Oh one plus of the GF1 I've noticed is the silver body + black leatherette is pretty hot hehe)
  2. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Welcome first off.
    Either one of the cameras you mentioned will perform well. Why? Glad ya asked. Your mostly in a controlled environment. That helps the situation much.
    I had the Pen 1 since release and then the Pen 2 for a spell.
    Now I have the G2 and GF1.
    My choice between the 2 you mentioned would be the GF1. Not because I have it but because I use it.
    If there were only 1 thing to set them apart it would be the single most important advantage... The AF system. The GF1 has a very fast AF... And!.... It has an adjustable target size. With the small target it approaches DSLR'S speed and accuracy....
    As far as IQ goes... The GF1 jpegs are crapola while the jpegs from the Olys are out of this world. I don't shoot jpeg so I don't give a hoot about that.
    As far as raw files...I don't see much difference, they both deliver the bacon.
    Hope this helps......
    • Like Like x 1
  3. andrew00

    andrew00 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2010
    Thanks for your reply mate, cool, I suppose what you're saying is it's better to get the shot and accept some might not be perfectly in focus yet, than to miss the moment, which I might do with the E-PL1? That sense of margin's etc.

    Jpeg wise, yeah it's funny, I never really have used Raw much before, preferring the immediacy of Jpegs. I guess if I were shooting something more official like a fashion shoot etc I could just set it to Raw+Jpeg and then process only the top, top shots.

    Kinda of like the appeal of the EVF. It seems a big draw, but since I use the external flash a lot, I wouldn't be able to use this and the EVF.
  4. hmpws

    hmpws Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 24, 2010
    Auckland, New Zealand
    If you need it, GF1 also shoots nice video. GF1 seems preferable in my opinion if you don't need IBIS or EVF. I have been missing the AF speed of the GF1 since I got the E-PL1.
  5. andrew00

    andrew00 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2010
    Cheers for the reply.

    Yeah I've been thinking about it, whether the E-PL1 will be fast enough or if the GF1 might give blurry shorts etc.

    Two things sprung to mind - can't remember where I read it but aren't mirrorless cameras a bit more stable by nature of design?

    Also - the photographers that I reference - Helmut Newton, Juergen Teller etc - they're using cameras without stabilisation built in, presumably, and they get on, admittedly they're using film cameras w/o digital shutter lag etc.
  6. flipGTO

    flipGTO Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Since you shoot videos, the GF1's videos are a lot better than the E-PL1's, but AVCHD is a pain to deal with unless you have fairly new video editing software.

    Also, if you are doing fashion and potraits, an fl20 or the Panny equivalent does not recycle fast enough and it doesn't have a swiveling head, so you would probably need a bigger flash.
  7. andrew00

    andrew00 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2010
    Aye, although I do like the FL-20 as it's small and thin. I don't mind harsh-ish flashes, I like things to be a bit exaggerated if they seem more real, but I do get the point that worrying about which camera focuses faster is pointless if the flash isn't ready to fire.

    Also, I've noticed the GF1 seems to be going out of stock in a lot of places. Hopefully they'll announce GF2 at Photokina and not wait till next year!