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GF2 or E-PM1. Is this offer on GF2 too good fo pass?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by jair, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012

    I've been lurking for the last week, reading many threads trying to decide which is the best option for me. I like to travel quite a bit and so far I have my old P&S Canon A720, but recently I am thinking of upgrading both the camera and my skills as many of the places I visit deserve it.

    I've been reading quite a bit and up until now my dilemma was either E-PM1 or XZ-1. I will elaborate a bit on my reasoning, so you can correct me if I am wrong and also help me with my struggles :) 

    1. I understand that without extra lenses E-PM1 is probably slightly inferior only with the kit and I have an extremely limited budget, which means that buying something like the panasonic 20mm lense is completely out of the question probably before the end of the year.

    2. Also, I quite like shooting in auto mode, for most of the time I doubt I will keep retaking the same scene over and over again, altough I guess once I get better with settings it will be natural. (I am currently reading Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson and it is a bit of an eye opener).

    So these two arguments made me lean towards the XZ-1. On the contrary I understand that pretty much where XZ-1 hits its ceiling is where E-PM1 starts. So if I intend to be serious in the future this is the way to go. I don't mind the extra bulk, up to a limit of course, DSLR is out of the question.

    Up to today I was almost convinced to get the E-PM1 and start saving money for the 20mm panasonic lense. But I saw a great deal on GF2+14mm pancake, which I consider taking advantage of. To put things in to perspective E-PM1 with the 14-42 kit costs 350 euro here(about $460) and the deal of GF2+14mm pancake is 255 euro(about $330).

    My questions are as follows:
    1. Does the GF2 look like a great deal for impulse buy? I was thinking to wait till mid March, when is my next trip to Iceland in the hope of a bigger price drop. Now I am afraid this deal might not last long, the second best offer here in Netherlands is for 50 euro($65) more.

    2. Will the GF2 and the pancake fulfill my needs? I shoot mainly landscapes, so wide lense is a bonus and I guess if I need some zooming I can still use the old Canon A720, before I buy either the kit GF2 lense or something else with zoom...

    I read the review on dpreview and I am a little worried as it mentions that the sensor is rather old...and this was one year ago. If I am buying something I definitely dont want it to be obsolete. Also it says the JPEGs are not that good, which is again worrying as I dont plan to shoot RAW only and postprocess each pic.

    3. I guess in the end the main attractive point of the offer is the 14mm pancake, which on its own retails for pretty much the same amount, so basically I am getting the body for free. Is it a keeper lense? And if I buy it what should be my next purchase? Maybe the zoom kit or what?

    4. As an added bonus I really hope to take some semi-decent pictures of the Aurora in Iceland. Is it realistic with such basic setup or this is completely DSLR area?

    Sorry for the long post, but I am a beginner and want to make sure I am understood correctly. Becides, you are so helpful that it is my duty to abuse you :) 
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Actually, the E-PM1 is clearly superior even with the kit lens. Sure, the XZ-1 has an f/1.8 aperture zoom lens, but remember that you can bump up the ISO on the E-PM1 if you need that lens speed and you'll still get much clearer photos and even gain more shallow DOF if that's what you want. The lens specs on a point-and-shoot vs. a system camera can't be compared

    Yes and yes. It is a good kit to start with primarily due to the prime lens. However, if you can find an E-PM1 with 17mm f/2.8 pancake, that will be a much better overall package. Or... have you looked for a GF-1 kit with 20mm f/1.7 pancake?

    Yes, the imaging technology of the GF-2 is quite outdated. The E-PM1 is much better. But what else are you comparing to? The value of a decent lens outweighs any disadvantages of an older sensor. Bodies are disposable, lenses are not. If you were able to afford a decent lens with the E-PM1 that would make it a better package, as you've already realized.

    No, more primes in longer focal lengths. A good pairing with the 14mm pancake would be the m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8. Or if it's released by the time you're ready to buy, then perhaps the m.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8.

    DSLRs have no inherent advantage in imaging over a mirrorless system. The difference is in the viewfinder and autofocus systems, both due to the reflex mirror in a DSLR. The differences between DSLRs and Mirrorless formats have nothing to do with image quality (though the difference between a Full Frame vs. APS-C sensor does, but that applies within DSLRs as much as with mirrorless).

    So yes, you will have no difficulties with shooting Auroras. If I can find it I'll link you to some absolutely incredible Aurora photos taken with the PEN system (not mine, as it seems I've never been out with a tripod when the Northern Lights are out).

    *EDIT: I couldn't find the ones I was after, but here are some good Northern Lights samples from a member of the Olympus E-System community on Flickr... ;) 
  3. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    Thank you. Extremely helpful and detailed.

    It seems like GF-1 is discontinued in Netherlands and the only E-PM1 kits are 14-42 and 14-150. So it basically comes down to this:

    GF2+14mm for 250 euro vs. E-PM1+14-42kit for 350.

    Everything else is out of my price range and the pana is clear winner with better lense and 100 euro less. If hypothetically I am able to spare another 300 euro in 6 months will it still be the correct choice? I can use that money to get oly 45/1.8 for the GF2 or 20/1.7 for the E-PM1...although the 20/1.7 is 100 euro more expensive, which makes the difference between the two 200 euros. In this case is the GF-2 still the better choice?

    Another consideration about IS. I read that Panasonic IS is in the lense, will it be fine with the Olympus lense then?

    Thanks for the pictures, amazing. Which reminds me I need to get a tripod too - the 100 euro savings from the GF-2 might go for that purpose...
  4. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Well... here's something you need to know: Panasonic's pancake lenses are too small for IS. So lenses like the 14mm and 20mm don't have IS and, mounted on the GF2, you'll be working without it. On the other hand, any lens you mount on the E-PM1 will be stabilized because it's in that camera body.

    Now, having said all that, it's still a great price for the GF2 kit and, remember, all photographers - professional and amateur - got by without IS for over a century. There's something to be said for learning how to take sharp images without IS from the very start. Don't be afraid to make some mistakes and shoot some bad pictures at the beginning. You'll probably be a better photographer down the line for it.
  5. Aegon

    Aegon Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    If you like the 14mm focal length, then go for the GF2 kit. A price differential like that one is too much to pass up.

    (1) There isn't much difference in the sensors between GF2 and EPM1. I prefer the white balance and look in general of the Olympus, but the GF2 isn't bad.

    (2) If you like wide lenses, the 14 is just fine. I'd rather have a fixed 14mm ƒ/2.5 than a convenient, slow zoom. However, your preference is more important than mine.

    (3) The price difference is substantial. For a person on a budget, buy the cheaper kit with the better lens and make do. The GF2 body is 95% as good as the EPM1 (IMHO), the 14/2.5 is better than the 14-42 (IMHO), and the price difference seals the deal.
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If what you're asking is would a GF-2 + m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 or an E-PM1 with Lumix 20mm f/1.7 be a better kit? Then I would go for the E-PM1 + Lumix 20mm f/1.7. You will really like the AWB capabilities, color rendition, and high-ISO capabilities of the E-PM1 and the 20mm pancake is still a great lens. Plus it'll give you a super-compact kit with the E-PM1 and pancake. A literal go-anywhere camera that's probably not much bigger than the point-and-shoot you're used to carrying! The E-PM1 also offers much better accessory support, such as Remote Flash Commander, 3.5mm external microphone input, and high-quality 1.44 million or 906k dot Electronic Viewfinder. With the quality of the Olympus viewfinders, you will be able to easily use manual lenses with adapters, and save yourself tons of money on glass down the road while expanding your capabilities greatly.

    Normally the 20mm and 45mm lenses would not have any kind of straight comparison though, as they are very different focal lengths. The 20mm will give you more of a standard wide view (ie, good for streetscapes), while the 45mm will give you a tighter cropped view (ie, good for portraits).
  7. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    Yeah, thats what I was asking, but I now realize it is rather pointless comparison because of the 200 euro price difference.

    I think I'll go with the GF2 and if i outgrow it(hopefully!) it should still have good resale value - in any case much better then the resale value of the kit E-PM1 lens. As Aegon mentioned, the wide lens will really fit my initial needs for nature landscape photos, the price is amazing and when I have more expirience down the road I can decide more clearly what I want to do.

    Last question, the one I am looking at is labeled as GF2C and i see some others GF2K, GF2W, etc. Is there any difference between them?
  8. applemint

    applemint Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2012
    If you shoot only jpegs then Olympus is better at the standard settings, but either camera can be tweaked via the in camera menus (sharpening, saturation, etc).

    Have you looked at the GF3 with the 14mm lens?

    GF2 is still on sale here but prices are not much lower than the GF3 and from what I have read online the GF3 is a better option as long as you don't want a hotshoe or evf port. (Same sensor but smaller, lighter better-designed body, faster AF, closer to a compact camera than the GF2).

    UK pricing:
    Panasonic GF2 with 14mm Lens: £292.00 (Dixons, Currys, etc)
    Panasonic GF3 + 14mm Lens £329.99 (Amazon) -
    only £38 price difference between the 2 models. XZ-1 compact is around £300 here by the way, so in the same price range as m43 cameras.

    Used might be another option - you can get a new 14mm lens (if that's what you want) on ebay for about £130 (split from kit) and then a used good condition GF1 or GF2 or E-PL2 (not many good deals on E-pm1 used yet as it's latest model/too new). You might get lucky and find a camera which has spent most of it's time in it's box and so is in almost as new condition but much cheaper than buying new. Eg; In the UK, the GF1 can no longer be bought new, but I have seen the used bodies (in good condition) go for just over £100 on ebay and a good condition GF2 body went for £121 a few days ago - bargain (if you don't mind red) :) 
  9. Aegon

    Aegon Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    The "c" just means that it is a 14mm kit.

    A GF2CR would be a red 14mm kit.

    GF2K is a black 14-42 kit.

    • Like Like x 1
  10. jair

    jair Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 14, 2012
    Well apparently the dutch pricing of the GF2 is cheaper, i guess it is inventory clearing. As I mentioned GF2+14mm comes at 255 euro(213 gbp). GF3 though is quite more expensive at 380 euro for the kit with 14-42, shooting up to 442 euro for the kit with 14mm lens. Pretty much the second hand offer you mentioned is what I am paying here for the new one :) 
  11. applemint

    applemint Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2012
    Yes, the GF2 and 14mm lens for 255 Euro / 213 GBP is indeed a bargain. :smile:

    The lens alone sells here for £200:
    Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Pancake - Only £199.99 - Park Cameras Online

    As you say you mainly shoot landscapes, I think the 14mm lens will be a good match. (28mm equivalent) - it is very small as well.
    Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 Lumix G Lens Review

    I saw this idea for a cheap 'lens hood' (46mm-37mm step-down ring - £2 on ebay), which seems like a good idea.
    Micro 4/3rds Photography: Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5
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