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GF2 vs GF3 vs E-PM1 vs E-PL1

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by timothysoong, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. timothysoong

    timothysoong Mu-43 Veteran

    217
    Aug 10, 2011
    Taipei, Taiwan
    If this has been discussed before than I'm sorry, but I only found one vs one thread, I made this thread just to make sure they are compared together.

    I currently own a GF2, and I'm gonna have a E-PL1 in 2 weeks as I've traded it with a lens from Colin. And I'm going to give most prolly the E-PL1 to my cousin but the question is, is the E-PL1 better than the GF2? If its not, what is a good replacement for a GF2, my primary camera is a GH2, I wanna get a secondary camera. As for now my secondary camera is the GF2, but I find the GF3 and EPM1 much smaller but the GF3 without a hot shoe and the EPM1 without a built-in flash. So which one do you recommend most as a secondary camera?

    Thanks in advance.
    Tim
     
  2. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'd just stick to the GF2. I'd wait to see what the next round of bodies Olympus will release before making any choices.
     
  3. timothysoong

    timothysoong Mu-43 Veteran

    217
    Aug 10, 2011
    Taipei, Taiwan
    Fair enough.. :)
     
  4. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Yep, all the exact same sensor.
     
  5. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Dave
    with the choices above, will most likely choose the the E-PM1... but not likely a big step up over the GF2. i will try to stick it out with GF2, and consider the GX1 or wait for new announcements very soon. :biggrin:
     
  6. timothysoong

    timothysoong Mu-43 Veteran

    217
    Aug 10, 2011
    Taipei, Taiwan
    GX1 is just too much over my affordable budget. :mad:
     
  7. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Dave
    how about a G3? :biggrin:
     
  8. timothysoong

    timothysoong Mu-43 Veteran

    217
    Aug 10, 2011
    Taipei, Taiwan
    Its too big since I already own a GH2. ='( I need my secondary camera to be compact sized.
     
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The lack of a hotshoe is a big deal, but why care about lack of built-in flash? I used to find it odd when my professional cameras started coming with a built-in flash, but now I'm used to it. At least with the Olympus cameras there's a purpose to it - to act as a Remote Flash Commander.

    If you do want pop-up flash for whatever reason (or remote flash commander), the E-PM1 has the option of both. Use it with the hotshoe for real flash, or insert the clip-on flash for pop-up with no hotshoe - just like the GF-3. The GF-3 unfortunately, has no option whatsoever to power your regular hotshoe flash.

    The E-PM1 is a great camera. But then, so was the GF-2. I think it would be a worthy upgrade to move to the E-PM1 mostly for image quality, but I wouldn't call it "necessary". I would not however, even look at the GF-3. That's a downgrade to your GF-2, and I can't really think of anything it has as an advantage. Image quality and performance is the same, but button control is further removed along with the hotshoe. Don't really see the point, lol. And it's nearly twice the cost of the E-PM1! :eek: In fact, last time I checked it was exactly twice the price... but the E-PM1 was discounted at the time. It's like getting half the camera for twice the cost.

    Sorry for being so harsh on the GF-3... Just so you know, I was just about as harsh on the E-PL1 as well. It's still my least favorite Olympus PEN made, but that doesn't mean I think it's a bad camera. :) The GF-3 is my least favorite Panasonic Micro Four-Thirds camera as well, but that's not to say you should be disappointed in owning one. I just think there are better choices out there, and the GF-3 doesn't excel at anything in particular - not even price (when it came out it excelled in size, until Olympus released the Mini). At least the E-PL1 first made the micro four-thirds system affordable to the masses (a tradition now carried on by the E-PM1 which actually makes the E-PL1 look overpriced). That was really a big leap for the system.

    Of course, if you're intent on sticking with Panasonic and compact size is the most key factor, then the GF-3 would be a worthy choice, just as the Mini is to somebody in the same boat with Olympus. However, I don't see any reason to restrict yourself to one brand, so in that case the E-PM1 wins out over the GF-3 in every way from image quality, to speed, to price point.
     
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    II had the GF2 (and liked it quite a lot) but the E-PM1 is IMHO a significantly better camera. The IQ is a bit better, high ISO IQ is a bit better, it's smaller, faster (although not by much) has a better available EVF should you want to go that way and as I understand it has more control when shooting video. I have never been bothered by the lack of a built-in flash (my other camera is an E-P1) and none of my SLRs and only a few of my film cameras have a built-in flash.

    Now, is the E-PM1 a big upgrade to the GF2? Nope, it's an improvement but as it has been with almost all of the new m43 cameras the improvements are evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary.
     
  11. rich.smith

    rich.smith Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Dec 21, 2011
    The are several advantages to the gf3 over the gf2, including pinpoint focus, ability to select a focus point anywhere on the screen, faster focusing, and slight improvements to noise handling.

    When I bought the gf3 I was $125 cheaper than the e-pm1 ($325 vs $450). I bought a gf3 with kit zoom for $325 for my son and a gf3 with 14mm and kit zoom for $500 for me. The e-pm1 kit plus Panny 14mm would have cost $750.

    I'm really intrigued by the e-pm1 but (since this was my first experience with MFT) I decided on the lower price point. If I want to grow a MFT system, I will wait until next generation sensors come out and upgrade then.
     
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    If the GF2 and GH2 shared accessories, I might lean in that direction, but at least so far as batteries are concerned, they don't.

    I've found the E-PM1 a pretty good body. Controls are easy to access via the SCP, the camera is responsive, and of course it's helpfully small. The output also seems better than that from the GF2 and GF3, at least in terms of noise in the RAW files.

    DH
     
  13. timothysoong

    timothysoong Mu-43 Veteran

    217
    Aug 10, 2011
    Taipei, Taiwan
    For now, I guess I'd stick with the GF2, since the EPM1 does not make a big difference in IQ, etc.. And spend more $$ on lenses that I need. =)
     
  14. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    I've had three of these cameras (all but the GF3), so here are my thoughts:

    E-PL1: the largest by far, but still pretty compact. Best IBIS of the bunch, which could be important to you (it was to me). Possibly the best IQ, especially for JPGs. Max shutter speed of 1/2000 was surprisingly limiting at times compared to the other cameras.

    E-PM1: compared to the E-PL1 it's faster, smaller, with better AWB and more focus zones. Fewer buttons but that didn't bother me at all coming from the E-PL1; all are customizable, and it has all the ones I really need anyway. Ned's comments about the flash/hotshoe are right on--I find I rarely use the flash anyway, but it's so small I can carry it in my pocket for when I need it. Don't forget with the PENs the VF-2/3 are really excellent viewfinders for when you need one or are using legacy glass. JPGs are overcooked by default, but, like most things with the PENs, can be customized how you want it. IBIS much less effective than the E-PL1, which was a real disappointment.

    GF-2: Only had this one for a month or so, before I got the E-PM1, so some of this is from memory. Much smaller than the E-PL1, though still a bit heavy. Good IQ up to ISO 800; seems noisier, even in RAW, than the PENs beyond this. JPG colors can be a little off sometimes, so I ended up shooting in RAW almost all the time. Absolutely LOVED the touch focus/shoot function. Very snappy operation, probably not quite as fast as the E-PM1 but much better than the E-PL1. Lots of good controls, including the two-way thumb wheel common to the Panasonics, which is better than anything Olympus has.

    GF-3: I haven't used it, but in research I agree with some of the other comments: lack of any flash capability was an issue, but also the ability to mount an external EVF was a deal-breaker for me. It's seems to be the smallest m43 camera yet, but the cost to get there seems to steep (to me).
     
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  15. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I tried the GF3 in store the other day... the AF was surprisingly faster than my E-PL1.

    Mellow,

    Since you also have the G3 as well, how does that compare? (hope you guys don't mind a slight tangent)
     
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Ah, I think I've figured out the big difference in price points from my local stores... it's because they are only selling the "GF3X", which I assume is the GF-3 with the Lumix X ring-less, collapsible kit zoom. lol, I wouldn't pay that much for that lens... $799 for the X kit here... o_O
     
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    According to this comparison, the GF-3 is indeed very slightly smaller than the PEN Mini. Ironically though, the one place where the GF-3 is significantly larger is in height, and this seems to be largely due to the pop-up flash sitting on top of the lens mount of the GF-3. The Mini on the other hand uses a real hotshoe and accessory port, omitting the pop-up flash (but providing a clip-on option in the box for those who really want one).

    So theoretically, the GF-3 could have chosen to use a real hotshoe as well, made their camera even SMALLER, and a helluva lot more useful to serious photographers. I'm glad Olympus chose the "right path" on that decision... ;)
     
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  18. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    The G3 is really a different camera. To me, the great advantage of the PENs and GF-series cameras is that they're pocketable with a pancake lens. I carry my E-PM1 like this all the time. Just yesterday I was out skiing with the E-PM1 + 14mm pancake on it, and it literally was stored in my pocket.

    The G3 is not a whole lot larger, but with the DLSR-hump it's much more bulky. It's a tiny DLSR-shaped camera, but it's still a more unwieldy than the RF-style cameras. I guess you could carry it in a (large) pocket, but I never do that.

    Of course that DLSR-style has advantages: the built-in EVF is excellent, the tilt/swivel LCD is very useful, and I really love the Panasonic interface, with it's clickable thumbwheel. It's just as snappy as the E-PM1, and I find it actually easier to grip (NOTE: I have a Franiec grip on my E-PM1, which made an enormous difference in ease of use . . . still, I my hands cradle the G3 in a way that makes it more secure and steadier to shoot, which I see as a plus.)

    Of all the differences, however, the sensor is the most significant. High-ISO shooting is notably better than with the old 12MP sensor--I'd say 1.5 stops. That means while I might not go beyond 800 on my PEN, I'm happy going to 1600 and even 2000 on the G3. I'm just blown away with how much better night shots look with the G3--not only the noise, but the increased DR really makes the pictures stand out.

    I suppose if I were comparing the G3 to the E-P3 the lack of IBIS could be an issue, but since IBIS on the E-PM1 is so ineffective I don't think it matters--the improved high-ISO IQ compensates just fine.
     
  19. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Don't forget the EVF extruding out the back of the camera, too. ;)
     
  20. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Thanks for the input Mellow. How is the AF on he G3 compared?

    I currently have a EPL1 and it's great for my collection of legacy glass but I find it's AF pretty lacking when it comes to its native lenses. I am considering an additional camera.. To compliment. Essentially a replacement for the old G1.