GF2 vs GF3 vs NEX-5 vs NEX-C3 Summer buying dilemma!

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by polishlanman, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. polishlanman

    polishlanman New to Mu-43

    5
    Jun 11, 2011
    Signal Hill, CA
    Hello everyone!

    I am finally moving on over from a P/S camera to a :43: or APS-C. I just need help choosing which one would be the best fit. I am also taking photography classes this coming fall so I'd like a camera with OPTIONS.

    I am very used to the EVF so it's not such a huge deal that these cameras don't have optical viewfinders. Here's my concern:

    1) Image quality! I am under the impression the APS-C sensor will have the ability to take better quality pictures. Am I wrong with this? Is it a large enough difference in quality that I should wait until August for this?
    2) Size: needs to fit in my pocket with ONE pancake lense. (GF2, GF3 with the 14mm fits well). Camera balance is not an issue as I have absolutely gigantic hands. When I don't need to fit in the pocket, I will be carrying extra lenses.
    3) Speed, I enjoy taking lots of simultaneous photos, sports shots etc.
    4) I would like it to have HDR, and manual exposure length (for those awesome starry night photos)
    5) Movie mode, I am saddened that the C3 will only have 720p and the GF3 only has a mono mic, what the heck Panasonic?!
    6) Haven't done much research on the NEX-5, but it looks like a solid candidate, any opinions are highly valued.

    It doesn't help that Panasonic said in an interview that they will be releasing a true successor to the GF1 later. Worth holding my breath for? (No time frame at all, just that they will release it after the next GH model)

    Completely new here, attempting to get into photography. I would like to start it off with one of these cameras.

    Pricing:
    I can find the GF2 with 14-42mm for $450 now, and I would have to add on the 14mm or 20mm seperately
    The C3 will run $650 released in August
    The GF3 will run $700 released in July


    Ideally I'd love this camera for summer but I will wait if I have to, for the best camera.


    Thank you!!!:2thumbs:
     
  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Image quality! I am under the impression the APS-C sensor will have the ability to take better quality pictures. Am I wrong with this?

    The Sony cameras have better sensor performance than the Panasonics, but that's just one factor in taking "better quality pictures". Since you're looking to use the camera with a pancake lens, that means that with the Sony you can only use the 16mm f/2.8 lens. With the Panasonic, you have a few pancake lens choices, and the differences in angle of view between the Sony and the Panasonic options may prove to be a bigger factor than the differences in sensor performance. The Sony lens is ultrawide, while the Panasonic primes you mentioned are wide and normal. The Pana 20 is over a stop faster than the Sony lens and gives you more options for shallow DOF and equalizes high ISO image quality.

    3) Speed, I enjoy taking lots of simultaneous photos, sports shots etc.

    None of these are ideal sports cameras, but all will do better than your current camera. Any GF camera (especially the GF3) and Pana 14 will focus faster than the Sony and 16mm lens.

    4) I would like it to have HDR, and manual exposure length (for those awesome starry night photos)

    All of them can do this if you do your part.

    Pricing:
    I can find the GF2 with 14mm or 20mm for $550 now


    Wow, those are great prices. I would jump on a GF2 with 20mm lens and add the 14mm lens soon thereafter.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. This may be an issue if you end up with a camera that is too small to operate effectively.
     
  4. polishlanman

    polishlanman New to Mu-43

    5
    Jun 11, 2011
    Signal Hill, CA
    I had to update the GF2 price, my "connection" has changed their price. :/

    @Amin, as far as sports go, how would you compare the focus speed of the 14mm and the 20mm? I have read many comparisons between the two and understand the 20mm would be a better choice for overall general use, however it's hard to find and much more expensive than the 14mm.

    As far as HDR goes, is it incorporated in the software of the camera or would I have to take multiple pictures with different exposures and manually make the image myself on a computer?


    @Luckypenguin, How do you mean? Trouble pressing buttons or using the touchscreen? Trouble using the lenses?

    Thanks guys! More input would be appreciated on the Sony v Panasonic ordeal.
     
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    The 14 focuses much faster than the 20.

    As for HDR, I was talking about doing it the old fashioned way. I don't know which ones do in-camera HDR.
     
  6. For some reason I had it in my head that you were moving from a DSLR, but if you are moving up from a smaller P&S you would already be used to operating smaller cameras. However depending on the lens fitted, any of the cameras you mentioned can be a lot heavier than a P&S without necessarily having a lot extra to hold onto. Shrinking down the size of the camera bodies like the GF3 and C3 will begin to make touchscreens a necessity because there is less room for a set of proper DSLR controls on such small camera bodies.
     
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You're taking photography classes, want a camera with OPTIONS, and would be comfortable working with an EVF. Sorry, but out of your list of models you're interested in (GF2 vs GF3 vs NEX-5 vs NEX-C3), only ONE of those cameras fits the bill, and that is the Panasonic GF-2. None of the Sony NEX cameras nor the Panasonic GF-3 have any kind of hotshoe for external flash, nor do they have any kind of EVF. The Panasonic GF-2 has a hotshoe with accessory port which can mount both the LVF Electronic Viewfinder or any kind of external flash, radio trigger, or PC sync cable; allowing you to fire off any kind of speedlights or studio strobes. I'm sure you'll learn in your photography classes that this is an important part of a camera "with options".

    Besides accessories like lights and viewfinder, another part of a "camera with options" would be lens selection. For that, Micro Four-Thirds has by far the best. It is an open standard, and is fully compatible with another open standard called Four-Thirds (for DSLR cameras), where you can get all the fast zoom lenses and top-pro glass from the top glass makers such as Zuiko, Leica, Zeiss, Voigtlander, Vivitar, and many others. You can also find adapters for Micro Four-Thirds for just about any lens made, including rangefinder and cine glass (which always had too short a flange distance to adapt to SLRs). Even without adapted lenses, native Micro Four-Thirds and Four-Thirds lens lines are already very thorough. The Sony NEX cameras only have 4 super-overpriced and slow native lenses, but they do have an Alpha-mount adapter for Minolta, Sony, and Zeiss A-mount lenses. Native lenses for Micro Four-Thirds though includes many incredible piece of glass including the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95, Leica 45mm f/2.8 macro, Leica 25mm f/1.4, Lumix 20mm f/1.7, Lumix 14mm f/2.5, and a rumored m.Zuiko 12mm f/2.0 to come. That's just a short list of lenses available natively for Four-Thirds mount. A full line of Zeiss cine lenses is also available for native Micro Four-Thirds mount.

    So for the broadest lens selection your two choices would be the Panasonic GF-3 or GF-2. The GF-3 limits all your other options though for lighting, accessories, and easy manual control of the camera... so really your only option should be the GF-2 (out of your list, anyways). If you take one of the other 3 cameras (the GF-3 or Sony NEX models) to your photography class, they will be nothing but a frustration for you as they will be slow, difficult, and limited in all the things you will be taught to do. The GF-2 is a full-featured camera which will do everything you'll want, although it does have some reliance on the touch-screen which is more easily and efficiently controlled by dedicated buttons and dials on cameras like the Panasonic GF-1 or any of the Olympus PEN cameras.

    You should also look into the Olympus E-PL2 PEN though... it has better image quality than the GF-2 through a super-weak AA filter, allows an external mic jack for any standard 3.5mm stereo mic (this is only available in the larger Panasonic bodies, but is available in all video-capable Olympus bodies except the E-P1), has in-body image stabilization to stabilize any lens you mount on it including old legacy glass, and a much higher resolution EVF (Olympus VF-2) than the Panasonic LVF. Also, back to more options, all Olympus bodies will allow autofocus on all Micro Four-Thirds and Four-Thirds lenses, whereas Panasonic bodies have limits where they will not attempt to focus on certain lenses.

    If you buy in a kit with the zoom lens, the Olympus E-PL2 comes with the more compact, retractable, silent focusing m.Zuiko lens, but if you get the kit with the pancake primes, then the Panasonic GF-2 comes with the better 14mm f/2.5, or if you get the GF-1 it comes with an even nicer 20mm f/1.7.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I'm pretty sure that by "EVF" he was referring to the rear panel LCD.
     
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Ah, thanks Amin. :) That makes more sense then.
     
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Wow, I totally agree... I would definitely jump on the GF-2 with 20mm lens as well. I thought the GF-2 only came with the 14mm (maybe just in my area), but the 20mm lens is a well sought-after lens.
     
  11. polishlanman

    polishlanman New to Mu-43

    5
    Jun 11, 2011
    Signal Hill, CA
    Updated the price I can get the GF2 for.

    Thank you Ned and Amin for the extremely helpful advice. I am convinced that the GF2 is the best option as far as usability and interchangeability goes.

    Now the question is, should I hop on the GF2 or wait for the GF1 successor announced today (no ETA on that camera).
     
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    You'd probably be waiting a long time, and there will always be another camera. I'd get the GF2 but try to get the kit with the 14mm lens.
     
  13. polishlanman

    polishlanman New to Mu-43

    5
    Jun 11, 2011
    Signal Hill, CA
    Gotcha, those are a little bit harder to find. I saw them between 650 and 700 dollars. If I got the GF2, I would probably buy the 14mm seperately (~$300) and add that to the $450 dollar 14-42mm kit.


    Another factor I never really told you guys was that I don't plan a lot on expansion. I plan to own 3-4 lenses, and possibly a flash at some point. I don't see the need for it (unless my class requires it or I got the NEX in which case it would be an add-on)

    Would your opinion still remain the same?
     
  14. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    I'll jump on the IQ bandwagon ... I've just finished printing an 8x10 taken with the GF1 (same sensor as the GF2) ... one would be hard pressed to find a difference in IQ between an 8x10 from my GF1 and an 8x10 from my Canon 1Ds.

    Remember that ISO and enlargement size will affect IQ, at elevated ISOs (above 400) and at sizes larger than 8x10, you will see a difference in IQ between a µ4/3 and FF sensors.

    While the shutter-lag of µ4/3 cameras are significantly quicker than a P&S, as of today ... the µ4/3 camera and µ4/3 lens systems are not particularly well suited for action/sports photography.

    The µ4/3 cameras are great for quick candid shots and are a very enjoyable platform to use in this genre.

    G
     
  15. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    813
    Jan 9, 2011
    Canada
    Just for the record the OP stated a GF2 with a 14-42 , not a 14mm or 20mm.If you could get a gf2 with a 20mm for $450, you could just use the GF2 as a rear lens cap with what people are selling the 20 for. Also the 14-42 MKII is the better lens for video, if you were to consider the e-pl2.
     
  16. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Go to the local camera store if possible and handle them...see which one you like best. Each camera has a personality and a feel that may or may not appeal to you and what I or any of the of the other folks on this board might like may not appeal to you. Take the E-PL2...it's terrific camera and yet when I handled it I find I didn't care for it at all. It's purely subjective. We could go on all day about the merits of one camera vs. another but I think you owe it to yourself to try them out.

    The "best" camera is the one YOU like best.
     
  17. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    If you aren't a pixel peeper, all these cameras will be about the same. If you are, I'ld say the NEX C3 is the way to go. It has the best sensor, even better than the NEX 5. I've had M43 cameras and a NEX. Once you zoom in for a close look, it's clear that the M43 sensors are a step back from even the current NEX sensor. The C3 sensor is the same as in the A55 which is a step up from that.
     
  18. taphapy

    taphapy Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Jan 17, 2010
    Orange County, CA
    They will laugh at you in a camera class if you show up with a little gf3 or sony whatever. If you want to stay small, go with a gf1 with a 20mm lens or 14-45 if you like to zoom. You can get an attachable viewfinder (to the hot shoe) or an external flash. It's a good camera.
    Good luck with whatever you get.
     
  19. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    He edited his original statement, which had indicated a price for the GF2 with 14 or 20 as I quoted (prior to the edit).
     
  20. Johnny1.33

    Johnny1.33 Mu-43 Regular

    113
    Jun 4, 2011
    Sony changes too much for me. I'm afraid they'll bail out and I'd be stuck with a system no one wants. Maybe I'm overstating it but Sony seems to start things and not stay there for a long time.