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Have lens, need body

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Chris83, May 16, 2011.

  1. Chris83

    Chris83 Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2011

    As some of you may have read over in the introductions thread, I have decided to ditch my Canon XSi for a Micro 4/3 system. I know that much of this has been discussed previously on here but I am looking for updated information regarding a couple of topics. I appreciate any and all of your opinions.

    I am currently out of the US and will be returning in about a week for a couple of days before heading out to Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. I am not sure how long I will be gone for but my guess is somewhere in the range of two to three months. I realize that it would be better if I were able to get my hands on the body prior to purchasing but in this case, that is not a feasible option considering my timeline. I purchased a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 on eBay yesterday and am having a heck of a time trying to decide which body to pair it with (among other things).

    1.) Body: Being that I am only bringing a 36L Osprey pack with me, space is at a premium which is one of the primary reasons I am switching to this format. I guess the first thing that I need to decide on is which body would suit my needs the best. I think that I have it narrowed down to the following three bodies: GF1 / GF2 / or E-P2. I value size and portability more so than price and would be willing to sacrifice some features for the sake of portability. I do not like to wear a camera around my neck but prefer to keep it in a large cargo pocket or in a daypack / small waist pack.

    2.) Lenses: Once again, space being at a premium, I would prefer to carry only one lens. Being that the 20mm is on the way, is there any other must have lenses for this region? My main focus will be capturing landscapes, pictures with friends, architecture, etc. I chose the 20mm mainly for it's size and the quality of the images that it is capable of producing. If I chose a body that comes with a kit lens, would it be worth bringing or can the 20mm suffice in most situations?

    3.) Method of Transport: As I mentioned above, I prefer to keep my camera in a waist pack or pocket. With my iPad, I use a neoprene sleeve, would there be any equitable option for carrying a camera? I realize the likelihood of nicks, scratches, and such are amplified but I find that to be a worth sacrifice to eliminate the need for a separate bag.

    4.) Memory Cards: I notice at many of your opinions vary greatly when it comes to what class and brand of memory card to use. I would like to bring about 32gb worth of cards split up into 8gb denominations. Given the myriad of different brands, classes, and prices, which one would I be best off with and where can I purchase it for the best price?

    5.) Filters: Again, I know that this is a a topic of huge contention but considering what I have posted above and my intended uses, would you recommend the use of a filter? If so, what kind and made by whom?

    Ok, I think that about wraps it up. I sincerely appreciate any help that anyone on here is able to offer me and I apologize if any of these things have been discussed in detail before. I am no opposed to research and reading but I often find that on forums, much of the information is dated and or doesn't take into account specific factors such as those that I have mentioned above.

  2. The GF1 is still a favourite for many people, even over the newer GF2 which lost a few external controls in lieu of a touchscreen (hence some of the scepticism of the new model). By all reports the GF2 still seems to be a great camera, though.

    If you're looking at Olympus bodies I'd consider the E-PL2 (not listed in your poll) over the E-P2 in a comparison of price-vs-features, especially given that some of the major advantages of the E-P2 over the earlier E-PL1 were negated when the E-PL2 was released. The E-PL2 even has some features the E-P2 lacks (in-built flash, higher-res screen).
    • Like Like x 1
  3. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    4) I suggest Newegg.com.
  4. Chris83

    Chris83 Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2011
    I noticed that the GF2 is just a few mm's smaller in each dimension. Is this size difference noticeable?
  5. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 23, 2011
    I would go with the GF1, unless you REALLY like touch screen and need FULL HD video.
    The GF1 with the 20mm is an almost unbeatable combo.
    SD cards - best value I have found is Samsung 8gb class 6 @ £12.99 from play.com
    Class 6 is plenty fast enough.
    Guarentee for 10 years, waterproof for 24hr submersion(salt water too), very tough (can be driven over!!)

    wouldn't go with anything cheaper myself, there are faster cards out there but cost a great deal more, so for me above is a good compromise + I've never heard of a cloned Samsung card.
    Don't know what post is like to your part of the world though..... :) 
  6. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Hey Chris, Welcome to the forum mate. I'll see if I can help you with your questions since I've had a micro four thirds camera for awhile now.


    I own a GF1 myself and I fully recommend it. The GF2 is kinda 'more' geared toward the mainstream consumer category. It is still a great camera but controls like iso, aperture and shutter are harder to adjust as they are in the menu. Adjusting that via external controls on the GF1 are much easier than trying to adjust via the touchscreen when in sunlight.

    If you can get your hands on a GF1 I'll guarantee you'll be happy with it.

    Re: Lenses

    This is a little tricky. I have 2 lenses. The 20mm and a 14-45mm. The 14-45 is alot wider and really that would be the only benefit of having it. Using it at full reach (45mm) I'm pretty sure wouldn't be any use in your situation. Since you're on a holiday time wont be a problem, in the scenario of using the 20mm and you needed to get closer you can just use your legs to do the zooming. The only benefit of taking the kit lens in my opinion is the wide angle of 14mm. (When compared to full frame is 14x2=28mm VS 20x2=40mm)

    If you can get a kit lens I would recommend the 14-45 over the 14-42.

    In conclusion, the 20mm is on my GF1 95 percent of the time and the way that lens renders is probably the reason why.:smile:

    Re:Method of transport

    I'm a kinda guy who doesn't like to have scratches and dints on my gear and I take pains to keep it from getting like that. If you're not fanatical like me I can assure you that the GF1 is build like a brick. The outer body is made of aluminium and is Anodised. The anodising will scratch (as it is a coating on the aluminium) but will not affect the camera functions in anyway. I would just protect the screen and the best way to do that is to buy some cheap iphone screen protectors and cut them to shape. The screen protector will gather scratches from normal use and then you replace it.

    I've heard of stories of the GF1 being dropped on the road and fallen off a bike and continue to work flawlessly. So if you need to cut down on weight and space, the GF1 will be fine without a bag.

    Re: memory cards

    The main thing to look out on memory cards is the class (which is the speed of the card). If you're going to be shooting alot of video it pays to get a higher class card to keep up with the video bit rate. I use an 8GB Sandisk Extreme III and it has served me great since I received the camera. Sandisk are a reputable brand and I'm sure you wont have any problems if you go down that track.

    Re: Filters

    Definitely get a filter. There are pros and cons of filters but in your situation a filter will be the most sensible thing to have. I believe Hoya is renowned for good glass and personally I have a Hoya HMC UV filter on my 20mm.

    Another little thing that may come in handy is a gorilla pod. You never know when the occasion arises that they become useful.

    I hope this may help in some way to give some some confirmation on your decisions.

    • Like Like x 1
  7. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oh, and a 2nd battery would be extremely beneficial too.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    GF1 Review. 16 Days in the Himalayas

    Hi Chris,

    I recall reading this review just prior to my first µ43 purchase.Craig Mod took his GF1 on a 16 day hike through the Himalayas... photos are of Nat Geo quality.

    I believe he took nothing more than the GF1 and a 20mm...

    Here's a link. Hope it's useful to you.

    Panasonic Lumix GF1 Field Test — 16 Days in the Himalayas

    PS> Brady... Nice job, and IMHO right on point!
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Chris83

    Chris83 Mu-43 Rookie

    May 14, 2011
    Thanks Alan,

    Ironically, I read this a couple of days ago and it fully solidified my decision to switch over from the XSi to 4/3.

    I did a Nepal trek a couple of years back carrying my DSLR. I am 100% certain that the reason for the lack of photos taken during the trip was due to my unwillingness to pull that giant camera and lens out of my pack. While the shots that I did take were quite impressive IMO, it is somewhat frustrating thinking back on the number that I missed and possibly could have captured had I had discovered this format back then.

    While I understand that there are many people doing treks in Nepal with DSLR's, my choice not to hire a porter or a guide meant that I was carrying everything on my back. Not wanting a camera and lens smacking me in the chest while walking at 15,000 feet, I was forced to stop, open my pack, take a few pictures, reseal pack, put my ruck back on, and start to walk again.

    My further dislike for DSLR's was compounded after I left Nepal and was in Southern Thailand, still carrying all of my trekking and camera gear. Never again...

    Thanks for all of the help guys. I am starting to lean more and more towards the GF1.
  10. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Chris,

    While I'm not hiking mountains... the rest of your logic in regard to the larger size of the DSLR is a summary of my decision to become fully immersed in the emerging µ43 format.

    I loved the review by Craig Mod... finished me off too.

    By the way, Iconindustries comment regarding build quality of the GF1 body can NOT be overstated. it feels like a rock.. just really solid in every way.

    Cheers, Alan
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I can't vote in your poll because it is missing two very important bodies : e-pL1 & e-pL2, both of which allow the VF-2. They both take sharper pictures than the e-P2 which is vitally important for the landscape photographer.
  12. jbuch84

    jbuch84 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 9, 2011
    Orlando, FL
    I own a gf2 and really can't complain. Many of the things people dislike it for are really just because they haven't owned it or used it enough to get used to the new touch screen. Once your used to it, it's really nice.. Not to mention that you don't HAVE to access it using the touch functions. Not to mention that it has full video and touch screen focus and shutter function.. Something you really have to use to appriciate. But all of that said, a camera with better high iso function would be what I would buy now that I already own the slim gf2. It's just my opinion, take it for what it's worth :) 
  13. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I would recommend taking a lens with more reach, you can always stitch to create a wide angle landscape, but image quality suffers pretty dramatically to crop in on an architectural detail four stories up (and it's hard to zoom with your feet vertically).

    Also, IMHO the close focus of the 20 is not so close - perhaps it's only shortcoming - so taking photos of flowers, etc will probably require some cropping too.

    As for body ... The newer cameras are superior in every functional way to the GF1, and yet you see how dedicated everyone is to them, myself included. I travel quite a bit, and love that I can carry the body and 4 lenses in the bottom half of a relatively small and light bag.

    There are some padded wraps available for protection in your backpack. That plus some ziploc bags with silica gel packs should do you well.

    As for filters, skip the UV filters, but definitely bring polarizers, and use them any time the sun is out.
  14. ducktapeguy

    ducktapeguy New to Mu-43

    May 16, 2011
    Hey Chris,

    I'm actually in Thailand right now travelling with a GF1 + 20mm 1.7 combo. I think unless photography is the main purpose of your trip, that combo will be good enough. I was in a similar situation, I hated carrying around tons of equipment, it because a chore instead of a fun past-time. The GF1 is about the max I'm willing to carry, even then I sometimes wish for something a little smaller.

    1) I can't comment on the GF2 or EP because I don't have it, but the GF1 is borderline pocketable. It will fit in cargo pants pockets with the 20mm lens, barely, if you don't use any type of case around it. I personally don't like having the camera bang against my legs when I walk, and depending on the size of your pockets it can be a hassle trying to get it out. A small bag or fanny pack would probably be more comfortable, not to mention faster access. I tend to keep it on a wrist strap when walking around, or in my backpack. I can't imagine the size difference between the 3 cameras are noticable enough to make a difference, it'll never be a pocket camera.

    2) I also have the 14-140 lens, but 90% of my shooting is done with the 20mm. Only because that's what I tend to keep on the camera so it's always there when I want to take a picture. The extra range is nice sometimes, but if I were to choose only 1 lens to take it would be the 20mm because of it's small size and fast speed. I've grown to like the focal length, it's a nice all around general use lens. I also like a fast lens because these cities really come alive at night, so there are a lot of photo opportunities after dark. A small tripod comes in handy also.

    3) I bought one of those cheap old school leather wraparound covers on ebay. You can snap it off and let it dangle to take a picture, then quickly cover it back up. That's useful if you're here during the rainy season when a sudden downpour can drown your camera. It's not even remotely waterproof, but good enough to keep most of the water off it. It only fits with the 20mm lens, if you use any other lens there is a leather flap to cover the back, but I rarely use it. Instead I have a screen protector to protect the back. For storage while traveling I also have a small targus camcorder case to hold the camera (without leather cover), 14-140 lens, and some filters and memory cards. The charger doesn't fit though but it doesn't need protection anyway.

    4) No experience, I use whatever I had and it works. I don't know about Laos, but at least in Bangkok there are plenty of places to buy more memory if you run out.

    5) I only use 2 filters for digital. A UV filter stays on the lens at all times so I can keep the lens uncovered while I'm carrying. It's nice to be able to wipe off rain or dust with a quick swipe of a T-shirt and not worrying about scratching the lens. Get a decent multi-coated one, I tried to go with a cheap filter at first but returned it because of all the reflections it caused. Oh yeah keep some type of lens wipe or sometime to wipe the condensation off the lens, it's humid here. The only other filter I use is a polarizing filter to cut glare. There's a lot of sun, water, and green here so it really helps. All other effects can be done in photoshop.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I agree with the suggestion of the E-PL2. It uses the weakest AA filter of the Micro Four-Thirds cameras, which is made possible by the same Image Processing Engine used in the Olympus E-5 pro body. Sharpness and detail retention is excellent, even at higher ISOs.

    I would never get the E-PL1 because of its lack of control dials (you gotta push buttons to make any adjustments!), plastic body, limits on functions (ie, 1/2000th maximum shutter speed instead of 1/4000th, no remote compatability, etc.), and well... blocky fugly look, lol. The E-PL2 is completely uncompromising and is more like the E-P2 in both function and build although it retains the advantage of a bigger grip and pop-up flash (which I would only use as a Remote Flash Commander) like the E-PL1. It even has very nice styling and finish, and this is from a big fan of the E-P1's original retro style and brushed stainless finish.

    There are certain things about the control system of the E-PL2 that I like even better than the E-P2, such as the Direct-to-Video button (which can be customized for all kinds of functions, and makes a much nicer Back-Button Focus than the recessed Fn or AEL/AFL buttons did) as well as the Close-Up button (great for manually focusing legacy lenses which don't have the Four-Thirds contacts to use Manual Focus Assist).

    Otherwise, I do think the E-P2 is still a great choice. Besides the advantages I mentioned of the E-PL2, the E-P2 still retains an overall better functionality with its dual-dial system, reminiscent in use of the Olympus E-3 and E-5. The E-PL2's single dial with the Exposure Compensation button at the top is very much like using the Panasonic system with its Two-in-One dial, except on the E-PL2 you push up on the dial to access the secondary function while on the GF-1 or GF-2 you push the dial in.
  16. ksn

    ksn Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 6, 2011
    Have Camera, Will Travel :cloud-9-039:
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