Hello from Mitchell

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by Mitchell Zimmerman, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. Mitchell Zimmerman

    Mitchell Zimmerman New to Mu-43

    Jun 8, 2010
    Palo Alto CA
    Hello, All,

    I’ve been a Northern Californian for more than 40 years after growing up in the Northeast (and a little time in the South). Now I am a partly-retired intellectual property lawyer (copyright/internet/etc.), and I spend most of my time on writing and photography. My photography is mostly scenic shots or abstractions from nature (plus social events). (Samples: Picasa Web Albums - Mitchell Zimmerman - Portfolio One....)

    I’ve had a Nikon D80 for several years and am finally grasping how to use it as more than a glorified (but very glorified!) point and shoot. Most of the time I carry the D80 around with its splendid 18-200 mm lens, but together they weigh 3 pounds. So my interest in the 4/3 format is mostly prompted by my desire for a second serious camera that I can carry around when I don’t want to deal with all that weight.

    Since I also don’t want to spend a vast amount on a second camera at this point (but maybe I’ll be seduced into concluding that this format is appropriate for a primary camera!), I am choosing between the E-PL1, the GF1 and the G1. Having perused the forum, I have a feeling that my questions on which to choose are repetitiously considered, but here we go again:

    The E-PL1 appears to be favored for its size and compactness; the Panasonics for faster auto focus and maybe better image quality. It’s hard for me to tell whether there’s any consensus on these seeming differences amongst those who have cameras from both manufacturers. Slow auto-focus would be a big concern for me, since I don't want to deal with shutter lag whatever its cause. Or is this not as big a deal as I’m imagining? I can’t figure out whether you can figure out whether the menu structures are better or worse without many hours on each camera which doesn’t seem feasible.

    Second issue: I am inclined to get one of these cameras with the 14x45 mm zoom. But I am wondering how well one might function with just a 20 mm wide angle, relying on a lot of cropping in some situations. Any thoughts?
    By the way, are the 14-45 lenses on these cameras standard kit, or do I need to pay attention to whether they are being sold with different lenses from different sources?

    Thanks – this seems to be a very constructive forum, and I’m looking forward to participating in it.

  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Hi, and again, welcome to the forum!

    I don't think the E-PL1 is much smaller than the GF1, nor would I say that the Panasonics have better image quality. In fact, most reviewers seem to prefer the Olympus in-camera JPEG image quality to that of Panasonic, and the RAW file image quality is nearly identical.

    The 14-42 (Olympus) and 14-45 (Panasonic) lenses are standard kit. Any authorized dealer should give you the proper lens in those kits. The Panasonic 20mm lens is very versatile. If you can live with a 28mm prime on your D80, you should be happy with the 20 on the Panasonic.
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  3. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    welcome Mitchell ,
    i read your introduction with great interest, my primary camera before taking the ep1 plunge and the gf1 plunge 4 months later was also a nikon d 80 with an 18 to 135 kit and some older Nikon AF lenses a 85 1.8af a 50 1.4 af and a micro - nikkor 105 2.8 AF

    thinking back, i think i mostly used it as a glorified point and shoot too , but Ive never thought of this until now! , 95 percent of what i shot was on A or P mode with very little post process work and very little manual shooting or use of adapted glass

    much to my surprise the first lens i purchased following my ep1 purchase was a voigtlander 50 mm 1.5 , which behaves on the ep-1 like a nice fast 100mm portrait lens with commendable speed , i loved this for about 2 weeks and began to yearn for a fast " normal lens, i bought a used mint 28 mm 1.9 voigtlander screw mount played with this for a month and got the 15 mm voigtlander , which acts like a 29 or 30 mm wide on the epi\gf1 but with insane depth of field... in daylight you rarely even need to focus!

    what happened to me is i became a manual shooter, i loved the new micro 4\3 format
    so much i considered loss of af [ my focus is more accurate and more subject specific by an order of magnitude] a small price to pay to gain speedy lenses for my gf1 and ep1

    if anyone had told me i would have bought all these manual lenses , i would have laughed at them , in a word micro 4\3m changed me as a shooter and has allowed me control over the artistic and technological control of my shooting in a way i never dreamed of

    but i use my AF kit zooms often the 14-42oly and the 14-45panny.......there are times when its clearly the best choice
    my 17mm 2.8 oly AF gets used a lot too , its my only AF prime and i value it greatly the 20 mm 1.7 is much loves on the forum but i dont have it

    i hope you come to love the format as much as i do
  4. Auntiepode

    Auntiepode Mu-43 Regular

    Smaller and lighter, yet with good image quality

    Welcome, Mitchell! My walking around camera for several years had been a Canon 5D with a 24-105mm lens. My neck needed relief. A GF1 with a 14-45 covers a slightly shorter zoom range but seems to be enough. It's *so* much lighter and draws less attention. One of the reasons I picked the GF1 over the Olys was faster focusing. With 7-14, 14-45 and 45-200 zooms, the set is smaller and lighter the the Canon and 24-105. Packing a carry-on for air travel is no longer daunting. My neck and back thank me.

    Ironically, despite a nice set of auto-focus zooms, like cosinaphile, I find returning to slower and more contemplative shooting with adapted prime manual focus lenses has become a joy. Perhaps it's a yearning to return to my photographic roots.
  5. Mitchell Zimmerman

    Mitchell Zimmerman New to Mu-43

    Jun 8, 2010
    Palo Alto CA

    Thanks, Amin, Cosi and Auntie (if I may be familiar). Your welcomes and responses are very useful and much appreciated. The comments on lenses are especially useful. More later, perhaps.