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Help on deciding: E-PM1 or XZ-1

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by LanaW, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. LanaW

    LanaW New to Mu-43

    2
    Dec 12, 2011
    Hi everyone,
    I've been reading threads on this forum for weeks now trying to gather as much information as I could before making my camera purchase. I really think I have been over thinking this so I just need to ask a few questions so that I can buy a new camera once and for all.

    I have been wanting to upgrade my p&s camera for a long time, but being on a student budget limited me for a long time. I wanted to get something that would provide me with the best image quality for a reasonable price. A full size dSLR was out of the question because I would not be willing to haul it around to casual social events.

    After pondering over this for ages I decided upon either a m43 camera or a high end compact like the Olympus XZ-1. I know this is a m 43 based forum but I hope someone can provide me with some unbiased answers to the questions i have. My questions:

    1 - How would low light pictures (by low light i would say something like in a bar, lounge, or banquet hall reception) compare on the XZ-1 to the E-PM1 with the included 14-42mm lens?

    The XZ-1 has f1.8 capability, but people in various blogs and forums say that the larger sensor size of a m43 camera makes up for the difference and that f1.8 on an xz-1 is equal to f3.5 on a m43.

    2 - How would low light pictures compare from the two if the E-PM1 had the Panasonic 14mm lens attached?

    I figure I will soon get the 14mm lens if i choose the E-PM1 but the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 lens is a bit too pricy for me now

    3 - People say that the XZ-1 has a bright lens all the way through its different focal lengths. Does this mean that it would take better pictures than the E-PM1 at 42mm?
    How about if the E-PM1 had the 40-150mm lens?

    4 - I read a brief comment by someone on another forum say something like a picture from a m43 camera that is cropped/magnified in photoshop would be equivalent to a zoom picture from a camera like the XZ-1 - is this true?

    5 - Finally, can the E-PM1 take good macro pictures with the kit lens equivalent to the beautiful pictures the XZ-1 takes on super macro mode?


    I hope my questions aren't too silly so please forgive me as I am still learning a lot about all of these different types of cameras out there. Currently Futureshop here in canada has a sale on the E-PM1 for 399 so I figure I should cash in before the sale is over on Thursday.
     
  2. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    Someone else might be in a better position to answer your questions, since I have never used the XZ-1 before, but I thought you might find the following discussions helpful:

    https://www.mu-43.com/f76/tempted-compact-18637/

    I think a lot of your questions are being discussed in this thread, although they might be all over the place...
     
  3. Lili

    Lili Mu-43 Veteran

    203
    Apr 24, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    1 - How would low light pictures (by low light i would say something like in a bar, lounge, or banquet hall reception) compare on the XZ-1 to the E-PM1 with the included 14-42mm lens?

    The XZ-1 goes from f1.8 at the wide end to f2.5 at the long end versus F3.5 to 5.6. From 2/3 to 2 stp advantage for the XZ. Also that long on the XZ is 112mm-e versus 84 on the E-PM.

    The XZ-1 has f1.8 capability, but people in various blogs and forums say that the larger sensor size of a m43 camera makes up for the difference and that f1.8 on an xz-1 is equal to f3.5 on a m43.

    The Shallow DOF adavantages are less on the smaller sensor but with the slower lens you would still have to use lower shutter speed or higher ISO on the m4/3.

    2 - How would low light pictures compare from the two if the E-PM1 had the Panasonic 14mm lens attached?

    Very similar as the lens speed would be so very close, in that case the larger sensor of the E-PM would give huge advantages at higher ISO. But the XZ still has a zoom if that is important to you


    3 - People say that the XZ-1 has a bright lens all the way through its different focal lengths. Does this mean that it would take better pictures than the E-PM1 at 42mm?

    The faster lens would allow for higher shutter speeds or use of lower ISO

    How about if the E-PM1 had the 40-150mm lens?

    Then you would have larger package with MUCH more reach, comparing apples and oranges

    4 - I read a brief comment by someone on another forum say something like a picture from a m43 camera that is cropped/magnified in photoshop would be equivalent to a zoom picture from a camera like the XZ-1 - is this true?

    IMHO, no, not at all.

    5 - Finally, can the E-PM1 take good macro pictures with the kit lens equivalent to the beautiful pictures the XZ-1 takes on super macro mode?

    The kit lens is very good for the price but it focuses nowhere near as close. You would have to add close up lens adapter. Small sensor camera with fixed lenses tend to do superbly at macro.


    I hope my questions aren't too silly so please forgive me as I am still learning a lot about all of these different types of cameras out there. Currently Futureshop here in canada has a sale on the E-PM1 for 399 so I figure I should cash in before the sale is over on Thursday.

    Your questions are not silly at all. It all depends on what you photograph, To paraphrase Mr. Morden from Babylon 5; What do You Want (to shoot)?
    :smile:
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Based soley on this statement, I can already give you your answer. You need an E-PM1. The Image Quality is worlds ahead from the XZ-1 any way you look at it, and the price is even cheaper. It's really a no-brainer. ;) If you're even considering a Micro Four-Thirds or DSLR, don't bother looking at the high-end compacts. The imaging capabilities are nowhere near the same - the High-End Compact is for those who need something truly "pocketable".

    The XZ-1 will be really grainy in low light. The E-PM1 will perform better even if you bump up the ISO dramatically. That's only until you get a faster lens. Any small prime you upgrade to will be significantly faster than your 14-42mm kit lens, then you'll have not only the high ISO capabilities but the lens speed as well.

    Yes, this will make a big difference to your low-light photography. As Lili says, the XZ-1 is actually f/1.8 - 2.5, not just f/1.8. The 14mm is f/2.5, which is quite a bit faster than the kit zoom, but also a lot sharper.

    No, the E-PM1 will take much higher quality images. Using the brightness to gauge the potential for quality photos only works in the system camera world, because bright lenses take more manufacture and are therefore "generally" higher grade. They are not always higher grade, just generally.

    The 40-150mm is the same speed as the kit lens. It'll shoot just as slow, but it will offer a much longer focal length for telephoto shooting. That's what the lens is for, not for better image quality. The image quality will be much better than the XZ-1 in any regard, just not any better than the 14-42mm kit zoom.

    Yes, you could do that if you really want to. The E-PM1 will deliver much more finely detailed images, so you could get as good an image from a crop. A lot of Full Frame photographers do this, shooting wide scenes to avoid having to carefully compose on the spot, then cropping in post and still delivering fairly detailed images that are sharper because they use only the center image circle (with a full frame you have "vignetting" to deal with).

    To achieve macro close-focus on a system camera, you need a macro lens. Our lenses are dedicated to optimize performance for their particular function. A Close-Up filter on the 14-42mm kit zoom however, will still deliver much better images, but not necessarily closer. As Lili says, a compact camera has excellent potential for macro focus. That doesn't mean though that the images are comparable in quality.

    The Olympus MCON-P01 is the one you want. Here's a review on it, halfway down the page:
    Olympus PEN Converter Lenses Tested

    You'll notice that the MCON doesn't work anywhere near as well on the 14-42mm as it does on the 40-150mm though...
     
  5. Lili

    Lili Mu-43 Veteran

    203
    Apr 24, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    The XZ-1 will be really grainy in low light. The E-PM1 will perform better even if you bump up the ISO dramatically. That's only until you get a faster lens. Any small prime you upgrade to will be significantly faster than your 14-42mm kit lens, then you'll have not only the high ISO capabilities but the lens speed as well.

    Actually I do not find this the case as the fast lens and excellent IBIS allows me to keep most shots at ISO 200 or less, even in quite low light; no noise there.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/colette_noir/6475902611/" title="Lonely Night by colette_noir, on Flickr"> 6475902611_30d82bb8d2_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Lonely Night"></a>
    ISO 200, f1.8, 1/13 sec handheld
    One thing no one mentions; the iZuiko lens on the XZ-1 is Superbly sharp. Incredibly so even wide open. Lana seems to interested in compactness and low light performance. If we are comparing the E-PM1 with the 14-42mm kit zoom then I submit the speed and quality of the XZ lens comes very close to leveling the field. If She opts for the E-PM with the 17mm M Zuiko (one of my favorite Oly Lenses) or opts to get the Panny 14/2.5 then the m4/3 camera wins, just as you say, Ned. Hands Down
    :)
     
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, very true Lili. A system camera is only as good as its lens. The lenses are where you get the performance values from, while the body is just an accessory to allow you to use the system. So sticking with the kit lens really does you no good...

    The 14mm f/2.5 however is a very good lens, and a worthy upgrade to the system.
     
  7. Lili

    Lili Mu-43 Veteran

    203
    Apr 24, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    Here is shot showing my E-PL2, with 17mm, my XZ-1 and my Ricoh GRD 3
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/colette_noir/6445742131/" title="Say Hello to My Little Friends by colette_noir, on Flickr"> 6445742131_3d830e39b3_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Say Hello to My Little Friends"></a>
    The E-PM1 body is closer to the of the XZ-1 in size however the lens mount protrudes far more.
    Here is some Macro work with the XZ-1
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/colette_noir/5767283842/" title="P5270350sp by colette_noir, on Flickr"> 5767283842_cfeca6930f_b. "934" height="1024" alt="P5270350sp"></a>
     
  8. LanaW

    LanaW New to Mu-43

    2
    Dec 12, 2011
    Thank you everyone that replied because your views were very helpful. Ned made a strong case for the m43 camera, and Lili made a good case for the XZ-1 so I am still torn between the two. Gosh I didn't think it would be this hard buying a camera! In an ideal world I would have enough money for both.

    I walked into Futureshop today to get a feel of both cameras again, and I think I leaned towards the XZ-1 just by holding it in my hands.

    An employee at another store I visited (Black's) suggested I go with the XZ-1 now (even though they don't stock it) to just get used to dealing with manual settings, and then moving up to a m43 camera when I have a bit more experience. He also suggested that since I waited this long, I might as well wait until some big expo that is supposed to happen in March to see if anything new is announced (like an XZ-2 or LX6).

    I think at the moment if I see a good deal on an XZ-1 I will pick one up and then get a m43 camera in the future.

    Sorry again for the long rambling!
     
  9. Lili

    Lili Mu-43 Veteran

    203
    Apr 24, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    Lana, you are most welcome for any help I could provide. If I may offer a suggestion; shoot RAW and convert to jpeg using the included Olympus Viewer 2. This allows you to disable noise reduction. Noise will limit you to ISO 320 at most, depending on your tolerance for noise, however the detail recorded will be much much higher.