Help picking a M4/3 Body

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by chrism_scotland, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Hi folks,
    Looking for a little advice in picking a M4/3 camera body.
    I've just sold my Pentax DSLR kit and I'm looking for something a lot smaller that I can stick in a bag and take with me rather than having to lug a lot of kit around.

    I've looked at Micro 4/3, Samsung NX and the Sony NEX system but I've ruled out the NEX due to lack of lenses and the Samsung as I've only been able to play with the NX10 and while its a nice camera (and nice lens range) I'd prefer something non DSLR like in form factor.

    I'm attracted to micro 4/3 as I'll be intending to pickup some of the pancake lenses (14,17,20) to keep the size of my kit very small!

    I've played with the Olympus Pen's and really like the EP1 and EP2 although I feel the handling on the EPL1/2 is a bit more cramped so not so keen on those.

    I've also enjoyed playing with the GF1 and GF2 which feel really nicely built.

    As I said I'm looking to spend as little as possible and have been attracted to the EP1 which is only £300 brand new with the Olympus 17mm pancake.

    Lens wise I'd be looking to add a Panasonic 20mm and either a 14mm or 14-45mm lens and I know that cost wise I'd be better to get the 14mm with a kit (GF2).

    But I've done a lot of reading and people saying that the AF is useless on the EP1, I don't know if I'm that bothered about an EVF at the moment and I really see my first M4/3 camera as a first step into it, with the intention of upgrading to a newer body later in the year (EP3, GF3 maybe)

    I think deep down I know that the GF1 / GF2 is probably a better camera than the EP1 but I do like the retro looks and I keep getting drawn back into thinking that the In Body IS of the Olympus would give me a bit advantage when using the non stabilised Panasonic and Olympus Primes.

    Looking at cost an EP1 with 17mm (new) and then picking up a used 20mm is likely to be about £500 while a used GF1 with a similar lens lineup is likely to be about the same, I guess I'm not sure if despite the lower price I'm maybe shooting myself in the foot a little buying an EP1 if the AF is that bad.
  2. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    The AF of the E-P1 is not bad in terms of accuracy, it is just not particularly fast. The Panasonic bodies are faster to focus than the Oly, and depending on the lens are fast to the point where they start become comparable with some DSLRs. The speed of the E-P1 autofocus is closer to that of a high-end compact.
  3. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Cheers mate, I think for my usage fast focus isn't a massive issue although I had read that the AF was quite lousy in low light on the EP1 which I'm a bit worried about.
  4. Covey22

    Covey22 Mu-43 Regular

    May 3, 2011
    New England, USA
    Please see my comments in this thread re: GF2's touchscreen. It's finicky as heck, at least for this old-time photographer.
  5. GF-1 & G2 user. G2 is a bit more bulk until you add the LVF-1 to the GF-1. Tend to shoot more with G2. Prefer the G2 higher evf resolution, brighter lcd for daylight shooting. GF-1 without evf + 20mm or 9-18mm is nice and compact. My "pocket" camera. Neither the GF2 or G3 has my interest. Personal preferences for manual vs. touchscreen control.
  6. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Real Name:
    Chris, IMO, if you decide on a digital Pen, EPL2 is the way to go. Otherwise, I'd wait for the rumored EP3. I have an EP2, and I'd trade it straight up for an EPL2 in a heart beat.
  7. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I tried the EPL2 but to be honest it doesn't feel as good for me to grip as the EP1/EP2 do which is why I'm likely to go for the EP1 for now.
  8. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    The e-p1 is still a mighty nice camera, and if your vision isn't impaired, you're unlikely to miss the EVF. The LCD isn't as detailed as the one on the GF-1, but consider it's a viewfinder, not a TV screen. It's there to frame pictures, and that, it does extremely well, even in the harshest light outside (sure, sometimes, your image is washed out, but you always have enough outlines to figure what you're shooting at. Can't say the same with some finer LCDs).

    The AF isn't as bad as some would make it. No DSLR speed for sure, but it's better than most P&S. Of course, if you intend to shoot sports for a living, that's not the right camera, but I think you already know that.

  9. kytra

    kytra Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2011
    GF2 if size is important. EP1 is sexy as hell, and AF is not THAT bad. Better find one and try it before you buy. Usually high street shops in tourist areas have overpriced Pens that one could handle and try.
    A good compromise is GF1, whuch is better from a lot of reasons but not as sexy as the EP. EPL seems too plasticky and big for my taste (I once wanted to buy a EPL2 and get rid of the GF1 for those wonderful jpegs but I've changed my mind since)
  10. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have an E-P1 and a Panasonic G2. I started my m43 adventures with an E-PL1+VF2.

    After a year I have come to the following conclusions (your mileage may vary). The EVF while nice to have is not essential for me to use my MF lenses inn anything but very bright light. Under most conditions I find the LCD up to the task. The hardest part isn't the LCD it's holding the camera at arms length. When shooting with AF lenses I don't use the EVF much at all. Having had both the E-P1 and the E-PL1 I can say that I don't notice much difference in the IQ department. The E-PL1 appears to have slightly sharper images but I suspect it has more to do with the camera default settings than any real differences. For that matter the G2 has the same IQ as well. The E-P1 is a terrific camera and don't let the promise of new features make you think otherwise. It has terrific IQ and wonderful handling (much better than the E-PL1/PL2 IMHO). If you do not need the ability to hook up a VF2 then an E-P1 with low mileage can be had for cheap.

    Lens wise I have a Panasonic 20 and love it. The Panasonic 14 is also quite nice but I am selling mine as I also have the 14-45 and feel like that gives me a bit more flexibility. The 14-45 is one heck of a nice kit lens. I find the AF on the E-P1 is...interesting. It's really not that bad. In iAuto I have some issues with it but I shoot in A mode usually and if you set it to center focus point, center wighted metering and turn off face detect you'll find it a lot snappier. Also, the Panasonic 20 has it's own AF "quirks". The Panasonic 14 and 14-45 focus a lot faster than the 20 (and quieter). That said, I wouldn't trade my 20 for anything. Another little thing about the E-P1 to consider is the body has IBIS. This benefits the native as well as legacy lenses. If you regularly shoot in darker conditions it can give you a bit of an advantage (even with a fast lens such as the Panasonic 20).

    As for the GF-1...I have always had a thing for the GF-1 yet when I finally decided to buy myself a Panasonic body I decided on the G2. It has the same sensor, a very nice built-in EVF with an auto on eye sensor, a swivel LCD and isn't much larger. Go figure.
  11. shoturtle


    Oct 15, 2010
    if you are not big into raw editing go with the olympus, the oly jpegs are excellent out of camera. Not to easy to out work flow it in raw.

    Epl2 is a great little camera, it does offer the updated msc lens. Which makes the AF work as quickly as the panny. I recently added a msc lens to my epl-1 it is quick for a mirrorless camera.
  12. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Thanks everyone, EP1 ordered! I don't mind playing with RAW but its nice sometimes to just be able to take something out of the camera!
  13. Yotsuba

    Yotsuba Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2010
    I have the EPL1 and love the colours it produces.

    How are the colours from the Panasonic's side?
  14. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    I really liked my E-P1 and only went to a used E-P2 so I could use the VF2 for old manual lenses. The IQ is great and I can live with most of the other problems. The E-P1's AF is much better with firmware upgrade 1.4. With AF lenses, the E-P1 is fine and very satisfying to use. The Delkin shield was a handy addition for bright outdoor work.