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How did you choose Olympus over Panasonic or vice versa?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by andrewteee, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. andrewteee

    andrewteee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2009
    I'm still on the lookout for an everyday family camera and travel camera that I can get along with. In the past I have owned a G1 and an E-P2. They both had pros and cons.

    How did you end up choosing a Panasonic or Olympus camera over the other? What were your priorities and what else impacted your decision? If you went from one to the other, why?

    In this thread I'm focused on feedback between these two m4/3 brands, not necessarily between m4/3 and other options. And I'm not really looking for recommendations for my specific needs, just your own experience.

    Appreciate your input. Thanks.
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Olympus has a history in photography, and I came from a background in photography. Olympus was the name to trust for a photographer from the film era, while I knew the Panasonic name well for their video cameras. That's how I chose Olympus over Panasonic in the Four-Thirds system, and of course going from an Olympus Four-Thirds system meant carrying on with an Olympus Micro Four-Thirds system was inevitable. ;) 
  3. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    My dad's cameras were all Olympus. My first "serious" camera was an Olympus. Then there's IBIS. 'nuff said. :biggrin:
  4. dagaleaa

    dagaleaa Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 4, 2011
    Naples, Fl
    I am loyal to both brands actually....I used many Olympus cameras in the past....funny, tho my first digital camera was a Panasonic ( awful camera at the time)...my second digital camera was an Olympus ( wonderful little 4mpixel camera)....I have an Olympus Evolt 500 and lenses....then I got a Panasonic LX3 ( an all time favorite of mine) and now the Panasonic GH2 ( the video was the selling point for this one).
  5. timallenphoto

    timallenphoto Mu-43 Veteran

    May 20, 2011
    Kent, England
    I wanted a GF1/20mm pancake combo but when an E-P1 with 14-42 came up for less than half of the price I jumped at it, and I admit the retro styling of the E-P1 adds a lot to the fun of using it too. I still intend to get the Panasonic pancake though :) 
  6. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    I'd used the original Olympus Pen in the 80's and when I was old enough to have some disposable income I started acquiring the best of the film Olympus gear (various single digit Om's, Pen FT, Trip, SP etc) so it seemed like a logical choice to carry on with the E-P1 (retro-chic design, IBIS, nice OOTC JPEG's).

    Plus, I have a habit of supporting the underdog :) 
  7. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    I went to a local shop quite a long time ago to buy a G1 and came out with another Olympus instead - the E-600. It just felt better screwed together and there was negligible difference in size, plus I'd had an E-510 and E-1 previously.

    This year I intended buying a GH1 after selling my Fuji S5 Pro and lenses, but ended up with the E-PL2 and 14-150mm instead - the size and body design appealed more, plus the lenses are smaller and the IBIS always ends up swaying me towards Olympus. If I could afford it I'd have a GH2 or G3 as well, but that's unlikely to happen....
  8. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I started M4/3 with a GF1, and later added an EP2. I eventually sold the EP2.

    Some thoughts, obviously from my perspective and based on my needs:

    1. I thought the IBIS might prove useful. I don't shoot long, and rarely in very poor light (I often wonder at all the high ISO excitement and how much is actually needed / used). Anyway, for my shooting it made no difference that I could detect.

    2. I much preferred the Panasonic interface. Surprisingly, given Olympus long history, I felt the GF1 was more configurable, with a much better menu system and superior external controls:
    - The Olympus wheel was fiddly and too easily turned by accident
    - The GF1 uses one thumb-wheel that changes use by a quick push: I came to prefer this.
    3. Speed: the EP2 was slower at everything. Not annoyingly so, but enough to bother me. The latest EPL2 is much faster, though I feel my GF1 still focuses more quickly.

    This is not to trash the EP2 at all. Great camera, but the GF1 is better for my purposes. I felt that the Olympus menu system, and configuration options, were much weaker. I think that is the best place to start. What are you going to shoot, what is your final output (web, print etc).
  9. andrewteee

    andrewteee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2009
    A lot of Olympus so far - I did not quite expect the importance of history, but that seems to be a big draw.
  10. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    I must admit to being slightly envious of the Panny user interface - it appears the Olympus menu designer has been on strike since the introduction of the E-1.... but maybe better the devil you know...
  11. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    I think you are right about the devil thing. Few of the menu designers follow any UI standards, and it is surely easier to stick with what you know.
  12. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    For me, it was not loyalty to any particular brand, as I had never owned either an Olympus or a Panasonic camera.

    The appeal was the simple and retro look of the Pen, which felt more like an old rangefinder to me than a modern computerized gizmo. I wanted smaller and lighter and simpler than my Nikon DSLR.

    I honestly did not even look at the Panny models, which to my eye were not substantially different in style from most modern DSLRs. My DSLR needed to go in for repair after a rough trip through the Andes on motorcycle last fall, and I wanted a backup that was smaller and lighter, to carry everyday. The Pen appealed and I bought it on more of an impulse than I usually do with such things. If I had spent a long time researching it, I may well have ended up with a more expensive Panny with too many lenses. But then I would have just duplicated my DSLR in a slightly smaller form factor.

    Of course, with all the talk on this forum about the qualities of the Pannies and the new models, I am having a hard time resisting trying one out. ;-)
  13. Covey22

    Covey22 Mu-43 Regular

    May 3, 2011
    New England, USA
    Price was definitely a compelling factor, and so was the experience I had with a mentor's GF1 - he bought his almost immediately after it hit the market, so I had a chance to see it again and again during our shooting sessions. It was nice, but I didn't like the menu system. The PL1 had also received a lot of good feedback centered around "one of the best bargains in MFT bodies." Since I had already invested too much in Nikon DSLR, it didn't make much fiscal sense to me to jump so deeply into the MFT system, so I started low. I'm glad with the choice I made, and I look forward to someday adding another MFT body, but most likely more glass first.
  14. I bought both my E-P1 and GH1 when I could get them at the right price. There's no real difference in the end product (the image) so the only difference for me is operation and handling. Whatever confusion there may be in the Olympus menu is irrelevant to me since I rarely go into it, and to be honest I don't find the Panasonic menu to be noticably better. AF speed is fine on either camera with the 14-140mm lens. The only real operational preference for me between the two is for the Panasonic articulated screen.
  15. andrewteee

    andrewteee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2009
    I came to the E-P2 from an Olympus DSLR so the menu system was familiar. I do recall being baffled by the G1 menu system. But I attribute this to simply knowing one better than the other. I don't believe that either one is as good as they could be.
  16. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2010
    My attraction to m4/3 was in their smaller size and at the time I was ready to purchase, my options were the Olympus E-P2, E-PL1, and the Panasonic GF1. (The GF2 was announced but not released.) I went with the GF1 because:
    a) it came with the 20mm f1.7 lens which I knew I would want regardless of the body
    b) it offered flash, which the E-P2 did not
    c) it has a higher screen resolution than the E-P2
    d) I felt the controls were much better than the E-PL1 (which did offer flash)
    e) I didn't want the touch screen interface of the GF2, plus the GF1 price had finally come down (and subsequently went back up after I bought it), and the GF2 didn't have a newer sensor.

    I felt the above outweighed the potential better JPEG performance (I shoot RAW anyway) and the in-body IS of the Olympus cameras. When it came time for me to get a zoom, I was limited to the more expensive Panasonic offerings due to IS, but again, the other points were more important to me.
  17. andrewteee

    andrewteee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2009
    Telling my own story from the past, I first bought the G1 because it was new. For the most part I liked it, though I had the red one and that bugged me over time. I then bought the E-P1 instead because I was already shooting with an Olympus DSLR and preferred to stay with one system (and for the IBIS). I then bought the E-P2 for its EVF and black body. I preferred the looks over the G1. I used the E-P2 almost exclusively with the Panasonic 20mm lens. We got along well.

    But then the Ricoh GXR came along and since I was already a Ricoh convert from using the GRD I bought the GXR and 50mm A12 unit and eventually sold the E-P2.

    But the GXR system does not have a larger sensor zoom yet (one is rumored) and in some circumstances a zoom would be nice to have. Plus, if possible, I'd like to have a compact kit for travel where I can take along a tele for birding.
  18. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
  19. andrewteee

    andrewteee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 14, 2009
    TC we live in the moment :wink: But thanks for resurrecting that thread.
  20. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    The thread header for the new thread included "or vice-versa?", which invites folks like me to reply (I chose the Lumix over the Pen).

    I bought my G1 used last March (2010), and at the time the G1 was already 18 months old. I got a good deal, but I also chose the G1 over a Pen because I wanted a built-in EVF. The Olympus Pen series does not feature a built-in EVF.

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