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If it were your money?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by blb, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. blb

    blb Guest

    Experienced photographers often lament that beginners worry too much about the camera body and too little about the lens. With that bit of wisdom in mind, it would seem that one looking to enter the m43 world ought to resist the glory poured out on the Ep3 and instead snatch up an Ep2 or an Epl2, or even an epl1, at 1/2 or less the cost of the Ep3, then maybe buy a lens or two off craigslist or ebay. But the reviews make the Ep3 sound like a real game changer and suggest that this might be the exception that proves the rule. So, if it were your money... Ep2, Epl2, and an extra lens or two, or the Ep2. (And, does anyone know anything about the epl3?) I'm looking to do more urban landscape and abstract stuff, some casual portraits, but nothing action or "stealthy."
  2. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    For about the cost an E-P3 I would go for the E-PL2 and a Panasonic 14 and 20.
  3. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    If I was just about to get into m43, I'd say E-P3 because it's really worth extra money over all previous models and over E-PL3 or E-PM1. The changes are substantial enough that I beleive E-P3 won't be obsolete as quickly as previous generations. Any addiitonal future improvements in AF speed and/or IQ will probably be incremental, IMO. Third time's a charm for Oly.

    If you're on a budget, however, E-PL2 is an incredible deal for the money right now. It really is unbeleivable value with kits priced at XZ-1 P&S camera level (if not lower).
    I have E-PL2 and E-P2 (my second body). E-PL2 is MUCH more usable. AF speed is approximately the same between the two but operation (perharps processing speed) is noticeably faster on E-PL2. Also, MF (magnification) and focus point selection is a major hassle with E-P2 while it's a breeze with E-PL2.

    In addition, 2x higher resolution screen (think SD vs HD), MUCH better grip, multi-functional bounceable built-in flash with advanced flash wireless control make E-PL2 a real winner. Extra dial? I take dedicated magnify button any day, thank you very much. Some reports say E-PL2 has weaker AA filter resulting in sharper images and better noise handling. I see 100% identical results in both sharpness and high ISO noise between the two so I don't buy that claim or it's impossible to see with naked eye. I think the only way to see the difference due to alledgedly weaker AA is to shoot with ZD 50mm macro lens (which I don't have anymore) as this lens goes beyond sensor's resolving power. With Panny 20mm there is no difference, not even a little.
  4. Careful of terms like "game-changer" and "obsolete" as they refer to modern cameras. They often tend to be over-stated.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Epl2 and the Panasonic 20 1.7. AF tests show that the Panasonic lenses are not that much faster using the ep3 and the Epl3 doesn't have a built in flash.

    I have the epl1 and Panasonic 20 1.7 but would've bought the epl2 if it was as cheap as it is now.
  6. drizek

    drizek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 5, 2011
    Made the mistake of not spending as much money on lenses as I should have last time around, and my camera ended up collecting a lot of dust. Of course, Olympus didn't do much to inspire confidence in investing in 4/3rds lenses, but I think I would have been smart to buy a 50-200mm instead of my 70-300mm, and a 50mm macro for sure.

    So, yes, I just did exactly what you suggested. Got an EPL1 for cheap and saved the money for the 20mm prime.

    I'll pick up an EP3 or a G3 when they start selling them for $350 a year from now.

    I'm not sure I agree with you about future improvements to IQ being only incremental however. APSC cameras are reaching 24MP. Look at some of the upper end Canon and Sony SLRs to see what is possible in this kind of sensor size. I think the next round of m43 cameras are going to have even better high iso than current ones combined with 16+MP resolutions, and that might actually be worth paying full price for.
  7. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    I think in general improvements in IQ have been incremental among all manufacturers.
    In m43, sensor tech has not moved since 2007 (Panasonic L10) according to Dxomark. I read that Panasonic now applies NR at pixel level even in Raw files for G3? I won't be surprised if E-P3 does the same as its sensor now ranked quite a bit lower than any of the Pens to date.
    It is true that in the last couple of years, Sony came up with some clever new technology allowing huge improvements in sensor read out noise. If Olympus decides to buy Sony's sensor (even though it'd be cropped), that could be a significant upgrade but probably unlikely? As of right now, the DR is still at the level of Canon S90 point & shoot camera for no good reason at all.

    But of course we know that optics account for over 50% of image quality and thankfully we have some excellent lenses to the rescue while sensors are catching up. Also, Leica M9 is ranked lower than some m43 cameras but I don't see that camera being obsolete in the next 10 years at least! Sensor is only 1/3 of the equation, the rest is optics (over 50%) followed by metering, WB, usability, etc. some of which can be corrected in PP to an extent.

  8. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    For my money, honestly? Yes, the lenses are important. And so is the body.

    I'd plunk my money down on a G3 and some of the latest greatest glass, the 12mm/2.0, 25mm/1.4, and soon the 45mm/1.8. And if you can't afford all that glass right off the bat, start with the G3/14mm kit and get a 20/1.7 or with the venerable 14-45, which offers great IQ and a great range of focal length (28mm to 90mm FOV).

    This kit offers the latest, stunning m4/3 image quality, low noise at higher ISO, touch screen focus point and shutter release, fully articulating screen for very high, low, and to the side shooting positions, built-in flash, remote release port, built-in EVF for times when you really need that, stereo mics, excellent video capability should you ever desire that. The G3 is just a great, full-featured, compact body that offers exceptional image quality in the m4/3 realm. The only m4/3 body to offer more is the GH2, which I also recommend as an alternative to the G3.

    The articulating screen is especially important to help you achieve more creative and unusual camera angles - something that can make a significant difference in the dramatic impact of your images.

    Add those killer lenses I listed and you can only blame yourself for not being able to achieve absolutely stunning imagery!

    Others may make different choices and there are, of course, a variety of other good camera and lens options that you might choose from - considering Oly, Sony, Panasonic, etc. But from my life long experience as a professional photographer... with plenty of funds to invest in gear, the above is exactly what I would personally choose - and have chosen for my "fun photography" kit.
  9. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    I thought exactly the same way about G3 and went ahead and bought it, only to sell it later. Good on paper but not for everyone's taste. Sticking to clunky Pens for now.
  10. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Art... wow, you couldn't have had the camera for very long, did you? You are right... different tastes for different folks is the name of the game! I haven't had my G3 for very long, and it has taken a bit of time and use to get into it... but so far I'm really loving the results I've gotten with it. The GH2 as well. With the G3 for me, it's definitely a matter of getting accustomed to working with it. It's taking me some time to get to know it well and learn to run it efficiently, as the whole touch screen functionality is new to me. But with more time and continued use, it is flowing better and better. It isn't a camera that one can pick up and just fly with right off the bat... it definitely does require some study, custom programming the Quick menu items, and growing familiarity through use.
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Along with the dedicated Close-Up button, I also make good use of the programmable "direct-to-video" button for Back-Button AutoFocus. Those two buttons mostly alleviates the loss of the thumbwheel for me.

    Of course, the E-P3 has the thumbwheel as well as the extra buttons, and the extra grip, and better screen... It's the "best of all worlds" for the time being. But I considered the E-PL2 to be the best of its class when it came out, even better than the "higher grade" E-P2.

    I do agree with everything you've said, although I do actually notice the difference in sharpness and ISO performance with the E-PL2 over the E-P2. But I'm a commercial photographer with very stringent standards. The details I pick out would be meaningless to most. ;) 

    If I were to buy a new body right now for myself, it would be the E-P3. But I already have an extensive collection of glass.

    If I were starting from scratch, my first instinct would be to consider the E-PL2 and get the m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 to go with it (some would prefer the Lumix 20mm f/1.7, but I like the longer focal lengths). That would cost the same as an E-P3 kit... however, I just looked at B&H and see that they are selling the E-P3 with the 17mm f/2.8 pancake for the same price as the kit with the 14-42mm zoom (when I bought the original E-P1, the pancake kit was more expensive than the zoom). I think that kit would be overall a better value than buying the E-PL2 then paying at least another $400 for a decent, affordable lens (like the m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 or Lumix 20mm f/1.7). Better lenses than that would cost even more (like say if you wanted a Leica 25mm f/1.4 - $600, Leica 45mm f/2.8 macro - $700, or m.Zuiko 12mm f/2 - $800). The 17mm f/2.8 pancake that goes with the E-P3 kit is a pretty decent lens, and while it wouldn't be my first choice it will at least give the $400 lenses a run for their money. I wouldn't settle for a kit zoom lens, but I would settle for the 17mm pancake to get a body like the E-P3.
  12. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Ned... have you found the 45/1.8 available anywhere yet? I didn't think it was going to be available for another month or so.
  13. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Do your self a huge favor and go to a camera store and just buy the camera that feels right in your hand. The endless debates about new cameras are fun, but basically useless when it comes to actual picture taking.

    For street shooting all the Pens are basically the same. In the real world the differences are so insignificant as to be irrelivant. If you're going to shoot sports then you're not going to get a Pen. You'll get a G3 or gH2. Also you won't get an EP1 if you're ever going to consider adding the EVF.

    Once you get to a point where you need more shutter speed or whatever, you get the lens that will solve your problems, depending on what focal length you prefer.

    I have ALL the EP and EPL cameras except the EP3 (which I've only had a couple of hours to play with) and "I" prefer the EP series over the EPL's. I simply prefer the way they feel in hand and I get more pleasure using them. My wife didn't like the EP2, or EPL2 I offered her and reverted to the EPL1 she connects with. Pick the camera you can't put down. The one that makes you want to go out and take pictures. That's the right choice for you.

    • Like Like x 1
  14. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Only for pre-order. :)  It should be available a little sooner than a month though

    I'm not pre-ordering one personally, because I think I have enough lenses for now (in other words, I have no more room in my bags - and none of those lenses are :43: mount). If I were starting with nothing though, I'd want this lens... especially at the price point it's at in comparison to the other :43: lenses I'd be interested in. :D 
  15. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    For the price of an E-P3, I'd rather have an E-PL2 and a Pana 20/1.7 if I were starting out with MFT.
  16. mguffin

    mguffin Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 10, 2011
    Westwood, NJ
    My first m4/3 is an E-PL2 and the Panny 20 f/1.7. Great combo.
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    The lenses are more critical only because they won't be out of date very quickly while camera bodies in this day and age are evolving so quickly that you have to figure you may want a new one fairly soon. To me, the EP3 is a vast improvement over the EP2 (which I loved, BTW). The rear screen is very very nice, but the speed of EVERYthing is really a huge difference. Not an issue for landscapes, but for street photography, sports photography, family shots, etc, its not even remotely the same camera. So buy lenses with an eye toward longevity and buy camera bodies when you feel they add something important to what you already have - which is happening a lot these days.

  18. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    The EP3 is a LOT faster. Even if AF alone isn't overwhelmingly faster with some lenses (although it is compared to the EP2), the shot to shot speed is in a different league. This doesn't matter for all photography, but for the types of photography it DOES matter for, its a huge difference.

  19. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Lens wise, the 14, 20 ,a new Oly 45 might set me up just fine. As for a body, I could even stick with the E-P1. I don't think many folks ever tried the E-P1 with firmware update 1.4 which made a big difference in AF, essentially as fast as the E-P2.
  20. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2010
    I would love to handle all of the cameras at the same time. Unfortunately not many stores carry mu-43, and those who do, do not carry wide selection.
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