Is it time to make the jump?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by pkeenan80, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. pkeenan80

    pkeenan80 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2011
    Hi there, I'm hoping someone can help...

    I'm novice photographer whose owned an EPL-1 for two and a half years. I love the thing and have bought adapters and manual lenses to compliment the stock lens I got with it. My favourite lens is an old Sigma 70-210mm that I got off Ebay. I have got some great pics with it.

    My set-up has two limitations:

    1) It has no viewfinder, which makes it difficult to get a completely accurate idea of what I'm shooting.

    2) My favourite lens is manual. This means I spend ALOT of time trying to focus properly.

    The obvious answer to this is to buy a viewfinder and a new auto zoom lens. I asked a question on the forum relating to this a few months back and got some very helpful responses. To do this would cost me around £450-500 buying an Oly 70-300mm and an Oly VF2 second-hand on ebay.

    Now I'm due to go to Hong Kong in two weeks and have found prices to be much better there. I would be able to get the same items NEW for around £350 which is a much better deal than in the UK.

    However I would also be able to get a Canon EOS 650D with the 18-55mm stock lens for £380 plus a Canon EF 75-300mm auto lens for £152 taking me up to £532 for what I suspect would be a much better set-up for not that much more money (and I'd still have my EPL-1). Do I consider myself a good enough photographer to own a DSLR yet? Well, no not really. But on the other hand surely the EOS setup would give me more opportunity for improvement than bolting new bits onto an ageing EPL-1?

    This is a really difficult choice and quite alot of money so I'd be really grateful for any advice that others can give. I know this is an Olympus forum so apologies for the Canon-related subject-matter!

    Oh BTW for anyone familiar with Hong Kong the prices are from Tin Cheung Camera Company who I'm told are professional and trustworthy. I'll be avoiding the TST camera shop sharks like the plague, I've been duly warned about them!!


  2. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    As an owner of Canon DSLR gear, I can tell you that those Canon lenses are quite mediocre when compared to m43 kit lenses like the 14-42 or the 40-150, or the 75-300. I also think that as a beginner, you would want to stick to one camera system and master the controls and hone your skills with the EPL-1. The lens and the VF2 can be used in newer camera bodies, so that you are not making a wasted investment. Also, don't assume the DSLR is superior or that you're not worthy. Many experienced photographers are moving away from the larger cameras/lenses to the m43 system because it is just as good, if not better.

    One last thought: If you are going to be doing photography during your upcoming trip, you'll want to be using gear that you are familiar with. There's nothing more frustrating than trying to learn a new camera when you want to be enjoying the trip. That would be yet another reason to obtain the Olympus lens and EVF than to buy whole new gear.
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    You can get an Olympus 40-150mm autofocus lens - very inexpensive autofocus lens that will be much, much sharper than your Sigma. Just make sure you get the Olympus 40-150mm lens for Micro 4/3, not regular 4/3. You can also get a VF3 much cheaper than a VF2.

    If you want a DSLR instead nothing wrong with that, but it's a mistake to think of in terms of being a "good enough photographer to own a DSLR". DSLRs are no more advanced or capable than mirrorless cameras are - they simply have different strengths and weaknesses.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    Used the kit zoom and the 40-150 on an EPL1 for over a 2 years and 6K images. The 40-150 (get the Mcon 1 converter) and the VF2 made it seem like a new camera. I sold mine EPL1 today as it has been replaced by the EP5, but the 6K images I took with it are very good ( as least as good as my D7000 images with my Sigma OS Maco 18-250 which is pretty good. the 40-150 at 7.1 seems pretty close compared to my D7000 and the 80-200 @ f4 (not as good but close enough for government work). I think the lens and the VF2 with help you really explore the value of your camera and build your skills (Plus they both work great on an EP5:smile: when your are ready).
  5. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    I agree - there is nothing "special" about a DSLR over a mirrorless camera.

    I own a Canon 60D and am pretty familiar with the lenses that are available for it. I think that the Olympus kit lenses are just as good, if not better, than their Canon counterparts, but none of them are anything special, IMHO.

    But the Canon equipment is much larger and heavier than a m43 setup. So it seems to me that the question is what kind of photography you want to do and what how you want to use your camera. Do you want a small camera that is good for travel, easy to carry, etc? If so, stick with the Olympus setup. If not, then I'd say go for the Canon setup, especially since it would get you a more modern camera (several years newer, I think).

    In a way, you are comparing apples and oranges - a new Canon camera vs an aging Olympus camera. I think it might be better to compare a newer Oly camera (perhaps the EM-10) and think about replacing the camera at the same time (which, of course, would add more cost).
  6. wushumr2

    wushumr2 Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2013
    For the money, DSLR gear (certainly used DSLR gear) will GENERALLY take "better" pictures than older mirrorless gear. That being said, I loved the shots that my E-PL2 put out with the 14-42II lens. It's about your needs. If you want a lighter camera that puts out very nice JPEGs and has good customization, go with an E-PL2 (control wheels are nice, just saying :biggrin:) with a VF-2 or VF-3 (if you can find one for cheap go with that) or similar camera. If you're worried that you'll miss continuous autofocus or you want to go to 420 equivalent for cheap, stick with the EOS. Or do both! I had an E-PL2 in China along with my D7000, and used the E-PL2 as my macro camera because I gained stabilization and a bit of focal length.

    If it boils down to you being worried about improving your skills, go for a mirrorless. If nothing else, an electronic viewfinder allows you to see the settings changes you make instantly, instead of having to adjust settings, take the picture, and then reflect on the success of the change.

    If you need one camera and lens, go for a 650D (or 600D, same camera no?) and a Canon 18-135 (better than the Sigma I'd wager) and hone your skills. Just make a decision and stick with it, I don't think you'll be unhappy either way.

  7. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    Pay attention to viewfinder sizes. Some of the lower-end DSLRs have very small viewfinders. The VF2 is much larger than my old Canon 350D, for example. If you're going to use manual lenses a large viewfinder is really important!
    • Like Like x 2
  8. diableri

    diableri Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2014
    Central CA
    As someone that's had all the Canon glass you've talked about and currently has the 18-135 previously mentioned, I would go with a 55-250 IS II instead of the 75-300 in those price ranges. It's a wonderful lens for the money. I picked up mine for $149 on sale and it's an excellent value. I still own a t4i (for just a bit longer) and and my girlfriend has an SL1 they are fine bodies and sensors that open up a huge world of lenses which I find far more important personally. If you're going to use a DSLR, there's nothing at all wrong with it and the touchscreen is outstanding. There's obvious compromises but the image quality it's capable of is excellent for the money invested and ease of use.

    I can point you to excellent image threads on another board if you are interested in taking a look at the canon lens comparisons you are considering similar to what is available here. If you'd like that, just send me a PM. I don't know if that's acceptable for this board to just link them in threads (to other boards I mean) as I'm still new here. I recently made the change to m43s and couldn't be happier so far but wouldn't dissuade someone from going the other direction if they wanted to and understood the pros and cons. I'm not sure I'll ever look back though myself!
  9. TetonTom

    TetonTom Mu-43 Regular

    Wow, Pete. Really?
    Just so you know, you sure don't have to pass any kind of aptitude test to go get yourself an entry-level DSLR. You just go get one.
    And also so you know, most of us around here using m43 equipment aren't just trying to get good enough to step up to a DSLR kit; for many of us (or maybe even most) the progression has been the reverse scenario...
    Best of luck...
    • Like Like x 2
  10. TetonTom

    TetonTom Mu-43 Regular

    I saw some kits that are probably available in HK in your price range that would include a modern Oly body (EP3 or EPL5) with a 14-42 and 40-150. Great deals for under $600...
  11. pkeenan80

    pkeenan80 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2011
    Tom - I understand that but what I don't want to be is the guy who has "all the gear and no idea". I want to be able to get the most out of a camera and I feel I need to reach a certain level of competence rather than just go out and buy a top of the range camera and go round clicking away on auto mode.

    What the (almost completely unanimous) responses I've had here have told me is that I already have a camera that has the potential to be as good as the DSLR I was looking at so there really is no need to change...
  12. pkeenan80

    pkeenan80 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2011
    Just a quick note to say thanks to everyone for your helpful responses. I'm going to stick with my EPL-1 and get a viewfinder and zoom lens. Then at some point in the future I'll upgrade the body...


  13. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    Pete, I think you made a wise decision.

    I'm a retired pro, had my own studio for 10 years then worked as a civilian staff photograper for the air force at a local training base for 13. I've worked with Nikon gear, and my own stuff was Canon EOS (before digital). After retiring I got into Canon EOS digital cams and in 2012 I had the 7D, 600D, 60D, two "L" series zooms, two EF-S zooms, and 3 EF primes.

    I picked up a PL1 to try out the m4/3 system, got a few primes and the VF2 (you'll be happier with that than the VF3!) and was so sold on the system I sold off all my Canon gear and converted to Panasonic GH2's (far sharper video than the Canons). I wound up upgrading the Oly to an E-P3, moved the VF2 over to it and let my brother in law have the PL1 with "kit" lens, he loves it.

    All this is a long winded way of describing my conversion from DSLR to m4/3. My main focus is motion picture so I work mainly with Panasonic (the video is better) but I still need to do good stills. Current gear is a pair of GH3s, and Olympus OMD E-M5 (there's your best body upgrade for it's 5 axis stabilization!), and a Lumix GX1 for a "knockaround" camera.

    So you're not giving up anything by not going for an entry level DSLR. I can do essentially most of what I want with either system.
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    You might be able to negotiate a super price on a newer PEN and lenses while in Hong Kong.
  15. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    Yeah, the EPL1 is a great camera, but AF speed and ISO noise have improved quite a bit since the first generation bodies. If you're unhappy with either a body upgrade isn't a bad idea, especially considering that prices are now falling on bodies with the EM5's sensor... the EM2 and EPL5 are great, and if you dig Panasonic the G5 and GH3 are good too.

    Have you seen the twin-lens kit deals for the EPM2 lately? I think they were going for like $350 with a 14-42 and 40-150? If that's still on you might consider that. It was mentioned on 43rumors a couple days ago.
  16. Gary Ramey

    Gary Ramey Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 27, 2012
    Aurora Colorado
    If you like shooting manual lenses like I do, then something along the lines of the EM5 would be a great step for you. I love the 14X magnifier when shooting long lenses. It truly allows me to nail the focus. Built in viewfinder is nice....and it helps that used EM5 bodies are around $500 these days.
  17. More like comparing apples and potatoes. I'd rather have an apple in my pocket.
  18. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    The Canon 75-300 is a terrible lens, BTW. Avoid.
  19. RAH

    RAH Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 1, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Actually, that reminds me of one advantage to going over to the darkside (Canon) - there are many 3rd-party lenses available (Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Samyang, etc). For example, the Tamron 70-300, which I have, is an excellent lens. So if the Canon version is poor, you have a lot of alternatives. I realize that m43 has a few vendors too, but there is definitely less choice.
  20. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2014
    It depends on what you are looking for.
    In terms of primes, micro 4/3 is more appealing than Canon APS-C. m43 has a lot of different primes available that are made for the format.
    For zooms... there is a lot more choice in APS in my opinion, in all price ranges (and there are even very fast zooms as the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8)
    m43 lenses are also quite expensive, but most of them are very good.

    If you don't mind the size & weight, that you like OVF more than EVF, and that you are not willing very shallow depth of field, APS is a good choice.
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