Just bought an EP1 - get an EP2 instead?

Erik_L

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Hello future friends :)

I just purchased an EP1 w/ 17 f/2.8 kit on Amazon for under $500. I took some test shots at a junk yard as soon as it arrived and it left me wanting... more, so I'll be ordering a Panasonic 20 f/1.7 shortly

The actual camera itself, i'm pretty happy with. I'm having a hard time finding a technical EP1 - vs - EP2 chart (ISO performance is the only thing I really care about, and they're both the same sensor I think) but the in-camera Miniature mode and possibility of using an EVF is, I think, enough to push me over the edge to returning the EP1 and picking up an EP2 used.

I come from Canon land and have some decent glass, so my expectations are somewhat high - can the Micro 4/3 format REALLY deliver the goods? Of course I don't expect the SAME level of quality from my 5D II, but are you guys out there with quality glass getting some tack-sharp images?

My baby :)
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Anywho, just wanted to get some general info I guess.

And, just because it's fun to whore, here's some samples I took at the Junk Yard:

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thearne3

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Welcome, Erik! I bought the E-P1 when it first came out - great camera! I really enjoyed legacy glass, too.

I just recently sold the E-p1 and bought a (used) E-P2. I really wanted to try the VF-2 and was becoming frustrated with the relatively low res LCD alone for focusing. The difference for using legacy glass is night and day! I came to m4/3 from a Canon G9, but for 30-some years before digital I was using an OM-2. Using the VF-2 made the experience much like those earlier years - a real tactile pleasure.

Otherwise, I find the E-P2 experience identical to that with the E-P1. The Dpreview article on the E-p2 describes all the technical differences: Olympus E-P2 Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review

Again, welcome. This is a very friendly, supportive place...
 

Erik_L

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Thanks for the link. I found this interesting:

From DP Review:
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How does one enable this menu style vs. the "XMB" style that it defaults to? EP2 option only?
 

thearne3

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Not sure if you can change it to 'default', but this is called 'super control panel' and can be reached by pressing 'info' when in XMB mode (if I understand your term xmb correctly).
 

Erik_L

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OOOOOOH, very cool. Reminds me of the Oly. SLR setting layout - I like it :)

I can now set my 4-way pad to select the "AF Point" and change ISO in a nicer way. If only I could map the top +/- button to ISO....

LOVING the flexibility of this little thing!
 

Fiddler

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Welcome and hello from Scotland. Nice images.I have an e-tp1 too, and use it with the 17mm, and optical VF, which works well. Enjoy your new camera!

All the best,

Colin
 

flash

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I have both the ep1 and ep2. I was going to sell the ep-1 but I keep the 17mm on it with the vf1. I prefer the vf1 with the 17, but much prefer the evf with any other lens.

As far as comparisons to the Canon 5D2. There isn't any. Don't bother or you'll get disappointed. Although the Pen can and does produce images that can be used in a professional environment, putting them on screen at 100% will show a large difference in the files. However, the Pen will allow you to shoot in a way not possible with a dslr and a 24-70 2.8. Subjects just don't look at you the same way, with such a little camera. As a result I find that my Pen photos are much more relaxed, spontaneous and natural with the Pen compared to the Canon or Nikon systems.

Plus it's a whole lot easier to carry a Pen system than a Canon one.

Instead of the 20, I got the Leica 4/3 25mm and an adaptor. It's bigger and heavy. But I like the idea of having a 35mm and a 50mm, as they fit what I'm used to in the Canon world. Next for me wil be the Leica 45mm macro. 35,50 and a 90 macro plus the zooms is an unbelievable versatile kit.

While I love my rather large Canon system I prefer to use the pens for my personal work and I'm looking for ways to integrate them into my working kit more. I shot 80 frames of the last wedding I shot on the pen system and the clients loved the results.

Gordon
 

billzilla

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Feb 16, 2011
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To answer OP question, I think E-P1 and P2 high ISO is virtually identical. The only difference you're going to see would be from the Px to PLx series, with the latter having slightly weaker AA filter and (on the PL2) higher ceiling ISO.

Using IR comparison, the P1 looks -marginally- smoother and brighter at ISO-1600, which is possibly attributable to a slight difference in lighting (like age of the fixtures) or perhaps differing NR or gradation (DR) settings.
 

walter23

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Since you're coming from canon EOS you've prompted me to get out some thoughts I've had recently.

I have been using micro-43 almost exclusively for the last couple of years as I sold my top-end Canon setup (L lenses and such) to pay some tuition so I could graduate.. and I have some opinions on how the systems compare. I've taken some very nice images over the last couple of years and the prints stand up to great scrutiny; no problems with colour, contrast, or resolution from the 14-42 lens. I like the image quality from my 14-42 kit lens; it's really quite sharp, even at close scrutiny, which is saying a lot given the tiny pixel size of these relatively high megapixel micro-43 sensors.

But I think you can get better glass for less money in the Canon DSLR system. The 17-40L and 70-200L are fantastic bargains. In the micro-43 world you're paying a premium for small size, and you still get pretty impressive image quality, but not as good as top-notch L lenses. The usability factor is sort of annoying, at least with the less expensive lenses like the 14-42 kit zoom. I've tried to use a polarizer with it a few times and it's just a nightmare (end of lens rotates and decides to "reset" itself electronically whenever you put pressure on it, so you lose focus & polarization settings constantly!). Auto focus speed is a minor irritation for moving subjects, but my style is mostly landscapes and still objects so I'm not usually too bothered by it. Of course, unless you're shooting fast action sports your photography will probably only *benefit* from you having to slow down and think about your shooting while the camera focuses ;)

Most of the M43 lenses deliver pretty nice image quality (from what I've seen - I've only used the 14-42 and otherwise just looked at a lot of review samples trying to pick other lenses), but things like CA are a problem with the telephotos, and distortion with some of the wides / ultrawides. The M43 philosophy is to use a lot of in-camera correction for lens aberrations instead of dealing with them at the source and I found this a bit frustrating. It seems, at least on the lower end of the spectrum, you're paying a premium over competitor's prices for consumer-grade glass, which has the principle advantage of being smaller. For example, I really wanted an ultra-wide, but I just couldn't bring myself to spend the > $500-$600 for the 9-18mm olympus or > $1000 for the panasonic 7-14, given that they give worse image quality than my favorite lenses, the ultra-wide Tokina 11-16 and the Canon 17-40L on full-frame. The telephoto lenses were tempting (Olympus 40-150 or Panasonic 45-200) but... I was using an adapted Olympus OM 200/4 and it served my needs alright so I didn't buy one.

I'm not extremely pleased with the flare characteristics of the 14-42 lens compared to the lenses I used on Canon, but things like small-aperture light stars / sun stars can look alright - if you set up the shot angle to avoid bad flare / internal reflections. This was a problem for me because I like pin point light sources and backlighting - even shooting into the sun - and it was hard to do it pleasingly on this system with this lens.

So I'm actually re-purchasing some Canon DSLR stuff now. I will keep the E-P1 and either use it as a fantastic pocket camera (the image quality from the 14-42 is very good despite all my griping about overall construction quality) or convert it to infrared if I can do so economically. I love the E-P1 and micro-43 in general, but it just couldn't stand up as a replacement for the DSLR system for me in the long term. With some usability issues addressed (access to exposure bracketing, lens quality / price ratio, etc) it could become my primary system. But not right now. It's also an awkward fit for tripods; if I want a tripod that's tall enough to get all the possible angles I might want, it will overwhelm the E-P1 in size and weight and I may as well just carry a DSLR along with it for the other advantages. I do love using my E-P1 with a miniature tripod I have (folds down to almost pocket size, extends to about 3.5 feet).

Ergonomically, after a few months of using it got to the point (with that combined rear control wheel / cross button setup) that I was about ready to throw the thing at the ground and *SMASH IT* if I accidentally switched white-balance, AF, or ISO settings ever again while trying to just change shutter speed.. I really hate that aspect of the design.

As for E-P1 vs E-P2 - in camera miniature effect would be easy to set up a preset in lightroom or photoshop to accomplish, so that's no big deal. I thought the only real difference was that the E-P2 has a socket for an external electronic viewfinder which I can't imagine gives much advantage over the live-view screen. Having used E-P1 for so long I now vastly prefer the live-view to squinting through a dinky viewfinder... I get too much eye-strain after staring through a DSLR for too long.


Summary I love the E-P1 as a compact but as a complete and competent digital system for what I wanted to do, it left me disappointed in the end, partly for ergonomic reasons and partly because of the lack of reasonably priced but high-quality lenses along the lines of Canon's 70-200L, 17-40L, 100mm macro, and Tokina's 11-16 ultrawide.

But... you can definitely get images equal in quality to those from a DSLR; you just lose some usability for portability.

From my E-P1:

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Erik_L

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Thanks for all the info. FYI, from what I've read, the EVF is as large as the viewfinder on the rebel - not too shabby...

What is the EPL# all about? Why does the crappy, ugly, plastic body camera get better performance than the awesome looking one? :)

Also, my EOS EF adapter arrived today so I tossed my Sigma 28 f/1.8 on along with the 580 EX II:)

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pictor

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Erik, all pens deliver about the same quality. The newer pens have more art filter for the artists among us. The models differ slightly in their controls, too. The single big difference between the E-P2 and the E-P1 is the electronic viewfinder. If you don't want to use this, you won't gain anything by switching.

The Canon 5D Mark II is a completely different tool than the pens. Most comparisons are rather senseless. It depends on what you need for a given photographic situation and what you want to do with your photos and which compromises you want to agree to. The image quality of the 5D is better in many situations, especially in high ISOs, but often it is not, especially if the shooting discipline of the photographer is insufficient. Don't forget that you need very expensive glass to get significantly better image quality, too, because a cleaner image won't be very useful, if the border sharpness of the lens is less than sharp enough. The comparisons between expensive L glass and a cheap kit lens, which are done so often, are stupid.

The fact, that the Canon 5D and the lenses are at least four times heavier and much bigger than equivalent µ4/3 gear, is sufficient to see, that one will carry µ4/3 gear much more often and with much more ease and much more joy than it is the case with so much heavier and bulkier gear like the Canon 5D and some L glass. Photography is not only about high ISOs. Photography is not about the price, the size and the weight of the gear, either.
 

ccunningham

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I have to tag along with fiddler and flash. I've come to really like the e-p1 + 17mm + vf-1 for sticking in my jacket pocket when I'm walking around downtown. It's surprisingly useful, not to mention fun. I also use a Nikon D300 when I need it for something, and it's great for some uses. But you can't really stick a D300 + 24mm in your jacket pocket. Unless you're Paul Bunyan, I suppose.
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Erik_L

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Well, i'm no dummy :)

I know that I cannot expect 5D II results from this little camera - I just wanted to hear any gripes people may have - I haven't encountered any yet per-se

Another feather in the EP2 cap is for the stereo-mic ability that it has via the shoe connector, and manual video exposure. I do want the camera that has even the slightest edge in high ISO performance, though and that seems to be the EP1. I guess with the 20 f/1.7, ISO won't be as important anyway :)

Thanks for all the input thus far. If anyone else has any hands-on comparison experience with both cameras, their input would be greatly appreciated.
 

flash

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One tip. NATIVE ISO on the Ep series is 200. Preview gives it almost a stop better DR than 100. Useful to know if you're trying to squeeze all you can from the system.. Personally I have seen no difference between the ep1 and 2. The EpL1 needs less sharpening though due to the lighter filter.

Gordon

P.s. Love the shot with the sigma. I haven't got an eos adaptor yet. Wil have to get one asap. Might be fun with a 50 1.2. :)
 

Erik_L

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That's what I heard as well. Is the EPx another case of full ISO stops perform better than 1/3 stops? I havn't done any tests yet, but it's true on most other cameras.
 

flash

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I don't know. I've tested the Canon cameras and found that the consensus that the intermediate ISOs are fake, is in fact true. So I just assumed the same from the Pens and shoot at whole stop increments.

Gordon
 

Erik_L

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I don't know. I've tested the Canon cameras and found that the consensus that the intermediate ISOs are fake, is in fact true. So I just assumed the same from the Pens and shoot at whole stop increments.

Gordon
That was true, but different, for my 7D - turned out ISO 160, 320, etc were the native ones and the true stops were the bogus ones.
 
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