Life with a G2 and E-P1

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by dixeyk, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I notice a a number of the "this brand or that brand" types of question son the forum from time to time and I figured I'd share my experience of owning both an E-P1 and G2. First, I don't find much difference between the two cameras in terms of IQ. If what you're after is great pictures (and assuming that you've already decided to go m43) either one wil do the job nicely.

    The E-P1 has it all over the G2 in terms of style and design. Its a great looking camera with just the right amount of heft. The Panasonic on the other hand has a very "form follows function" appeal which is to say that it is homely. It looks like a DSLR only small. Surprisingly the E-P1 sits home a lot because while the G2 my not be the most attractive of cameras it is hugely functional and the whole point owning a camera is making images. I have a number of manual focus lenses and while they work well on either camera the EVF on the G2 makes using them much more practical in bright light.

    The ideal setup (IMHO) for the E-P1 is with an AF prime on it like the Panasonic 20 or 14. The Panasonic 14 is nice because it's quite and the AF is very fast. The 20 is a better lens but it is not particularly fast to focus and that is only exacerbated by the AF on the E-P1 which in full auto mode is "interesting". Using the E-P1 in A mode and setting the metering to center weight help quite a lot but it's nowhere as nice as the G2 in the AF department.

    Something I was thinking would be a huge advantage in favor of the E-P1 was the fact that Olympus bodies have IBIS where the Panasonic relies on it being in the lens. Previously I had been using an E-PL1 with an attached VF2 and it worked quite well. The problem I had with the E-PL1 is that I found the control layout to be frustrating. I did not care for the point and shoot style button layout and while I did eventually get used to it I find the layout on the G2 to be much nicer and I find myself being able to maneuver the controls without thinking about it. I feel like the layout is very intuitive and that makes a difference to me when shooting. To it's credit the E-P1 has a much nice layout than the E-PL1 did but still not up to the level of the G2. As for the advantage of shooting with IBIS on legacy lenses...to be honest I haven't missed it. That is not to say that it isn't useful but I have not found myself in situations where I felt that I would have gotten the shot if I had only had IBIS.

    In the end, I have ended up using the G2 for most of my stuff. The times when I choose the E-P1 are when I want to take some photos but not call attention to myself. The DSLR style of the G2 screams CAMERA. the E-P1 manages to have that rangefinder vibe and I find it tends to not get noticed as easily. They are both very capable cameras and I like them for different reasons.
     
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  2. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    639
    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    The G2 is almost twice the size of the E-P1. For me that's apples and oranges. In the larger form factor the Pentax K-5 stomps all over the Panasonic.

    Good to have your opinion, however.
     
  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    The G2 is nowhere near twice the size of the E-P1. They are the same width and same height with the exception of the bump for the EVF. The grip is deeper on the G2 but with the same lens mounted they very close to the same depth overall. Last time I checked that is no where near twice the size.

    The fact that they are both m43 (unlike the Pentax) and this forum often has questions about whether or not to get the PEN camera or the Panasonic then I'd say its an entirely relevant topic. As to the Pentax K-5 "stomping" on the Panasonic. The Pentax is a terrific camera but it's also around $1500 body only with an APS-C sensor. The G2 was $599 new when introduced and I got mine for $300 on closeout...hardly in the same league so I would fully expect the K-5 to be better.
     
  4. MaxElmar

    MaxElmar Mu-43 Regular

    61
    May 18, 2011
    New Jersey, USA
    I'm really considering adding a G2 or G3 to my Oly/Pana m43 system - it's only about $70 more for a G2 body than for an Oly VF-2 finder right now.
     
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    When I had both to compare I thought the EVF on the G2 was every bit as good as the the VF2.
     
  6. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    As for me,
    I'm eagerly awaiting to see the new digital PENS :smile:
     
  7. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I agree with dixeyk about the G2/E-P1 size comparison. Here's the E-P2 (far right) next to the G2 (middle):

    [​IMG]

    I don't have a front view comparison, but the E-P1 is similar in size to the GF1, which is compared below to the G2:

    [​IMG]

    As for comparison to the Pentax K5, the G2 is both less tall and less thick. When you compare them from an angle that takes both dimensions into account, the difference is significant (in this case a GH2 is shown, similar in size to the G2):

    [​IMG]

    Compared to the difference in size, the difference in weight between the G2 and K5 is even more significant. Night and day.

    Yet, even if size and weight were not considered, I would choose my GH2 over a K-5. I had intended to keep both systems but sold the K-5 and lenses after a short while, prefering many things about the GH2, including faster AF (using comparable lenses like the Pana 14/2.4 and Pentax 21/3.2), better low light AF reliability, lens character (again comparing comparable lenses), my preference for the GH2 EVF over the K-5 OVF, etc.

    Those are just my personal preferences; your mileage obviously varies, but it is in no way an objective fact that the K-5 "stomps over" any Micro 4/3 body.
     
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  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Me too but since I am not exactly flush with disposable income I am not likely to be buying one anytime soon. It'll be nice to see what they come up with.
     
  9. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    Thanks for a thoughtful discussion of the pros and cons.

    I am especially interested in the form vs function thinking. The rangefinder form, that doesn't "scream camera," is a big appeal to me with my E-P2 over lugging around my DSLR. I have gotten comfortable with the controls, and almost never use it without the VF-2. But I have considered getting one of the Panasonics with an integrated EVF as a second camera, and to share with my teenage son.

    It seems that you are saying that the functionality of the button layout and EVF matter a bit more than the rangefinder-svelte form in your decision to take out the panny vs the oly on a given day.

    I wonder if your E-P1 could use the VF-2, would you take it out more and use it more often than the G2?

    I am eagerly awaiting the Olympus announcements of their third generation designs.
    -Steve
     
  10. The EVF is of no big consequence when I choose to pick up either my E-P1 or GH1, but that's because I personally don't get on well with EVFs. The articulated screen and general speed of operation are the two big plus factors for me. I don't like the front handgrip and the front-mounted control dial, though. It also won't ever win any beauty contests.

    The E-P1's IBIS should be a big advantage with legacy lenses, but I often forget to change the focal length in the menu so that advantage is negated. I guess I just go old skool and try to hold the camera steady.

    The thing is, despite the Panasonic being technically the better camera, I don't find myself liking or wanting to use the E-P1 any less.
     
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  11. MaxElmar

    MaxElmar Mu-43 Regular

    61
    May 18, 2011
    New Jersey, USA
    I know folks will say the GH-1 would be better, but I'm thinking the G2 would be great for video while sharing lenses with my E-PL2 shooting stills. 720p is fine with me.
     
  12. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    639
    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    Those pictures illustrate perfectly that the G2 is in fact closer to the K-5 form factor than the E-P1. With the pancake you can get the PEN in a large pocket but no way that is happening with the G2 or Pentax. They are in the shoulder bag category. That is precisely why I got the E-P1. It is just small enough to be in a totally different category of portability.

    Here are the numbers.

    E-P1: 121 x 70 x 36mm = 305 cubic
    G2: 124 x 84 x 74 mm = 771 cubic
    K-5: 130.5 x 96.5 x 72.5 mm = 913 cubic

    I do realise that the cubic measures are all worst case -- the cameras do not have that cubic volume. But longest dimension is exactly how things pack.
     
  13. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    639
    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    If a perceived difference in auto-focus was enough to trump the myriad of Pentax advantages, so be it. We all have our priorities. But in case anyone takes your choice as gospel I'd like to mention the obvious fact (not opinion) that next to a DSLR any MFT feels like a tortoise. On the K-5 operations are all two to four times as fast, you get 7.8 FPS RAW shooting and a buffer for 23 RAWs (versus 5).

    Besides this there's improved ergonomics & usability, weather-sealing, shake reduction, system depth (MFT still doesn't even have a portrait lens), an ISO range of 80-51200 with significantly better high ISO characteristics, multi-lens focus tuning, intervalometer, cold-proof magnesium body, hyper-program mode, innovative TAv shooting, 1/8000s shutter, proper stereo mic input without converter,... These too are a matter of fact.

    If price is an issue there are significantly cheaper models with many of the same advantages. Fact.

    As for lenses, I doubt there will ever be anything as good as the FA Limited lenses for MFT. In sharpness, low distortion, rendering properties, etc. they blow away any competition from the auto-focus era (with a few specific exceptions). That may be opinion but it is widely held among anyone who has ever used them.

    On the upside MFT cameras are smaller and (the PEN anyway) don't look serious, so they can be used unobtrusively. Their registration distance makes them a great test-bed for lens nuts. (Hey, I am one too!) I am sure they have other particular qualities that make them suitable for various photographers. But even in their most hyperbolic marketing Olympus/Panasonic never dared claim they were a match for a DSLR.

    I am glad to have both systems for their particular uses. But I much prefer the size of the E-P1 to the G2. If only they'd release a model with better ergonomics.
     
  14. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have thought quite a lot about the whole rangefinder svelte thing. I grew up using compact RF cameras in the 70's and I really do like them. The E-P1 is very close to that same kind of experience. I love the way the E-P1 feels and find it to be a satisfying camera to use. But...the G2 still ends up being my choice most of the time. It's not because I find the G2 to be technically superior (I'm actually not sure it is) but it's just more comfortable to use.

    For me, the ease of use trumps the smaller package. Part of that however is that the G2 is also pretty darned small compared to a more conventional DSLR so I din't feel like I am losing too much in the way of the advantages of an m43 camera. Everyone is different but I find the thumbwheel and control setup on the G2 to be really intuitive. I don't even have to think about it. The EVF is nice but I use the LCD as well. In fact, I like to shoot closeups and odd angles so the articulated screen is particularly useful. Prior to the E-P1 I had an E-PL1 with a VF2 and while I thought the VF2 was great, it really throws off the feel of the PEN cameras IMHO. The way it sticks up so high, the way it has a tendency to catch on things and the fact that it can also be accidentally yanked off the camera sort of spoils it for me.

    FWIW I find the LCD on the E-P1 very useable. About the only times when I cannot use is in bright sunlight. I find that it washes out too much for me to use for manually focusing a lens. If I have an AF lens mounted then it still works for framing. Also, I feel like the E-P1 LCD is viewable from a wide variety of angles and remains useable. I've not read if that is true but it sure seems like it to me. As I said, I do like my E-P1.

    The G2 is not going to win any beauty contests but I find when I work with it I work faster and have very little need to think about what to do. That said, I am sure folks with E-P1's and such feel the same way about their cameras. It all depends what you are comfortable with. For me it comes down to ease of use. That really does make all the difference and I am willing to give up the slightly better JPEG IQ, IBIS and kick butt design for that ease of use.
     
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  15. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Maybe for the Pentax but certainly this is false compared to other current DSLRs. I have no experience with the Pentax but with Canon the xxxxD and xxxD series in their current form don't function as quickly or have the same operational ease that the G2 and GH2 have. And image quality is close enough for it to be a non event between them. Put a similar lens on the Canon as the 14-140 for the GH2 (28-200 is the closest and it's a pig to focus) and the Panasonic body trounces everything up to the 1 series in focus speed. Not to mention that most Canons are all but useless on anything but the centre focus point. The Panasonics and Olympus bodies focus with the same speed and accuracy no matter where you put the focus point. Selecting a focus point on the G2 and GH2 using the touch screen is brilliant and several times faster than anything that canon or Nikon will allow.

    Now I'm not dissing DSLRs I've owned many of them and if I really want to push the envelope then sometimes they are the best tool for the job. But really, how often do you use the "motor drive" on the Pentax at 5.8 fps? How essential is 51000000000 ISO in everyday usage? I've had many many cameras that weren't weather sealed, including my $7K Leica M9 and the only camera that ever failed due to environmental conditions was a 1 series Canon. And yes I really do shoot in the rain, unlike most.

    Additionally you neglected to mention a few other "facts". like that there's no 0.95 lenses for Pentax. How about a 14-28 (equiv) wide zoom with a constant aperture. Does the Pentax have a readily available native zoom that reaches 600mm equivalent? Can you change the size of the AF point on a Pentax, or any other DSLR for that matter? What about video capabilities? How do they stack up? How does the live view operation compare to the K5? Can you see the effects of exposure compensation on the K5?

    I am sure that the K5 is a fine, fine camera and is a better choice for many than the GH2 or any other m4/3 camera. But the only "fact" that matters is that both cameras have strengths and weaknesses and it's up to each owner and user to decide which functions and features matter most to them.

    Regards

    Gordon
     
  16. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    But in case anyone takes your choice as gospel I'd like to mention the obvious fact (not opinion) that next to a DSLR any MFT feels like a tortoise.

    That is subjective hyperbole.

    On the K-5 operations are all two to four times as fast

    False

    you get 7.8 FPS RAW shooting and a buffer for 23 RAWs (versus 5).

    True, which only matters if you shoot in bursts, and I do not. The fact that AF seemed a bit sluggish with my two Limited primes was a factor for me, whereas burst capability was not.

    Besides this there's improved ergonomics & usability

    Ergonomics are subjective. Usability has many factors, and it is not an objective truth that the Pentax has more usability.

    weather-sealing, shake reduction, system depth (MFT still doesn't even have a portrait lens) an ISO range of 80-51200 with significantly better high ISO characteristics, multi-lens focus tuning, intervalometer, cold-proof magnesium body, hyper-program mode, innovative TAv shooting, 1/8000s shutter, proper stereo mic input without converter,... These too are a matter of fact.

    There are many things which can be listed on the MFT side as well. My GH2 also has a proper stereo mic input. Overall, almost all videoographers would agree it is more capable than any Pentax DSLR for video. It has more even AF coverage of the frame. It has a larger viewfinder. It has a fully articulated LCD. It can automatically meter a scene from detected faces. It is immune to front/backfocus issues. I could go on, but there are things to do...

    As for lenses, I doubt there will ever be anything as good as the FA Limited lenses for MFT. In sharpness, low distortion, rendering properties, etc. they blow away any competition from the auto-focus era (with a few specific exceptions). That may be opinion but it is widely held among anyone who has ever used them.

    Again, it comes down to preferences. The FA43 is for me an awkward length on APS-C. The FA31 takes even the Kx into a very different size/weight class than a GH2 with the Lumix 20. The FA77 samples didn't blow me away. In fact, the acclaimed bokeh rendering wasn't very much to my taste. I ended up buying the DA21 and DA70. I liked both quite a bit, but I prefered the Panasonic 14 to the DA21 and published a brief comparison of those two lenses here.

    For sure, the Pentax lens lineup is fuller, but when I think of my lens lineup (Panasonic 14, 20, and 45mm lenses), I feel that I'd be trading down in looking for small and light Pentax equivalents.

    But even in their most hyperbolic marketing Olympus/Panasonic never dared claim they were a match for a DSLR.

    All I can really do is state my own experience. I've owned a ton of Canon DSLRs (last was a 5D), a couple Nikons (D700 and D5000), the Pentax K5, and a couple Oly DSLRs. I prefer my GH2 to all of them, for many reasons, and not just size and weight.
     
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