Looking to get into M43 on the (very)cheap, considering some older models; any thoughts?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Yalborap, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. Yalborap

    Yalborap Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    Aug 28, 2016
    So, hi there. I'm new to the forums, obviously, and will have to go do a proper introduction in the proper forum here at some point...But until then, let me give you the short version. I'm coming back into photography after a decently sized gap; Not massive massive, but enough that my camera bodies are a Nikon D40, and a D70 I acquired through a friend. ...You will note that those are 6 megapixel cameras, 10 and 12 years old respectively, and that the D70 has a screen smaller than many modern smartwatches. Just so we know what we're dealing with here.

    Anyways. I'm strongly considering jumping ship from Nikon and landing on something a little more modern, while being more affordable. Because as it is, if I want to get a more modern Nikon that has things like internal autofocus, I basically have to go up to the D90, whiiich is 8 years old and still over $200 on the used market. Which brings me to looking at micro 4/3rds as a serious option!

    There's just one problem.

    I'm an underemployed 20-something stuck living with the folks. So, that is to say...I can't exactly afford the latest and greatest on the shelf.

    ...Or what was the latest and greatest last year.

    ...or the year before that.

    My budget, for a camera body, is kiiiind of about 100 US dollars. Give or take. Now, I will be fair, that does not currently have to cover a lens; I have my Nikon gear, after all, and a quick 15 dollar adapter would let me use at least my nifty fifty as a manual lens. (I am aware of the doubling from crop factor) From there, if M43 turns out to be super awesome, well, I can start selling off the Nikon gear to get the lenses and such I'd want for the M43 format. All well and good.

    Which leaves me looking at stuff around the four-six years old range. Still a lot newer than my current cameras, that's for sure. Right now, my current major consideration is an Olympus E-PL3; KEH is selling one for $115 shipped that looks in fantastic condition, and I'm watching a few on eBay going for similar prices. I love the idea of the articulating LCD screen as well, being able to easily get overhead or low shots and all of that.

    That said, I'm more than open to alternative considerations. While I want the Olympus in-body stabilization, I'll also admit that a built-in EVF would be far better than having to unlearn all my DSLR viewfinder-using habits. The only trouble there is that all the models I've looked at that have built-in EVFs go for rather a lot more than the ones that don't, but maybe I'm just not looking in the right places, or not going far enough back?

    And on top of all of that, there's the issues of what's gonna last, and what's gonna fall apart. I've been doing some research, but aside from a few key issues(seen several Olympuses with missing mode knobs, and a few Panasonics with delaminating screens), I haven't exactly found a lot of solid, consistent information on what's likely to break. And given we're looking at older models, used, without much of a warranty...Making sure I don't end up with a lemon is a bit important.

    Okay, I think that should be everything! I've been digging deep the last few days, so I'm sure I rambled a fair bit, but in summary:
    -Wanting to upgrade from ancient DSLR kit.
    -Have about $100 to spend on the camera body; looking at older models.
    -Strongly considering the E-PL3, open to alternatives at a similar budget.
    -Major bonus points for built-in EVF, but haven't seen good prices on any models with one.
    -Need to know if there are any durability issues that could mess me up.

    Thanks a bunch for any help or advice you can offer!
     
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  2. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    I think the PEN E-PM2 is probably the sweet spot for price/quality, with the E-M5 era 16mp sensor and it seems decent quality used bodies go for pretty cheap. Check ebay completed auctions -

    PEN E-PM2 | eBay

    looks like you can find 'em going for $123 shipped from japan.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    The main problem with one of the earlier bodies and adapted glass will be the lack of focus peaking, I can't recall which model first introduced it however I do recall that the original E-M5 didn't have it. The kit lenses generally perform much better than equivalents from Canon/Nikon to boot.

    Despite the lack of peaking the E-M5 would probably be one of the models I would look at as it does have a viewfinder and it's a great camera for the price they fetch today. Most of the PEN models with an external viewfinder are equally good while generally being cheaper, the advantage here would be using the external VF-4 viewfinder which is better than the E-M5s (although also more expensive).
     
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  4. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    If you want to use adapted lenses then you should get a body with EVF. It helps a lot, even without peaking. You will need to save a few more bucks but I think a Panasonic G5 fits your bill. You can probably find a G5 for $150-$175ish these days. The grip will also help tremendously while using manual lenses, trust me.

    There is no reason to spend any more than that on a body if you are starting out and on a budget. People will probably try to tell you to get something fancier, but believe me all that stuff can wait. Just start shooting, learn the ins and outs of the camera, learn about light and composition. Learn how and what you like to shoot. This takes time but once you've grown as a photographer, your gear will naturally grow with you. Good luck and looking forward to seeing you around!
     
  5. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Panasonic G5 or possibly an Olympus EM10 (first gen) used would fit the bill. Honestly if you can swing whatever the cost difference is I think you'll be happy to have the very decent 3 axis IBIS in the EM10. However be careful, as this model suffers from a shutter that gets stuck (a lot of folks online have had the issue, as did I), while I don't know of any reliability issues with the G5, they feel light but they're proven workhorses.

    The EM10 also has 0-sec anti shock, which eliminates shutter shock that can potentially occur at certain shutter speeds.

    If you're going to be using adapted lenses, though, you will benefit from good focus peaking. Unfortunately on the EM10 v1 it's pretty rotten, it drops the EVF frame rate dramatically and makes it harder to compose the scene. I think the G6 is the first Panasonic of that series to have focus peaking, but I might be wrong. The G6 also has a nicer EVF, but it's going to be more expensive.

    There are quite a few trade-offs! All of them can of course be worked around, however if I were going to jump ship I might sell those lenses and get a G6/GX7/EM10/GM1/EP5 with kit lens used rather than try to adapt them.

    oh and um...
     
  6. Machi

    Machi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    May 23, 2015
    I would recommend you also Olympus E-PM2.
    It has worse ergonomics than more expensive models but it has Sony's excellent 16MP sensor (same as in E-M5, E-M10, E-M10II, E-M5II etc.), it's pretty small and it's cheap.
    It hasn't focus peaking but you can assign zoom function to the fn button.
     
  7. Yalborap

    Yalborap Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    Aug 28, 2016
    I do have some awareness of what I'm into, from previous efforts with my old DSLR equipment. I tend to prefer street photography and artistic portraiture; people, basically. I'm not super into doing any sports stuff, or anything where I'd need super long reach on super fast glass with amazing autofocus, nor am I into anything with crazy super wide angle requirements, or "angels dancing on the head of a pin" level macro. I'm also very aware of how much can be done with fairly modest equipment, and how good even modest glass is these days.

    It should also be noted that a lot of my initial efforts, with adapting lenses and such, are more about making sure the basic logic, ergonomics, and so on of the camera will work for me. Once I know that, and know I want to stick with it, then I can much more easily justify selling my current lenses for some native, you know? (They're also, I'll be honest, motivated by the fact that even the older 14-42 kit lens seems to run about 70 dollars.)

    So, yeah. Even though I'm coming from a camera with half the megapixels and no image stabilization, would you guys still say I should be aiming higher than the E-PL3? I know it's a bit older, but any thoughts on the Panasonic G2? It means dropping the image stabilization, but gaining a built-in EVF, and the articulated screen, for a pretty similar price.
     
  8. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    I have a Panasonic G2 that I'm not using any more. I'd sell you that for $100 including PayPal and shipping.

    Message me if you have any interest.

    Fred
     
  9. Yalborap

    Yalborap Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    Aug 28, 2016
    I've got to get everything together and actually get the funds in a single place instead of scattered across like three accounts, a full change jar and cash in wallet, but give me a few days and I'll be sure to send you that message. :)
     
  10. Nathanael

    Nathanael Mu-43 Veteran

    401
    Oct 12, 2015
    the 16MP sensor is a huge improvement if you do any high iso stuff
     
  11. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Yeah, I wouldn't spend $100 on a G2 when G5 bodies are barely any more on eBay...

    oh and um...
     
  12. Yalborap

    Yalborap Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    Aug 28, 2016
    So that is, strictly speaking, true. Obviously the newer sensor is going to be better.

    But, guys. I need to make this clear. My current gear is 12 years old. And not only that, it's the only gear I've ever personally held. Literally any M43 camera would likely produce what I'd consider better results, and with money...Not tight tight, I'm not gonna starve or get kicked out or anything, but certainly the discretional income is currently a bit limited, even just a 100 dollar difference becomes a big deal and a lot harder to justify for the first one. This is without even mentioning the fact that, well, we're dealing with fairly stable prices. Photokina isn't gonna make a 5 year old camera's price suddenly tank, you know?

    And of course it should be noted, it's just the first one. Whatever camera I get...Well, if I find myself wishing I had X or Y feature(which, aside from a viewfinder, are not features I've ever had on any camera I've ever owned) that the newer ones have, then "let's resell the body, throw the Nikon stuff up and get something a few years younger" becomes a much easier task.
     
  13. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Let me say this, though. I went from a D40 to a GF3 with the kit zoom, and yes, the difference in resolution and fine detail was amazing (to me). But one thing that didn't satisfy was the jpeg colors of old Panasonic models like the GF3. Do you have a decent RAW editing program? To really get the punch and pleasing colors you're used to with those old Nikon CCD sensors you're gonna need to do a little bit of work. Not a lot by any means, but JPEGs are just different, and might fall a little flat to you.

    oh and um...
     
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  14. Yalborap

    Yalborap Mu-43 Rookie

    14
    Aug 28, 2016
    Oh, yeah, my bad. I thought that was just assumed. :p First thing I do when I lay hands on a camera body is put it into RAW+JPEG, and the JPEGs are just there so I can quickly toss something up on social media if I want to get opinions on it before I dive into the RAW and get to work.
     
  15. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Good! You will do fine then, m4/3 files are different but with a little tinkering you can do a lot with them.

    oh and um...
     
  16. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    I started with a G2, and adapted lenses. It is a fine camera and I still have it around. The 12 MP sensor is not good from ISO 800 on, but at base ISO it produces fantastic files.
     
  17. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    What Nikon lenses do you have?

    If money is tight, buying new lenses is going to cost more than spending a couple hundred on a camera.
     
  18. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    877
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    I am going to offer some slightly different advice than above.

    I would not discount your current gear so much. I shot a D90 + D40 (which I still own) from 2008 till a year ago. The D40 was and remains a good camera which may not have the bells and whistles of newer bodies but is perfectly capable of producing great images. If money is tight as you say, then I would really work with your current gear and identify where you think it falls short before trying a new system with (IMO) non-ideal constraints.

    The D40, btw, was released in late 2006 which makes it less than 10 years old. So my advice, use your current gear without worrying about when it was released and then buy something to address its real shortcomings/challenges not its age. In short, save your $100 and go out and take pictures.
     
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  19. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    There are a lot of inconveniences about the D40 which I think could be bettered by a newer m4/3 body. Small EVF, 3 focus points, no live view, low-res LCD, slow processor (by modern standards). To name some of the things that I had issues with. But the pure images it took? They were great (at ISO 200).

    Here's what I would suggest. Save until you can afford a newer m4/3 model, because if you start out with an old one you'll end up on an upgrade treadmill buying marginally newer upgrades with a feature or two you can't live without forever.

    oh and um...
     
  20. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    877
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Not disagreeing with you here. The OP is an underemployed 20 something. And his only objection to his gear is that it is old. Yes, there are plenty of things newer bodies do better than the D40, but it is not clear from any of the OP's posts that his photography is being limited by the gear.

    And my advice was in part motivated by having been an underemployed 20 something in the past (grad school!) and learning to make do. He has good gear and no money. Is there really any need to spend more? May sound harsh, but ...
     
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