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Need advice from the mu-43 community

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by bfenner, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. bfenner

    bfenner Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 24, 2010
    I currently own a GF1 w/ 20mm and am looking to upgrade and/or expand. I am going to Alaska for two weeks this summer and would love to be better equipped for shooting landscapes and wildlife. I'm not sure which direction I should go in. I am considering the Lumix 100-300mm and the Oly 45mm to round out my kit, but part of me wants to go for the OM-D w/ 12-50mm and maybe squeeze in a cheaper telephoto, which would max out my gear budget. I love my GF1 but am becoming more aware of it's limitations as I gain more experience. Should I invest in glass? Time for a new body? Not sure what to do...
  2. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    You mentioned hitting limitations with the GF1. Can you elaborate? Glass is always the best choice, but if you can explain the limitations you mention, we might be able to better help.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    if you're cashed up and 'aint afraid to splash it...then whoop that credit card silly and pay top dollar for the E-M5 !!


    .....get a nice set of lenses (to compliment your 20mm) for about the same as what you would be spending on just the E-M5 ....$1100 plus......(14mm + 45mm + 9-18mm + 45-200mm) That will give you all the variety and flexibility you'll ever need for your gf1 AND your next camera AND your next camera after that.

    Oh...and with regards to the 'limitations' of the gf1 for landscape photography....check this out !!

    The World's Best Photos of gf1 and landscape - Flickr Hive Mind

    Good luck.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    I'll get the em5 kit. You'll want a wide angle lens and macro, and I think its a decent compromise. A fast 45 wouldn't be all that useful and the 100-300 would be hard to hand hold at the extreme end, unless you are taking a tripod as well, I'll make due with the 45-200 Panasonic.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. jim_khoo

    jim_khoo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 9, 2010
    Kuala Lumpur
    +1 minus the 14mm. and a polarize filter for the 9-18mm.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. KS11

    KS11 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2011
    Busan/Hong Kong
    Get a leather half case that will help with the grip. The gf1 feels too slippery and slipped around in my hands a lot so a more grippy surface will help with longer lenses and stability.

    Also +1 on lenses.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia

    The 45 a great lens....no matter where you take it.
  8. bfenner

    bfenner Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 24, 2010

    The GF1 is my only camera, therefore I sometimes wish I had something more versatile from a new camera body (better low light and video, viwefinder, etc). The 20mm can be a great landscape lens, I was more referring to my need for a telephoto for wildlife and distance shots. Does anyone have experience with both the lumix 100-300 and the 200-400? Is the 100-300 worth the extra money? I will be bringing a tripod as well. I guess I already knew that investing in glass is probably the more practical option, but I was hoping you all would talk me into buying the em-5 so I could further justify it to myself! Thanks for the advice thusfar! I am still undecided...
  9. heedpantsnow

    heedpantsnow Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 24, 2011
    On our honeymoon, I took a 17mm prime, 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f4L, and 300 f2.8L IS for my EOS system (1.6x crop factor). I rented the 300 and it was exactly the right decision. I would've never used it outside of that trip as it's so big, but with it I was able to get pictures of otters, moose, kodiak bears, sheep, and mule deer.

    So, if it was me I would consider renting a really long lens and investing in the lower end. We all know that the lenses are more important than the "body of the week" from a long-term perspective.
  10. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Great point on renting. There's two places that I know of. I have used lensrentals.com a number of times. Great service, and buy the insurance, just in case. There's also another one in California, but I can't remember the name. I think they were cheaper, but I tend to stick with companies I already know. Good point heedpantsnow!
  11. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    It's time for a new body. Here are the reasons why you should upgrade.

    *16mp will give you a bit more room to crop
    *weather sealing, weather sealed lenses will let you use your camera in harsher conditions
    *5 axis in body stabilization will give you more low light abilities with your existing 20mm
    *live bulb mode for long exposures
    *tilt screen
    *touch screen
    *Olympus jpegs
    *close focusing with the 12-50
    *wide angle with the 12-50
    *evf allows use in harsh daylight

    Here are the reasons why you should buy a 100-300 telephoto.

    *more reach

    Micro four thirds is much too slow to take good bird in flight pics anyways.

    In normal circumstances it makes sense to wait until body prices go down. But since you are going to Alaska this summer. I think the benefits of a new body outweigh the one benefit of an extra 200mm at the far end.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    I rented the 100-300 for my GF1 and absolutely hated it. It's so awkward on a rangefinder body with no eyepiece (and the one for the GF1 is near useless because of the resolution). You probably don't need that unless you're very serious about wildlife and are going to invest in a good tripod anyway.

    I'd get a wide-angle for Alaska and travel in general. 7-14 (I love mine), 12 (beautiful lens) or 9-18 (budget). 45mm is a terrific all-around focal length. The 45-200 would probably make for a great tele if you're into that.

    borrowlenses.com is the other major lens rental house in California. I use them all the time and they're terrific. Lensrentals does have a slightly wider range of M4/3 gear, though.
  13. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    About the only reason I would upgrade the GF1 is to go to something with an EVF. It is IMHO a must if you are using a long lens and the only available EVF for the GF1 is not great. I also find that the mini DSLR styled bodies handle large lenses much better than the RF style bodies. If it were me (and I was going to upgrade the body) I'd look at a GH2 as they are a good deal less than the OMD and from what I have seen so far have very similar IQ. Now if you have the cash burning a hole in your pocket then by all means bring home the OMD.

    It really depend on which way you want to go. If its wildlife then I'd say some long glass and a better body to put them on. If its landscapes then the GF1 is still a great body and would benefit from better class like the OLympus 12, Panasonic 14 and Olympus 45. As far as limitations of the GF1...there is honestly not that much difference IQ wise between any of the m43 bodies until you get to the 16mp ones like the G3, GH1, GH2, GX1 and OMD (and even then I'm not sure you could honestly say the difference is huge).
  14. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I still use the GF1 everyday.

    If in daylight, you'll be hard pressed to find the difference between a GF1 and newer sensors when you don't push too hard in PP. I personally think you should round out your lens lineup before getting another new body.

    As for the 100-300, it simply doesn't feel right on my GF1. Too long for a brick body. The 45-200 may be a shorter tele but is easier to handle. However, don't expect great AF for moving wildlife

    As for the 45, it's great. You can't go wrong.

    I can't speak for the wide angle selection. The Panny 7-14 looks great though.

    For the price of the E-M5 + kit, you could get a used 7-14 and maybe the 45-200. There are some great deals on the 7-14 out of the blue sometimes.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    My Alaska trip from a couple of years ago was the reason why I adopted the micro 4/3 format. I wanted a system that is light, compact, and capable and after extensive research, I decided that micro 4/3 was the best combination of these characteristics. The kit that I took consisted of: G1, GF1, 14-45mm, 20mm, 45-200mm

    My wife would sometimes be inspired to take some pictures so she liked to use the GF1 w/14-45mm, leaving me with my G1, 20mm and 45-200mm. Because of the similarity between the two bodies, both of us were able to use whatever was hand.

    I found that the extra reach of the 45-200mm was invaluable when encountering wildlife up there. We saw Alaskan brown bears (with cubs), and golden eagles. The 100-300mm was not available yet, but that lens would have been ideal for my trip. The 45-200mm was certainly adequate though.

    To address your question, I recommend a telephoto lens. If you don't already have one, also get the EVF for the GF1. It's low res, but it is still very usable and is essential for stablility when using a telephoto.

    If you only have the one body, you can adapt to its characteristics. When an opportunity arises for that special wildlife shot, you'll need that long telephoto and nothing else will do.

    My .02, I hope it helps.

    • Like Like x 1
  16. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    In my opinion :smile:, Micro four thirds is not too slow to take birds in flight. It may not be as easy, but it is possible. As with anything else, it's a matter of knowing and adapting to the equipment at hand.

    This was taken with a GF1 and 45-200mm:

    http://fototime.com/45967EAB68AEB98/orig.jpg" border=0 alt="Hosting provided by FotoTime">

    • Like Like x 4
  17. bedojo

    bedojo Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    I would invest in good glass.
    out of the micro four thirds world.
    I have used canon t2i, 7d, 5dII, 17-40L, 24-70L, 70-200L, sigma 50mm 1.4 all great glass (except that 17-40 hated that lens lol, but still good glass)
    there wasn't much difference from the (in IQ) t2i and 7d, they used the same image sensor.
    the larger sensor and more MP of the 5d2 provide better quality images.

    now comes along my gf2/em5 setup. I already had a good chucnk of $ invested in canon and decided to try out m4/3 again.

    this time i did it the right way. (for me,)
    grabbed two of the best lenses 12mm f2.0 and 45mm f1.8, and a "throw away" body to try the IQ out on the GF2 ($150)
    (as a portrait/fashion/beauty photog i hate wide but got it for my trip to bangkok in a few months)
    put this large purchase on my credit card (returns if i didn't like it:p , or sell off the canon gear if i did)

    Took a few test shots, and fell in love! even used the 12mm for portraits lol :p 

    when filling the sensor of both the t2i w/24-70L and the gf2 w/ 12mm image quality/pixel peeping were almost identical! (iso 100) (cropping is where i lost some IQ on the gf2)

    that sealed my decision for the next year => m4/3
    em5 because I liked it better. I still want a dslr like experience, just not the dslr size/weight.
    i constantly put the gf2 up to my eye to find no viewfinder lol and look like an idiot.

    TLDR:So basically, great lenses will result in far better image quality then great body with ok lenses.

    I would honestly think about the 12mm $800 prime. It is well worth the money (this is coming from a guy who thinks he hates wide angle)

    the 45mm is also great! but i would of paid a premium for a similar build as the 12mm (metal body)

    So really if you invest in steller glass it will last longer then the camera body you are using. and your gf1 is same as my gf2 ( as far as i know) and it is honestly good enough. I just have my reasons for going em5.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    If you want a long lens for wildlife, get the 100-300. If you really want the EM5 but can't afford both right now, get a used G2 to use with the 100-300. With external controls you can easily switch between focusing modes and single/continuous shooting modes. Changing ISO and WB are just a couple of button presses.

    • Like Like x 1
  19. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    The 20mm is a keeper. For Alaska, a 100-300 would be a smart choice, the question is whether you'd rent it or buy it.

    The E-M5 is definitely the most capable m43 camera out there today without question, but it's not the best deal in my opinion. You always pay for the privilege of being the early adopter. A G3 or GH2 might give you more bang for the buck, especially if Panasonic releases a few more cameras this week. It'll give you more of a budget for lenses, which I think is the better long term investment.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. jim_khoo

    jim_khoo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 9, 2010
    Kuala Lumpur
    perhaps you could consider spending the amount on e-m5 for a used
    g3+lenses (as suggested by some) and wait for the price of the e-m5
    to come down.
    • Like Like x 1
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