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New to m4/3, needing advice EP3 vs EM5

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Scropsey, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. Scropsey

    Scropsey New to Mu-43

    Apr 28, 2012
    I'm currently a dslr user looking to transition to micro 4/3. Right now I shoot with a d700 and also shot film with a Nikon n80. I love my d700 but I am a petite mom of a 3 year old and 19 month old and lugging around my d700 and lenses is just too heavy when also chasing around the kids. Before kids it wasn't much of a problem, but now i find myself leaving it at home and missing many everday shots because of the bulk.We like to travel, and my husband and I like to hike/ backpack also, making a lighter setup seem much more attractive. I would probably keep my n80 and 2 lenses for times that i want to utilize maximum dof with my dslr lenses (portraits etc) but sell the d700 (only after I have spent some time with the m4/3 and am sure I like it). For reference I mostly shoot family, environmental portraits, landscapes/travel, and occasionally macro.

    I recently tried the x100 and loved it, but I couldn't commit to the one focal length and the autofocus was a bit too slow. Otherwise, an amazing camera.

    Here is where i need some opinions. I found a great deal on a refurbished EP3 with 14-42 ii for $600. If I ordered this I could also afford to get the 45 1.8 and 25 1.4 (I love primes). And maybe I could pick up the 12 2.0 in the next year and have an amazing kit. It seems like the advice is normally to invest in good
    Glass, not camera bodies.....

    Or I could get the EM5 with 14-42 plus one only one lens (45 or 25) for about the same price. It seems like everyone is raving about the EM5 and if it is really that much better than the ep3, then maybe I should go with it.

    Evf and tilt screen are cool on the em5, but not deal breakers for me. I know the DR and high ISO capabilities of the EM5 are supposed to be better ( which coming from a d700 would be desirable), but i am not sure by how much. Just wondering if the EM5 is that much better over the EP3, especially for $500 more.

    Also, I am not sure how long I would have to end up waiting for an EM5 since I am not even on a preorder/waiting list. If I am going to transition, I would like to do it soon so I can sell my d700 for the most $$ while they are still pretty hot. So that may be a deciding factor too...

    If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I'd love any advice/insight, especially from those that have owned both the ep3 and em5.
  2. jff1625

    jff1625 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 14, 2012
    Not wanting to over complicate things for you, but did you consider the G3, GH2 or GX1? Depending on who you ask, they may or may not have the same sensor that's in the EM5. I didn't see anything in your post that would rule them out. I have a feeling the GX1 might be "just right" for you.
    Why not pop over to dpreview and try out their IQ comparison tool so you can get a feel for the differences in DR high ISO.
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    First, the E-M5 is already arriving in stores. Your local dealers are more likely to have the E-M5 for you than by getting on a waiting list, as the national pre-orders are the ones which are backed up.

    Personally though, I would go with the E-P3 with 25mm f/1.4 and 45mm f/1.8. That's a very useful set of lenses, and that is the necessary part as you thought. Only problem is, I would add the VF-2 viewfinder with the E-P3 purchase. That will make the camera more expensive, but it will still be very packable as the VF-2 can be put away separately in another pocket or squeezed into an empty corner of your bag such as the space left by the lens and body. If you can get the E-P3 for $500 less than the E-M5 though, then you'll definitely be able to afford to add a VF-2 to the E-P3. Even if you have to get the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 instead of the Leica 25mm f/1.4 Summilux to go with your m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 (the Lumix will add a very compact pancake lens for an ultra-compact kit anyways), then the VF-2 is well worth having. Especially if you're doing a lot of hiking and outdoor shooting, you will need the EVF to block out the sun from the screen.
  4. EP1-GF1

    EP1-GF1 Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 12, 2011
    I agree with Ned.

    The E-P3 has more of a "I'm not a pro" look about it (which is a good thing in my opinion) so you can "sneak" it into places you might not have been able to get your d700 or the EM5. I think it's also less intimidating which makes people feel more relaxed.
  5. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Would you buy the external viewfinder for the E-P3 and use it a good deal of the time? If that is the case, as Ned mentioned, I think it would be smart to jump up to the E-M5 (or look at the G3). The only other thing that I think would be cool on the E-M5, versus the E-P3, is the tilt screen. I think this would come in handy when getting down at kid level (the touch to focus/shutter is so cool on these).

    Oh yeah, and I own and like the PL25, but I would recommend that you consider the 20/1.7 and the Oly 45 as your first two lenses. The 20 is a bit slower to focus than the PL25, but it is soooo little, crazy sharp and makes a great compact carry option.
  6. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
  7. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    It's not really 500 more.

    A VF2 is 220. You get a free bounce flash, 180. That's 400. It's only really 100 dollars more plus you get a a one year warranty, weather proofing, better sensor, more megapixels, faster FPS, faster AF?

    You can also buy the 40-150 at a discount at $150.

    I suggest getting a EVF, you can mount your Nikkor Lenses. I'll skip the 45 1.8 for now, you probably own a 50 something Nikon lenses anyway.

    I, myself won't get e EM5, because of the hump and no built in flash, but it's tremendous value for all the extras they throw in for the early adopter.
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Right off the bat I will say that any of the m43 combinations will be smaller and easier to carry around that what you had. As to which one...it really starts with what body style you prefer. The E-P3 for instance is a terrific camera but you may or may not like the body style. I'd suggest handling one and see what you think. I agree with Ned that lenses really make the biggest difference. Also, the Panasonics offer great value so unless you're set on an Olympus I would suggest thinking about the GX1, G3 and G2 as well.
  9. Monza76

    Monza76 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2012
    I agree that glass is more important than bodies but coming from an Nikon D700 you may find the E-M5 a more familiar form factor. I am also a DSLR user and I am enjoying my E-P2 but I do miss the viewfinder. (I did get a VF-1 optical finder to use with my 17mm and that is surprisingly fun to use)
  10. Brownian

    Brownian Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2012
    I would say get the E-M5. I just got mine. There are several features and advantages of the E-M5 that have not been mentioned, most notably the 5 axis In Body Stabilisation which is easily worth the price differential on its own. The live bulb feature is also very cool, allowing you to take really long exposures while watching the image develop, allowing you to cease cooking the image when it is done.

    Even the vivid and beautiful OLED screen is a significant feature IMO. I got mine with the Zuiko 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 and despite the 'kit lens' aspersions leveled by some, it is actually a very capable and versatile lens and is very sharp.
  11. If you go the E-P3 route I'd recommend trying it without a viewfinder first before spending that much on an optional accessory. Adding $200 to the price of the E-P3 tips the value quotient in favour of the E-M5 IMO.
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    But by the time he buys the E-P3 then if he decides he wants an EVF the E-M5 will probably be out of the question. He'll no doubt just pay the $200 for the VF-2 or VF-3 rather than $1000 for the E-M5. So why not just try it out from the start?
  13. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    I would say get the E-M5 too. The E-M5 has so many advances over any Pen, it takes alot of time and concentration to remember them all.

    On the other hand, the advances of the E-PL1 over the E-P3 are not that great and the E-PL1 is dirt cheap right now ($150 for brand new body and $279 with the 14-42). Plus, the outdoor out-of-the camera jpegs of the E-PL1 are the best (sharper and with more accurate white balance) of any other Pen and even the E-M5 (by a slight, but noticable margin).

    Therefore I would either get a E-PL1 body for $149, a used VF-2 viewfinder ($175) and all those primes you want or get a E-M5 with the 14-42 kit lens and slowly build up your prime collection.

    I have an E-M5 and a E-PL1 and despite the lack of dials on the E-PL1, I am so used to changing settings using it's buttons that I can do it almost as fast as using the dials on the E-M5.
  14. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Depending on what you want out of a camera and body style preferences (if you have one) I would think a few things come into play.

    If you want to use an EVF then consider a camera that already has one built in. The EVFs are spendy and in the case of the GH2 and G3 the camera is a real bargain compared to going with the GX1 or E-P3 and buying an external EVF.

    The OMD is the latest and greatest but from what I can tell the IQ is not that different from what the GX1, G3 and GH2 produce. Yes the OMD does seem to produce cleaner high ISO images but from the samples I have seen the lack of noise comes with a bit less detail. Also, despite differences in all the cameras I think it is safe to say that they all are capable of excellent results. I woud even go so far as to say that an E-P3 can produce VERY similar results despite having less resolution. The reason I mention this is that the E-P3, GX1, GH2 and G3 are all considerably cheaper than the OMD.

    Don't get me wrong the OMD is a great camera and if that's what you want then I'd say get it, but there are other really good options in m43 as well.
  15. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I think figuring out if you want to go built-in EVF or not is wise.
  16. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    The point is, there are a heap of good options now so that any person with a bit of homework, can tailor make a system to suite their needs. Lots of great bodies and lenses all around (here's hoping that the soon to be released Panasonic fast zooms address the one big mu43 lens shortfall).

    How good and mature is the mu43 system ? ...for a start, there appears to be quite a bit of discussion coming from the 'pro' end of town about mu43 being a system to be respected !

    I think it should go without saying, regardless of whether you shoot with an older body and lens, or the absolute latest and greatest.....it's your vision, how you shoot and process that will reflect most on the quality of your images. I mean, I've seen some really amazing shots on this forum lately posted by e-p1, g2 or gf1 shooters....and some pretty dull and ordinary images shot with gx1'sand em5's !!!!
  17. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Here are the m4/3 bodies I have... started with the GF1 about 2 1/2 years ago, then added the GH2, then added the G3, then the E-PL3 w/VF-2, and will pick up the E-M5 this week. I have waaay more lenses, native and prime, than I can use regularly, including the coveted "trinity", et al.

    With this 2 1/2 year experience I've had with m4/3 (after a life long career as a professional photographer), were I in your shoes... I would get a G3 or an E-M5 and whatever lenses suit your fancy to start with... then add more. The high ISO performance of these two bodies smoke the other options and the IQ is fantastic with either. High ISO performance with the E-PL3 is abysmal, in my view. I like the camera, but it's utility is much more limited due to poor high-ISO performance and the annoyance of the add-on EVF.

    As for the add-on EVF, I find that more of an annoyance than a benefit. I find the EVF as useful, if not moreso, than the LCD screen... though I use both quite a bit and very often use the tilt or rotate/swivel option for shooting over my head, on the ground, from waist level, or around corners (only once in a while). Adding and removing the EVF (and worrying about knocking it off the body on occasion) is a true annoyance to me. I want both EVF and articulating or tilting screen on my bodies full time - for me, that equates to less "fussing" with gear and more getting down to shooting!

    Therefore, in my view, for your situation, the two best choices in m4/3 bodies today are the G3 (or GH2) and the E-M5. The G3 is a true bargain for the exceptional quality and feature versatility it provides. The G3 is a stellar m4/3 camera body choice and a bargain. I'd pick one of those, move forward with lenses, and concentrate on being a great image maker and not focus much attention AT ALL on gear. :) 
  18. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    One other point for the EM5 vs EP3 with VF2,

    The VF2 doesn't lock into the cameras like the VF3. A Em5 makes for a better choice if doing hikes or whatever, don't need to worry about the EVF falling off.

    The VF3 locks, doesn't have as good of a resolution and also comes only in a silver color.
  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I am not even remotely close to a professional In anything photographic but I agree with DHart in that the OMD, GH2 and G3 are really terrific cameras. The GX1 is also a terrific camera but I have never been able to warm up to the EVF less cameras (and I have tried). I find having to deal with an external EVF is a royal pain. Of course that's because I tend to use an EVF quite a lot. I found using the E-P3 with the OLED only to be pretty easy but it's definitely not my first choice. Also, I find the handling of the mini DSLR body style a lot more comfortable than the PEN body style (that includes the Panasonic GF and GX series).

    If it were me I'd probably choose the GH2 or G3 because I find an articulated very useful and video is a priority to me. In the end it really is more about what you're comfortable with. There really is no wrong choice.

    I agree wholeheartedly.
  20. awatahurm

    awatahurm Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 10, 2011
    If it was me, I'd go with the EM-5 and the Panasonic 25mm.
    I'm a happy owner of the EP-3 with VF-3, Panny 25mm, Oly 12mm, and 45mm. It's a very fun camera and the lenses perform exceptionally well.
    But if you check what all levels of photographers are posting on Flickr you'll see that the dynamic range on the EM-5 is markedly better.

    I've taken my EP-3 kit on two vacations and used the 25mm lens almost exclusively. I used the 45mm a couple of times for DOF effects and I used the 12mm even less — just because I had it.

    the city of dreams - a set on Flickr

    As far as "capturing the moment" goes, you can't beat the Panny 25mm. It's fast and smooth and renders a natural field of vision.
    I wouldn't have missed either the 45 or the 12mm on my trips.. But there were many occasions where I could have used the superior IS of the EM-5.
    • Like Like x 1
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