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Oly vs Panasonic

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by jayhawk92, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. jayhawk92

    jayhawk92 Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 24, 2012
    So, I'm wanting to buy a new camera. We have some friends that are photographers and my wife said she wants a camera that can take nice pictures like theirs/get into photography. At first I was limiting my selection to the Panny G3 or GH2 because of the built in EVF. Then she dropped the bomb after weeks of research that she doesn't think she cares about having an EVF. Sooo, now I'm open to a whole new world of possibilities. My questions are, what are some reasons to consider Olympus/should I? the more she gets into photography will she yearn for an EVF? if that's the case how do you feel about the attachable kind? Finally, what benefits does the GX1 offer over the G3? All I see is a bit smaller camera that looks cool without EVF or Swivel LCD, so what does it do better to justify the same price as the G3???
  2. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic
    Instead of spending bucket loads on a GX1, the camera I thought I wanted, a acquired a nice used GF1 cheaply of the Bay with some great lenses. I'm pleased I didn't spend my cash on the GX1 because I now find myself needing/wanting a EVF. So I'll be after a G3 now.

    Perhaps buy a cheap used M43 camera and see how you get on, you can always resell and not loose money on it. I'd recommend buying an early Panasonic with the 14-45mm kit lens, then later after some use sell it and buy a new body that suits your needs, once you know what they are.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    The G3 isn't a lot of money right now, honestly I'd just get that. The Olys are wonderful cameras but their imaging hardware is really aging and hopefully the refresh later this year will fix that.
  4. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    These threads are always difficult to answer because it's really up to you and what is important to you ... not any of us.

    I can tell you that I ended up buying Olympus m4/3 gear because in-body image stabilization and wireless TTL flash are important to me. Those things might not be remotely important to you, though.
  5. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Many people prefer the warmer, more colorful Olympus jpgs, so if you want some immediate results and don't want to do any tweaking of your files with software, you might be better off with an Olympus pen.
  6. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Gyles gives some sound advice. There's not a huge difference in the results that one can achieve with the cheapest :43: cameras versus the GH2 and OM-D, so starting with one of the basic models would allow you to see what you like (and what you don't) about the system and the particular body you choose without a huge investment.

    As far as the differences between Olympus and Panasonic, the biggest differences (IMHO) are the image stabilization (IS) strategies, the user interface/controls and the JPEG processing.

    IS: Olympus incorporates image stabilization into the body of the camera (IBIS or In-Body Image Stablization) while Panasonic relies on stabilization in the lenses (OIS or Optical Image Stabilization). One approach is not necessarily superior to the other. Some feel that OIS works better, particularly for long focal lengths while the advantage of IBIS is that it works with ANY lens (including adapted manual focus lenses).

    User interface/controls: The Panasonic G and GH bodies are "mini-DSLR" style while the Olympus PENs (all Oly cameras but the OM-D) as well as the Panasonic GF and GX series are "rangefinder" style. The most noticeable difference between these two is the lack of built-in EVF on the rangefinder style bodies, but some people just prefer the "feel" of one style or the other. Many people dislike the menu-driven interface of many of the Olympus models, but again, that's really a personal preference that you can only determine by actually use.

    JPEG processing: The Olympus cameras are legendary (notorious?) for having a very "punchy" sort of default processing of their JPEG images which has become known as the "Olympus look". While I think the majority would agree that Oly delivers "better" out of camera (OOC) JPEG images, this is also not unanimous. This difference is basically irrelevant if you plan on shooting in RAW and processing your own images (in Adobe Lightroom, for example).

    [thread=24938]This thread[/thread] contains a link to a spreadsheet that compares all of the available :43: bodies side-by-side, which you may find helpful.
  7. jayhawk92

    jayhawk92 Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 24, 2012
    Thanks all, I really appreciate the answers so far. I know it's hard for people to tell me what to buy because they don't know my needs. This is going to be for lots of pictures of kids and dogs. She wants to capture high quality images of our family, and any trips we take. I really don't know how much picture editing I see her doing, that may change though. We also want to double up and use the camera for video and not buy a dedicated camcorder. no clue about the image stabilization thing, I don't have any lenses so I guess that shouldn't matter as much, as long as the new one's I buy have it? The G3 just seems like an awesome deal, but I'm worried now, are the jpegs no good? I don't want her to have to spend tons of time editing every single photo.
  8. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic
    Jpegs from Panasonic's are really nice, just olly's have a little more warmth to them.
  9. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    The Panasonic GH series are the best :43: bodies for shooting video. But if you're just shooting video to share with family and friends on YouTube, then really any of the cameras (except the Panasonic G1) are pretty usable.

    This is true to a point, but if IS is important to you, then you'll be limited to using Panasonic lenses.

    I didn't mean to give you the impression that Panasonic JPEGs are not good. They're perfectly usable in every way. Some prefer the Panasonic look to the Olympus look, but I just wanted to point it out as a way in which the products differ.

    There's certainly nothing wrong with the G3, although I don't have any personal experience with that body. If that's the body you're zeroed in on, then you should be aware that its successor (the G5) is rumored to be announced next month. That announcement may trigger a downward adjustment in the price of the G3.
  10. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic
    G3 price coming down is what I'm hoping for.
  11. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro


    In body image stabilization is my preference by far. This allows me to use legacy glass and still have stabilization. BUT I'm a telephoto addict. working on acquiring a Nikon or Canon super tele f2.8 or 3.5.

    I much prefer Oly jpegs although I'm certainly no expert.

    I prefer the rangefinder form factor but you can go either way with that now.

    An integral viewfinder makes for much more accurate and speedy composition. The Oly VF2 and 3 are excellent but they are a bit cumbersome and can fall off or come loose very easily. If you ever get into low light situations holding the camera against your eyebrow makes for a steadier shot.

    I prefer the company Olympus over the company Panasonic. JMO. :smile:
  12. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    I own the VF-3, and it has a lock that prevents it from falling off. I owned the poor-quality LVF1 for my LX-5, and it repeatedly came loose and nearly got lost. As a result, I refused to buy the VF-2 (despite its higher resolution over the VF-3), because it has no lock.

    I do agree it's much simpler to have a built-in EVF, but then you have a bulkier camera, because the EVF can't be removed when not needed....

    Clearly a trade-off. :smile:
  13. jayhawk92

    jayhawk92 Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 24, 2012
    This I fantastic advice. I understand all of these will produce good video for YouTube. What about onto an HDTV? I've read reports of poor quality when played on an HDTV. Is that an issue with the g3 or the ep3/epl3?
  14. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I'm not aware of the reports you may have seen, but unless you went to film school you're not likely to notice any difference in output between the three cameras you mentioned (E-P3, EPL3 and G3). They are all capable of shooting 1080 or 720 HD video at up to 60 fps.

    Panasonic cameras are generally better choices for shooting video. There are firmware hacks available that increase bitrate and also allow you to shoot at 24fps for a filmic look. I don't believe that a hack is yet available for the G3, but it's under development.

    All that said, unless video were my PRIMARY concern, I don't think the differences in video performance between the G3 and E-P3 would sway my decision. And if I were really looking for a :43: camera for video, I'd look to the GH2 or even the (relatively) ancient GH1.
  15. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    all micro 4/3 cameras will shoot 720p video and most will shoot higher resolutions than that... video shot with these cameras given that they are exposed well and well lit will look perfectly fine on your TV...way better than cameras of a few years ago

    the cameras are all very very capable of producing high quality results... however what you see on broadcast TV is not just the result of better more expensive cameras but a lot of professional skills...lighting, sound, EDITING and other stuff like a story.... shooting a video isn't about shooting a static image that moves...its about combining a series of images to tell a story

    this video was shot on an E-p1... a 3 year old camera

    <!-- This version of the embed code is no longer supported. Learn more: https://vimeo.com/help/faq/embedding --> <object width="500" height="281"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=24565959&amp;force_embed=1&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=24565959&amp;force_embed=1&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="500" height="281"></embed></object>

    this was shot on a GH2

    <!-- This version of the embed code is no longer supported. Learn more: https://vimeo.com/help/faq/embedding --> <object width="500" height="281"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=33533553&amp;force_embed=1&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=33533553&amp;force_embed=1&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="500" height="281"></embed></object>

    and this was shot on a GOPRO....the daft camera used by extreme sport dudes

    <!-- This version of the embed code is no longer supported. Learn more: https://vimeo.com/help/faq/embedding --> <object width="500" height="281"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=44251175&amp;force_embed=1&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed src="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=44251175&amp;force_embed=1&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=1&amp;show_byline=1&amp;show_portrait=1&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="500" height="281"></embed></object>

    all look fine to my eyes on a big screen.... not hollywood good... but that is another level of skill first and equipment second


  16. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    The same differences in jpeg image brightness and colors between Oly and Panasonic also apply to video. So if you want bright jpegs and videos with somewhat warm biased colors that have "pop" and "wow" factor I'd suggest going with Oly. If more bluish and subdued colors and brightness suit you, go with Panasonic. It all comes down to personal taste; i.e some Pany fans don't like the Oly look and vice versa.
  17. jayhawk92

    jayhawk92 Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 24, 2012
    That answer about video is exactly what I was looking to hear. So I'm going present the positives and negatives of each and ask what features she cares about and what jpegs she prefers. You guys rock. I'll report when we make a decision
  18. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    Olympus has stabilization built into the body and nicer JPEG processing. Problem with all Olympus cameras until EM5 is sensor which is a generation behind Panasonic G3/GX1. If you want to wait a few more months, there will probably be new models with those sensors from Olympus. Or just get the EM5 :smile:
    GX1 has a better made case than G3. It just looks and feels a bit nicer. The price for it has dropped recently, so you're lucky, it used to be much much more expensive than G3. GX1 also has slightly better JPEG processing than G3. there should be a replacement for G3 announced any day now btw.
    Any of these are very nice and will serve you well.
  19. pheaukus

    pheaukus Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 22, 2012
    While all current m4/3 cameras can achieve 'broadcast quality', some are very limited in the conditions they have to be used in to achieve good recordings. The Olympus in body image stabilisation in the PEN cameras is not well suited for video - it causes a sickening wobble which basically means it has to be switched off for video. Without IS, for high quality video you will have to use a tripod. It seems video on Olympus got better with OM-D. All this is much less of a problem with the in-lens IS of Panasonic. Looking around, I notice the GH2 is used a lot by aspiring and professional videographers, as is the Sony NEX. Searching for the camera types on Vimeo can give you some impression on what can be done. With in-lens IS, lenses become larger and more expensive though.
  20. Jorge Ledesma

    Jorge Ledesma Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 27, 2011
    These are always tough questions. Like most group members here, I also have owned a fair number of m43 camera and to be honest, Pannies are great and so are Ollies. What's important in my humble opinion is how you feel with the camera on hand. Shoot some frames, hold it, handle it, get a feel for it. For me now, these days, its all about how I feel with the camera on hand and getting great glass (20mm 1.7). These two will take you further than any camera you select.

    Off course though, if you aspire to be a videographer, I believe, most folks here will agree the GH2 is the way to go or even a GH1, but other than that, its how it feels in your hand that counts I think.

    Relatedly, read on the Ricoh GRD2/3/4, not that they are replacements but how its universally agreed ( I'll dare to say ) that this camera style handles like a Ferrari, they're simply incredible and their IQ ( taking into account their sensor ) is wonderful.

    My two-cents,

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