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Olympus E-PM1 vs Sony NEX-C3

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by hazebegone, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. hazebegone

    hazebegone Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 3, 2012
    Hello Mu-43,

    You might not have read my other thread about Olympus E-PM1 so I will give you a summary here with more info.

    I made my search online and read many reviews (many contradicting reviews!) about what camera (gift in my case) to buy (from USA, a friend will bring it home), I was aiming for the best compact cameras but I found out that I am already close to level 1 DSLR & Mirrorless cams in price, so why not aim for that with a budget choice of course since I want some quality images.

    I decided on Olympus E-PM1 for its looks (compared to other PENs), size, quality, price (was $425), and most important its "International warranty" (that's what I thought).

    My only problem was its noise in high ISO and dark colors (I compared based on dpreview tool), in other reviews E-PM1 noise had worse results or worse samples.

    Just days before ordering, I found out that Olympus E-PM1 has no international warranty where I live, and the price was raised $75, with it's noise in mind, difficult grip, dark samples, I am now considering my second best choice, the Sony NEX-C3.

    The problem with NEX-C3 is that it has a:

    1) bad rating on sites other than dpreview, yet 5N has high reviews!
    2) images seems to be not clear/sharp away from center (biggest concern), has a shaky feeling to it in some samples!
    3) Bad rating for 18-55 Lens! (maybe same as 2)
    3) I am not able to find samples with colors that impress me... although E-PM1 nice samples are almost never done with the default Lens (14-42)
    4) higher price and close to 5n in price

    (5N vs C3): I don't want 5N because of the:

    1) Too high price (compared to my start, compact cameras).
    2) I still need an extra battery and a good case.
    3) because I didn't enjoy the touch screen, hard to use.
    4) because I felt that C3 is faster (I felt some delay in 5N, stills & video).

    I am sorry, my ideas are very scattered, to make it short:

    What do you think of NEX-C3 and the quality of the default lens (18-55mm) special in corners/away from center and its JPEG colors in AUTO mode compared to E-PM1?
    (P.S. I am not going to buy extra lenses, ever..., so that's why)

    I am hoping that there is somebody on a Mu-43 that has tested both of Sony NEX-C3 & Olympus E-PM1 and can help me here :confused: 

    Have a sunny day :smile:
  2. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Get the 45mm & bolt it on the E-PM1 :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I have always felt looking at the noise in the dpreview tool doesn't really tell you what the camera will perform like in real work situations. Look at samples shot by real folks (not to say that the dpreview folks are somehow not real) and see what you think. FWIW, I am of the opinion that a camera choice is more than just the specs of the camera. What the NEX has in an excellent sensor (and it really is terrific) m43 makes up for in better native glass. Then there is how it feels in your hand and do you like the way the controls are and how the UI works?
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    Why are you looking at interchangeable lens cameras if your never going to buy another lens? Seems to me your paying for one thing your not going to use or take advantage of, as a rule kits lens are never anything to rave about. Maybe you should look at something like a fuji x-10, Olympus xz-1 or similar. Also, if you won't have warranty why are you paying for one by buying new, you would have less risk and cost buying used from someone who is credible(has reputation of selling). Maybe I'm not telling you anything you want to hear. I don't mean to ruffle any feathers, but it seems your looking at the wrong form of camera, as it's main feature(s) revolve around something you say you won't utilize. I hope you find what your looking for, as your priorities seem so confusing. Let us know what you settle on.
    P.S. you might find seriouscompacts.com maybe of help as well
    • Like Like x 1
  5. hazebegone

    hazebegone Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 3, 2012
    Hey RT_Panther, thanks for the suggestion,

    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital Lens - 45 mm - F/1.8 ?

    That's $400 alone :)  $400+$500=$900 I have way better options with that budget :tongue: (If I had $900)

    Hey dixeyk, thanks for answering,

    I have folders full of samples for many cameras, I downloaded like 15 full size sample from US sites, Japanese sites, you name it, and I tired to find samples using the original lens only (14-42mm).

    For E-PM1, the best samples (default lens) I found are the ones in dpreview (although I don't like their samples in general) but that Japanese guy seems pro ;) 

    I understand your point in general, but lab tests in "exact" same conditions are vital for some parts, after all I am comparing cameras here and I have no history with real cameras so I have nothing in my mind to compare to.

    For example, on Camera labs website, the reviewer takes pictures for the same sets, him while he is reading a newspaper, a boat in the lake, a supermarket, that's nice BUT one time it's winter and then it's summer, one time it's early morning then it's night, one time standing close then a bit further, that doesn't help :smile:

    So I check and consider both, lab tests for color accuracy and noise, and real outdoor pictures for average results and for my color taste.

    Sadly I couldn't test E-PM1 in my own hands, that might have changed things a little!
  6. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    EPM is better because even though it might not have as good high ISO, it has IBIS which will negate the high ISO advantage of the Sony. It also has a hot shoe, so you can add a powerful flash for not much more money.

    The fast autofocus alone is a reason enough to get a kit lens and EPM rather than a compact camera.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I'll sum it up as follows:
    The Sony NEX is a wonderful sensor in a mediocre camera.
    The Olympus PM1 is a wonderful camera with a mediocre sensor.

    There are reasons to pick either one, but there is a critical trade-off here that you cannot avoid. I have a lot of problems with the NEX beyond just the lens system, but it doesn't need lenses so badly like the micro four thirds cameras do.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. hazebegone

    hazebegone Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 3, 2012
    Hey Grinch, no, thank you for your input, I like to hear everything.

    I already explained why I am looking at ILC but I will explain based on your examples.

    Fujifilm X-10, in short, a very good very expensive compact camera with white disc problem that will not get fixed with average features/specification, selling for $600! :confused: 

    Olympus XZ-1, less than average features, ISO, image quality, video,... with a premium price of $500! :confused: 

    I want ILC because I want a better image quality than compact cameras and because "some" ILCs which are (compared to compacts) a lot higher in picture quality are sold at reasonable prices (compared to best compacts), I don't need telephoto nor macro so I am looking for an ILC camera with good quality lens for general/basic use (indoor/outdoor) and I am finding $400-$500 a fair price for that, compared to prices of high end compact cameras that don't match in image quality, even in other features, the compacts having long zoom or fancy features are not the ones with good image quality.

    As I see it, ILC are not bought because of the IL feature but because of the image quality (sensor/ISO/metering) and above that they offer the IL feature to help you seek perfection, macro, tele, so on...

    I am getting this as a gift so used cams are out of question, if I were getting one for myself I wouldn't buy used either, that's just me, I'd prefer to wait for a sale or a deal.
  9. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Oly and Nex are two different cameras with two different ideas of photography behind them; its up to you choosing which matches best your idea of photography.

    Both can deliver excellent images but with kit lens surely the Nex is better at high iso and Oly has better jpegs.
    From what I read on your posts it seems that you're leaning towards Nex, so buy that and use it at your and its best.
    You sure will be happy with your choice.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. ttan98

    ttan98 Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 5, 2012
    Nex 3 and E-PM1

    I have both cameras, my angle is both of them are very good cameras, the Nex 3 lens is by no means inferior, it is possible that some users' kit lens are not within specifications, my copy is quite good, esp within 24-35mm, sharp at centre and towards outer edge. The contrast is not as good as manual lens like Canon 28mm f2.8. I would consider them comparable to to the older E-PL1 kit lens. I DO NOT consider them to be inferior. They are not as good as the Lumix 14-45mm kit lens.

    In getting NEXC3 you get the following you do not get from E-PM1 they are:

    1. Peak focusing of manual lenses
    2. Panoramic feature, processing within the camera very useful if you
    are travelling
    3. HDR feature, processing within camera, esp. in dark areas.
    4. At least 1 - 1.5 stop better than E-PM1

    Buying C3 you get equal images quality comparable to 5N but not the features 5N can give you.

    • Like Like x 1
  11. hazebegone

    hazebegone Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 3, 2012
    Hey songs2001, thanks for your input,

    So E-PM1 is better except it's low ISO performance, the problem is that I consider that part of or should be part of compact cameras not ILCs, that's why I am considering the NEX-C3 (far from my starting budget) but no one is favoring it that much in spite of that :frown:

    Hey Promit, thanks for your input,

    I thought E-PM1 advantage was it's kit lens, why does it need lenses so bad, can you please explain :confused: 

    Hey elandel, thanks for your input,

    So what you are saying, none of them is much better or much worse, honestly, I am leaning towards losing my mind :smile:
  12. hazebegone

    hazebegone Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 3, 2012
    Hey ttan98, thank you for sharing your experience,

    Since you have both and lets say you need money very badly and you had to sell one of them and you will never get it back forever...

    Which one would you sell or keep? and why? :smile:
  13. ttan98

    ttan98 Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 5, 2012

    I bought the E-PM1 because I got a good deal for it less than $300 with kit lens. Nex 3 or C3 is a better all round camera, if it is my main camera I will go for Nex C3, now you can get good and cheap prime lenses from Sigma, 18mm and 30mm the latter selling at B&H for just $199. These lenses are also available in the m4/3rds mount.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Get either one. But if you want to expand into different lenses, then m43 is a better choice, but I think two things, based on what you posted:

    1) you should be happy with either
    2) you will be happy with neither (always thinking you should have gotten the other one)

    Hold your nose and jump into either pool, but one great reason to go m43 is the very wonderful, very helpful m43 community here!

    Good luck!
  15. hazebegone

    hazebegone Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 3, 2012
    Hey ttan98, thanks for the prompt answer,

    At that price it's sure a good deal and I can certainly overlook its flaws, was that on amazon ?

    so is there a way to see the difference between NEX kit lens and say those Sigma lenses side-by-side using the same camera? I don't intend to buy more lenses and I am now very interested in seeing the difference people are speaking about here, to see how bad they are compared to good ones?

    Hey WT21, thanks for the reply,

    Just tell me something, NEX is the one with bad lens and better sensor, so why or what do you mean E-PM1 is the better one to get if I want to expand ?

    "but one great reason to go m43 is the very wonderful, very helpful m43 community here!"
    I have no doubt in that :) 
  16. Zanr Zij

    Zanr Zij Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 10, 2012
    If you use 1 pancake and kit zoom lens ( np upgrade in near future ) : Nex.

    If you plan to upgrade your lens belong your need, ur money, go E-PM1 or other better body. M4/3: multi choicse lens, compact size + light weight!
    • Like Like x 1
  17. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Hey elandel, thanks for your input,

    So what you are saying, none of them is much better or much worse, honestly, I am leaning towards losing my mind :smile:[/QUOTE]

    I'm saying this because both are good cameras and you won't regret whichever you buy.
    Its only up to features and form factor.

    I own m/3 and Nex. I bought a 5n but sold it after 9 days for a used 5. In another post I explain why. So as you can see its only up to you deciding what you want. Only you can know which one you like better.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I mean that m43 has lots of good lenses. If you are looking for casual shooting, and will never go beyond the kit lens, then the NEX may be fine.

    One note, though -- I find my Oly m43 cameras focus faster and more sure than the NEXs I've tried (I've used the NEX3, NEX5, C3 and 5n). The ONLY thing I miss on the NEX (actually, there are two things): 1) high ISO at ISO1600 and 3200 is better than my EPM1 (though I hear the latest M43 cameras are closing the gap) and 2) sweep panorama, which is pretty fun.

    Other than that, for AF lenses, m43 has more options, and focuses faster and surer in low light.

    Find a store where you can play with both, or with a good return policy, and try them out. Or rent them from lensrentals.com or some other place. At this point, I don't think you are going to learn anything new from asking questions here or any other forum. It is time to try them!!
    • Like Like x 1
  19. ttan98

    ttan98 Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 5, 2012

    The Sigma 30mm is f2.8 faster and sharper than the kit lens at same focal length. Users of this lens are giving it their thumbs up, at the same time at $199 it is affordable.

    If you want to see the images from this lens go to Dpreview.com forum, Micro Four Thirds Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    I won't be buying them yet because I have a manual lens of the same focal length.

    The bottom line, both are very good cameras it boils down to what features meet your needs. List the features of both cameras and prioritise them and make up your mind.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Buy one of these beauties ..lol

    U have so much confusion in deciding so I am offering u following choices over PM1 and Nex C3

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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    • Like Like x 1
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