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Olympus PEN confusion...

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by frigidlight, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. frigidlight

    frigidlight New to Mu-43

    Jul 26, 2011
    SE MA
    I'm looking for a small, lightweight, powerful kit to take into the outdoors with me. Options:


    cheaper, only 720p video, supposedly faster AF with the MK2 kit lens


    slowww AF, 720p video, includes the electronic viewfinder addon


    supposedly has the fastest AF in the industry (?) with the new processor and at any rate is a huge improvement over the 2-series cameras. no built in flash but comes with an external, 1080i video, tilt screen, 5fps drive mode


    built in pop-up flash, same fast AF, 3fps drive mode (slower than EPL3), OLED touch screen,

    obviously the newer cameras are gonna be more expensive, but for the type of photography I do/want to expand more into (action/adventure, skiing, mountaineering, climbing, outdoors, etc) I can find a plus to each model. The included viewfinder of the EP2 would be nice, and is apparently almost a necessity on that model camera. I can't find anything to indicate if the new OLED screen on the EP3 is good enough that the viewfinder isn't necessary but the camera hasn't been out long enough to tell. The super fast AF is also a draw since anything I take pictures of will be moving quickly, but do I really need super super fast AF or is the improved AF of the EPL2 enough? I don't much care about 720p vs 1080i video. Right now I'm thinking EPL2 (very reasonable prices too) and the new 14-42 MK2 kit lens but I'm really confused and am having a hard time picking one over the other...thoughts? Also haven't even looked at Sony or Panasonic. Should I be considering these options?
  2. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    The AF on the EP2 and EPL2 are not that bad (with the right lenses, for instance the mkII kit, or the 14-150, the 14mm or the 9-18). For me, the speed issue with the older Oly's is more about the shutter lag and blacked out screen between shots than the AF, all of which the EP3 and EPL3 corrects.

    If your funds are really limited, then I'd suggest an EP2 or EPL2 with the newer kit lens (you can find body-only EP2s. I think Tom has one for sale on this forum).

    If you can spend the money, the EP3 is very nice.

    If you can wait, and you have more limited funds, then maybe check out the EPL3.

    One comment -- what's the lens range you are looking at? I've been using the Panny 14 now for a bit, and it's just a lot of fun. The 14 on the EPL3 will be a fantastic, small bit of kit -- fast focusing, fast burst speed (because of a redesigned shutter, the fps of the EPL3 are the fastest of any Oly -- 5 frames per second vs. 3 for all others), tilt screen, small and lightweight. That might be the one to hold out for, but if you are in a rush now, you could also get a cheap EP2 or EPL2 now, and use it as a back up body.
  3. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    I love the PENs, but based on what you are planning to use them for, I don't think they are the right cameras. If "I" were considering that kind of stuff, I'd want something truly pocketable. Or I'd consider one that is more geared toward working in cold weather or being dropped or banged about. Just my 2 cents, and good luck choosing a camera. Sometimes there are too many choices.
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Get the E-P3, which is the fastest and quickest performing body, then if you don't think the OLED screen is good enough for you (though I'm betting it will be), you can save up to add a viewfinder later, especially now since Olympus has releaased a cheaper EVF (the VF-3) than the original expensive EVF (the VF-2) which came with the E-P2.

    If you want to go cheaper, I would pick the E-PL2 over the E-P2. The E-PL2 is quite a bit more responsive, has a higher resolution LCD, and sharper image quality with cleaner high-ISO performance.
  5. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Super fast AF won't be as fast as when tracking moving objects.

    I would probably get the epl3 over the ep3 because of tilt screen and faster fps.
  6. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Now that I've started using the touch screen, that might help replace where tracking AF would have helped. Better tracking AF is the bomb, but the touch screen helps in a work-around kind of way.
  7. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    The Olympus screen is capacitive like the iPhone, not resistive like the Panasonic, so it will not work with gloves. Something else to think about.
  8. kahren

    kahren Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 21, 2010
    if the e-pl3 had a built in flash i would probably have placed an order. i think its a killer for some that they didn't include this feature. the e-pl3 and the e-p3 could have easily been one camera, having tilt screen (touch screen), pop-up flash and ability to add an EVF (which should already be built in like the x100). marketing needs to get stabbed in he face with a dull pencil, i think that is putting it lightly :) 
  9. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    I imagine you'll be able to get gloves which work with a capacitive screen... or you could just resort to the old fashioned shutter button :biggrin:


  10. frigidlight

    frigidlight New to Mu-43

    Jul 26, 2011
    SE MA
    But the shutter button doesn't let you use the touch-to-focus, which I believe is important because...

    so it's kind of a replacement for the tracking AF as in you can watch the subject move across the screen, tap it, and make the shot? would it be fast enough for skiers and bikers? I guess I probably need to wait for more real world use of the thing to happen and for some first person reviews to come back.

    I'm leaning more and more towards saving for the EP3 and following reviews and experiences closely re: EP3 vs EPL3. From looking at everything I can find, the price difference between the three series and the two series cameras appears to be worth it.

    Any suggestions? I've been shooting so far with my E510. Basically what I'm hoping the 4/3rds bodies can provide is DSLR performance in a small, much more easily packed and carried package. Something I could hang around my neck or strap to my vest with a small wide lense on it and ski/climb all day and not be inconvenienced like I am with the E510.

    All of the compacts I've looked at either don't have the lens options I need (I need both super wide and telephoto) or aren't responsive enough. Shooting with a snowy background and a compact camera rarely leads to the kind of shots that are useable.

    Thanks for all the responses!
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