Olympus PM-1 or Panasonic GF3?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by jujuburi, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. jujuburi

    jujuburi New to Mu-43

    Mar 8, 2013
    Hello guys, my first post here. I have been lurking this forum for a while now. Needless to say I got some priceless information's from here. So thanks to all of you.
    Now the thing is I have been in photography (not professionally, not yet) for over 5 years now (I am 26), had used a 350D for two straight years, then two P&S Canons. One thing I will do in future that I will never buy those tiny sensor P&S cameras again, but being said that I also dislike those heavy and bulky and huge sized D-SLRs. So I see this m4/3 units, which are pretty attractive, and IQ is very good, almost comparable to D-SLR and WAY better than P&S.
    Now I am coming to the point straight. I have a budget of $400 (I live in India, the prices here are high than in US/UK) and I have found that two m43 are coming in my budget, the Oly PM1 and Panny GF3, or I can get an used SLR like D5000 in that budget, but then again it will be heavy! I liked the PM1 very much tbh, but some comments are pulling me from it. Like, the noise in high ISO is terrible (1600 or above). The rolling shutter is horrible for shooting videos, it doesn't have a built in flash and a grip etc etc. But I like it being a very nice sized unit. The GF3 is bigger, thicker than it, which I do not really like.
    My main requirement is Image Quality. Especially in low light. And in Higher ISO. So which one should I get? Is GF3's IQ better than PM1? or the opposite?
    I like the GF3 because it has,
    + Touch screen (It'll be too easy for me I guess, as I have been using touch screen phones and tablets for long now)
    + Built in flash
    + It has a grip
    I have seen some comments like Panny has a better sensor than Oly PM1, is that true?
    So kindly advice me one.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    I had the GF3, and it was very nice. It handles like a point and shoot, with a very good touch screen. How well they handle low light will depend a lot on the lenses you use. One of the nice things about MFT is that with adapters you can use older manual focus lenses. The kit zoom lenses aren't very good in low light, but I got got a couple 50mm lenses from Canon - a 1.8 and a 1.4. Both are way better in low light than the kit lenses, and let me use a low ISO indoors with no flash. The down side is that any of these older lenses will be manual focus only, and 50mm isn't a great FOV on MFT.
  3. rollbread

    rollbread Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 4, 2013
    I've had both before. I'm not knowledgable enough to compare the IQ of both camera. For GF3 it's just slightly thicker but has much better grip than epm1 but u can paste 3rd party grip on epm1. One of the good point is the built-in flash, it's quite weird to have a flash protruding out on the epm1 and can't use flash and viewfinder at the same time.

    One of the bad point that I dislike is the touchscreen. It's good to have a touchscreen but it can be irritating when it's insensitive and I have to use my nails to press on it. The screen is not those tablets or iPhone screen.
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Not really, no. They're pretty comparable. You won't gain any real advantage at high ISO using one over the other. The two main things the E-PM1 does offer that the GF3 doesn't are the option of a viewfinder and image stabilization for all lenses (albeit less effectively than some other Olympus bodies). It's up to you whether those are worth the missing touch-screen, smaller grip and lack of built-in flash...
  5. wlsinwi

    wlsinwi Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 1, 2013
    Just to throw in my 2cents.. The built in flash IS convenient and is good to have but it is on the weak side. I would have to give the point to the Olympus for a stronger flash and the ability to replace it if it goes bad. However the GF3 does win on overall usability with the touch screen. At $299 with the 14mm wide angle lens I chose it.
  6. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I'd recommend by-passing all of the 12mp bodies and get one of the sub $300USD new GX1 bodies....:smile:
  7. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Yeah, but he's in India so they might not have the GX1 available there at the lower price point. :wink:
  8. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Whoops - My mistake! :redface:
  9. watergum

    watergum New to Mu-43

    Mar 22, 2013
    I bought a GX1 with pana 14-45 to update from my olympus e410 dslr. I then bought an oly epl3 with 14-42 as a second camera, as these were being dumped cheap by my local shop so that they could get in the new pen models. I was blown away by the colour and quality of the oly (as always) and find that it is far superior to the 16mp GX1. Pana lenses are good, oly bodies are best.
  10. DeoreDX

    DeoreDX Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 13, 2013
    There were a lot of things I liked about the GF3 over the E-PM1 but I went with the E-PM1 because in the end it is the final image I am most concerned about and in every head to head comparison I found I consistently preferred the jpeg output of the E-PM1. After getting the E-PM1 I found it highly customizable and I was able to tailor it to handle much more to my preference and eliminate most every gripe I had with it out of the box. Now the only thing I dislike is the lack of grip but that should be rectified shortly with the addition of a Flipbac G4.

    A good example of comparison shots are the studio shots from DPreview. These at ISO1600, I find the way the Olympus handles the jpeg output much more pleasing (colors, contract, etc) than the GF3 output. As a primarily jpeg shooter I appreciate many of the customizable controls the E-PM1 has built into the body to tailor jpeg output to my preference (especially the ability to adjust the tone curve on the fly).

    GF3 ISO1600
    E-PM1 ISO1600

    If features like clip on flash or touch screen are deal breakers for you I cannot say, but they weren't for me so I went with the Oly.
  11. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    I had a GF3 and liked it a lot, but I ended up trading it in for a more expensive and bigger G5 because I wanted the viewfinder and ability to use a shutter release. The GF3 has a very nice touch screen if you like that, better than the G5, which is the one thing I really miss.

    I haven't used that Olympus model before, and it does have more flexibility in that you can add a viewfinder if you like that, or an external flash. But both of those will cost more since you have to buy them.
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If flash is a concern to you then you DEFINITELY want to get the E-PM1 over the GF-3! The GF-3 doesn't even have real flash compatibility. The E-PM1 will work with any standard hotshoe flash or flash trigger. The only thing the built-in flash is good for is triggering external flash wirelessly, but the E-PM1 includes a clip-on flash which does a much better job as it can trigger with full TTL. Plus, the clip-on or built-in flash on any Olympus camera has full manual control, which is very sorely missing on the Panasonic built-in flashes. You may not even be able to use your Panny's built-in flash to trigger others because of the pre-flash. The E-PM1 has 500% better flash capabilities in every possible way.
  13. battleaxe

    battleaxe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I was in the same boat, but ultimately choose the GF3, because I am more use to interface of Panasonic, I also find the touch screen to be more useful on a camera this small lacking controls. Part of me still wishes to try out the E-PM1, just for the Olympus colors, but I never was a fan of the controls on that particular model. Plus, the price I got it for with the 14mm lens doesn't hurt either.

    Another suggestion is too see if you can find the E-PL3 within your budget. It is pretty much a E-PM1 with better control and useful tilting display, which is really can come in handy This would have been my choice, if I was able to get it with the P14mm within my budget. I would also take a see if any of the North American(or even Australian) retailers ship to your area as it could to some cost saving.
  14. Borsch

    Borsch Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2013
    Its a tough choice because it's a compromise either way. You benefit in one way, but lose out in another...

    Colour- E-Pm1 wins
    In body stabilisation - E-Pm1 wins (but here is already a compromise as Oly IS is not good for video, it causes this wierd jello effect even when no panning is done; Panny lens IS is much better for video)
    Controls- GF3 wins (for one you can have a histogram wherever you need it as well as grid, E-pm1 can show either grid OR histogram)
    Lens compatibility - Oly does not remove CA from jpegs shot with panny lenses (lets face it, budget Panny primes are much better and so will likely to be used with E-Pm1)
    Movie mode controls and stereo mic- E-pm1 wins...

    Tough choice! I'd choose GF3 between the two, but if it were E-PL3 instead of E-Pm1... I think I'd go for Oly :)
  15. BLT

    BLT Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    If you are hoping to use Straight Out of Camera JPEGs then the E-PM1 will suit you far better. It has much nicer results.

    Overall I think you would have a much better time with the E-PM1, I would certainly prefer it.
    The IBIS can really help so often and I also love olympus' Art Filters - yes some people mock these, and I don't use most of them, But there are a couple that I often use and love - and I'm sure you will like one or two of them as well. I find the "Light Tone" Art Filter can help get fantastic results In low light if you adjust the white balance as well.

    I am someone who likes shooting out of camera JPEGs because I like the simplicity of getting the picture I can there and then with the camera. Converting a RAW file and using tons of post processing doesn't interest me for the most part. For this reason I have found the olympus cameras a lot more fun and versatile.
  16. The Minimalist

    The Minimalist Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 19, 2011
    If this is only going to be your only M4/3 camera, go for the Olympus EPM1.
    For me the hotshoe is the deal breaker as you can add a viewfinder whether it is the Olympus Electronic one, the optical one or a thirdparty viewfinder.
    IBIS would be useful especially if you add legacy lenses at a later date.

    The GF3 does not have these, sure it's nicer to hold and the user interface with the touch screen is great to use. The jpegs are good but a bit flat compared to the vibrant Olympus colours. The GF3 is good for a second body or to buy for the wife as a present.
  17. teddoman

    teddoman Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2013
    These are good points but it comes down to the OP's future budget. A built in flash with no manual control is a solid budget option. The E-PM1 with a hotshoe flash would be a pricier option (with better flash results).

    While you don't have any manual control, at close range indoors, the GF3 flash can be used as a bounce flash so it's better than most non-manual flashes. As a bounce flash, your photos won't have that ugly harsh flash look that you usually get on most compact cameras.
  18. MSnap

    MSnap Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 27, 2013
    I remember making this choice just over a year ago, when E-PM1 and GF3 were the latest models. I chose the Olympus. My reasons:

    1) I like the colours better. Much better.
    2) It has a hot shoe and can control remote flashes (via the included flash).
    3) It has IBIS (in-body image stabilisation)
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