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Panasonic GF3 or GX1?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by webmonkey8, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. webmonkey8

    webmonkey8 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Jan 17, 2012
    Hi,

    I come from a point and shoot camera and I've done a lot of reading on the Micro 4/3 format and I'm convinced about its benefits and ready to buy something for this year. I've decided not to buy a DSLR because of the bulk and weight factor.

    My budget is under a $1000 and I've heard many great things about the new Panasonic GX1 with its new sensor. However, it is pretty pricey as it just came out. On the other hand, the GF3 is much cheaper and I can buy the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 lens for it, which I've read, would make it a great camera.

    I primarily like taking family/friends photos, indoor shots, street photography and landscapes. I'm disappointed with all the blurred shots I'm getting with my point and shoot camera with low quality.
    I'm also wanting to take videos with it.

    I'm just wondering, is the GX1 a significant upgrade from the GF3? Is it worth it? I'm also not discounting the fact that Olympus makes great cameras too. The EPM1 caught my eye since it's one of the newest PENS with excellent colors and auto white balance, plus it's so compact, which is nice. I just wish it had a flash built in, though.
    Either choice, I'll be getting the Panansonic 20mm 1.7 lens - I'm convinced from seeing all the sample photos of this lens that I'll be using this regardless. Plus I'd like to get some kind of wide angle lens.

    Should I wait for the EPM2, if it comes out, or the 'next' PEN? Would I be happy to spring for the GX1 for its "longevity" to keep me happy?

    Anyone with experience with GF3, GX1, and PENS, please give me your wisdom!:thumbup:
     
  2. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    First, welcome to the board...

    Longevity is going to pretty elusive where technology is concerned. There is always something new shiny just around the corner. That said, if you go back much older models like the GF1 and E-P1 they aren't THAT different from current ones. The new ones are faster, smaller, have newer features and so forth but if you were to look at images form a GF1, E-P1, E-PL2, E-PM1, E-P3, GF2, GF3, G3 and GX1 side by side (all shot with a nice lens like the Panasonic 20) I'd be surprised if you could tell them apart without a scorecard. They can also all use the same lenses and I am of the opinion that the biggest contributors to the quality of the image are 1) the photographer and 2) the lens. Now, newer cameras have some nice benefits. My E-PM1 for instance is faster to AF (a lot), smaller, has SLIGHTLY better IQ than my E-P1 or GF2 were. I like the small size and quickness so for me its a great little camera. If you like the GF3 (it's a nice camera) you may also look at the GF2. It's only slightly bigger, has a hotshot and the ability to attach an EVF if you wish (the GF3 does not) and IMHO has a bit better handling thanks to a thumbwheel.

    As to whether you should go GX1...depends on your budget. If it were me and I wanted to try out m43 (remember you may not like it) I'd start with a cheaper body that you can find out what you do and do not like before dropping the cash on a GX1 (which does appear to be a terrific camera). If it were me looking to jump into m43 I'd look at the Olympus E-PL2 and Panasonic GF2 first. Both terrific cameras and can be bought very cheaply right now. If I was going to look at a current model I'd suggest the Olympus E-PM1 and Panasonic GF3 next as they represent tremendous bang for the buck.
     
  3. Aegon

    Aegon Mu-43 Veteran

    334
    Nov 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Looks like you've done some significant homework.

    If I was in your position, I'd get the E-PM1 kit, some flash that supports remote operation, and the Panasonic 20/1.7 ($400 + $200 + $350 = $950, which is less than $1000).

    • E-PM1 jpgs are great straight out of camera, with great white balance and great colors
    • You seem to like flash. The E-PM1 supports remote flash operation. At least this way your flash photos look good. I'd recommend the Metz 50 AF-1 for Panasonic/Olympus. Other good options exist.
    • You are leaning toward the Panasonic 20/1.7, so go for it. If you take pictures of people, consider the Olympus 45mm/1.7 instead ($330 on eBay).
    • Generally, don't buy bleeding edge. These cameras tend to nose-dive in price. GF3s can be had for a song. Someone here got a GF2 kit for $200. Panasonic had fire sales on G3s, GH1s, GH2s, etc. etc. etc. Olympus has been moving some units too. I don't think the 16MP sensor is worth the price differential right now. And when the GX1 nose-dives, then you can resell your E-PM1 at a reasonable loss and let someone else take the hit.

    Just my opinions. I'm in love with my E-PM1, which is a feeling I didn't have for the GF2 or GF3 (though they are competent).
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I agree with Aegon on above point .GF3 is a nice camera but Olympus PM1 will offer u the best buck for money . Buying GX1 with kit lens won't be bad but u will wish u had a fast prime for better low light performance . I think 20 mm Panny 340+ Olympus 45mm 1.8 for USD 340 + PM1 for USD 400=USD 1080 and u have one of the best MFT combo at ur disposal.
    Cheers
     
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I'll add that I LOVE my E-PM1 as well.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. I recently handled the GX1 and GF3. GX1 was streets ahead on build quality.

    But go with your budget, rather than getting hung up on that. Lenses are more important than bodies! You want the 20mm, and a wide angle. That, to me, would suggest you get the GF3 with 14mm, plus the 20mm, if buying new. The 14mm is really compact, and wide & fast enough for most things. All you need then is the 45/1.8 for the classic prime set.
    If you don't mind buying used gear, go with the PM1 (new) and add used lenses to save money. It's a neat little camera, and the JPEGS are great.
     
  7. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    So ur love for PM1 comes free if someone buys PM1
    Cheers
     
  8. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    If you shoot primarily SOOC JPEGs rather than RAW files, I would recommend the E-PM1 over any of the Panny M4/3 cameras. Auto WB, light meter, and color rendition are all better on the E-PM1, although the newer sensor on the GX1 could handle low light environments slightly better. I also think the external flash of the E-PM1 is compact enough not to be a burden to carry around...
     
  9. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Another E-PM1 supporter here! Best bang for the buck micro camera! It's a DSLR that fits in your pocket. :smile:
     
  10. webmonkey8

    webmonkey8 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Jan 17, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies, people! :)

    Yes, I've been eyeing the EPM1 for a while now, but wasn't sure if the competition would be better for what it is. Plus I'm not too sure if the "simplified" menu system would be a turn off as I would like some degree of manual control, such as the EP3 has (but that's too expensive for me). Someone mentioned in this forum somewhere about this "super control" menu panel Olympus has, which needs to be found and "unlocked". If that's the case, that would be alright, too. People say that the GF3's menu system is nicely laid out, etc.

    But yes, I agree it's the best bang for the buck right now, especially when paired with Panasonic 20mm, Oly 45mm and another wide angle lens. My initial concern was that the flash wasn't integrated and I'd have to lug it around all the time, that's why I was considering the GF3. That wireless flash capability for the EPM1 would be a nice feature should I need it in the future.

    But yes, I would shoot primarily jpeg, as I don't like fiddling around with software to get the best out of RAWs.

    I'm still deciding if I should go to with the GF3 or EPM1, but from what I've read so far, I'm leaning more towards the EPM1.
     
  11. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    I'll play the devil's advocate, and advocate for the GF3. :)

    The settings are easier to get to with the GF3, even though it doesn't have many physical buttons. Although, once the super menu is activated on the EPM1, it's pretty easy to get to most settings as well.

    It takes way too many button presses to delete the photos in the EPM1.

    You can bounce the GF3's flash, which makes flash photography much more pleasant. But no flash hotshoe, in the event you want to use something more powerful.

    Even though the GF3 is small, it is easier to hold than the EPM1, which is even smaller but has no grip whatsoever. But you can stick an add-on grip on the EPM1.

    You can get the GF3 with the nice little 14/2.5 pancake or the 14-42X power zoom pancake.

    Oopst, looks like I'm out of reasons to get the GF3 over the EPM1.
     
  12. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Well yes...the fact that it was free does make it sweeter :biggrin:. HOWEVER, I would have likely bought one on my own.
     
  13. webmonkey8

    webmonkey8 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Jan 17, 2012
    Valid points indeed and that's why I find it a bit difficult to choose between the two. I do like the fact that you can bounce the flash from the GF3 and the menus seem to be more straightforward.
     
  14. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I'd like to back these comments.

    One thing I couldn't get over was the amount of buttons to just delete a photo with confirmation. Another thing that was nagging was the 16:9 screen ratio. It's not really helpful for 4:3 images.

    One thing that may detriment the GF3, however, is the inability to add hot shoe acessories. I use the LVF on sunny days, and use an FL36 w/TTL for indoor flash.

    The decision is tight, however. The OOC images may trump the handling issues. If this is your main camera, you may want to live without compromise.
     
  15. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    For me, the GF3 as a main camera is a non-starter. You're buying into an interchangeable lens system because of the flexibility changing lenses gives you, right? Why limit that when you lose the hotshoe? If you find you want an EVF, no-go. If you want an external flash, no-go.

    As a second camera to an existing DSLR or m43, the GF3 does make sense.

    That leaves you with GX1, or E-PM1 (honestly though if you're considering the GX1 you should consider the E-P3 or even E-PL3 too :wink: )

    If you're a RAW shooter and you're willing to process all your pics, it's a much closer choice. The GX1 will give you a bit better low light performance due to the newer sensor. There are lot of people here on these forums that are very happy with their Pannys.

    Having said that the Olympus PENs all take fantastic pictures as well and personally I have thrown my lot in with Oly. I will be looking to sell my GF2 shortly and replacing it with another Oly camera eventually. It's not just about sensor performance only. But white balance, metering and usability are all additional factors you should consider.

    The E-PM1 is a fine camera (not without it's flaws mind you) but will give you all the control you will need or want when you enable the Super Control Panel.
     
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The E-PM1 can be set to delete images with one button press. You can't get fewer than 1!

    As for the 16:9 screen, obviously it's going to be better for video over the old 4:3 screen but worse for stills. For me personally that works fine because in stills I can use the magnify button to fine tune my focus, and if I want quick focus without magnifying then I have the VF-2 (somethin the GF-3 has no option of). However, when trying to focus with video there is NO option of magnification. That's where I need the most LCD real estate I can get, and the 16:9 screen helps with that.

    It also helps that I also have the E-PL2, which has the highest res 4:3 LCD of all the PENs (that doesn't include the E-P3, which is OLED).
     
  17. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I said with confirmation. Why couldn't they just put the delete as a double press?
     
  18. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I don't know why. I thought the lack of confirmation when using the record button for delete would be a problem, but it's separated enough from the other palyback controls that the separation works as a confirmation in itself. I understand the concern, but in practical usage I find the system to work perfectly well.
     
  19. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Huh? There's a quick erase feature. It's there in the manual. I don't know if it is different on the E-PM1 but on my E-P3 if I turn on quick erase and press the trash button, it deletes it immediately without asking for confirmation. :cool:

    Edit: nevermind, you want some weird quick delete WITH confirmation...
     
  20. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Yeah. To match some of the Nikons where you hit trash twice.