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Please help me spend some money!

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by DIS Ottawa, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. DIS Ottawa

    DIS Ottawa Guest

    Hi all,

    This is my first post on Mu-43. I've been reading it for the past few days and it looks like a great site with lots of knowledgeable members, so I'm hoping I can get some advice.

    I'm what I would call an advanced amateur photographer currently shooting with a Canon 5D II and 7D with an assortment of Canon L glass, a Zeiss 35 f2.0 and the Sigma 50 and 85 f1.4. Great stuff most of the time but there are occasions when I don't want to carry the weight and be the object of sometimes unwanted attention.

    So, I'm thinking of getting a micro four thirds system for travel, street photography and just those times when I don't want to lug around my 5D II and a bag of lenses. I'm not as young as I once was and this stuff seems to be getting heavier every year! I have a Canon S90 and if the light is just right, it can produce pretty good images but overall, I find it lacking in image quality and using it is frustrating compared to a dSLR.

    I'm hoping that micro four thirds will be the answer, i.e. a much smaller, lighter, unobtrusive system that is responsive to use and will produce great image quality, albeit not as good as I currently get from the 5D II.

    To that end, I'm considering the new Olympus E-P3 plus two or three lenses. Firstly, is the E-P3 going to meet my expectations and secondly, what lenses should I get? I'm thinking I'd like to stick to fast primes but the E-P3 seems to come with either a 14-42 slow zoom or a 17mm 2.8 which doesn't seem to be well thought of and isn't very fast. So, if I must choose one which one? I'm leaning to the zoom at the moment.

    After that, I'm thinking of the Olympus 45mm 1.8 and possibly the Panasonic/Leica 25mm 1.4 for a good and fast 50mm equivalent. Or is the Panny 20mm 1.7 just as good, as well as both smaller and less expensive?

    I'd probably want to add something wider eventually but I understand that both Zeiss and Sigma will be producing four thirds lenses and may wait until they do.

    Lastly, is the external viewfinder a good idea? The S90 is the only camera I've ever had without an optical viewfinder and I find it difficult to compose images that way.

    Any and all advice will be most welcome and sorry for the long first post.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2010
    There is also the EPL3 that you can check out. The 20/1.7, 25/1.4 and 45/1.8 are all great lenses. You also have the choice of the 14/2.5 and the 12/2 (I think that's it) for wide angle primes.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    Your Post Sounds Familiar



    You could be me. Or most of the other folks hanging around here. :cool: 

    It kind of comes down to do you want the hump camera or the range finder looking camera. They're both good.

    Get the zoom kit. The lens is handy for casual use. Then as I'm a member of the no hump clan I must recommend the 12mm zuiko. Mucho gusto! I also like the 75/300 as I like to shoot little birds. It's not great but it's good. Of course there are other primes in the pipeline and given your tastes you will probably want these. We are ALL waiting, if not with baited breath, for prime teles.

    On the other hand you may not mind the hump and those guys have a better sensor. This year.

    I sold my Nikon D3 and 2.8 zooms cause I found the camera was sitting on the shelf most of the time. Too much trouble to mobilize. I'm happy with my choice and I have no more desire ( not much any way ) to make big prints so it's all good. :smile:

    PS: Shooting with the rear screen has become very natural to me. It takes time. It depends on what you are shooting. On the tripod with wildlife I very much prefer it. I chimp a lot. I do have the VF-2. Don't use it much. Nice to have. When shooting real low the fact that it flips up to vertical is great.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I would dump the kit lens (you can sell either the 17 or the kit lens for around $150 net. Lately the kit has been easier to sell, but it varies from time to time).

    Try to get the soon-to-be-released 45/1.8. The 14/2.5 is a lot of fun (unless you want to spend up for the 12/2.0) and if you want ultimate compact, the 20/1.7, or if you don't mind non-pocketability, then the PL25/1.4.

    Your Zeiss will make a great lens on the EP3, too, so get an EOS to m43 adapter off eBay. $30 and worth some time to play around.

    Let's say you go 14, 20 and 45. You'll be AMAZED at the fact that you can carry that all in your pockets (camera, too, if you are talking jacket pockets or cargo pants).

    • Like Like x 1
  5. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.

    For street photography I think it would be hard to beat the EPL3 with it's "waist level" articulated screen. And you can add a viewfinder later if you want.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with the 17mm. But it sits very close to the faster and sharper 20mm. So it gets trashed. If there were no 20mm we'd all be very happy with the 17. The new three lens kit is the 12, 25, and 45. Or for a pancake/macro version the 14 or 17, 20 and PL45. Almost all the m43 primes are very good to excellent. The zooms are all very competent but generally uninspiring except for the wide zooms which are great and the 100-300 which has no real equivalent in the DSLR world (well maybe the enormous Bigma). The zooms are good for video though, and the AF on the Oly kit zoom is as good as an SLR and better than your 5D2.

    I think you should just work out you preferred focal lengths and go from there.

    • Like Like x 1
  6. DIS Ottawa

    DIS Ottawa Guest

    Thanks for all the comments and suggestions so far. I think I'm going to go for the no hump model. I've looked at the G3 and while I understand it has a newer and, no doubt better sensor I prefer the looks and handling of the Pen.

    I also want to keep the kit as small and light as possible while maximizing image quality (maybe two mutually exclusive goals?). One of my favourite lenses is my Sigma 50 1.4 and so I've been looking at the Panny 20mm and the Panny/Leica 25mm. The price difference is only $100 so for me the determining factor is the image quality/size and weight trade off. In other words, to those that have tried both "is the Leica worth the weight/size penalty?". In real world terms, I think both are quite small compared to what I lug around these days.

    The suggestion to use the Zeiss on the E-P3 is intriguing. I hadn't considered this. As I've never used an adapter I'm a bit ignorant on the subject. On an EOS body, the Zeiss provides aperture control and focus confirmation. What happens with the adapter, do you get either of these?

  7. DIS Ottawa

    DIS Ottawa Guest

    Hi Flash,

    I remember you from Fred Miranda where you provided me with some excellent advice on Lightroom. BTW, I'm now an enthusiastic user of it.

    Good to see you here!
  8. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    "In real worlds terms, I think both are quite small compared to what I lug around these days. "

    More like dinky. :biggrin:
  9. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Unfortunately the current m4/3 cameras are not able to provide any kind of focus confirmation or even particularly good assist on manual/adapted lenses. (They only have zoom, which is as barebones as it gets.) On the bright side, you do get stabilization which is awfully handy IMO.
  10. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    The excellent Olympus VF2 electornic viewfinder is somewhat helpful for MF even without using the magnification. Likewise, the EVF on the GH2 and G3 are no slouch. But alas, no peaking yet on the m4/3 cameras.
  11. Did any of the SLR adapters with focus confirmation actually work very accurately, anyway?
  12. Richella

    Richella The Wandering Scotsman

    Aug 21, 2011
    Kuala Lumpur
    I was in exactly the same position as you about a month ago.

    I have a Nikon D3s and some good nikon glass. However I increasingly found that, due to thesaurus and bulk, it stayed in the drybox and was being use less.

    I decided I wanted something smaller and lighter for general daily use and for travel with my family. I lusted after a Leica M9 and almost purchased a Leica M8 but made a somewhat impulsive purchase of an E-P3 with the kit lens. A fee weeks later I went back and bought the 12mm f2.

    The EP3 and 12mm just feel really great, small and light.

    I'm still not totally convinced about the IQ,particularly the dynamic range, of the EP3 probably because I'm comparing it to my D3s.

    I've not had much opportunity to evaluate the Raw files yet so this may improve my evaluation.

    However this camera is a lot of fun to use and I can see that it will get more use than my D3s so I'm pleased with my purchase. I'm planning on adding the 20mm and 45mm 1.8. In the next month.
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The m.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 is certainly not a bad lens. It's just not well regarded because of the existence of the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 which came out too soon after the m.Zuiko 17mm. The 17mm was a good lens, but the 20mm was a little better in every way... a little faster, a little sharper, with a nice feeling build. It didn't make the 17mm less of a good lens, it just made it less desirable because of the option of something a little nicer. The 20mm was a bit of a phenomenon. In the first year of its existence, it went from $400 to $500, and I almost caught it once at $300 by order only. That's unheard of, for the retail price of a lens to RAISE over 25% in price in the first year, when normally it should be DROPPING that much in the first year. That's the kind of competition the m.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 had, which is what shrouded the older pancake in obscurity.

    If you want to outfit your E-P3 with fast primes then the 17mm is a good start. It's like a bonus lens since it comes in the kit. That will save you the funds to add some lenses in a different focal length like say an m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 and m.Zuiko 12mm f/2, or perhaps a Leica 45mm f/2.8 macro. Then when you have the longer and/or shorter ends covered, you can replace your 17mmn with something nicer in that middle range, like say a Leica 25mm f/1.4 Summilux or a Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 Nokton. Maybe the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 if you want another really compact pancake lens.

    Hopefully we'll see some good telephoto primes down the road soon, but for now 45mm is the fastest in native m4/3 mount. But there's always adapted lenses, like the Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD which has full electrical contact, or any of a number of legacy lenses. Old 135mm and 200mm telephoto primes will allow you to keep some fast glass while still retaining the small compact size of the Micro Four-Thirds system. My E-PL2 fits in a tiny bag with a Konica Hexonon 40mm f/1.8 pancake and a Soligor 135mm f/2.8. Not bad lenses for something you can easily take with you everywhere you go (when I say "not bad" I'm talking about the Soligor... the Hexanon is a simply wonderful lens in any comparison, lol)!
  14. DIS Ottawa

    DIS Ottawa Guest

    Thanks everybody, all excellent and helpful suggestions. If I may, I'll respond to just a couple of posts directly.


    Thanks for recounting your experience and thoughts. I realize the image quality will not match my 5D II, but it should be much better than my S90 and, I'm hoping, perhaps somewhere around 80% of the quality of the 5D II. And of course, the much reduced size and weight will be a huge benefit.


    Thanks for sharing your obviously considerable experience with this format.

    My plan at this point, is to keep both my 5D II and 7D (which has a 400mm 5.6 L almost permanently attached for birds/wildlife) and to use the Mu 43 kit for those times that I don't want the bulk and size, so I think three or four lenses covering the roughly 17-24mm to 90-105 mm range will be all I need.

    It sounds like the Oly 12mm, the Oly 17mm (as the kit choice), the Panny/Leica 25 mm and the Oly 45mm would make an excellent, although pricey, kit. Perhaps I should leave the Leica out of the equation for now and see if I feel a need for it.
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yeah, I think with the other 3 lenses that you could hold off on the Leica for a while. At least until you fall in love with your PEN so much that you have to sell off a piece of your Canon kit to get that Summilux, lol!
  16. DIS Ottawa

    DIS Ottawa Guest

    I dunno, Ned, I'm planning to be buried with the 5D II! Love the images I get from that camera. Some of the lenses, though, will probably go. I've got 14, for crying out loud and I sure don't need them all.
  17. DIS Ottawa

    DIS Ottawa Guest

    Thanks to everyone for their advice. I'm just back from the camera shop with my first µ4/3 camera, a silver E-P3.

    To some degree the debate over which lenses to get initially was decided for me. The shop only had two E-P3s in stock and both had the 14-42 zoom. They have 20 Leica 25s on back order but no idea when they'll arrive, but they did have a Panny 20mm, so I took that.

    They have an Oly 12mm at another store so that will be in in a couple of days. I have 14 days to return the 20mm for a cash refund or 21 days for a store credit. I put my name down for one of the 25mm Leicas, so will have some time to decide.

    I'm amazed at how tiny the lenses are! Very cool - hope the image quality matches my expectations. Oh yes, I also picked up a Think Tank Retrospective 5 bag; very nice indeed. Now, I just have to wait for the battery to charge. It seems very slow. It came with two batteries, one in the camera and one in the box. That's the first time that's happened; I've always had to buy spares before. Thanks Olympus.

    I also picked up the VF-3; it seems a bit bulky but may prove useful.
  18. Bill Gordon

    Bill Gordon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Hello and welcome to the friendly place...first of all thane all that big stuff and put it on a shelf. 2nd jump into the Olympus Pen world and get your e-P3....the 12mm and 45mm sound like the way to go with the 17mm as the walk around lens to have. You won't regret it because it is a great combination.
  19. DIS Ottawa

    DIS Ottawa Guest

    Thanks Bill!
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