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Replacement for E-PL1 with better low-light performance, remote shutter

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by lwnexgen, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. lwnexgen

    lwnexgen Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Jan 2, 2013
    I bought an E-PL1 with the standard lens kit a few years ago for about ~$200, when I needed a camera and was interested in getting a cheap, small camera with interchangeable lenses.

    I've gotten more serious about my photography, and bought the Olympus 45/1.8 lens to go on the body, along with an EVF.

    I am ready to buy a new m-43 body - the low-light (high ISO) performance on the E-PL1 just isn't good enough in too many situations, even wide-open at 1.8.

    Additionally, I would really love to have some sort of remote-shutter functionality.

    What bodies should I be looking at? I would like better low-light performance, and the ability to add a remote shutter. A bonus would be physical aperture/exposure controls on the body, though I don't know if those exist.

    Can I get a body like that for say, $400? If not, what is a more realistic budget?
     
  2. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    762
    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Neil
    400 should get you the excellent E-PL5, which would work with your EVF as well.
     
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Wired remotes work on every Olympus m4/3 except the E-PL1.

    The E-PL and E-PM use the rear dial + four way controller for aperture/exposure. If that's not good enough for you, then you're looking at an E-M5 (or a Panasonic body). For high ISO, E-PM2, E-PL5, E-M5 and so on all perform equally and all are a substantial upgrade on what you have. Same goes for the Panasonic GX1, G5, G6 and GF6 - although they're slightly noisier than the E-PM2 et al.

    If the controls on the E-PM2 look good, they're quite inexpensive (<$200 secondhand). If not, you're looking at an E-M5 which is more like $500, or a Panasonic G5 ($400 or so).
     
  4. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    I too recommend the e-pL5.
    I don't have one, I have the smaller e-pM2 with the same excellent modern sensor.
    In my opinion the controls (yeah I said that) and colours from the e-pL1 are hard to beat, but the sensor doesn't do well pushing into high-ISOs.
    The modern set of Olympus cameras are superb at high-ISO and their focus is better in dim light too.
    If you can stretch it, look at the £ e-P5 too ...
     
  5. lwnexgen

    lwnexgen Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Jan 2, 2013
    My problem with the controls on the E-PL1 is that it takes me too long to adjust stuff because the buttons on the back are shared for ISO, aperture, etc - you go horizontal to choose the setting and then vertical to adjust. I have a hard time doing it quickly enough because I have to be looking at the screen or in the viewfinder to do it.

    Is there anything out there with a dedicated control scheme (eg, a button that does nothing but open the lens up, and another that does nothing but close it down) for adjusting anything? Maybe that's a pipe dream and I just need to practice more with the PL scheme but I figure I'll look into it while I'm in the market for a new body.
     
  6. lwnexgen

    lwnexgen Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Jan 2, 2013
    Yeah, I noticed. Olympus does not make it easy to figure that out :)
     
  7. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    I have an E-PL1 as well and also have been frustrated at times with the multiple button presses to change certain basic settings. For what you're looking for, I think it will depend on what mode you typically shoot in. If you shoot primarily in Aperture priority, something with a rear dial that controls aperture and that also controls exposure compensation with a button press then the same rear dial might be acceptable. In that case, an E-PM2 or E-PL5 might be ok. If you want separate dials for each of those, you're looking at an E-M5 or E-P5.
     
  8. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    The real Pens e-P1 e-P2 e-P3 do that, I would expect the e-P5 to do it too, among its other features ;
    Unfortunately the more compact models use the menu-dial for that and I always have to disable it because it gets moved all the time when I don't want it to : so for me the e-pL1 controls are quite good.

    For 'blind' adjustments my e-P2 is the best with the simple vertical thumb-dial : adjusts aperture, OR with top +_ button depressed (exactly as the DSLRs) it adjusts exposure comp. Lovely behaviour.

    Does the e-P5 have the top button for that too?
     
  9. lwnexgen

    lwnexgen Mu-43 Rookie

    12
    Jan 2, 2013
    Ah, thanks much - that's exactly the info I was looking for. Might be time to head to the local camera shop and see if I can play with any of these in person.
     
  10. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    I believe the E-P5 has two control dials. If you're in aperture or shutter priority one dial controls the aperture/shutter speed and the other controls the exp comp. If you're shooting manually one dial controls aperture and one controls shutter speed. I believe they are configurable as to which is which.
     
  11. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    I'm kind of in your shoes as well. For $699.99 you will get everything you wanted for the next few years and it is the new
    OMD E-M10. It shares the same batteries as your E-PL1 so you don't need to get a new set of batteries. It has Truepic 7, which is the imaging engine of the E-M1 and I've been playing with Robin Wong's full sized files with my DXO Optics Pro software and I'm sold. Not only I found a way to get similar colors like the E-PL1, but the noise control is just amazing plus the details. A significant improvement over my E-PL1. What's not to like?!? And this is off JPEG files! Plus the E-M10 DOES NOT have a AA filter, which is going to be a plus if you're moving from the E-PL1, because the E-PL1 has a very thin AA filter which explains why it can capture sharper photos than the E-P1 and E-P2 of that era. I believe the E-PL5 and the E-P5 have the AA filter which is why I stayed away from them. If I'm upgrading, I want either the really thin AA filter or no filter at all. The E-M10's 2 control dials control Tv and Av separately. The E-M10 also automatic adjust EVF brightness based on ambient lighting conditions which is very helpful if you're shooting at night.

    Hope this helps.
     
  12. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    Does the E-M10 have a provision for a remote shutter release (apart from the WiFi compatibility with a smartphone)? That was one of the OP's requirements and I didn't see any jack on camera from photos I've seen...
     
  13. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    772
    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Frank
    The ep5 has everything you're looking for, but it will cost significantly more than $400... about double.
     
  14. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    719
    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    i'd also recommend E-PL5. I just received mine and it's a beast.

    It shares the capabilities of the E-M5 and E-PM2 as far as high ISO and low light go. It can be found for less than $350 (used or refurbished) especially since there was a deal recently with 14-42 and 40-150 for $500.

    E-PM2 is a good option, but i'm glad i didn't go that way. The mode dial and two extra buttons make a significant difference. The main dial on both models is customizable (for aperture/shutter speed control) once you figure out the menus (1 hr setup of the entire thing).

    bikerhiker made some good points on the E-M10, but at this point, it's too expensive for me, and (i have to admit) too much of a machine for my photography capabilities.
     
  15. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    The remote plugs into the USB port. The E-PL1 is the only model that has the remote disabled due to sales conflict with the E-P2 at the time.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. tino84

    tino84 Mu-43 Veteran

    217
    Dec 29, 2013
    Hi, I'm in the same situation, E-pl1 and want to upgrade. Staying in m4/3, how would be a panasonic g3 at high ISO compared to e-pl1?
    Someone also experienced a comparison with sony nex? Does sony provide a real improovement over m4/3 iso, or is not worth the hassle?

    thank you :)
     
  17. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    I was considering going the G3 route myself as an upgrade to the E-PL1 but decided that I couldn't live without the live view exposure preview that the Olympus cameras offer as well as the IBIS. From what I understood the high ISO performance is definitely a significant upgrade.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    662
    Jul 1, 2013
    High iso is definitely better on newer bodies but base iso on the EPL1 is legendary. Check out the DPReview comparisons. I thought they had a ringer until I compared mine to my PM2.
     
  19. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    Yeah, which is a strong reason why I have been using the E-PL1 for so long. But the newer models aren't bad either which was why I stayed away with the PEN 16MP models -- not as impressed. To mitigate the noise issues with ISO 2000 up to 3200 on the E-PL1 is to shoot RAW ORF. And then I use my secret sauce, which is DXO Optics Pro 9 to not only correct for optical flaws on my 2 consumer kit lenses (Pany Leica doesn't need any), but also reduce noise to the minimum using DXO PRIME technology. I've shot stuff at ISO 2500 up to 3200 RAW that are usable and presentable with minimal detail lost. The only downside to using Prime with DXO auto correct is that it does take a couple of minutes (about 4 mins) per photo with my old Quad Core computer to convert to JPEG or TIFF. But the results are just impressive. It's the only way now to extend the life of my E-PL1 until the price of the E-M10 goes down a bit. Not really in a hurry. It's after all my recreational camera. PRIME works with RAW files only.
     
  20. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    919
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I started with the EPL1, still own it, so I knowl how it works. I picked up a $350 refurbished EPL5 last fall. Right out of the box, the EPL5 works exactly like the EPL1 with the same button dance. That's so stupid. Luckily it's easily programmed to use the dial properly.

    After you do that, in aperture mode, the dial changes f-stop. In shutter mode, the dial changes the shutter speed. No buttons to press. Direct dial control. If you want to adjust EV, it's still like the EPL1. Push the up arrow and the side control buttons adjust EV. You also have the super control panel with touch screen. Press any box, such as ISO, WB, AF mode, etc, and the dial changes it directly. When the SCP is on, the last box changed is active, so if all you are doing is adjusting ISO, press OK to bring up the SCP and the dial will change it. I think it's slick.

    I;m also familiar with the EM5's two dial setup. The rear dial acts like the EPL1 dial, but it's easier to turn. The front dial changes EV in shootng mode. The touch screen SCP works like the EPL5.