Replacing a dead E-P3

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by SnZ, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. SnZ

    SnZ Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 3, 2011
    Hi all,
    Been a while since I last posted here — been pretty happy with my setup, so mainly just been dropping by to read up on any news or to look at the wonderful photos you all post here.
    However, just a few weeks ago, my E-P3 abruptly died on me, after just over 2 years of solid use. Luckily, I’d randomly decided to buy a 3rd party extended warranty on the camera and, after sending it in for repairs, I got a rather pleasant surprise when they told me that they’ll just be reimbursing me for the purchase price of the camera instead.

    Anyhow, as a result, I’m now suddenly in the market for a new camera, and was wondering if any of you might have some suggestions for me — didn’t really expect to buy a new camera for at least another year or two, so haven’t been all that up to date with camera comparisons, what the best deals are, and all that; only thing I know for certain is that I'd like to stay in the Micro Four Thirds system, since I've been very much enjoying the size and lenses.

    The main things I’m currently looking for in a camera (somewhat put in order of importance):
    IQ - Though I was content in most cases with the IQ of my E-P3, I did run into cases relatively frequently when I was left wanting for a bit more dynamic range and more high-ISO capabilities - 800 was the highest I was comfortable going up to, with 1600 only for emergencies, so something capable of a reasonable 1600-3200 would be great.
    EVF - Definitely need an EVF, so an integrated one seems like it'd be most compact and hassle-free
    Price - definitely looking to buy one for no more than $700-800.
    Size - I’d like to keep the size of the camera to around the same as my E-P3 — slightly shorter than the E-P3 with a VF-3 attached, preferably.
    AF - Speed really isn’t a problem for me, since I’ve found my E-P3 and X100 (especially after updating to the newest firmwares) to be fast enough for me. I would appreciate some better tracking, though, since my E-P3 was woefully incapable of tracking anything moving with any significant amount of speed.

    I’ve mainly been looking at picking up a refurbished E-M5, because it looks like it fits most of my needs quite well and seemed to be about the right size when I briefly tried one out a while back, but I was wondering if anyone might also recommend something else (perhaps from the Panasonic lineup, which I’m not nearly as familiar with).
    If the E-M5 seems to be my best option, I was also wondering around how much they usually go for in the used market these days, or if there’ve been any good discounts in the past that might pop up again this holiday/post-holiday season, since I'm not in all that much of a rush to pick one up (the sooner the better, of course, but I'd be able to survive with just my X100 for a couple of months).

    Sorry for the wall of text, and thanks in advance for the help~
  2. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Real Name:
    Bruce Foreman
    I just picked up a lightly used (736 shutter actuations) brand new looking OMD E-M5 on the "buy/sell" forum on this site for $650. Right now there are some listings that are close to that figure and whatever lenses you had for the E-P3 will fit and function just fine.

    I had an E-P3 and liked it fine as a "runaround" camera but the high ISO performance didn't match the OMD E-M5, I've seen usable ISO 6400 and even 12,800 images from the OMD. I think you'll be quite pleased with one. I got mine for the 5 axis in body IS for video when I have to have the camera in motion. Supplements my Panasonic GH3's.

    Second choice could be the Panasonic G6 which comes with an improved 14-42mm "kit" lens, will take any lenses you have for the E-P3, and is better optimized for video than many other cameras. Still photo performance is good although many like the OOC JPEGs out of Olympus better. It is worth noting that it would take very little skill in PhotoShop or in FastStone Image Viewer (will do most of what PhotoShop can except for "layers") available for free (and free use) from to do minor "tweaks" to match what you prefer.

    Price on the G6 at B&H is $598.99
  3. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    I'd be looking for a used E-M5 for $600 max, unless it had some nice extras included.

    Olympus is selling refurbs for $720.

    I would think it is worth waiting a bit though. The E-M1 just got a monster review at DPR, so you may see a few more E-M5s hit the used market as more folks get the itch to upgrade. You also may see some sales be. I'd at least wait through first week or two in December.
  4. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Real Name:
    Pretty much says it all in a nice, subtle way! :biggrin:
  5. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Real Name:
    I'll reiterate that. The EM-5 rocks. Blows the doors of my old EP-1.
  6. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    EM-5 is probably the best option. If you had a bigger budget, the GX7 would be worth considering as well.

    However, if you are willing to buy a separate EVF, the E-PL5 is a solid choice. Olympus has refurb bodies for around $360, which would give you room to buy one of the nicer EVFs.
  7. SnZ

    SnZ Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 3, 2011
    Thanks for all of the great replies!
    Looks like the general consensus is to go for a E-M5 as a nice across-the-board improvement over my old E-P3.
    Are there any relatively common issues with the E-M5, other than the bezel issue, which I believe was resolved, that might make spending a bit extra on a refurb model for the warranty over a used one?

    Ah, also, I do process all of my images through Lightroom as RAWs, rather than using SOOC JPEGs for the most part, so in-camera processing isn't really much of a concern for me. Of course, a nice in-camera engine is always nice to have, but it's definitely not a deal-breaker/maker.

    Thanks again!
  8. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Might I strongly suggest that, before buying anything, you try the feel of them in a shop to see whether they are comfortable for you? I also replaced an E-P3 recently (I had had the large grip for it) and was originally anticipating getting an E-P5, but found that the inability to fit a larger grip made it feel like trying to take photographs with a small brick, and so got the E-M1 instead (which is the only thing, incidentally, that will give you significantly better tracking AF speed than an E-P3, but whether that one feature is worth the greatly different price compared to an E-M5 for you only you can judge).
  9. hsiddharta

    hsiddharta New to Mu-43

    Oct 14, 2013
  10. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2013
    Oahu, gathering place of many cars
    Real Name:
    Peter Gunn
    I'd check out the Panasonic GX7. At $1000 new with kit zoom it's a little more than your target price--as is the E-M5--but tickes off all the boxes in a more compact rangefinder-like form factor. It has a better EVF than the E-M5 and a popup flash. Of course no weather sealing.
  11. SnZ

    SnZ Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 3, 2011
    I did have a chance to play around with an E-M5 around a year or so ago and it felt fine in hand, which is probably to be expected because I had absolutely no trouble using the E-P3 with the standard grip for extended periods of time. About tracking AF, though, I was under the impression that, while the E-M1 is by far the best at tracking among the micro 4/3s lineup, the E-M5 is still a significant improvement over the E-P3 — is that not the case?

    As for the recommendations about the GX7, I most certainly did consider it at one point, as I do like the rangefinder styling and all, but the price just seems far too much of a jump for me with not all that much of an increase in performance over the E-M5, and the slightly more rugged build of the E-M5 and the high locked-focus burst rate (I'm aware of the GX7's 40fps mode, but that just seems impractical for the most part, and I'm not aware of any lower locked focus rate) will serve me better for the occasional sports shots I take for a paper I work for — please do correct me if that's not quite the case, as I'm not too familiar with the GX7.

    Thank you all again for the advice!
  12. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Bearing in mind that everything else will be a step down in niceness,
    save your pennies and get an e-P5.

    Yeah, yeah EVF blah blah blah.
    OK, if you never used the flash you may like an E-M5.
    If you never liked the Olympus colours you may like a GX7.
    If you couldn't care less about the nice body, controls & handling get an e-pL5
  13. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    If you used the larger grip with your E-P3, try the E-P5 in the shop before buying it, as the larger grip cannot be fitted. If, conversely, you were happy with the default grip on the E-P3, the E-P5 should be fine.
  14. SnZ

    SnZ Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 3, 2011
    Ah, well, the E-P5 really isn't on the table as on option for me at this point, because I really do need a viewfinder on me pretty much at all times, and the removable VFs are quite a bit more bulky than integrated VFs, from what I've seen, and make it difficult to easily slide my camera in and out of more tightly fitting pouches or bag compartments. Is there all that much of a difference in performance between the E-P5 and the E-M5?

    Also, what is the general consensus on the Panny G6 vs E-M5? Haven't really seen much at all about it, and while I'm not a fan of how it looks, it does seem like it might be a decent cheaper alternative, if the performance is on-par?