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Student deciding among G1/GF1/EP1

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by gbpriv, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. gbpriv

    gbpriv New to Mu-43

    Jul 1, 2010
    This is my first post on the m43 forum so I'll give a brief background, as well as what I'm looking for so that you can hopefully help me with my decision.

    I am a college student looking to purchase a camera for the upcoming school year (for the moment). I have used a variety of point and shoots in the past, and most recently had a Canon G9. I have used a Nikon D80 & D90 through my school for the past year but am looking to get something of my own. After looking at tons of cameras and websites/forums/blogs, I have pretty much decided upon getting a m43 camera.

    The majority of photo work I will be doing will revolve around portraits, documentary work, and basic landscape scenes. Little to no tripod use. I don't need superzoom/tele lenses, and would like something rather portable that I can carry around campus (the D90 was a little too big, and I wasn't a huge fan of the whole Nikon interface). In regards to the G1/GF1, I'm thinking the 20mm and 14-45mm would be fine for starters. I am not too familiar with the lenses for Olympus or all the other options, but wide compatibility is a reason I want to purchase a m43 device. I need to be able to record in RAW, and print up to 13x19.

    The G1 interests me because of the viewfinder, but I realize that I probably don't need it, but am not sure how I feel about a more professional camera lacking one (and I wouldn't purchase a peripheral one for the other two options).

    The GF1 looks amazing in all respects, but I don't know how I feel about the lack of dials for aperture and shutter speed and having to use a menu like I did on my G9. Does it impact speed and ease of use at all?

    Regarding the EP1, I didn't really look much into it, but reviews and the popularity have me now considering it, especially since I am considering the G1. The in camera image stabilization also sounds very good, especially if I end up using older lenses (is it correct that the G1/GF1 do not have this feature?) Are the Panasonic lenses compatible, and if not which Olympus lenses are comparable? Thanks for any help, I hope my questions aren't too vague. I look forward to purchasing a device as soon as possible and being an active member on this forum.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    The EP1 is now discontinued, and can be bought at a fairly steep discount. It cannot be used with an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). I bought the EP2 for the EVF, an eyelevel viewfinder comes naturally to me after using cameras for almost 50 years.

    The lenses are "supposedly" compatible between the m43 vendors, but they are basically computers with optics. I see threads on some incompatibility pop up to the right of the page often enough.

    I love the feel of the EP2, the EVF, and compatibility with older manual focus lenses. Mine has a 1952 Nikkor 5cm F1.4 on it now. I just picked up the Oly 17/2.8 in a trade, and will give it a fair chance. "It is not made of heavy brass". I'll deal with it...
  3. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    I can't really speak about what I don't know much first hand (although I toyed a bit with a GF-1, enough to know that I could live with one, but it doesn't really fit the bill for me).

    When it comes to the e-p1, it's for me the right balance. The image quality is good, but that's no wonder as those 3 cams share the same sensor. Where olympus really shines is in the jpeg engine and exposure (although, there again, some would complain they walked a thin line and highlights do get blown occasionally). I was a strong believer in custom raw processing, not so much now : more often than not, there's very little I can do to improve the in-camera jpeg. The monochrome mode is simply unbelievable. In-camera RGBY filtering, live view and a couple of tweaks in the super-menu produce excellent results where any other camera would make you fight a battle on your computer afterwards. And although I looked down at first at creative art filters, they in fact are useful, well thought out, and no gadget at all.

    I've got the 20mm panasonic and the kit zoom. Both work well. I tried a 50mm/1.4 takumar, and IBIS really helps nailing pictures handheld, even with legacy lenses. This is something only available on olympus bodies.

    I don't miss the external viewfinder. Many would, it depends primarily on your eyesight. If you have a good one, you shouldn't miss it either.

    Considering the bargain prices for the e-p1, I'd go for one.

    Be warned though, there's no flash onboard. This might prove troublesome if you intend to shoot on some social occasions by night. An external flash is in this case required.

    To be truthful, I should add what I read somewhere on the 'net : Olympus is the Saab of photography. They make high quality products, but they have a rather personal sense of ergonomics and design, which you love or hate. And that's not something I can decide for you. Should you buy one, all I can tell is you will make beautiful pictures with it. Will they be the pictures you wanted to make ? I can't know.
  4. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada

    The best news here is that you are unlikely to be unhappy with any of the choices.

    The G1 is considerably different from the other two. Although compact, it is broadly similar to most other DSLRs in many respects.

    The GF1 and EP1 are both very compact.

    I have a GF1. I selected it after spending some considerable time checking it (and competitors) in person. In the end it was the ease of use and user interface that sold me.

    this portion of your post suggests to me that you need to spend a little more time with the Gf1:
    The GF1 is very easy to use in this regard. It has dedicated buttons and switches for the most commonly used functions. The main dial can be set to perform several functions. For example, in Aperture Priority mine is set for Aperture and Exposure Comp. Just move the dial and the settings change: push it and then turn and it shifts to the second function. In shutter priority mode I have it set to shutter and exposure comp. The dial is right under your thumb.

    I found the GF1's system easier and faster to use than that of the EP1 or EP2, but others prefer the Olympus setup. You just have to try them.
  5. sinjin

    sinjin Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 15, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have both a G1 (recent purchase) and a GF1. Based on your described needs and wants I highly recommend the G1 kit plus the 20mm f1.7.

    • Like Like x 1
  6. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    I would agree with Mark's advice. Go for the G1 beause it is the most versatile camera of the three. It's excellent viewfinder lets you shoot confortably in sunny situation where cameras without a viewfinder will be difficult to focus !

    C U,
    • Like Like x 1
  7. chuckgoolsbee

    chuckgoolsbee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    Bend, Oregon
    Ditto on the G1 + 20mm package.

    If you've become accustomed to pressing a camera against your face and composing with one eye, the G1 is the best of all worlds: compact size and lightweight from m4/3 with the high resolution, ergonomics, and complete shooting flexibility of a DSLR.

    The ability to use old/unusual lenses is just a bonus.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. sparklehorse

    sparklehorse Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 4, 2010
    Portland, Oregon
    I have a GH1, and nearly got a GF1 as a second body. In the end I got an E-P1 as a second body because I wanted a good low-light camera. The 20mm f/1.7 is a fine lens but it's not stabilized on any of the Panny bodies. It is stabilized on the E-P1, so that tipped the scales for me. As to image quality, I see this comment a lot about Oly having the edge. I'm not so sure. For the in-camera JPEGs, yes, I'll buy that. The Panny JPEGs aren't quite as good IMO. But if you're shooting RAW that won't matter, they're pretty much the same. And you'll have a slight advantage in dynamic range shooting RAW with these cameras. DR is one of their weaknesses. The main drawbacks for me with the E-P1 were the reports of slow auto-focus, and an overly complex/confusing menu system. I think the auto-focus issues have been resolved to some degree through firmware upgrades. Also there's some useful tricks to work around the focus issue as described here. But the menus? Yeah, they're pretty goofy. Designed by engineers, not photographers, but once learned they're OK.
    I'm keeping the GH1 more for landscape photography, and situations where having the EVF is beneficial. That said, the E-p1 with a Hoodman Loupe works pretty well, even in bright sunlight, so the EVF isn't everything.
    Hope that's helpful.
  9. tam

    tam Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 12, 2010
  10. pete_t

    pete_t Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 24, 2010
    As others have said you wont be disappointed with any of these, they're all excellent cameras and lenses. They are all available with good discounts so my recommendation would be to get the best deal you can! There was a good offer for a 2 lens kit with the GF1 (20 + 14-45), the G1 and EP1 are both superseded so will be heavily discounted if you can find one.
  11. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hello and welcome to the forum :friends:

    Personally, I think I would recommend the E-P1 for you... you have stabilisation for all lenses, electronic levels, video and if you're comfortable framing with the LCD it's a beautifully compact and stylish camera. It oozes quality and character.

    I agree the G1 having an articulating LCD and built in flash + EVF makes it a more versatile camera in the entry level DSLR mould... but in my experience (here in the UK) the Pen shape is far more acceptable and lower profile in any social setting.

    If you want an ultra compact DSLR which you'll be looking to shoot raw and spend time doing PP, likely to use on a tripod - the G1 is a good option but the Pen is more suitable for freedom of movement and daily shooting (have you checked out our PAD project yet?)

    Good luck with your choice... they're all capable cameras, what's important is to match your personal preferences and likely shooting to the most appropriate camera.


  12. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Could you post a few images that you really like of yours?
    Don't worry about what camera you used to make them.

    After viewing your shots, it would be easier to make a suggestion.......
    Thanks Don
  13. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    I've seen a number of members here regret buying an EP1 after handling an EP2 with the Electronic Viewfinder. For portrait work, I would hate to be using an LCD on the back of the camera for framing. Optical viewfinders are "okay" for distance work, but parallax problems introduced with a non-corrected optical finder will be a problem. Handle each of the cameras in a shop. In the Olympus line-up, the EP2 and EPL1 both allow use of the accessory viewfinder. For the EP2, using the viewfinder disallows use of on-camera flash. That puts you at the EPL1 for portrait work with a flash in the Olympus line-up.
  14. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    I have the E-P1 which I use with Olympus and Panasonic lenses as well as some old manual focus lenses. I have had it for almost a year now and I got it after looking at the Panasonic G1 and Olympus E-620.

    The in-body IS is excellent and I can use it with any lens including my 57 year old Schneider lens.

    The E-P1 viewfinder is excellent for portrait work but not ideal for low light work (by low light I mean natural lighting at 4 am). Indoor work is fine. The other area where it is difficult is with sports and other moving object where is hard to track things.

    If these are not issues for you, the E-P1 would do fine. If they are, you may be better with a camera that offers TTL viewing like the Olympus E-620.
  15. texascbx

    texascbx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 30, 2009
    The G1 would be it hands down. It's on sale for 500 bucks right now. I figure they won't last long.
    • Like Like x 2
  16. gbpriv

    gbpriv New to Mu-43

    Jul 1, 2010
    Wow- thanks for all the suggestions and comments. I guess I can say I am surprised but pleased by all of the feedback in such a short time. And by reading the feedback, it does reassure the notion that any of these cameras would be a good purchase.

    I went through a few albums and chose a few of my favorites from various projects to put on flickr, the link is here.

    I really am leaning toward the G1 based on price and the DSLR form factor. It seems I can get the camera, 14-45mm and 20mm, for about $800 when all said and done.
  17. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    I think you'll love the G1 Galen, I'm excited already by the possibilities for you... that's a great selection in your gallery! :2thumbs:


    • Like Like x 1
  18. gbpriv

    gbpriv New to Mu-43

    Jul 1, 2010
    Thanks! I just purchased the G1, so hopefully it will be here by the end of next week. I'm extremely eager to use it.
  19. Akashi

    Akashi Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 1, 2010
    Tromso, Norway
    Might be a little to late but I had the same thoughts as you. EP-1 was never an option for me (discontinued and no good EVF). I ended up with an E-PL1 because of flash, EVF opportunity, IBIS (legacy lenses) and price. GF1 and G1 fell short mainly because of lack of IBIS and size.

    Am I happy with the E-PL1? I don´t know really, the IQ does not seem to live up to my expectations yet. I will give it a few more weeks before I pass judgement though.
  20. igi

    igi Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 24, 2010
    If you're studying, better get the one with the viewfinder.
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