Suggestions for First m4/3 Camera?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by SnZ, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. SnZ

    SnZ Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 3, 2011
    I'm currently looking to buy a new camera, as I've only a point-and-shoot on me at the moment, and was strongly looking into buying an m4/3 camera, but still have a few questions that I was hoping to have answered.

    I do frequently use dSLR cameras, though they are usually just the entry-level models I use, such as the D3100, D3000, or older, mid-level models.

    However, I haven't had a chance to own anything higher than a point-and-shoot, so I've been thinking of getting either a dSLR or a m4/3 for myself.

    Would you recommend getting a SLR or a m4/3 as my first camera?
    I've been thinking about the m4/3 mainly due to concerns about portability, as I do wish to have the camera on-hand for photos frequently.
    Would I be missing out on anything too substantial by getting a m4/3 rather than an SLR (considering that I do have some access to SLR's for any work I do for my school's newspaper, such as sports photography or the like)?

    If I do decide to get a m4/3, what model and what lenses would you suggest?
    It's looks like it'll be more feasible for me to get a more expensive camera now, rather than to get a cheaper one now and upgrade later, but I still am on a budget, so I was hoping to get at least two lenses and a body for a total of under $1000. I'd mainly be using this for day-to-day shooting, so I am hoping to get one lens for wide-angle shooting and another with a bit higher zoom capability.

    Thank you,
  2. DDBazooka

    DDBazooka Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    For a first camera I'd recommend a DSLR but then again, I think everyone should have one. You won't miss out by much going with the M4/3 though, it just won't feel the same as a bigger camera if you're already used to it.

    With 1000 you can get a D5100 + 18-55 + 35/1.8 which would be a good place to start.

    If you were to go M4/3, E-PM1 + 14-42 + 20/1.7 should be close to 1000 after tax.
  3. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    What, when and where do you like to shoot?

    ie: family and friends, 'snapshots', portraits, studio, sport, flowers and bugs, landscape, street, etc etc... Do you like to shoot when it's dark or only in bright daylight? Do you shoot in dusty and/or wet locations? Do you do a lot of post-processing on your images? If you want to carry the camera with you, what does it have to fit in?

    Or do you just like to shoot everything (perfectly valid answer)
  4. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    There are several factors to consider. You definitely should handle the prospective cameras before purchasing. At least shoot them in the store. Take your own card and examine the images at home. Don't hurry your decision.

    People for whom image quality is paramount will make compromises to other factors such as ergonomics and style ( camera looks or sexiness ). Some people just can't stand not having an integrated view finder. I personally like to swing both ways so taking the VF off and on is preferable to me. Though I usually have it on.

    I have to admit I do miss having a lot of buttons and dials on the camera body as I was used to that. Though the super control panel on the Pen is becoming second nature and really is preferable logically.

    Also on the image quality front: Unless you make large prints or are a pixel peeper, the top contender camera systems are virtually all the same.

    Size matters. Think this one through. The smallest may not be the best and the largest m4/3rds camera is not very big.

    In camera image stabilization vs image stabilization in the lenses: Think about it. Its important.

    What is on the horizon?: We just had some great leaps in development but there is rumored an even better body soon to come.

    One final thing: As much as I spent on my EP3 ... if they came out with the same camera tomorrow with an articulated rear screen I'd buy it. But then some folks don't use the rear screen for much except for reviewing images.

    Take your time. :smile:
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    $1000 is not much of a budget for a decent body and two lenses. However, it can be done... and the best way I think would be to get a decent prime lens as a kit lens, then add one more good prime on top of that.

    My pick would be the E-PL3 or E-PM1 with m.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 kit lens, then add the m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 on top of that. That will give you a body which is not only very high in image quality but will also be very responsive with blazing fast Autofocus speed (particularly with those two modern lenses). The 17mm and 45mm primes will offer you a decent range from a semi-wide angle street view to a mid-telephoto portrait length. Prime lenses are very compact to match your body, but still retain high image quality and good lens speed.
  6. SnZ

    SnZ Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 3, 2011
    Thanks for the replies, everyone.

    By the way, there may be some errors because I typed this post up and submitted it, only to find that my login session had timed out and I had totally forgot to make a copy of the post in Word, so I had to toss together another post...

    So, is there not a significant difference in terms of performance in image quality between dSLR's and m4/3's?

    Also, I do plan on getting both a dSLR and a m4/3 once I have enough money, but at the moment, I do have to choose one or the other.

    I suppose "everything" would be the best answer. I hope to have this camera on me as often as possible, so that I can snap pictures of both day-to-day things that I find interesting and more staged photos (landscape and still life).

    I've been trying to test out any cameras that my local stores have and, so far, have tried out the EPL2, G2, GF2, GF3, and the Sony NEX-3 and 5 (not really m4/3, but they did seem close enough to warrant some interest).

    At the moment, I do feel that the difference in image quality between the cameras is pretty slim, but I would prefer to have a camera that can provide as clean of photos as possible, of course. Still, this is not too big a deal for me.

    Rather, I do care a bit more about the clarity of colors produced in the JPEGs for each model. I noticed that some cameras produced significantly stronger browns than others, which I'm not really a fan of, and since I do find myself often shooting in RAW (not good practice, I know, but it is convenient), I'd like a model that doesn't make colors too warm or too cool.

    Form factor-wise, I am certain that I want a model that does not have a SLR-esque shape (like the G series). I do like the retro-style EP line and EPL1 more than models such as the GF3, but I will take significant improvements in functionality and cheaper prices over looks.

    Finally, for image stabilization, I have a question. Is in-lens IS common among m4/3 lenses? It will probably be useful for me to have at least some sort of IS system, but if it's common for lenses to have it, I will probably be willing to go without one in the body.

    What would you say is a more reasonable price range, then?
    I might be willing to go over-budget, if the investment will result in a product that might last longer and have better performance, even if I may not need all of the functions just yet.
  7. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 All-Pro

    Basically, I'd say just settle on a camera and go. There are some advantages and image quality benefits to an SLR. Whether they're worth the size tradeoff is something for the individual to decide: if there were a "correct" answer, then the other option wouldn't exist. As someone that owns many, many cameras, including an SLR and a micro 4/3 camera, I'll give you this as my best recommendation for a beginner. Buy the E-PL2, since it's on sale right now for $500 with lens. Great image quality, great controls, great size. Choose your color:
    262901 Olympus PEN E-PL2 Digital Camera - Black with 14-42mm II Black Lens
    262921 Olympus PEN E-PL2 Digital Camera - White with 14-42mm II Silver Lens
    262911 Olympus PEN E-PL2 Digital Camera - Silver with 14-42mm II Silver Lens

    Or, get yourself the GF2 for a little less. It's a just as capable camera, and there's no winner between Olympus and Panasonic. It's like choosing between Chevrolet and Ford, or BMW and Mercedes. Two sides of the same coin. Any tiny differences between the cameras are not worth fretting about; if you spend your time taking pictures instead of worrying, you'll be a better photographer anyway. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 12 MP Micro Four-Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch Touch-Screen LCD and 14-42mm Lens (Black): Camera & Photo
  8. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    I agree with Shnitz strat with a m43 cam as IQ isn't that big of a difference IMO, and you can bring it everywhere then get the dslr later if you find it necessary. Another idea is just go try out both and see what fits you better(thats how I decided).
  9. SnZ

    SnZ Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 3, 2011
    Alright, thanks.

    I'm actually thinking of getting an E-P3 with the 14-42mm lens for $700. Would you say that it's a good deal?
    It's a bit more expensive than I might have hoped, but I really love how it looks and it also seems to have everything I really want, with the only real downsides being the low megapixel count and sub-par high ISO noise handling, from what I've heard, and I don't think that either of those will end up really being a problem for me.
  10. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 All-Pro

    Both of your criticisms are the biggest selling points that marketing departments focus on.

    Just a few years ago, professional photographers were paying $3,500 for a Nikon D2Hs body with four megapixels, while all of the noobs at Best Buy were high-fiving each other over their point and shoots that had 10+ MP. Even today, the $5,000 Nikon D3s that is quickly becoming the most-used professional camera has "only" 12 MP. Don't let megapickles be a selling point, because it's largely irrelevant. That 4MP camera printed just fine at sizes up to 12"x18", and I'm betting that you won't be printing, or if you do it will be smaller than 8.5"x11". For displaying photos on a computer, you're more than set with any m4/3 camera ever made. Even if you have a 27-30" IPS studio display, your screen is only 3.6 MP. If you have an HDTV, at best it can display 2.1 MP.

    Also, it depends what you're shooting, but since megapixel counts have leveled off, high ISO performance has been the big keyboard ninja spec. First, the micro 4/3 cameras as a whole lose out to the DSLR market in the high ISO battle. DSLRs have a larger sensor, and given the same technology, those pesky physics come into play, and we just lose. If you're on a budget, also, we lose out to DSLRs. You can get more image quality for less if you go pick up an SLR. For that same price, you can get a D5100, which TROUNCES the E-P3. But overall, people are getting too wound up about turning the ISO so high. With ANY camera, turning up the ISO kills your image quality. "Good ISO performance" means that it just doesn't kill it as much.

    Plus, how are you getting the E-P3 for $700? Unless you are getting an employee discount, please don't tell me that you're actually looking at buying from one of those shady New York shops.
  11. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    I'd also love to know where you're getting an E-P3 with lens for $700. Do you mean and E-PL3?
  12. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    I get 8x10,16x24, and bigger prints made and they look great and I use a gf1. My friend uses a d40 and that like 6mp? And with good glass you'd never know.

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 App
  13. zerotiu

    zerotiu Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 13, 2011
    hi I'm a new in m4/3 world but maybe you can consider my experiences. I'm an enthusiast photographer, you can look my works at Galleries. I start with a DSLR..after using it for 2 years now, I realize that photography is about capturing moments and practicing anywhere and everywhere we go. So to have a 'decent' image, I have 50mm, 85mm, and 17-40 L. They are very light if you compare them with the other great lenses. The problem is DSLR is too big (for me )and sometimes I just feel lazy to carry it. So I plan to give them to my sister and moving to m4/3 :). Anyway, you should try it if you haven't shot using DSLR / m4/3. I like black and white photo street photograhpy. So I don't care about ISO performance (e-p3 is good though, it beats my 550d image out of camera and ISO performance is good!).

    My points :
    - DSLR is bigger than m4/3. If you are lazy like me, I suggest the m4/3
    - image quality is still the same. Just don't be a pixel peeper
    - DSLRs accesories is cheaper than m4/3
    - Much lenses variation for DSLR and they are cheap
  14. kundalini

    kundalini Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2011
    I come from the SLR world into this micro realm only recently. My biggest rig being a gripped D700. There is no way you can effectively compare a FF sensor to a m43 in terms of IQ and DR. I settled on the Oly E-P3 was slightly dismayed in the begining while pixel peeping between to the three sensors (FF, APS-C & m43). However, the fun factor became lost with the bigger cameras. Now I can enjoy family events, hikes and street shooting instead of worrying about sticking out like a sore thumb in crowds. I'm really digging the E-P3.

    On an aside, I always suggest to stay within your budget +/- a certain percentage. Don't stretch it if other obligations will take a hit. For example, three days after I placed my order for the Oly, I had to spend +$1500 on car repairs. If I hadn't placed some buffers in my finances, I would've been S.O.L. Remember, this is a hobby for most of us.
  15. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    It always amazes me when some folks buy 5dmII w/L lenses for a "hobby".
    • Like Like x 1
  16. SnZ

    SnZ Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 3, 2011
    Well, I decided to go with the E-P3! I ordered it online from one of Amazon's vendors (and it does have great feedback and has been around for a while) which only had a few in stock at the time, and it seems like they've sold out since, so I'm guessing that the vendor was just selling a few at a very discounted price.

    Anyways, thank you all for the advice and information!

  17. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 All-Pro

    I agree. There are so many threads where I see people say something like, "I stepped down from a 5D/D3/D700 to a m4/3 camera, and I'm much happier and more impressed with the functionality!" What the heck were you doing with one of those cameras in the first place?! When I worked for a newspaper, as in 100% of my income came from being a photographer, I used a Canon D60 and 10D!
  18. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Congrats on the great deal!
  19. kundalini

    kundalini Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2011
    You could choose to drive a Kia or a Mercedes. It's a buyers choice and each model will fundamentally do the same thing. Should we have a laugh at the Kia owner because that is what they are able to afford? Should we make snide comments of the Mercedes owner for being ostentatious? Denigrating a person for their choices will not further the conversation.
  20. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    That's not a fair comparison. Leica is mercedes, 5dmII is professional equipment, not a luxury item.
    Would you choose honda civic or a U-haul truck to commute to work? Both can do the same but truck is more powerful.
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