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The curious case of upgrading

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by dixeyk, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    It occurs to me that something that is often mossed when we talk about digital cameras is the aspect of handling. We all have our preferences when it comes to what we want and make our chices accordingly. That said, you see a lot of comments about this camera or that having better IQ, shadow noise, dynamic range, blah, blah, blah. Now each of us has to make our peace with gear but increasingly I am seeing that for what I do there is so little difference between cameras and more and more my decision of what camera to use is based on what I like the feel of. I have my G2 and I like it. People continue to go on about Olympus color and better IQ with the GH2 or E-P3 but as far as I am concerned it is not significant enough for me to make a change. Take the G3. By all accounts a very nice camera. For me the lack of EVF eye sensor, dropping of some of the external controls and overall smaller size make it less appealing to me than my clunky old G2. That doesn't make it any less a camera than it is it is simply not my cup of tea.

    The reason I bring it up is I am struck by how easy it is to pick up a very nice used body. Every time a new camera model is released there is a rush to upgrade and suddenly you can't give the old models away. Right now there is a silver E-P2 on sale that I'd snap up in a minute if I had the money (it'd be a extra camera to play with) yet the seller is getting very little movement and I've seen it on at least three forums. Prior to the E-P3 there would have been a bidding war for one of those. The E-P2 is still a terrific camera. It still takes photos and while the E-P3 is "better by some measurements I still see a lot of great stuff being shot with E-P2s (and E-P1s).
     
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  2. guzziknight

    guzziknight Mu-43 Veteran

    212
    May 18, 2011
    I have an E-P1 that I absolutely love!!! And, I have no intention of upgrading it anytime soon. I'd put the images I get out of it up against anything.

    That being said, I just bought an E-PL2 to replace my E-600. That wasn't an upgrade so much, but more for convenience. I travel by motorcycle a lot, and the full size DSLR is just too much to pack. Having 2 MFT cameras makes more sense to me. Doesn't hurt that the IQ from the E-P1, and I believe the E-PL2, are better than the E-600, which was no slouch either.

    Some people just need/want to have the latest and "greatest" thing available, whether it's a TV, camera, computer, tablet or phone. Great for them, leaves a lot of wonderful gear for the rest of us at a serious discount!!
     
  3. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Yeah it's sad how the release of a new model knocks off so much 'lustre' and value to the previous models..they go for nothing. Good for used buyers, bad for those who currently have equipment that they are looking to sell.

    The rapid depreciation of market value of all m43 bodies leaves me very reluctant to buy new...I have an E-P1 and G-1 and when I get my next body it's almost not worth my time and effort to sell them. I mean it'd be what 175-200$ minus crazy Canadian shipping costs. Maybe keep it around as a camera to take in hazardous locations or give it away to friends/family.

    That said, I think there are some benefits from the new bodies for the increase in AF speed..it is tempting, but IQ wise I have to say it's a less compelling argument to upgrade. I like the printed images from my current bodies..could use the money for lenses!
     
  4. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    I think unfortunately for micro 4/3 it seems that every camera body released is immediately thrown into a fast race to the bottom in terms of pricing. Olympus in particular seems to be subject to this not because of their camera release rate, but because of the miniscule differences in terms of final output. The new set of 3 cameras does finally have some obvious distinguishing characteristics that I think will slow the decline in pricing, and give them a rest to prepare something even better with the next generation. Panasonic is even worse in this respect - in the US anyone who gets access to their EPP program pricing can get fairly large discounts even before the camera is released (for instance the G3/14-42mm kit was pre-order priced at $525).

    DSLR makers tend to stick to longer production periods, and the focus is generally more on the sensor upgrades over camera features (of course new bells and whistles arrive with every generation as well). I'm quite into Pentax and even 2,3 or 5 years after production ended on their earliest and latest DSLRs, the cameras have all fallen into a used pricing hierarchy that ends up only moving extremely slowly lower (depending on use/condition of course).

    Example:

    The E-p1 ($800 msrp at release) is worth peanuts, going easily under $200 (paid $160 for mine) without a lens. It was released in July 2009.

    The Pentax K-x ($650 msrp at release), an entry level DSLR still sells above $350 body-only used; it was released October 2009.

    The Pentax K-7 ($1300 msrp at release), an enthusiast level camera, still sells for $550+; it was released the same time as the E-p1.

    The reason I think people have been upgrading constantly with m4/3 is they are itching for it to reach a comparative level with dslrs (which it is extremely close to doing imo - the G3 has some great output for instance). It is also a testament to the quality lenses that both Olympus and Panasonic have been producing - though they appear rather expensive to P&S upgraders, to DSLR users they are comparatively or competitively priced, and make a nice compliment to a dslr user that doesn't want to give up all their gear.

    In the end it is what it is; m4/3 bodies simply don't hold their value (alright GF1 excepted!).
     
  5. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    520
    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    I really think people are very quickly getting upgrade fever for small differences, but am happy that I can benefit from falling resale prices. I actually bought my E-PL1 last June when ITS prices were already going down, then in October I grabbed a used (gasp!) OLDER E-P1 in perfect condition. I see very slightly more noise on high ISO pics on the E-P1 (but easy to correct when needed with a quick Dfine), but its Auto WB is SO much better, the controls are SO much better and it is just a gorgeous camera and great to handle. I am loving it and it will probably be somewhere around the E-P5 before there may be enough improvements to make me think of really UPgrading

    then again, I also play with 40 to 60 year old lenses and I just bought a compact camera model that is six years old (Ricoh GR-D1) for BW street photography.

    technical improvements interest me, for sure, but I can't afford to have the latest, most expensive and am just really happy that there are so many models around one or two years old that are still great; with mu4/3 basically ANY model is capable of quite good pictures.... that is, if the photographer is up to it ;-) meaning I realise that my own talent/experience or lack thereof is still the most limiting factor
     
  6. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Massachusetts
    Herbert
    I agree completely, and I have learned my lesson. I pre-ordered the G3 and it seems there's a lot of G3s in the market now - even in our forum's classified sections. I could have waited those few months since I was perfectly happy with my E-PL1, which I also bought when it was relatively new. (On a related note, a few months - maybe 2? - after I bought the E-PL1 I saw a really great deal for the same kit + extras at a much lower price than I paid. Grrr..)

    So yes, BIG lesson learned.
     
  7. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    520
    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    Hyubie, on new tech, I always TRY to do my best to wait for the 2nd generation, then grab the 1st gen model when its price drops but new stock is still available... of course that is what I ideally TRY to do; sometimes the GAS is just too severe and I give in to EAT (Early Adopter Temptation)
     
  8. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    :43:s definitely present some high value options for used buyers. Used E-P1 or E-PL1 + used Panny 20/1.7 + new (if you time the sales right) Oly 40-150 for ~ $550. Try to beat that kit for the money. Hell, you can't even buy a new Fuji P&S for $550.
     
  9. zacster

    zacster Mu-43 Regular

    72
    Nov 4, 2011
    Just in the amount of time I've been looking at these cameras, the E-PM1 in particular, the price has come down. You've got to consider though that some of the specific models mentioned are first gen, these are always considered more like prototypes. M43 is not a huge market either, more an enthusiasts one. I think with Sony, Nikon and Pentax entering the mirrorless market there will be more interest in all mirrorless cameras.


    And this is true for all electronics. Prices come down, and new models are released without much more than a tweak to jack the price back up. The only company I can think of off-hand that is immune is Apple. They tightly control their prices and release new models before anybody has a chance to discount them, especially since nobody makes truly competing products.
     
  10. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    Yeah looks like 50$ has been knocked off the E-PL/E-P3's already and even more on the EPM1. It makes you wonder what sort of margins they have if they can drop the prices so readily. Thinking of those E-P2's that started off at 900-->299$ I wonder if the mfg/retailers are taking a loss or do they really cost that little to make.

    Given how much inventory Olympus seems to have (poor sales?) and how there are still E-P1s,2s, E-PL1s, E-PL2's etc floating around years later, it makes me think that maybe they should slow down their production (assuming they cost anywhere near the asking price to make). Course if there are fewer in stock, people would complain they're like Panny. ;)
     
  11. pcnyc

    pcnyc Mu-43 Regular

    198
    Sep 15, 2010
    I think this round of new bodies actually offer something quite different than before in terms of faster AF, and smaller size, so upgrading actually makes some sense, unlike say going from e-pl1 to e-pl2. e-pm1 is also very well priced that kinda makes it hard to justify getting an older "L" body.

    and m43 is also just starting to build it's user base. as more people get into it, you'll see more people looking to upgrade from an older-er model to an older model. or people with newest model looking to get and older model as a second body. there's not a lot of people from either camp yet, and I just don't see how a m43 rookie will pick e-p2 over any of the newer models, unless e-p2 has a significant price advantage.
     
  12. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    m43 and mirrorless is much newer system than DSLR so it's not surprising that we have so many models coming out so soon. Some changes are quite substantial though (E-P1/2 vs E-P3). mk1 vs mk2, etc. It's different with DSLRs when 3 years old Canon XSI is still more than enough for most people and will remain so for years to come. It's because they've hit the ceiling in terms of speed, AF, IQ long time ago. Not to mention they've completed their lens line up many years ago. And if Canon will release their own mirrorless system (APS-C perhaps) with on-sensor PDAF, then all of their lenses will still be useful for many decades to come. I have little doubt that 5DMII will still be relevant 10 years from now. I guess it's just my Canon love showing up, love their quality and logic. Still won't touch it cause of size/weight. But mirrorless is not just about weight/size (it doesn't even have to be), it's much better LiveView, EVF (it's more important to see what sensor sees not what lens sees), video AF, etc. Much better CDAF for critical accuracy.
     
  13. zpuskas

    zpuskas Mu-43 Veteran

    459
    Feb 25, 2011
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I haven't bought any new camera equipment in years ( I have purchased the following in the past 12 months...GF2, G2, 14-42, 14-45, 9-18, and several legacy lenses). As already mentioned, used equipment has great value, and I'm into value.
     
  14. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    One reason one can't sell used E-P2's right now is because you can still buy brand-new leftover E-P2 bodies for $299. I'd buy one myself but I really would prefer a built-in flash. If and when the E-P3 ever reaches that point, I'll jump on it.

    It's true, the price of micro four-thirds equipment drops a bit faster than APS-C gear. That's aggravated by the fact that many micro four-thirds buyers are moving up from point and shoots. By definition, these people tend to be geared a bit more toward gadgets and the latest and greatest (although certainly not everyone making the move up). So they are swayed more easily by the spec sheet.

    And then there are those who aren't really gadget freaks and aren't normally searching for the latest and greatest. But they are, as mentioned previously, looking for micro four thirds to either equal APS-C performance or get close enough so that the difference doesn't matter. For the non-pixel-peepers among us, we may already be at that point.

    But, just to touch on a point made by the OP, I think that many of us bring up the importance of handling when helping those looking for guidance about what camera to buy. In fact, I think it comes up close to 100% of the time. Whether the people seeking help actually follow our advice may be a different question.
     
  15. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I would agree that the new models are quite attractive (and the E-PL3 especially so) but you can find used equipment for substantially less and much of it has hardly any use on it. A new G2 (someone bought it for the lens) with zero than shutter actuations cost me less than half the cost of a G3 and while the G3 is improved it wasn't worth double the G2 price to me. Same goes for the E-P3. As nice as it is is it really worth two or three times an E-P2? I simply don't see that the improvements in the cameras are significant enough to warrant spending the extra money.

    Now when they are some SIGNIFICANT improvements maybe but as far as I'm concerned the difference between the E-P1 and the E-P3 is not as great as one might think. The E-P1 is still a terrific camera and just as capable of lovely images.
     
  16. pcnyc

    pcnyc Mu-43 Regular

    198
    Sep 15, 2010
    I guess I am talking just about olympus bodies, the new panasonic offerings all seemed to lost as much feature as they gained over the models they are supposedly replacing.

    as for the olympus side of things, like you said, handling is key, and the usefulness of a feature differ from person to person. I personally "upgraded" from e-p2 to e-pl1 just so I can have a dedicated movie button. e-p3 might not be 2x or 3x as good as e-p2 to you, but to someone else having faster AF, built-in flash, touch screen, a dedicated movie button, higher res screen, etc, might be worth the extra premium.

    with that said, I don't think people are writing the older models off. maybe people are not all rushing to upgrade their e-p2 to e-p3 yet, I mean I am not exactly seeing used e-p2 flooding the forums.
     
  17. I think that the worst thing that Olympus did to the E-P2 was to release the (cheaper, remember) E-PL2 alongside it.
     
  18. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    In my mind, that's still the case with the EP3... What does it offer over the EPL3/M1 again, and for how much more money?
     
  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Yep, I always found the E-PL series to be a curious product line. They offer a very good value and I believe Olympus underprices them (or aggressively prices them in you prefer) and I think they make it much harder to build a case for buying the high end bodies. At least Panasonic's high end GH line uses a different processor and added features to make the argument for the greater expense.
     
  20. oly18

    oly18 Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Oct 21, 2011
    I don't think it's limited to just m4/3 bodies. All camera bodies seem to drop in price fairly quickly...

    Lenses on the other hand, tend to hold their value fairly well.