1. Reminder: Please user our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

This E-PM1 or That G3?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by E-330, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. E-330

    E-330 New to Mu-43

    4
    Nov 24, 2011
    Hi everybody,

    My E-330 is getting old and heavy on my shoulder, time to update :wink:
    I have chosen :43: because they have all the lenses I wish: Zuiko 9-18, Lumix 20/1.7 and Zuiko 45/1.8. I'm also tempted by Samyang/Rokinon 7.5/3.5 fisheye, and maybe later something reaching 300 mm, but that'll be for later. Now, on the other hand, I must choose the body, and I don't know what to take: G3 or E-PM1?

    I know there've been many comparisons between G3 and E-PL3, or G3 and E-P3, but most of the feedback was on JPG and I'm using raw. Plus I think that between E-PL3 and E-PM1, the price difference is more in favor of E-PM1's smaller size than E-PL3's tilt-only screen (comparable to E-330's that I know, love often, hate as well when framing vertically).

    Anyway, between E-PM1 and G3, I hesitate:
    -- Kit lens is in favor of E-PM1 (collapsible and better quality)---not that I will use it often but might come handy at times
    -- According to many reviews, G3 is about 1 EV better in high ISO. But E-PM1 has let's say 2 EV of IBIS (which is good only for still subjects---which is what I mostly take photos of)
    -- G3 screen is swivel and touch, which seems nice (my E-330 is tilt-only and I wish it were swivel)
    -- E-PM1 is more compact, which may (or may not) compensate to carry around as often as possible (the best camera is the one you have with you, isn't it?)
    -- For image quality, it seems that details resolution is about on par (G3 has more pixels but E-PM1 has thinner AA filter)

    I'm shooting raw only, but I definitely do not want to spend time adjusting colors---and I read alarming thread on G3's colors, so I'm a bit worried. Are they really that bad (in my case when interpreted by CameraRaw/LightRoom/PhotoShop)? Also, what about ergonomics (after many years I'm still losing my mind on E-330's menus), handling, ISO vs IBIS in real life (I haven't used any of these before), dynamic range, noise aspect (I don't mind uniform luminance noise but patches or worse, chroma noise, no thanks), etc.?

    My typical subjects are landscape and street photography at twilight (almost always twilight at this time of the year here far North :biggrin: ), so AF speed isn't necessary.

    Every input is welcome... I have only few days to choose (travelling soon), thanks a lot to everybody :smile:
     
  2. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    E-PM1's IBIS is totally useless so I would cross that point off. It does far more harm than good and not nearly as effective as E-PL2 or E-P2 (and I guess E-P3) IBIS implementation. I disable it at all times.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Hasse
    AWB seems to be pretty good on the PM1 - as long as you switch 'Warm' off. Lots of people here love the PM1's AWB.

    IBIS works differently for different folk. I seem to be able to get 1-2 stops improvement using my 300mm handheld, but maybe I don't pixel peep enough :biggrin:
     
  4. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I had both the G3 and E-PM1, now I only have the E-PM1. The G3 is a great camera if you're shooting in controlled lighting or subjects that don't have tricky lighting, because the metering and AWB aren't very good. The 16mp sensor is excellent and really delivers good high ISO shots. On the other hand the E-PM1 has excellent AWB and meters like a champ. The thin AA filter gives nice crisp shots and mated to a sharp prime gives you photos that make the G3 look soft in comparison. Unfortunately the E-PM1's IBIS isn't very reliable and tarnishes an otherwise excellent camera.
     
  5. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    I wonder if the E-PM1's IBIS is really that bad or whether some people have it set wrong for given conditions. Just a thought.
     
  6. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Nov 4, 2010
    I wish my e-pl1 had good awb. That's one really important reason to get e-pm1. I am also curious about the ibis.
     
  7. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    More and more I'm using Panny lenses (with and without OIS) and no IBIS on my Pens (EPL2 and EP1). I don't find myself missing it.

    btw -- thinking through the same set: EPM1 or G3. The metering issue I'm hearing on the G3 is throwing me off that one a bit.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    I sincerely believe the G3's metering problems are overstated by many. The G3's overall image quality is not a problem. But if one opts for the E-PM1 simply because they prefer it, no problem. They're both solid cameras. I have both and, if you can afford it, they make a great pair.
     
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    A few points.

    The G3 kit lens is better than the Olympus one optically.

    IBIS on the E-PM1 is a bit hit or miss.

    G3's AA filter is pretty thin, so I wouldn't decide based on that.

    G3 does have less chroma noise and more DR than the E-PM1.

    Personally, I prefer the E-PM1 because of the package (size, controls, etc.). But based on your criteria, it sounds like you would appreciate the G3's advantages.

    DH
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think this is one of those situations where one should handle both cameras before making a decision. :wink:
     
  11. E-330

    E-330 New to Mu-43

    4
    Nov 24, 2011
    Wow, thanks for the answers so far. Seems it isn't an obvious choice, some people have issues with E-PM1's IBIS, some others with G3's metering...
    For E-PM1's IBIS, the feedback is so extreme that it sounds like a quality control issue (very useful or completely useless, nothing in between :tongue:).
    For G3's metering, do you feel it's skewed one way or another, i.e. it can be learnt after some time with the camera, or is it completely random? (On my E-330, I have a permanent correction between -0.3 and -0.7 EV so its metering doesn't bother me any more).

    Thanks. I thought that the (early) Panasonic 14-45 kit lens was really good, but now their 14-42 isn't and that Olympus's 14-42 was basically in the middle. Anyway, what I like about Olympus's kit lens is that it's collapsible, so when I can't carry my lenses because of size, I will use the kit lens as a compact, all-around back-up.

    Oh no, I won't either. It was just to point out that the two camera have very close detail resolution although they have 30% different in number of pixels.

    I'll handle the cameras in store, but there're so many things that cannot be explored in a store that it's always very useful to get users' feedback :thumbup:
     
  12. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    I'm yet to encounter a camera whose metering can be trusted implicitly. I doubt such cameras even exist. The metered exposure for me is just an estimation that should be fine tuned using the histogram. Thankfully, full-time live view cameras make it easy.
     
  13. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    It would seem that these cameras are different enough, and kind of opposite end of the m4/3 body spectrum (size, EVF, manual controls, tilt screen, etc.), that it could make sense to own both. You could always go for the G3 first and then, at some point in the future, buy the E-PM1 and sell off the kit lens. Maybe also wait and see how the GX1 looks as it would share batteries with the G3.
     
  14. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I wonder if the people reporting metering issues with the G3 are using it in "unfamiliar" circumstances because they are carrying it with them more.

    Yes, it has some issues - the same issues all cameras have with severe back lighting etc. Spot metering helps in these situations when the matrix metering gets "confused" - just like in all cameras.

    I DO think it tends to lean towards under-exposure, but dialing in a touch of +EV will adjust that to your liking, as you did on your current cam. The sensor is a HUGE improvement in dynamic range, noise, and usable resolution. The other option of course would be to wait for the GX1 to come out
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think the G3 doesn't handle contrasty conditions very wery well. In neutral lighting its fine. i shot back-to-back with my Olympus setup and it was like night and day. The E-PM1 can handle difficult lighting with ease, even better than either my Nikon D3 or D700. Its that good.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    -- Kit lens is in favor of E-PM1 (collapsible and better quality)---not that I will use it often but might come handy at times

    I've owned both Pana 14-42 and Oly 14-42 II R, and quality is pretty similar.

    -- For image quality, it seems that details resolution is about on par (G3 has more pixels but E-PM1 has thinner AA filter)

    The G3 also has a weak AA filter, similar to the E-PM1, so the former delivers a touch more resolution. The only MFT cameras which don't have weak AA filters are the E-P1 and the E-P2.

    It was just to point out that the two camera have very close detail resolution although they have 30% different in number of pixels.

    30% difference in number of pixels is itself a very slight difference in resolution. I'd rate the AA filters of these cameras as about equal.

    I'm shooting raw only, but I definitely do not want to spend time adjusting colors---and I read alarming thread on G3's colors, so I'm a bit worried. Are they really that bad (in my case when interpreted by CameraRaw/LightRoom/PhotoShop)?

    Panasonic and Olympus colors are identical if you process RAW files using Photoshop or Lightroom. The only time you get "Olympus color" from RAW is when you process using Olympus software.

    My typical subjects are landscape and street photography at twilight (almost always twilight at this time of the year here far North :biggrin: ), so AF speed isn't necessary.

    AF speed is about the same, at any rate. For street photography, the better high ISO performance of the G3 would come in handy. Dynamic range is about the same for both cameras. Noise "character" is about the same for both cameras. Lightroom eliminates the chroma noise just fine, and there is very little banding even at ISO 3200.

    The E-PM1 is nice in that the size lets it come everywhere. With a small lens like the Pana 14 or Oly 17, it can slip easily into a pocket.
     
  17. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I think that's virtually ALWAYS the case! The technical differences between these cameras is much much much smaller than all of the pixel peeping we do would lead you to believe. You can take amazing photographs with either if you can take amazing photographs. It really comes down 95% - probably MUCH more than that, but I have to allow for other considerations - to how you feel shooting with the camera - how you bond with it.

    In terms of the tech details... The optical differences between the kit lenses are insignificant and the size difference is significant. I saw a GF3 with the Pany kit next to an EPM1 with an Oly kit at a Best Buy the other day and the Pany kit is much larger than I realized - looked out of place on the GF3. OTOH, some people find the collapsable design of the Oly a PIA, so go play with them. If you're gonna use 'em - I haven't shot with a kit lens since I can remember and for low light street photography, either one is a pretty bad choice. I also don't find IBIS to be a big deal, pro or con. I've mated enough Oly lenses to Pany bodies (even long lenses) and shot enough both with and without and my results haven't varied a whole lot. I can usually get useable shots down to about 1/10 to 1/15 of a second with standard lenses - maybe IBIS allows me to do slightly better but I haven't honestly noticed. I surely wouldn't base a purchase decision on this. And even without this, the low light differences are there but minimal - they're so rarely the difference between getting a shot and not getting it. I shoot in low light with an Oly all the time. I shot in low light with the GH2 I had for a while too. I suppose I could do some tests and find differences, but it never mattered in actual use.

    So even my limited little technical analysis supports the notion that its all about how you feel when using it. Go play with them. Do you like to use an EVF a little bit, a lot, or always? THAT's a big question when comparing these two cameras. I don't like 'em very often, but many people use them on nearly every shot.

    Good luck,

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. E-330

    E-330 New to Mu-43

    4
    Nov 24, 2011
    Well, that's an idea (not keen on the GX-1, too large, but buying a G3 now and complement it with E-PM1 later when price drops is tempting...) :smile:
    The tough thing is that these two cameras are very different, and I can't figure out which one will satisfy me more after my E-330.

    That pushes me toward the E-PM1 because that's the reason I change : my E-330 is too large, too heavy. OTOH I wished so many times I had a swivel screen, and cursed at least as much against all the menus that I can't let the G3 go...

    No, I don't think I'll use the kit lens often. For the low-light street photography, I'll use the 20/1.7 and the 45/1.8 mostly ; the UWA zoom for landscapes or architecture. The kit lens will come handy for when I don't know what to expect but can't bring the whole set with me.

    I wasn't using the OVF on my E-330 that much, but it was useful at low speed to stabilize the body ("human stabilization"). I've had a look at the GHx EVF and didn't like it that much---but as I said, I'll be using it only occasionally anyway. What I'm attracted to in the G3 is 1st swivel screen, 2nd interface, 3rd higher DR ; for the E-PM1 it's 1st size, 2nd IBIS.

    I will of course handle them before buying, hopefully they'll let me put the lenses I want on the body so I can play with the whole thing, feel the balance, etc. My main points for these bodies are more a usage perspective that one can only get after several weeks or few months of using the bodies :wink:

    A big thank you to everybody who brings their 2 cents:flowers_2: