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This vs. that

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by dixeyk, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    It occurs to me that this is something that crops up regularly here on m43. We all have our favorites and there are a number of reasons to choose a particular body vs a bother one. But, the more I thought about this the more I realized there were some fundamental things that could help folks starting down the this vs. that path.

    There are lots of differences between the various m43 bodies but of all of tem IQ is probably the least significant. There are differences to be sure. The E-PL1 for instance has a weaker AA filter mean it's JPEGs look a tiny bit sharper. But in reality the images between all of the 12mp m43 bodies (Panasonic and Olympus) Re all remarkably similar. Olympus cameras have different default color settings so their images tend to look warmer and more saturated. The Panasonics by contrast tend to look cooler by default. Bth cameras allow you to tweak their default settings and as a veteran of many Pansonic and Olympus bodies the images they produce are not all that different and with some adjusting of the in-camera color settings that differences become amazingly small. If you shoot RAW their is no difference at all.

    A very few bodies (GH1, GH2, G3, GX1 and E-M5) all use 16mp sensors. These cameras have advantages over the 12mp cameras in that tether typically have better high ISO, dynamic range and of course more resolution. Of course 16mp is not a huge difference in resolution from 12mp so improvements in IQ may be much smaller than you might imagine.

    Better lenses will make more of a difference in IQ than minor differences between cameras. If you are looking for the best bang for the buck spend your money on better lenses. The best ROI you'll get is from practicing. Photography is no different than anything else, the more you practice the better you'll get. Gear is not the most important part of he equation, you are.

    If you like something don't listen to any of us tell you why something else is better. Pick a camera for whatever reason you like. Heck I bought one just because it was red. The best camera is the one you have with you...and that wil be the one you like. If you have one you don't like then get rid of even if we're all telling you that you shouldn't because it's a classic or has features x, y or z. If you don't like it you won't use it and even the best camera in the world can't take decent pictures if you leave it home.

    Lastly, try not to obsess about gear. That takes time and a better use of that time would be you out taking pictures.

    Anyone else have stuff to add?
    • Like Like x 9
  2. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Good summary! I particularly like your last point of trying not to obsess about gear. It's a good reminder for those of us who frequent this forum. Currently, I have 3 lenses on my wish list that I would like to add to my collection, and I am fighting this serious GAS build-up everyday! :biggrin:
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The other day I saw a red E-PL2 pop up in the used classifieds. I never noticed this when I've seen them on the shelves at camera stores, but when I saw the red camera displayed in the used ads it looked like a girls camera to me. My first thought was, "I bet it's a female seller".

    Should I hide now, or run? :tongue:
  4. Jemski

    Jemski Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 5, 2011
    Know what genre of photography to specialize in which would help in deciding on what gear to acquire.
  5. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    May 3, 2010
    Ned, i can only speak for one female camera owner - myself. all my cameras are black, have always been black, and will probably always be black.

    btw, speaking of this or that, i bought one of the budget e-pl1's after hearing how great they are for years. well, turns out their ergonomics are horrible for me - i took it out 3 times and got like 50% keepers. the rest had lots of handshake, and it took me a while to figure out it was the way my hand fit the camera - or didn't fit it. i got a much lower percentage of keepers from the e-pl1 with lens stabilization on for some pics, IBIS on for others than i got from my G3 with no stabilization at all. disappointing.

    i'm still willing to try other olympii, but for years i've done better with my GF1 and G3 and unstabilized with my old (and much bigger) 30D and my husband's elph.
  6. dogs100

    dogs100 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    N Devon UK
    I am not an experienced or good photographer so this post doesn't have any particular worth but I was nodding in agreement while I read the opening post, especially the bit about not obsessing about gear, but I still can't decide between an e-p3 or an e-m5. Are there self help groups for people like me?
  7. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I can think of 4 ways of making the decision:

    1- Look in your wallet. Buy to fit.

    2- Toss a coin.

    3- Just buy the one you lust after most.

    4- When in doubt, buy both.

    Despite what it may look like from my signature, I didn't follow the 4th way. I bought the E-P3 9 months ago. I just didn't get rid of it when I got the E-M5. Are there self help groups for people like me?
  8. Justified_Sinner

    Justified_Sinner Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 11, 2010
    Scotland, UK
    Dauvit Alexander
    I have a red G1.
  9. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    While I agree with all of the above, I'd also say that new equipment with new possibilities can be a creative stimulus in its own right - a new camera, better IBIS, better high ISO can open up all sorts of interesting avenues. A new lens even more so, particularly if it's a focal length you don't already have (said the dude with six 50mm lenses...).

    I have a similar thing with guitars - when I build a new one, it inspires me to play different, new things. Because it sounds and feels slightly different, and tickles me in different ways.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. F1L1P

    F1L1P Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 2, 2010
    Everytime somebody starts a thread about certain image quality problem without attaching sample photo, one little kitten dies.

    • Like Like x 3
  11. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    This post has great value for less experienced photographers - It reminds us that even though opinions vary about personal favorites/preferences any of the :43: can produce great results if you work at it (practice, shoot!).
    It also points out that lenses matter more than bodies (pretty much). Lots of folks on this forum have tried several different camera bodies but lenses tend to be keepers. Folks may buy better lenses over time but once you find a great lens you can use it on any of the bodies. Lenses, ultimately, have more influence on image quality.
    That said - you might consider buying a used E-P3 (instead of the OM-D) and put some money into a good lens. The price difference would give you several very fine options.
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I agree with your argument in general, but I think the case for spending more on lenses, like spending on bodies, is seriously oversold.

    Most images aren't printed or displayed at sizes where the difference between a mediocre and a superb optic are visible. Moreover, almost all the better lenses are primes, and the bang for the buck on those is quite poor compared to zooms (usually you need 2 or 3 primes to replace a single zoom).

  13. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    It must have been great to be a would be photographer in China in the 50s and 60s when the only camera available was the Seagull and the only decision was "do I want to buy a camera?" :wink:

    (Tip o' the hat to Michael Bywater)
  14. pcake

    pcake Mu-43 Regular

    May 3, 2010
    there's nothing like a fresh and different guitar in your stable to wake up creativity. do you build acoustic or electric? we're working on our first acoustic build, and my husband made his first electric years ago.

    • Like Like x 1
  15. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I agree, depending upon your intended use. For casual, fun photography then the zooms make more sense. If one is serious about improving skills, then good quality primes matter. They are usually faster and sharper (not always) and produce nicer photos. You don't have to buy several - there's a lot to be said for zooming with your feet.:biggrin:
  16. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I have a "red" e-pl2 camera and I like mine. What you sayin' ?
    • Like Like x 1
  17. dogs100

    dogs100 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    N Devon UK
    That is sound advice, my problem is that I get loads of help from a local bricks and mortar so I buy my stuff from them, and of course they don't get many 2nd hand bodies. I am happy to pay that price though as they save me a significant sum by making me realise what I actually want as against what I think I want.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Nuttin'.... :cool: 
  19. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Then you'll likely be shooting jpegs. E-PL1 beats both the e-p3 and e-m5 in fine detail resolution and it's only $260 at amazon.com. It used to be $599, but it's an outgoing model and there is an oversupply so is heavily discounted.

    e-p3 and e-m5 make capturing the photos easier in some ways. So if ergonomics trumps still image quality in your mind, then you should shop for the E-M5 IMHO because it has built in viewfinder, tilt screen, superb image stabilization and extra fast burst shooting for capturing sports action. If you want excellent video, E-M5 is also great for that too.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    I would venture here to make the case both for primes, and for purchasing the best "glass" one can afford. Be forewarned, this response to DH is long and some will find it wearisome :wink:. Readers are forgiven if they bypass this response entirely, and it is to be expected that many will disagree with my reasoning.

    It being conceded that multiple primes by definition are needed to replace a single zoom, sometimes having the extra sharpness/resolution an excellent prime can offer allows one to crop and enlarge the photograph and maintain print quality. It is, of course, a truism that zoom lenses offer the ability to "crop within the camera" at the moment the photograph is made; however other than for fast moving subjects, such as a basketball player making a sudden move, there is generally sufficient time to mount a different lens if required.

    There is little time during a sports event to change lenses; one either carries multiple bodies with different lenses, mounts a zoom lens, or both. A fast breaking power forward does not pause to allow the photographer to swap out the 90mm lens for a 200mm lens to catch the shot at the other end of the court.

    However while making street photos or vacation photos or landscape photos I would argue that one generally knows the focal length needed before the shoot begins and that if a change is needed there is generally time to make the swap. As noted above, an excellent prime lens allows one to crop an image during post processing without undue loss of quality, so making a lens change is not required as often as one might assume. Prime lenses are, in general, both less expensive and lighter than zooms, and are certainly less complicated optically which means that fewer compromises must be made in engineering.

    For indoor sports with typical gymnasium lighting my "zoom" lens of choice is the Nikon 70-200 2.8. (When shooting two bodies the second body would be equipped with the Nikon 24-70 2.8).

    The price of that 70-200 zoom lens (nearly $2000 U.S. when purchased, currently $2400 U.S.) would easily have covered the purchase of a number of good prime lenses.

    For example, the 24-70 Nikon 2.8, also near the $2000 U.S. mark, can be replaced with the Nikon 24,35,50, and 60mm prime lenses for about $1100.

    The weight factor is another consideration - the "holy trinity" of Nikon zoom lenses (12-24 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8) cost in aggregate @ $6300 U.S. and weigh 7.5 pounds.

    One can purchase a number of lighter, optically acceptable prime lenses that will cover the 12-200mm range for well under $6300 U.S..

    So the "bang for the buck" under those conditions goes to, I think, the prime lenses. The only argument that I can make for using a zoom lens is that one has no time to change lenses between shots, and that the focal lengths required are so far stretched that cropping is out of the question.

    However a preference for prime lenses may entail higher expenditures depending on the specific lens, the inconvenience of carrying and changing lenses is assured, the chances of getting dust on the sensor are increased, and the possibility that the "wrong" lens will be on the camera at the decisive moment is constantly present.

    As for quality, both prime and zoom lenses have their place, but one needs to consider the capabilities of the camera body versus the capabilities of the lens. For instance, the inexpensive ($125) 70-300 Nikon DX lens can successfully be used on a Nikon D70 body. However using that same lens on a Nikon D300, with its better sensor, will quickly show the limitations of that lens. The excellent Nikon 50mm 1.8 prime (also $125) works equally well on the D70, the D300, and can be mounted on the full frame D700 and still return excellent results.

    That's the argument that brought me to the conclusion that one should purchase the best lens one can afford - that better lenses may be able to successfully make the transition to a newer, more capable body when the time comes. If one buys inferior "glass" one may find that it cannot be used successfully on more capable bodies in the future, requiring one to repurchase the lens in better quality.

    This is, I think, unique to the digital age. Having made photographs using 35mm slides and film for years, I do not ever recall having to discard a lens because the resolution of a new film was so great that it fatally showed the limitations of the lens. I really enjoyed using the Nikon 70-300 el cheapo zoom at the local zoo - but it simply fails to perform on the newer camera bodies.

    Buying excellent lenses is, to me, akin to shoot "RAW" - I get the best possible collection of data. While I may have no need for the amount of information captured today, in the future there may be a need or an opportunity to use every possible pixel. Ten years ago a commercial lab printed my 8x10's. Today I do it routinely in my home office. In a year, or ten years, I may want to revisit some of my photographs and I consider it wise to capture the best information I can (given the limitations of the format in which I shoot, M4/3 cannot be expected to capture as much data as a full frame camera sensor). Who knows what future technologies will be able to provide?

    So I would argue that the "bang for the buck" still resides with primes (fast moving venues excepted) and that purchasing better lenses is, in the long run, fiscally responsible. (Please note that they are not a better "investment"; very darned few pieces of photography gear turn out to be "investments". Rather, photography gear is an expense and it is unlikely that one will see a full return of ones cash outlay when the gear is traded in or sold).

    Just my two cents. Now, having read through this missive please feel free to disagree or, better yet, get up from the monitor, go outside, and play.

    • Like Like x 2
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