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Upgrade my E-PL1 to E-PM1?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by pake, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    Hey guys, I need some help...

    I've been using my E-PL1 for little over a year now and I'm mostly satisfied. However I've been wanting to upgrade ever since E-PL2 but didn't see the upgrade worth it. Now I'm thinking of buying myself the E-PM1 - but as a future 2nd camera! :biggrin: Let me explain. I have a serious GAS and I really want to buy a newer, better camera! However I don't think the current models are worth the money (comparing to what I already got with E-PL1). I was thinking I could buy smaller camera to be my current 1st choice camera that would be "replaced" in the future by E-PL4 or E-PL5... :biggrin:

    What I want from my next camera is
    1) faster continuous mode (3 or 5 fps)
    2) better autofocus in low-light
    3) faster autofocus
    4) and most of all: better pictures when using higher ISO (even E-PL1's ISO-800 tend to be too noisy for my taste)

    At least the first three would be covered with E-PM1 but how about the ISO noise? I try to avoid shooting with flash indoors but in order to get photos that are good enough I've been "forced" to use the (bounce) flash with E-PL1. Since E-PM1 can't manage that, is the ISO noise noticeably lower? Or is there a small external flash for PENs that can be bounced?

    So, considering that I could get an E-PM1 (body only) for ~400$ and I do like my E-PL1 (to a point)... Does it make sense to get an E-PM1 now and get a "much better" camera in there future? Or are the changes between E-PL1 and E-PM1 too small so I should just hold on to my E-PL1 and wait...?

    PS. I had a Nikon D7000 for a week and even though I like it's ISO performance I can't imagine getting a bigger camera than E-PL1. First of all it felt really uncomfortable in my hand. After shooting at a sporting event for 2 hours my wrist was getting tired. I love how my E-PL1 feels in my hand. And I've tried the E-PM1 a few times in a store and I'm pretty sure that with a grip it could be as comfortable as the E-PL1.
  2. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    And btw (and little off topic), to be honest I was disappointed with the D7000's ISO performance. I really think that a camera that heavy/big should get much better pictures with higher ISO values. Maybe I'm just too demanding... :tongue:
  3. I've been thinking the same thing (GAS gets around ya'know). Have decided it it not really worth it. Would rather spend the money on lenses in the meantime, get a body that has everything I want (main "want" missing for me is the EVF in the corner) when it comes.
    For me the main issue with the E-PL1 is the slow max. shutter speed. I work around that currently by using shutter priority or (gasp) iAuto in bright light. Sure, I know the newer models focus faster, but I'm not that bothered with it.
    The E-PL1 will be my back up body later.
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    It's identical to the E-PL1. You have 3 options:
    1) G3 or GH2 - less noise (1/3-2/3 stop)
    2) Faster lenses - so you use a lower ISO
    3) A flash.

  5. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
  6. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    I'd like to use some foul language here but maybe I shouldn't... :biggrin: So basically I would pay ~400$ for a slimmer/smaller camera that gives no noticeable gain in IQ (and loses the bouncy flash). :dash2:
    Since I'm not as rich as I'd like to be it's just not worth it. I think I'll get the Oly 45mm (+ maybe the VF-2 for manual lenses) instead...

    Thanks for the comments.
  7. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    Thanks for the links! Well, according to dpreview's raw samples... (To my eyes) It seems that E-PL1 has better IQ with ISO 200-800 but with ISO1600 E-PM1 wins. I was hoping for better results than that.
  8. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    No it's not

    I recently replaced my PL1 with an PM1 so I know what I'm talking about.

    The PM1 is significantly snappier than the E-PL1. You can really feel the difference, both with the kit zoom and with other supposedly 'slow' lenses like the 20mm f/1.7.

    The PM1 is significantly smaller than the E-PL1. Some may not see this as an improvement, but with an optional grip (Franiec) I find it just great to hold and it's a much smaller package to carry.

    In terms of IQ, you're right--identical. In terms of functionality, it's very close. The PM1 has the control wheel (like the PL2) but obviously lacks buttons. I've found the transition nearly seamless, once I customized the interface to my liking.

    Overall I'm pleased with my upgrade. It wasn't an expensive one (the PM1 can be had for about $450, and I sold my PL1 for $275) and the improvements are noticeable. I'd recommend it if you value the compact size of the PM1.

    EDIT: I see I may have misread DH's comment. He's right, of course, about the IQ--it's virtually identical. If it's IQ you really are after, in m43, then I'd recommend the G3 for just a little more money because it's got a better sensor.
  9. Thanks for that user experience. Your price difference would be worth it to me for the better kit lens alone!
  10. If it was a toss-up between upgrading the body or adding the 45/1.8 and VF-2.....no choice. I would hate to use either the E-PL1 or an E-PM1 without those two pieces of gear!

    Cheers, Tom
  11. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 22, 2010
    I recently went through the same decision-making process.

    To answer the OP's question, I have not noticed any significant IQ differences, but then I was generally pleased with my E-PL1 image quality. If anything the IQ seems to be better at high ISO - probably improved JLEG engine?

    What made bigger differences to me were the previously-mentioned fast focusing (huge difference in practice), the better LCD screen (I have the VF-2 but prefer not to use it), and the significantly smaller body (which makes the high-end compacts irrelevant for me). I was resistant to the idea of a separate flash, but I've grown fond of it - it's as easily pocketable as an extra battery.

    I also debated the E-PL3 but I figured that the $200-250 price premium for the flip screen was a marketing mis-step that Olympus would correct after the E-PL3 sat on the dealer shelves for a while.
  12. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    My only issue with the E-PM1 is the IBIS is a bit touchy and may work better turning it off at higher shutter speeds and only using it when shooting it in low light.
  13. twmangrove

    twmangrove Mu-43 Regular

    May 8, 2011
    Agree so far

    On the comparisons. I do find myself liking the PM1 more for it is more suited to my desire for a P&S replacement.
    My two cents: I find the PM1 IQ, as others, to be maybe slightly improved, but that's speaking as a snap shooter who wishes to do as little PP as possible. In particular, I think the WB on the PM1 is a big improvement with the warm on/off setting (turn if off = brilliant).
    The build is also betting on the PM1, IMO, being all metal. The LCD, however, is not, given the 4/3 format on a 16/9 screen.
    Oh, and there are more movie modes on the PM1 and even the motion jpeg setting is a huge improvement.
    I find I'm not missing the mode dial at all. Overall, I'm very happy with the PM1 - it seems to have ticked some boxes that the PM1 did not. And with the price now down to about $400 CDN, it's a decent buy.
  14. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    I think E-PM1 is a solid upgrade from E-PL1. Just due to much improved AWB alone you'll get better pictures SOOC. Of course, significant jump in AF speed will help too. It's also noticeably smaller and lighter than E-PL1, has higher resolution screen with better contrast ratio, supports wired/wireless shutter remote, af assist lamp, 1/4000s, much faster art filter processing, 5.5 fps burst mode, full HD w/stereo mic. However, flaky IBIS is a stepdown.
  15. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Good point about the shutter speed . . . I'd forgotten about that, and if you shoot a lot in very sunny climates (like I do) then you'll really appreciate it.
  16. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    But E-PL1 has ISO100 setting while E-PM1 starts from ISO200. It somewhat cancels out the advantage. You'll use ISO100 with E-PL1 in the sun.
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You're right. ISO100 to ISO200 is one stop, as is 1/4000s to 1/2000s.
  18. ntblowz

    ntblowz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 13, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I also jump form E-PL1 to E-PM1, one of the biggest grip with E-PL1 is it tend to focus on the background , which is kinda frustrating for snap shot, and at low light it literary turns into blind eye where E-PM1 is so much better in this regard, though the smaller body means handling is not as comfortable as E-PL1 especially when paired with larger heavier lens
  19. Ian.

    Ian. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2013

    I have just ordered a PEN E-PM1 kit with 14-150 zoom. (419€) And I have a question.
    I ordered this just to get the zoom as it is cheaper than the zoom on it's own!

    Now my question, I have an OM-D and don't really want a second camera. Especially an obsolete one. Should I sell it or is there some clever reason to keep it? Thanks for any help.
  20. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Keep the E-PM1, since you have it already. It's a fine little camera. If you have the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, it'll be a perfect match for the Pen Mini. Even the f/2.8 version of the Oly 17mm is a good match. Both lenses can be picked up at a good price these days.

    The 12mp :43: sensor may not be state of the art anymore but you'll still get better results than you'll get with any small-sensored, point-and-shoot camera. Image quality is fine up to ISO 1600 - maybe even 3200 in a pinch. And many Olympus shooters say the old sensor renders better jpg colors than the new 16mp sensor.
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