what backup body?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by nathan_h, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. nathan_h

    nathan_h Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2013
    I shoot with an OMD. Really love the manual controls, and things like the image stabilization are of course really nice.

    For travel, I want to have a back up body. I don't have to have the current gen 16mp sensor. I don't have to have all the manual controls I love. I plan to buy used.

    It's mostly be to pass to the wife, with a zoom, for when she wants to shoot, and it will be my backup body if the OMD goes wonky, or gets stolen.

    It might get enlisted for street photography use, with a pancake or even the body cap lens.

    So I'm tempted to go for one of the very smallest 12mp sensor bodies, even though if I really end up using it instead of the OMD, I'll be cursing the lack of easy access to shooting controls every day until I replace the OMD.

    What should I be looking at? My inclination is:

    The Oly EPL family.
    The Panny GF family.

    The one thing I don't need or want but probably cannot avoid is on-body flash. I would LOVE to have an EVF built in, so the "range finder style" family of Panny bodies is of paramount interest.

    But ultimately, small & cheap is key since it's possible I'll shoot fewer than a thousand images on the thing, and it might be fewer than a hundred images. Almost like a spare tire you hope you never use, but still needs to be good enough you could get to your destination if you needed to.
  2. yaeld

    yaeld New to Mu-43

    Aug 27, 2013
    I'm interested in this thread, once I'll get a OMD, I'm going to want to do just that!
  3. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    On the Panasonic side of things, your best bet would be a GF3 or GX1. The GX1 will probably cost twice what the GF3 costs, but it is a much better camera. The GF3 is probably the smallest and lightest of all MFT cameras though, just be prepared to use the touch screen for everything. Both have a built in flash, which is mainly useful as fill flash. One nice thing is that you can use your finger to make the flash point upward if you want.
  4. nathan_h

    nathan_h Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2013
    Much better equal=more ergonomic? more manual or custom adjustments possible? better IQ (and if better IQ, mostly just high ISO or other areas)?

    Yeah, the GF3 is smaller and cheaper, which would make a lot of sense for a body I'd only use if my OM-D had trouble, or if I needed a stealth setup with a pancake for street shooting, etc.

    Remember, the more I spend on this backup camera, the less I spend on lenses or future body upgrades or a better tripod for my real setup, so price does matter, in this case.
  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    Wise decision IMHO. Don't forget to also develop a plan so that all your photos aren't on the memory card in the OM-D on the day it gets stolen.

    Here's the tradeoff as I see it: Do you ever envision a situation, like a wedding or an African game drive, where you will be shooting both bodies interchangeably with two different lenses?

    If yes, then having identical bodies is quite important. (It is the reason I carry identical bodies.) The main reason is operating convenience, but also you do not want one that has significantly less capability than the other.

    If no, then the second body will really be a seldom-used backup and pretty much anything goes. Since you have an EVF in the OM-D, I'd consider a Panny G1. These can probably be bought in the $100 range and will give you your "easy access to shooting controls" and good images besides. Unless you are shooting long Oly lenses and need the IBIS, the only significant thing you give up IMHO is low light performance.
  6. NickLeon

    NickLeon Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 20, 2010
    Somerset UK
    " I would LOVE to have an EVF built in, so the "range finder style" family of Panny bodies is of paramount interest."
    But surely the 'rangefinder style' Pannys (GF & GX1) DON'T have the EVF built in. So perhaps your best bet is the G3? Short on the control side but compact, built-in EVF, very easy to use, and good ones now available at reasonable money.
  7. nathan_h

    nathan_h Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2013
    VERY true. In the past I've struggled with dumping stuff onto the ipad, and running about of space due to the size of the RAW files, deleting stuff, etc. I'm wavering between a dedicated device like the Hyperdrive or a cheap Android tablet with an external HD.... Anyway, that's another topic in another thread!

    That is a good point. Full disclosure, I've never had a two body setup and so I've never tried running around with two bodies. And while I know it's sacrilege, even back in the OM-1 (yes, the original film SLR that triggered my addiction) days, I used a zoom. At the time, I didn't know any better. These days, the premium zooms are so close in most ways to good primes that I don't feel like they are a compromise to me. So I haven't felt the appeal of two bodies for active shooting.

    I will have to try it some time.

    The longest zoom I might throw on the second body is a 100-300 panny with the built in ois. But it's possible if I hand the back up body with a lens to the wife for her entertainment, I might give her the backup super-zoom (the 14-150 oly) which doesn't have ois.... so that's an interesting point I hadn't thought about.

    I gotta think on that some more. It's probably such an edge case that I don't worry about it. But....

    Good point. I was asleep at the wheel, er, shutter.... I was just picturing some of the panasonic bodies that appear to have a small EVF in the spot where a rangefinder camera would have you place your eye...

    I'm not sure what I think about the G3. It feels big to me for a backup, yet should I really need to use it as the primary for the rest of a trip if the OMD is 'out of the picture' then the EVF would be awesome.....
  8. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    FWIW, in Africa I shot the 100-300 on one body and the 14-140 on the other. There was more than one time when I was frantically grabbing for the "short" zoom as an animal walked closer and closer to the game drive vehicle. In other travels, I have shot the 14-140 on one body and a 9-18 on the other and have been glad to have them both.

    The thing is that when traveling so much of the shot can be out of your control. Vantage points may be controlled by fences or even guys with guns. A moving vehicle or just your group moving can make the time needed for lens-changing unavailable. Birds and animals aren't prone to waiting for lens changing, either (except Galapagos tortoises.) So you have to be immediately ready for anything. It's two bodies, two zooms for me at least until I can buy a 9-300! :)

    Teach her how to hold the camera for stability plus to brace against things wherever possible, keep the shutter speed above 1/125 and she'll be fine. Fine, that is, if she's holding the camera against her face and not at arm's length.

    Don't even think about getting a backup without an EVF and don't expect that an add-on EVF will be satisfactory. Been there, done that, sold my mistakes. A G1/2/3 is much more compact than any LCD-only body with an EVF added.

  9. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Real Name:
    I have a G3 and do not find it that big for a camera with an EVF. It is a lot smaller than a G5, and it has a decent sensor and very good battery life (for an m4/3rd's compact body).

  10. woof

    woof Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    The present.
    Oldracer speaks truth.

    I'd add ... or very similar... in terms of menus and controls. Your ideal choice giving weight to your desire for small and compact and the bit about PL family is the EPL3/5.

    Personally I felt very little difference moving from EP3 to OMD. And while I have a G5 now, the differences drive me a bit looney and I am thinking about going back to EP3 or EPL3 as a general purpose backup/second shooter for stills.

    I am goin to keep the G5 though it may end up relegated to special tasks that it performs very nicely... And then again frankly some days I just plain prefer it as a primary.

    The point being that IMO, if you will carry the cameras together and use them interchangeably with different lenses for different tasks, you will find it is easier if the cameras have the same basic ergonomics.

  11. RoadTraveler

    RoadTraveler Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 23, 2012
    x3 (or x100 in my mind)

    I've used two (or more) identical bodies, mostly rangefinders, off-and-on for years. Deep familiarity with the same user-interface can make (or break) a shot, and it's more fun to use familiar tools.

    Find a body you really like, buy an extra(s), plus batteries, use often, then repeat the cycle when you want or need newer ones. :wink:
  12. nathan_h

    nathan_h Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2013
    Yes I tried an EVF on the EPM 2 and while it was better than not having one it was far from ideal and was actually bulkier than the omd in a sense.

    Funny you should mention game drives. That's the next big trip, probably.

    Maybe she gets the 12-35....

    I just hate to buy a second OMD since (so far) I'm not a two camera shooter, and if I was going to bust the budget, I really need a decent tripod to replace the $20 yard sale one I have... but maybe once the new flagship hits the streets, OMD's will be cheaper than I can imagine....

  13. nathan_h

    nathan_h Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2013
    Is the EP or EPL3 menu much different from the menu systems on other Olympus models? Is that the main reason you found it "easy" to switch back and forth with the OMD?
  14. woof

    woof Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 18, 2011
    The present.
    Yes, generally menus are very similar... OTOH... have not had many others, but did have brief fling with the EPL2. Seems Oly has been evolving the menu system, and I recall that there was a bit of a step up from EPL2 to EPL3. But I found it easy to go from EPL2 to EPL3 and the curve was lower going to EP3 from EPL3 - it was nearly identical save for touch. And the curve was a fairly flat transition to OMD from EP3. Definitely mpoving from less to more complicated, but ergonomics and menu structure have always been a bone of contention in reviews... it just gets more complicated as you step up.

    The preponderance of things were in the same places as far as I recall. There are some differences but they were not crucial or hard to grasp. YMMV... I am in IT and learn interfaces quickly. I'd want to hear how others fared here before taking some IT lifer's (32 years) word for it.

  15. nathan_h

    nathan_h Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2013
    I think I have to either try to get essentially two of the same bodies, for shooting with both at the same time.......

    .......or just go for small cheap and not at all similar, and consider it just a backup.
  16. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2013
    E-P3 or even E-P2. Plenty of manual control. No flash though.

    Why not find a used OM-D?
  17. nathan_h

    nathan_h Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2013
    My main purpose is to have a cheap small backup "just in case" for say 100 bucks. If I was going to use the body I'd probably get a used OMD especially with the new flagship coming out soon and the investable batch of used ones on the market as people upgrade.
  18. Photodan1

    Photodan1 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 26, 2012
    Nashville, Tennessee, USA
    Real Name:
    I shoot an EM5 now and have an EPM2 as a backup. However, I used to have a G3 and it was a fine camera and has an EVF, fold out screen and 16 MP sensor. You can get one very cheaply now.
  19. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The E-P3 has a built-in flash. The E-P2 uses external flash (which is all I would use anyways, though the built-in is useful as a Remote Commander for wireless flash or a trigger for optical slaves).

    Personally, along those same lines I would go for the E-P3 or E-PL2 rather than the E-P2. The E-P2 has softer output and half the screen resolution of the E-PL2. The E-PL2 has sharper output, twice the screen resolution, faster operation, better compatibility with newer accessories (like EVF), built-in flash, and a nice grip. The E-P3 though, trumps them both in every regard except the E-PL2 grip unless you buy the optional larger grip (since the E-P3 grip is interchangeable). It also features a touch-screen and a much improved AWB system.

    I would definitely consider the E-PL3 or E-PL5 as well though. Those mini bodies can come in real handy when you need a compact body.
  20. nathan_h

    nathan_h Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2013
    Okay so I decided that since I will probably never shoot with it, a GF3 for under a hundred bucks will give me piece of mind without feeling like a waste.

    And maybe next year when everyone tell me how awesome the new OMD is that is being announced next month.... well, I won't feel as guilty about upgrading... :biggrin: