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Which camera is better ....

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by table2011, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. table2011

    table2011 New to Mu-43

    Sep 6, 2011
    if given 1 time to buy the camera for the next 5 years(also will not buy any lens/ accessories), between below choice, can give some opinion which one is the best overall :) 

    1. olympus e-pl1 with 14-42 lens kit + panasonic lens 20mm f.17
    Reason i shortlist this because:
    - the low price of new e-pl1, so can buy premium lens
    - olympus give better jpeg result (I prefer jpeg over raw)

    2. panasonic g3 with 14--42 lens kit
    Reason i shortlist this because:
    - built in viewfinder.
    - the body shape/ grip will make more stable when take picture.

    or... maybe other model + combination ?
    (I'm thinking not consider Olympus e-p3, because it is still expensive)

    For more info, most photo i will shoot is family/ children picture.
  2. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    If you can . . .

    Hold them both, try them both. I bought an E-PL1 with the kit lens. I absolutely love the camera. Then I got a wonderful deal on an E-P1 here on the forum. I ended up putting the E-PL1 away and have not used it since. I like the feel, the controls and the look of the E-P1 better. It just fits me better. In the end, it's the photographer, not the camera that takes good photos. I could upgrade, but I seriously doubt that I will. The IQ of E-P1 jpegs is excellent and I will never be blowing them up any larger than 8X10 - so why lay out more cash?
    Two things about the controls. The top wheel is great for zooming in while viewing photos on the LCD. It is fast and easy. The same wheel also makes it easier to manual focus then the system used on the E-PL1. It has two increments - 7X and 10X - and is easier to use than the 14X setting on the E-PL1.
    I can't speak to the Panasonic (I don't own one.) But the In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) on the Olympus cameras works great with any lens - autofocus or manual and that was the final piece for me. I don't need or want a viewfinder and I don't like the way the Panasonics resemble DSLR's. The Olympus has a classic retro look.
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I agree - both fine cameras, so you need to hold each, fiddle with the controls on each, look at enough output to see if there's a difference that matters to you. Oly jpegs are generally more popular than Panasonic, but the G3 has supposedly "fixed" a good deal of whatever was wrong with Panasonic jpegs in the past, so they're probably both very good. I had an EPL1 for a while and, like Rev Bob, I stopped using it (actually sold mine) once I'd tried a camera with rotary controls rather than just buttons. I never knew how much I DIS-liked the EPL1 until I'd tried other cameras with rings and dials to make adjustments on the fly. The buttons on the epl1 never felt even remotely intuitive to me. But that's just me - plenty of people seem very comfortable with them.

    Frankly, though, if you view a permanent EVF as a benefit (many do, some don't) I think the G3 would be a no-brainer. I love the VF2 for my Olympus cameras, but I like it specifically because its NOT there when I don't want it. If you want it there, I don't see any reason not to get a camera with a permanent EVF.

    You won't go wrong with either camera - you just have to figure out your own preferences...

  4. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    For pics of children, I might be tempted to go for one of the new Olympus cameras, which focus very quickly. You can get the EPM-1 for about $500 now, which includes the kit lens. It's more expensive than the E-PL1, but the IQ is the same and it might be more appropriate for taking pictures of kids. True you won't be able to add the 20mm--which is a great lens, no question--but you'd still be covering that focal length with the kit and you could always plan on picking one up later, perhaps used, for a decent price.

    Regardless, I completely agree with what's been said--try to handle all the cameras you're considering. One caveat however: sometimes it takes a while before you appreciate what you like and dislike, and you probably won't have enough time in a camera store to do that. (Ray could probably speak to this . . . he's chronicled his decision between the E-P3 and E-PL3 based on shooting lots of pictures with both.)
  5. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    In my view the G3 is a much more versatile camera. It has excellent controls, top-notch IQ and is comfortable both for someone learning fine control and for enthusiastic amateurs. The Olympus you mention will, I believe, limit your options and growth. it's a fine camera, but the G3 offers more.
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I'm an Olympus guy these days myself, but I wouldn't say the new Olys focus any faster than the G3. The GH2 was the first m43 to really nail the whole really fast CDAF, the G3 and GF3 are essentially as fast, and the new Oly cams have reached that level now and maybe slightly surpassed it with the new Oly lenses. The basic point, though is that any of this new generation of camera is MORE than fast enough for family shots and even action shots, as long as you're not looking for amazing AF tracking in burst modes (ie, I wouldn't try to be a professional sports journalist with one). The EPL1 is lacking in this area compared to the new gear, but the G3 IS the new gear.

  7. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    You might want to consider a G2. B+H has them body only for $299 plus $100 off selected lenses. That makes body and 20/1.7 $549. Add the 14-42 for the full price of $175 and you're only $25 over the cost of the G3+14-42. Or shop for a used 14-42.

    I've been using a G2 since March and I'm very happy with it. I looked at the Olympus offerings (I have strong leaning toward Olympus) but really wanted an eye level viewfinder or at least an articulating screen. The extra expense of the VF2 knocked the Oly's out of the running, plus I'm just more comfortable with the slr form.

    Good luck with your choice!

  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Forget the E-PL1, and get the E-PL2. Look for a body-only if possible, or sell the kit lens to help you afford the Lumix 20mm f/1.7. You don't need that kit lens with a good standard-angle prime.

    You won't need the E-P3, but the E-PL1 is way too compromised for my tastes. The E-PL2 is an excellent performer and is an incredible value.
  9. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Ray is correct on focus speed. The big news is that Olympus has finally brought their focus speed up to a level comparable with Panasonic. Many tout the E-P3 as having fastest focus speed which while apparently true in lab testing, is only by a few microseconds - the difference is fairly insignificant. A photographer would be hard pressed to tell the difference between their focus speeds when using the cameras.

    The latest generation of the Pany and Oly bodies are relatively on par as far as focus speed is concerned... so close that focus speed is probably not a criterion one should be weighing when making camera selection decision among the latest bodies. There are other, far more significant factors that differentiate the G3 from the E-Px.
  10. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    Whatever you do, avoid the route that will keep you stuck with just the kit lens. Many will say it will suffice but so will a P&S compact on a good day, and I doubt that's why you're buying :43:
  11. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I think an important distinction to make here is that you cannot say one is necessarily better than the other. The E-PL1 and G3 are very different approaches to cameras. Go to a shop and see if you can handle each one. See what you like and what feels comfortable to you. I for instance found the E-PL1 UI and controls not to my liking. You may however feel different. These cameras are all very similar and the differences between them are quite a bit smaller than you might think. I suspect if you put the output of all the m43 cameras side by side you'd have a tough time telling them apart.

    If I were looking to pick up an m43 camera right now I would probably be more interested in something like G2 or G3 as I really prefer having a built-in EVF, articulated LCD and the mini DLSR shape. If however you want something more compact I would look at the E-PL2 (over the E-PL1) or even a Panasonic GF2. Both are small, fast and have excellent IQ. The GF2 can also be found quite cheaply right now. Pair up any of these cameras with a decent lens like the Panasonic 20, 14 or Olympus 45 and you'd be ready to go.
  12. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Yes, dixeyk! These are all cool cameras that can achieve very comparable results, for the most part, within the lower ISO ranges. The biggest differences are in user interface (menus, touch screen, physical controls, etc.) and compositional functionality (EVF, tilt/articulating LCD, etc.), high ISO performance, etc. Personally, my m4/3 kit contains four bodies which are all quite different from each other and I like each one of them for their own, unique, attributes - none are necessarily "better" than another overall, just different: GF1, GH2, GF3, G3.
  13. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Very true. I have gone through 5 m43 bodies and settled on 2 that suit my needs. I wouldn't say they are any better than the ones I got rid of simply that I found them to be better fits with what I wanted. Sometimes it's a really minor thing. In the case of the E-PL2 (a very nice camera) I found that my thumb wasn't long enough (or flexible enough) to comfortably use the back control wheel. I find the one on the GF2 a lot more comfortable so because of that and the lack of a focus illuminator on the E-PL2 I went with the GF2 for my smaller bodied camera. The E-PL2 is a superb camera and probably the best option for some but in my case it wasn't.

    Honestly, I don't see that any of the m43 bodies are that much better than any of their m43 brethren at the moment.
  14. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    I've no doubts that Panasonic G3 is a much better camera than Olympus E-PL1. It has built-in EVF, reasonable controls with the excellent click-wheel, newer and better sensor.

    But! E-PL1 with the 20mm pancake will take much more pleasing pictures.
  15. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Much more pleasing? Wow... that's a broad brush statement. How is that?
  16. nsd20463

    nsd20463 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 30, 2011
    Santa Cruz, CA
    If Panny hasn't added the remote wireless-flash controls which the Olympuses have to their G3 then it could be the Panny which limits you.

    Manual mode external flash isn't a terribly hard, but TTL flash metering means you don't have to pop off test shots to get the exposure dialed in before taking the photo you wanted. Oly's TTL which I understand works with multiple remote flashes might be really nice if you're an off-camera flash user.


    PS I say "might" b/c I don't have an Oly, so I don't really know. It's just something I noted when comparing the available cameras back when I bought my GF1.
  17. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    Well, forgive my wording - it's not very precise. I mean Olympus E-PL1 with the 20mm pancake will give the OP much more options: DOF control, the ability to shoot in low light etc. It's also sharper than the kit lens. Overall shooting with the 20mm pancake is more pleasant and the results in general are more pleasant too ;) 
  18. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Oh, I gottcha... you mean the 20mm lens will give more pleasing results than using the kit lens. I'd agree with that, overall, though it is at the cost of focal length versatility, so... depending on which might be more important to the individual.
  19. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Sure...I think it would be accurate to say that a good lens like the 20 will improve whatever m43 body it is attached to.
  20. mzd

    mzd Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2010
    yes, I think stratokaster is trying to say, in this case, it will be more about the lens than the body. if you are going to be taking photos of kids inside, you are really going to want a fast lens and the f1.7 20mm will be hard to beat (aside from the new, considerably more expensive PL f1.4 25mm).
    so I would recommend any :43: body that lets you get the 20mm lens and stay within your budget.

    [edit] just checked the classifieds... there is currently a GF2 w/ 14-42 for $400 and a 20mm going for $300. that should be pretty close to your budget right there.
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