1. Welcome to Mu-43.com—a friendly Micro 4/3 camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Which is best as a second camera?

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

  1. MichaelJC

    MichaelJC Mu-43 Regular

    I will soon (hopefully) be getting an E-M5 which will replace my Olympus E-620. I had an LX5 as my second, pocketable, take anywhere camera. I recently sold this and replaced it with the Panasonic GF-3, thinking it was pretty much the same size (sans lens). I figured I would be losing the useful zoom range and a bit of pocketability but gaining in image quality and the ability to share lenses with the E-M5. I bought the kit with the 14mm lens as this was one I probably would have bought anyway for the Oly.

    So...I've used the GF-3 a bit and I like it, but I feel I miss the IBS and I'm wondering if I should replace it with one of the Pen series.

    Minimum size was a major factor in my choice and this is what put me off buying a Pen (along with price!) but now I feel that I'll be carrying it in a bag anyway, so size is perhaps not as important as I thought. It will be used at family events and live music shows where low light ability is important and as a walk around camera in the city when I don't want to take the E-M5. It will be a second body with a wider lens when I'm out shooting wildlife with my 70-300 on the E-M5. At the moment I'm also enjoying using the GF-3 with a reversed MF lens for taking macros.

    What do you think...should I switch to a Pen, and if so, which model would probably suit me?
  2. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    The One You Like ...

    .... that uses the same lenses. JMO :smile:
  3. MichaelJC

    MichaelJC Mu-43 Regular

    Well they all use the same lenses and unless you know someone that could lend me them all for a few weeks to compare, deciding which I like will be based on brief handling at the store, online research and the helpful advice from this forum...or not so helpful, as the case may be :wink:
  4. Michael, have you handled the E-M5 yet? It's a LOT smaller than it looks. If you are going to be carrying a bag anyway, there really isn't that big a practical size difference between the E-M5 and GF3/E-PM1 with other than pancake lenses attached. Also, once you use the E-M5, you will really miss the EVF when using another m43 body. If you add an EVF: you're back at the E-M5 size.
    If I were you, I would sell the GF3 (keep the 14/2.5), and carry on with the E-M5. If you are shooting wildlife, there isn't much time difference getting a second cam out of your bag and powering it up or just changing lenses.....
    Cheers, Tom
  5. Adubo

    Adubo SithLord Subscribing Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    The omd is a lot smaller than it looks (I've seen one; don't own one (yet); haven't played with it long enough)

    I think the EVF is a dependent variable to what you are shooting (lens and genre of photography) shooting family events doesn't really 'need' an EVF IMO.

    If you want a 'smaller' (more box/RF like shape) camera with the nearest to the omd in IQ and spec wise, I'd say stick with panny and get a gx1.

    Or get an e-pl3. Sleek, straight forward camera without too much clotter at the back, and still get to use a vari angle lcd for when you're shooting from a chair, raising the camera up, or taking photos of sitting down people and you're standing up and want to get that eye-level image

    Hope that made sense :rofl:
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I would go for the E-PM1 or E-PL3. They are as small as the GF-3 (a little bit wider, but not as thick or tall as the GF-3 - overall bulk feels smaller on the PENs). The GF-3 I find to be an extremely limited camera in comparison. It has no hotshoe for flash, and no option for Electronic Viewfinder or external mic jack. It misses out on some very important basic functionality of a full-system camera. The E-PM1 not only has all this, but also IBIS and an amazing Auto White Balance system. The E-PL3 has all that plus more dedicated buttons and a tilt screen. Plus you can set them up with the same Super Control Panel as your E-M5. Switching between cameras will be very easily and familiar, plus any accessories you get for the OM-D and PEN are cross compatible with each other. That includes the EVF (though not so useful on the OM-D), 3.5mm stereo mic jack, bluetooth device, clip-on flash commander, etc.

    Either the E-PM1 or the E-PL3 make the ideal companion as a second body to the E-M5, giving you the most compact kit possible with all the same overall capabilities. I'd keep a pancake lens around so you can slap it on your Mini/Lite and carry it around whenever you don't want to carry a regular camera kit with you.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    +1 Either of these would be an excellent choice.
  8. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nobody can tell you which camera is for you. Maybe put out a request for a meet-up with fellow m4/3 folks in your area ( there must be lots in NJ ) and folks could trade cameras for a few days or whatever so all could get hands on real experience with as many cameras as possible. :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan

    May I play devil's advocate and suggest the best second body to an OM-D is another OM-D?

    The reasoning is simple - when moving between cameras you won't have to 'relearn' controls and menus. Guaranteed that all accessories will work. You won't have to remember what ISO works with which body/lens combination.

    For walking around in the city if you feel the OM-D is a thief attractor, place black gaffers tape over the "Olympus" and "OM-D" and it looks like any other run of the mill point 'n shoot or small DSLR. Check with your home owners insurance agent - adding theft insurance onto cameras is a pretty inexpensive ticket item.

    Also the OM-D body is weather sealed - something you won't find on a Pen. When out and about you won't have to think about which camera you are carrying if it starts to sprinkle or snow.

    The downside, of course, is cost. You can pick up a new E-PL1 right now for under a couple of hundred dollars while OM-D bodies are running list price.

    Size-wize the Pen bodies are smaller, but the OM-D bodies are not all that much larger or heavier.

    Just my two cents (having had backup camera bodies for years I've found it absolutely advantageous to have duplicate bodies whenever possible. Of course sometimes the person who handles the finances around here puts a screaming halt to that...):wink:


    • Like Like x 1
  10. MichaelJC

    MichaelJC Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks guys for all the response! ALL very much appreciated :smile:

    Ned: Thanks, you mentioned a couple of advantages of a Pen that I didn't mention - the hotshoe and a similar interface to the E-M5.

    I actually looked at the E-PM1 originally, but was swayed by the fact that I could get the GF-3 for virtually the same price as the 14mm lens. I know the E-PM1 uses the same flash as the E-PL3, but do you know if it can trigger a remote flash when used on the E-PM1 body? That would be handy.

    DonTom: I understand your point and it's something that went through my mind as I was writing the post. However, changing lenses (and changing back again) when you've got a large zoom tripod mounted really is a pain and one of the reasons I started carrying the LX5. Also, I do go places sometimes where I'd be willing to take a smaller cheaper camera with a pancake lens, but not my E-M5 kit. It will be kept in cotton wool...for a little while anyway :smile:

    Thanks again for all your thoughts. You guys are awesome.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    I just got my E-M5 after having the GX1 for a few months.

    My opinion is that you'll still prefer to shoot with the E-M5 no matter what. I don't think the Pens are so cheap to be worth getting, and they are practically last year's models, so the prices drop in a few months. IBIS will still be inferior, and as many said the E-M5 isn't that big... It is slightly wider than the GX1 & obviously the GF3.

    If a few hundred $ is no object, you could switch to the E-PL3 to have the same menu. Otherwise whatever 2011-model camera you get will be inferior in your eyes to the E-M5. The GF-3 was probably a great deal, I'd keep it.

    If you don't shoot professionally like Ned you probably don't need a hotshoe on the second camera in case the E-M5 goes bust. In his case I can understand the desire for compatibility of accessories, etc.
  12. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    I agree, E-PM1 or E-PL3. I picked up an E-PM1 refurb for $299 at Cameta. I'd originally hoped to replace the LX-5, but I find it still comes in very handy for impromptu close-ups and when a lone pancake is insufficient. My plan is to add a second m43 body with IBIS once a newer sensor with better low-light performance trickles down to the PENs (fingers crossed).

    If the E-PL3 screen were 3:2 instead of 16:9, I might have been more willing to spend $479 for an E-PL3 refurb kit. (I'd still prefer a 3:2 aspect ratio on my E-PM1, but for $299 I'm more willing to tolerate the 16:9 screen.) :smile:
  13. MichaelJC

    MichaelJC Mu-43 Regular

    Anyone know the relative viewability of the LCD in bright sun between GF-3, E-PL3 and E-PM1? (Jeez typing these names is a pain. Why don't they give them real names? - John, Paul, George and Ringo would be much easier to remember)
  14. Without putting too fine a point on it: they're all crap in bright sun.

    I live in the desert or the mountains: I can rarely use the LCD.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    The little clip on flash that comes with the E-PM1 works with the camera menus to let you control a Fl-50R, FL-36R or other "R" wireless flash from Olympus.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    I prefer to shoot with two cameras when I'm actively making images - with a different lens on each body.

    At present, I'm using an E-PL3 with VF-2 as the second body to my E-M5. I like the E-PL3, specifically because of the tilting LCD, except the sensor in all Oly m4/3 cameras (other than the E-M5) is horrible at higher ISOs. That's a big achilles heel for me with the Pens. Most of the time, the VF-2 is on the body because it's an important feature much of the time.

    Thus, I'm considering getting another E-M5 to be my second body or waiting for the next E-PLx which, if supplied with a good sensor, retaining the tilting screen, and, possibly, adding 5-axis IBIS, would make a very good second body to the E-M5.

    In your shoes, I'd either get an E-PL3, or another E-M5, or wait for the next E-PLx. Your desire for higher ISO shooting would probably lead you to the most suitable body for that.

    I can't see buying a m4/3 body without a tilting (or articulating) LCD screen, as I find applications for this feature practically every time I use the camera and I'm NOT using the EVF.

    Oh... if I were you, I'd also buy another LX5 as well, because for some applications... it's much better than larger cameras! :smile:
    • Like Like x 2
  17. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Cincinnati, OH
    Jerry Jackson Jr
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who does this.

    In fact, I go one step further on the crazy train whenever I'm covering an event for work and I don't want to carry a bag. I use one of these 3-camera harnesses with three m4/3 cameras with the 12mm, 25mm, and 45mm primes.


    I swear I don't run around in white shorts like the dude in the photo. :rofl:

    That said, it's hard to look cool and casual wearing three cameras strapped to your body ... even if they are small cameras. :rolleyes: 
  18. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    JJJ... you've got me beat with carrying three cameras, man! :wink: Two is all I want to manage, myself. :smile: And most of the time, there's a zoom on each body. I tend to use my primes when I'm only using one body at a time.
  19. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The flash included with the E-PM1 and E-PL3 is the same as the one included with the E-M5 except without weather sealing. They are all interchangeable, and they all operate the Remote Commander menu to control and trigger R-series remote flash units in up to 3 different groups. You can trigger an unlimited number of flash units, using up to 3 distinct settings for each. Those settings can range from Auto TTL, with or without FP, to manual power ratios.
  20. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I've been using two cameras for as long as the wallet allowed; mostly with primes. One thing that has become apparent over the years is that you need to first decide which is your intent:

    1) Shooting two cameras at the same time as with two different lenses.
    2) One camera being the primary and one as a backup.

    If you fall into the first category (like me.. most of the time), then I highly recommend just getting two of the same or two that are "related" to each other in design. The two main reasons:

    * Same battery and compatible accessories; 1 charger for both.
    * (MOST IMPORTANT) Same operation and same feel.

    You want to be able to swap between the cameras seamlessly without having to do the mental task switch when it comes to settings and feel between the cameras. It made a HUGE difference in the overall experience of shooting with two cameras. For this reason, I've actually sold a camera (that I didn't really want to sell) so that I can match my primary.... I miss the other one but don't have regrets when I'm out shooting.

    Now if you fall in the 2nd category, then its open season. You'll want to find two that compliment each other. When I was shooting more seriously a few years ago, I had at one time a Canon 5D and 1d Mark II. Full frame versus fast accurate AF. Very complimentary cameras and that worked fine too.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.