Micro 4/3 recommendation?
I'm looking for a recommendation for a M 4/3 camera. I'm a fairly experienced amateur, and am looking to upgrade from my Lumix travel-zoom camera to something with better image quality and more manual control. My shooting is mostly outdoors- landscapes, wildlife, macro, travel, etc, with some portraits and random snapshots mixed in. Not a lot of fast action sports or low-light photography. I would like to be able to make decent enlargements to at least 11 X 14. Want to buy in the next month, and no one in my area (central CT) carries Panasonic. My criteria:
- should be fairly compact (I do a lot of biking, hiking, climbing, etc). A standard DSLR is too big for my taste, but I like the handling of the new Rebel SL1 with kit lens (but probably not anything bigger). Something like a Nikon 1 is just too tiny.
- some degree of external control (I don't want to have to go through a menu every time I want to change shutter speed or aperture)
- should either have built in EVF or option to add one as an accessory.
- under $500 with kit lens (with less being better).
Currently thinking about Olympus EPM2, EPL5, or EP3, or Panasonic GX1 or G5. The main drawback I see with Panasonic is that if you want IS, you're limited to their lenses.
Well of the 4 you mention only the epm2 and epl5 have the newer sensor That the em-5 and gh3 do.
The epm2 is nice and small but very menu driven so changing settings will be more involved than the epl-5
The evf for the epl5 is said to be much nicer.
I have an epm-1 and an em-5 with the new one getting all the use. The kit lens for both companies are ok but if you want to maximize the system really an upgrade lens is best - My main lens is the 4/3 12-60 which is rather large and not cheap.
Have you considered the lx-7? There are a few threads on dpr asserting that if all you are going to use is a kit lens then you can often get similar or better results with a better compact
The lx-7 is a steal at under 300$
for example the lx-7 is f 1.4 at 24 mm equivalent whereas most m4/3 kit lens start at 3.5 or 4 at 28 mm so almost 3 stops faster and 4 mm wider.
certainly 11x 14 could be achieved in good light.
The m4/3 system is great , but not cheap if you want results that will be much better than a compact or rivaling aps cameras
I have a ep2 and om-d and they are great on the trail. I've been carrying them in my Timbuktu Goody box (Extra padding is recommended if you plan on riding rough terrain). I don't think you can go wrong with any of those cameras and even the kit lens. I have both a kit lens and the Panny 20 1.7. I use the 20 1.7 for just about everything.
If I had to choose I would probably go with the epl5 or the ep3. The ep3 has good build quality but is slightly older than the epl5. I don't know much about the epm2 to give an opinion about it.
I started with an EPL1 years ago (good camera at the time, but terrible in low-light) and bought my EPM2 about a year ago when they first came out. I went with Olympus over Panny because, as you mentioned, the in-body stabilization opens up a number of lens choices.
It really just depends what you want to spend as far as i'm concerned. My stepfather has an EPM1 and it's a fantastic camera--best of the "old" sensor cameras by far. My EPM2 takes much better pictures. The downside is that i think the EPM2's menu system kinda sucks. I'm not sure if the EPL5 would be worth the extra money on that account, though. In the end i just wind up shooting RAW and doing post-processing.
Overall i'm really happy with the EPM2. There have been very few situations where i was unhappy with how it performed. I have three lenses: the kit lens, the Oly 150mm lens (fantastic lens for the price), and a Panny 1.4 prime lens. Personally i am not blown away by the kit lens, but it's a $50 lens, so...
I do all the things you mentioned, but i will say for mountain biking that i usually just take a cheap point-and-shoot. The u4/3's are very small for what they are, but they are still quite large with a modest lens and i worry about landing in it in a wreck. Just food for thought!
I have been on board with the m43 thing for about 2 years now and I cam from a much larger Canon system that included "L" glass and a 7D. I now roll with either a GF-2 or a GH-2 depending on my needs. My wife also has a G3. I have looked at Olympus a number of time but everything I have bought a camera they just didn't have what I wanted. That being said the new EP-5 and EPM-2 are some pretty nice looking cameras, that 16mp sensor they have is very good.
If you are looking for cheap look at something like a GF-2 or a EPM-1 you can most likely find them for under 300 bucks new at this point. if you are looking at a more modern camera look at the GX-1 or EPM-2, both can be had for about 500 bucks.
Just an update: bought the Panasonic G5; with kit lens the price ($350) was just too good to pass up. I also bought the 45-150. Thanks to everyone for their input.
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