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Old May 14, 2012, 1:14 PM   #1
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Default Olympus PEN E-P3 Micro 4/3 Digital Camera & 17mm f/2.8 Lens (Black) Refurbished

Cameta camera has a E-P3 with 17mm f2.8 lens for 579.00 (free shipping).

http://www.cameta.com/Olympus-PEN-E-...Demo-65967.cfm

Mmm, tempting. Wonder if picture quality would be noticeable compared to the OM-5D. I'm pretty sure it would be noticeably better than my E-PL2.
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Old May 14, 2012, 3:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Emory View Post
...I'm pretty sure it would be noticeably better than my E-PL2.
I'm not so sure... unless you are planning on shooting high ISO alot and or movie mode alot I would save the pennies for the OMD.

DPREVIEW lets you compare side by side the e-p3, e-pl2 and even the OM-D. While I see more detail in the OM-D E-M5 I find the difference between image on the e-p3 and e-pl2 negligible.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusep3/21

It is after all the same sensor with tweaks to allow higher ISO and 1080 video. I think many of those tweaks are probably software only tweaks or maybe higher quality control.

still a great deal if you don't have a camera although I recently saw the e-pl2 with kit lens new for around $370 which is what I paid for a refurbished one... such is the trend with the OM-D E-M5 out
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Old May 14, 2012, 4:20 PM   #3
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I see what you are saying. The OM-5D definitely has much better sharpness at high ISOs. I don't shoot high ISOs unless absolutely necessary. I usually keep mine at 200. I'll keep my money for now. The E-P3 does have a 35 point auto focus system and focuses faster than my E-PL2 but I really do not need the speed as I rarely shoot where I need instant focus.
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Old May 14, 2012, 9:32 PM   #4
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You don't gain much from an image quality stand-point moving from an E-PL2 to the E-P3. What you do gain is faster overall operation, a second command dial, an AF assist light, full exterior metal construction vs. just the front plate of the E-PL2 and the ability to fit a larger accessory grip.

I have to add, the 17mm f2.8 Zuiko has been the most underwhelming performing Micro Zuiko lens I own. It's such a cute little lens. I really WANT to like it, but it just ain't happenin'.

If you prefer the Pen-type body format to the OM-D format, chances are later this year the next generation Pens will use the same sensor of the OM-D. If you need a while to save the funds, by the time you're ready to buy, you may have a choice to make, and if the next generation Pens continue to use the VF-2 finder, that would be three generations of body support for one finder, which makes the VF-2 a pretty darn economical purchase for anyone upgrading who already has it.

Last edited by Greg Chappell; May 14, 2012 at 9:38 PM.
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Old May 15, 2012, 7:58 AM   #5
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Glad you mentioned something about the 17mm being an underperformer. Good to know this.
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Old May 16, 2012, 7:25 PM   #6
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I'm considering the PEN route. Would you a little more about the downsides of the 17 mm? Thanks.
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Old May 16, 2012, 11:16 PM   #7
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It's not a "bad" lens by any stretch. It's just not that great a lens for a prime. At f2.8, you are not gaining much of a speed advantage over using the more versatile and similar performing 14-42 II Zuiko. It's pretty obvious looking at reports on the 19mm f2.8 Sigma it's quite a good lens optically, and with a faster AF system in it. There's no way I would recommend the 17mm Zuiko over the 19mm Sigma.

Likewise, the excellent little (smaller than the 17 Zuiko) Panasonic 14mm f2.5, a little wider than the 17 Zuiko, would also be a better choice. Really nice lens optically.

Here's a link to 5 files I have captured raw with my 17mm f2.8 using the E-P3. I just ran these through ACR in Photoshop CS6, adding plenty of contrast, clarity and sharpened trying to maximize the quality as much as possible without going over the top..

http://gmchappell.smugmug.com/Other/...4137&k=fSgV9dR

In the image with the multiple balconies, sharpness in the wrought iron rails is just not good, and at a semi-wide 17mm and 1/200 second shutter speed, with IS on.....should have been much better.

In the file with the high-rise and the plane in the distance, sharpness is more than good enough, but there's also not much in terms of detail that the lens is having to resolve, either.

Even in the image with the 5 plaques naming Dallas police officers killed in the line of duty, the clarity....with plenty of extra clarity added in ACR, is lacking the bite you see with the better lenses, which are not necessarily more expensive. The 17mm f2.8 Zuiko is a $299 lens at B&H. The Panasonic 14mm f2.5 is $303 and the Sigma 19mm f2.8 is $199.

Last edited by Greg Chappell; May 16, 2012 at 11:30 PM.
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Old May 17, 2012, 8:25 AM   #8
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Appears that the kit lens does as good a job if not slightly better than the 17mm. I would have thought sharpness would be a tad better with a fixed focal length lens. With your photographic ability I'm guessing you don't use this lens too much.
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Old May 17, 2012, 9:12 AM   #9
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You're right, James. The kit lens is at least just as good if not better. Definitely more versatile. I've taken the 17 out 3-4 times on Saturdays and shot it alongside other lenses, and never been pleased with the results. Pretty uninspiring.
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Old May 17, 2012, 9:38 AM   #10
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My 35mm macro should be here today or tomorrow and I'm thinking that will be my sharpest and most colorful lens of the two I already own (see signature). Won't be able to try it for awhile as my Viltrox adaptor is on a slow boat from China. I don't expect it until the end of the month. I'd like to get a prime as my main lens but still undecided. I'd like the 25mm Leica but right now that's kind of pricey for my wallet and I'm not so sure the Panny 14mm would be that much of an improvement over my kit lens for what it cost. My main goal is sharpness, then speed is next. Might have to look at those new Sigmas.
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