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Old Mar 18, 2010, 6:57 PM   #1
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Default K-x or E-PL1?

I'm intending to buy a camera in the next month or two to replace my Fuji F30.

What I'm looking for is something reasonably small and portable, but expandable in terms of lenses and newer bodies as technology evolves. Image quality is important to me, but I wouldn't consider myself a technical fanatic about this. I would use it for wildlife/nature shooting, especially when travelling, as well as for the usual family photography. I'm a former film SLR journalist, so I understand and would appreciate easily accessed manual controls.

I am stuck between the Pentax K-x and the Olympus E-PL1. I think the Pentax would be a good entry into the DSLR world, and I think I would find it easy to understand. It has great low light capabilities, which would be fine, but is not a deal breaker for me. I like the idea of the Olympus because of its size and simplicity, although it looks like the manual controls may be difficult to access quickly.

I would be grateful for any perspectives you could share with me on these two cameras. I would also be open to other suggestions, although I have a visceral reaction against Nikon or Canon (don't ask why...it just is).
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Old Mar 18, 2010, 7:01 PM   #2
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I shoot the K-x and own a epl-1 also, what do you like to shoot, and how much do you plan to travel with the camera?

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Originally Posted by Ajka View Post
I'm intending to buy a camera in the next month or two to replace my Fuji F30.

What I'm looking for is something reasonably small and portable, but expandable in terms of lenses and newer bodies as technology evolves. Image quality is important to me, but I wouldn't consider myself a technical fanatic about this. I would use it for wildlife/nature shooting, especially when travelling, as well as for the usual family photography. I'm a former film SLR journalist, so I understand and would appreciate easily accessed manual controls.

I am stuck between the Pentax K-x and the Olympus E-PL1. I think the Pentax would be a good entry into the DSLR world, and I think I would find it easy to understand. It has great low light capabilities, which would be fine, but is not a deal breaker for me. I like the idea of the Olympus because of its size and simplicity, although it looks like the manual controls may be difficult to access quickly.

I would be grateful for any perspectives you could share with me on these two cameras. I would also be open to other suggestions, although I have a visceral reaction against Nikon or Canon (don't ask why...it just is).
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Old Mar 18, 2010, 7:20 PM   #3
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If size and weight are a primary concern, and considering what you say you want to shoot, I'd suggest one of the Olympus Four Thirds bodies (as opposed to a Micro Four Thirds body.) You didn't mention anything that would require good low light performance, so I don't think you'd need the Pentax K-x, and you didn't mention sports or action, so I don't think you'd need a Canon Rebel EOS body. But for the wildlife/nature shooting, the selection of Micro Four Thirds lenses is limiting, so I'd look elsewhere.
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Old Mar 18, 2010, 7:24 PM   #4
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Actually you can put the olympus 70-300mm onto the epl-1, and it will give you a very long zoom. So if you are shooting wildlife, you have a long range option that is good lens. Just get a olympus or panasonic 4/3 adapter
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Old Mar 18, 2010, 8:00 PM   #5
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ajka-

Welcome to the Forum. We're delighted that you dropped by.

Bear in mind this is just a personal opinion, but like TCav, I feel that the lens selection is limited for m4/3 camera, and I believe they are overpriced as well. Therefore, my choice would be the Pentax KX. It has come down in price, has a very good feature set, a high ISO capability, and a wide selection of available lenses.

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Old Mar 18, 2010, 8:05 PM   #6
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The EPL-1 can use all the olympus lenses for their e-volt dslr. Also the panasonic m4/3 lens. Yes I do think the m4/3 lens are a bit pricey. But with the epl-1 you have excellent option with lenses, oppose to panasonic m4/3 cameras. And the olympus 4/3 lenses are pretty good lenses. The EPL-1 has as many lens options as the pentax with auto focus lenses.

So the best thing is to tell us what you like to shoot, how much traveling and hiking you plan for this camera. As each camera has it's advantages and disadvantages.
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Old Mar 18, 2010, 11:52 PM   #7
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Thanks for the great replies so far.

In answer to your questions...

We take a couple of 2-3 week trips per year, and several long weekend getaways. Not a lot of extended hikes at this point, although I always intend to do more! Last year I did a 10-day canoe trip, and I must say, my trusty old Fuji performed well.

What I like to shoot is landscapes, botanical close ups, wildlife, architecture, street portraits of people we encounter while travelling. I've been asked by friends and family to do portraits occasionally, and a few months ago, I went to a friend's wedding. He threw me his Canon G9 as I got out of the car, and said, "You're the photographer!" Amazingly enough, considering I had never used the camera, the pictures turned out pretty well! I'm also into dog training, so I can see myself taking action shots of dogs at work...police training, herding, hunting, etc.

What I want to improve over my P&S is image quality, focal length options, easier and faster control over exposure and shutter speed, etc. I would also like something that is extremely reliable, and has good battery life, if possible.
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Old Mar 19, 2010, 12:31 AM   #8
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It seems that you're interested in capturing a lot of activity, and you want to shoot some macro. The Pentax K-x that mtclimber mentioned is a good choice. It has a reasonably good autofocus system for shooting sports/action/wildlife, and it has image stabilization in the camera body, so any macro lens will be stabilized. It's also relatively small and light.
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Old Mar 19, 2010, 12:34 AM   #9
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I will start on the pentax

Well on battery life the pentax with rechargeable sanyo eneloop AA gives about 1100 photos on a single charge, so it is pretty good. With the action shots, the dslr has a big advantage. But you will not see that advantage as well unless you move to a higher grade lens like the sigma 70-200mm 2.8 HSM, which is a relatively expensive lens about about 800 dollars. Also the low light performance of the pentax is at the top of the class in the entry level dslr market. But to truly take full advantage of this, you will want to match it with a sigma 28mm 1.8 or the pentax 50mm 1.4. It will be a winning combo for low light performance when shooting at 6400 or 12800iso. The down side is that this camera is a larger, so it is not the best travel companion, it does not pack down as well. So it will eat up more room on your carry on's. If you are walking around allot, it is still a bit heavy. But action, and low light shooting this k-x is a better option


The EPL-1

This camera is a great travel companion that was the biggest reason I purchased this camera. For a family that makes over 200 flights a year. This was a big plus. For a camera with all the manual controls you want, it offers it in a very small package. All the micro 4/3 lenses with the exception of the panasonic 45-140 are very light and easy to travel with. It also has the best jpeg engine on the market. If you are not a big post production editing kind of guy that wants to shoot raw. When match with a panasonic lens the AF is not that bad, but not an equal to a dslr. It will not perform as well as the k-x in low light. 1250iso is about where you want to stop with this camera. 1600 has a acceptable noise level. But like the pentax you can improve this ability by getting a panasonic 20mm 1.7. It will give the epl-1 pretty good low light shooting ability. I would not use this camera in action shooting as it is really not what it was design for. So if your travel needs is the biggest thing, the epl-1 compact size can not be beat.

Both camera will do macro, cityscape, seascape, buildings and landscape well, with the kit lens They are equally as wide actually when you factor in their crop factor. 14 on the epl-1 and 18 on the pentax are both about 28mm in the 35mm equivalent. Match both camera up with a good macro lens and you will be set.

The pentax is the cost leader, 2 lens kit with the 300mm zoom is 700mm. The epl-1 adding the panasonic 45-200mm is 900 dollars. So that said, each has their advantages and disadvantages. That is why I have a canon T1i as my dslr for my regular camera, and the epl-1 as my travel companion. They still have not invented the all in one camera

If you see yourself taking more photo with a view finder, the electronic one for the epl-1 adds 250 dollars to the cost. But it is a good resolution one, and you can check dof through it when you preview it.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Mar 19, 2010 at 1:00 AM.
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