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Old May 6, 2011, 8:52 AM   #1
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Default Fuji x100, EPL1/2, or NX100

Hello! I would appreciate some input from anyone who owns any of these cameras, or has opinions based on general photography and life experience

I am looking for a general purpose camera to take pictures at home and on vacation trips once or twice a year. I would like something that I won't feel is 'outdated' in a years time, a classic that I will still be happy to carry 3-4 years down the road.

I don't have a set budget, but would like to keep it at no more than $1200. I have a basic (and only basic) understanding of photography and have owned dslrs in the past but do not want the weight/size. I owned a Nex5 and the two kit lenses for about a month, and while I enjoyed it well enough I wasn't overly fond of the kit lenses and since I have no desire to manual focus every shot and there were no other lens options, I sold it.

I have narrowed it down to the above cameras for various reasons. Does anyone have an opinion on what might be best suited to general purpose home and travel shooting (to include landscapes, church/castle interior and exteriors, our garden, hikes, etc)? I don't have kids and don't do 'portraits' of people, but might take group shots in front of a building or sitting at a table in a restaurant.

Really prefer to set up camera to my preferences and do mostly jpeg, only raw on very rare occasions so jpeg output is fairly important. Know Oly is best for that, heard that so far x100 is doing pretty well in that regard too, don't know about nx100?

Would the Fuji's fixed lens be flexible enough to do what I need? Anyone have an NX100 and can comment on picture quality? All comments welcome!!

Thanks
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Old May 6, 2011, 9:33 AM   #2
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Hi,

I own an EPL-1 with the 14-42mm "kit" lens as well as a 9-18mm wide angle lens that I use for landscape and seascape photography. It is very simply a great camera for those times when you want to grab a camera when on a trip put it in auto mode, forget about the settings and let the camera do the work.

Olympus has done a good job of putting together a Jpeg engine, AA filter, and sensor that really provide very high quality jpegs straight out of the camera.

They also have a very complete line of lenses for their Pen series of cameras. and, the kit lenses are all very sharp.

I believe that it is a perfect choice for those people that enjoy taking pictures with a minimum of user input- although it does have complete manual controls for those times when you want more control.

The Fugi X100, on the other hand is a beautiful camera with excellent style and build quality. For $1200 it should be. I've read a lot about it as it is an intriguing camera but, frankly, out of my price range for a fixed lens camera.

There is a great demand for those at the moment. From all that I've read, I think it is more suited for the person who is an accomplished photographer, that wants complete control over all settings.

Both are good choices. Each having their pros and cons. I think, in the end, you have to decide how important is the ability to change lenses to you. As well as how involved you want to get with controlling the camera.

good luck with whatever you decide to buy.

Zig
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Old May 6, 2011, 11:35 AM   #3
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Hi Zig. Glad you responded as I have been reading this board as well as dpreview forums for a while and really enjoy your pictures and posts. I feel you give great advice to beginners in a way that is easy to understand.

If I go with the Oly (as beautiful as it is, I prefer not to spend the $1200 on the Fuji unless someone convinces me it is far superior for some reason), would you recommend the EPL1 or EPL2? I don't know if it is worth the extra $150 for the EPL2's updates since I will have it for a while - better screen, updated kit lens, etc., or since I have heard they produce the same image quality to just get the EPL1.

I enjoy playing with the different settings on cameras, seeing what effect they have on the picture, and getting different looks without post processing (which makes the 'velvia', 'astia', etc modes on the x100 appealing). But, I do not know enough to be artistic or creative with manual controls and therefore usually shoot in P mode. If I could set up a camera to where on vacation I could make minimal changes each time, push the shutter button, and get nice jpegs of buildings and landscapes (but better quality than even the nicest compacts can provide) I'd be happy.

Do you know anything about the Samsung NX100? For some reason it intrigues me - I think the ifunction would be very intuitive and it seems like they have some nice lenses. Price is right in line with the Olys.

Thanks!
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Old May 6, 2011, 5:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loch View Post
Hi Zig. Glad you responded as I have been reading this board as well as dpreview forums for a while and really enjoy your pictures and posts. I feel you give great advice to beginners in a way that is easy to understand.

If I go with the Oly (as beautiful as it is, I prefer not to spend the $1200 on the Fuji unless someone convinces me it is far superior for some reason), would you recommend the EPL1 or EPL2? I don't know if it is worth the extra $150 for the EPL2's updates since I will have it for a while - better screen, updated kit lens, etc., or since I have heard they produce the same image quality to just get the EPL1.

I enjoy playing with the different settings on cameras, seeing what effect they have on the picture, and getting different looks without post processing (which makes the 'velvia', 'astia', etc modes on the x100 appealing). But, I do not know enough to be artistic or creative with manual controls and therefore usually shoot in P mode. If I could set up a camera to where on vacation I could make minimal changes each time, push the shutter button, and get nice jpegs of buildings and landscapes (but better quality than even the nicest compacts can provide) I'd be happy.

Do you know anything about the Samsung NX100? For some reason it intrigues me - I think the ifunction would be very intuitive and it seems like they have some nice lenses. Price is right in line with the Olys.

Thanks!
Hi,

If I were to buy an Olympus Pen series camera today, frankly I would choose the EPL-2. The larger LCD screen is nice as are the redesigned control dials and relocated buttons. Some say it is even nicer looking, but the most important feature of the E-PL2 (to me) is the 14-42mm lens. I'll take whatever incremental improvement there is in the area of Auto Focus. The newer version 14-42mm lens is a definite improvement over the original lens. It is quieter as well as faster to focus.

However for all intents and purposes, you won't see a significant improvement in the area of image quality. Both are fine performers.

As for taking a camera along on vacation and such. This was the principal reason I picked up the E-PL1. I wanted to have the ability to take along a small camera without sacrificing image quality. But also wanted the ability to change lenses for greater flexibility. Thus the reason I got the 9-18mm.

Also,the E-PL1/2 is so small that even with the 9-18mm lens attached ,I can fit it inside the pocket of my cargo shorts.

As for the Samsung NX100, I'm reticent about commenting on it as I've not read much about it, haven't held it in my hand or trust any of the people that have thus far reviewed it.

By the way, thanks for the kind comments. I try not to comment on things I'm not familiar with. For that reason, I generally don't respond to every query that people post.

Zig
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Old May 8, 2011, 4:26 AM   #5
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The X100 advantage boils down to the incredible viewfinder and excellent lens in a compact and very beautiful package. The others have the benefit/disadvantage of interchangeable lenses.

For what you describe there is no reason at all why you couldn't use the X100. It's certainly possible to set it up when you get it out the box, and hardly ever change a thing after that.

In fact some of the frustrations that are being reported about the X100 are preceisely where you have very experienced photographers who do want to change settings a lot and find the controls annoying.

You could easily set up to P mode, auto-ISO, auto-HDR, auto-focus and then just concentrate on focusing on the right thing and composing the picture the way you want.

The Olympus EP-L2 is also a lovely little camera however, not as good as the X100 within the range of the X100's capabilities, but more flexible chiefly due to its interchangeable lens mount.
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Old May 8, 2011, 4:51 AM   #6
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Only problem with the x100 is that you were not happy with the lens options of the nex5, there are none with the fuji x100. Nice camera, but fixed lens.

The samsung's are nice. But the jpeg does not look as good as the olympus. But they have good lenses, they team up with schnieder. And their lens are way nicer then the nex. So to get the most out of the nx100 you really better off shooting raw to get better jpegs.

The olympus gives you the most lens options being able to use panny lenses also. It does not have the dof control of the nex, but produce a much nicer jpeg. I use the epl-1 for travel, as I want a small system with good lens options. And I have been very happy with the lenses from both panny and olympus for my pen.
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Old May 8, 2011, 6:37 AM   #7
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Only problem with the x100 is that you were not happy with the lens options of the nex5, there are none with the fuji x100. Nice camera, but fixed lens.
I think the OP's problem, as with many others, is simply that the lenses currently made for the NEX are very poor by today's standards, and that to get a decent lens on it you need to use an adapter.

The question of a fixed focal length is of course something different. It brings some advantages, as well as of course pretty much ruling out certain types of photography altogether.

I wouldn't worry if you're the type of photographer who might prefer a wider angle for occasional landscapes, as the panorama feature is pretty good and leaves plenty of room for cropping later.

But if you need telephoto then clearly the X100 is all wrong.
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Old May 9, 2011, 11:41 AM   #8
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Zig, I found your settings for the Nex5 jpegs (from your post on Dpreview) very helpful in getting my photos closer to what I was looking for/expecting from that camera. Would you mind sharing how you use your EPL1 as far as jpegs? Do you set everything on auto and let it do what everyone says it does so well, or do you find certain adjustments improve even Oly's infamous jpeg output? Thanks!

Shoturtle, do you know how the size of the nx lenses compare to that of the nex's? I understand that with a full size sensor the camera will require larger lenses than that of m4/3, but have heard that Samsung's are more compact than Sony. Overall size of camera and lens as well as Jpeg output are all considerations in this decision. It was the quality of the Nex kit lenses that didn't blow me away, and there were no other options available other than manual focus or the 18-200 which I didn't even try as it was more than I wanted to carry. Most people agree with you that Samsung has quite decent lenses, but learning to shoot/process raw would be quite a learning curve for me.

Peripatetic - nice photos and website! Tempt me towards the Fuji as I really like the landscapes and beach scenes you took with it, but don't know if I could come anywhere close to what you got that camera to produce. Set up as you described - P mode, auto ISO HDR and focus, how is the jpeg output in general? Is it worth considering this camera if I would do 90-95% jpeg shooting?

Also, would you personally consider the fL sufficient for a vac/general family trip? Years ago I used to use my dad's old canon film slr with only a 50mm lens, as that was all he had, on trips all through the American west and was quite happy with those photos. I found on my last trip that most of the photos I liked best were taken with a Pentax dslr and a 35mm (I assume that is a 52.5mm equiv?) f2.4 lens. Would I find the Fuji FL more difficult to work with do you think? I don't have a camera right now so can't go practice with that FL to see how flexible it is.

Thanks everyone for your help. I plan to buy something this week to get in time to learn it a bit before next trip.
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Old May 9, 2011, 1:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Loch View Post
Zig, I found your settings for the Nex5 jpegs (from your post on Dpreview) very helpful in getting my photos closer to what I was looking for/expecting from that camera. Would you mind sharing how you use your EPL1 as far as jpegs? Do you set everything on auto and let it do what everyone says it does so well, or do you find certain adjustments improve even Oly's infamous jpeg output? Thanks!

Thanks everyone for your help. I plan to buy something this week to get in time to learn it a bit before next trip.
Hi Loch,

I most often have the E-PL1 in auto mode when I'm taking photos of the grandkids outside or messing around inside the house. Essentially, for candids.

When not in auto, I switch to manual mode. It is something that I've done since my film days and just feel more comfortable. That's not to say that someone else can't get the same or better results with another mode. It just works for me.

as an example; when I'm using a Minolta Rokkor 50mm f1.4 lens for the purpose of taking portraits. In this instance, I'm after a particular lighting effect as well as depth of field. I lean towards natural light and avoid flash as much as is possible. I find I can control the output more toward my liking when in total manual mode.

Also, I take a fair amount of landscape scenes at low light- i.e. sunsets/ sunrises. Again, I'm after a particular lighting mood and depth of field which I find I can control again using manual mode. In this case, I'm usually somewhere around f8 for greater DOF, slow shutter speed as well as mounting the E-PL1 on a tripod.

I also tend to take multiple shots of the same scene with exposure bracketed by a value .03 . I then run it thru an HDR plug-in for some dramatic landscapes images.

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Old May 9, 2011, 1:37 PM   #10
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Peripatetic - nice photos and website! Tempt me towards the Fuji as I really like the landscapes and beach scenes you took with it, but don't know if I could come anywhere close to what you got that camera to produce. Set up as you described - P mode, auto ISO HDR and focus, how is the jpeg output in general? Is it worth considering this camera if I would do 90-95% jpeg shooting?

Also, would you personally consider the fL sufficient for a vac/general family trip? Years ago I used to use my dad's old canon film slr with only a 50mm lens, as that was all he had, on trips all through the American west and was quite happy with those photos. I found on my last trip that most of the photos I liked best were taken with a Pentax dslr and a 35mm (I assume that is a 52.5mm equiv?) f2.4 lens. Would I find the Fuji FL more difficult to work with do you think? I don't have a camera right now so can't go practice with that FL to see how flexible it is.
The jpg quality from the Fuji is excellent; even very experienced photographers are finding that there is relatively little to be gained from shooting RAW. On the other hand I would strongly suggest buying a copy of Adobe Lightroom (and the Luminous Landscape video tutorials) anyway - at which point you may as well shoot RAW. If you insist on shooting jpg then I hope you are using iPhoto on a Mac! If you are not doing one of those two then you are making your life needlessly difficult.

As to FL - the Fuji has a 23mm lens -> 35mm equivalent. Until I got the X100 I was a 50mm shooter almost exclusively, but the adjustment to 35 is very easy. 35 & 50 are the two classic documentary focal lengths, either one is fine for most purposes.
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