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Old Jul 8, 2011, 9:30 PM   #1
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Default Which 4/3rds camera should I buy?

Hi everyone,

I'm in the market for a new camera and have decided that's it's going to be one of the new 4/3rds cameras. I'm actually moving down from a Canon 60D...I liked the camera, but decided I like the size of the 4/3rds offering better and fournd myself missing the E-PL1 that I used to have. I've already sold the 60D so I have the money just waiting for my decision. I'd say my camera skills are in the intermediate level. I like to take pics of many different things, but some of the more common stuff is family, nature, street type stuff, and I also like to play around with macro too.

I have narrowed it down to the Panasonic G3, Olympus P3, and Sony Nex-C3(yes I realize the C3 has a larger sensor). My current carry around camera is a Olympus XZ-1. I've always been a big fan of Olympus, but everything I've seen about the G3 looks great. Not so sure about the Sony stuff...their lens offering seem to limit them some. In reallity I know that they are all good cameras, so should I just let it come down to price? I can order the G3 with the 14-42mm for $524.99 through the Panasonic EPP site. Or I have a freind that works for Sony Pictures and can use his discount to get the Nex-C3 for $544 with the 18-55mm or $502 with the 16mm. I'd love to get the new Olympus P3, but their is quite a big difference in the prices and by what I've seen, the G3 and C3 perform better at higher ISOs.

At this point I'm leaning towards the Panasonic G3. So what do you all think? Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

TIA,

-Bruce
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Old Jul 8, 2011, 9:59 PM   #2
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I would go for the new olympus ep3. Superfast af for m4/3 camera, to bad it can not focus track as fast as single shot. Better dynamic range then the G3 as oly developed their own 4/3 sensor.
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Old Jul 8, 2011, 11:16 PM   #3
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None of the m4/3 are really great at 3200iso. 1600 to 2500 iso is about max even with the G3 and ep3. If you want high iso performance, the C3 is the better option, but the lenses options are a tad thin, and the kit lenses are soft compare to the m4/3 options.
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 12:21 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies shoturtle. I know you are a very well respected person on this forum so I value your input.

I've read two reviews already that compare the ep3 to the g3. This one seems to one echo your thoughts on the ep3:

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/ol...lumix-g3-16869

But then there is this article that seems to report the opposite:

http://www.digitalcamerainfo.com/con...era-Review.htm

So I'm not really sure at this point. Auto focus seems pretty close, but to me the image quality of the ep3 is a little sharper...at least right of the camera. I do like all the art filters on the Olympus too...they are fun to play around with. I guess my biggest decision is deciding if the ep3 is $300+ better than the G3. Oh decisions, decisions...
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 2:55 AM   #5
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The ep3 is a bit pricey, but you get ibis so any lens you put on it you will have it stabilized. None of the panny prime lenses are OIS. So only on a olympus body do you get the IS benefit. Which is a nice thing to have when shooting in low light with a big aperture lens, you can hand hold at 1/8 to 1/16 shutter speed for static shots. I was really impress with that ability when shooting night scenes in thailand hand held. So you can shoot cleaner iso at 800-1600, while the panny will need to push up to 3200 or 6400 to avoid camera shake. And you will have a much better photo with the olympus with the lower iso shot.

I was impress with the single shot AF of the ep3, for center focus single shots it was faster then a nikon d3s. That is lighting fast. It is kinda like how a scooter can beat a sport bike in a drag race for the first 20ft. As it is setup for quicker launch with the cvt transmission. But after that the race is all sport bike. The G3 can not do that. But I also take the AF speed with some reservation. On off center shots, it is not as effective. And in low contrast scenes it hunts like all mirrorless camera. And it is not as good in focus tracking, so it is still not great for action. But for street shots, the AF speed will get you that spur of the moment shot.

I generally ignore any comparisons of 4/3 pass 2500iso. As it is spliting hair, they just do not preform well pass there as with bad shot is not as bad. And I would not recommend using them up there. Even APS-c 6400 is top, and they are putting in 25600iso, totally useless. Even at 12800iso they are pretty bad. So 4/3 comparisons at 6400iso is kinda of senseless. If you need to shoot at 6400 iso you are better off with and aps-c camera then 4/3.

The epl3 should be out in the next 2 months if you are not going to get it within the next 2 weeks. It should be less expensive, but I kinda do not like fact that they do not include a incamera flash, instead they did a sony thing and bundle a flash with the camera.

Personally I am waiting for the epm1. I want a even smaller body then my epl-1. But I really need to see weather it will bother me allot not having a built in flash. As I have grown accustom to having to trigger my wireless ettl flash. Something panasonic is so far behind the camera market in. They just do not do a good flash system right now.

Here is some high iso test of the ep3 from dpreview
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/olympusep3/page11.asp

And you can see the head to head from image resources, just pick the ep3 and the g3 very telling results when you zoom into the shot.
http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM
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Last edited by shoturtle; Jul 10, 2011 at 3:15 AM.
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 9:13 PM   #6
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I would offer the following:

First off, I've nothing against Sony or their NEX-5 EVIL camera. However, there is such a limited amount of lenses currently on the market that, that alone, would give me pause for thought.
The one really significant CURRENT advantage that both Panasonic and Olympus both enjoy is having a wide variety of prime and zoom lenses. ALL of which are very good to outstanding.

As for APC vs fourthirds sensor size, this has long been a point of discussion. Yes APC is slightly larger. But, both Panasonic and Olympus have been hard at work in developing, sensors and jpeg engines that deliver outstanding results. Add to that, good lenses, and you can mitigate the ISO differences to the point where it no longer is a factor. I regularly print and sell 13x19 borderless photographs of landscapes, seascapes, and birds. I personally find it hard to distinguish my results with fellow photogs in the area that sell similar prints to the tourists using Canon and Nikon dslrs.

From my perspective, I would hold off buying any of the mirrorless offerings until the EP-3, EP-mini, and EPL-3 have been fully released and in the hands of some users as well as the release of full blown hands on reviews.

At that time you can make an educated decision.

Zig
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 9:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
The ep3 is a bit pricey, but you get ibis so any lens you put on it you will have it stabilized. None of the panny prime lenses are OIS. So only on a olympus body do you get the IS benefit. Which is a nice thing to have when shooting in low light with a big aperture lens, you can hand hold at 1/8 to 1/16 shutter speed for static shots. I was really impress with that ability when shooting night scenes in thailand hand held. So you can shoot cleaner iso at 800-1600, while the panny will need to push up to 3200 or 6400 to avoid camera shake. And you will have a much better photo with the olympus with the lower iso shot.

I was impress with the single shot AF of the ep3, for center focus single shots it was faster then a nikon d3s. That is lighting fast. It is kinda like how a scooter can beat a sport bike in a drag race for the first 20ft. As it is setup for quicker launch with the cvt transmission. But after that the race is all sport bike. The G3 can not do that. But I also take the AF speed with some reservation. On off center shots, it is not as effective. And in low contrast scenes it hunts like all mirrorless camera. And it is not as good in focus tracking, so it is still not great for action. But for street shots, the AF speed will get you that spur of the moment shot.

I generally ignore any comparisons of 4/3 pass 2500iso. As it is spliting hair, they just do not preform well pass there as with bad shot is not as bad. And I would not recommend using them up there. Even APS-c 6400 is top, and they are putting in 25600iso, totally useless. Even at 12800iso they are pretty bad. So 4/3 comparisons at 6400iso is kinda of senseless. If you need to shoot at 6400 iso you are better off with and aps-c camera then 4/3.

The epl3 should be out in the next 2 months if you are not going to get it within the next 2 weeks. It should be less expensive, but I kinda do not like fact that they do not include a incamera flash, instead they did a sony thing and bundle a flash with the camera.

Personally I am waiting for the epm1. I want a even smaller body then my epl-1. But I really need to see weather it will bother me allot not having a built in flash. As I have grown accustom to having to trigger my wireless ettl flash. Something panasonic is so far behind the camera market in. They just do not do a good flash system right now.

Here is some high iso test of the ep3 from dpreview
http://www.dpreview.com/previews/olympusep3/page11.asp

And you can see the head to head from image resources, just pick the ep3 and the g3 very telling results when you zoom into the shot.
http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

I agree with your general assessment. But trying hard at figuring out when the average photographer ( I include myself in that group) would need to shoot as high as ISO6400 regularly. Given the fact that, with the good fast lenses available currently, I don't stray above that.

And, before someone posts a comment such as: but Zig, if you had a choice between two cameras with the APC giving better ISO performance than the 4/3, why wouldn't you buy the dslr with the APC sensor? one Quite honestly, in my book, neither one meets those needs. If I were in that situation, I'd be using a full frame camera not one with a cropped sensor.

Zig
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 10:19 PM   #8
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Some regular folks do shoot up there on a regular basic with fast primes. That is the nature of the beast if you shoot in clubs. You need every ounce of shutter speed you can muster. I routinely go upto 3200iso when shooting some of my indoor stuff with 1.4 primes to avoid motion blur. But I really avoid 6400 unless I have no other choice.

The simple reason is FF is the best tool for shooting high iso. But not everyone has the luxury of a budget for FF camera. Give the average shooter and their budget. Aps-c is the cost effective way to shoot at 3200 and 6400 and get decent results if that is something the user needs. It is not a bad compromise given budget.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Jul 13, 2011 at 3:38 PM.
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Old Jul 13, 2011, 2:11 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info guys. I really do like the E-P3 so like Zig suggested...I think I'll try to wait a little until the cameras start shipping so I can get some more detailed hands on reviews.
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