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Thread: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

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    New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Thank you. I am currently thinking about purchasing the Olympus E-P3 to start and would like to purchase a lens that would be good for close up and far away. I know there is an ED 50mm - 200mm lens that sounds like it would cover the range I am going for. I would be using the camera for travel and I do not want to carry several lenses. any ideas???
    Last edited by Donald; 3rd January 2012 at 04:52 PM.

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    All members - I moved the above post from Rose from the New Member thread into here so that more of you would see it and possibly offer suggestions.

    Rose - for my part, I would say that what you have to remember is that your decision is an important one because you're not just buying a camera and a lens, but you are setting yourself on the road to commitment to a certain brand. Because (unless you've got lots of money) folks don't tend to switch brands after investing money in one system over another. So, you need to be looking long-term.

    In terms of the PEN E-P3, I don't know that camera at all. But this is what DPReview had to say in its summary:

    "Conclusion - Pros



    • Beautifully-styled and built, with lots of external controls
    • Excellent JPEG output: warm, saturated colours, but not cartoonish
    • Reliable metering and white balance
    • Extremely fast, accurate and near-silent autofocus with MSC lenses (including kit zooms)
    • Bright, sharp OLED screen works well for composition even in bright light
    • Useful touchscreen functions (e.g. touch focus) complement rather than replace external controls
    • Hugely customizable and flexible controls
    • Dual control dials (although wheel around 4-way controller is small and fiddly)
    • Built-in image stabilisation works with all lenses (including adapted 'legacy' manual focus ones)
    • Dual-axis electronic level
    • Wide range of Art Filter effects encourages creative experimentation
    • Superb optional electronic viewfinder (now with improved live view feed)
    • Collapsible 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II kit zoom aids portability
    • Built-in flash offers wireless control of external units


    Conclusion - Cons



    • Ageing sensor means resolution and high ISO noise performance can't match the competition
    • Multi-screen Live View interface is beginning to look very dated
    • No dedicated ISO or WB buttons (but can be assigned to Drive or Flash mode buttons)
    • No Live View during continuous shooting
    • OLED screen isn't terribly colour-accurate, and not so great for reviewing images
    • Touch focus mode could be better-implemented
    • Touch screen has some bugs (controls can unexpectedly lock up while you contact the screen when touch functions aren't available)
    • Extremely complex menu system (although now prettier and easier to navigate)
    • Movie mode preview is inaccurate (camera crops-in when you press the record button)


    Overall conclusion


    The E-P3 is, in many ways, the camera we always hoped the PEN would be. It addresses the major weaknesses and criticisms of the E-P1 and E-P2, most notably with substantially faster focusing, a much better screen, and the addition of a built-in flash. These improvements, along with its plethora of external controls, excellent JPEG image quality, and hugely attractive design, make the E-P3 a very desirable camera indeed.
    But there's a host of less obvious improvements too, many of which are inherited from the E-PL2. The control layout has been revised and improved with the addition of dedicated movie recording and magnification buttons, and on balance we'd say improved. All sorts of other features, from the beginner-orientated Live Guide interface to the fully-customisable exposure warning screen have trickled-up to the top model in the PEN range too. All this means that not only is the E-P3 a hugely capable and well-featured camera, but it's a pleasure to shoot with (although not entirely free of irritations)."
    Last edited by Donald; 3rd January 2012 at 05:10 PM.

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    That review pretty much covers it. The EP3 is a quick camera, but was there any particular reason you wanted to get a mirrorless camera? For similar money you can usually get a nikon d3100 or a canon rebel t3. The rebel t3 also has the added bonus of great video, which if you're travelling, you may find very helpful. Also note that the d3100 and t3 are both rather small compared to most other dslrs.

    Really, the biggest drawback to the EP3 is the smaller sensor. If you're going to do any kind of low light then a very fast lens is an absolute must, but even with a faster lens it's not quite the same as having an APS-C.

    Also, if you're dead set on a mirrorless, the sony NEX 5n is another good choice (if you can deal with their terrible menus)

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    From a completely non tech stand point Olympus has had some business issues lately.

    Sony may be a better bet for a mirrorless camera if that is what you are after.

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    The Olympus pen system did at certain times offer the camera with two kit lenses, the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6. Both cost about $300 sold separately. They also have a 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 lens that costa about $900. They also have an adapter which allows you to use third party lenses. Those would be the pros of going with Olympus, as another member stated the company is going through financial woes but any system sold today. There are a lot of new entries into the mirrorless camera market so do look around. Olympus just happens to have been in the field far longer than the others, although I believe Panasonic has a system with a few years under its belt.

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Donald's assessment of the Olympus is spot on and combined with Bryan's business side assessments should give you the ammunition you need to make your choice.

    Although I have been a fan of the Olympus innovations over the years, I would not recommend Olympus at this moment because of he flux in which the company finds itself. Buying a camera is buying into a systen and if the manufacturer discontinues operation, you might be caught short.

    The ED 50mm - 200mm lens would be a great general purpose telephoto but, IMO, it would not be a great general purpose lens because it is not wide enough on the Olympus camera. It would be equivalent to a 100-400mm lens on a full frame camera. That is a great focal range for portraiture, wildlife and sports but would be too long for a lot of shooting.

    Since you are considering a High Grade ED Olympus lens, I would suggest that the ED 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens would be a more versatile general purpose lens. However, the list price of $999.99 for a lens with a variable aperture is pretty high in my estimation. The Zuiko Digital, 14-54mm, F2.8-3.5 II lens might also be a choice.

    Coming from a Canon owner, it seems like the Olympus lens lineup is not as wide in selection as is the Canon lineup (or even the Nikon lineup). http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_se...p?section=lens I don't know if there are 3rd party lenses available for the Olympus but, if not, that would make the Canon/Nikon lens lineups even a wider selection in comparison with the Olympus.

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Hi Rose,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me.

    I was recently looking at a new system for Rebecca (my daughter and member here) and we think, for what she shoots (a fair amount of distant wildlife and macro) that the Panasonic GH-2 with 14-140mm lens, plus later adding the 100-300mm lens, will be the best option for her.

    This is also a 4/3 system camera and the lens mentioned give ranges of 28-280mm initially (= almost what she has now on my old Fuji) and later 200-600mm for the birds, this latter takes her well beyond what I can afford to fit to my Nikon.

    What focal lengths (and Depth of Fields) do you envisage using most? That may indicate whether 4/3 (with 2 x crop factor) is the right sensor size for you.

    It depends what you shoot/want to shoot.

    I have to say I am also concerned regarding how long Olympus will stay in business, but just saying that makes it worse

    Cheers,

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by BJ Denning View Post
    From a completely non tech stand point Olympus has had some business issues lately.

    Sony may be a better bet for a mirrorless camera if that is what you are after.
    Yes to comment one - there are two threads on this already on this site, and every other photo site I've visited has one too. It is a concern and should be considered.

    Glenn

    PS to Dave Humphries: Olympus has far larger problems than a few comments from us.

    PPS: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16281912

    Do these guys all use the same tailor?
    Last edited by Glenn NK; 4th January 2012 at 05:05 AM.

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    I'm not necessarily convinced that Olympus's business issues are that big a deal to an end camera user. Chances are good that if Olympus goes under, the camera arm would be purchased by someone else and continued. Think of how Sony purchased Minolta, and Ricoh purchased Pentax. The micro four-thirds camera sector is one of the few pieces of Olympus that was growing (although their medical imaging equipment was their real cash cow). It might be a situation like Kyocera's purchase (and burying) of Contax, but can't help thinking that if nothing else, if you go Olympus micro four-thirds, and Olympus tanks and never makes another camera, all you have to do is buy a Panasonic micro four-thirds body, and you're in business again.

    To me, the big issue was that when I went into a store to play with an EP-3 after reading all the praise that dpreview had heaped upon it, I hated the UI. The menu system drove me a little nuts, and there was this Panasonic G3 sitting right next to it, which I picked up and instantly had a much better time with. The fact that the G3 also has a flip-out screen and integrated electronic viewfinder to weigh against the Oly in-body stabilization, and my decision got a lot harder.

    I would urge you, as someone above did, to consider whether a mirrorless system or a dSLR system is a better fit for what you want to shoot. Fast action and long lens photography is likely to come down on the side of a dSLR for the time being. Mirrorless cameras are smaller/lighter, more P&S like in their UIs, and take more adapted lenses, but they are about as expensive in the long run as dSLRs, and because of their relative newness, the lens systems haven't been completely filled out yet. And with micro four-thirds, you have a slightly smaller sensor, so you're at a slight disadvantage with high ISO noise and with shallow DoF (say a stop or so). But don't let anyone tell you that they're like P&S cameras. There are a lot of photographers doing serious work with the smaller bodies, and the image quality is good enough, particularly when weight and bulk are an issue. Smaller sensor technology has been making some rapid strides.

    I would also urge you not to fixate on a single model/brand too early with mirrorless compacts. This sector is changing rapidly and there are a ton of different options as the camera makers try and feel their way into sweet spots. The dpreview 'roundup' on this sector that was recently posted is a great introduction to all the different offerings that are out there right now, and what each system's advantages/disadvantages may be.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    This sector is changing rapidly and there are a ton of different options as the camera makers try and feel their way into sweet spots. The dpreview 'roundup' on this sector that was recently posted is a great introduction to all the different offerings that are out there right now, and what each system's advantages/disadvantages may be.
    Kathy

    That is a tremendously useful link. I hadn't previously seen it.

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    When choosing a camera you are also choosing a system

    Some photographers are absolutely in love with shooting live-view and framing their images using the LCD. My wife will always use live view. But, from her results, that is certainly not a recommendation of live-view as a method. I personally HATE using the LCD in all but a few types of shooting. I demand eye level TTL viewing.

    If live view was the only way to use a digital camera, I would certainly still be shooting film. Many of the smaller 4/3 cameras due to size constraints have done away with eye-level viewfinders and I would not even consider one of these.

    I don't know about the slightly larger (but, smaller than the typical DSLR camera) mirrorless cameras such as the Sony SLT-A77 which uses an eye-level XGA OLED Viewfinder. I may or may not like that type of viewing. But, in any way, IMO, it would be superior to framing your shots with the LCD.

    BTW: The Sony SLT-A77 has quite a few interesting bells and whistles and if I were going to start in digital photography, I might very well do some research into this camera. One thing that I would like on the Sony is the capability of eye level viewing when shooting video. I have been a cinematographer in a previous reincarnation and am used to shooting movies using an eye level viewfinder. The only time I ever used a non- eye level viewfinder was when I used the Professional Steadicam and I did not like using it then!

    Of course, the camera is only one portion of the digital set up. I would need to research the availability and prices of the lenses which are compatible with any camera I started with.

    As an example, I really like my Canon 7D but, what I really LOVE about the Canon line is the availability of lenses. I shoot with the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and 70-200mm f/4L IS lenses on a pair of 1.6x cameras and don't think that there is a better combination of glass for my style of shooting out there in digital cameraland.

    I also have a 300mm f/4L IS and a 400mm f/5.6L; both of which I purchased used. These lenses have been around for a long time and there are numerous copies on the used market. I don't think that I would be able to get the equivalent of these lenses for either the Sony SLT-A77 or for a 4/3 camera at anyway near the price I paid for the two used lenses. I also use a 12-24mm f/4 Tokina and a 90mm f.2.8 Tamron SP-AF macro. I purchased the Tokina new for $500 (USD) and was able to get the Tamron, used, for about $100 (USD). I don't think that there would be lenses like this floating around for other than the top two brands; Canon or Nikon...

    Many CiC members highly recommend full frame DSLR cameras and I agree that full frame can provide top notch results. However, my 1.6x crop systems can also provide excellent results. I would suspect that the 4/3 system which has a smaller sensor than the 1.6x crop system can also produce quite adequate imagery (heck some good P&S cameras can produce adequate imagery). But, I have not made a head to head comparison between the 1.6x and 4/3 formats. I am perfectly happy with my 1.6x system and don't need a camera the size of a cigarette pack.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 4th January 2012 at 05:52 PM.

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    Re: When choosing a camera you are also choosing a system

    Somebody mentioned Panasonic having a mirrorless system -- Keep in mind this is THE SAME system as Olympus. The micro four thirds format is a joint venture between Olympus and Panasonic. The picture quality is the same, and the lenses are interchangeable between the two.

    Another major factor in the MFT system is that Leica's engineers work with Panasonic for their optics. In other words, you can get legitimate Leica lenses for the MFT system at a reasonable price! Most of a camera's quality is about the optics, so this is a HUGE bonus.

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Hi Rose

    I don't have any experience of the Olympus but I do own a Panasonic GF1 which has the same or at the least very very similar micro 4/3 sensor.

    I wouldn't be too concerned about Olympus's business problems as iyou can still mount panasonic lenses on it.

    Image quality is excellent the only issues are high iso say over 800. Then again fast primes like the 20mm f1.7 help that.

    I wouldn't go for the 50-200 excellent but big and heavy and designed for 4/3 not m4/3. the two kit 14-42 and 40-150 probably a better bet.

    Sony NEX system probably has better image quality but it doesn't have the range of pancake primes so its not a camera for a jacket pocket

    The question is what do you want from a camera ? do you want something with excellent image quality you can slip in a pocket when travelling? then mirrorless is the way to go. or are you happy with something more traditional like a dSLR? Also what do you want to take photos of?

    if you don't want to change lenses Bridge cameras like the Panasonic FZ150 come to mind. or buy a dSLR with a travel zoom.

    I currently have an investment in 3 systems! The Nikon 1, Micro 4/3 and a Nikon dSLR. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. yes the word is bonkers!

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    Re: When choosing a camera you are also choosing a system

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post

    If live view was the only way to use a digital camera, I would certainly still be shooting film. Many of the smaller 4/3 cameras due to size constraints have done away with eye-level viewfinders and I would not even consider one of these.

    I don't know about the slightly larger (but, smaller than the typical DSLR camera) mirrorless cameras such as the Sony SLT-A77 which uses an eye-level XGA OLED Viewfinder. I may or may not like that type of viewing. But, in any way, IMO, it would be superior to framing your shots with the LCD.

    BTW: The Sony SLT-A77 has quite a few interesting bells and whistles and if I were going to start in digital photography, I might very well do some research into this camera. One thing that I would like on the Sony is the capability of eye level viewing when shooting video. I have been a cinematographer in a previous reincarnation and am used to shooting movies using an eye level viewfinder. The only time I ever used a non- eye level viewfinder was when I used the Professional Steadicam and I did not like using it then!
    surely Sony NEX7? the A77 is pretty much bog standard dSLR in size?

    there are times a small camera works much better than a dSLR. e.g street photography or if you are going to a concert in a city want to take pics but don't want to take a dSLR
    Last edited by thequacksoflife; 4th January 2012 at 08:23 PM.

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by thequacksoflife View Post
    Hi Rose

    I don't have any experience of the Olympus but I do own a Panasonic GF1 which has the same or at the least very very similar micro 4/3 sensor.

    The very same. The Panasonic GF1 is practically the same camera as the Olympus EPL1. The differences are only in terms of the interface.

  16. #16
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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Kathy... That is a tremendously useful link. I hadn't previously seen it.
    You're welcome. The dpreview RSS feeds are tremendously handy for spotting stuff like this.

    Quote Originally Posted by thequacksoflife View Post
    ... I don't have any experience of the Olympus but I do own a Panasonic GF1 which has the same or at the least very very similar micro 4/3 sensor.
    Olympus and Panasonic both use four-thirds sensors, and share the same mount system, but there are system differences, the biggest of which is that Olympus uses in-body stabilization, while Panasonic uses in-lens stabilization. When you go across brands, stabilization can become an issue, but all the pieces do play together.

    Because of the dual brand support and the greater maturity of the micro four-thirds system, of all the mirrorless compacts out there, this system is the most complete in its offerings. But it's only a two year head start. In two years, who knows what we'll be seeing from Sony (or Fuji). Just as Panasonic is using Leica lens design expertise, Sony uses Zeiss.

    Also, there are rumors that by spring of 2012, Fuji will have their interchangeable lens version of the X100 out on the market. And, of course, Canon has yet to enter the fray. These are interesting and wonderful times.

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    Olympus and Panasonic both use four-thirds sensors, and share the same mount system, but there are system differences, the biggest of which is that Olympus uses in-body stabilization, while Panasonic uses in-lens stabilization. When you go across brands, stabilization can become an issue, but all the pieces do play together.
    Different stabilization systems essentially means the lenses (bodies) from the other brand are non-compatible. This would seem to be a major drawback, and not an advantage. The Olympus brand (my first 35 mm camera) would be a non-starter for me. It's somewhat akin to betting on a horse than may not make it to the finish line. Caution is in order.

    Glenn

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Different stabilization systems essentially means the lenses (bodies) from the other brand are non-compatible. This would seem to be a major drawback, and not an advantage. The Olympus brand (my first 35 mm camera) would be a non-starter for me. It's somewhat akin to betting on a horse than may not make it to the finish line. Caution is in order.

    Glenn
    I can tell you with 100% certainty that the lenses are completely interchangeable between all MFT cameras.

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by bumbles View Post
    Thank you. I am currently thinking about purchasing the Olympus E-P3 to start and would like to purchase a lens that would be good for close up and far away.
    Regarding your macro (close up) requirement, I don't think Olympus has a dedicated macro lens in their inventory but they do have a macro converter lens (MCON-P01) that adds magnification to your image.
    Last edited by Donald; 5th January 2012 at 09:19 AM. Reason: Put in quotation code

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    Re: New member - Query on buying new system. Possibly Olympus

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Regarding your macro (close up) requirement, I don't think Olympus has a dedicated macro lens in their inventory but they do have a macro converter lens (MCON-P01) that adds magnification to your image.
    There is a Panasonic 45 f2.8 macro for micro 4/3 which will work fine on the e-p3. excellent image quality but its a bit pricey

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