E-PL1 Questions from a Nikon DSLR user

Started Sep 7, 2010 | Discussions thread
sean000
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Re: GF1 compares well against my D200
In reply to snegron, Sep 9, 2010

snegron wrote:

I have read the reviews of the E-PL1 here and I am looking into getting one. I currently have a Nikon D1X with buffer upgrade and a D200. I also have a Lumix LX3 and a TS1.

I have the GF1 instead of the E-PL1, but I also shoot with a Nikon D200 with 17-55mm f/2.8 (among other lenses) and I had a Lumix LX2 before the GF1 as my compact.

I would like a faster compact camera than my LX3 for travel and day to day carry. I find that the weight of either my D1X or my D200 with my Nikon 17-55mm 2.8 is a bit too much for day to day carry. I really like my LX3, but I find it to be a bit slow. I sometimes shoot with the external optical viewfinder attached on my LX3, and it seems to be a bit faster but not as fast as I'd like it to be.

This was my issue as well. I really wanted to carry a responsive and high quality camera with me on a daily basis, but my D200 with 17-55mm f/2.8 was out of the question. I tried carrying my old D70 (quite a bit lighter than my D200) with a 35mm f/2 prime and a lightweight 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom on a daily basis. Even if I just carried the D70+35mm prime it was pretty bulky and conspicuous. I really liked some things about the LX2, but I missed being able to get shallow depth of field when I wanted it. I also found the dynamic range to be limited and the camera was very sluggish to use...especially shooting RAW. The LX2 was also quite bad at anything over the base ISO. I considered upgrading to the LX3, but in the end decided that I would still be frustrated by the sluggishness and the lack of depth of field control. When you're used to a responsive DSLR it is difficult to deal with shutter lag and slow shot to shot performance.

I know I probably won't get the speed of a DSLR with an E-PL1, but I have had faster point and shoots in the past (my old Lumix FZ-50 was faster than my LX3). I have the latest firmware upgrade in my LX3, but it simply feels a bit too slow.

You may want to consider the GF1. It is very snappy. In fact it seems just as responsive as my D200 to me. Autofocus is super fast, no shutter lag, and shot to shot is quick as well... even shooting RAW. I have never tried one of the Oly cameras, but I went for the GF1 because all reviews said autofocus on the Panasonics outperforms autofocus on the Olys. That said Oly has improved AF speed with firmware, but I think the performance still varies from lens to lens and may still lag behind Panasonic overall.

I like the EP2, but I don't want to spend too much money at this time. The review of the E-PL1 here indicates that DSLR users will not be too thrilled with it, but I'm wondering if there are any DSLR users here who have been using an E-PL1 frequently?

The GF1 is available with the 20mm f/1.7 for as low as $724 online. In my opinion it's worth every penny... especially with the 20mm f/1.7 - a fantastic little lens. I'm as happy shooting with my GF1 as I am with my D200. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but at the end of the day the image quality is pretty comparable. The D200 is about a stop better in terms of high ISO, and maybe holds the highlights a little better; but differences in IQ are minor. I have shot the same subjects using both cameras, printed them out at 13x19, and you'd think I used the same camera to take both shots.

The D200 still has some advantages...especially when photographing action, using off-camera flashes, using autofocus with fast f/2.8 zooms, etc. But the GF1 has portability, it's inconspicuous, it shoots video, and I love the ability to compose and shoot in different aspect ratios. Of course it is tough to beat the manual switches and dials of the D200, but I find it pretty easy to change all of the crucial settings on the GF1 while I shoot. It's a responsive camera that seems well designed for photographers who want complete control over all the settings... and who don't want to be slowed down. And while the GF1 may not be a sport camera when compared to a typical DSLR, it's miles better than a compact P&S for action shots.

I also use a number of my Nikon lenses...especially my 50mm prime, on the GF1 with an adapter, but my typical daily carry kit is the GF1 with 20mm f/1.7 and 14-45mm zoom. The 45-200mm zoom is also astoundingly small and light for the amount of reach you get.

Sean

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Olympus Stylus XZ-10 Nikon D70 Nikon D200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 +13 more
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