NEX-5N vs. GX1 Vs. E-M5 Vs. PEN camera's

Started Jul 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Re: NEX-5N vs. GX1 Vs. E-M5 Vs. PEN camera's
In reply to ejakobsen, Jul 24, 2012

You think that you can get good people shots at 1/10 shutter?

1/60 is the minimum I go to prevent motion blur

ejakobsen wrote:

I noticed that recent cheap compacts perform better than my old Panasonic Lumix LX3 “prosumer camera” and decided it was time to buy a new camera.

My needs are the following:

-I want to be able to take good pictures at low light (at night, inside a church,...)

-On my honeymoon to South-Africa in September I'm also doing safari's a long tele would be usefull there. On the other hand a very long tele would have little use afterwards for me.

-I need the camera+lens to be compact (otherwise I won't bring it and will use my smartphone instead...)

-There’s a good chance the camera will live long enough to meet our first baby in which case it would need to be good at taking those kinds of pictures & also some video’s
-I need the total price to be below €2000 (I'm not a professional)

I have a hard time choosing between NEX and M4/3. The NEX has the better sensor but fast lenses are very expensive there and the lenses are quite large. mentions the replacement of the NEX-5N will feature a pancake zoom but it will be announced late August which is too late for my honeymoon on 7 September.

Looking at M4/3 I like the Panasonic GX1 since it's good & compact. The Olympus E-M5 is clearly better but larger and very expensive. It's hard to buy that camera with some good lenses and stay below €2000. An important advantage of that camera for me is the image stabilization which would work with fast prime lenses which lack built in IS.

The set-up I was thinking about is:

-€ 699 Pana GX1 + Pana 14-42 PZ Kit (the Powerzoom is very compact, I'll have to live with the blur issue at certain shutter speeds)

-€ 309 Pana 45mm-200mm (not so great for Safari but afterwards I won't need more than 200mm which is 400mm equivalent)

-€359 20MM F1.7 Prime. A very fast (&compact) lens. I'd prefer it to be a bit wider for indoor shots and it's a shame the autofocus is slow on this one. The 14mm F2.5 just isn't bright enough (more than a full stop slower)

-€289 Samyang 7.5mm Fisheye. A niche lens but I like taking wide pictures and the GX1 doesn't have a fancy "panorama sweep" function. Also it’s quite compact.

The total package would then be €1656 and later on I would still be able to use the lenses if would buy an Olympus in 4 years to replace this one. The reverse isn’t possible, I can’t buy a Oly lens and put it on a Pana body since there won’t be any IS (image stabilization) at all.

I could state that the GX1+Zoom lenses aren’t as good at low light as the NEX + kit zoom but if use the Pana 20MM F1.7 prime it's the same or marginally better than Sony + Sigma primes (other primes are too expensive). On aperture the GX1 would have a 1.5 stop advantage and the larger sensor of the NEX almost compensates for that 1.5 stop disadvantage.

This however doesn’t take into account that the Pana 20MM prime doesn’t have IS. Supposing the IS gives at least a 2 stop advantage (e.g. 1/10s shutter speed instead of 1/40s for a 40mm lens) that would mean the Sony Nex-5N with kit lens clearly performs better at low light than the GX1 with 20mm F1.7 prime.

Furthermore I’d say the 20MM F1.7 doesn’t make much sense on Panasonic bodies (if you buy it for its brightness). The kit lens has a minimum aperture of F3.5 so a disadvantage of 2 stops. The IS in the kit lens should be able to compensate that. The Pana 14mm F2.5 makes even less sense since at the same focal length of the kit it has only 1 stop advantage, easily compensated by the IS.

So the primes only make sense on Olympus bodies. But the E-M5 is too expensive and the sensors in the PEN series such as E-P3 just can’t compete with the GX1.
Furthermore I don't like the Olympus zoom lenses (big or expensive).

I'm at a deadlock here. Are there faults in my reasoning or is there really no clear winner here for me?

Should I wait for the upcoming replacement of the NEX-5N with pancake zoom or a new PEN camera (with its In Body IS) and therefore visit south africa with my old LX3 (24-60 mm Equivalent focal range...)?

Sorry this post has become quite long but I'd love to hear your views on this!

 DonSantos's gear list:DonSantos's gear list
Nikon D600 Sony Alpha 7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Sony FE 55mm F1.8
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