Please Help Me Choose an Olympus Setup on a Budget

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Gned
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Please Help Me Choose an Olympus Setup on a Budget
10 months ago

I've decided to (probably) make the switch from DSLR to Micro 4/3.

Factors that are important to me, more or less in order:

  1. Price - I'm stretching my limits at $1000, and I'm already looking at 2nd hand/refurb to keep costs down.
  2. Image Quality - Of course.
  3. Low-light capability - I do a fair bit of indoor shooting with available light.
  4. Convenience - Point and shoot convenience with A-1 slr image quality is my dream.
  5. Build Quality - I really miss the solid feel of my old Canon A-1 film camera.
  6. Portability - That's one thing that draws me to m4/3.  Size is more of an issue than weight.

I'll be needing it mostly for travel, taking pictures both on the street and, in particular, indoor and outdoor architecture.  Here are the three setups I'm considering:

  • OMD EM5 with 12-50mm kit lens (is the IQ and construction worth having to wait several months to a year to obtain my ideal lens setup?)
  • E-PM2 with 14-42mm and 40-150mm kit lenses plus a fast prime; Possibly the Pany 20mm f1.7 (What are your thoughts on the kit lenses, and which sub-$500 prime would you suggest?)
  • E-PM2 with Panasonic 14-140mm f3.5-5.6 (I love the convenience of super-zooms, but how is the IQ?)

With any of these, I'll be looking for a super-wide-angle option down the road.  Are there any other obvious choices I'm missing?

About my current and past setups: I currently have a Canon Rebel Xsi (450D) and a 28-135mm f3.5-5.6, which lives on my camera most of the time, except when I need more wide angle. Then, I'm stuck falling back on the original 18-55mm kit lens.  If I need low-light performance or true wide-angle I'm pretty much SOL.  I was planning on getting the Tokina 11-16mm, which would help greatly, but the Xsi is getting pretty long in the tooth, I can't afford the "prosumer" quality canons, and I hate dropping another five or six hundred dollars (or more) on a cheap-feeling plastic bottom-of-the-line model.

I used to shoot with a Canon A-1 and a Canon 35-105mm f3.5 lens, which I loved, occasionally switching to a 70-200mm f4 or a 28mm f2.8.  If I could get that kind of IQ in a digital without mortgaging the house, I would be ecstatic.

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