Intrigued by M43

Started Feb 25, 2012 | Discussions
kseth
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Intrigued by M43
Feb 25, 2012

I went into Park Cameras in the UK to buy a new lens for my Canon DSLR.

For the first time I picked up a M43rds Panasonic (the GX1 and G3). Although the salesman said he'd go for the Sony NEX 5N instead (unpleasant in the hand for my taste), I thought the Panasonic models and lenses looked and felt excellent.

Does anyone have experience of migrating from a fully featured DSLR to a M43 camera? Is there anything you miss? Do you regret the move?

Love to hear your thoughts.

ps I didn't buy that new lens.

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jalywol
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to kseth, Feb 25, 2012

kseth wrote:

I went into Park Cameras in the UK to buy a new lens for my Canon DSLR.

For the first time I picked up a M43rds Panasonic (the GX1 and G3). Although the salesman said he'd go for the Sony NEX 5N instead (unpleasant in the hand for my taste), I thought the Panasonic models and lenses looked and felt excellent.

Does anyone have experience of migrating from a fully featured DSLR to a M43 camera? Is there anything you miss? Do you regret the move?

Love to hear your thoughts.

ps I didn't buy that new lens.

You have to be really, really careful about buying M43 equipment.

Something very strange tends to happen after you do....

Magically, the tiny bag you keep the entire M43 kit tends to spring into your hands when you leave the house. The DSLR bag gets upset and lonely at this, especially as it sits on the floor more and more....

You become a fan of 43Rumors.com, eagerly awaiting the newest developments on what the format might be releasing next. Since the lens line-up is getting pretty substantial, and the bodies and sensors are quite good at this point, that is rather a fun way of seeing what wallet-draining items you will want to add next....

You start to frequent DPR M43 forums (here) frequently. You realize that there are a rather large number of people here who bought the M43 as their go-with systems for when the DSLRs were too big to carry, planning to keep the DSLRs for the critical shooting. You then learn that for many of them, the DSLR became superfluous, and they ditched them entirely (Blasphemy, yes, but it happens!).

After you use the M43 format for a while, you realize that it is a rather remarkable combination of size and IQ, and it gets very hard to go back to other shooting. If you are a full frame DSLR devotee, you will probably keep your FF camera, but end up doing a whole lot of your shooting on the M43...if you are an APSC DSLR user, you start to wonder why you need the APSC DSLR at all.....

You mention you use an M43 camera to a CaNikon user at a local even that you are both shooting at, and they guffaw heartily. Three hours later, you are still bright and energetic and shooting away with your tiny cam, while they have stowed the bag of bricks camera and lenses, and are fanning themselves in exhaustion under a shady tree. The local paper buys your shots because a) they are quite good, and b) you were still taking photos when the rest of the photographers carrying boat-anchor gear had surrendered to exhaustion.

After using your M43 for abou 6 months, you go back into a photo shop and listen to the salesperson telling people to avoid M43 and buy NEX. You gently go over and corral the customer and tell them that the salesman is full of bunk, and pull up some of your photos you have posted on your blog or flickr or wherever.....

A lot of us here have been there and done at least one, and maybe more, of the above...

The moral of the story is: Try the cams. There are great lenses out there for it, the technology is really good, the images are excellent, and for most purposes it is just a great camera system which has the extra virtue of being portable and really, really, fun to use.

-Janet

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MAubrey
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to jalywol, Feb 26, 2012

^This.

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Reto
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to kseth, Feb 26, 2012

Hi there

I sold my Canon 40D and moved to a Panasonic Lumix GH1 two years ago.

There's a lot to like about the m43 system. It's way smaller and lighter (specially lenses) and, as posted above, that often gives you the chance to take the camera with you where otherwise you wouldn't have because of the bulk.

Image quality of lenses is often better than on the Canon system. You can get lenses for a few hundred Euros/Dollars from Olympus where as in the Canon world you would have to spend more than 1000 Euros on L glass. There are lens adapters for just about every camera system the world's ever witnessed. I have a Konica 40mm lens which I use for portraits and food. So you can get creative with lenses that you can buy off ebay for almost no money.

I make part of my income with my camera (portraits, glamour and stills) and it never let me down. So I don't regret the move to m43. I will upgrade to an Olympus OM-D camera because of IBIS and better colour rendition sometime this year.

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robonrome
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to kseth, Feb 26, 2012

kseth wrote:

Does anyone have experience of migrating from a fully featured DSLR to a M43 camera? Is there anything you miss? Do you regret the move?

Love to hear your thoughts.

Hi there, I'm sort of in mid-migration. I have a Canon 5d2 and a 60D and a swag of L glass. I was trekking in Nepal late last year and wanted some smaller and lighter with near the same IQ. The G3 filled that bill nicely coupled with 14-45 and 20/1.7.

That said I couldn't cut the cord completely and brought the 5D2 body along with 24TSE mk2 and 70-300L...now while I did way more shots with the G3 and captured a lot of good images that I would otherwise have missed if I'd had to drag the 5D from the bag (G3 around the neck all day was a breeze) I did notice the other day that of the half dozen prints I made and hung on the walls from that trip that 5 of the 6 were taken with the 5D2....now whether this is because of the better quality from the FF or because I was more focussed on taking a picture when I had it out rather than snapshots I am not sure - probably a bit of both.

The better photos with the G3 were with the 20mm prime.

I have pretty well not taken a single shot with the 60D since getting the G3, but the FF 5D2 still has some x factor magic over the G3 and get's used, but not carried with me as I tend to always have the G3 in my work bag.

So I'm still at a cross roads - I have more gear that I could possible need and have to downsize somewhere and feel pulled both toward m43 and higher quality primes and the full frame path. I see little appeal now for APS-C DSLR though for people into sports this will still have a distinct advantage over m43 in focus speed.

Perhaps the new OMD and another high qual prime like the 12/2.0 might help me cut the cord completely... then again an upspeced 5D3 will be hard to resist.

Good luck in your quest, but be careful...once you dip your toes into the m43 world you may be shivering on the edge wondering whether to dive in or not?

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SirSeth
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to kseth, Feb 26, 2012

I'd say you should buy an E-PL1 with kit lens just to try it out. At $280 it's a steal and hardly a huge commitment financially. My opinion is that the OM-D may be a DSLR replacement for me, but for now I consider any mirrorless system to be the perfect side kick. I basically love my lenses and so would prefer running two systems. DSLR for fast zooms and micro for primes.

Cheers,
Seth

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jalywol
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to SirSeth, Feb 26, 2012

SirSeth wrote:

I'd say you should buy an E-PL1 with kit lens just to try it out. At $280 it's a steal and hardly a huge commitment financially. My opinion is that the OM-D may be a DSLR replacement for me, but for now I consider any mirrorless system to be the perfect side kick. I basically love my lenses and so would prefer running two systems. DSLR for fast zooms and micro for primes.

Cheers,
Seth

Geez, bad advice. The EPL1 is slowwwww to focus, pokey in low light, has fiddly button controls, has a small LCD that is impossible to see in daylight, and has considerably poorer low light performace than the current generation M43s. It does have nice image quality if you are using it in just the right situations, but boy, it is not the camera to get if you are looking for up-to-date performance......

(Note: I had an EPL1 for 6 months and then moved on to more updated Panasonics...The performance difference is huge).

If you want to just get into M43 a little bit, you can get the current gen GF3 (uses a version of the original 12MP sensor) or the EPM1; both will be much much faster than the EPL1)...I have GF3 for my in-town camera and I am enjoy it greatly. The EPL1 I did not enjoy greatly.....

Go for a G3 or GX1 if you want a current gen Panasonic with the more sophisticated 16MP sensor, though.......the G3 in particular is a heck of a value with the built in EVF and the articulated LCD....

-J

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G Rash
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to robonrome, Feb 26, 2012

I have gone from years of DSLR use to primarily using mirrorless. The only issues I have in letting go of my D700 are auto focus for fast action and the high ISO capability of the D700. A lesser issue is flash, the Nikon flash system works great with the D700, and I've not gotten quite as consistently good results out of M43 with flash. Overall, I'm quite happy with the smaller system. I had my 17-35 f/2.8 out today using it with an adapter and compared it to the Oly 9-18, which is small fraction of the size of the 17-35. While the 17-35 is an excellent wide angle lens, it simply is so much more convenient to carry the 9-18, which gives me almost the same field of view as the 17-35 on my D700.

For now, I'm keeping the D700 for low light non-flash work and sports. For everything else, I'll use mirrorless. After selling my D300, some Nikkors and a couple of older cameras, I also bought a NEX 5N. It is a very capable camera, crippled a bit by the lack of lenses and the body could use better controls. It is very good in low light and works quite well with legacy lenses, but it will never match the size of the tiny native M43 lenses. I really like my M43 lenses, starting with the 7.5mm Rokinon fisheye and Oly 9-18 on the wide end to the 100-300 Pany on the telephoto end. As the sensors continue to improve, the only question will really be auto focus tracking. They'll get that to an adequate level eventually.

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PSCL1
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to Reto, Feb 26, 2012

To the OP: There are lots of other threads on this topic. Basically, if you shoot weddings for $ or sports or small birds from long distances, you will probably still need DX or FX SLR. Otherwise m43 is the way to go.

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LJohnK2
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Re: m4/3rds should I...shouldn't I
In reply to kseth, Feb 26, 2012

yep...know where you are at....I have only just bought one a couple of weeks ago...an Olympus E-PL2 in my case.

If you shoot at all indoors forget on board flash, but a small external with a bounce immediately.

While I initially felt the built in EVF was the way to go....not that sure anymore....indoors LCD works fine and although not fast, CDAF in very accurate and optional EVF can be attached when outdoors and using telephoto.

m4/3rds is not a DSLR...CDAF....so forget sports and lowlight is a challenge.

For a take anywhere or travel unit its quite nice with a 14-42 or a pancake....output is certainly better than a P&S although I'm not sure if thats true relative to Canon's G1X.....but then again you can't put a 75-300 on a G series for wildlife.

Don't see it replacing my Nikon DSLR, but when I go on vacation this year my backpack of gear will be staying behind....m4/3rds will go along for the plane ride instead.

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CharlesTokyo
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to kseth, Feb 26, 2012

I used to shoot the Olympus E-30 and some of the super high grade and high grade lenses. Maybe a bit smaller than the Nikon/Canon counterparts when they exist, but still large and heavy. I'm sold most of it off now and I'm shooting with a first generation GF1. I love it. The camera is old, so focus is slow and higher ISO doesn't match the newer cameras, but it's such a joy to carry around and I can always have it on hand.

I've got the new E-M5 on reserve and just picked up the 12mm and 45mm Zuikos for a small set of primes. I can understand wanting to own a FF camera with m4/3s, but not apsc. m4/3's performance has gotten really good with the recent bodies and lenses.

Although the Sony sensor is a little better than the current m4/3s cameras, the latter wins on lenses and the performance is better in general. Flash support and other accessories are more available. I use the FL-50 on my GF1. Awkward because the flash is so large, but works great and gives me plenty of power.

If the size and weight of the DSLRs prevent you from bringing your camera even some of the time, I think you'd be very happy looking at m4/3s.

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Peter Nelson
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Re: Intrigued by M43 they are the futue
In reply to CharlesTokyo, Feb 26, 2012

I have pro gear in both Canon and Nikon and for a short while I was a pro. But things change and now I am retired. I am now a hobbiest and I provide people with free portraits. I enjoy portraiture and pleasing people.

I am using almost exclusivly m4/3 gear at this time. Small, light and I have 9 Leica lenses which are so small amd so very light. I prefere manual focus as well. The IQ is absolutly good enough for non pro work. I could not think of any form of photography where the m4/3 are not good enough. Perhaps if you need 10fps then you need a Pro DSLR for sports. But you know something you can still get many keepers using m4/3 in sports.

I'm using the Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic G1 which are first generation of m4/3 cameras. They still do a good job for me.

I can fit the E-P1 (without lens) in any pocket. I can't say th same for the larger more DSLR looking G1. Hence I use the E-P1 much much more. That's something you should think about.

I am presently thinking about the new Olympus OMD E-M5. I have looked at the overall dimentions and they are similar to my E-P1 with the Optical Viewfinder VF-1 mounted. This rig will still fit into my pants pocket, so then I'm expecting the same for the E-M5 without lens. The lens or lenses are alway;'s carried in another pocket.

It's nice to be able to walk around and be myself all day long not matter who I'm with and what I'm doing. My hands are alway's free because I do not have to hand carry the E-P1 or my lenses. I can not say the same for the Panasonic G and GH series. The newere Panasonic Gx-1 is pocketable.

The Olympus E-PL1 is a good camera and as other poster wrote you can get it and the 14-42 lens for under $280 right now. Considering a few years back I paid $7,995 for a new Canon 1DsMkII body only this $280 looks amazing. If it was not for thenew E-M5 I would be purchasing the E-PL1 this week.
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kseth
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Re: Intrigued by M43 they are the futue
In reply to Peter Nelson, Feb 26, 2012

Well thanks everyone.

You are an incredibly friendly and convincing bunch.

I'm sorely tempted. I'm off to India today with my heavy old 40D and pint glass-sized lens but will be taking a long look around the Duty Free Shops.

Now, GH2, GX-1 or G3...!?

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CharlesTokyo
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Re: Intrigued by M43 they are the futue
In reply to kseth, Feb 26, 2012

kseth wrote:

Now, GH2, GX-1 or G3...!?

To be honest I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. They each have their own quirks, but among the current set of m43s cameras their output is at the top.

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Fotoloco
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Re: Intrigued by M43 they are the futue
In reply to kseth, Feb 26, 2012

I have a Nikon D700. First digital was a D70, then D2x. I also have an EP3. The EP3 immage quality is better than the D70 and very close or same as D2x. I expect with any decent improvement the OM-D shows over the EP3 it will be very very close to the D700 in immage quality - even in low light. Keep in mind that to get the same depth of field with u43 you are two stops faster.

a practical example - I went to Milan, Italy this fall. I walked around in the Center of town at night. With my D700 and 50mm lens I was at F4.0, 1/60, iso12800 for correct exposure, and enough depth of field (I would have liked to be at 5.6). If I had had an OM-D, I could have shot at 2.8 to get FF DOF of 5.6, used 2 stops worth of IBIS and shot at 1/15, so iso 1600. Nobody has an OM-D yet, so we do not know how good they are, but I would maybe bet on my mother's and young son's life that the D700 is not three stops better at low light. OK just on my life, but still...

if I had wanted to shoot at 1.4 for some reason, then the 700 would have been better. That said, lenses like the 45 1.8 and 25 1.4 give more than OK results for many many situations. Only very busy backgrounds yield busy OOF areas.

So for me there are 4 reasons to keep the D700:

1. When I want need narow DOF for outdoor portait sessions I am getting paid for (and really I mean quality of OOF areas as oposed to DOF).

2. when I want fast action focus tracking, and since I am not a sports guy, the next gen 43 may do that.

3. Off camera multiple wireless flash with Nikon or PW as controler is still supeior.

4. DR. For portraits where tripod and combining multiple shots is not practical/posible.

and even these are getting all close and I suspect will all be equal to current likes of D700 etc very soon.

I will keep my D700 for now cause of the above, but am not putting any further investment into FF other than maybe a D800 for my portait business. I expect to end up with a D800 and OMD as my Body kit that will handle all of my needs for many many years to come.

If I just did photog as a hobby I would only have an OMD. If I dd not already have huge investment in Nikon glass, flashes, and pocket wizards and was just starting a photog business as a second/side business, I would maybe go OMD only. I think it will be that good (based on incremental immage quality improvements).

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Bob Meyer
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to kseth, Feb 26, 2012

Haven't read the other responses yet, so there may be some duplication here.

I bought a GH2 last summer with the expectation that I'd use it as a travel and vacation camera, but still use my Canon gear (50D, 20D, a number of lenses) for 'serious' work.

After working with the GH2 a bit, I was even more impressed than I expected to be. I've sold the 20D and some of my EOS glass, but not the 50D, and bought a number of native m43 lenses. I probably use the GH2 for 90% of my photography now.

The GH2 produces excellent results, and in many ways I prefer it's control structure to Canon's. The smaller size and lighter weight are obvious benefits. Surprisingly, though, the GH2 produces sharper images than the 50D, primarily because of the tighter pixel pitch and the use of a weak AA filter (compared to the Canon). There are excellent lenses available, including the 14-45 and 14-140 zooms (the 14-140 is better than any 10X zoom has a right to be.) Dynamic range is very good shooting raw, and you can pull an amazing amount of detail out of both shadows and highlights with Lightroom.

The 10% of my photography where the EOS is still clearly superior is shooting sports or other action. The GH2 does ok shooting motion running past you (e.g., panning a moving subject), but falls down when shooting in continuous mode at subjects moving towards or away from you. Canon's continuous AF, and shooting speed, are significantly better in that situation. And in dim light, the Canon does better at focusing on moving subjects of any kind.

The EVF is a trade-off. In good light, the 50D is superior in many respects (although the image is larger on the Panasonic), but the ability to see the histogram and highlight warning overlayed in the viewfinder is nice. In very dim light, the EVF gets grainy, and response slows down. OTOH, the camera amplifies the brightness, so you can actually see what it is you're shooting and better judge the composition. Trade-offs.

I won't switch back to a DSLR as my only system. But I'm not quite ready to give up the EOS yet, either. If you're not in a big hurry, you might want to wait and see how the new Olympus OMD performs.
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Bob Meyer
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Re: Intrigued by M43
In reply to jalywol, Feb 26, 2012

I'd say the GF3 is bad advice, too. If you're going to get a Panasonic, go for one of the newer cameras with a 16 mp sensor. Better DR, better high ISO performance. Those bodies are the GX1, the G3 and the GH2. If you're going to settle for the 12 mp sensor, I'd go for Oly, which at least gives you IBIS to help with low light shooting with prime lenses.

jalywol wrote:

SirSeth wrote:

I'd say you should buy an E-PL1 with kit lens just to try it out. At $280 it's a steal and hardly a huge commitment financially. My opinion is that the OM-D may be a DSLR replacement for me, but for now I consider any mirrorless system to be the perfect side kick. I basically love my lenses and so would prefer running two systems. DSLR for fast zooms and micro for primes.

Cheers,
Seth

Geez, bad advice. The EPL1 is slowwwww to focus, pokey in low light, has fiddly button controls, has a small LCD that is impossible to see in daylight, and has considerably poorer low light performace than the current generation M43s. It does have nice image quality if you are using it in just the right situations, but boy, it is not the camera to get if you are looking for up-to-date performance......

(Note: I had an EPL1 for 6 months and then moved on to more updated Panasonics...The performance difference is huge).

If you want to just get into M43 a little bit, you can get the current gen GF3 (uses a version of the original 12MP sensor) or the EPM1; both will be much much faster than the EPL1)...I have GF3 for my in-town camera and I am enjoy it greatly. The EPL1 I did not enjoy greatly.....

Go for a G3 or GX1 if you want a current gen Panasonic with the more sophisticated 16MP sensor, though.......the G3 in particular is a heck of a value with the built in EVF and the articulated LCD....

-J

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Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur in out-of-focus areas of an image, or the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light. Bokeh is not the same as depth of field (DOF).

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Ben Herrmann
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Let's try this angle instead.....
In reply to kseth, Feb 26, 2012

There are many threads where the OP's imply that they are thinking about migrating (moving) from a DSLR platform to a smaller m43 scenario. And of course, the jest of these threads centers around questions such as, "what do you think," or "what are your experiences," or "has anyone done this."

I'd like to propose that instead of a migration (which implies completely giving up and then selling the DSLR system), we look at "adding more flexibility and options" to the mix.

I'm sure that many will agree, we can all appreciate the various body styles and given performance levels of various enthusiast P&S, DSLR, and mirrorless systems.

There are times when a good DSLR cannot be matched - given the shooting scenario, lighting conditions, and speed levels required. And there are other times when a mirrorless system will give you exactly what you need (think weight and size here).

Which brings me to the inference about possibly selling the DSLR system in order to migrate to an m43 system. Only you can determine that. I will say that having different genre's of photographic gear can really add to your flexibility and capabilities. There are times when seemingly only a good DSLR will serve me perfectly. Then there are times when all I want to bring (given the shooting scenario) is a good enthusiast's P&S (i.e. G-12, P7100, XZ-1 or LX-5). Then there are other scenarios where m43 fits right in. In other words, why should it be one over the other because there are so many different environments, lighting conditions, and photographic scenarios that lend themselves better to a given set of gear?

Believe me when I say that over the past 10 years I've gone through a wealth of digital cameras - loved 'em all. And for those times that I prematurely elected to sell one system over the other, I soon found out that I may have moved too soon as features and capabilities of the "sold" system/camera wound up be sorely missed in some scenarios.

So I'd propose that you to hold on to your Canon DSLR system - and pick up something along the lines of a good m43 camera to add to the mix. You will find that they complement each other in a variety of ways. But it's the added flexibility that you now have to cover a variety of events that - heretofore, you may only have had the option of bringing along a heavier DSLR system to.

And in the end, if you absolutely have to sell one system in order to be able to afford another, then please note that times are pleasantly "a changin'" within the m43 world. Look at the higher ISO capabilities of the GH-2, G-3, GX1, and now the pending E-5M. Things are definitely looking up for this genre, and I'm stoked!!!

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denise729
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Re: Let's try this angle instead.....
In reply to Ben Herrmann, Feb 26, 2012

^ +1

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tgutgu
Senior MemberPosts: 3,149Gear list
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Re: Let's try this angle instead.....
In reply to Ben Herrmann, Feb 26, 2012

While I mostly agree, the often neglected issue is that once you have bought a mirrorless camera system, you'll find out that your larger DSLR system is used less and less. So de facto it has been replaced. If you then wait and wait selling it, you will get less money for it. So if equipment is not used or not used much, just get rid of it.

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Thomas

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS +17 more
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