V1 vs Olympus E-PM1

Started May 30, 2012 | Discussions
Lowlite27
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V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
May 30, 2012

Upgrading from point n shoot. Would like something compact but with improved IQ and faster AF along with decent burst for continuous shooting. Use will be mostly for kids and vacation.

Considering the V1 bc of the EVF and what appears to be superior build over the J1. As an alternative I am also considering an E-PM1 paired with a VF-3 EVF. I would use both with their respective standard kit lens and eventually get something with a higher zoom and perhaps a prime. Price for both seem to be equivalent (~$700)

Both seem to work great in good light, but will either be sufficient indoors? Have played around with V1 and am relatively pleased, still need to try E-PM1. I am leaning towards the E-PM1 bc of the larger sensor and increased # of lenses. Also considering an E-PL3 bc of flip up screen and control features.

Thoughts, suggestions?

Nikon 1 J1 Nikon 1 V1 Olympus PEN E-PL3 Olympus PEN E-PM1
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olyflyer
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Good luck but...
In reply to Lowlite27, May 30, 2012

Lowlite27 wrote:

Upgrading from point n shoot. Would like something compact but with improved IQ and faster AF along with decent burst for continuous shooting. Use will be mostly for kids and vacation.

Considering the V1 bc of the EVF and what appears to be superior build over the J1. As an alternative I am also considering an E-PM1 paired with a VF-3 EVF. I would use both with their respective standard kit lens and eventually get something with a higher zoom and perhaps a prime. Price for both seem to be equivalent (~$700)

Both seem to work great in good light, but will either be sufficient indoors? Have played around with V1 and am relatively pleased, still need to try E-PM1. I am leaning towards the E-PM1 bc of the larger sensor and increased # of lenses. Also considering an E-PL3 bc of flip up screen and control features.

Thoughts, suggestions?

...I would not consider a camera without VF, or like in the case of Olympus, an external VF. It makes the whole kit look awful and sensitive, apart from the fact that it occupies the flash shoe. It also makes the camera large. I think everything else is up to your preference, some people like Olympus more than others, I like the V1 more than the other alternatives.

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admwright
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Re: V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
In reply to Lowlite27, May 30, 2012

Before my wife bought her V1 she compared the m4/3 cameras. Final decision was between the EP3 and V1. The camera shop let us take pictures with both (indoors and outdoors) and then printed them out. The assistent marked the backs of the photos and we picked our favourites - a 50-50 split between the two cameras and mixed between the indoors and outdoors photos. The V1 won because of the built in EVF and my wife would never use the EP3 without the addon finder, so why have one that can be removed?
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olyflyer
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Re: V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
In reply to admwright, May 30, 2012

admwright wrote:

Before my wife bought her V1 she compared the m4/3 cameras. Final decision was between the EP3 and V1. The camera shop let us take pictures with both (indoors and outdoors) and then printed them out. The assistent marked the backs of the photos and we picked our favourites - a 50-50 split between the two cameras and mixed between the indoors and outdoors photos. The V1 won because of the built in EVF and my wife would never use the EP3 without the addon finder, so why have one that can be removed?

Sure, I agree with you, the V1 is very nice but occasionally it is an embarassment to use and it should definitely be improved.

The fact that it has a built in EVF was one of the reasons why I bought it, I would never buy a camera without a VF of some kind. The mju 850SW is a P&S for underwater use and was the choice of my son some years ago, but as it turns out, in some respect it is better than the considerably newer and more expensive V1. Out of all the Olympus available in my opinion the OMD is the only one which may be up to the V1.

Never the less, those 6 points I listed here...

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1058&message=41650063

...are serious issues which can result in loss of business for Nikon. After all, what is the point of having the world's fastest AF if it also has the world's slowest exposure meter? There is no sane reason why Nikon should not fix those BEFORE they will release a new model.

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Lowlite27
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Re: V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
In reply to olyflyer, May 30, 2012

Very in depth review, how does the Pl3 and PM1 stack up with AF and auto exposure then? Any other options I should be considering in this price range?

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Jorginho
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EPM-1 focusses much better indoors
In reply to Lowlite27, May 30, 2012

IQ of both is not to different. The IBIS in the Oly helps with nonstabilised lenses. I would conisder the EPL-3 though because of the tilting display which is handy when you want to shoot people without being noticed.

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Timbukto
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Re: V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
In reply to Lowlite27, May 30, 2012

I can break down some differences as I've had the J1 and E-PM1.

First the Oly 14-42II kit lens can be sharp but also have some sample variation and you can get a dud. Nikon 1 lenses are really good in QC with only slight extreme corner softness wide-angle wide-open, but this is nothing compared to having mid-frame softness I've seen on the 14-42II due to poor QC.

IBIS is not good on an E-PM1 and is basically a leave it off until you need it function less you want to mess up shots where you held the camera too still or braced. Nikon VR is set it and forget it and absolutely reliable...again coming from either Canon IS or Nikon VR, both stabilization systems are proven. Oly IBIS has proven to be fiddly with some samples of fiddlyness with even their flagship OM-D which is leaps and bounds better IBIS than the E-PM1.

C-AF does not work on Oly period . PDAF tracking however clearly works well on Nikon 1. Comparing which does slightly better in poor lighting conditions is not as big a deal as having more solid tracking and focus in daylight IMO.

LCD screen on E-PM1 is not very good. J1 has a dead quiet shutter, V1 can have a dead quiet shutter, E-PM1 shutter is pretty loud.

IQ wise its a very close match but some more fast prime lens options available on MFT.

Be careful when reviewing some studio comparison shots between the two...in many websites the Oly gets to use the Oly 50mm f2 macro lens with adapter...one of the sharpest lens in existence...while the Nikon 1 uses its kit lens.

J1 is more in the same class as the E-PM1 and comes with built in flash which is convenient, V1 is more a step up. E-PM1 can be had for cheap with refurbed sales (likewise Nikon 1 has price drops and is cheaper in grey market sale).

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bibi0012
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Re: V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
In reply to Lowlite27, May 30, 2012

I was also in your shoes not able to decide between Nikon 1 and Olympus m4/3.

I'd like to bring to your attention these two systems produce images with vastly different colors and contrast. Olympus's images by default have a warm cast, and overly dark shadow area (so dark that it lost details). You can check the images in the following thread and dpreview's sample images to see my points.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1058&message=41066327

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/albums/olympus-pen-e-pm1-review-samples

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Current gears
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Nikon: D50, 18-55mm, 50mm f1.8,
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Canon: Rebel XT, 60mm f2.8 macro, 24-105mm L, 17-85mm IS, 85mm f1.8, 17-40mm L, 17-55mm IS f2.8, 18-55mm
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Panasonic: ZS3,
Panasonic: GF1, 14-45mm, 20mm for GF1

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bibi0012
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Re: V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
In reply to bibi0012, May 30, 2012

This image illustrates my point of shadow area so dark as to losing details.

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/1546821/pb150069?inalbum=olympus-pen-e-pm1-review-samples

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Current gears
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Nikon: D50, 18-55mm, 50mm f1.8,
Canon: 50mm f1.4, 18-55mm IS
Canon: S5, S95, SX150
Fuji: F31fd

Previous Gears
--------------------

Canon: Rebel XT, 60mm f2.8 macro, 24-105mm L, 17-85mm IS, 85mm f1.8, 17-40mm L, 17-55mm IS f2.8, 18-55mm
Canon: Pro90, S1, A710, A650, S5 IS, EX-420
Panasonic: ZS3,
Panasonic: GF1, 14-45mm, 20mm for GF1

Nikon: 18-200mm VR, 18-55mm, 55-200mm VR, 70-300mm VR, 16-85mm VR, 180mm f2.8, 85mm f1.8, SB-800
Sigma: 18-50mm f2.8
Tamron: 17-50mm f2.8, 28-75mm

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olyflyer
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Re: V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
In reply to Lowlite27, May 30, 2012

Lowlite27 wrote:

Very in depth review, how does the Pl3 and PM1 stack up with AF and auto exposure then? Any other options I should be considering in this price range?

I don't know those cameras well enough, but beware...

I am NOT saying that they are in any way better than the V1. For all I know, they might be as bad as, or even worse in terms of AF and exposure under those conditions. The V1 has exceptionally fast AF in good and normal light, it becomes a bit slow in low light but I think for 99% of the population it is still very fast. What is also very good in the V1 is the LCD display and the EVF. Both are of very high quality and after having had the D300s for 2.5 years now, I will never buy a camera with lower LCD resolution. It's like day and night. Also the EVF is very fast, only a tiny display lag, and is also very bright and clear.

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olyflyer
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Re: EPM-1 focusses much better indoors
In reply to Jorginho, May 30, 2012

Jorginho wrote:

IQ of both is not to different. The IBIS in the Oly helps with nonstabilised lenses. I would conisder the EPL-3 though because of the tilting display which is handy when you want to shoot people without being noticed.

I would DISMISS that camera already on the basis of the display. It has very low resolution, only 460k, and the display is of 3:2 proportions, so the 4:3 images will be severely cropped and even less pixels used for image. The V1 has a display with twice the pixels and also 3:2 format and since the camera outputs 3:2 images, 100% if the pixels can be used for the preview/live view.

The tilting possibility is an advantage, but not as much as the EVF built into the V1.

If you want to photograph unnoticed, the V1 is in a class of its own because of the electronic shutter. With that camera (and the J1) you can really take images unnoticed. Besides, the view angle of the V1 is good enough so tilting is not necessary.

The IBIS is only interesting for those who are interested in using old lenses. The Nikon VR is generally much more efficient, also works for video and view finder stabilization.

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Mouser
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Re: V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
In reply to bibi0012, May 30, 2012

With regard to the warm colour cast on the Olympus... you can disable this (at least you can on my OM-D). Have a look in the manual for the "Keep Warm Colour" option. I assume this is to make portraits more flattering (?), but I disabled it as I prefer as neutral an image as possible.

Not sure about the dark shadow problem you mentioned - possibly due to limited dynamic range with the older sensor in your E-P1 ?

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Mouser
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Re: EPM-1 focusses much better indoors
In reply to olyflyer, May 30, 2012

olyflyer wrote:

The IBIS is only interesting for those who are interested in using old lenses. The Nikon VR is generally much more efficient, also works for video and view finder stabilization.

Hmm... you're assuming that all Nikon V1 lenses will get VR. The 10mm doesn't have it, and Nikon has plenty of lenses for their DSLR cameras without VR (e.g. the recently released 85mm f/1.8).

[ Not sure about the E-PM1 (I suggest the OP check the manual) but IBIS applies to video and viewfinder stabilisation just fine on the OM-D... ]

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Jorginho
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Re: EPM-1 focusses much better indoors
In reply to olyflyer, May 30, 2012

olyflyer wrote:

Jorginho wrote:

IQ of both is not to different. The IBIS in the Oly helps with nonstabilised lenses. I would conisder the EPL-3 though because of the tilting display which is handy when you want to shoot people without being noticed.

I would DISMISS that camera already on the basis of the display. It has very low resolution, only 460k, and the display is of 3:2 proportions, so the 4:3 images will be severely cropped and even less pixels used for image. The V1 has a display with twice the pixels and also 3:2 format and since the camera outputs 3:2 images, 100% if the pixels can be used for the preview/live view.

3:2 indeed seems a bit nonsensical. 460 K is not bad at all and I have heard no complaints.

The tilting possibility is an advantage, but not as much as the EVF built into the V1.

Here I disagree. My sis has a D7000 with a good display but she wants a GH2 to go with that one, especially because of the ease the Swiveling display gives for unnoticed shooting

If you want to photograph unnoticed, the V1 is in a class of its own because of the electronic shutter. With that camera (and the J1) you can really take images unnoticed. Besides, the view angle of the V1 is good enough so tilting is not necessary.

You only hear a shutter when it is really silent. I have never been noticed by anyone anytime. They think you are just looking back at pics you already made. I can shoot with the display on the back of the cam and it cannot compare to a tilted display in my view. Shutter noise, in my experience, is of no importance.

The IBIS is only interesting for those who are interested in using old lenses. The Nikon VR is generally much more efficient, also works for video and view finder stabilization.

? No Oly lens is stabilised. You need it. BEsides, some excellent Panny lenses like the 14.20 and 7-14 are not stabilsed. IBIS means smaller lenses. Bodies are expandable. This is a system the buyer can use for many years to came, many more bodies to come. The 5 Axis IBIS will filter through all Oly models. It is excellent, for video aswell. But IBIS in EPL-3 gives you a 2-3 stop advantage and is comparable to OIS.

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Jared Huntr
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Olympus 4/3 have inferior video
In reply to Lowlite27, May 30, 2012

I don't like the weird rolling shutter 'jelly' effect with the videos out of the Olympus models.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y79pEuxYT94
(warning - turn down your volume, loud soundtrack)

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Mouser
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Re: Olympus 4/3 have inferior video
In reply to Jared Huntr, May 30, 2012

Jared Huntr wrote:

I don't like the weird rolling shutter 'jelly' effect with the videos out of the Olympus models.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y79pEuxYT94
(warning - turn down your volume, loud soundtrack)

According to the description on YouTube: "This test was performed in a "worst case" scenario - hand-held with lot's of hand-shake with very fast/abrupt panning."

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olyflyer
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Re: EPM-1 focusses much better indoors
In reply to Jorginho, May 30, 2012

Jorginho wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

Jorginho wrote:

IQ of both is not to different. The IBIS in the Oly helps with nonstabilised lenses. I would conisder the EPL-3 though because of the tilting display which is handy when you want to shoot people without being noticed.

I would DISMISS that camera already on the basis of the display. It has very low resolution, only 460k, and the display is of 3:2 proportions, so the 4:3 images will be severely cropped and even less pixels used for image. The V1 has a display with twice the pixels and also 3:2 format and since the camera outputs 3:2 images, 100% if the pixels can be used for the preview/live view.

3:2 indeed seems a bit nonsensical. 460 K is not bad at all and I have heard no complaints.

Of course nobody is complaining. That doesn't surprise me at all. I never complained until I had something better. First was when I had the Canon G10 and at the same time the Olympus E-3 that I realized what a difference it was to jump up in LCD resolution, then I bought the D300s and again, huge step up. Then I looked at several mirrorless, like the GH2 and the G3 plus a lot others and realized I don't want those low res displays again...

The tilting possibility is an advantage, but not as much as the EVF built into the V1.

Here I disagree. My sis has a D7000 with a good display but she wants a GH2 to go with that one, especially because of the ease the Swiveling display gives for unnoticed shooting

I don't understand your comment. How does it relate to what I said and what is it you disagree with? The D7000 is a DSLR... and of course, the best combination would be the V1 with swivel screen like the GH2/G3, but not the OMD/EPL-3 type. Also, if I have to choose between the tilt/swivel screen or an EVF I definitely want the EVF, not the screen, so my comment still stands. The EVF has a lot of advantages when you shoot as well. It gives better stability and you can shoot with glasses, which is not always possible for everyone when using a camera without VF.

If you want to photograph unnoticed, the V1 is in a class of its own because of the electronic shutter. With that camera (and the J1) you can really take images unnoticed. Besides, the view angle of the V1 is good enough so tilting is not necessary.

You only hear a shutter when it is really silent. I have never been noticed by anyone anytime. They think you are just looking back at pics you already made. I can shoot with the display on the back of the cam and it cannot compare to a tilted display in my view. Shutter noise, in my experience, is of no importance.

Well, that's your opinion. In my opinion the shutter noise is very noticeable in churches, theater, concerts and so on. Many people use their cameras on those places. Of course, on the streets it makes no difference, but you don't need to be in extreme quiet places to notice the shutter sound and to find it disturbing.

The IBIS is only interesting for those who are interested in using old lenses. The Nikon VR is generally much more efficient, also works for video and view finder stabilization.

? No Oly lens is stabilised. You need it.

Yes, but you expressed it as an advantage over the V1. It is necessary for Olympus users that's all.

BEsides, some excellent Panny lenses like the 14.20 and 7-14 are not stabilsed. IBIS means smaller lenses.

Not really noticeably smaller. The VR mechanism is just a few grammes in weight and there is plenty space in every lens, including the Olympus lenses.

Bodies are expandable. This is a system the buyer can use for many years to came, many more bodies to come.

So you mean I cannot use my V1 next year or the year after, or after that... and so on? Are you assuming MFT will continue forever and Nikon will fail?

The 5 Axis IBIS will filter through all Oly models.

Maybe and then maybe not. Currently it is only in the OMD, so let's not assume anything more because it is too much guessing. The IBIS is also not the same IBIS all over, every Olympus user knows that some cameras are better than other, for example the E-5 is better than the MFT IBIS or the E-620 IBIS.

It is excellent, for video aswell.

Well, not everyone will share that opinion. It works, but not so well for video.

But IBIS in EPL-3 gives you a 2-3 stop advantage and is comparable to OIS.

OK, but we are comparing IBIS with the Nikon alternative, which is actually better than the O.I.S. The N1 lenses are more like 4-5 stops advantage and in fact, the longer the lens the more efficient the Nikon VR is.

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Jorginho
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Re: EPM-1 focusses much better indoors
In reply to olyflyer, May 30, 2012

I say that a swiveing or tilting display is much more important for unnoticed shooting (from the hip) than a shutter noise, your experience is different

I say the IBIS makes for smaller OLy lenses, you say it is not (bar the Panny X lenses most Oly lenses are smaller and lighter in weight than their Panny equivalents).

I say 460K is enough for many, but not to you once you have used a 920 K display. Like one could say that once he/she used a 16 MPixel OM-D there is no going back to anything with less IQ.

In short: we seem to disagree and most is about taste or personal experiences. Nice to have a choice!

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mihama01
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Re: V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
In reply to Lowlite27, May 31, 2012

If you can accept the external viewfinder on the Olympus I recommend you buy that.

I have the V1, I have been disappointed, it has significant flaws, that overall prevent me from recommending it. The fact that Nikon will force consumers to buy a V2 to fix these glaring flaws really annoys me too when it can all be fixed by a firmware update. I don't think it will ever become a system like M4/3 either. I imagine the current target audience will not be buying many additional lens beyond whats included.

Disappointments

Excessive slow shutter speeds chosen result in blurred photos
Will select very high ISO that lead to noise

Stupid ergonomics, physical buttons assigned to minor tasks but deep menu diving for frequently used settings. Multiple buttons to do the same or similar activities.

It is not a not balanced camera it excels in some areas but more likely to get things wrong if you leave it on auto.

Good Points

Nice Color

Nice Photos, notably better than P&S when the camera gets everything right. Better than my Canon S100.
Small size of telephoto zoom, means unobtrusive use at public events..

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Lowlite27
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Re: V1 vs Olympus E-PM1
In reply to mihama01, May 31, 2012

Tested Olympus with VF-2 EVF and it seemed like it would be a hassle to leave on at all times. I can see myself throwing it in my bag and rarely using it. Can you shoot in shutter priority or manually setmiso to overcome blurring?

Wts I saw PM1 price drop to $399

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