Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )

Started Mar 22, 2013 | Discussions
Louno
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Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
Mar 22, 2013

Hi, I want to buy a new camera but having a hard time choose the right model. Currently, I am thinking about the upcoming Sony Nex-3n or the Olympus Pen E-PM2 .... Obviously you can tell by my initial choice of camera that I like small cameras but, I am open to other model suggestions.
The camera will replace the Nikon P300 and it will be used for everything and anything, including video, but most often for hand-held food photography, for a blog ( with big images being posted ).
I know that for food photography lighting is key, but this has been covered already. The main issue with the P300 is that when zoomed in more (to eliminate distortion and have smaller field of view) the aperture rises up and it requires more light or longer shutter speed. Also, it has a really wide depth of field so the backgrounds are a LITTLE out of focus but not blurred enough to eliminate the distraction. I want really sharp focus area with nice blurring of the background when desired.
Ideally if the camera that is bought would be good enough out of the box with it`s kit lens that would be nice and I could acquire a better lens specifically for food photography after a while ( any suggestions? ) but I am also prepared to buy a lens right away if necessary, if no camera has a kit lens that would be good enough... It seems like I wont have a choice?
I like the sony look and feel, and I like the focus peaking feature, larger sensor doesnt mean better image quality, but it should help with easier bokeh and better low light performance. On the other hand olympus might be a bit cheaper, and it has in body image stabilization, a wider lens selection ( although i dont think I will ever need tons of lense, i am not a pro photographer, I expect that over time I might acquire 1-3 lens max ) the lens are also generally cheaper and smaller too.

Nikon Coolpix P300 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Sony Alpha NEX-3N
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vjk2
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Louno, Mar 22, 2013

Since you say handheld, That's Olympus advantage. Not just body, but lenses are significantly smaller.

But for food, and lots of restaurants are in dimly lit areas, that's Sony advantage.

But people with cheap like 2 megapixel cameras have sold their images to magazines in the past so...

if I were you I'd privilege portability.

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Jorginho
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Yes, you need some advice!
In reply to Louno, Mar 22, 2013

Well, it depends what lenses you buy and how critical you are on the IQ. If you come from that Nikon, both will blow it away in IQ for sure. So you'll be happy regardless I think.

Olympus sensor is virtually identical to the NEX3F sensor BTW. So that is not it.

DOF...Well an APS-c has an advantage on DOF if we only look at the sensor. But bokeh is function of the lens. A shallow depth of field does not mean a good bokeh. It is how the lens renders the out of focus parts of the shot. You can be sure that you'll find a coiuple of really good Leica, Panasonic and Olympus lenses when it comes to bokeh. Not so much with the Sony unless you are okey with Manual focus lenses.

Also: DOF of course is also a function of the lens. Again: if you go for MF lenses the NEx has an advantage. If not, the Oly has quite a few fast lenses with good DOF for you like the 20 mm 1.7 Panny (I use it a lot on my EPL5), 45 mm f1.8 (excellent lens! and not too expensive). Well: look 'm up yourself. For the Sony you do not have lenses of that quality at that price that are similarly fast.

Low light: low light performance is the same for NEX 3F and Oly. However: the IBIS funnctions pretty well. So you can get away with lower ISO and still do not have a shake. It is easily 2 stops if not three stops. Note that for light sensitivity f1.8 - f1.8 for every sensor. You'll have a lot of this kind of lenses for m43s and not for the NEX ( I think 2?).

Even Manual focussed lenses won't help: there will be no stabilsation for them on the Sony. You can use those lenses pretty well on the Oly WITH stabilisation.

Oly also focusses better in very low light I think (not sure though). I don't know if you can put an EVF on the NEX but I think you can on the Oly.

Finally: the Oly lets you use smaller lenses and the system is more compact.

In short: i think the Oly is the better choice here., although I would advice you to take a look at the EPL5 because the tiltable screen is very nice. If the Sony has it, than to me this is a big advantage.

Good luck and have fun with whatever you chose!

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Louno, Mar 22, 2013

Either camera is capable of giving excellent results for your intended usage. If you can, try before you buy.

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Mahmoud Mousef
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Louno, Mar 23, 2013

Louno wrote:

The main issue with the P300 is that when zoomed in more (to eliminate distortion and have smaller field of view) the aperture rises up and it requires more light or longer shutter speed. Also, it has a really wide depth of field so the backgrounds are a LITTLE out of focus but not blurred enough to eliminate the distraction. I want really sharp focus area with nice blurring of the background when desired.

$300ish    Panasonic DMC-G3 with 14-42 lens (being run-out now at bhphotovideo.com and elsewhere)

$70ish      Yongnuo YN560II external flash unit (used in manual mode & sitting pretty on your DMC-G3, bouncing light off walls and ceilings and doing assorted magic)

I'd be surprised if your needs aren't met.

Ideally if the camera that is bought would be good enough out of the box with it`s kit lens that would be nice and I could acquire a better lens specifically for food photography after a while ( any suggestions? ) but I am also prepared to buy a lens right away if necessary, if no camera has a kit lens that would be good enough... It seems like I wont have a choice?
I like the sony look and feel, and I like the focus peaking feature, larger sensor doesnt mean better image quality, but it should help with easier bokeh and better low light performance. On the other hand olympus might be a bit cheaper, and it has in body image stabilization, a wider lens selection ( although i dont think I will ever need tons of lense, i am not a pro photographer, I expect that over time I might acquire 1-3 lens max ) the lens are also generally cheaper and smaller too.

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jquagga
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Consider the hotshoe
In reply to Louno, Mar 23, 2013

I also like small cameras.  I have a D5100 DSLR and a Pansonic GF5 (Olympus PEN sized).  The Sony you mentioned (which has a similar sensor to my D5100) doesn't have a hotshoe.  Neither does my GF5.  I think that shooting food, you might have times when you want to use external flash.  Having a hotshoe will make that easier.  The 3N doesn't have a hotshoe and Sony until recently used their own style of hotshoe that most flashes and triggers won't fit (although you can buy an adapter).

Both are fine cameras though.  I think you'll do well with either.

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kev777zero
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Louno, Mar 23, 2013

As to the lens size debate, yes overall NEX lenses are larger, but there are a few E mount lenses now that are quite small too. Here's a list:

16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS

16mm f/2.8

20mm f/2.8

35mm f/1.8 OSS

The lens size difference isn't that drastic especially when you look at some of the larger Panasonic lenses. Panny's 14-140mm & NEX's 18-200mm LE only differ in 20grams (both having image stabilization). And check out Oly's new 12-50mm kit lens!

What makes NEX lenses seemingly humongous are the tiny bodies (ironically these APS-C sensor bodies are smaller than m4/3 ones), which I agree could make the ergonomics awkward at times.

Having shot both m4/3 (Oly + 14-150 + 20mm f/1.7) & NEX each a year exclusively, my vote goes to NEX. Yes there are less native lenses (15 vs 30?), but then again most folks don't need that many lenses to shoot. NEX is always going to be ahead in the sensor department because a) it's APS-C b) they make sensors for everyone! However there are more m4/3 fanboys out there so you'll definitely see more votes for m4/3. You can get great results either way though.

If you have the budget check out Fuji X, they have some pretty cool options too!

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Mahmoud Mousef
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Price check on aisle 6
In reply to Louno, Mar 23, 2013

$498 Sony NEX-3N with 16-50

$499 Olympus E-PM2 with 14-42

$419 Panasonic DMC-GX1 with G Vario 14-42

$349 Panasonic DMC-G3 with 14-42

Savings to be made by buying the Panasonic DMC-G3 can buy you your 'how-did-I-ever-live-without-this before?' flash unit, so you can bounce light off surfaces like a GOD without it looking like icky flash that fires from the cam and makes everything look sterile.

At this point, your resistance to slightly larger cams and honking big flash units will vanish, like the melting snow

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Jorginho
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to kev777zero, Mar 23, 2013

kev777zero wrote:

As to the lens size debate, yes overall NEX lenses are larger, but there are a few E mount lenses now that are quite small too. Here's a list:

16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS

16mm f/2.8

20mm f/2.8

35mm f/1.8 OSS

Some of those lenses are pretty bad. And at f2.8 they mean higher ISO compared to 1.4, 1.7 and 1.8 m43 lenses of course. Also, DOF is somewhat worse. Also important that most of these lenses only get reasonable stopped down whereas m43 lenses are very good wide open.

The lens size difference isn't that drastic especially when you look at some of the larger Panasonic lenses. Panny's 14-140mm & NEX's 18-200mm LE only differ in 20grams (both having image stabilization). And check out Oly's new 12-50mm kit lens!

That one is weathersealed and has a macrofunction...

Panny 14-140 is specialized for video, but you can of course get the 14-150 Oly too.

EPM2 w 14-150 comp to NEX3F w 18-200

It is also 785 vs 545 gram. The Sony weighs 240 gram or 40% more. That is a considerable difference.

What makes NEX lenses seemingly humongous are the tiny bodies (ironically these APS-C sensor bodies are smaller than m4/3 ones), which I agree could make the ergonomics awkward at times.

Well..APS-c sensors simply means bigger lenses.

Having shot both m4/3 (Oly + 14-150 + 20mm f/1.7) & NEX each a year exclusively, my vote goes to NEX. Yes there are less native lenses (15 vs 30?), but then again most folks don't need that many lenses to shoot. NEX is always going to be ahead in the sensor department because a) it's APS-C b) they make sensors for everyone! However there are more m4/3 fanboys out there so you'll definitely see more votes for m4/3. You can get great results either way though.

If you have the budget check out Fuji X, they have some pretty cool options too!

Which Oly and which NEX? Fanboyism is not an argument. We can simply look at the scores of the specific cams compared here: EPM2 and NEXF3. The sensor of the NEX3F is not better. It is on par throughout the ISO range. A blanket statement liek APS-c always will be better is not very helpfull I think. We need to look at the facts when they are there and they are readily available. Canon APS-c sensors for instance are clearly worse than the current m43 sensors....

It is also a fact that m43 lenses tend to be much better and indeed very good wide open. It is not secret that Sony lenses are still criticized for the lack of IQ. Also, for what he does he cannot put a good flash unit on this NEX F3. And while Focuspeaking is nice, you can shoot manually very well with the m43 cams aswell and with the Oly those lenses simply are stablized. Not so on the Sony. A big advantage for low light shooting.

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Jorginho
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Yeah, good advice I think
In reply to Mahmoud Mousef, Mar 23, 2013

You get the Nissim 466 for (m)43 with 4 batteries instead of 2, bounces. A good flash really. Good quality, TTL for 90 dollar or so...

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steelhead3
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Louno, Mar 23, 2013

To get isolation from a lens, the m4/3 (110 film size) has to have a faster aperture to match the larger Sony sensor.

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Jorginho
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to steelhead3, Mar 23, 2013

There is:

12mm f2.0
17mm F1.8
20 mm F1.7
25mm F1.4
45mm f1.8
75mm f1.8

Coming up: 42,5 mm f1.2/ 150 mm f2.8

Sony has:.

16mm f2.8
20mm f2.8
24mm f1.8

Unless I forgot something, that is about it. I won't mention the Voigtlanders for m43. They are 0.95 at 17,5 and 25mm I believe.. But MF only.

The 16mm is really a poor lens, the 20mm...I don't know. The 24mm 1.8 is an excellent lens. It is also very expensive. This is also true foor the 12mm and 75 mm Oly. The 25mm Leica is not cheap but a lot cheaper than the 24 mm CZ 1.8. The 20 and 45 mm m43 lenses are inexpensive.

All those m43 lenses are very good to excellent wide open. This is not true for the Sony's currently. The point is that in reallife, object isolation can at least be done as well with m43s. Again: because they are so good wide open and especially the 17 mm f1.8, 20mm 1.7, 25 mm f1.4 and 45 mm f1.8 have nice bokeh. I have the 20 and 45 mm and I think both the object isolation and bokeh is good.

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Photoexposition
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Jorginho, Mar 23, 2013

Hi,

Regarding lenses, you might also want to have a look at this comparison chart : http://www.photoexposition.fr/slr-dslr-reflex/

Take Care

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TrojMacReady
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Re: Yes, you need some advice!
In reply to Jorginho, Mar 23, 2013

Jorginho wrote:

Well, it depends what lenses you buy and how critical you are on the IQ. If you come from that Nikon, both will blow it away in IQ for sure. So you'll be happy regardless I think.

Olympus sensor is virtually identical to the NEX3F sensor BTW. So that is not it.

DOF...Well an APS-c has an advantage on DOF if we only look at the sensor. But bokeh is function of the lens. A shallow depth of field does not mean a good bokeh. It is how the lens renders the out of focus parts of the shot. You can be sure that you'll find a coiuple of really good Leica, Panasonic and Olympus lenses when it comes to bokeh. Not so much with the Sony unless you are okey with Manual focus lenses.

Also: DOF of course is also a function of the lens. Again: if you go for MF lenses the NEx has an advantage. If not, the Oly has quite a few fast lenses with good DOF for you like the 20 mm 1.7 Panny (I use it a lot on my EPL5), 45 mm f1.8 (excellent lens! and not too expensive). Well: look 'm up yourself. For the Sony you do not have lenses of that quality at that price that are similarly fast.

Actually, the Sony 50mm OSS is cheaper than the Oly 45mm and holds up in the optical department too.  It's FOV may be slightly different (wider), it's light gathering abilities are greater (larger entrance pupil).

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TrojMacReady
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Re: Mirrorless Recommendation ( Sony Vs Olympus? )
In reply to Jorginho, Mar 23, 2013

Jorginho wrote:

kev777zero wrote:

As to the lens size debate, yes overall NEX lenses are larger, but there are a few E mount lenses now that are quite small too. Here's a list:

16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS

16mm f/2.8

20mm f/2.8

35mm f/1.8 OSS

Some of those lenses are pretty bad. And at f2.8 they mean higher ISO compared to 1.4, 1.7 and 1.8 m43 lenses of course. Also, DOF is somewhat worse. Also important that most of these lenses only get reasonable stopped down whereas m43 lenses are very good wide open.

The lens size difference isn't that drastic especially when you look at some of the larger Panasonic lenses. Panny's 14-140mm & NEX's 18-200mm LE only differ in 20grams (both having image stabilization). And check out Oly's new 12-50mm kit lens!

That one is weathersealed and has a macrofunction...

Panny 14-140 is specialized for video, but you can of course get the 14-150 Oly too.

EPM2 w 14-150 comp to NEX3F w 18-200

It is also 785 vs 545 gram. The Sony weighs 240 gram or 40% more. That is a considerable difference.

No the lens weighs 180 gram more (it's the LE).

What makes NEX lenses seemingly humongous are the tiny bodies (ironically these APS-C sensor bodies are smaller than m4/3 ones), which I agree could make the ergonomics awkward at times.

Well..APS-c sensors simply means bigger lenses.

No, if the entrance pupil and FOV is kept the same, lenses don't have to be larger. Only if you keep the F stop constant (thus larger entrance pupil and more lightl), they will be larger.

Which Oly and which NEX? Fanboyism is not an argument. We can simply look at the scores of the specific cams compared here: EPM2 and NEXF3. The sensor of the NEX3F is not better. It is on par throughout the ISO range.

It's about 1/3 of a stop better throughout the ISO range and this was about the follow up, the 3N.

It is also a fact that m43 lenses tend to be much better and indeed very good wide open.

They are helped by the smaller format here.

It is not secret that Sony lenses are still criticized for the lack of IQ. And while Focuspeaking is nice, you can shoot manually very well with the m43 cams aswell and with the Oly those lenses simply are stablized. Not so on the Sony.

Depends on the lenses and adapter used.

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TrojMacReady
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You indeed forgot a few things.
In reply to Jorginho, Mar 23, 2013

Jorginho wrote:

There is:

12mm f2.0
17mm F1.8
20 mm F1.7
25mm F1.4
45mm f1.8
75mm f1.8

Coming up: 42,5 mm f1.2/ 150 mm f2.8

Sony has:.

16mm f2.8
20mm f2.8
24mm f1.8

Unless I forgot something, that is about it. I won't mention the Voigtlanders for m43. They are 0.95 at 17,5 and 25mm I believe.. But MF only.

What happened to the 35mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.8 lenses?

And even the Sigma 19mm and 28mm lenses become the equivalent of f/2.1 in terms of DOF when compared to µ4/3.

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Jorginho
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Re: You indeed forgot a few things.
In reply to TrojMacReady, Mar 23, 2013

TrojMacReady wrote:

Jorginho wrote:

There is:

12mm f2.0
17mm F1.8
20 mm F1.7
25mm F1.4
45mm f1.8
75mm f1.8

Coming up: 42,5 mm f1.2/ 150 mm f2.8

Sony has:.

16mm f2.8
20mm f2.8
24mm f1.8

Unless I forgot something, that is about it. I won't mention the Voigtlanders for m43. They are 0.95 at 17,5 and 25mm I believe.. But MF only.

What happened to the 35mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.8 lenses?

And even the Sigma 19mm and 28mm lenses become the equivalent of f/2.1 in terms of DOF when compared to µ4/3.

Thanks for the correction. I don't know how I forgot them, because when I looked the lenses up for this answer I saw these actually on the Sony site!

It is an important correction of my list, because the 35mm f1.8 is a very good lens indeed. 500 euro is a bit expensive, but it is not unlike the Leica 25mm 1.4 from that perspective either. It is also stablised so yes, this lens is a very good choice indeed!

50 mm f1.8: seems reasonable with an excellent bokeh. Not as good as the former nor the m43 lenses, but still could be very usefull.

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Vlad S
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Olympus
In reply to Louno, Mar 24, 2013

Louno wrote:

The camera will replace the Nikon P300 and it will be used for everything and anything, including video, but most often for hand-held food photography, for a blog ( with big images being posted ).

For food photography I would highly recommend the Olympus with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens. It is compact, good in low light, and gives a nice background blur at the typical distances when you photograph a plate on your table.

Vlad

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vjk2
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Re: Price check on aisle 6
In reply to Mahmoud Mousef, Mar 24, 2013

Mahmoud Mousef wrote:

$498 Sony NEX-3N with 16-50

$499 Olympus E-PM2 with 14-42

$419 Panasonic DMC-GX1 with G Vario 14-42

$349 Panasonic DMC-G3 with 14-42

Savings to be made by buying the Panasonic DMC-G3 can buy you your 'how-did-I-ever-live-without-this before?' flash unit, so you can bounce light off surfaces like a GOD without it looking like icky flash that fires from the cam and makes everything look sterile.

At this point, your resistance to slightly larger cams and honking big flash units will vanish, like the melting snow

warehousedeals.com has a EPL2 for like $330. Highly tempting...

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Mahmoud Mousef
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Nissin di466 flash unit
In reply to Jorginho, Mar 24, 2013

http://www.nissindigital.com/Di466.html

Seems like a nice little unit; it can tilt the head up but it can't swivel, but it does TTL, which can be great when you want it all handled automatically.

When used remotely, I heard the flash head can only zoom into one position, which is another (perhaps minor) limitation at the price. That and it tends to do to sleep if not used after a few minutes (apparently unable to be disabled?)

Nice price on amazon.co.uk when buying outside the EU (no tax to pay).

I may have to try one.

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