Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…

Started Apr 30, 2013 | Discussions
Grobb
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Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
Apr 30, 2013

… Consider how many expensive lenses are absolutely needed, just to cover your basic needs?

I have been considering the purchase of an Olympus E-PL5, then; I came across this thread with a post like this: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51378681
It seems like very advance photographers (unlike myself) are spending thousands of dollars on very expensive lenses. After acquiring them, they are noticing these lenses are only sharp at certain apertures and focal lengths. It seems like getting sharp images from corner to corner throughout the focal range is basically impossible on any m4/3 lens! I understand that is also true of all other types of interchangeable lens, but it seems even prevalent with m4/3 lenses. It has made me reconsider (or at least put on hold) my purchase of the E-PL5. Coming from fixed lens cameras in the past, I have never experienced these kinds of issues, costs and probably aggravations when not getting sharp images. I have two very important questions to ask, and I hope someone here can answer them for me and maybe others. If I do purchase the Olympus E-PL5, are there two additional (reasonably priced) lenses I can purchase (1 short/1 long) besides the kit lens that will give me approximately 17mm to 140/150mm range? If the answer is yes, will the total cost be less than $1000 for the entire system? Any help will be very much appreciated!

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tedolf
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Most lenses cost less than $75.00…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

tron555 wrote:

… Consider how many expensive lenses are absolutely needed, just to cover your basic needs?

I have been considering the purchase of an Olympus E-PL5, then; I came across this thread with a post like this: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51378681
It seems like very advance photographers (unlike myself) are spending thousands of dollars on very expensive lenses. After acquiring them, they are noticing these lenses are only sharp at certain apertures and focal lengths. It seems like getting sharp images from corner to corner throughout the focal range is basically impossible on any m4/3 lens! I understand that is also true of any other type of interchangeable lens, but it seems even more so with m4/3 lenses. It has made me start to reconsider (or at least put on hold) my purchase of the E-PL5. Coming from fixed lens cameras in the past, I have never experienced these kinds of issues, costs and probably aggravations when not getting sharp images. I have two very important questions to ask, and I hope someone here can answer them for me. If I do purchase the Olympus E-PL5, are there two additional (reasonably priced) lenses I can purchase (1 short/1 long) besides the kit lens that will give me from approximately 17mm to 140/150mm for less than $1000 total cost for the system?

see here:

Manual focus but perfectly usable.

Also, there are about a half dozen very nice u 4/3 AF lenes that cost from $99.00 to about $300.00  (40-150mm, 14-45mm, 17mm, 14mm, 19mm, 30mm, 20mm, etc. ).

tEdolph

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azazel1024
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

Which fixed lens camera are you talking about that comes in at less price and delivers better resolution?

There really aren't any lenses in existance that can deliver equal resolution in the corners as the center, including many multiple-thousand dollar lenses. Maybe some optical telescopes used by major scientic organizations.

There are numerous, numerous very good lens that are rather inexpensive.

The Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 comes to mind. Very sharp in the center, pretty good performance on the edges, $170 typically on eBay (it is sold with GF5 kits for cheap and then sellers break the kit and resell the camera and lens seperately is why it is so cheap on eBay).

The Olympus 45mm f/1.8 is also a superb lens and you can typically find it for $330-350.

Heck, the Panasonic 14-45mm "kit lens" is also very good and stupid cheap, if not particularly large aperture.

You don't have to buy the 7-14, 12/2, 17/1.8, 25/1.4, 45/1.8, 75/1.8, 70-300, 12-35/2.8 and 35-100/2.8 to get a "decent kit" (all told would probably be around $6,000-7,000).

The Olympus 40-150mm f/4-5.6 is a pretty good lens, if not outstanding and can be typically had for $150-200. The Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 is very good for around $330 if you don't mind the slow autofocus, or the Pansonic 14mm f/2.5, which isn't quite as good, but faster autofocus and quieter for $170 or so. Total cost is around $300 for the Olympus 40-150mm and Panasonic 14mm and you'd have a very nice kit including the kit lens.

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ryan2007
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

You can buy a DSLR like Nikon or Canon. I can speak for Nikon DX stuff.  The Nikon 12-24 & 16-85 (actually now I think its a 10-24) but a really nice lenses and cover from the equivalent 18-35 and 28-130 roughly. Unless you need fast glass and if you want telephoto you can get a 70-300

For micro four thirds you can buy the Panasonic 14-45 & 45-200 to cover the 28-90 and 90-400 equivalent.

You can spend the money and get the fast 2.8 zooms too if you need to. The advantage to buying good glass no matter if its Panasonic, Olympus, Nikon or Canon is all you have to do is upgrade the camera body when needed. You'll always have the good lenses for many years unless you need to make certain switches in gear.

I know that still quality in the Fuji X cameras will give Panasonic & Olympus a run for for the money. The optics I think are even better for stills only.

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Ulric
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

tron555 wrote:

If I do purchase the Olympus E-PL5, are there two additional (reasonably priced) lenses I can purchase (1 short/1 long) besides the kit lens that will give me approximately 17mm to 140/150mm range? If the answer is yes, will the total cost be less than $1000 for the entire system? Any help will be very much appreciated!

The Olympus 40-150mm zoom will do the long end nicely at a low cost. For the short end, I suggest Panasonic 14mm. If you shop around a bit, you may even be able to squeeze the Olympus 45mm into your $1000 budget.

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tgutgu
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

All m4/3 lenses are in my opinion reasonably priced. Most of them are better than their DSLR counterparts. m4/3 currently has the best combination of IQ, price, and size/weight on the market.

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Mittskitts
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

tron555 wrote:

… Consider how many expensive lenses are absolutely needed, just to cover your basic needs?

With the caveat that I am not a lens snob, and while I am an avid photographer but do not classify myself as an "enthusiast": First, consider the words "expensive" and "absolutely needed" and "basic needs"...

The lenses do not have to be the most "expensive" ones on the market to meet "basic needs", and a lot of them are not "absolutely needed" for general use.

Here is my usage based on 3 years of micro four thirds ownership (E-PL1, bought in 5/10):

The kit lens, while frequently dismissed on forums almost as a throwaway, is actually quite good. I use it hands down more than any lens in my bag. It is quite versatile and gives great results. I only use my telephoto lens (an Olympus 4/3 40-150mm with the adapter) when needed, and while it is an older 4/3 model lens, it actually gives very sharp pictures. It is low priced. My most expensive m4/3 lens purchase is the Olympus 9-18mm which I don't use very often, but it is a truly nice lens especially for scenic vistas and I wish I had bought it before a long road trip through the national parks, but I waited for the annual Olympus lens sale to buy it. I have the Panasonic 20mm and it is great for low light situations, but I don't use it very often. I just bought the Olympus 17/2.8 on Olympus' spring lens sale (it showed up yesterday) and so far I am very impressed (my expectations were guarded, based on the frequent criticism it gets, but I gave it a try based on the pictures I have seen online--I probably did not need it because I already have the 20/1.7, but well, curiosity got the better of me). Eventually, I am going to get an even longer telephoto, but haven't yet opened the checkbook for that.

Some of the people here with legacy lenses seem to be getting great results with those lenses and adapters (see Tedolph's posts).

I expect that the newer micro four thirds cameras are an improvement on mine, but mine still does a great job and I haven't felt the need to replace it yet.

So, the point is, you can get great photos with micro four thirds without breaking the bank. I had a colleague who had a policy of buying "last year's model" on sale to keep the cost of his photography hobby down, and he took the most amazing pictures.

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Bob Tullis
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Any ILC system _can_ be expensive
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

It depends on what you want or need from a system, or more specifically, your photographs.   But ILC's are designed to accommodate different optic needs, and the more needs you have the more lenses you may accumulate.   The more discerning or demanding of their objectives one is, the more expensive the lenses one covets might be.

Might be.   It depends on the type of photographer you strive to be.   Some want to be as respected as renowned personalities in photography - which often means using the best kit possible to have any chance of being competitive.  Others simply want nice photos of moments in their lives without much fuss or engagement with the craft, and they would know CA from AC so their requirements wouldn't be as stringent.

You might want to take a look at what folks are advising, and then see what they've been able to do with that same gear (check their galleries).    For what interests you, then ask about how the photographs displayed were accomplished.

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walkaround
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

tron555 wrote:

… Consider how many expensive lenses are absolutely needed, just to cover your basic needs?

I agree with you. The prices for m4/3 lenses are equal or greater than equivalent Canon and Nikon SLR AF lenses, which I think is surprising given the flange distance, smaller size, etc.

I look at m4/3 as filling a market niche no other format does: putting those old film lenses to use  while keeping infinity focus and not breaking the budget. I don't feel so bad now if my AE-1 Program is getting dusty. The old Nikkor and Canon FD lenses are usually around $100 or less, so that can be an option for you.

Maybe at some point I'll get a Panasonic lens for my GX1, but when I see reviews that say the 25mm 1.4 has over 1.2% of distortion and the camera is fixing it in the jpegs, I'm dubious about what I'm getting for my $500.

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Just Having Fun
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"free" kit lens plus $99 does it.
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

You can get the 40-150 mm Olympus lens for $99 new often.  The Panasonic version is not much more.

As Tedolf mentions, you can get primes cheap.  My 50mm F/1.4 was $40.

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Tvaclavek
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

Great kit and less than $1000:

EPL-5 with 14-42 $550

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 $175

Olympus 40-150mm $150

That is $875.  If you get the epl5 used you can save $100.  Take that savings and get the 45mm f/1.8 and you are set.

You would have from 28-300 covered and two primes.  I dont think you can do better in any other system.

Heck you could buy the epl5 without the kit lens.  Get the olympus 9-18 for $500 and the 45mm and be covered for 90% of shooting you would ever need and still be less than $1250.

The better lenses are going to cost more but that is the case in every system.  $1200 for the 35-100 and $1100 for the 12-35 are significantly cheaper than the 24-70 and 70-200 versions for full frame cameras.

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pcb_dpr
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

You're making some pretty extensive generalizations, seemingly without much experience with the type of equipment you're generalizing about. Kinda hard to pick this all apart, but I'll start with:

1. Very few lenses in any format are equally sharp corner to corner, especially wide-open, and the ones that are tend to be very expensive telephotos. Look at any MTF curves for any prime or zoom lens, then look at the curves for a Leica M 90/2.0 APO-Asph. Very few lenses have flat response curves, especially wide-open, like the 90/2.0 APO-Asph. It's a tele lens, which is easier to design, and it's a $4k lens.

2. Many/most zoom lenses have varying performance at all focal lengths. Again, pick any high-end zoom and check out the MTF graphs. Some are more consistent than others, none are perfect.

3. Sample variation exists. Back in the day retentive photographers would test multiple samples of any lens they wanted to buy, and pick/keep the one that delivered the sharpest negs. Today lenses can come off the line with decentered elements, or other out-of-tolerance assembly, that degrades image quality. Today you can check for that in minutes, no need to wait to process film. Return it if it isn't right.

4. Your "fixed lens cameras" were absolutely weaker in the corners than the center, but since they had tiny sensors and immense depth of field, maybe you didn't see it. Or maybe it was there but you didn't see it. But it was there. Assuming by "fixed lens cameras" you mean a point-and-shoot compact digicam.

5. I doubt you'll find any data anywhere to support that weak corner response is somehow worse with m4/3 optics than other formats. Or decentered lens elements. Or variable zoom performance at different focal lengths. M4/3 optics are not more imperfect than any other.

6. You will find many more users happy with their high-end/fast m4/3 glass than users unhappy with the performance. I'd say the same for users of high-end NiCanSony glass. High-end lenses are mostly well-designed and worth the $$, nit-pickers will pick nits, but the lenses keep selling and people keep making outstanding images with them.

7. Mirrored cameras have additional issues with front-/back-focusing due to phase-detect sensors that do not exist with mirrorless contrast-detect focusing. Search some forums and you'll find high-end users having to tweak their DSLR focus settings for their fast glass, some send their cameras/lenses to techs regularly for tweaking. Doesn't happen with m4/3, or any other mirrorless system.

8. Whatever compact camera you're using now, any current m4/3 camera will handily outperform it, despite imperfect optics. Even without "spending thousands of dollars on very expensive lenses."

9. A good photographer can make great images with middling hardware. A middling photographer can make middling images with great hardware.

tron555 wrote:

… Consider how many expensive lenses are absolutely needed, just to cover your basic needs?

...very advance photographers (unlike myself) are spending thousands of dollars on very expensive lenses....these lenses are only sharp at certain apertures and focal lengths...getting sharp images from corner to corner throughout the focal range is basically impossible on any m4/3 lens! I understand that is also true of all other types of interchangeable lens, but it seems even prevalent with m4/3 lenses. It has made me reconsider...purchase of the E-PL5. Coming from fixed lens cameras in the past, I have never experienced these kinds of issues, costs and probably aggravations when not getting sharp images....

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Guy Parsons
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Too expensive when you get obsessive…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

Hi, private message answered, won't repeat it here as some may be offended when they recognise themselves.

Basically though, this forum is made up of gear freaks, some good photographers but mostly not.

Angst over primes is something I went through back in film days, until I relented and used zooms, never really looked back.

I'd rather take photos than fiddle with cameras.

Regards.... Guy

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rsmithgi
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

Here are two options:

GX1 - $239 (new 42nd St Photo) or G3 - $249 (new B&H)

Panasonic 14-42 - $94 (used keh.com)

Panasonic 45-150 - $200 (new amazon.com)

Total - $533 or $543

or

GX1 - $239 (new 42nd St Photo) or G3 - $249 (new B&H)

Pansonic 14-140 - $429 (used keh.com)

Total - $668 or $678

You don't NEED the current generation cameras. You can save significant money buying an older generation camera and/or buying used.  Wait for a deal on the Sigma 19mm and/or Sigma 30mm and you can add two quality primes to your kit for $200. Finally, the 14mm panasonic can be found on ebay pretty cheap.

For $1000 you could have two bodies, several lenses and a flash.

GX1 - $239

G3 - $249

14-42 - $94

45-150 - $200

Sigma 19mm & 30mm - $200 (may have to wait for this deal to come around again)

FL-36 flash (used key.com) - $109

Total - $1006

You can pick these up gradually and build a very versatile kit.

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AndyGM
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

tron555 wrote:

… Consider how many expensive lenses are absolutely needed, just to cover your basic needs?

I have been considering the purchase of an Olympus E-PL5, then; I came across this thread with a post like this: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51378681
It seems like very advance photographers (unlike myself) are spending thousands of dollars on very expensive lenses. After acquiring them, they are noticing these lenses are only sharp at certain apertures and focal lengths. It seems like getting sharp images from corner to corner throughout the focal range is basically impossible on any m4/3 lens! I understand that is also true of all other types of interchangeable lens, but it seems even prevalent with m4/3 lenses. It has made me reconsider (or at least put on hold) my purchase of the E-PL5. Coming from fixed lens cameras in the past, I have never experienced these kinds of issues, costs and probably aggravations when not getting sharp images. I have two very important questions to ask, and I hope someone here can answer them for me and maybe others. If I do purchase the Olympus E-PL5, are there two additional (reasonably priced) lenses I can purchase (1 short/1 long) besides the kit lens that will give me approximately 17mm to 140/150mm range? If the answer is yes, will the total cost be less than $1000 for the entire system? Any help will be very much appreciated!

I do not see how you came to these conclusions based on the post you linked to, or even the whole thread that post is from. The Olympus 45mm lens they are discussing in that thread is $349, you'd have to buy six extra lenses of that price to get to your thousands (plural) of Dollars. To cover the focal length range you mentioned, you only have to buy one extra lens, and it is cheaper than $359. Heck, you can buy a kit that has the E-PL5, the 14-42 lens it usually comes with, and the 40-150mm lens, all included in the box. And its $100 Dollars more that the single lens kit, so I'm told. Both lenses together more than cover your 17-150mm range.

When they were discussing how sharp the 45mm lens is at certain apertures, it is all relative. I am willing to bet that even at the apertures where the 45mm is least sharp it is still sharper than the fixed lens on the camera you are using at the moment. Its just that most people on this forum are gear geeks, and they want to wring every last bit of sharpness out of the lenses they have. All lenses, for any camera, have "sweet spots" for sharpness, and usually when the aperture is fully open, the sharpness is lower than when you reduce the aperture a little bit. Notice I said lower and not low, as I said, it is all relative. Oh, and there will not have been discussion of "certain focal lengths" because that lens has just one focal length, 45mm. That's it. It is not a Zoom lens, it is a Prime lens.

The most common use for the 45mm lens is for taking portraits, and most of the discussion we have on this forum are about how this lens is too sharp for this purpose, and how wives and girlfriends have demanded that "soft focus" is added to the image afterwards in Photoshop because the lens is so sharp it is showing up every little imperfection in their skin!

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G1Houston
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

tron555 wrote:

… Consider how many expensive lenses are absolutely needed, just to cover your basic needs?

If I do purchase the Olympus E-PL5, are there two additional (reasonably priced) lenses I can purchase (1 short/1 long) besides the kit lens that will give me approximately 17mm to 140/150mm range? If the answer is yes, will the total cost be less than $1000 for the entire system? Any help will be very much appreciated!

What are YOUR basic needs?  Do you really need long lenses, which are critical for wild life and may be sports?  Otherwise, a kit lens plus a fast prime for general photography in low light will do.  The Panasonic 20/1.7 is about $350.  You add more lenses over time as your needs grow.

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hindesite
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Then they are not photographers
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

tron555 wrote:

… Consider how many expensive lenses are absolutely needed, just to cover your basic needs?

I have been considering the purchase of an Olympus E-PL5, then; I came across this thread with a post like this: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51378681
It seems like very advance photographers (unlike myself) are spending thousands of dollars on very expensive lenses. After acquiring them, they are noticing these lenses are only sharp at certain apertures and focal lengths. It seems like getting sharp images from corner to corner throughout the focal range is basically impossible on any m4/3 lens!

There you go.

These guys are not "advanced" photographers. They are more interested in the hardware than any photos it will produce.

No expensive lenses are "absolutely needed" for photography (in general). A few months ago I won a DPR challenge with a lens that cost me less than $20.

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Guy Parsons
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In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

Out of curiosity I looked at B&H prices for what I would buy today if I didn't already have this and more, it's all I really use/need for everyday photography.......

Olympus E-PL5 body $549

Panasonic 14-45mm lens $319

Panasonic 45-150mm lens $299

Total $1167 Plus taxes plus delivery. And surely there's better deals than that around.

In Oz where I am the same is currently $588 + $363 + $282 Total $1233 free delivery, taxes included (or $1121 if getting the tax refunded if taking a flight out of the country within 30 days of purchase). The Oz$ is currently varying about 2% to 5% more valuable than the US$ so we only pay maybe 20% more but much the same if we get the tax back. Some other Olympus prices are as cheap or cheaper than USA, curious.

And while I'm time wasting, the Japan prices at Yodobashi are ¥52,800 + ¥24,700 + ¥24,700 = Total ¥102,200 tax included which right now is US$1049 and Oz$1011, again the 5% tax (to be increased to 8% in April 2014 and to 10% in October 2015) can be refunded at purchase for travellers if order large like this.

Regards.... Guy

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enrique santa
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it'll be expensive only if you want
In reply to Grobb, Apr 30, 2013

You dont need to buy an epl5. A scond or third generation cam from pana oly could be yours from 150 eur to 350 with kit lens.
And for lenses you have plenty of vintage lens really inexpensive and ofers in ebay of native m 4/3 lens.
I'm sure you can buy an epl2 with kit lens plus an 40 150 for about 450 eur.
In this forum there are a lot of people crazy for gear and more worried in test their gear than in made photos. Please forgive them you will be more happy shooting than reading this kind of things.
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Grobb
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Re: Are m4/3 cameras too expensive when you…
In reply to G1Houston, Apr 30, 2013

I’ve decided to look at getting an E-PL5, the Panasonic 14-45mm and Panasonic 45-150mm lenses. After reading many reviews on the Internet and this forum, I think this system would be a perfect start. I also appreciate some excellent advice and suggestions that made a LOT of sense to me by Guy Parsons. Thanks Guy, you really seem to know what you are talking about.

“The reason for the Panasonic 14-45mm lens is that it is the best of the kit lenses, doesn't have a collapsing barrel design so is more robust and is always ready. Plus it has switched OIS so that can be used for the occasional video and other stabilization, easier to move the lens switch than fiddle with menus.”

AND

“The non-switched OIS on the 45-150mm is handled by the Lens IS Priority feature by the use of MySets assigned to the Mode dial where you can twist the dial to turn on stabilization instead of menu diving.”

Unless anyone sees anything wrong with that starter system, I will start looking for the best deals and buy them when I feel the time and price is right. I will also pick up a nice wide prime, but for now I think the system above should meet and exceed all of my present needs, which are pretty simple ones. I’m also sure this system will give me much better IQ than my trusty old Canon G12 has over the past 4 years. I just want to take my photography skills to the next step and I think the system above will help me accomplish that mission. Thanks for all your help and suggestions!

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