E-PL1 Questions from a Nikon DSLR user

Started Sep 7, 2010 | Discussions thread
OP snegron Regular Member • Posts: 499
Re: Answers from a Nikon DSLR user

John_of_LA wrote:
IMHO, of course

snegron wrote:

I have read the reviews of the E-PL1 here and I am looking into getting one. I currently have a Nikon D1X with buffer upgrade and a D200. I also have a Lumix LX3 and a TS1.

My current cams are D5000 (have used D70, D80 and D200), Pany TZ-5, and two-week-long LX3

I would like a faster compact camera than my LX3 for travel and day to day carry. I find that the weight of either my D1X or my D200 with my Nikon 17-55mm 2.8 is a bit too much for day to day carry. I really like my LX3, but I find it to be a bit slow. I sometimes shoot with the external optical viewfinder attached on my LX3, and it seems to be a bit faster but not as fast as I'd like it to be.

My usual kit is 17-55 as well and I also carry SB-400 coz D5K flash will be heavily blocked by the lens hood. Before E-PL1, I drag them around the world.

I know I probably won't get the speed of a DSLR with an E-PL1, but I have had faster point and shoots in the past (my old Lumix FZ-50 was faster than my LX3). I have the latest firmware upgrade in my LX3, but it simply feels a bit too slow.

Not sure what you meant by slow. If it the operation, of course, nothing compare to DSLR with many dedicated buttons for customization. I slow-down much when I "upgrade" my D80 to D5K. Well, mainly done to save weight and improve IQ.

E-PL1 is another class of slowness (in operation). Focus speed is on par with fastest compact. Hunt in low light (I only have kit lens). Nothing compare to D5K; however, it works fine after you get used to it. Of course, you won't get many keepers for bird in flight shots but it is fine for most use. My guess it is similar to LX3 speed.

I like the EP2, but I don't want to spend too much money at this time. The review of the E-PL1 here indicates that DSLR users will not be too thrilled with it, but I'm wondering if there are any DSLR users here who have been using an E-PL1 frequently?

I am! I've looked at E-P2 as well but I think it's a bit overpriced, compared to E-PL1. Only thing it worth getting with E-P2 is the VF2 kit. After a while, I get used to composing with LCD. I like non-pro look. IMHO, E-PL1 is much better value than E-P2. Arguably, E-PL1 has the best JPG engine and built-in semi bounce-able flash

OK, here's some additional detail for you from a Nikon user.

In general, Oly JPG and AWB is much more pleasing compared to Nikon. I think, Nikon is more accurate but, many times, I have to tune it to my liking in PP. Control in E-PL1 is slower but it is fine when you use Super control. You don't need to change thing often, compared to Nikon. Also, LCD give you preview on the look before you take the shot.

MF is much easier with LCD compared to D5K/D80 OVF! On D5K, it is easy to MF on LCD as well (especially compared to OVF) but E-PL1 is easier. On oly you can use one button to zoom in the focus area very easy. On nikon, you have to press several buttons. Also, NO MORE back-front focusing! Focus is slow but more accurate but faster than Nikon LV focus (which is much accurate than phase detect focus).
Things that I miss from Nikon, compared to Oly are;

1. Dynamic range: Not sensor comparison but more like how Nikon handle the shadow with ADL (on low setting). Work much better on D5K, especially, high contrast scene).

2. Fine detail: I think this is more of the lens issue rather than the camera. In good light, Oly give more sharpness from edge-to-edge due to greater DOF. Oly @ f8 looks fine across the frame compared to Nikon @ f11. However, fine detail is better on Nikon. Says, you photograph meadow or fabric, Nikon will give better detail. Oly is comparable when you dial down NR to low but it give grainy result.

3. Automatic CA removal: Kit lens is not that good and camera is not helping it.

4. Native fast lens: I guess if you use 17-55, you probably have similar style of shoot, you will miss the lens the most! m.zuiko is fine but slow speed reduce its benefit. Compared to your LX3, if you shoot @ 60mm eq, you are at 2.8 but with E-PL1, you will be close to F5. That's more than 1 stop which means you may use ISO100 on LX3 while you must use ISO320 (or so, keeping same shutter speed). I know that making 2.8 zoom will be big but if oly/panny make some thing close (says F3.5-4.5 or 2.8-4) it would be very competitive.

On the prime, you have only three currently. I felt I need tele prime to separate subject-background sometime. I currently using Nikon AF 85mm 1.8 for that.

Thank you for the very detailed feedback! Dynamic range was something I had heard I would be losing with the E-PL1. This is one of the main reasons I have not taken the plunge on getting an E-PL1 yet. I'm not sure if I like the idea of spending even more time in Photoshop trying to fix or improve images that much.

As for the lens, I love my 17-55. I also love the lens on my LX3! My guess is that if Olympus made anything close it would probably be huge as is the Nikon 17-55 (probably a bit smaller, but not by much). I'm hoping to see more primes that are faster and smaller than what's available for Nikon DSLR's at this time.

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