Second camera: Panasonic GF3 vs. Olympus E-PL1

Started May 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
jalywol
jalywol Veteran Member • Posts: 9,425
Re: Second camera: Panasonic GF3 vs. Olympus E-PL1

Spectacle99 wrote:

I am an about-to-be new Olympus OM-D E-M5 owner (waiting like everyone else for delivery). With prices dropping like crazy on previous micro four-thirds models, I am considering buying a second camera for my wife's use, and we'll then be able to share lenses. So I am deciding between the following two models, and would appreciate any advice before making my choice:

  1. Olympus E-PL1 body & Panasonic 14mm pancake lens

  2. Panasonic GF3 in kit w/same Panasonic 14mm pancake lens

Both combos cost almost exactly the same price. Since my other lenses are Olympus lenses, as well as having a couple of OM manual focus lenses, I was thinking that the E-PL1 would be the better choice, as it has IBIS built in, and the GF3 does not.

Do you all think this is the right choice, or is there some reason why I should consider going with the GF3 instead?

I had an EPL1, I now have a GF3 for my small carry-with camera (I have a GH2 also).

The only two advantages to the EPL1 over the GF3 are IBIS and the hotshoe for external flash or EVF. The rest of the advantages (and there are many) go to the GF3.

They are:

GF3 has hugely faster focusing both in daylight and especially in dim light. The EPL1 is very, very slow to lock focus in dim light. The EPL1 has no AF assist light, also, while the GF3 does, making the GF3 a much better camera all around for indoor and lower light photography.

The EPL1 has a smaller and much dimmer LCD. The GF3's is large and quite visible in daylight. The EPL1's LCD is useless once it gets moderately bright out, and you need the EVF to see what you are doing. I've used my GF3 in even bright outdoor daylight with no problems; the EPL1 LCD would simply not have been visible in those same circumstances.

The controls on the GF3, while seemingly fewer, are much, much easier to use to adjust shutter speed/aperture/ exposure compensation. With the EPL1 there is a little button dance to get everything adjusted, and it is very fiddly. The GF3 has a very speedy set-up to change everything on the fly.

The GF3 has a smaller minimum focus area, including a pinpoint option, which is very handy in some situations.

The GF3 colors are pretty good. Nothing else has Oly colors, but the GF3 has IMO the best jpg engine of all the Panasonic cameras, and it does a really nice job in most situations.

If you want touch focus or touch shutter, the GF3 has both, the EPL1 does not. Some people find this a very handy feature.

I find there is a hair less noise at ISO 800 and 1600 in the newer version of the 12MP sensor in the GF3 vs the EPL1. It's not a big difference, but it does seem to be there.

The GF3 is simply a fun camera to hold and use. The EPL1 is not.

As to IBIS....I use all of my OLY lenses (and the 14mm Panny) on the GF3. I'm just careful about bracing and keeping my shutter speed up where possible, and I really have not had any terrible problems with camera motion blur. However, that is your call....if you do plan to take lots of photos at long telephoto range, then the EPL1 has an advantage. For wide to normal use, I call it a wash.

The GF3 is on fire sale today at Amazon, I would get one and try it. If you decide you don't like it, put the body up on Ebay, keep the lens, and then get the EPL1. If you do like it, you have a great little system and the lens you want for an unbelievable price .

Good luck!

-J

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