Mirrorless or entry-level DSLR?

Started Nov 3, 2012 | Discussions thread
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xAoiSora New Member • Posts: 21
Mirrorless or entry-level DSLR?

Hello! Would appreciate some help picking out a new camera. I've been researching, agonizing and changing my mind a few million times for about two years and I still cannot make a decision on which camera to buy. ): I really have to make my decision soon as I'll be making the purchase somewhere end of this year.

I'm a PnS user upgrading to something that will allow me to learn about every single button on a camera and to take awesome photos. So in short, what I'm shooting:

- Portraits 
- Toys/figures (macro)
- Snapshots during travels

I have given myself a budget of about USD700 to get myself a camera with the kit lens and a nice, affordable prime like the 50mm 1.8. I would use the 50mm for macro and portraits, and use the kit lens for everything else like random snapshots. After a lot of hours of Googling (and using study time for camera research instead), I've narrowed down to between the Nikon D3100, Nikon D90, or Olympus E-PM1.

At first, I was all decided on the E-PM1, because I've often heard that it's on par with entry-level DSLRs, so why carry the extra bulk when you can get a smaller, equally good camera? I admit that the size was appealing (but if the DSLR is worth the extra bulk, I won't complain), and I'm afraid of being lumped into the category of "rich kid with big camera who takes crappy photos". I like how easy it is to change settings in a DSLR compared to menu-diving on the E-PM1, but at the same time the thought of carrying a camera bag wherever I go scares me a little.

I actually asked others for help on the topic before, and almost everyone recommended the E-PM1 instead, because I mentioned that I wanted to bring it on travels.

However, I also realized that mirrorless lenses are really expensive compared to DSLR lenses. I've often heard that the lenses matter more than the body, so I should be investing my money in lenses instead. After spending this USD700 I probably won't have any more to spend on camera equipment, so whatever I choose to buy is going to have to last me for the next five years or so.

If I buy the D3100, I can get the super cheap 50mm or 30mm 1.8 (I don't mind manual focus for the sake of saving money), and perhaps get more lenses in the future, like the 28mm 2.8. However, if I get the E-PM1, I'll probably be stuck with the kit lens and the 45mm 1.8 for a long, long time.

I'm also considering the D90, if it's worth topping up for, compared to an entry-level DSLR.

I'm sorry that this is really long, but I really need help on making my final decision. Your replies extremely appreciated! ^__^

Nikon D3100 Nikon D90 Olympus PEN E-PM1
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