Recommendations for an m4/3 setup for my mom

Started Dec 30, 2012 | Questions thread
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S. Miller Contributing Member • Posts: 877
Recommendations for an m4/3 setup for my mom

I want to get a camera for my mom to replace her ancient Canon S3 IS. She loves photography and has been taking photos for 50+ yrs. She's dangerously inquisitive (asks questions, doesn't usually understand or remember the answers), has taken various photography classes, and can actually shoot in S or A mode (not sure about fully manual). That said, I think she would be totally overwhelmed by a menu system like my OM-D (too expensive anyway), so that's not a choice.

I'm looking to spend around $500 and need a solution that provides an effective 28-300 zoom range, built-in VF (this is a definite requirement), and some possibility for a fast lens option. My thoughts are:

  1. Panny FZ 200 - small sensor but constant f/2.8 lens, 25-600 mm zoom (maybe useable for my mom up to 400mm?), decent EVF?
  2. Canon SX50 - I guess this is the current successor to her S3 IS
  3. m4/3 body, 14-42 kit lens and 40-150/45-200 tele zoom

I am leaning towards an m4/3 option since she has used SLRs in the past and would definitely take advantage of the interchangeable lenses. Personally, I like Oly over Panny, but think both companies produce nice m4/3 gear. Because I don't want to spend extra for a VF-2, I'm leaning towards a G3 because it has the EVF. She's not a pixel peeper (probably the opposite) so I don't think there's a need to buy the latest generation for the improved high ISO performance of the latest sensors.

The GH2 is a nice option, but is probably a bit of overkill and more importantly, would blow the entire budget on the body alone. I'm really tempted by the G3 + 14-42 kit lens on sale at B&H for $299. I could then add the Panny 45-200 for $229 and have a nice two-lens 14-200 G3 kit for $529. If she needs a low light option, she can add the 20/1.7 or 45/1.8 down the line for $350-$400.


  • Of the three choices, does m4/3 make the most sense?
  • Within m4/3, does the G3 package I'm leaning towards make the most sense?
  • Is there any other m4/3 combo for around $500 that would include two similar zooms as well as an EVF?



P.S. I don't want to become tech support, so I need the camera/lens solution to be easily understandable (another reason to nix Olympus).

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-S3
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