Seeking advice for new camera

Started Jan 21, 2013 | Questions thread
Daiken Regular Member • Posts: 273
Re: Seeking advice for new camera

Seems like you're getting a lot of feedback, so hopefully I'm not duplicating too much.

If you want a smallish/portable kit, then you've come to the right place (micro four third cameras are awesome). Some alternative small camera systems you could also check out are the Sony NEX cameras (bit bigger) and the Nikon 1 series (bit smaller). Both have their advantages and disadvantages and I think micro four thirds has a good balance being between the two in terms of sensor size.

Most cameras will do video so you should be covered in that regard, but they may not be as simple to use as dedicated video cameras. Panasonic cameras tend to have better videos, but Olympus isn't bad in this regard either. You should be okay with either system.

Depth of field as many people here have mentioned is the result of several different factors. If you're set on the micro-four thirds format, then to get the small depth of field with blurry backgrounds, you'll need to get a camera with a large aperture. The smaller the f number, the larger the aperture is. The best lenses for this would be f2 or lower prime lenses (example Olympus 45mm f1.8). Having a big aperture will also help in taking photos of kids running around because your shutter speed will be faster. Warning: lens prices tend to increase the bigger the aperture but often optical quality increases as well say compared to your kit lens.

Panasonic vs Olympus

Lenses on the two are interchangeable but some lenses are better on certain bodies.

- Panasonic likes to put their image stabilization system into the lenses, so the camera body has nothing itself.

- Olympus likes to put their image stabilization system into their camera bodies

So if you use a Olympus lens on a Panasonic body, you won't have any image stabilization but unless you're shooting in low light, you probably won't need it. There are a few more differences like fixing chromatic abberations but nothing huge. One thing I would also point out is if you're not into editing RAW files and just like JPEGs, people tend to prefer Olympus JPEGs because the colours are more punchy and attractive. Panasonic has gotten a lot better in this regard and the colours are more neutral but some people prefer that. You should see samples to see which you like better.

You mentioned money was an issue. To be honest, the micro four thirds cameras CAN be expensive if you start looking for faster lenses. Often times comparable with standard DSLRs. But having a great selection of lenses to choose from in the future will assure that you grow with it.

Cameras to check out:

Olympus E-PL1

- Old camera but image quality is still good. Main downside I would say is the slow focus speed

Panasonic GF5

- This is going on sale right now for $300 which is awesome. It doesn't have the latest and greatest sensor but it's still pretty good. I would probably recommend this as my top pick but I haven't used it personally.

Panasonic G5

- Better sensor than the one above and it's bigger and more comfortable to hold for some people. Also comes with a viewfinder.

Olympus E-PM2 or E-PL5

- Olympus's latest cameras and they're at a relatively affordable price point but you may not be able to get a nice lens for your budget.

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