Need some M4/3 advice

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
john isaacs Veteran Member • Posts: 4,936
Re: Need some M4/3 advice

Oldguysrule wrote:

The other day I posted in the Camera, Len and System Buying forum some questions- I’m not going to rehash the whole letter (Are the older 4/3s cameras worth picking up) but one of the respondents said it might be a good idea to post here as well.

Bottom line: Wife and I are going to Africa in November and I need a good camera for wildlife. A little background. I’m no stranger to photography. First camera was a 1964 Nikon F I picked up in high school. No Photomic top, just the pentaprism. Manual everything. Learned everything from that camera. My current digital camera is a Panasonic Leica LC1. Great piece of glass, old school camera body- have taken nice photos over the years.

Was looking at the older 4/3 bodies (Panny L1, Oly E-1/3/5) and was told not to bother- the differences of 10-15 years of tech advances has pretty much relegated them to the display shelf. Got it.

I tend to buy used equipment and I really don’t do a lot of post exposure modification/editing. I do spend time composing- a holdover from my Nikon days.

I’m now looking at the M4/3 (Olympus, Panasonic) systems. it seems there are plenty of lenses and camera bodies around, but I need some direction. Are the Oly Pens a good option or should I look for an OM-D M5 (or M10)? The M1 was recommended, but right now out of my budget range. I don’t need to be overwhelmed with features and the news and best, but I like good, solid reliable equipment- I grew up on Nikkor and Nikon. Lens choice in M4/3 looks like the longest I’d bring would be probably the 100-300 Panasonic unless I can convince the Mrs that the 100-400 would be better. Would like to have at least one fast lens with me. Has anyone rented lenses from the commercial outfits that do so? In the used market my budget is probably $500-600- I know that’s limiting, but most of the travel money is going to the actual trip.

Should I buy a body and get lenses, buy a package deal of used from someone selling off their gear, or pick up a lens and wait for the right body to come along? What models should be avoided and what would be desirable?

I still have my Nikkor lenses- has anyone used the Nikon F to M4/3s adapter to shoot with? I do plan on bringing the LC1 for all the small stuff but I will need another for reaching out.

Way too many choices nowadays. I have time to narrow down my choices- just need some solid advice. Thanks in advance.

If you already have Nikon lenses, then why do you want to try to get an m43 camera?

My suggestion would be to get a Nikon D7200 and a Nikon 70-300mm VR lens. If you can't fit that within your $600 budget (it's possible and you have time), then you can always get a Nikon D7100. Then you can use your older lenses if you have some wide angle. For a fast lens, get the Nikon 35mm DX (but you should increase your budget for's cheap but you're adding more gear to your shopping list).

The Nikon package will not be too large for travel, and will be much better suited than using an older m43 camera. Older models do not have good continuous AF, and do suffer from shutter lag.

As for lanscape shots, you will find that a good smartphone camera will be an execellent second camera so you don't need to swap lenses (you do NOT want to be swapping lenses on safari due to dust). If you want to shoot wide and tele, then you need two cameras. So use your phone camera.

Side note: The 100-400 lenses for m43 are not at all within your budget. Nor is the Power OIS version of the Pansonic 100-300. The Mega OIS version is not as good on Olympus as Panasonic bodies. You could also consider the Olympus 75-300 (I'd get version II). But the problem is getting a suitable body. Olympus E-M1 mark I has tolerable C-AF, but it was never good enough for me so I tended to fall back on my Nikon gear. The E-M1 mark II is much better, and I use it for nearly everything now, but it is not at all within your budget.

Finally: If you are considering equivalence between m43 and Nikon DX, then let me say that the 16 mega-pixel sensors of the previous generation of m43 ARE equivalent to the 24mp sensors of the Nikon D7100/7200. Actual pixel size is nearly the same. You just get a lot more of them on the Nikon cameras, which means you can crop more, which means a 300mm lens on the Nikon body has the reach of a 400mm lens on the m43 bodies.

 john isaacs's gear list:john isaacs's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Nikon D750 Olympus E-M5 II Nikon D500 Olympus E-M1 II +16 more
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