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Olympus E-PL5 vs E-PL3

Discussion in 'Micro Four Thirds Forum' started by miklesw, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. miklesw

    miklesw New to SC

    6
    Jan 25, 2013
    I'm new to microFT cameras and have been doing some research on the various models available.

    seems like the E-PL3/E-P3 are cheaper than the E-PL5/E-PM2... Apart from the resolution, grip, touchscreen and flip angle, is there any difference in performance/quality?

    I'm also considering getting a pancake all-rounder lens that's performs well in low light conditions (without spending too much).

    LUMIX G 14mm F2.5 ASPH
    M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm F2.8

    Any recommendations?
     
  2. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    You've mentioned some of the most obvious differences, but the difference in the sensors is not limited to resolution. The new 16mp sensors found in the OMD, EPL5, and EPM2 are also a good deal better than the previous generation's 12mp sensor in terms of DR, high ISO sensitivity, and noise at base ISO. They're just much better sensors on about every level. The EPL3 sensor is pretty useable up to ISO 1600, the newer sensors are good to about 6400. The DR is notably better too. I had an EPL3 - it was a fine little camera. I have an EPL5 - its better in about every way. If you can stretch to spend the extra money, I'd do it. Particularly if you shoot in low light, but even if you don't its not a bad idea...

    -Ray
     
  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Mostly you are looking at a sizable, generational step in sensor design as well as a change in sensor the supplier. The older 12mp Panasonic sensor in the E-PL3 has its admirers and is more than capable of producing nice images, but it will be challenged more by extremes of low light and high contrast lighting conditions. If you are into editing files there is less room to move on the E-PL3 (I find shadow noise harder to deal with on this type of sensor).

    The E-PL5 shares a current generation sensor with the E-M5 with greatly improved dynamic range and noise response. The overall look of the files is somewhat different as a result. Now I have known people who say they don't really see any improvement (at low ISO) or even prefer the older sensor, but I think that they have all been jpeg shooters, and indeed Olympus was known for their great jpeg engine in the older 12mp cameras.
     
  4. miklesw

    miklesw New to SC

    6
    Jan 25, 2013
    thanks, seems like epl5 is the way to go..

    Any recommendations for a not-so-expensive pancake lens? and is it ok to use panasonic lenses on epl5?
     
  5. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Yes, Panasonic lenses can be used on your Oly.

    if you're budget minded, the Panasonic 14mm is loved by all who own it. The Olympus 17mm isn't crazy sharp like the Panasonics, but I LOVE the way it renders. And it could found quite cheap second hand since they have a new faster one hitting the market now. If you can fit the Panasonic 20mm into your budget, that was considered THE lens in m43 for the first couple years and I used it almost exclusively for a year. They've come down quite a bit in price and good used ones can now be had for around $300, but I remember when there was a shortage people were paying $500-$600 for them. It really is THAT good, but now that some faster focusing lenses have been released people moan about it being slower to focus. Our memories about what is good changes so quickly.

    Also consider the 2 Sigmas....the 19mm and 30mm. While kinda big and definitely "pancake", they are sharp and cheap. There's really not a bad lens in the whole line-up. Choose the focal length the suits what you shoot.
     
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Mostly. The one caveat to be aware of is that some of the Panasonic lenses (I know this is true of the 20mm - I've heard anecdotal evidence about the 14 and 25mm as well) tend to show some banding at really high ISO with the new sensors. I don't think this is only true of the Oly bodies either - I've seen the same reported with the GH3 which is the first Pany with the same level of sensor performance as the new generation of Olympus bodies. I think these lenses are fine for normal shooting but somewhere in the range of 3200 or 6400 ISO (which amazingly, these sensors handle quite well), banding can start to appear. I've never experienced this personally - the only Pany lens I have at the moment is the 14mm, so take my word as no better than second hand. But it would be worth doing a search on MU-43.com and/or DP Review to learn more about this. I don't know if its a big problem or a small one or whether it really extends beyond the 20mm or not, but it would be worth looking into.

    The other thing to be aware of in terms of pancake lenses, is that the Panasonic 20mm and the Olympus 17mm (the old one at f2.8) use external movement focussing mechanisms and are quite slow compared to any of the newer lenses for AF speed. The newer prime lenses, the Pany 14 and 25, the Oly 12, 17 (f1.8 version), 45, and 75, are all blazingly fast at AF. But those first two that were offered with m43 cameras are not fast by current standards. Some find them just fine, some find them too slow, so it may or may not be a problem for you. But again, something to be aware of and take into account.

    -Ray
     
  7. miklesw

    miklesw New to SC

    6
    Jan 25, 2013
    thanks for all the tips.. now there's another variable in the equation.. came across the EOS M..the HK seller from where I was going to get the EPL5 has the EOS M for €80 less..

    All the reviews I read seem to favor the EPL5 and in general i'm more inclined towards the Oly.. however I had a look at some sample shots on cameralabs and seems like the EOS has got brighter colors..

    EOS M - Canon EOS M sample image | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    EPL5 - Olympus PEN E-PL5 sample image | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    I'll probably still go for the Oly, however I just would like to understand what contributes to the difference in colors (I'm assuming that it's not just the camera)
     
  8. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Without knowing what settings went into either camera, it would be hard for me to make a judgement on that one comparison. What I will say is that I believe there is a fundamental difference between the way a Canon sensor will handle colours compared to the Olympus (nee Sony) 16MP sensor. In fact I think the difference is related to Sony because I found the NEX 5N to be similar in it's response. The two Sony sensors have measurable more dynamic range in the highlights, but I am not totally confident with the way they handle colours. Mostly confident, not totally confident. If I take a raw file from them and play with the saturation slider there is a certain range between the image appearing over-saturated and comical, and being flat and dull. Usually they're fine, but sometimes I find it hard to strike the right balance. On a Canon, using my G1X as my most recent example (and it having a slightly cut down version of the EOS M sensor with the same Digic V processor), I can move the saturation slider further in each direction before I no longer like what I see. This is even true with my old EOS 50D. My feeling that the Canon will have a larger operating range with respect to colour saturation, but the Olympus has the larger operating range with respect to dynamic range.