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Archive 2016 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?
  
 
kdenio
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


Hi,

I could use some advice. I have a Panasonic GF1 that I've been using on and off for six years, and I'm trying to figure out if it's worth it to upgrade the camera, invest in a new lens or two, or just jump ship from MFT to FF.

I'm a hobbyist in bursts--I'll go a year shooting very rarely, then get super-serious about a subject for a year. Right now, I'm shooting a lot of macros of toys in a makeshift studio setting, but still shoot a decent amount of candids of my kids and on vacation and such.

The pictures I'm getting are ok for posting on the Internet, but I'm not sure they'll stand up on prints, and I feel like they're missing a certain "character". The problem could very well be the photographer and not the camera, and I'm willing to admit that.

What I'm wondering is if it would be worthwhile to upgrade to something like a used OMD E-M1 or E-M5 MkII or wait to get a new E-M1 MkII? Would I see a huge improvement in IQ and have more leeway for creativity? Or would it be better to just invest in a new lens or two and focus on my craft?

I'm also debating getting a used 5D MkII or D750 for the macro shots and just keeping the GF1 for family snapshots. I previously had a 7D, so I know what shooting with a larger body and heavier lenses entails.

My budget for a body and lens could go as high as $3,500, but I'd rather spend less than more; who wouldn't?

So, any advice?

Thanks!



Oct 08, 2016 at 05:58 PM
Ernie Aubert
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


"Or would it be better to just invest in a new lens or two and focus on my craft?"

I'd say yes to this. Good lenses and skills will still be with you later for any subsequent camera(s).



Oct 08, 2016 at 07:04 PM
kdenio
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


Ernie Aubert wrote:
"Or would it be better to just invest in a new lens or two and focus on my craft?"

I'd say yes to this. Good lenses and skills will still be with you later for any subsequent camera(s).


I'd have to agree with you.

I guess my question boils down to:

  1. Has technology improved the image quality drastically from the GF1 to now?
  2. Given my current interest, should I continue to invest money in adding to my MFT lenses or look at moving to a larger sensor?


Thanks for the reply!



Oct 08, 2016 at 09:02 PM
Ernie Aubert
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


I don't know the GF1, but a couple questions arise in my mind:
1: Do you use any lighting other than available light?
B: How big do you wish to print?
You can make perfectly clear, sharp, detailed 13x19 prints from the earliest MFT sensors; good enough that I'd expect to be able to make bigger still.



Oct 08, 2016 at 10:01 PM
kdenio
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


Here's the DP Review write-up on the GF1

For lighting, I use a couple of cheapo LED panels with small soft boxes. I'll also wire individual LEDs for fill or accent lighting when needed.

I don't see myself printing any larger than 13x19, so I'd say I'm good there.

Thanks again!



Oct 08, 2016 at 11:20 PM
kwalsh
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


Two things have improved significantly in the m43 world since the GF1. The sensors are much lower noise and so handle low light better and the cameras have significantly improved AF. You don't even have to spend a bundle on the latest and greatest to see those improvements either, there are a bunch of great bodies a few years old that can be found on the used market quite inexpensively.

A larger sensor is not going to help macro at all so I don't think that is a compelling reason to go FF. And really kids is a fairly poor choice for FF as well since you tend to end up with shooting constraints that negate any IQ advantage of the FF system (i.e. when shooting kids you need a fast shutter speed because kids move and you can't use razor thin DoF because again kids move - with those constraints almost all sensor sizes perform identically because the larger formats must be shot at smaller apertures and higher ISOs eliminating any noise advantage they have).

Lastly, even the GF1 should print up to 13x19 inches with ease, so if you feel the images are having issues it might be the photographer But seriously, any of the 16MP m43 cameras will have significantly improved noise performance compared to the GF1 and the better AF performance will help a lot with kid photos.

P.S. I always advocate investing in lenses. They are very slow to depreciate so if you end up not using one much you can sell it used a little loss.



Oct 08, 2016 at 11:26 PM
notherenow
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


I think that generally, the change from 12mp M4/3 sensors to 16mp sensors was a pretty big deal.

I didn't mind my Oly 12mp camera but theGX7 is so much better.

The E-M1 would be noticeably better in many cases than the GF1 I think.

DXO has the E-M1 having about the same dynamic range at ISO 1600 as the GF1 at ISO100.

Of course, better lenses would never hurt either!

https://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Olympus-OM-D-E-M1-versus-Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-GF1___909_632




Oct 09, 2016 at 12:53 AM
kdenio
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


Thank you, all! This is very helpful. When I look at upgrading, I fall into the trap of wanting the best of the best of the best, even though I'll never use 20% of its potential. This gives me a more realistic view of what to consider. Definitely a new lens or two. Maybe a more modern body. And a lot more practice.


Oct 09, 2016 at 01:49 AM
String
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


The E-M5 II has both focus stacking and the high res mode that may be useful for your current purpose.


Oct 09, 2016 at 05:47 AM
jasonkuo
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


What lenses do you have right now? There are a number of great lenses that have come out since the GF-1 was introduced.

Currently you can get an E-M1 and the 12-40mm f/2.8 for $1,299 as a bundle, which is a pretty good deal as long as your okay with getting the "old" E-M1, which should serve you well. The 12-40 can also focus really close.

If you want to stick with Panasonic, there are some great body options there as well, including the GX-85, which is what I'm probably moving toward (I have a GX-1).



Oct 09, 2016 at 01:35 PM
 

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kdenio
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


jasonkuo wrote:
What lenses do you have right now?


For snapshots, I have the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake and 45-200mm f/4 IS.

For macro work, I picked up the Oly 60mm f/2.8 macro a couple of months ago, and I have my eye on the Voightlander 42.5mm f/0.95.



Oct 09, 2016 at 03:49 PM
tonychen
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


I would try to get a "new" body with the sensor from E-M5 or later. EM5 got a leap on IQ over the old M43 bodies. Should be easy to buy a used EM5, EM10, EP5 or equivalent Pany bodies for less than $300.


Oct 10, 2016 at 03:45 AM
TMaG82
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


kdenio wrote:
For snapshots, I have the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake and 45-200mm f/4 IS.

For macro work, I picked up the Oly 60mm f/2.8 macro a couple of months ago, and I have my eye on the Voightlander 42.5mm f/0.95.


Unless you absolutely need it, I wouldn't recommend the Voigtlander lenses. They're large, heavy, manual focus, and not sharp at all until you stop down to around 1.8 or so. Wide open they have a glowy look to them. And on a body without peaking not as easy to use. Also the size and weight are issues on a smaller body. I'd rather take the money you would use on that and pickup an Olympus 45 1.8 or a Panasonic 42.5 1.7 and the rest towards a new body.



Oct 10, 2016 at 10:19 AM
kdenio
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


Unless you absolutely need it, I wouldn't recommend the Voigtlander lenses. They're large, heavy, manual focus, and not sharp at all until you stop down to around 1.8 or so. Wide open they have a glowy look to them. And on a body without peaking not as easy to use. Also the size and weight are issues on a smaller body. I'd rather take the money you would use on that and pickup an Olympus 45 1.8 or a Panasonic 42.5 1.7 and the rest towards a new body.

Good to know, thanks! I was primarily interested in the Voigtlander for its close focusing ability, but the money may be better spend on an extension tube.



Oct 11, 2016 at 03:21 PM
AmbientMike
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


I like my GH1, which I think is similar to the GF1, but I think it would be worthwhile to upgrade.

Personally I like the smaller sensor for macro.




Oct 12, 2016 at 03:13 AM
jasonkuo
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?




kdenio wrote:
For snapshots, I have the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake and 45-200mm f/4 IS.

For macro work, I picked up the Oly 60mm f/2.8 macro a couple of months ago, and I have my eye on the Voightlander 42.5mm f/0.95.


That's a decent lens set. For kids, I sometimes found the focus speed of the 20 just a hair too slow, but really I think it should be fine. I concur with the others in getting a body from about 2013 onwards and you'll see some noticeable gains: IS, EVF, better high ISO, tilt screens. I usually wait until a body is a generation old and get it at reduced prices.

I'd also agree that FF might be too much for family stuff - primarily weight and size. I gravitate a lot more toward my m43 gear instead of my Nikon Full frame setup.



Oct 12, 2016 at 03:21 AM
Jorgen Udvang
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


Lenses all the way, at least if you can live with a camera with no viewfinder. Sure, there are newer sensors with less noise and whatnot, photos are made with light, not with sensors. Lenses help define your photography with their rendering, sensors only give you more or less noise and dynamic range.

Should you still decide to upgrade the body, go for something reasonably priced. The GX80/GX85 is a great camera with a good viewfinder, IBIS and more or less all you need in a package more or less the same size as your current camera.



Oct 12, 2016 at 04:40 AM
pbraymond
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


If you are OK with the IQ you currently get from a noise perspective, and 12MP is sufficient, go for lenses first if you need to fill a lens need. The 16MP cameras are a good jump in IQ, for budget I think EM-5 (originals) are one of the best used buys right now.


Oct 12, 2016 at 05:05 PM
kdenio
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · New Camera or New Lenses or ...?


Thanks everyone, I appreciate the advice!


Oct 12, 2016 at 05:33 PM







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