HELP: Olympus E- PL3 or Nikon 1 J1 (for a beginner)?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by yuunhaa, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. yuunhaa
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    yuunhaa New Member

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    Hi there!

    So I'm new to photography and I've been looking for a new camera for a while now. I've always wanted an Olympus E-P1/2/3 but it's too expensive for me and also a bit unneccesary since I'm still a beginner. So I was considering to buy the light version: Olympus E-PL3. But lately the television kept showing a commercial of Nikon 1 J1 which seemed really nice too. Now I'm hesitating between these two cameras. But to be honest I have no idea which one is better regarding to specifications etc. I only know the Olympus one has more pixels than the Nikon one lol. And the Olympus one has a flexible screen which you can adjust up to a point. Also, i don't understand what these numbers of the lenses mean
    :meh: Olympus: M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm/ F3,5 - F5,6; Nikon: 10-30mm/f3.5-5.6 VR zoom.
    Oh and the price of both cameras are ok for me.

    I'm hoping to get some advice from you people who have more knowledge about cameras :D

    Thanks in advance!! :blushing:
  2. tirediron
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    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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    I would avoid the Nikon J1; it seems to be a camera that Nikon rushed through R&D to try and capture a market share best described as the "Teen-age girl" market. It's very poorly made, has a very small sensor, and poor ergonomics. THe Olympus seems to be overall a much better camera (Don't worry a lot about the # of mega-pixels; it doesn't mean as much as you might think). One other consideration is the Sony Nex series; many stores here are clearing out the 5 and 5n models in preparation for the 7, and they are excellent cameras in their class.
  3. Derrel
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Have you seen the new Thom Hogan web site devoted to mirrorless cameras? It's located at Welcome to sans Mirror | Sans Mirror ? mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras | Thom Hogan

    Perhaps it might be worth a look. Interestingly, I was a Fry's Electronics yesterday for about three hours, and while there I looked at and handled every d-slr and mirrorless camera they had in stock, including the E-PL3 and the two Nikon models. Both seemed "okay" to me, but I preferred the "feel" of the Olympus. But it was close. Of course, I'm not familiar with the **imaging** characteristics of either camera. Not being that familiar with the mirrorless segments models, I can only suggest that Thom's 260 page website devoted to mirrorless camera might be of some usefulness to you.
  4. ann
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    ann Well-Known Member

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    Find a local camera shop that handles these and go in and hold them and "play around a bit" to get the feel of what you want.

    I was going to get the Nikon V version (as i have always used Nikon's) and spent several hours with my sales person and finally figured out, it just didn't feel right for me. I had a pen 1 and ended up getting the pen 3 instead as it just felt right in my hands.

    If I hadn't spent some time with the camera in hand I probably would have gotten the Nikon as I was already sold.

    This doesn't mean , that isn't the camera for you.

    The information on the lens means, when you use the zoom feature the fstop will change automatically i.e 14mm the aperture can go down to 3.5, when you use the 42mm focal lens the fstop will only go down to 5.6. All other fstops will be available. f8, 11, 16, etc.
  5. Village Idiot
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    Village Idiot Well-Known Member

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    Olympus, hands down. The sensor in the Nikon is smaller and the IQ isn't as good as in the Oly. The Oly has a small sensor to begin with.

    The kit lens sucks. I didn't really use mine until I bought the 45 f/1.8 and the Lumix 20 f/1.7. Being as how the E-P3 is out of your budget, the lenses probably will be too. With that being said you can pick up legacy glass from many different manufactures off of e-bay, thrift stores, pawn shops, etc, and adapt it to the Oly for fairly cheap. You'll lose AF, but an MF prime is nothing to be emarassed about.

    I feel like a walking billboard here with me moving a lot of equipment around lately, but I have an E-P3 with kit lens with less than 700 shots on it that I'll be selling for $750 when my OM-D ships, maybe even before that since I do have other cameras I can use in the mean time. I've owned it since September and it's spent most of it's time when not taking photos in a Crumpler bag or on my Computer desk. If that does fit your budget, send me a PM.
  6. yuunhaa
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    yuunhaa New Member

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    Thank you all for the information :) I'll definitely check both cameras out in the store!
  7. kundalini
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    kundalini Well-Known Member

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    After much deliberating, I went with the Oly E-P3 for the m4/3 format. I think the Nikon 1 was just coming out when I was in the market, but the rumors of performance left me without the warm and fuzzies and I'm a Nikon dSLR shooter. Much like ann says, it felt right in my hands where other contenders did not. I disagree with VI about the kit lens sucks..... it has limitations, but can produce good images within those limitations. If I remember correctly, the E-PL3 is the same sensor as the E-P3 but doesn't have as many bells and whistles. It would have been a choice for me but felt too small in my mitts.

    I agree with others suggesting to take it for a test drive and kick the tires. Good luck.
  8. Village Idiot
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    Village Idiot Well-Known Member

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    Have you used any of the m4/3 primes? Trying to shoot in lighting condititions that are less than ideal with the kit leaves you with a narrow aperture, especially when zoomed, and using higher ISOs which gives a pretty crappy photo. It's not like you can shoot at 3200 ISO and have a nice clean picture like with a full frame DSLR. It was a crappy lens for me and practically useless. I was actually underwhelmed with the cmaera and thinking about selling it until I decided to try several of the primes and now it gets used a lot. That's saying a lot if a kit lens is that bad. It's like comparing a high quality prime to a kit lens. An 18-55 DSLR kit would seem equally as crappy to me.
  9. analog.universe
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    analog.universe New Member

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    I agree, Olympus hands down. I don't really know what Nikon was thinking with the 1-series, they simply did not deliver a good product this time. The sensor is too small to even compete with good point and shoots, never mind Micro 4/3. Olympus really seems to have figured out the mirrorless market, and the Micro 4/3 mount has a lot of nice lenses available. 4/3 is also really nice for adapting old (and new) rangefinder lenses...

    I also always recommend against kit lenses... I feel like the whole intent of the kit lens is so that when you pick up the camera in the store and look to the viewfinder you say "nice zoom range". They distort, they're soft at all but a few aperture settings, they're absolutely useless in low light, the build quality is generally pretty poor, and the bokeh is ghastly.... but they have a nice zoom range. The kit lens will direct a n00b in one of two directions. They either say "this camera sucks" and lose interest, or they say "I really need a better lens", and they buy the lens they should've bought when they first got the camera.

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