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Choices, Choices - tough decision to make, help or therapy needed ;)


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May 14, 2013
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Hi All, I'm new on here so a quick bio before I get to the important bit. British born but I live in Ireland and work for an American Company (UL). Been 'in to' photography since I was 8 years old and cut my teeth on junk-shop box brownie's, a Kodak Autographic and various hand-me-downs. Processed my own film since 11 years old, but in 2005 I went digital with a Nikon D50. Followed a year later by a D200 plus a few goodies and returned to wedding photography for a while.

OK, that's done, so why am I here? Well, my youngest is getting married in Zakynthos this August and after being told I would not be photographing the wedding, a couple of months back she said "Dad, you will be taking your camera, won't you? Umm, the photographer's only there for the formal shots ...."

So, with a luggage restriction of 7.5kg in the cabin and 15kg on the hold, and hankering after an ILC since I got a Lumix DMC-LX3 for Christmas 3 years ago, here is my excuse to go and buy something. Not got a huge budget but the choice is vast today, and my 'short list' looks like a bad (i.e. long and boring) wedding speech. A bit like this post :lmao:

I have a spec. All flexible of course: a tiltable/articulated screen (I used to shoot weddings on a C220 and the waist-level screen is still my favourite for some shots); viewfinder or an option for an add-on; Lightweight; good range of optional extras; option to add 3rd party lenses, especially Leica :hail:; weather proofing an advantage.

I like Lumix, so my first choice was GX1 until I started looking around. Sony I'm not keen on, nice but not quite right (I can't easily get hands-on as no dealers within 3 hours of here, but did get a play with the NEX5R last Sunday-impressive but not for me).

My short list is now the following and I'd really appreciate some helpful advice (I know, write shorter posts:confused:)

  • G5/G6 (would like G6 but may not be released soon enough). Good pricing, great lenses and has most of the list.
  • GX1 still a favourite, I like a truly pocketable camera but fixed screen and no hot shoe if I get the finder, plus it's pricey when you add the bits up.

  • OM-D E-M5. Drool! I think it ticks all the boxes. Tell me I'm wrong, but having had an OM2 many moons ago, and the optics from memory are outstanding....must admit I'm 75% set on this. 12-50 is a good startup, can add primes later.
  • PEN E-P5. Nearly as good as the M5? more pocketable, but expensive when you add on the bits. (Might not be released in time)
  • X-Pro1. Oh, the big surprise for me. Real dials. A recognisable camera from 'my' era and I would find the analog look easier to handle. Great sensor too, limited range of X series lenses but plenty of 3rd party. Pricey, out of my budget to be honest but the hybrid finder is a definite plus. Fixed screen but If this matched the M5 for price, it would be my first choice.
  • X-E1. Really hard decision now-all that the X-Pro1 has except the optical finder. Price with the kit lens is less that the M5, so a bit of roo for a s/h prime, manual lens.

So, it's taken me 2 weeks of spending nearly every evening trawling through reviews and online camera stores websites. My thoughts are I could afford to buy any of the Panasonic's, the M5 (although pushing the budget a bit), the X-E1 (not released yet tho) and likewise the PEN E-P5, but if I wait a few weeks the X-Pro1 might come up in an offer.

Over to you, please help me out of this dilemma .... the retro styled Fuji's and the M5 are pulling at the nostalgia strings, but what is the right choice? BTW, I'll be keeping the SLR for weddings, mostly I'd carry the compact for everything else.
Hi Basil - our experiences seem to be similar - 'into' and 'out of' photography over the course of many years - my first digital was also a Nikon D50 in about '05 - I was born in the US, but lived in the UK for about 5 years - and my kids are also at "marrying age"

I am now a Panasonic guy too. I like their "DSLR equivalent" lightweight DSLM bodies more than the compacts for the built-in viewfinder. I have several of them and have sold my DSLRs.

So I wondered why I didn't see the Lumix flagship, the GH3, on your list? Yes - at £959 body only, it is £140 more than the OM-D, but it has the built-in flash that the OM-D lacks - and is not that much larger.

It ticks all of your boxes (the LCD not only tilts, it is fully articulated for self-portraits; weathersealed; great selection of compact Lumix/Olympus lenses) and, if you ever want to branch out into wedding video, it is a much more capable camera than the OM-D (and might even make a suitable replacement for the D200 for stills :))

Here is what photographers are doing with the GH3: Flickr: The Panasonic GH3 Pool

Here is what videographers are doing with it:


Whatever you decide - cheers and congratulations on your daughter's wedding!

Hybrid Camera Revolution
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I went with Olympus OMD and Panasonic lenses (12-35 & 35-100) This is not the budget alternative as each lens is ~1350 USD. Almost as good IQ as the D700 and better dynamic range.
A possible pairing that might work for you is the OMD body and the 20 mm 1.7 Olympus pancake. Nice sharpness, small size. I think the typical kit lens is really bad.
+1 to Lew (and maybe you as well) above regarding the OMD.

As for me, I mostly shoot these days with a D700 and primes (24, 35, 85, and 150).
So when it was time to get something smaller I chose the Olympus E-P5 kit (17mm 1.8 and EVF4 included).
I'll be adding the 45mm 1/8 and this ends up being $100 less than the same lenses with an OMD body ($1800 vs $1900).
I actually like the idea of a removable EVF as I see myself shooting street from the hip about half the time.
Eventually I'll get either the 60mm macro or the 75 1.8 and I be covered for 35, 90, 120/150 FL

Cant's tell you much about how it works because it won't ship till June 5 at the earliest.
Just sharing some thoughts of someone looking at similar cameras.
Thanks for the responses so far :) I did get hands on with a few of the cameras on my list, courtesy of John Lewis in Solihull, enough to give me a fair idea of what to go for and it settled me fairly well on the Olympus. Not 100% sure though, as the only Fuji they had was the x-Pro1 and I don't know how close that was to the X-E1; I found the controls were fantastic, picture quality superb and I think there will be plenty of choice of lenses eventually, but I didn't find it easy to hold. The X-E1 could be better but need to try it out. The G5 was pretty good but although I have a soft spot for Panasonic I found the OMD easier in the hand and the screen position is better for me as well.

Bill: The GH3 is definitely out of my budget just now. I don't think I'd do it justice either, I have neither the time nor patience for video at the moment - I was interested a very long time ago and maybe will be again, but for £799.99 I can get a Manufacturers refurb M5 with the 12-50 and that could leave me headroom for a reasonable prime lens.

Lew: I like your thinking, can't stretch to the same package yet but I'd live with the kit zoom for now, but possibly with the pancake you suggested as well. Alternately I could look for some second hand Olympus manual glass and an adaptor, could get a nice zuiko or two and I'm used to shooting manual.

sleist: You got me thinking again, I originally wanted a detachable viewfinder so I could have a truly pocketable camera. The E-P5 could be a great option, just not sure of that release date yet but could hang on for a while I suppose to see what happens in a couple of weeks!

So the choice seems to be down to the 2 Olympus offerings, possibly the E-X1 but not very likely and I have to say that the Panasonic GX1 has surfaced again as a contender - difficult to beat for price; takes the same lenses; and it was my original choice, although the OM2 styled M5 still looks like the hot contender all round!

Many thanks to you all for the feedback, I like this forum because it's populated by real people :)
The deed is done, I pushed the Buy it Now on ebay for a refurb. OMD + 12-50 kit lens from Great Western Cameras in Swindon. Turns out these are ex-Jessops display stock, bought out when they turned turtle earlier this year so they really are "new", with full 2 year warranty and the free battery+case offer as well :)

£799 and I should get it next week - time to research some additional prime glass now :hail:
I have owned several compacts and the OMD EM-5 was by far the best one I owned. They all have quirks but Olympus seems to be way out front. Fuji has the best optics by far but very limited number and all are expensive.
I tried my Summicron on a NEX 7 with lack luster results, flat and dull. The Fuji really struggles in low light and the NEX 7 had an annoying focus beam in low light.
I would definatly go with Olympus.
If you are going to do weddings and paid jobs you really need to look hard at full frame. The color depth and dynamic range blows compacts clean out of the water. I would never attempt a paid job with a compact. Maybe something that was going into a local paper but never for portraits ect.
the Sony a99 is a featherlite camera and weight is not an issue.
Well, the new toy arrived a couple of days ago :)
Very pretty in black with the kit 12-50 zoom, now if Olympus had provided a usable manual (or more intuitive menu's) I would have been flying.:meh:

So, onto Google and I found someone who has David Busch's guide in stock (seems to be the recommended read for the OMD). I'll wait patiently and when it arrives, hopefully it will start to make some sense and I can take more than a couple of snapshots! Meanwhile I'm hunting manual OM glass on ebay; Zuiko 28mm/2.8, 50mm/1.8 for a start.
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Shouldn't take you long to find one of those lenses. There are loads of them on the 'bay. If you are patient, you may be able to find a 50mm F1.4.
Shooting with OM lenses on my EPL-1 is great fun. :)

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