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  1. #1
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Given the uncertain future of the Four Thirds format, I was thinking about switching to the MFT format. I currently have an E-520. What Olympus MFT camera would give me similar performance. Would any of the cameras be an upgrade? I have my eye on the OM-D but it's more than I want to spend and wondering if I could get away cheaper and still be happy. The E-PL5 looks like the way to go for a budget performer. Would anyone consider this an upgrade to the E-520?

    The main reason I'm looking at the Olympus cameras is because of my existing lenses. I currently have the 2 kit lenses, plus 70-300mm, 50mm macro, and 9-18mm. It would be great if I could get a new camera that could utilize these lenses. Is this a valid enough reason to continue with the brand or am I limiting myself too much. I really don't want to spend money on a whole new set of lenses if it can be avoided.

    I'm also thinking of buying my daughter a camera for her 11th birthday next month. I'm thinking of getting her one of the more entry level PENs so I could also check it out and see how it works with my existing glass. Is there a MFT camera recommended for a young beginning photographer?

  2. #2
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Yes Olympus has came a long way since the E-520 so an upgrade is a good choice. I can't speak for the E-PL5 but do own the OMD E-M5 and think it's the best performing compact on the market. The noise at high ISO is still an issue when compared to other cameras.
    Just to toss an idea out there. E5s are selling for nice prices in the used market. Some under $1000.00 in mint condition. The E5 has a thinner AA filter and the images are super sharp. The E5 has a lot going for it still. Fast AF, articulating screen, weather sealed ect.
    The only E-PLx I had I didn't like as the build quality wasn't good enough for me. Plus it lacks a viewfinder.
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  3. #3
    Liz
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Hi Erik.....I'll chime in.

    I have the OMD and it is a great camera. You're right - it is still expensive.

    Regarding the E-PL5 - I recently purchased this as a 2nd camera after selling my E-P3.

    I haven't had much of a chance to use it yet, so I really can't give an accurate review. However, I have no complaints so far - IQ is great, it's fast, it includes a tilting LCD which is great.

    You might want to read the (33) reviews on the B&H website

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...al_Camera.html

    The great user reviews I've read above (and on Amazon) helped me to decide on the E-PL5.

    Just a note on the IBIS. The OMD and newer E-P5 include the new 5 axis IBIS which is the best out there. However, there is absolutely no problem with the IBIS on the E-PL5. It is just not the newest to come down the pike. I only mention this because some reviewers post this as a negative. The IBIS works just fine - besides the OMD and EP5 costs almost twice as much!

    I hope this helps.

    Let us know what you decide.

    Liz
    Olympus E-M5 digital camera
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  4. #4
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Thanks very much for your opinions. Greg, when you say high ISO, what do you mean? To me, the E-520 gets too noisy above 400. Anything better than that is an upgrade in my book.

  5. #5
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Here's another question. Given the lower prices of some of the older m4/3 cameras would one of them make a good introduction to the m4/3 format? Do any of the older cameras stand out as top performers or good bang for the buck? I'd like to dip my toe in the m4/3 waters before jumping in all the way. A more entry level camera could also be passed down to my soon to be 11 year old daughter who is starting to show an interest in photography.

  6. #6
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Erik-
    Just in case you missed it, Olympus announced a new OM-D this week, the E-M1. One of the main updates is they've added phase detect auto focus to the sensor, which is supposed to make the Four Thirds lenses work better than they did with previous Micro Four Thirds cameras. You still need an adapter to mount the DSLR lenses, but it does give you an upgrade path that wasn't really there before.

    I was at the E-M1 launch on Monday and I brought home a camera for review. You can read my first impressions and watch my intro video, here:

    Hands-On at the Olympus OM-D EM-1 Camera Launch >>

    I should get to really start testing in the next couple of days, too. One of the first things I'm going do is compare Micro Four Thirds lens auto focus to Four Thirds lens auto focus...
    Photo-John

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  7. #7
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    John, I saw the announcement and read your article. Certainly this makes things interesting for us 4/3 owners. I look forward to seeing your additional tests.

    That said, I'm not prepared to spend $1400 on a new camera at this time. Is there an older or lower end model of Pen cameras that gives a good "taste" of what m4/3 is all about? Certainly, I'm not expecting the same kind of performance as a flagship model, but I've never been a flagship kind of guy. For me, photography is a hobby that needs to take a back seat to many other expenses. Unfortunately, I have champagne taste on a beer budget.

  8. #8
    Liz
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Erik,

    The Olympus PEN E-PM2 is a relatively new camera. It has less bells and whistles than some of the other PEN cameras. However, it has excellent reviews. It has a rebate now which brings the cost to $399 most places. However, there is an Amazon 3rd party store "Product Fulfillment" which is selling it for $299 plus $5.95 shipping. They only have red left - and only one more in stock. They had a bunch a few days ago.

    I checked the store out and they appear reputable. They are smaller, there are no complaints. I called to ask why the less expensive price, and they said in September and October they prepare for new stock and drop the price of their current stock. They have few cameras left at this time. I just purchased the XZ-2 for $329 which is a $200 savings.

    One thing to note: their return policy is: for defective return 10 days. For returns because you don't like it you have 30 days - but for changing your mind, they charge 10% restocking (however, that only adds up to $30 so it might be worth it.

    Read specs and user reviews here. They have black too if you can pay $399.

    Olympus E-PM2 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital V206020RU000

    Direct link to Amazon deal (Product Fulfillment)

    Amazon.com: Olympus E-PM2 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 14-42mm Lens (Red): OLYMPUS: Camera & Photo

    Good luck.
    Liz
    Olympus E-M5 digital camera
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  9. #9
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Thanks Liz. That's just the advice I was looking for. That seems to be a great deal and with only 1 left I will probably jump on it.

  10. #10
    Liz
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik_Olympus View Post
    Thanks Liz. That's just the advice I was looking for. That seems to be a great deal and with only 1 left I will probably jump on it.
    Great. I hope it works out for you - and especially that you enjoy it.

    ETA: hope you got it!

    Liz
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  11. #11
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    You can shoot fairly well up to 800 ISO. At 1600 dark areas begin to get noisy and are a problem in large print but usable. I try and never go over 800.
    Now that the E-M1 is coming out used prices for the E-M5 will be better, lower.
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  12. #12
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Liz, I ended up buying the camera. With one left I didn't have much time to think about it so I purchased fairly quickly after you posted. Red vs black is definitely worth $100. I'll live with it, or I may give the camera to my daughter for Christmas. As soon as I learn how to use it so I can teach her. ;) In any event it looks like that was a super deal. I don't think you can find another camera of this quality at $305. Now, hopefully they deliver it soon. Still "in transit".

    Greg, I try never to go over 400 ISO with the E-520, so that's an upgrade in my book.

    I'll be sure to report back once I've had a chance to get familiar with the camera.

  13. #13
    Liz
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Thanks for the update, Erik. I hope you like the camera. Hope you get it soon!

    Liz
    Olympus E-M5 digital camera
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  14. #14
    Liz
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Erik.....here is an extensive review! Looking good. Keep scrolling down - as it looks like it might just be a condensed review since they post the "bottom line" first. There is a complete review included. Also - it looks like you can learn a lot about the functions just by reading it. You can also google the "Olympus E-PM2" manual PDF in the meantime.

    Olympus E-PM2 Review - Overview

    Liz
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    45mm/f1.8, 40-150

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  15. #15
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Tracking says out for delivery so I should get the camera today! Thanks very much for the links. Looking forward to testing this camera out this weekend.

  16. #16
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Camera was delivered but they sent the wrong item. I didn't realize until I actually opened the box and the camera was black. At first I thought, bonus! I'd much prefer black to red, but then I realized it's the E-P2 and not the E-PM2. Unfortunately, back it goes. Hopefully the seller will not have a problem making good on the deal. Oh well, so much for testing the camera out this weekend.

    Update: The seller no longer has any more E-PM2 cameras so all they can do is refund my money. Tough luck on me. At $300 this was a no brainer. At $500 it will take some more thought.
    Last edited by Erik_Olympus; 09-18-2013 at 10:24 AM.

  17. #17
    Liz
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Erik....I'm sorry to hear that. I'll keep my eyes open for some good deals.

    Liz
    Olympus E-M5 digital camera
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    Panasonic
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  18. #18
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    I'm toying with the idea of holding onto it. It's still a pretty good deal, albeit, for an older camera.

  19. #19
    Liz
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik_Olympus View Post
    I'm toying with the idea of holding onto it. It's still a pretty good deal, albeit, for an older camera.
    Just a thought. Before you make a final decision, I would call Product Fulfillment to ask them the price they had listed for the E-P2. I know there were a few older cameras that were cheaper than the E-PM2. I'm surprised it was the same price.

    ETA: Sent you a pm......

    Liz
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  20. #20
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Thanks for the PMs, which I replied to separately. I never discussed the option of keeping the camera and what price that would be. I only asked to replace it with the correct camera but they say they had no more and didn't know if they would get them back in. I can only assume that someone bought a E-P2 and got an E-PM2 instead.

    I also assumed that if I kept the camera I'd still pay the same price. I could try negotiating with them and get it for a cheaper price. After reading some of the reviews of the E-P2 it seems it was packaged with the VF-2 and unfortunately that was not included in the box. I don't know if this is because Olympus had different packages or if someone lifted it from the box before sending it to me. It did have the 14-42mm lens.

    So considering there is no VF-2 and this is a discontinued model, what do you think is a fair price for the camera?

  21. #21
    Liz
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Here are some prices for refurbished/demo E-P2's.....they are out of stock, but it gives you an idea of prices.

    Search Results

    Check this one out!

    While looking, I found this deal. It's a newer camera. I owned the E-PL2 and that was a really nice one....this is the updated E-PL3. Price is good. Only one black left - but they have other colors too.

    Great Price....$267.....

    Amazon.com: Olympus PEN E-PL3 14-42mm 12.3 MP Interchangeable Lens Camera with CMOS Sensor and 3x Optical Zoom (Black): Electronics

    Review

    Olympus PEN Lite / E-PL3 Review: Digital Photography Review

    Liz
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  22. #22
    Liz
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Erik....I updated the above post with the link to the sale.....didn't want you to miss it.
    Olympus E-M5 digital camera
    Olympus E-PL5
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    Olympus
    45mm/f1.8, 40-150

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    14mm/f2.5

  23. #23
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    I returned the E-P2. If it had the viewfinder in the box (which I believe it was supposed to) I would have more strongly considered it.

    Thanks for the link to the E-PL3. I will think about that but will probably hold off, at least until I get my money back from the other camera. I'd really like to get my hands on the E-PM2 or E-PL5 if I can find another nice price.

  24. #24
    Senior Shooter Greg McCary's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    The EVF on some of the first model Pens were bad about falling off. I had one and it was a problem. Just sayin.
    I am like Barney Fife, I have a gun but Andy makes me keep the bullet in my pocket..

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  25. #25
    Member Erik_Olympus's Avatar
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    Re: PEN Camera as an upgrade to E-520?

    Part of the reason I didn't keep the camera was because the EVF was missing but not just because it wasn't included. My guess is the camera was either a return from a previous customer or a refurbish (which may be the same thing). Either the person who originally bought the camera kept the viewfinder, or Product Fulfillment pulled it out of the package either to sell it separately or someone working at the company warehouse swiped it. It did seem like the camera had been handled. All the components were in plastic bags but they weren't sealed. That is except for the manuals, which were not wrapped in anything. Not sure how a new camera is delivered in 2013 but when I bought my last camera, all the components were in sealed plastic bags, including the manual.

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