Why I Chose Olympus E-P_ vs. Panasonic GF_ Micro Four-Thirds System
E-PL2, 14-42mm lens, f/8, 1/200 sec
Basically it was because the Olympus system was the best compromise for me. I wanted a light-weight system that was easy to carry with better image quality than I could get with a point & shoot camera and it looked like the Olympus system would best get me there.
If you have been researching which compact micro four-thirds camera to get … either the Olympus E-P system or the Panasonic GF system, you have found that the web is full of reviews, debates, and opinions. You will also find that the Panasonic system is out-selling the Olympus system, but I think that this is due to early review findings that are no longer true.
The very early reviewers found that the focusing system was faster in the Panasonic camera, and this was an important issue to the reviewers since they believed that most of the users of the micro four-thirds system would be DSLR users who were looking for a lighter-weight system to carry and they were used to very fast focusing. But, the issue with focusing speed is no longer true. Firmware updates along with better, faster focusing lenses has reduced any differences to negligible, if noticeable, levels.
Early articles were also unhappy that the Olympus original system did not have a built-in flash. The no flash and slower focusing drove most of the early recommendations towards the Panasonic camera, and neither are applicable now.
I knew that I wanted to carry multiple lenses for my system and the combined weight and size was the most important issue for me. The reasons for this are through-out my earlier postings. While the Panasonic GF1 body weighs only 285 gm. and the Olympus E-P1 body weighs 395 gm., the Olympus system is still lighter. You can’t make a decision just because of the body alone weight. Olympus puts their image stabilization system in the body and Panasonic puts theirs in each lens. This means that each Panasonic lens weighs more than each Olympus lens. The combined weight of the E-P1 with the Olympus 14 – 150 mm lens weighs 675 gm. The GF1 with its’ 14 – 140 mm lens weighs 745 gm. The Olympus system weighs 70 gm. less, and the difference is even greater with the newer versions. And that is with just one lens. The spread in the system weight grows with each additional zoom lens that you carry. The Panasonic lenses are also slightly larger.
All camera choices are compromises. If you are trying to decide which to get, I advise you to look carefully at both. In my opinion, as well as many of the current reviewers, the cameras are now almost equal … that is except for the total system weight, and that is why I went with Olympus.