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Be honest about your priorities before you buy a camera
on March 17, 2010
I've had the camera for a few days now, have been going out each afternoon experimenting with it, and so far I'm very happy with the purchase. But I think there's a lot of personal taste involved in buying any expensive camera, and you should try out several cameras "live" before buying this or any other one. I'm not going to repeat the pros and cons listed in other reviews - by and large I think others have done a good job pointing those out. I'm probably the target market - I was looking seriously at a Canon G11 or a Lumix LX3 before deciding to plonk down a bit more cash for this. I am happy with this camera because my priorities are:
- small size: I hike a lot, and want a light camera that will happily go in my backpack with lunch. DSLR's were just a little too too bulky for my taste. I really like the size of the camera, was willing to pay a bit extra for it. At some point I will probably spring for the 17mm "pancake" lens to trim it down even more. But when I have more cash. :-)
- SLR quality pictures: I was into hobby photography in school and got away from it when work got busy. I want the ability to take some nature and travel pics that can withstand some enlargement. The pictures I'm getting out of the E-PL1 are gorgeous, and I'm really excited about "taking it on the road".
- speed isn't an issue: a major complaint about the camera is that the autofocus isn't as fast as on some other cameras. For sports photography, that's probably an issue. For scenery and portraits, who cares. It's not so bad that I'd have noticed if the reviewers hadn't mentioned it, but then I'm not used to using a DSLR.
- don't care about a viewfinder - I've got astigmatism and with glasses, viewfinders are a pain. I went out shooting at sunset and intentionally shot with the sun on the LCD screen, and while it wasn't ideal,I could still work with it.
Read the reviews at dpreview, steves digicams, photographyblog - lots of good information and analysis. Frankly, I'd ignore most of the message boards and blogs, too many people getting ridiculously passionate about minutia. If you are THAT serious a photographer, this isn't the camera for you. But 95% of us AREN'T so into photography that we will sacrifice our firstborn rather than give up our allegiance to Panasonic/Canon/Nikon/whoever. So be thoughtful about your priorities, and go handle it in a store for a while. For my needs, it just fit.