From a friend on fb:
Quick question -
I'm in the market for a new camera, and I'm looking for something that rocks (but is less bulky than a Canon 50D w/ huge lense which is what I have now). Any ideas/suggestions?
Thank you and hope you're doing well!!
Answer: (after the jump)
In my opinion, micro 4/3 cameras provide excellent image quality.
Micro 4/3 boasts the ability to change lenses and have sensors that are pretty much the same quality as most DSLR's, yet they are a lot smaller and lighter.
I have a panasonic GF1, but I really believe that Olympus' Pen camera bodies are a bit better since they provide in body image stabilization, and other quirks that may come in handy later.
I'm sure if you go to my flickr, you won't be able to tell which picture I took with my 5D versus one that I took with my GF1.
Buying a Micro 4/3 camera can be kind of confusing.
First off, if you buy a micro 4/3 camera from any manufacturer, you can use any of their lenses between them. For example I bought a Panasonic, but I can use any of Olympus' M4/3 lenses no problem. All M4/3 bodies have a 2x lens crop on them, meaning if you bought a "20mm lens" it would actually be a 40mm lens. a "14-55" zoom lens would then become a "28 - 105" zoom lens.
The marketing strategy for the Pen cameras has been quite weird. There are 4 models to chose from, but all pretty much have the same image quality. EP1, EPL1, EPL2, EP2
I'm going to assume you want to buy a new camera, since these are not that expensive anyways, and so you can have a nice warranty with it.
If aesthetics of the camera body itself are important to you... compare these 2 cameras, even though one is called the EPL1, and one is called the EPL2, their image quality is pretty much the same. But I like the EPL2 due to it's retro style, and it has a nice wheel on the back to change settings with instead of a control pad.
So you have a choice of an EPL1 at 419, and a EPL2 at 600, both of which come with a fairly decent zoom lens.
If you need a low light prime lens, definitely get the 20mm f/1.7 by panasonic. It's pretty sweet.
Alright... maybe that's a lot to digest at once... let me know if you have any questions.
Wouldn't recommend a G12 since it's basically an oversized S95. Get an S95 if you want a point and shoot but... the image quality doesn't match micro 4/3 in my opinion.