Olympus E-PL5: I think this camera is one of the best-kept secrets of the Micro Four Thirds system. It has the same incredible image sensor and processor found in the award-winning E-M5 and E-P5. But it’s much more compact and about 1/2 the price. What the E-PL5 does not have (compared to the more expensive Olympus M4/3 cameras) is the 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) and manual control dials. The IBIS in the E-PL5 is a 2-axis system, and you can set up shortcuts for the menu dial D-Pad to allow quick access for adjusting Aperture, Exposure, and/or shutter speed on the fly.
For people just getting into their first nice camera, I think the E-PL5 is the best option out there. It takes fantastic images, it’s easy to use, and the money saved can be spent on a nice prime lens.
The Micro Four Thirds system has some of the best lenses of any other mirrorless camera system. In my time renting and trying various lenses, reading reviews, and browsing photo galleries, I consider these three lenses to be the best “core” set of lenses for most people. Any one of these would serve great as your only lens, or as your shooting habits change, any combination of these lenses will serve you well.
Panasonic 20mm f/1.7: One of the greatest lenses out there because of its small size, awesome image quality, and affordable price. If you’re not sure what lens to get, I’d start here. The only downside to the 20/1.7 is that it’s a bit slower to auto focus than some other lenses. If you have little kids running around all the time and you’re often shooting indoors in the evening time, you may want to consider a lens with faster AF. Such as the next two on this list…
Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4: This is my favorite lens, and in my opinion, it is the best lens out there for Micro Four Thirds. It has a fast auto focus, shallow depth of field with excellent bokeh, and it has a lot of character to it. It’s a larger lens than the above mentioned 20/1.7 pancake, but if lens size isn’t a concern for you then this is the lens I would get.
Olympus 45mm f/1.8: If you’re taking a lot of photos of friends, family, then this 45mm lens is a must-have. The longer focal length means you’ll get a creamier blurrier background and a more shallow depth of field. Some of my best photos of my kids I took with this lens.
- DSPTCH Shoulder strap
- DSPTCH wrist strap
- Gordon’s leather straps
- The SanDisk Extreme SD cards are well regarded as the best SD cards to get. And they’re quite affordable.
- This little $5 adapter is quite handy, removes the need for the long power cable, and it works like a charm.