I'm thinking of buying a Micro Four Thirds camera as a present for my sister's birthday. She's a stylist and has forever talked about learning how to photograph with a 'proper' camera, so this should hopefully motivate her. They seem to hit a nice sweet spot between DSLRs and digital compacts, but that's about where my knowledge of them ends. The two I'm looking at are:
Also, what's up with lenses? The E-PL1 is paired with a 14-42mm lens, while the GF1 has a 14-45mm one. Are both of these good general purposes lenses or should I get a body-only camera then purchase a seperate lens? The camera will mostly be used for doing quick outfit test shoots, costume consistency photos and random inspirational photos. A lot of these photos will not have ideal lighting conditions.
As long as your not planning to do wildlife photography or get into professional photoshoots with them, I think they will work great. I don't know a whole lot about the Olympus camera, but the Lumix is a really sexy one that I've been wanting to pick up for my personal/portable use for a while now. I really like that inbody stabilization that GF1 has, and the video capture that the G1 lacked is a nice plus too, since in a camera like this you usually want video capabilities.
If you have an existing selection of Four Thirds lenses, I know they work with adaptors as well, but I wouldn't invest too heavily in Four Thirds lenses either, since Nikon and Canon have really become the standards for serious DSLR work.
@lane: The image sensors on micro four thirds cameras are actually the same as Four Thirds cameras, but it drops the mirror box and has (obviously) much less distance from the mount to the sensor.