Another "which camera" thread! Upgrade for my EPL5.

finja

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I am a casual photographer mostly interested in capturing memories of family events, milestones and vacations. For the most part I have been happy with my EPL5. I have invested quite a bit in the system (plenty of non-Pro lenses - both primes and zooms) since purchasing my first m43 camera, the trusty EPL1. I do very little video work but do capture clips of family events occasionally. I expect I'll do some more of that in the future but stills remain 95% of what I will be capturing.

I've done plenty of reading about the current Olympus offerings recently since I'm now looking to upgrade my EPL5. I haven't really considered a Panasonic body although I do have a few of their lenses. I've read about all the pros and cons for each Olympus model and I'm still not convinced what to buy next (looking at the EM5 mark ii and the EM10 mark ii or mark iii I'm not sure they will really be an upgrade to my EPL5 for my uses). Of course, the EM5 Mark iii looks nice but its a bit above my price range. I'm also not sure I'm ready to step up to the EM1 Mark II (even used the EM1 is at the upper limit of what I'd like to spend as a casual photographer and I'm not sure I really need a pro camera).

If I can be specific about what is most important to me in an upgrade it is autofocus speed and accuracy - since I did find a few OOF shots during my recent vacation - and high ISO performance (took lots of photos in the evening with fast primes but would love a little better output). I should specify that I rely entirely on the SOOC JPEGs. I am interested in learning post processing in the future but not something I'll be doing anytime soon. Weather sealing is nice but I've never found I needed it and ergonomics, while interesting, have never been a problem for me (I can adapt to whatever camera I have in my hand).

So, at this point the EM5 ii and EM10 ii or iii are all reasonably priced and within my budget. Will I get enough of an improvement in autofocus and high ISO versus my EPL5 to make it worthwhile? Or, should I scrap that plan and pay up for the EM5 iii or EM1 ii?
 

barry13

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Will I get enough of an improvement in autofocus and high ISO versus my EPL5 to make it worthwhile?
Hi, how much is enough ISO improvement? What ISO do you find is your current limit for image quality, and what ISO would you want to be able to use?
Do you already Expose to the Right (ETTR)?

What kind of AF? Single or continuous? Low light? Moving subjects (how fast)? Video?
 

Robert Watcher

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The reality is that there won’t be a huge difference in high ISO speed or image quality in any of the models (Olympus or Panasonic) newer than your E-PL5.

I actually quite liked my E-PL5 - found it good in low light (even small 4x6 prints at 12,800ISO - focus speed was good - very portable going in my cargo pants pocket.

One thing that I have become addicted to on my E-M10 (first generation) bodies and my E-M1 (first generation) body —- is the wireless image transfer to my phone or iPad. I shoot jpeg and use that feature all the time - every day. The electronic viewfinder is a really nice feature for many people - except that for me I tend to use the tilted up back lcd screen for my street and travel photography, and find the viewfinder gets in my way of viewing the whole screen unlike with my E-PL5.

All my current Olympus bodies were purchased used and one E-M10 was heavily discounted Open Box price on an older model. From what you have described, you may be perfectly happy with an E-M10 regardless of the iteration. I always strongly recommend buying used unless the price is too close to a new price deal.
 

WT21

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I shoot Panasonic, but if you are going to upgrade, look at which Oly drops or weakens the AA filter over the EPL5. I found moving from my EPL6 to the GX85 greatly improved sharpness. In terms of ISO uplight, it might have been a half or maybe close to a whole stop.
 

kingduct

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You sound similar in photographic needs to me. A few thoughts:
  • Sensor quality is not exceptionally superior in newer cameras.
  • IBIS (image stabilization) is a lot better than in your E-PL5 and will help you, especially indoors when you aren't using a flash. Both Olympus and Panasonic have good IBIS in all of their cameras now.
  • Olympus jpegs continue to be great, and Panasonic jpegs are now quite competitive (they used to be significantly inferior).
  • Major reasons to upgrade could be to have a built-in viewfinder, built-in flash, and built-in wireless connection to a cellphone app (easing quick sharing of images).
  • Panasonics continue to be better for video. Then again, you might prefer to do video with your cell phone, which is more convenient.
  • Panasonic has come out with some new kit lenses that are interesting -- both the 12-32mm (comes with the GX85) and 12-60mm (with the G85) have a lot of fans. If you are interested in upgrading your kit zoom, this might be a good opportunity for you to do so.
  • Both Olympus and Panasonic cameras now all have either flip up screens (E-M10 ii or ii, GX85) or fully articulated screens (E-M5 ii, G85).
  • Cameras vary in size, but almost all are at least a bit bigger than your E-PL5.
We could go into more detail on individual features that cameras offer, but you should think about the above and consider which of these matter to you.

In short: Core sensor quality hasn't changed a ton, but there are a lot of other changes that make it easier to get good images.
 

finja

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Hi, how much is enough ISO improvement? What ISO do you find is your current limit for image quality, and what ISO would you want to be able to use?
Do you already Expose to the Right (ETTR)?

What kind of AF? Single or continuous? Low light? Moving subjects (how fast)? Video?
I don't know how I would quantify enough ISO improvement. I originally had my high ISO limit at 3200 but found myself wanting more in order to use faster shutter speed. I recent changed the high ISO limit to 6400 but wasn't too pleased with the result. I don't like to use flash in social settings for candid shots. Perhaps I'm being unrealistic with my expectations which is why I'm inquiring if the current bodies would improve on this.

I don't expose to the right. I should research that a bit!
 

finja

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I don't know how I would quantify enough ISO improvement. I originally had my high ISO limit at 3200 but found myself wanting more in order to use faster shutter speed. I recent changed the high ISO limit to 6400 but wasn't too pleased with the result. I don't like to use flash in social settings for candid shots. Perhaps I'm being unrealistic with my expectations which is why I'm inquiring if the current bodies would improve on this.

I don't expose to the right. I should research that a bit!

Forgot to mention that I always use S-AF for stills. The low light experience I'm hoping to improve a bit was with slow moving subjects in the evening (trying to capture candid shots of people).
 

demiro

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Forgot to mention that I always use S-AF for stills. The low light experience I'm hoping to improve a bit was with slow moving subjects in the evening (trying to capture candid shots of people).

I assume you are using f/1.8 primes for these shots? If so, you have to spend a lot and deal with larger lenses to get incremental improvement with f/1.2 PRO options. This is an area of compromise with m4/3s.

The improved IBIS from E-PL5 to E-M10 II will make a noticeable difference for you, if you go that route.
 

finja

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No votes for the EM5 mark II? Seems like cost difference between EM10 and EM5 is very small now (seen some pretty good prices on used EM5). Would that change your recommendation?
 

finja

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I assume you are using f/1.8 primes for these shots? If so, you have to spend a lot and deal with larger lenses to get incremental improvement with f/1.2 PRO options. This is an area of compromise with m4/3s.

The improved IBIS from E-PL5 to E-M10 II will make a noticeable difference for you, if you go that route.

I don't have any Pro lenses. P25 f/1.4 is the fastest I own.
 

Bidkev

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As others have said, there's next to nothing in low iso or image quality across all models higher than your epl5. My thinking with regards to shooting the subjects that you are aiming at is that the only benefit that you will get by upgrading is better ibis and a viewfinder and/or tilting screen. I started off with an E-M5 mkll, tried the E-M1 and due to my style of shooting found that it offered me nothing that the E-M5 couldn't achieve and since then I have actually "downgraded" in my choice of subsequent bodies (I don't like changing lenses) due to their excellent pricing.

Your disappointment with high iso use could be due to your aperture. Don't be afraid to shoot wide open as most m43 lenses are adequate enough for street photography and tbh, I've never needed iso above 800 for my street/candid work except at night or in a fairly dark room. Also, if you are getting OOF shots, working with a screen isn't the best approach to remedy this when you are having to shoot fast as your sort of photography subjects require. Work with a single small focus square on your subject and if you need to recompose, do so as m43 is forgiving in regards to DOF. This procedure is best achieved via a viewfinder so if you really feel a need to upgrade, then plump for your cheapest option which would be the e m10mkll.

When I first came to this forum I constantly saw that there was a consensus that Olympus shoots excellent jpg's but I will add a caveat to that by saying "in average conditions"................I was disappointed with most of my jpgs taken in low light as they simply didn't "suit my eye" and so I now shoot only raw. Try and familiarise yourself with RAW and do your own processing. Shoot raw+jpg until you get proficient, you have nothing to lose and you may well find that you can produce better results than your camera processor can
 
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I experimented with two PL5s and a PM2 and finally concluded that the difference in controls between the PENs and the EM1 (my main camera) messed me up, and that I couldn't live without a viewfinder, even though I had a VF-4 for my PL5. It was a bit of a kludge. I replaced the last PL5 with an EM10 II that I got refurbed from Getolympus.com for only $299. Not a huge jump in image quality, but a jump in control harmony and EVF presence. You could also consider a refurbed EM5 II, now that the EM5 III is out. The EM5 II would probably be an upgrade in IQ. There just was a coupon sale on refurbed Olympuses on getolympus.
 

fransglans

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Em5 II max shutter is 1/8000 mechanical, that's a great thing that differs it from em10...

Using those f1. 8 primes wide open at sunny days is nice

I also think em5 II looks better :)
 

Ed Diaz

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As others have noted, there won’t be a big improvement in AF or high ISO performance, but the IBIS is significantly better and will allow you to shoot at lower ISOs for static subjects. When I sold my E-PL5, I replaced it with an E-M10. For me, the IBIS, EVF, and dual dials made the shooting experience much more enjoyable, and the size/weight wasn’t all that different.

Though it’s personal preference, I prefer the tilt screens on the E-PL5 and E-M10’s over the articulating screen of the E-M5ii. In terms of size/weight, the E-M10’s sits between the E-PL5 and E-M5ii, so if you prioritize smaller/lighter over weather sealing and hi-res, the E-M10 would be a good option. It’s cheaper and uses the same batteries as your E-PL5.
 
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