Canon Crop to EM5 or GX7?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by mjw, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. mjw

    mjw Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    I'm sure this has been discussed to death, so I apologize in advance. At least 50% of the purpose of this post is for me to think out loud.

    I recently sold my Canon crop body (an original Rebel XT) and lenses (50mm, 85mm, 28-135mm) with the intention of moving to a MFT kit. After selling this and other stuff I'm not longer using, I have between $1800-2300 to spend on a new system (not everything has sold yet).

    For the last two years, I've been primarily shooting pictures of my wife and daughter, mostly the later. My daughter at the park. My daughter on a hike,.My daughter at the zoo. My daughter at a birthday party. My daughter building Legos. You get the idea. My Rebel setup was terrible for this - autofocus struggled in low light, I didn't have a sufficiently wide lens for indoor shooting (my fault, I know), low light performance of the sensor was not so good.

    Lately, I've also wanted to take pictures of not-my-daughter as well. My schedule doesn't really allow me much time for 'photo trips', but I do commute by bike which allows me the opportunity to see lots of interesting things and stop more or less whenever I want. The Rebel + 50mm fit in my messenger bag well enough with my other stuff, but that wasn't really the best focal length.

    So, here I am in Seattle, with what looks like a relatively healthy used MFT market on craigslist. I'm trying to figure out what my new kit should be. I don't have to spend everything and will probably make any purchases incrementally as used gear becomes available.

    So, used OMD-EM5 w/ 14-42mm kit lens for $700 or new GX7 w/kit lens for $1100?

    It seems like I could get the EM5, a 14mm prime and the 45mm/1.8 prime for about the same price as the GX7 kit. That would leave me looking for either a 20mm or 25mm for indoor shots. On the other hand, the GX7 is pretty sexy. Thoughts on what I'd be giving up by going with the used body? Random suggestions about lenses?
  2. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    mjw, welcome!

    In Seattle I would definitely go with the E-M5 + 12-50 kit lens, so you have an option that doesn't have you worrying about the weather. I think the 12-50 is a bit underrated in terms of IQ as well, plus it gives you a pseudo-macro mode which can be nice.

    Used shopping list (if I were you):

    E-M5 $600
    12-50 $200
    17/1.8 $425
    45/1.8 $300

    You can also go with 14/2.5 for $150 and 25/1.4 for $450 instead of the 17/1.8. It is really a matter of what FL suit you better. I switched from the 25 to the 17 and have zero regrets.

    As a point of disclosure, what I recommended is my kit. I shoot mostly my 8 year old, plus other stuff when possible (which isn't often).
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Serhan

    Serhan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 7, 2011
    Welcome to mu-43. As long as it is in good condition the cheaper option of E-M5 which will give you more lens options wins. There is a recall on E-M5 but I don't have any problem with mine. Bodies don't stay long but lenses do. You can also get refurb Olympus lenses to save money:

    20mm is slow esp indoors. Get Oly 17mm 1.8 or Panasonic 25mm 1.4.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. swampduck

    swampduck Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 29, 2013
    Taneytown , MD
    First, that must have been some pile of old DSLR gear to get $1800 from it and not finished selling.

    It doesn't sound like you are doing anything that sophisticated photography wise, but you could with the gear you listed. Also, the body isn't going to get a lot as far as low light performance goes, that is the job of the lens. That being said, and I don't own either of the bodies you mentioned, I own a G5, I feel like you could be overspending for what your intended uses seem to be.

    Any of the cameras listed with the lenses you are talking about aren't going to give you much of a change in focal length then your old Rebel + 50mm did.

    Since you are coming from a Rebel DSLR, you are going to find the EM-5 a much better camera in every aspect, and coupled with the 17mm and 45mm you will have low light covered. Add in a zoom 45-150 and you would seem to have the range covered.

    That is my .02, hope I didn't just get trolled though.
  5. mjw

    mjw Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    That does seem like a nice combination. Your lens lineup also seems pretty sensible. I may add a pancake to that list for times when space is tight (I sometimes have to make room for a growler in my bag). I think the 25mm was on the list mostly because a friend has the Canon 50mm/1.4 and I'm a little jealous.

    Nah, it was ~$750 of DSLR gear and other gear from another hobby that I no longer care to make time for.

    I suppose I could go for a cheaper body, but I'm relatively comfortable with the used price of the E-M5. It probably doesn't matter in terms of modern cameras, but the 8 year old Rebel XT had a usable ISO of 800 (and an absolute max of 1600) and even that was kinda iffy at times. I expect that a modern body would let me comfortably shoot at 1600, which isn't a huge difference I suppose, but it's something. The effective focal length of the Rebel + 50mm is 80mm, which I found inconvenient at times, especially indoors. Not sure why you think I'm trolling.
  6. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Since you say the Rebel + 50mm fit in your bag but wasn't the best focal length, are you claiming that it was too short or too long for that you wanted to shoot? Assuming it was too long, the 45mm that's been recommended will be slightly longer so that's something you may want to take into consideration. Something like the 25mm f1.4 or the 20mm f1.7 would give you a compact setup for your messenger bag or indoor/low light shooting with a fairly standard fixed focal length. This, in addition to the 12-50 zoom for general outdoor shooting in decent light, could prove to be a very versatile kit, but it all depends on what focal lengths you prefer.
  7. mjw

    mjw Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for that link, btw. I had no idea and the prices there are slightly less than what I'm seeing on craigslist here in Seattle. No negotiation room naturally and I have to pay sales tax (9.5% in WA, ouch!), but I think the 30 day returns and 90 day warranty, coupled with not having to drive all over Puget Sound putting my kit together makes it all worthwhile.
  8. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    I think the E-M5 is a great camera- and althought I'm intrigued with the rangefinder style of the GX7, I'd say best bang for your buck will be the E-M5.

    As far as lenses go, if you're looking at doing a lot of lower light photography, for sure get the fastest lens you can. I've got quite a few lenses, but when the light gets low I always pull out either my O45 or O75. Then again I don't usually shoot in tight spaces. I would highly encourage you to get 1 faster lens over 2 slower ones.

    And, as far as the kit lens goes- the 12-50 is a great (weather sealed) lens. You do need some decent light, and you'll probably not get much subject isolation with it, but it's a solid performer and you don't have to worry as much about weather. I recently took my E-M5 and all my lenses to the beach, and the 12-50 stayed on it the entire time, as I didn't want sand or saltwater (or salt from the air) getting anywhere inside the camera. And it performed like a champ. I'm not a huge fan of the 14-42 lenses (I've got 2 that sit in a closet), it's not that they're horrible, it's just that they really don't offer a whole lot other than zoom.

    Of course, you could always go with bounce flash for low light indoor photography- but that's a whole other post.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Just on a whim, I took out my E-M5 after nightfall hit to see which of my lenses work the best in pretty low light- and it turns out for me, the O45 is by far the best low light lens I've got. With that said, I don't have any of the wider 1.x lenses, but it was (predictably) better than all my 2.8 lenses and (a little shockingly) much better than the O75. It was somehow locking focus on things I could just barely make out in the viewfinder.
  10. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    The EM5 has a few quirks with UI, some of which has been addressed with more recent models. If you can get your head around this, it represents great value on the second hand market. It's weather sealed and I believe has a better in-body IS than the GX7.

    This a good recommendation that will have to fairly well covered. Maybe add a 40-150 (~$100-150 used), if you want longer focal lengths. You could also drop the 45 1.8 (FL roughly equivalent to your 50mm on canon crop), if you are complaining about finding things a bit tight indoors. It does make a nicer potrait lens and will give your more shallow DOF that is harder to achieve with the other lens.
  11. mjw

    mjw Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    I would love to know more about UI quirks that have been corrected, is there a manufacture date I should look for, or are we talking about a firmware update?

    My complaint about the 50mm on my crop body was just that it wasn't good as an all purpose prime like it might be on a full frame body. I still got a lot of mileage out of it as a portrait lens.
  12. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    I mean that some of the 'issues' have been addressed in newer olympus models like the EP5 and soon to be release EM1. By quirks, I mean more annoyances.

    Here are some examples of things I find annoying. I have largely learnt to accept these quirks. There are a lot of good things going for the EM5 as well.
    -large focus box. Small focus box can be accessed by assigning a function button to it. However with smaller focus box you lose highlight alerts.
    -more difficult access to 'mysets' (preset modes). I believe in newer models, mysets can be assigned to spots on the mode dial.
    -difficult access to bracketing

    A quick look at other forum threads brings up this:

    Don't let it discourage you from buying it though. Considering the EM1 is coming out, I've seen the EM5 going for really good prices second hand.
  13. greenlight

    greenlight Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 16, 2012
    Colin B
    Don't discount the Olympus 17mm 1.8 when you are considering lenses.

    I mainly shoot my 1 year old daughter, and that is the lens that lives on my camera most of the time. It's considerably smaller and lighter than the PL 25mm 1.4 so it makes the camera very easy to sling in a bag or over the shoulder too.

    I've found that the 25mm can be too tight for indoor shooting, although to be fair our house isn't the biggest! Great for portraits indoors but hard to get much of what is going on around the person in the scene, which for family record shots is important I think.

    The other nice thing about the 17mm is that 17mm + 45mm is a great kit - if I'm packing two lenses that's the combo I take.
  14. mjw

    mjw Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    Yeah, I'm convinced. I'm not sure I'll be able to get an E-M5 body for $600, but everything else seems very doable at the prices listed. I'll start with the setup demiro suggested and see if that leaves gaps that I care about.
  15. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    You will enjoy the EM-5 but it may take some time to get all the functions exactly where you want them as most of them can be moved around the various function buttons and this combined with the Super Control Panel enable means you won't need to dig through the labyrinth that is the Olympus menus very often.

    The 12-50 is not as bad as some people advise - yes it's better in good light but would give a much wider view than you had with you previous set up, weather sealing and nice close focus ability even if it's not a true 1:1 macro. With this lens you could wait for a while and try various focal lengths 12, 14, 17, 20, 25 before buying the prime(s) that best suits your view/style.

    The 45mm is one of the real value for money lenses in the m4/3 range it's quick autofocus, F1.8, good handling and image quality make it hard not to like. It's also good where most of the typical zooms are not (14-42, 12-50 and 40-150).

    The 40-150 performs far better than the price would suggest and is worth considering if you can pick one up at the right price.

    Primes are always hard to suggest as it does depend on the individual. For myself it's 14, 25 and 45. My wife's would be 12, 17 and 30.
  16. orfeo

    orfeo Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 27, 2013
    GX7 with 12-35mm 2.8
    OMDEM1 with 12-40mm 2.8

    You pick ^^
    I have GX7 it would be perfect for the daughter documentary job ;)

    I like to shoot strangers in various place so a big zoom is not to my liking. But in your case I think just frame and shoot is better if you don't wanna hassle with changing lens. If changing lens is ok for you get:
    Zuiko 45mm and 17mm
    or Lumix 20mm 1.7 and 45 macro 2.8
    Again such a luxury having the choice between two brillant systems!
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