Catching Up......

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by newbert, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. newbert

    newbert Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2012
    Glens Falls, NY
    I've been away from photography (and this forum) for awhile, but have recently gotten the flame re-kindled. I need to catch up on the latest and greatest and thought that I'd ask a few questions here. I currently shoot with an Olympus E-M5 and a Nikon D300. Nikon recently announced a new DX body (D500) which got my G.A.S. going again. But I'm really not sure whether I want to continue down the Nikon road, since I use my E-M5 much more often.

    So, here are my questions:

    1. One thing that I'm interested in shooting is wildlife and birds. (The D300 which works quite well for this.) One of the weak points of m43 has been continuous focus/subject tracking. Has that improved in the newer models, and if so, which bodies are best at this?

    2. Another thing I shoot a lot are landscapes. With my E-M5, I've programmed a function button to shoot a burst of 5 frames separated by +/-1ev in order to merge later to HDR via software. (I do this A LOT.) I see that the E-M5 MarkII has a dedicated HDR button. Exactly what does that button do and how effective is it realistically? Can anyone share a comparison of images using and not using the HDR function?

  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    Hi, the E-M1 currently has the best CAF in mu43, and the E-M1 II is generally expected to improve upon that late this year.

    The HDR button gives access to bracketing as well as in-camera HDR.
    I don't do much HDR, but the in-camera mode will usually not be as good as, and certainly less flexible than, HDR software.

  3. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Real Name:
    Starting at the top, if you prefer your E-M5 over your D300, what makes you think you'll use the D500 more over the D300? Sure, it'll have its initial appeal, but after that wears off, it's going to be the same size and weight (roughly) as your D300, using the same size and weight lenses as your D300.

    If it's only the IQ that puts you off about the D300, then the D500 may be the right way to go. However if you don't take your D300 with you because of the size and weight of it, well then buying a D500 isn't going to fix that problem.

    As for the cameras, both the GH4 and E-M1 are the best mu43 cameras when it comes to continuous AF. I personally have two GH4's, and the camera's ability to track subjects is quite amazing IMO. Panasonic's CDAF is better than Olympus' when it comes to C-AF, however the E-M1 uses PDAF along with CDAF when shooting with C-AF. You can't go wrong with either camera.

    One thing that is nice about the GH4 is that there is a dedicated mode drive dial. Like you, I like shooting a lot of landscapes, as well as shooting motorsports. When I'm shooting landscapes, I simply turn the drive dial to the bracketed exposure mode, and my camera is already set up to 5 shots, each one 1EV apart (you can customize this for 3,5,or 7 frames, anywhere from 1/3EV to 1EV apart). When it comes time to shoot motorsports, I have one of the custom slots (like Olympus' mysets, but there's an actual spot on the mode dial for it) set up for shooting sports. So all I do is change my mode dial, change the AF mode switch to C-AF, and change my drive dial to burst, and I'm good to go.

    You can set all of this up with an Olympus camera via mysets, but there isn't a dedicate spot for it on the mode dial.

    The GH4 can be picked up for about $1000 used, and the E-M1 can be had for about $750 used.

    If you TRULY need the latest and greatest, then I'd recommend you hold off for a couple months, as the E-M1 II is supposed to be announced, and that will be the new top-dog in the mu43 world. However the E-M1 and GH4 will still be great performers, and can be picked up at a significant cost savings over the latest and greatest.

    In summary, if C-AF is important for you then look at the GH4 from Panasonic or the E-M1 from Olympus.
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  4. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Real Name:
    The MFT cameras all have mediocre CAF for active subjects. The d500 will blow them away just as current Nikon and Canon AF systems in their enthusiast and pro grade cameras already do. The e-m1 mk2 we hope will close the gap, but it isn't going to catch up. What's good enough for you is up to you to decide.

    The 2x crop reach of MFT is nice for wildlife as it extends telephoto reach at less expense and size/weight, just don't expect CAF to help you with fast moving objects.

    If landscapes are a priority, maybe a second crop platform isn't the best choice. Have you seen the detail and dr provided by the latest FF cameras like the d810 and a7r2. Even the d750 provides impressive detail and range. Go over to Amin's photo lounge forum and look at some of the image threads there. Some of those cameras provide spectacular images and you can see the difference from MFT and the average aps-c camera easily. Not that MFT can't take a great landscape image, but there is definitely more in the images for these other formats if thatvisnampriority.

    So maybe a FF is an option and keep your MFT for wildlife, etc... CAF on my e-m1 isn't too bad on subjects at a distance since the relative speed of a moving object is slower, like an airliner that seems to be moving in slow motion even though it's traveling hundreds of miles per hour. So maybe your MFT will be fine for slow moving and distant subjects where it's reach helps and a FF for landscapes and superior AF for closer moving objects where huge lenses won't be necessary.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  5. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Real Name:
    While I agree with you @Speedliner@Speedliner that m43 isn't as good as your flagship APS-C or 35mm DSLR's, the GH4 and E-M1 (post FW 3.0) are actually very good. I've seen numerous posts from individuals who shoot fast subjects (wildlife chases, motorsports, dogs running full speed, etc.), and the results don't disappoint. Sure, the success rate won't be as high as with a DSLR, and it may require a slightly different technique compared to what one is used to, but the cameras can certainly deliver.

    Also, for someone just getting back in to photography, running two different systems costs a lot of money, and is likely more trouble than it's worth for an enthusiast.

    I think the best all-in-one camera would likely be the upcoming E-M1 II, as the C-AF performance should be better than the current m43 cameras, it'll have a higher resolution sensor, and it should have the E-M5 II's hi-res mode with an even faster readout.

    Having said that, if the OP does want to run with two systems, I think his best option would be to pick up an E-M1 for ~$700 to use with C-AF, and then look at picking up a first-gen A7R for landscape shots, and using it with some adapted glass. Focusing speed isn't important for landscapes, and the 36MP, non-AA filter in the A7R delivers results that absolutely crush anything from m43. But again, cost begins to become an issue here. $700 for a used E-M1, $1000 for a used A7R, plus the cost of adapted glass for the A7R, and we're already over $2K (minus whatever gains are made from the OP selling his current equipment).
  6. Bjarne

    Bjarne Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 11, 2015
    Aarhus, Denmark
    Real Name:
    Why not buy the new 300/4 or 40-150 with 1.4 converterfor your wildlife shooting. Im shure they can do the job with the E-M5.