Considering a return to DSLR... Advice needed

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by InsanelyMarc, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. InsanelyMarc

    InsanelyMarc Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2013
    Pembroke Pines, FL
    This is going to be a long post so before I begin... some background...

    I started in digital photography with a Rebel XS then moved to a T2i with a 24-105mm, 70-200mm f/4l, 50mm f/1.8, and a sigma 10-20mm. I found myself most happy with the 24-105mm + 50mm combo for traveling although the 24mm wasn't really wide enough on a crop body but the long end was pretty good enough.

    I decided to take the m4/3 plunge because I figured a 10 day trip across Italy would be annoying with a DSLR so I sold off all my Canon gear on POTN and got an Olympus E-PL5 with just the kit lens and a 20mm f/1.7. It's been a pretty good setup, and for walking around Italy it was pretty nice for my needs for traveling. I liked the versatility of the size, articulating screen and tap to shoot. However, I missed things from my DSLR like a viewfinder and an overall larger body for my hands to hold onto. At the time I didn't consider the OMD E-M5 because I thought it was too close to the price of a DSLR to justify the size difference.

    This year I went to Peru with only a rented 14-150mm Olympus lens. Although I liked the near p&s experience (small, all-in-one zoom, tap to shoot, tilting screen, etc), I also missed some features that make shooting a picture more deliberate (size/weight/sturdiness, viewfinder, ergonomics, etc).

    That being said I'm *thinking* about changing things around. By no means am I "gear obsessed," I just have a hard time figuring out what's best to compromise on. That being said here are my gripes/desires:

    1. A slightly bigger/more ergonomic body while still somehow not being too bulky.
    2. A viewfinder of sorts (EVF or OVF)
    3. Better IQ if possible; my e-pl5 is comparable to my t2i but only under the best conditions... I notice it the tonal/dynamic range isn't as good as my dslr did in some conditions.
    4. Pop up flash if possible; mainly for backlit/fill scenarios while traveling. I don't use flash enough to warrant an external flash and the little add-on flash on the e-pl5 isn't bad but it's just on other thing to pack/get lost.

    I'm not big on having multiple cameras so all options would likely replace the e-pl5 all together. Here's what I have considered:

    1. OMD E-M10 - stay in the m4/3 world. Even has pop up flash; still a little small though
    2. OMD E-M5 - same as above minus pop up flash
    3. OMD E-M1 - same as above; but cost is pushing it for the form factor, etc
    4. Canon 6D + 24-105mm kit - larger than other options but for the IQ and versatility I think I could accept the size increase again.The camera is in a diff bracket so cost not comparable
    5. Sony A7 + 24-80mm kit - Same price as 6D but smaller; but also limited and expensive lens selection ($1k for a 50mm 1.8 is nuts)
    6. Canon Rebel like a t5i or t4i

    FWIW, I've used the E-M5 and a T2i before so on the OMD and Rebel lines, they're close enough for me to consider having some experience with them. I've also used 40 and 50D's before so I'm familiar with Canon bodies though I've never used a FF canon. The only one I have zero relatable experience with is the Sony.

    As of now I'm leaning more towards one of the OMD's or a 6D. With all that said, I'm not looking for "the answer" on which route to take, but more like specific perspectives that I can use to aid my decision.
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  2. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    Real Name:
    I would get the em10
    Shoot my E-M1 along side my D600 sometimes it's better sometimes it's not ?

    IMHO 6D is not as good as a D600 so won't be the camera that is the issue

    When I go out only use my E-M1 meaning D600 is work only camera for weddings portraits I can pull off on the E-M1

    Might say get a prime like the 17 1.8 or the 45 1.8
    Depending on what you shoot ? And then a nice basic zoom with good range

    Or go higher end 2.8 zoom like the 12-40 and get a longer zoom or prime ?

    For me when going out two lens is all I want
    2.8 is quick enough can take place of a fast prime most the time some of the super zooms say around 4 to 5.6 are not quite quick enough ?
  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I had a 5dii with the 24-105 (and a bunch of other lenses). It stayed at home too often and when I did take it (and the lenses), my shoulders and back ached on anything more than a short hike (I like landscapes). Since I switched to u43, I'm taking more shots and getting significantly more keepers. For me, u43 freed me up to enjoy photography more. I'm never going back to big and bulky DSLRs.
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  4. Levster

    Levster Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I'd throw the Panasonic GX7 into the mix as well. I now have an OM-D EM-5 and a GX7 and I find the GX7 to be a lot more comfortable to hold. The grip is large enough for my hand (normal man sized?) to cup around the camera body. The GX7 also has IBIS (not available for video though), a built in viewfinder and a built in flash.
  5. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Watch for an E-M1 to show up in the Olympus reconditioned store for about $1100: It's a bigger, heavier camera than your E-PL5 with an outstanding viewfinder, best image stabilization in the business, good focus tracking, decent for sports, etc. However, if you honestly like the image quality of the T2i over the E-PL5 you should go back to Canon. I personally did the opposite - I prefer the still image quality of Oly m4/3 cameras to Canon Rebels, although video wise I liked the Rebels alot.
  6. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Hi Marc, I think you are comparing very different systems.,482.412,380.21,ha,t

    With m4/3 you have a small system: body AND lenses. EM-5/10 bodies are small, but usable, and both have an optional extra grip (I'm going to buy one to use when the size is not critical).

    EM-1/5 are both weather resistant and have a better stabilization then EM-10. Olympus has in-body stabilization so lenses are, often, smaller and cheaper. EM-1 also has PDAF and bigger EVF.

    I find the "full-frame" system (I own a 5D) the less versatile of all: I can only use it in very few occasions due to its size, I will never be able to afford a 600mm, while a can have one (equivalent) for m4/3 for 450 euro and I do not need a backpack to carry it and its tripod. I paid 150 euros for a good 40-150mm lens. I could buy a pro 2.8 zoom for almost half the price of a 24-70 canon.

    With m4/3 battery life sucks (compared to an OVF) but is usable (with spares and a few tricks), maximum possible IQ is lower (but I do not think to be able to systematically push its limits) and do not often need to do it (high iso, extreme dynamic-range, etc.) but it is just too much more usable. And I think that for a fixed amount of money the m4/3 final IQ is going to be higher (if money is spent with IQ in mind).
    And I will be able to upgrade to the next generation sensor body with much less cost (I'm still making a comparison with FF, APS-C bodies are in the same price range).

    With APS-C you have FF lens size and a sligthly better IQ performance than m4/3 (assuming good stabilized lenses, etc.). Almost worst of both worlds.

    You could consider the Fuji XT-1 as an alternative to the E-M1. Close size, price, etc. but with a APS-C X-Trans sensor. But there are few lenses and are going to be bigger (no flash).

    If you plan to use only one lens EM-10 with 12-40 2.8 should be a great combo, maybe adding a 40-150 (size: 7.5x9.5 cm packed with hood!) for animals and the likes. The oly 14-150 is a good travel lens, but is not comparable to the 24-150 you own now. The EM-10 is going to drop in a few months, if you value weather resistance you have the other options.

    With the 14-42 EZ zoom the em-5/10 can be used as a (bulky) pocketable camera. With the extra grip, 2 or 3 good lenses that fits into a pocket (25, 45, 60, 75, 40-150, etc.) or the 12-40 you can use it as a more IQ oriented tool. That is my plan.

    My two cents.
  7. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Real Name:
    I received an email today advertising an outstanding deal on a Canon SL1 with a two lens kit (18-55 and 50-250). The SL1 has the same sensor as the T5i and very similar specs. I wasn't looking to get another camera, but the deal was good enough to make me do some research. I found some comparisons online and image samples and the bottom line is that I actually think the Oly E-PL5 has slightly better image quality than the SL1 which I believe is better than the T2i. So, if you are moving back because of image quality, my view of the quality is different. Now, if it is a handling or focus tracking issue, I can see that.

    If the lack of a view finder is the issue, maybe just get a viewfinder for you E-PL5 or get a EM-5 or 10 if you want a built in VF.

    I shoot JPEGS and I'm not a fan of the Sony JPEGs, plus they don't have the lenses to make me happy, so for me they aren't competitive.

    If you don't mind the size and have the money, I can't argue against the Nikon 610 or Canon 6D.
  8. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    An E-M10 or GX-7 will help with 1, 2 and 4, but do nothing for 3. The Canon will help with 2, 3, 4 but completely fail on 1.

    As to 3, at the same ISOs, the E-PL5 should have more DR than the T2i, so either you're doing something very unusual, or you're not performing an even comparison.

    If you can rent the Canon combo for a weekend, I'd do it. Either you'll find that the size and weight disadvantage massively outweigh the improvements in image quality, or you'll decide that the improvement is big enough to be worth the inconvenience and cost.

    Personally, I think there's very little that a 6D and 24-105/4L will perform significantly better in vs. an E-M10 and 12-40/2.8, but different people have different expectations and standards.
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  9. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Real Name:
    There are 3 main things full frame is better than m43.

    1, Better dynamic range
    2, Better High ISO performance
    3, Shallower DOF

    However, you can equalize the playing field by using faster lenses to allow you to shoot with lower ISO. Most of the kit lenses sold with the camera is very slow. If you want better IQ and dynamic range, you need to go either the prime route or the faster zoom glasses. Typically with m43, the lower the ISO the better the DR and noise performance will be and the better IQ you get. If you know what's you're doing, shoot mostly not in auto and work within the lower ISOs, you can get some pretty good results with m43 like I do with my E-PL1. Though for my work, I shoot with Nikons (D4 and D800) and while they are great cameras, the m43 quality coming out from E-M5 and E-M1 are equally as good.

    If you are an auto everything person, then go for the Canon 6D and the Nikon D610 because they give you much more latitude and pretty good image quality.
  10. InsanelyMarc

    InsanelyMarc Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2013
    Pembroke Pines, FL
    I'm not a fan of the add on EVF for the E-PL5 and the like. It's just one more thing to pack/pocket/attach/break off. Which is why I am considering the OMD's over that route.

    Dhazeghi and bikerhiker: those are very good points about each option. the IQ is less of a deal breaker as I don't NEED the best IQ. I just noticed a lot of missing detail in highlights and shadows when I went on this last trip. However I was evaluated SOOC JPEGs so that could be the source of my dissatisfaction as well. I never felt that way about the pics I took in Italy the year prior (which were shot and edited in RAW).

    Now here's the question... of the OMD's which would be a good fit. I'm leaning towards the E-M10 thus far
  11. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran

    May 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    It sounds like a Panasonic GH3 (or GH4) would suit you. The ergonomics are much closer to using a DSLR, they're considerably bigger than any of the Olympus bodies, have decent battery life and you can continue with small lenses.
  12. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    Real Name:
    Which omd ?
    you mentioned built in flash as being handy ?
    As you know built in is way handy for those quick shots less gear to come off etc..
  13. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    The JPEGs, particularly at the defaults, are geared to provide punchy pleasing colors, which is pretty much the opposite of what you want if you're trying to maximize DR. Probably the best for the JPEGs would be using the Natural picture mode, with Contrast at -1 or -2.

    If you shoot RAW, you'll discover pretty quickly that there's a lot more highlight information being captured than is making it into the JPEGs. For normal sunny days, I can routinely shoot with +0.7EV compensation without blowing any major highlights in the RAW files.

    I think that makes sense. The only real reason to go for the E-M5 is if you're buying secondhand or you want weather-sealing. The E-M1 is sort of in a different category in terms of price. Unless C-AF and the extra grip/buttons really matter a lot to you.
  14. SojiOkita

    SojiOkita Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2014
    I think the E-M10 is a good choice.
    It has a pop up flash, it has a good IQ, it is maybe a little too small for your use, but you can buy a grip for it.

    The E-M1 is also a good choice. It's quite expensive, but have a better handling and more advanced options. No flash.

    Noone can decide if the handling will be ok for you, the best is to be able to find a store that has all the ones you hesitate for, and compare.

    I think APS-C is a not-so-good compromise. You don't have all the 24x36 advantages, and it's not a lot more compact.

    I think that 24x36 gear is interesting in the following conditions:
    - if you want shallow depth-of-field
    - when very high ISO performance is needed
    - for action photography (continuous autofocus)

    Concerning IQ, I'm not sure a MFT body with a good lens will be very different from a 24x36 body with a good lens, apart from the cases above.

    It really depends on what you need/want.
  15. Zee

    Zee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    A few points....

    -super zooms generally = bottom of the barrel IQ (compared to the best zooms and primes).
    -Why not buy an EM-5 second hand? save a heap of cash...

    THe fact that you thought the EL-5 with 20 F1.7 was about as good as the T2i with some very nice L glass, the 50 (which, really, ain't bad) and the Sigma 10-20 (Which has quite a good rep) is a testament to the EPL-5 and 20 f1.7.

    Anyway, my point is, stick with the better m4/3 lenses, buy EM-5 (or EM-1) 2nd hand, and then see what you think. This should reduce the financial outlay, and answer the questions in your head.

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  16. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    E-M10 is your best bet, nice built-in flash which is great for fill in the sun or slow sync when you don't need a lot of power. You can get an extra grip if you find E-M10's grip is not sufficient. IBIS is much better than E-PL5 so is the LCD (it's larger and much higher resolution). EVF is there for occasional use. Canon DSLRs are quite a bit heavier/bigger and have worse AWB which negatively affects colors unless you post process. Dual lens setup is perfect for travel: compact zoom + compact prime. My travel setup is two lenses:
    - Olympus 9-18. Very versatile range, ideal for travel (outdoor photography)
    - PL25 for low light, indoors, creative DOF, etc.
  17. Snowy55

    Snowy55 Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 21, 2014
    Melbourne, Australia
    Real Name:
    As you appear to travel a bit my advice would be to decide on the form factor first, then pick a camera body that best suits you after that and get the best lenses that suit your requirements. There is a big difference in size between any of the OMDs and a 6D plus their respective lenses. To me that is the fundamental issue. Camera features such as in-built flash would be secondary. Lenses quality is more important than camera features in my thinking. Still, it is great fun deciding such things. Happy photography with whatever your final choice is.
  18. InsanelyMarc

    InsanelyMarc Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2013
    Pembroke Pines, FL
    Thanks for the input guys. It's definitely helping. Actually went to a local Best Buy (not much for camera stores around here). And held some of the Canon bodies including a 6D. It has been a while since I held a DSLR so it was shockingly big especially compared to the Sony A7 they had there. The Sony A7 size-wise was perfect... not too big, not too small, not too heavy (at least with the 28-70mm on it). Gonna see how the A7 compares to OMD's in terms of size/weight.
  19. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    Real Name:
    the Sony A7 series has a lot going for it IMHO more a niche product and a 2nd camera than a primary or if used as a primary the photographer is often experienced it seems and has a good grasp and often is a legacy glass setup etc..
    so not saying its not a great camera it is :) but its a narrow market experience required :)

    the 55 lens is amazing they say one of the better lens out there of any make and the 35 is great to the cheaper kit lens however ? not so good

    kit lens of sony

    compare that to say the nicer fuji basic lens

    or the Oly 12-40

    you can have the nicest body but crap glass is crap glass :) and will effect a camera output for sure
  20. InsanelyMarc

    InsanelyMarc Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2013
    Pembroke Pines, FL