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E-M1 hands on: Worth the upgrade over E-M5?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by cdmicha, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Dec 28, 2012
    Arkansas
    Chris
    So, I have been on the fence as to upgrade from the E-M5 to the E-M1. I finally decided to give it a try, with a few days off this week, and a lot of opportunities to shoot.

    I'm very aware of the nice upgrades of the E-M1 over the E-M5, but I have to say, I'm sort of underwhelmed. After shooting a few days with it (and my collection of lenses), I've got to say I don't see any "real world" improvements on focus speed/accuracy or image quality. To be sure, it has some nice feature advantages, but I'm just not sure I'm going to keep it over my E-M5.

    Here's a list of pros and cons, from my perspective:

    E-M1 Pros (compared to E-M5):
    -MUCH better EVF. it's not even close. This is perhaps the single strongest reason for me to replace my E-M5, as I shoot with the EVF about 80% of the time.
    -Larger image buffer. A lot larger.
    -Smaller single point focusing rectangle
    -The material on the outside is much "grippier"
    -The buttons are larger and there are more of them. Playback button isn't the smallest thing on the camera.
    -You can playback images in the viewfinder! Although I was only able to do this with the auto switch engaged- for some reason if you manually turn on the viewfinder, image playback is sent to the back screen
    -2 effective extra stops of bright light shooting (ISO 100 and 1/8000 shutter speed).
    -Button function selection switch is great.
    -The shutter sound is more muted. I love the way it sounds!

    E-M1 Cons:
    -More expensive. Especially if you're looking at either an E-M1 or E-M5, you can get insane prices on the E-M5 right now.
    -Image quality doesn't appear to be any different. Getting the image captured is more enjoyable, but the end product is the same.
    -Focus speed seems about the same to me.
    -I'm really not seeing any improvement with C-AF or Tracking, at least not with m43 lenses.
    -Front grip is much better, back thumb grip isn't. The E-M5 has a nice thumb rest built in on the back, but the E-M1 just has a little hump.
    -It's larger with no way to remove the grip to make it smaller.

    Now I realize that the pro list is much longer than the con list, but- for me I'm not sure if the pro list justifies the cost of the upgrade. I hesitated to post this, but figured since others might be on the fence about this, maybe my experiences might help out.
     
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  2. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
    Worth the upgrade over E-M5?

    IMVHO......Most certainly :2thumbs:
     
  3. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    967
    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Steve
    I've had both, though E-M1 only for a few days. With the prices for the E-M5 right now... it is REALLY a tough call. You could get TWO E-M5 bodies right now for the same price as a E-M1. Good points made.
     
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  4. Sela69

    Sela69 Mu-43 Regular

    Imho it doesn't. Not at this price.

    For my needs E-M5 is enough so i'll wait for better IQ or for reliable AF plus good tele to shoot animals and sports.
     
  5. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Every one is different. For me it's definitely woth the upgrade. But I get the price and size differences will matter to many.

    I would add that long exposures may be better on the E-M5, to your list.

    From my use I feel the E-M1 focuses better and faster in low light (have used both side by side) and has images with slightly more bite.

    The big thing is how incredibly responsive the E-M1 feels. The E-M5 was fast. I had no complaints. The E-M1 is lightning. It's fantastic. My shooting partners EOS 1D4 feels sluggish in comparison.

    Gordon
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I think you've summed up the pros and cons pretty well. For the moment I've decided not to upgrade. The cost differential really doesn't seem justified for the improvements.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. marclw

    marclw New to Mu-43

    9
    Mar 14, 2013
    Frederick, MD USA
    Good points! One big plus for the em1 for me is the improved weatherproofing. I'm used to shooting my Canon 1dmk3 in bad weather and hate, HATE worrying about whether my equipment will be harmed. The 1D has been bulletproof. Unfortunately it's now way too big and heavy for me. So, I bought into the m4/3 system with the two em5s, but when the em1 came out, I truly had a 1D substitute -- in most ways. So, I'll be selling all of my canon kit very soon! I got a backup em1 on the way.


    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  8. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Dec 28, 2012
    Arkansas
    Chris
    Gordon, I have noticed that the low light focusing is better- the EFV is much better in lower light (in certain instances the E-M5 was able to attain with an almost completely dark EVF, where the E-M1 actually showed what I was focusing on). The one thing I haven't done yet is tested this camera with the 12-40mm lens (hoping that will be here this coming week). The handling of the lens alone might sway my decision, but as of now I'm still on the fence.

    I'm not saying the E-M1 isn't an excellent camera, nor am I saying it isn't better than the E-M5 in most regards, I'm just curious as whether or not the upgrades are worth the price, for me.

    I appreciate everyone's feedback so far, and am pleased to see I might not be the only one less impressed with the camera than I had hoped.
     
  9. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    967
    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Steve
    Grip arrived today, nice feel, and still compact.
    I, for one, am impressed. Does feel more substantial.

    OMDEM1.



    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    532
    Aug 7, 2013
    Indonesia
    Reza Travilla
    EM1 just slightly better than EM5 in terms on IQ department. At least at Ming Thein blog, he done some comparison with D600 too.

    But in terms of ergonomic and many shortcut buttons, EM1 is far better. But still i think the price is overprice for that kind of upgrade.
     
  11. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    967
    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Steve
    This replaced my D600.


    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  12. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Sometimes there are more to cameras than just the specs, pros, and cons.
    • I've got almost 15,000 exposures on one EM-5 and for the majority of shoots I have no problem in very quickly deleting 50% or more of the photos.
    • On the EM-1 I have almost 4,000 exposures and after each shoot I can only quickly delete about 10% of the photos. Then the choices start.
    I attribute the difference to all of the systems of the EM-1 just work together better. A synergistic effect. But that still does not answer the question "Worth the upgrade over the E-M5?" It is worth the price of the newer camera for some.
    • If you want use HG or SHG Four Thirds lenses - without a doubt the EM-1.
    • Anyone who photographs events should definitely consider the EM-1.
    • Anyone who uses a camera enough that it is a significant part of their life - should definitely consider the EM-1.
    The EM-5 is still one extremely good camera in a small form with little weight.
     
  13. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Agreed. For many people I think the upgrade probably isn't worth the money. The differences on an individual level are minor. I'm in a very small group where most of the upgrades are noticable on a regular basis. I shoot a reception or event every other week. So any improvement in the low light AF makes a big difference. Same with a better EVF and improved IBIS. Like I said, the EM5 never gave me a problem. It's just that the E-M1 is a much more confident camera, in every way. Thbis week I shot in a dim room with the EM1, EM5 and 12-35 2.8 and 75mm 1.8. Lenses and cameras interchanged as the night progressed. No matter what lens I had on it the EM1 showed its confidence. It was faster in every respect.

    But not many are going to be in that situation very often.

    Gordon
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    Indeed. I opted to pick up a 2nd E-M5 instead. With the system being so small, I've always wanted to just dual wield cameras w/o lens swapping. I really hated doing it w/ different cameras, it wasn't fun. We'll see how this turns out. Worst case, I sell the 2nd E-M5 down the road and call it a long term rental :)
     
  15. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    This sums up my experience pretty well. It is also worth noting that if you use the HLD-6 grip with the E-M5 the E-M1 is actually smaller and lighter.
     
  16. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Dec 28, 2012
    Arkansas
    Chris
    Thanks again for all the insights. Fortunately, I've got time to test the E-M1 before I have to make the call, so I'll certainly continue to put it through its paces.

    Something I noticed today, and it made me think- Have you found any lenses that don't work as well? It seems that for whatever reason, the Pany 45-200 isn't as responsive on the E-M1 (granted, not the best lens out there). It seems to take longer to focus, and sometimes just completely misses focus. Every other lens appears to work the same on both cameras (that's my only Pany lens), so I'm not that concerned about the camera. Just curious if anyone else has noticed this.
     
  17. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    834
    Sep 30, 2013
    I think if you have an EM5, and you're happy with the IQ, handling, AF performance, etc, the EM1 for twice the price isn't worth it.

    Having said that, I just got my EM1 and there are so many little things, things that drove me nuts with the EM5 (ergonomics, huge af box, etc) that I am very happy with the purchase. The EM1 is a more responsive camera, with more accurate AF that I feel more comfortable using when I need to get the shot. The EM5 is a great little camera but the controls, ergonomics, and AF left me reaching for my DSLRs when I really needed to get the shot. We'll see if the EM1 can take the role over, early results are looking positive.

    Personally I will keep my EM5 as a backup camera, and I didn't really buy the EM1 to replace the EM5 so much as I bought it to replace my Sony A900. We'll see how that goes, I'm not throwing my A900 on eBay yet but I have sold most of my a-mount lenses, with just the essentials left (24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8 and 85/1.4).
     
  18. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    967
    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Steve
    I had one chance to buy a good m4/3 to bump my E-P3 down to back up. I was set on the E-P5, but the night before ordering, I ran into the shutter shake issue. So, I chose the E-M1 instead. I really like it so far, and prefer it to the E-M5 I'd had for a year or so, but REALLY prefer the non-EVF bodies. It just so happens that I stumbled upon an E-P5 for a really good price a day after getting the E-M1. It will be here Wednesday, and I'll give the shutter shake test a try in my typical shooting. If I see it, it is going back. The shutter speeds typically found as being problematic are right where I need to be. Can't have double imaging. I guess the point of all of that is, E-M1 seems more stable. Maybe the heft, maybe the shutter, maybe both, but don't need that lurking in the back of my mind when I shoot.
     
  19. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    I did an hour test drive of the E-M1 at Photo Expo and wound up buying one. Aside from all the above listed pros for the camera, if one shoots JPGs, as I usually do, the new processing hardware in the E-M1 transforms lenses like the 17/1.8 (in camera CA removal). The controls of the E-M1 & 5 are similar enough to be able to easily switch between them on a shoot.

    I understand that not everyone can afford the E-M1, but for those fortunate enough who can, it's worth the price.
     
  20. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Dec 28, 2012
    Arkansas
    Chris
    Well, I was out testing it again today (had a mini family session for my yearly project), and the more I shoot with it the more I like it. It's sort of growing on me. Funny, I wasn't super impressed at first but I'm liking it more as I go. As some have mentioned, it does feel like a more confident camera- I'm not really sure what it is (honestly, my guess is the much better EVF), but there's something about it that feels.... reliable. Not that the E-M5 isn't. I'm leaning.