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E-M5 or GH3 ? and lens dilema

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by mikrow43, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. mikrow43

    mikrow43 New to Mu-43

    Feb 10, 2013
    I recently sold my 4/3 kit (Olympus) and ready to start fresh with m43.
    Spent weeks reading reviews, watching videos and going to the local store playing with both. Still can't decide which one (the extra $300 for GH3 doesn't bother me and not a factor).
    I'm not a super video documentary person otherwise the decision would be easy, although I do like the video capability and it's important but I can probably live with the E-M5 video...
    - not a pixel peeper, although I appreciate the super detailed reviews from other sites online but in the end most of our pics to be honest are for web or small prints. Photos range from street, landscape and birds n bugs.

    - Hate the flash in the pocket thing...
    - Wish it had a regular twisty fold out screen like the gh3 but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Not a deal breaker
    - no wifi, no gps
    - no slow motion video option like the gh3, can fix in post edit and most video is edited anyway but it would be nice.
    - no touchscreen menu like the gh3
    - fantastic image stability , can work with legacy glass
    - super warm colours, somehow I love the images it produces compared to panasonic which look as sharp but bland to me.. Loved my previous Olympus colours as well on 4/3
    - like the intervalometer option where you can see the actual image on live view as it progresses.
    - wish they had just a few more video codec options

    - fantastic video capabilities (more than I'll ever use)
    - super touch screen menu/interface
    - wifi (iphone app) and gps
    - colours seem bland to me (all panasonics, dark, yellowy, not sure what it is)
    - physically bigger but not a deal killer although I like the smaller size of the OMD
    - image stability built into lenses so legacy glass option will suffer.

    Lenses I'm considering for either camera... or is there a better cheaper idea?
    - Panasonic 20mm
    - Olympus 45mm 1.8
    - Panasonic 35-100
    - would like to get the 12-35 panasonic as well but too $ for me to have both. Which leaves me thinking the panasonic 14mm to fill the void at the bottom?

    1. I'm sure others have come down this same road re camera bodies and lenses and what decision pushed you to your final choice?

    2. GH3 and E-M5 supposedly share the same Sony sensor is there a way to boost the GH3 and get the pics "more punchy" "more warmth" without all kinds of post processing? Is it just a camera setting that I can set and use as default? The bland photos of the Panasonic range (IMO) are almost the deal killer for me. Everytime I see a untouched photo comparison GH3 to Oly, the Olympus wins out for me instantly.

    3. The E-M5 kit in my area is now $1149 with the 12-50mm lens. I like the macro option but I really haven't read any favourable reviews on this lens. I know I can get it for $200 (body is $949) but is it worth it? or just put the $200 towards the above three lenses?

    4. Can someone confirm that E-M5 image stability does not work when using legacy glass for video? I read on one post indicating it doesn't function. (edit, oops forgot to mention video only.)

    Thanks for your feedback. Keep in mind I'm not starting a debate on the sensor issue/colour issue those are just my opinions.

  2. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Hey mikrow43,

    I don't have a GH3, so I can only comment on the OM-D.

    It has a touch screen which can focus and release the shutter. It even has what OLY calls SCP, Super Control Panel which gives an overview of your settings and allows you change them from the SCP touch screen. No matter how much rave you read about the OM-D's IBIS, it is underrated. The IBIS at times is pure magic.

    As to lenses you haven't anything wide. I'd dump the O45mm as that is easily covered with the P35-100 (a premium/professional level sharp lens). Then purchase the PL25mm and the O12mm. Unless you feel the need for a pancake. The 12-50 is okay, but it is weather-sealed with a bit of a macro and a motorized zoom for video. Just handy for less-than-serious walking around. If you feel no need for a handy-dandy, weather-sealed, jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none type of zoom, then you're better off diverting those monies to something you'll use.


    PS- The OM-D IBIS does work on non-native lenses. It works best when you dial in the working focal length into the IBIS.

    PPS- There are a ton of lens combos and options available between 12mm and 45mm for you to choose from.
  3. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    1) I like Panasonic's menu system and ergonomics, especially on the GH3. The extra manual controls was a huge draw for me. IQ wise I doubt there's a significant difference between the two so it comes down to the other features. I generally liked the GH3 design overall a little better as a personal preference, and appreciated things like longer battery life, wifi, electronic shutter option, etc. Collectively it was enough to push me to the GH3 over an OM-D EM-5 though I can't say I won't pick one up someday as a second body now that prices are dropping.

    2) Not really sure how to answer this one. The White Balance and JPG settings (Sharpening, Contrast, Saturation) are of course configurable in the GH3 if you wish. FWIW, I found on previous bodies I wanted the auto-WB to be adjusted 1 step more amber and magenta but on the GH3 that's no longer the case. It seems a little warmer by default than all other Panasonics I've used. That said, I shoot RAW and post-process on every camera I use so the "OOC default" is effectively meaningless as a measure for my purposes. I've no issues achieving the results I want with any of the Panasonic cameras I've used.

    3) don't own the 12-50 so no feedback on that one.

    4) IBIS will work with legacy lenses for still photography. The issue people were complaining about was that it did not work in *video* mode for legacy lenses. I believe that's still the case but perhaps some of the OM-D EM-5 owners can confirm.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Mytola

    Mytola Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2013
    1: I went with the E-M5 because of looks, size, weather sealing, stabilizer, and my lack of interest in video. The E-M5 both looks and feels special and different. The GH3 just looks and feels like any other generic DSLR. The feel and experience of shooting is very important to me. Just as important as the end result.

    2: I've heard that they don't share sensors in fact. As regards to punch and warmth, I always shoot in raw and post process as I see fit. I have no interest in how a picture looks without any processing, and I'd rather "develop" the "film" myself instead of letting the camera software take control over that for me.

    3: Personally, I don't like zooms, and I don't like plasticky. What I've read about the 12-50mm have been somewhat positive, but not overly exciting. It's probably a good allrounder for video use, but primes are definately a lot better. As is the 12-35 2.8.

    4: The E-M5 stabilizer works whatever you put in front of it. You might have to tell the camera what the focal length of the lens is in order for it to work optimally, but it definately works anyway. It's extremely good as well. Far better than any in-lens stabilizer I've seen.

    If I was serious about video, I'd get the GH3 in a heartbeat. But I'd probably buy a E-M5 as well at some point... :p 
  5. mikrow43

    mikrow43 New to Mu-43

    Feb 10, 2013
    Thanks Everyone,
    Mytola - can you or another E-M5 user confirm that the image stabilizer works in video mode with non native glass?

    I noticed in my original post #4(now edited) that I forgot to specify video.
    Also kept searching for info on this and apparently Olympus did offer an upgrade patch to allow it
    - I'd still love to hear from an actual Olympus user if it actually worked.

  6. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    I'm leaning towards the GH3 because of...

    1. external controls
    2. familiarity of the Panasonic menu and interface
    3. articulating lcd

    among other minor considerations. my .02 cents.
  7. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    PS- The P14mm is one of those under-rated lenses. It is very sharp, focuses fast and it's a pancake. It's only shortfall is it's a bit slow @ f/2.5.

  8. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Yes supposedly Olympus has added stabilization support for non-native lens in movie mode. If you do a search on DPR forums, I believe there was a thread about it.
  9. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    If you need a cheap option instead of the P12-35 for high quality walk around zoom, you might consider the P14-45. This is a very sharp zoom but not as fast and wide as the P12-35, you can get it used and save about 900$ from the P12-35.
  10. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    If the difference between the E-M5 and the GH3 is $300, I would get the E-M5 and put the saving towards the 12-35mm, which will perfectly partner the 35-100mm and give a constant f2.8 throughout the range. Drop the 20mm and 45mm (for now) and you've covered the cost of the 12-35mm.
  11. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    I only have the EM5...

    But price isnt much of an issue as you will probably end up buying the US$300 grip for the EM5.
    I can achieve exactly what I want with wifi via wifi cards, so wifi is not a particularly big plus with the GH3.

    The killer feature of the EM5 for me is really IBIS. I have more Panasonic lenses than Olympus lenses but most of these dont have OIS. If you choose either the 17 1.8, 20 1.7 or 25 1.4 as your standard prime for low light, the EM5 gives you an additional 2 stops with IBIS. With the GH3 you might as well get the 12-35 2.8 and use OIS.
  12. mikrow43

    mikrow43 New to Mu-43

    Feb 10, 2013
    I had thought of this as well, a good short term solution while I wait and see what Olympus and Panasonic come out with later this year for something improved in the 12(14)-35(40) range. The only problem is that if I buy just the e-M5 body I still have to spend around $200 used for a p14-45, is it really any better than the O12-50mm that I can get for $200. They both seem like a waste of money to be honest when in the end I would like something that works well and I can be happy with.

    I call this "Man's Math" the ability to create a logical/illogical/rational argument for a purchase decision. Perfect.... I was going to spend all this $ on the GH3 but If I don't then I can buy this this and this instead....
    Women's Math is the same idea but the alliteration of "Mans Math" sounds better
    Now to run this past the board for approval.

  13. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    +1 for aliteration.
  14. mikrow43

    mikrow43 New to Mu-43

    Feb 10, 2013
    Thanks for the replies and advice...
    Bought the E-M5, and so far really like it, no real complaints.
    - menu isn't as bad as everyone posts about
    - the battery charger bugs me, has to be the first camera in 15 years (lots of cameras) that has a stupid cord attached to the charger instead of the flip out prongs. now have to lug around another cord. tiny gripe but heh
    - image stabilisation is amazing
    - low light sensor capabilities are amazing (compared to my last Olympus e-620)
    - its small and light, and got it for $939 new

    - bought the panasonic 12-35, its fantastic, super sharp, a bit bulky but very nice, if you're on the fence just go get one or try it out in the store. $1074 new
    - bought a used Olympus 45mm 1.8 , its great
    - Bought a new 40-150 Olympus as they have an incredible deal on the Olympus USA/Canada websites, ends in two days. $99 brand new not refurbished including delivery! So I asked at my local store if they'd match it and they did. $99 New! Wasnt my first choice for that range but I can wait until Olympus and Panasonic come out with something later this year, or save up for the 35-100.

  15. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 25, 2010
    All the cameras I've had in the last 10 years (and there have been quite a lot of them, mostly Canon, Panasonic and Sony) have had cords for the charger. I've never had one that plugs straight into the socket!
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Agreed. I've only seen third party chargers like that, not OEM. Although I would prefer them to be cordless...
  17. Lisandra

    Lisandra Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    The A55 came with a direct to the wall charger. At any rate you can get a third party one.
  18. Lisandra

    Lisandra Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    I have them both, and use them both to death, so heres what:
    I prefer the GH3.
    -the button layout and the way you can customize it is something only heard of in full frame bodies. Anything and everything can be set to a fn button, in the rarest of cases you have to menu dive. You can even set top ISO in the exp comp button with the front dial. All the way to ISO 25k. flash exposure compensation is on that button too!!
    -once you put the vertical grip on the OM D they feel more or less the same in the hand, but the panny is more comfortable. the OMD without the grip is near unusable to me (even with my girly hands)
    -the menu on the OMD is a nightmare. Ive had it since the pre orders shipped out and still dont know it. I learned the panasonic in a week. And granted once you set it up you dont have to go in for much but when you do be ready to scroll trough a library.
    -the GH3 focuses faster. hands down, no contest.
    -The GH3 has that tiny focus box. Theres nothing more annoying than that huge af box on the OMD. You can set it to a smaller box, but then you loose control of your 4 way controller settings (WHY!?)
    -carrying that oly flash thingie is more of a hassle than you think.
    -Color accuracy on the panasonic (RAW) is something to be seen, all the way to ISO 6400
    -the view finder is sharper on the oly, but the panasonic keeps up with real life even in the dimmest of places, a big deal for me.
    - My OMD under exposes like theres no tomorrow

    Theres a few things for the oly...the colors are beautiful (jpegs), live time is the best thing ever made, IBIS, auto ISO in M mode, and panny really missed the mark by not putting a minimum shutter speed like oly.

    The output from both is equally fantastic
    • Like Like x 2
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