E-M5 to E-M1, or...

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by jkde, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. jkde

    jkde New to Mu-43

    Mar 12, 2014
    Hi all,

    I'm in need of some fresh perspectives so I thought now would be good a time as any to quit lurking around and actually sign up.

    Lately I've had a bit of an issue with sticking with a particular system - I've gone through a frankly crazy (for my budget) amount of systems from Sony to Canon to, most recently, Fuji which I liked, despite there being some noticeable quirks for me. However, the constant throughout all of these switcharoos has been a trusty "old" E-M5 that I just can't seem to be rid of, so I feel that it might be high time to just address the elephant in the room and try shooting MFT full-time. That being said, my budget from selling off a bunch of things is around $1350 and I have the E-M5 body, a JB Grip which is attached constantly, and a Panasonic 14mm plus a couple of legacy adapters. My question is, given my budget, would you...

    a.) get the E-M1 which from what I've heard is just all-around refined with a noticeably better EVF, better controls, and sealing (since my JB grip is basically a permanent fixture anyway the larger size doesn't bother me, and I know neither the 14mm nor adapters I have are sealed)
    b.) splurge on lenses (I was eyeing either the 12-40mm, or some combo of Oly primes to go along with the Panny 14mm)

    I know the cardinal rule is to invest in lenses rather than bodies and normally I'd just go for it, but I just can't shake the thought that if I truly go MFT full-time, I'd really appreciate the beefier Olympus body that happens to have the significantly larger EVF and the increased flexibility of controls as there are times when I'm at odds with the rather cramped layout of the E-M5.

    Appreciate the input!
  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    There's no appreciable improvement in image quality going to the E-M1 from the E-M5. Yes, the E-M1 is a nicer camera. Yes, the EVF is fantastic. Yes, I prefer the control layout (buttons located slightly better, less 'squishy'). Would I have bought the E-M1 if the E-M5 hadn't gotten stolen? Considering the price differential?


    The only exception, perhaps, would be if you want to use 43 lenses. But considering the fact you have a limited budget at the moment, and considering the fact you've already exhibited poor fiscal control with the incessant switching (I kid! I kid!) I think you're best off sticking with a very good camera that works great, adding a lens (or two, for that budget. Say the 12-40 if you want a fast zoom, and the 45/1.8 or 75/1.8 if you can swing it). Alternately, and perhaps better: keep the money, shoot. Buy a lens when you find you have a real need for it (new focal length) rather than to feed a perceived want.

    Is there anything you're really lacking from the E-M5, something that you had better in one of your other systems?
  3. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 16, 2013
    @mattia +1
  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Yea - I think Mattia's post is spot on too. The e-m5 is a great camera - just get out and use it!
  5. jkde

    jkde New to Mu-43

    Mar 12, 2014
    Ha, at this point I'll be the first to admit that poor handle on my wallet!

    What totally did slip my mind for whatever reason is the actual official Olympus grip having its own shutter release, so perhaps that would alleviate at least part of my cramped control complaints with the repositioned dial/shutter? Another one of my quibbles with it (I was looking at the EM-1 for more customizable buttons) could be solved simply if Olympus makes up their mind as to whether or not they'll release a focus peaking update - since I frequently use old OM lenses, my FN1 button has been bound up with that goofy (but admittedly useful) pseudo-peaking trick with the posterizing art filter ever since I found out about it.

    The EVF on the EM1 is a big factor for me (I'd like to be able to blame that on my foray into film a few years back being with an OM-2 and that almost hilariously big viewfinder) so while I know deep down it doesn't matter all that much, I do tend to get caught up in any mirrorless camera with some new EVF feature improving blahblahblah.

    Thanks a ton everyone for all the answers so far, though. I'm definitely leaning hard toward lenses and maybe that grip now. Despite not feeding that new-camera-body lust, a thread filled with unanimous answers pulls some serious weigh for me, haha.
  6. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    Still have my em5 ? Hmmm need to just sell it really :) 

    To me the E-M1 is worth the update but my income is based on my cameras and photography %100 of it so I have a biased view

    If it was a hobby to me even a serious one I would go more nice glass and wait for the next gen because as mentioned image output is about the same
    If you make a good living then go for it though :)  you will be like wow huge handling improvement

    Not sure if you have played with one yet ? That might help ya decide
  7. mpg01

    mpg01 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 21, 2012
    For the last week my EM5 has been in the shop for a cleaning and I took the opportunity to rent the EM1 and I agree that the IQ is roughly equal. The additional features like the in camera HDR and focus peaking and 1/8000 shutter speed, all wonderful I'll admit. The camera feels really nice in hand. To me it feels lighter. I was very sad to have to return it and it did make me seriously consider a switch but I don't think I could justify an upgrade at this moment. Not so much from a price perspective but one of needs.

    I have to say, the thing that really endeared me to the EM1 was the shutter click. It's crazy but there it is.

    I've actually been without a camera for the last week and it's interesting to have that time to breathe a little and really consider what my needs are. I honestly think I have everything I need (assuming I ever get the unit back) and I'm better off saving up for either the next thing or a better price on the EM1.

    Unless I hear that shutter sound agin, in which case all bets are off.
  8. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    I can tell that you will eventually get the EM-1 but I would get the 12-40 which will work real well with the EM-5.Or get the 20,45 and 75 mm lenses.You will need some good glass to get the most of the EM 1.
  9. Hudsonhites

    Hudsonhites Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 14, 2011
    I'm in a similar situation as you. I'm selling off my full frame Nikon gear and trying to decide what gear I may want to buy with the new funds. I had the opportunity to stop by B&H recently to fondle a few cameras, XT1, EM-1, GH3 and A7. I already have an EM-5 and as I was handling the other cameras it became clear to me that because of the ability to customize these cameras it would be difficult to asses exactly how each camera would handle in actual use in a short period. This became especially clear when I picked up an EM-5 to camera to the other cameras and because it was customized differently than my own it was as if I picked up a totally different camera.

    I think I'll wait for the EM-5 successor and pick one or two of the constant f2.8 zooms instead.
  10. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    prefer lenses than body. The IQ seems similar
  11. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    I wouldn't upgrade the body unless a significant improvement is done to the sensor performance. Personally I treat E-M5 and E-M1 to be of the same generation. E-M1 adds new features but overall image quality improvement is negligible.

    Mark II will come out eventually, for all of the current OM-Ds. Get another lens.
  12. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    The 14mm is a nice lens, but an EM1 with only a 14mm? Get the glass first.
  13. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
    stay with E-M5
  14. jurgen

    jurgen Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 27, 2014
    I think you'll find the differences in image quality to be almost imperceptible between the current top-crop of M4/3 cameras - the EM-1, the E-M5, the GH3, the GX7, and so on. Sure, you can rig up a test under very specific conditions to show that, say, the E-M1 holds shadows slightly better than the GH3 at ISO 6400 under flourescent lights in a bar in Mississippi during winter solstice (or something), but by and large you're paying for the differences in feature sets (not IQ). E-M1 gives you the ability to use 4/3 lenses, a 1/8000 shutter speed (to me this is the most significant upgrade), a better EVF, beefier grip, bumped up video quality, etc., but (in my opinion) it wouldn't be worth the however many hundreds of dollars you'd have to spend after selling the E-M5. In 12 to 18 months the E-M1 will be an "old" model, and then you'll have the same internal struggle over whether or not to buy the E-M2, or whatever new camera it is.

    If what you have works, keep it. There will always be new cameras. At some point the differences justify the upgrades, but for now, were it me, I'd invest in some lenses and enjoy the significant bump in IQ that that generally brings about.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Coming from DSLRs, I want the significant grip on the E-M1. It feels much more like a DSLR. The E-M1 EVF is great. The E-M1 with the 12-40 as a walk around lens is killer combo. Olympus had the combo on a $200 rebate (which I got via B&H).
    • Like Like x 1
  16. darcius1

    darcius1 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 6, 2013
    Sandwich Isles
    I would put my resources in the lenses in your situation.
  17. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    I haven't tried the JB grip, but I have used the Olympus grip (horizontal portion only) since shortly after I got the camera and although it was expensive (it has since gotten a lot less expensive) it was completely worthwhile. I'd feel differently about the EM5 without it. Trying that might be a useful idea.
  18. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    If ergonomics are an issue, the Olympus OEM grip very well may solve that.

    99% of the time, better lenses are a better buy than switching bodies.
  19. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    It's not crazy. I just purchased my e-pl5 and was thrilled with it. Coming from e-pm1, i was happy with my relatively silent shutter sound. Theb my friend came with his e-m1 and i fell in love with it, especially with almost nonexisting shutter sound.

    sent from my Xperia Z
  20. LoneRider

    LoneRider Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2014
    Marysville, WA.
    I recently moved to m4/3 from Canon DSLR gear. I went with the M10 but found it a little too small. After a few days I exchanged it and bit the bullet for the M1. Buy once, cry once.

    I also picked up the 12-40mm f/2.8 lens and the two are a well balanced pair.
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