E-M5 w/ (12-50, 60, PL25) or E-P5 (17, 45) for 1st m4/3 kit?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by jpark1982, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. jpark1982

    jpark1982 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 3, 2013
    I took delivery of a E-P5 a few days ago with the 17 kit and the 45 1.8 for $1,800. This is my first venture into the m4/3 world. My dealer was nice enough to give it a go and see how I like it before I commit to a full purchase. From first impression, I like the build, it's solid and not too heavy. The EVF is excellent but not as big a selling point for me since I'm used to and sometimes prefer rear LCD composing so I can keep an eye on my daughter. The flash triggers too easily and I don't see myself ever using it since it doesn't bounce. The 17 is excellent and gives me approximately the 35mm FoV that I'm used to (used to shoot a RX1 and a NEX-6 with Zeiss 24) and the 45 would give me a nice portrait lens to shoot. Of course I would have to swap lenses more often with this setup but the 17 would stay on the camera on a 80/20 split.

    Conversely some of the advantages of the E-P5 don't really apply to me so much. Again the EVF is very nice but I think I'll use it when I need precision focus or framing otherwise I could just use the LCD. I'm used to composing on the screen and I like to keep one eye on my daughter, so I could see it spending less time on the camera. Wifi is not a necessity for me either, as I'm almost never more than 1 day away from importing and processing my images. Photo Story mode is really neat and my wife really likes the results from it but I could accomplish something similiar in post if I wanted to and it shouldn't be the main reason I keep the E-P5. Handling is ok, not great, but better than the RX1 I used to shoot with. The 2x2 is really nice. Wifi shooting is too limited (iAuto only) and the time lapse is too restricted (99 frames). Of course these last 2 could be remedied in future firmware updates.

    It may sound like I don't like the E-P5, don't get me wrong, I really like it. It just seems like a few tweaks here and there and it could be one of the best I've used.

    What's throwing me is that he called me this morning with another deal. He offered me the OM-D E-M5 with 12-50 kit, the Oly 60 Macro, and the PL 25 for the same price that I paid for the E-P5 kit. I'm considering this because it's a little bit more flexible at least on paper. The 12-50 generally seems to get negatives because of the slow maximum aperture at the long end (6.3) but it would be used exclusively outdoors when I needed the extra reach, give me some zoom flexibility, and I would not have to worry about using in light rain. The Oly 60 would be nice to use as I'm starting to get into more macro photography and it's weather sealed as well so a nice combo with the EM-5. It could double as a portrait lens a little in a pinch. And the PL25 would be my indoor/low-light lens and general walkaround lens. The body is not new but factory refurbished, with a 1 year warranty from the dealer. This would be the same $1,800 price.

    After thinking about it last night while in my sleep (yes I do think about cameras in my sleep) I'm starting to think that the E-M5 package would be the better choice because of the greater flexibility in lenses (fast prime, macro, and general lens). Also the resale value on the E-M5 wouldn't be that huge a hit if/when I decide to get the OMD Pro (the body w/kit would be $899, so if you give a conservative estimate of $200 for the kit lens, the body price would be $699, I think I could get at least $450, if not more if I decide to upgrade). And finally a big one is that there is a RRS L-Plate for the E-M5. I have a Gitzo tripod and a RRS ballhead that I spent a good amount of money on for my other systems and after emailing RRS they said that they were most likely not going to make a dedicated camera plate for the E-P5 because demand isn't there.

    Being that the E-P5 is at its high I could see the resale value being really bad once they start dropping the price on it (m4/3 cameras with a few exceptions seem to go on fire sales more than other systems), while the E-M5 could see a price drop, it has already gone through its older generation price drop. Sure I could sell the EVF which would lower my cost about $200 but part of the appeal of reselling the E-P5 has to be with the EVF, body only it's less attractive.

    I'm looking to make a decision ASAP as I don't want to take advantage of my dealer and told him that I would make a decision by the middle of next week. I know that I could wait until the next OMD is out, but if the specs are right I could sell whatever camera I have now and just buy the new one. I don't want to be without camera for too much longer as I have a few getaways planned in the upcoming weeks.

    Assume that I have no camera/lens right now and I need to pick one of the 1 packages. To recap for the same price.

    1. OM-D E-M5 with 12-50 kit, Olympus 60 Macro, and Panasonic Leica 25 1.4


    2. E-P5 with 17 1.8 and 45 1.8

    Sorry for the long read and I appreciate any input.
  2. riverr02

    riverr02 Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2011
    New York
    Real Name:
    If it were me, I'd DEFINITELY go with the E-M5. Built-in viewfinder for me is key. Also I own the 60 Macro and the Panny 25 1.4; both are great lenses (especially the 25). The 12-50 kit isn't the best short-mid-range zoom (the 12-35 is significantly better at the same focal lengths and faster to boot), but it it still very good, is weather-sealed (which the other kit is not) and has a decent range. If you're into video, it's got some motorized zooming capabilities that come in handy.

  3. dejongj

    dejongj Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 3, 2013
    Whipsnade, UK
    Real Name:
    I'd handle the E-M5 first before you do that. I handled them both in store before making a decision and to me the difference was so clear. The E-P5 control wheels are in the right place for my hands, the location on the E-M5 doesn't make sense to me. That made the decision very very easy, as handling is the most important to me...

    Having used my E-P5 for just over a month now, I can honestly say that other than the first two times the flash hasn't popped out any more.

    But ultimately this is a decision YOU have to make. I didn't get the 60mm macro btw, it is incredibly slow to auto focus, besides you likely want to manual focus. And that is where the E-P5 with focus peaking comes into its own...I'm loving that...
  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Well, I know you've got a super good dealer here, but for me neither is a perfect choice.

    If this were my main/only camera, I couldn't cope without an EVF (think bright conditions, big lenses, moving subjects) and I really don't like the idea of a VF2/3/4 stuck on top (looks odd, liable to break/fall off, can't use flash when it's fitted) - so the EP5 would be out.

    I really love the EM5 though, it ticks all my boxes and for me the handling is fine. My problem would be the lenses. The 12-50 is really not a great lens - slow as molasses and the IQ is iffy - esp in terms of contrast. I'd forever be thinking "the lens is not making the best of the camera" and it would stay in the drawer at home. The 60mm is I'm sure a fantastic macro lens and can probably do a great job at portraits etc, but it's quite a big lens compared to other u43 primes and doesn't hack it speed wise compared to the 45 or 75. The 25 is great though - no complaints there, but be prepared for some "rattlesnaking" noise on the EM5 due to the aperture opening/closing as light levels change during composing or taking video.

    Personally, for $1800 ish, I'd go for the refurb EM5 with the 17 and 45 and still have some change to go towards a 9-18 or a 12. Don't be tempted to go for a sub-optimal kit because the dealer pressurises you or offers a seemingly great deal on gear you don't want. Play the long game and choose wisely!
  5. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    I'd go for the first package. There's no practical advantage to the E-P5 over the E-M5 for the things you're describing and as you point it out, you're paying less for it. If you do in fact prefer the 17 and the 45 to the 12-50 and the 60, I imagine you can arrange something with your dealer, or if need be sell them and buy the others.
  6. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    I'd also go with the first set. The 60 has IQ similar to the 45. It's slower but has macro. The 25 is excellent. You could sell the zoom and get a Lumix 14 or put the money toward the 17. The 17 2.8 is also inexpensive, but it's not as good as the 1.8 version.
  7. ntblowz

    ntblowz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 13, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    While 12-50 have slower aperture, for versatile nothing can beat it, the picture quality is not bad if there is enough light (my friend use it to do menu photos for restaurants).

    For economical break down:
    E-M5 $699 + $399 Oly 60mm + $449 Leica 25mm + $249 Oly 12-50mm = $1796

    E-P5 + VF4 + 17mm = $1449 + $349 Oly 45mm = $1798
    Break down - 17mm $449, VF4- $250, that leaves E-P5 for$750

    So the actual E-P5 body is about $50 more than E-M5, but if u factor wifi in then the difference will be even smaller.
  8. nuclearboy

    nuclearboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2011
    Ellicott City, MD
    Real Name:
    I will throw in my 2 cents as one opinion out of many. I don't think there is a wrong answer and you would be happy with either kit. I have owned 6 mft bodies and all of the lenses you mentioned. I had the EM-5 for a short time and currently have the EP-5 so I have wrestled with similar issues.

    My inputs. Think about the ones you like and ignore the others. I chose the EP-5 so you know what side of the fence I came down on. My points will be geared more towards getting the EP-5.

    1. I would not let the dealer package the lenses like this for me. Get the body you want and the lenses you want too. Package 1 or Package 2 are not your only choices.

    2. If you like framing with the screen, I think the EP-5 is better. The screen is great and you will not have the viewfinder attached so it is a nice package.

    3. The flash on the EP-5 is a great fill-in device and it can be used to trigger another flash. I use the FL-36 and if I have the VF-4 attached, the FL-36 (or others) will trigger off the onboard flash just fine.

    4. The Wifi on the EP-5 is a cute trick but it does not do much for me. I would not consider this a selling point.

    5. The 1/8000 shutter speed and slightly reduced ISO potential (sub 200) are big selling points for me and one of the principle reasons I went with the EP-5. I have not used the low ISO yet but I have used the fast shutter. I found myself pegged at 1/4000 on other bodies when trying to do some subject isolation with a fast lens and I really feel that a barrier has been lifted with the extra shutter speed.

    6. As an alternative to the 60mm, consider a legacy lens for Macro work. You can get one cheap and I think manual focus is better for Macro work anyway. I also really love the focus peaking feature on the EP-5. It has been working well for me. You could save some $$ here.

    7. I had the Oly 60. It is a nice lens but physically a little long and I seemed to miss a higher percentage of shots (missed focus) with this lens compared to other m4/3 lenses. When it hits, I did love the images. I lost some faith in it. Maybe this is all in my head.....

    8. Another option to consider for a Macro / portrait lens is the Olympus 4/3 50mm f2 lens. This one is a high grade lens and although the focus is slow on m4/3, the IQ is top notch and you can get one with an adapter for about the price of the Oly 60mm. I have heard the 50mm f2 is called god's lens because it is so good (hyperbole I am sure but it does have quite the reputation).

    9. The VF-4 is very nice. When you need it (bright sun, etc), it will do the job very well and you can articulate it upwards from 0 to 90 degrees. This can be very nice.

    10. On a negative note, the EP-5 is at its peak price right now and the EM5 is not. I liked the EP-5 so I bought it anyway but the EM5 deals are starting to pop up more often now.
  9. jpark1982

    jpark1982 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 3, 2013
    Thanks for all the input guys, I really do appreciate it. In the end I decided to go with package #1. I weighed my options and all the variables and I came to to the decision based on a number of reasons.

    - This body would most likely be a temporary stop gap for me. Whether its by selling it to fund the next body or to keep as a 2nd body. I wanted to get exposure to the :43: system. I intend to get either the GX7 (have a preorder for a black one) or the OMD Pro. Neither of the two would likely be out before my overseas trip I have planned in October (though the GX7 might).

    - If this body is indeed a 2-3 month 'rental' then the OMD would have me loss the least amount in resale. The E-M5 has come down in price already and I could lose about $200-250 in a sale (figure I could get at least $600-650 if I decide to sell), whereas if I kept the E-P5 I would most likely keep the 17, so a E-P5 with just the EVF would net me around $800-900, and I see it as a harder item to potentially sell because it seems more niche than the OMD, it'll be more expensive, etc.

    - If I do decide to keep the body and keep my GX7 preorder, the OMD would seem to be the better 2nd body. It would fill in as a weather sealed option, and many of the E-P5 features seem redundant with the GX7. The wifi seems especially gimped after seeing how well and feature laden the GX7 has with wifi and remote shooting (I love seeing that you can change aperture, WB, etc) and its not limited to iAuto.). Peaking seems to work better too without having such a slowdown in LV.

    - In terms of lenses, the 17 and 45 are fantastic. And they're not too expensive either. I could totally see myself getting them again sometime in the near future. The 45 at $350 is a real steal. I just think the #1 option gives me some added flexibility. Again the 12-50 seems to get decent opinions if its used in good light, which it would be for me. The 25 just seems like a overall good lens and I'm used to the 50ish FoV from when I shot a 35 on a D7000 way back when. And I'm starting to get really into macro, so the 60 while its a slow focuser, I could make it work.

    - I always do have the option of selling the 12-50 if I find it unbearable or if I decide to upgrade to the 2.8 zooms. Just I do like having a weather sealed option. And as noted before I see myself more likely to get the 17/45 later on as a purchase rather than the 12-50 or 60.
  10. cueball

    cueball Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 5, 2013
    Well... my E-P5 is being held hostage by Customs till God only knows, but my impatience combined with my wife's need of a new camera came together for a trip to Dallas today. We were able to get hands-on with both cameras which really helped with her decision.

    Although she liked the E-P5, the E-M5 felt better in her hands. I explained the major differences to her and we ended up walking out with an E-M5 12-50 kit, a 75-300 II, and an 8GB Eye-Fi card.

    I still maintain the E-P5 is best for me because of the better/detachable EVF, 1/8000 max SS (I'll be mainly using primes), and the integrated Wi-Fi (though I'm anxious to see how the Eye-Fi performs with her camera). Both felt really good in my hands but I did find the PEN's buttons were less squishy (though I attribute that to the E-M5 weather sealing).

    Bottom line, I really think it boils down to having an EVF built-in or not. I will be looking at EVF differences after I upgrade the E-M5's firmware later tonight, but I'm already pretty certain the VF-4 suits me better. If you don't need the integrated EVF... stick with the PEN.

    Oh yeah, not goona lie. The idea of having a weather-sealed camera like the OMD for when I need it is great. I already told my wife to expect her camera to leave with me when I go on landscape-only excursions and the weather is less than ideal (though my 5D3 will still pull primary duty) :2thumbs:
  11. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Real Name:
    Doug Green
    I'd go with the OM-D, but not those lenses. Frankly, I think that the 12-50 is mediocre at best, and I'd avoid it.
  12. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    One problem is that the lens bundling seems pretty random. The other is that both bodies are really nice and capable, especially since the EP5 comes with the vf4. You have a good decision in that both choices are pretty sweet.