E-PL7 replacement, Still can't decide...

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Eryk-Sawicki, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Eryk-Sawicki

    Eryk-Sawicki Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jul 17, 2017
    Hello for the first time,
    I'm new to the forum and looking for your advice.

    I currently own Olympus E-PL7 and recently upgraded the kit lens with Panasonic 12-35 2.8 (new version). I love the quality of the new lens and the pictures it produces. Still I came to a conclusion that I really like to update the body.

    What I'm missing in E-PL7:
    - I need an EVF - this is the main reason actually (Olympus VF-4 is to big and bulky)
    - a grip could be a bit better (not too big DSLR style though) OR camera should we 1-2 cm wider from the right side
    - A little better customization (like additional customizable button or wheel)
    - Stupid but... I own silver version which makes camera a little more flashy and I prefer to stay less visible when doing street photography, plus the lens I'm using is black as well

    What is important for me:
    - quality of produced RAW files (I don't care about JPG-s)
    - I'd love to end up with improved IQ (sharpness, improved dynamic range)
    - good stabilization (E-PL7 is good enough)
    - decent EVF (doesn't have to be the best, like the one in GX8)
    - (nice to have) customization + easy access to menu system (Panasonic here is the winner, although I am accustomed to using Olympus's menu)

    I don't care about:
    - shooting 4k movies
    - perfect continuous AF
    - fully articulated screen is as good as tilting one


    My photography style:
    - street photography (50%)
    - landscapes (40%)
    - portraits (10%)


    In my current location there's only one Panasonic shop and no Olympus, so I was only able to see a few cameras live. My impressions:
    1. GX85
    perfect size for me, no AA filter (better sharpness), not to great EVF, lack of weather sealing as well as 20mpix sensor (I know it's not huge improvement, but still nice to have)
    2. GX8
    funny but it looked a bit to wide for me, still an option because of weather sealing and nice 20mpix sensor, looks to be a bit oldish though and I have a little concerns regarding shutter shock issue
    3. G85
    looks like a perfect camera, but I that size... it's not a messenger bags type of a camera. In street photography I'd be much more visible... but maybe I will have to make compromise here...

    Apart from that PEN-F (20 mpix and I think better RAW quality) and EM5-II (look and weather sealing) looks promising but I haven't experienced them in real life and I think that Panasonc would be better fit to my 12-35 lens...

    Any suggestions and tips are welcome :)
    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  2. LeeOsenton

    LeeOsenton Mu-43 Button Clicker

    321
    Jun 25, 2010
    Hayes, Virginia, U.S.A.
    Lee Osenton
    I just moved from the E-PL7 to the E-M5 Mark II and couldn't be happier. I bought the Olympus grip HLD-8G (without the vertical battery option). It is fairly compact but substantial enough to handle the 40-150mm Pro lens. I think the sensor is the same as the E-PL7 but the better OIS and controls are a huge upgrade. I bought a refurb from Olympus for $650 and it arrived looking/working like a brand new camera. Couldn't be happier with the 12-40 and 40-150 lenses and this camera. I'm not familiar with the Panasonic cameras but there are plenty of great pictures from them on this site.
     
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  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Black GX85. You are not going to see a huge diff in IQ or DR, but the handling, built-in EVF and menus might suit you better.

    my experience:
    I had a GX7, but I didn't like some of the aspects of the output -- it was not very sharp in general, and had bad shutter shock. I went from the GX7 to Sony for a year, and back to m43 (EPL7) for my carry-anywhere camera. The EPL7 is as good m43 output as I could expect, and better than the GX7, IMO. The GX85 seems to have corrected some of the GX7 issues, but I already have the EPL7 and I value size over the built-in EVF. But if the EPL7 died, or once the GX85 gets cheap enough, I'll probably move in that direction.
     
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  4. wolfie

    wolfie Mu-43 Top Veteran

    692
    Apr 15, 2009
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I would say the E-M5 MkII is very good candidate, as someone who still has the E-PL5 and the E-M5(1). It really isn't much bigger than the PEN and you get water sealing, 40MP high resolution, a 2MP EVF built in EVF and a flip out LCD.
    Unless you are really sticking your camera into a pocket ,the EVF hump really makes no difference to the handling over the PEN. An eye-level VF gives you extra stability for long exposure shots with the camera up at you eyes. The 12-35 would be a perfect match size-wise.
     
  5. Eryk-Sawicki

    Eryk-Sawicki Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jul 17, 2017
    Thank you for your insights, so the battle seems to be between E-M5 ii and GX85.
    E-M5 seems to be better camera overall, but GX85 is tempting because of additional lens stabilization...

    And what about PEN-F, the price is a bit too high but IQ wise it may be a step forward, don't you think?
     
  6. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    248
    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    Greg
    I think you should go try them out, but noting that the GX85 viewfinder isn't that great. I used a GX7 for a while and it has the same viewfinder (I understand). It is compromised a bit to achieve the smaller size. To some this is an acceptable trade-off, to others it isn't.

    I know the EM-5 II or EM-10 II both have good VF's. If I were offered any one Olympus camera body for free it'd be the PEN-F. Even over the EM-1 II since I don't need a bigger 4k sports camera :)

    Greg.
     
  7. Eryk-Sawicki

    Eryk-Sawicki Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jul 17, 2017
    @InlawBiker@InlawBiker I have the same impression of EVF in GX85.Another drawback is that it has 16x9 proportions, whereas I prefer 4x3 most of the time. PEN-F is an interesting option although for the price I'd love to have weather sealed body, apart from that (and the price) looks like a strong contender.
     
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  8. Drdul

    Drdul Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    207
    May 16, 2015
    Vancouver, BC
    Richard
    You really should check out a Pen-F in person if you can. I have a E-PL7, and earlier this year added a Pen-F. I only wanted the EVF for sunny conditions, but it's so good that I find myself using it almost all the time, and when I switch to my E-PL7 it takes a bit of time before I remember to stop sticking it to my eye. I wear glasses and have always had difficulties with viewfinders, and the Pen-F is the first camera with a viewfinder that I have enjoyed using.

    I shoot 95% street/urban, for which the Pen-F is ideal (in my case, an all-black model with a black Oly 17mm f1.8). Size wise it's hardly bigger than the E-PL7, but with the benefits of an EVF, lots of control wheels and buttons, and a 20 MP sensor. I prefer the tilting screen of the E-PL7, but have learned to use the articulating screen of the Pen-F almost as well, so I don't consider it a disadvantage. I picked up mine in used "as new" condition and saved a few hundred dollars, so if the price of the Pen-F is an issue, look for a used one.
     
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  9. Eryk-Sawicki

    Eryk-Sawicki Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jul 17, 2017
    @Drdul@Drdul: I'll definitely check it out, apart from lack of weather sealed body it looks almost perfect. It has interesting color profiles option (monochrome!), but overall impression is that it's mostly JPEG-oriented camera. But as I shoot RAWs and utilize Lightroom in post process it's not a huge advantage for me.

    Two questions:
    1. Can color wheel in front be freely customized?
    2. Could you post a picture of black PEN-F with your lens (or if you have any zoom similar to 12-35)

    Thanks!
     
  10. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    797
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    No, it's not - unfortunately.

    My .02$: I own the GX80 and have to admit that the EVF is not great - though usable. But my old E-M10 still offers a better experience - which by extension means that the viewfinder in the PEN-F will be clearly superior because it's the same one Olympus put in the E-M10 II. And actually, the E-M10 II is the camera I'd look into when coming from the E-PL7; mainly because I don't think most of the "advantages" of the PEN-F are more than marketing gimmicks, but also because the E-M10 II is a really solid package: better I.B.I.S., better EVF, even enhanced control layout over the first generation - very nice indeed (though not a big enough step forward to make me want to replace my trusty E-M10 - but that my change with the III ...). And in spite of its small size, it feels very comfortable in the hand, especially with small primes.

    Of course, the PEN-F remains one of the most attractive RF style bodies out there - so if that's important, I fully understand your interest in it. But technically, it doesn't offer anything decisive over the small, yet capable E-M10 II (except maybe the Hi-Res mode - but I personally wouldn't use that a lot). The 20MP sensor they used in the PEN-F isn't good enough to warrant the price difference in my opinion, and the "creative" dial is something I don't need (being a RAW shooter as well) - I even find it annoying because of its prominence.

    Now, if they bring out a PEN-F II with the E-M1 II's sensor in it (possibly also with its I.B.I.S. and processing power - but I think that won't happen), then things will get a lot more interesting; if they manage to make the "creative" dial customisable, they solve all issues I personally have with that otherwise very appealing camera; and if they put in the E-M5 II's EVF, I'd be extremely happy and wouldn't hesitate to replace my GX80. As it is, I think the PEN-F is overpriced - not by a large margin, but clearly so (compared with the E-M5 II, of all things). And in the hand, the GX80 is still a very compelling camera.

    M.
     
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  11. Eryk-Sawicki

    Eryk-Sawicki Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jul 17, 2017
    @MoonMind@MoonMind thanks for taking your time to share your impressions, which makes me thing about the decision even more. It looks like you prefer E-M10 II over E-M5 II? The latter would be my choice because of weather sealing and High Res Mode but maybe I'm missing something?
    Oh and BTW can I use the same E-PL7 battery in PEN-F/E-M10/E-M5?

    Edit:
    Ok I can see E-m10 ii has a built-in flash which may be a nice add-on when shooting street photography
     
  12. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    The PL7 uses the BLS-5/50 battery as does the EM10 I and II. The EM5 II and EM1 use the BLN-1 battery. That's a consideration for travel. That is not having to carry two different kinds of batteries and two chargers.
     
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  13. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    797
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    @Eryk-Sawicki@Eryk-Sawicki I was considering the fact that you come from the E-PL7 - when I went for an OM-D, I had the E-PM1 and consequently chose the E-M10 because it shared batteries (see above!) and was smaller than the E-M5; the only major missing feature was weather-sealing, but the E-M10 offered other advantages over the E-M5, like enhanced AF and better handling. The E-M5 II, though, is in all respects a better camera than the E-M10 II, so if I were totally unprejudiced and were to choose one over the other, I'd opt for the E-M5 II without hesitation. But I happen to be very happy with the E-M10, so I feel that the E-M10 II is more of a natural progression from the E-PL7 than the serious powerhouse the E-M5 II represents.

    Crucially, if cost isn't really a factor and you don't plan on keeping the E-PL7, the E-M5 II is without doubt the superior choice. But I tend to see it from a different perspective because I already own a very nice OM-D style camera (and use the E-PL7 as a second body). To illustrate this, my present approach is that I may or may not upgrade to the E-M10 III, but if the E-M5 III sports the E-M1 II's sensor, I won't be able to resist; it'll then probably replace two (or even three) bodies. That's why I personally am inclined to wait another year or so to see what comes out; I'll not be an early adopter of the E-M10 III, but will be extremely interested in the performance of that camera. The II series are wonderful cameras, though - and I can recommend both; the E-M10 II for a smaller, more straightforward package, the E-M5 II for an all-around great camera.

    M.
     
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  14. Eryk-Sawicki

    Eryk-Sawicki Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jul 17, 2017
    @MoonMind@MoonMind Yeah I don't really consider keeping PL7, so I may as well go with M5. I own three additional EPL7 batteries so I will have sell them as well... Actually this is quite interesting for me, why do you own 3 very similar cameras if I may ask? Is it because you keep different lenses on each of them and it's faster to change camera rather than a lens?

    Price-wise I'm ready to buy anything below $1500 as I don't plan to change my camera for the next 2 years. I'd love to have additional full frame camera for landscapes (like Sony A7ii) but for now I can only afford one all-purpose gear. FF lenses are ridiculously big for street photography, so I have to stick to M43 :)
     
  15. JamesD172

    JamesD172 Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    482
    Aug 18, 2016
    James Dolezal
    If by additional lens stabilization you mean Dual IS, do keep in mind that the E-M5 II in-body stabilization is 1-2 stops better than the GX85, so dual IS more levels the playing field than anything else.
     
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  16. Drdul

    Drdul Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    207
    May 16, 2015
    Vancouver, BC
    Richard
    1. No, as @MoonMind@MoonMind noted, the "creative dial" cannot be customized. I shoot RAW and post-process in Lightroom, and 99% of my images remain in colour, so I don't find much use for the creative dial as I find I can reproduce the colour of the JPEGs with the "Camera Natural" setting in Lightroom plus a few Basic adjustments.
    2. I can't post a photo now because work, but Google Images has lots of results, like this one. IMO the Pen-F best suits small primes, so if you're looking for a camera to use with your 12-35, get the E-M10ii (or the new iii to be released in a month or so). I comfortably use an Olympus 12-40 on my E-PL7, but the lack of any grip would make a lens that size awkward on the Pen-F. Sure, there's an add-on grip available, but it adds to the size of the camera, and at that point you have to ask yourself if a different camera would be a better choice with a large zoom lens.
     
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  17. cptobvious

    cptobvious Mu-43 Veteran

    260
    Jan 8, 2013
    I had an E-PL7 and E-M10 and recently sold the E-PL7 for another E-M10. Mainly it was due to a deal (Olympus outlet had refurb E-M10 kits for $200 briefly). Since sensor performance is pretty similar across MFT bodies released in the past 4-5 years or so, I personally feel it's not worthwhile to spend very much on a newer body with marginal improvements. I used to own the 12-35 and it paired nicely with the E-M10 and ECG-1 grip, so that would be my recommendation (or the E-M10 II when the III comes out).
     
  18. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I think any of the Oly bodies mentioned would be good choices for what you are looking for and what you shoot. I personally would wait until the E-M10 Mkiii is announced. We don't yet know what it's full specs and feature set will be. It might be good enough to pull the trigger over even the E-M5 Mkii; and even if it isn't, it might draw some of those older Oly body prices down a little.

    The PEN F is on paper the best of the three (and beautiful, which is part of the price tag), but it is a niche camera that rewards a specific kind of shooter: setting up various configurations of the camera's JPEG settings for creative output, with instant use of the resulting images. Such a style fits rather well with street photography, IMO, and actually sounds fun for those who embrace the concept. But thats not appealing to everyone. If you use it in a more traditional way, you can do so without any penalty (and many do and really like it), but you wouldn't be utilizing all the camera had to offer - which may or may not be an issue for you. The front dial is the most obvious and intrusive example of this.
     
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  19. Eryk-Sawicki

    Eryk-Sawicki Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Jul 17, 2017
  20. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I can't speak to Panasonic bodies, but why only Panasonic lenses? Not that there's anything wrong with them, but why limit yourself?