EM-1 You Temptress

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by JeffB, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. JeffB

    JeffB New to Mu-43

    Mar 21, 2015
    Jeff Butterworth
    I currently have a Rebel t4i with the 18-135 STM kit lens, the 70-300 L and a 50 1.8. I am trying to make a decision about how to move forward with my kit. I definitely want a better lens at the wider end and would like to upgrade the body as well. Do I stay with Canon? Do I go to mirrorless?

    I like to shot a variety of subjects. I shoot landscapes, portraits, sports, sometimes BIF which is making it a bit harder to find a body to cover it all.

    I can't afford to step up to FF so I was looking at the 70D in the Canon range. 7D MkII is again getting up in price and I'm not convinced I would get the benefit out of its auto-focus system. The 70D would be fine for what I require. Would give me much faster focus in liveview mode and much better focus than what I currently get on the t4i.

    I got a REALLY good price on a EM-1 with the 12-50 so I picked it up to give it a try figuring I could always ebay it. If I kept it I would be looking at stepping up to the 12-40 and 40-150 lens to give me similar coverage to what I am currently used to.

    EM1 Pros
    - Obviously smaller and lighter. The thing is with the 12-40 and 40-150 it's not significantly lighter than my current kit. But the EM1 is large for m43 so I could always pickup a smaller body later if I wanted, and also with the lens I can pickup some lighter ones. So I am already about as heavy as it would ever get and can always go lighter. But with Canon, size can only increase. I calculated that with the body and two zoom lenses I'd be about 1kg lighter for the EM1 kit.

    - Camera quality is great. When I pick up the t4i or the 70D they feel plasticy and I don't know, full or air. It's a weird feeling when I handle them now.

    - Better weather shielding.

    - EVF is both a pro and a con. I like the overlay of the information. I don't like the lag and I don't like it when in burst mode that the screen blacks out and I lose sight of the target. An OVF is much better in this case.

    EM1 Cons
    - Focus. It seems to hunt a bit in low light. At the camera shop inside a shopping centre with poor light, I was able to try the instore EM1 (without 3.0 firmware) with the 40-150 and the 70D with the 18-135 and the 70D seemed much more confident about locking on focus. The EM1 was hunting a lot and then in CAF didn't really want to stay locked on.

    - The clip on flash is fiddly. I actually like having an inbuilt flash to use as fill flash. It's just handy being able to pick up camera and go knowing that the flash is there just in case. Better to get a reasonable photo with built in flash then no photo at all. I believe the EM10 has a flash but I wanted the PDAF of the EM1 for better CAF.

    - CAF is not as good, even with the 3.0 firmware. Mind you this is on the 12-50 lens and I don't know whether that's a fair test. I'd love to be able to try the 40-150 in the daylight.

    - Noise. I think I might be pixel peeping way too much here. In reality the noise at higher ISO seem comparable. I look at the EM-1 photos and mumble about too much noise but when I take same photo with my t4i its similar. I'm probably expecting too much here.It's not FF. I do find that the SOC Jpegs at high ISO have weird blotchy noise but I don't get that if i shoot in RAW and process in LR.

    So EM-1 you are indeed a temptress but I am not sure you have quite seduced me. Still undecided....
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  2. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    I've found that in low light my EM-1 can focus better than my 7D Mk II as long as there is contrast to lock onto. Low light and a busy scene can completely befuddle the 7D. But when it comes to tracking moving subjects, the 7D wins by a long shot.

    The 12-50 is a fine, very versatile lens, great for starting out with; but it's not in the same league as the pro lenses in speed, sharpness, or focusing. You can shoot BIF with the 40-150 pro and the EM-1, though obviously not as well as the 7D. You'll also encounter noise with the pro lenses less often than the 12-50 due to the wider apertures.

    I think the EVF vs OVF debate can vary greatly depending on whichever one you are used to. I can't get used to not seeing my exposure with an OVF, despite the meter, and I can't discern any lag in the EM-1's EVF.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  3. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    My thoughts:
    - E-M1 is smaller, even with the pro lenses when you compare it with the corresponding lenses, for example 12-40 vs 24-70 or 40-150 vs 70-200/2.8


    There is a 700 grams difference (body and lens) in this comparison only. Unless you find pro lenses designed for EF-S there is a big difference.
    If the 40-150 PRO is too big the Panasonic 35-100/2.8 is a smaller option, or the 75-300.

    Or compare it with the 40-150/3.5-4.5 or the 14-150, etc.

    Primes are a lot smaller and quality is high: O45, P25, etc.

    - If you give DxO some credit the E-M1 sensor should be better in any aspect compared to the Rebel. And beats the 70D too, except it is a little back for noise.
    I do not take DxO as the Bible but I find it a useful reference.

    - E-M1 is weather proof, the Canon are NOT. (warranty does not cover this kind of abuse)

    - OVF to me looks ancient: I'd hate to go back take the shot and check blinkies and histogram AFTER the shot. I never noticed any lag. I never noticed the blackout too but I do not shot moving targets. But I think you have a comparable blackout with a DSLR too when the mirror goes up(?).

    - I'd expect the CAF (with 3.0) to be better then the Rebel, and worst then the 7Dii. A lot depends on the lens used.

    (pre firmware)

    I always found S-AF to be very fast even in extremely low light (f/2.8, 1/20, iso 6400) with the 12-40.

    - Noise: spend some time here (also check the 70D): http://www.dpreview.com/previews/olympus-om-d-e-m10/7

    - You are forgetting IBIS

    - If you dream about FF consider Sony (I had one Canon FF and moved to m43)

    - If you are not in a hurry you could wait for the next E-M1 model, about one year according to rumors, but the launch price will be high
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  4. JeffB

    JeffB New to Mu-43

    Mar 21, 2015
    Jeff Butterworth

    I did manage to try the 12-40 instore and it was very nice. I think that is part of the problem, I'm trying to make a decision based on a lens which is not the one I would really be using.

    Seeing the exposure in the EVF is pretty good but I get same effect using Liveview on a Canon which still leaves the OVF for tracking. Have read some other threads where it seems the EVF doesn't black out. Will have to try playing around some more.


    Yes that's what I said, on a kit comparable to what I currently have I would expect about 1kg diff in weight. Mind you that gives me a 2.8 40-150 compared to my 4-5.6 70-300. I could save further weight if I went for the Oly 75-300. Most of my tele stuff is shot in good daylight. And am itching to try some of these primes.

    Dxo seems to show the sensors are comparable. Few pluses to the EM1, a few to the Canons.

    OVF is better for tracking. No black out because its optical. The Liveview does black out but would never use that for CAF.

    IBIS is definitely good. Not havign to worry about whether the lens has stabilization or not is good.

    The dpreview seems to show that RAW is quite similar on both. Which is pretty much what I am seeing.

    I dream of FF but then the cost of the equipment and the size of the lens puts me off :)

    The next EM1 looks a way off yet. I was wanting to get a sharper wide lens for landscape which is what got me thinking about systems :)
  5. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    When I compare my DSLR to my EM-1, I find the 7d Mk II to be a more powerful camera (and my lens for it doesn't hurt, either) but the EM-1 is just more fun. I use it for general photography, portraits, landscapes, street, macro and wildlife, and I love it in all applications. Long exposure, HDR, stop motion, live composition, keystone go etc. - the camera is packed with all sorts of features that make it extremely easy to shoot with in almost any situation. The art filters: some people deride them as not serious photography, but they are not only a lot of fun, they work very well, and all of these features can provide results without much time post processing. I could go on...

    The Canon is a more powerful tool, and you can do a lot with it as well, but it's by no means as much of a joy to use, or as versatile right out of the box. I don't like carrying it, and i feel I have to put as much effort into making it perform as I do composing my shot. And the extra power I mentioned? Only needed with BIF. In just about every other situation, the Oly is up to the task as well (and can do BIF, just not as easily).

    Like I said earlier, some of the characteristics of the cameras like EVF or OVF are really easily worked around. It's just a matter of getting used to them, and I don't think we can say anymore that one is better than the other (but in my inside voice, it's EVF) :2thumbs:

    If you are using the 12-50 for now, there's nothing wrong with that. It's small, weather sealed, good for video, has a macro function and an extra programable function, a good focal range - all very versatile. While it is not Oly's fastest or sharpest lens, they don't have any bad lenses. I've gotten plenty of great shots with mine. And, maybe someday you can upgrade to the pro lenses if you have a mind to.

    Anyway, I feel like I've been trying to sell you something. :daz:Whichever way you go, I'm sure it will take great pictures.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  6. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    Doesn't the OVF black out when the mirror flips up?
  7. JeffB

    JeffB New to Mu-43

    Mar 21, 2015
    Jeff Butterworth

    Thanks for your comments. The 12-50 doesn't seem worse than the 18-135. It's just that I don't like the 18-135 that much :)


    I just checked and on the Canon it does momentarily black out but it comes back pretty much straight away. I've never had a problem losing track of my subject. With the EM1 I find that it blacks out plus does a little bit of processing then displays again on the screen. It all happens fairly quickly but much easier to lose track of the subject. For that particular moment, it seems fine taking a series of shots. The issue is that by the time I get control back, I often don't know where the subject has moved to. I had a few instances the other day at my son's footy game that by the time i fired off six frames, I had no idea where the ball had gone. I had to look up from the camera and go 'oh it's over there now'. It's not terrible but I don't find it as good as OVF for this specific usage. However, for general photography I certainly do like the EVF!
  8. marcr1230

    marcr1230 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 28, 2013
    The OVF will black out when the mirror flips up obviously, the EVF blacks out when taking the photo.
    the subtle difference pointed out in the excellent video above, is that there is a lag in the EVF as it re-establishes the image

    this mirrors my experiences.
    different lenses also have different focus throws and such - so it is hard to get a perfect comparison

    I have not had as good results with the 12-40 on the E-M1 as these guys do with the 35-100
    also - I was shooting indoors
  9. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    I have just got an e-m1 and am generally happy with it but I do find it produces more noisy images at iso3200 then the e-m10...

    The evf black out does annoy me - I need to get used to it as I have no choice. I tried c-af yesterday - it's not too bad in H mode ( not as good as a dslr ). C-af + TR is hilarious as it just wonders off with a mind of its own

    Took this at 1/30s

    16275833984_1bf3678b03_b. on the quarter by damianmkv, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    I think the EVF blackout is the reason Oly is coming out with the EE-1 dot sight. It's essentially an OVF without overlay data, nor does it zoom with the lens. I'm not sure how effective it will be though.
  11. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    I find that the continuous focus on the EM1, and many mirrorless camera is a while different beast when compared to a DSLR. It takes shine time to get used to how it works differently.

    Shooting in very crappy light here recently, the AF did an admirable job with the 40-150. I've still got a ways to go before I learn it fully.

    I still give the sports and erratic movement taking edge to a DSLR, though.

    Can you support 2 systems? If so, shoot story's with the Canon and everything else with m43 might be an optio .
  12. JeffB

    JeffB New to Mu-43

    Mar 21, 2015
    Jeff Butterworth
    Gryphon1911: I was thinking about keeping the two systems but that would make more sense if I had say the EM1 and a FF. Keeping EM1 and APS-C doesn't make as much sense to me since the two are going to give fairly similar image quality.

    Mind you I am getting quite frustrated testing the EM1 with this 12-50. I am getting very few decent photos. I took some of my daughter today, good light but very few nice sharp ones. I am undecided about spending another $900 to get the 12-40 to give the camera the chance to shine or just stick with what I know with the Canon.
  13. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Hi Jeff,

    You initially mentioned that you wanted to buy this lens, and now have some reservations. I can understand that, but the budget to buy both is certainly within the realm of several FF cameras. I know that Nikon's D610 has again come down in price, and this will get you a FF camera, and it sounds as though that may better meet your expectations and needs. I have an E-M1 as well as Nikon DX and FX bodies, and use them accordingly. If you cannot support more than one system, give some thought as to what you are willing to give up, ans you cannot have it all. As was said above, the E-M1 is a very fun camera, and is my camera of choice when weight and size are critical and I am not shooting things like BIF. But that doe snot mean that it is the perfect camera for everybody. So, I would reconsider the FF options, especially if you can live with less glass up front. It may be more to your liking.

    Good luck,

  14. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    I'm trying to discern what issue you are having that is causing you to miss shots. What sort of situation were you shooting your daughter in? Did you have similar experiences with the Rebel?
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