EM1.3 - is it worth the upgrade cost from the EM1.2 ?

pdk42

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I picked up the EM1.3 a few days ago after using the EM1.2 for nearly four years (and the EM1.1 before that). As I explained in this post, I bought it pretty much entirely for HHHR mode. However, I've taken the time to check out the camera in other areas, so I thought I'd give my quick 2c worth for anyone looking to upgrade:

- IQ in normal shooting is identical IMHO. I always shoot raw so if there is any difference in JPG output, I wouldn't know.

- The EM1.3 definitely has a slightly different raw file approach, the net result of which is a little less highlight recovery headroom, but slightly better shadow noise. I need to recalibrate my exposure practice because I found taking some shots today I was blowing highlights that I know I wouldn't do with the EM1.2. I always use the exposure blinkies and spin the dial I've assigned to exp comp until the highlights are just showing. On the EM1.2, this is safe, but it seems on the EM1.3 it's not so safe.

[As an aside, I think this thread explains the reason. @BushmanOrig - please let's not get into a thread war again on the subject - if you disagree then I'm OK with that, but we don't need to go over it again!]

- HHHR is definitely delivering better DR by virtue of being able to push shadows more before noise becomes an issue. I reckon about two stops. See the thread I linked to above.

- Not tried Live ND for real yet, but it works when I'm practising taking shots of a Youtube video of a waterfall! It's a bit limited though in terms of max ND effect.

- Joystick is much easier to use than the old scheme of using the screen as a touchpad.

- Eye AF is much improved, but it's not important to me.

- MyMenu is nice, as is the C4 position on the dial. Makes getting to specific setup modes much quicker and easier. I always found the limitation of 3 custom settings on the EM1.2 a backward step from the EM1.1.

- Lack of FL-LM3 flash is a mean-spirited move.

- Menu button on top left is more annoying than I thought it would be. I'll adjust, but having to swap hands is a constant factor.

- IBIS seems at least as good. Not had chance to see whether it really is better than the EM1.2. It was already pretty amazing.

- New AF settings (size/shape of zone etc) look interesting, but not really of use to me.

- Camera feels a little faster overall.

- Some of the menu changes are unexpected and threw me a bit (e.g. I always decouple AF from shutter, but it's now done differently from all previous Oly cameras!).

So, in summary:

- I really don't think it's that much of an upgrade over the 2. With an improved EVF, or perhaps some of the EM1x's subject recognition then it would have been more justified.

- It's still a very nice camera - but so is the EM1.2.

So, the big question - Is it worth the upgrade cost? Well, you'll have to make your own mind up. I've had the EM1.2 for almost four years and have lost about £800 in its capital cost. That's about £16/month. I'll be restarting the clock now and expect something similar. For 2 stops more DR in landscapes, it's worth that much to me given I do a lot of landscapes and a lot PP pushing. But unless this is really a burning issue for you, I'd say best to stick with your EM1.2. Hopefully the EM1.4 will bring something larger in the upgrade department - maybe a new EVF or a better sensor?

I personally think that after almost four years since the EM1.2, the EM1.3 is a bit of a disappointment. YMMV of course!
 
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ashburtononline

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I picked up the EM1.3 a few days ago after using the EM1.2 for nearly four years (and the EM1.1 before that). As I explained in this post, I bought it pretty much entirely for HHHR mode. However, I've taken the time to check out the camera in other areas, so I thought I'd give my quick 2c worth for anyone looking to upgrade:

- IQ in normal shooting is identical IMHO. I always shoot raw so if there is any difference in JPG output, I wouldn't know.

- The EM1.3 definitely has a slightly different raw file approach, the net result of which is a little less highlight recovery headroom, but slightly better shadow noise. I need to recalibrate my exposure practice because I found taking some shots today I was blowing highlights that I know I wouldn't do with the EM1.2. I always use the exposure blinkies and spin the dial I've assigned to exp comp until the highlights are just showing. On the EM1.2, this is safe, but it seems on the EM1.3 it's not so safe.

[As an aside, I think this thread explains the reason. @BushmanOrig - please let's not get into a thread war again on the subject - if you disagree then I'm OK with that, but we don't need to go over it again!]

- HHHR is definitely delivering better DR by virtue of being able to push shadows more before noise becomes an issue. I reckon about two stops. See the thread I linked to above.

- Not tried Live ND for real yet, but it works when I'm practising taking shots of a Youtube video of a waterfall! It's a bit limited though in terms of max ND effect.

- Joystick is much easier to use than the old scheme of using the screen as a touchpad.

- Eye AF is much improved, but it's not important to me.

- MyMenu is nice, as is the C4 position on the dial. Makes getting to specific setup modes much quicker and easier. I always found the limitation of 3 custom settings on the EM1.2 a backward step from the EM1.1.

- Lack of FL-LM3 flash is a mean-spirited move.

- Menu button on top left is more annoying than I thought it would be. I'll adjust, but having to swap hands is a constant factor.

- IBIS seems at least as good. Not had chance to see whether it really is better than the EM1.2. It was already pretty amazing.

- New AF settings (size/shape of zone etc) look interesting, but not really of use to me.

- Camera feels a little faster overall.

- Some of the menu changes are unexpected and threw me a bit (e.g. I always decouple AF from shutter, but it's now done differently from all previous Oly cameras!).

So, in summary:

- I really don't think it's that much of an upgrade over the 2. With an improved EVF, or perhaps some of the EM1x's subject recognition then it would have been more justified.

- It's still a very nice camera - but so is the EM1.2.

So, the big question - Is it worth the upgrade cost? Well, you'll have to make your own mind up. I've had the EM1.2 for almost four years and have lost about £800 in its capital cost. That's about £16/month. I'll be restarting the clock now and expect something similar. For 2 stops more DR in landscapes, it's worth that much to me given I do a lot of landscapes and a lot PP pushing. But unless this is really a burning issue for you, I'd say best to stick with your EM1.2. Hopefully the EM1.4 will bring something larger in the upgrade department - maybe a new EVF or a better sensor?

I personally think that after almost four years since the EM1.2, the EM1.3 is a bit of a disappointment. YMMV of course!

Thanks Paul,

I'm coming from EM1's .... I hated the swivel screen on the Mk2 so gave that a miss. However, looks like I will have to swallow it so I'm looking at the Mk3 / EM1x. Price here is identical - when you add in the battery peck and extra battery + there is a $500 cashback on the X.
 

ac12

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Agree.
I generally skip SEVERAL versions, before I upgrade.
IOW, I need a significant change to upgrade. Or a major need filled.

My OLD Nikon D70 from 2004 went about 12 years before it was replaced. And that was only because it died. After 12 years it still did all I needed. The only constraint was the rather low max ISO of 1600, which only was an issue in LOW light.

Shift to Olympus, I have the EM1-mk1. The mk1 fills my general photography needs just fine.
But, when shooting sports I ran into several serious limitations in the mk1, that were fixed in the mk2. So I decided that there were enough significant changes to justify buying the mk2. But other than sports, the mk1 still meets my general needs, and I still use the mk1.
The big negative on the mk2 is the swivel screen. I prefer the tilt screen.
The mk3 has improved on the mk2, but not to the degree that the mk2 improved on the mk1.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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So, the big question - Is it worth the upgrade cost? Well, you'll have to make your own mind up. I've had the EM1.2 for almost four years and have lost about £800 in its capital cost. That's about £16/month. I'll be restarting the clock now and expect something similar.
How many shutter ops? Curious what both the cost per click and the cost per keeper was.
 

Richard_M

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Thank you for your impressions Paul!

I have asked a couple of owners when they have the time to check it out, but as yet no feedback. With the faster processor I've been wondering if the time to process a 15 image in-camera focus stack is reduced over the MK II. I can take several thousand images on a photowalk, 99% of them are focus stacks. Although I process, and stack the RAW files, the in-camera JPEG's are usually pretty good.

One issue I did notice on a recent outing was hot pixels (this is not only for Olympus, I've experienced it many times with other bodies). I was taking multiple in-camera focus stacks in low light, which meant the sensor must have got quite hot. Usually, I don't have a problem as the exposures are not long. Plus the camera can cool down between subjects. This instance there were quite a number of subjects in the one area, so the camera got a bit of a workout. With the apparent changes to the sensor voltages and processing power I do hope they have beefed up the heatsinks in the MK III.
 

BushmanOrig

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Thank you for your feedback Paul and congratulations on the new toy. I am sad to hear that you not really happy with your purchase. Fortunately, there are many user reports, reviews, and YouTube videos out there reporting on the EM1 III. There is now enough information that one can easily find specific information related to each photographer's unique style or needs...

I read some consider the DR crises you talked about, a little differently. Reports point out the EM1 III has better quality or better blacks, improved shadow detail, and the shadow ISO performance also improved. For some, this is a huge gain. I guess Olympus will never get approval from all. 😉

That said, thank you for your interesting feedback... All said I agree with the menu button far out on the left.. what a disappointment!!

I think one of the great things about Olympus is, it was always possible to handle the camera with one hand. With the menu button far out to the left, this has now changed... sad.

Siegfried
 
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retiredfromlife

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One thing I don't like about the EM1.3 compared to my other cameras are the non tactile buttons. Virtually no click at all.
and the lack of the little flash was a real disapointment. but since I am the only one who does not like the buttons I am on my own there.

Coming from a EP-5 and EM10.2 I really like the EM1.3 a lot. Wish the EM10.2 had the stacking as I still think it is the better macro camera due to the tilt screen.

Wish Olympus would make a combined tilt / swivel screen like Panasonic did on one of their FF bodies as I really like the tilt screens and hate the swivel versions.

But overall the positives are far more than the negatives and it is weather resistant
It's that I was looking forward to that little flash :(
 
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pdk42

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I read that some view the DR crises as you talked about a little differently. Reports point out the EM1 III has better quality or true blacks, improved shadow detail, and shadow high ISO performance improved. For some, this is a huge gain.

Siegfried
Thanks Siegfried - can you point me to those reports. I would be interested in reading/watching them.
 

Sverre

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I picked up the EM1.3 a few days ago after using the EM1.2 for nearly four years (and the EM1.1 before that). As I explained in this post, I bought it pretty much entirely for HHHR mode. However, I've taken the time to check out the camera in other areas, so I thought I'd give my quick 2c worth for anyone looking to upgrade:

- IQ in normal shooting is identical IMHO. I always shoot raw so if there is any difference in JPG output, I wouldn't know.

- The EM1.3 definitely has a slightly different raw file approach, the net result of which is a little less highlight recovery headroom, but slightly better shadow noise. I need to recalibrate my exposure practice because I found taking some shots today I was blowing highlights that I know I wouldn't do with the EM1.2. I always use the exposure blinkies and spin the dial I've assigned to exp comp until the highlights are just showing. On the EM1.2, this is safe, but it seems on the EM1.3 it's not so safe.

[As an aside, I think this thread explains the reason. @BushmanOrig - please let's not get into a thread war again on the subject - if you disagree then I'm OK with that, but we don't need to go over it again!]

- HHHR is definitely delivering better DR by virtue of being able to push shadows more before noise becomes an issue. I reckon about two stops. See the thread I linked to above.

- Not tried Live ND for real yet, but it works when I'm practising taking shots of a Youtube video of a waterfall! It's a bit limited though in terms of max ND effect.

- Joystick is much easier to use than the old scheme of using the screen as a touchpad.

- Eye AF is much improved, but it's not important to me.

- MyMenu is nice, as is the C4 position on the dial. Makes getting to specific setup modes much quicker and easier. I always found the limitation of 3 custom settings on the EM1.2 a backward step from the EM1.1.

- Lack of FL-LM3 flash is a mean-spirited move.

- Menu button on top left is more annoying than I thought it would be. I'll adjust, but having to swap hands is a constant factor.

- IBIS seems at least as good. Not had chance to see whether it really is better than the EM1.2. It was already pretty amazing.

- New AF settings (size/shape of zone etc) look interesting, but not really of use to me.

- Camera feels a little faster overall.

- Some of the menu changes are unexpected and threw me a bit (e.g. I always decouple AF from shutter, but it's now done differently from all previous Oly cameras!).

So, in summary:

- I really don't think it's that much of an upgrade over the 2. With an improved EVF, or perhaps some of the EM1x's subject recognition then it would have been more justified.

- It's still a very nice camera - but so is the EM1.2.

So, the big question - Is it worth the upgrade cost? Well, you'll have to make your own mind up. I've had the EM1.2 for almost four years and have lost about £800 in its capital cost. That's about £16/month. I'll be restarting the clock now and expect something similar. For 2 stops more DR in landscapes, it's worth that much to me given I do a lot of landscapes and a lot PP pushing. But unless this is really a burning issue for you, I'd say best to stick with your EM1.2. Hopefully the EM1.4 will bring something larger in the upgrade department - maybe a new EVF or a better sensor?

I personally think that after almost four years since the EM1.2, the EM1.3 is a bit of a disappointment. YMMV of course!

I will suspect EM1.3 is much more tempting for people needing improved AF. And the handheld high res is very good. I did the upgrade and do not regret. A lot of small improvements makes the camera a joy to use.

Anyway I think it's a good thing EM1.2 are still an excellent camera!
 

pdk42

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I will suspect EM1.3 is much more tempting for people needing improved AF. And the handheld high res is very good. I did the upgrade and do not regret. A lot of small improvements makes the camera a joy to use.

Anyway I think it's a good thing EM1.2 are still an excellent camera!
I agree. I don't regret the upgrade. I agree that the AF (esp the face/eye AF) is improved and that HHHR is a nice addition to anyone who shoots static scenes like landscapes (that includes me!). However, looking at it objectively and comparing it to its competitors, I still think it's a disappointment overall. I still don't understand why they didn't upgrade the EVF and the rear LCD - these are easily-acquired off-the-shelf components that are already running in competitors cameras and they make a difference to the photographer every time a shot is taken.

The sensor is also looking pretty outdated - but I can see that this is a much harder nut to crack. I just really hope, for Olympus's sake, that there's something in the pipeline. They'll get ripped to shreds by the market if the next camera is still using it!
 

pdk42

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Hello Paul.
Search the web. YouTube is also great for finding info - Unfortunately, I do not keep up a personal library 😕
Well Siegfried, maybe I'm just bad at using Google and Youtube, but I can't find anything that reports "the EM1 III has better quality or better blacks, improved shadow detail, and the shadow ISO performance also improved". Well, that's aside from the discussion we already had about there being a roughly 0.5 stop ETTR difference in exposure/raw handling. But I don't consider that as a real "improvement" - it's just a tweak to the exposure strategy which favours shadows in preference to highlight headroom. The photographer could achieve the same with the EM1.2.

There is perhaps some evidence (e.g. Peter Forsgard's video below) that the noise treatment to JPGs at higher ISO is slightly better on the EM1.3. But frankly I don't consider JPG improvements as being any real advance since, at least in principle, you should be able to get equal or better output using PP on the raw file using a PC.


Interestingly, he does note that there is a little shift to a cooler (more blue) look to images from the EM1.3, which is something I've noticed too. This points possibly to a slight tweak to the CFA.

If you have any links that do show IQ improvements, I'd be very happy to see them.
 

BushmanOrig

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Well Siegfried, maybe I'm just bad at using Google and Youtube, but I can't find anything that reports "the EM1 III has better quality or better blacks, improved shadow detail, and the shadow ISO performance also improved". Well, that's aside from the discussion we already had about there being a roughly 0.5 stop ETTR difference in exposure/raw handling. But I don't consider that as a real "improvement" - it's just a tweak to the exposure strategy which favours shadows in preference to highlight headroom. The photographer could achieve the same with the EM1.2.

There is perhaps some evidence (e.g. Peter Forsgard's video below) that the noise treatment to JPGs at higher ISO is slightly better on the EM1.3. But frankly I don't consider JPG improvements as being any real advance since, at least in principle, you should be able to get equal or better output using PP on the raw file using a PC.


Interestingly, he does note that there is a little shift to a cooler (more blue) look to images from the EM1.3, which is something I've noticed too. This points possibly to a slight tweak to the CFA.

If you have any links that do show IQ improvements, I'd be very happy to see them.

Why so aggressive Paul? Maybe you did not look hard enough? 😉

Why do I get the feeling you spend all this money just to criticize the MKIII? You should switch off your PC, put on your mask, and go take pictures... But don't feel bad, the same is happening to me, the house is getting smaller each day...

One last thing, you really want me to believe your theory that Olympus did a simple ETTR trick on the MKIII? I think you should give the engineers over at Olympus a little more credit. Imagine this, experienced photographers will get great results with an old EP2, imagine what they will do with an EM1 MKIII?

Best Mister
 

Richard_M

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thanks for the Real Talk, @pdk42. Haven't felt a burning need to upgrade from the mk2 and you've fairly confirmed my suspicions.

I'm starting to feel the same. I have two MK II's which get a workout taking thousands of photos every week. If the processing of the images was noticeably faster I would then consider a MK III. As yet, I've not seen any evidence the MK III is quicker than the MK II. I use a variety of brands of cameras, each I've found has their strengths for the various genre's I enjoy photographing, but so far the Olympus is the one I enjoy using the most for native orchids and fungi. One of the best features IMO, is the articulated screen.
 

pdk42

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Hello Paul,

sorry, but i don't understand what the CFA is? Could you explain it please, or post a link?
Thank you.

Best regards,
Jörg
Hi Joerg - sorry for the acronyms! CFA = Colour Filter Array. It’s the matrix of red, green, and blue filters that sit on top of the sensor. I’m only guessing that there’s a tweaked CFA - but it’s one explanation for slightly increased blue readings in the histogram compared to the EM1.2 when shooting the same subject, as Peter Forsgard’s video discusses.
 

pdk42

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Why so aggressive Paul? Maybe you did not look hard enough? 😉

Why do I get the feeling you spend all this money just to criticize the MKIII? You should switch off your PC, put on your mask, and go take pictures... But don't feel bad, the same is happening to me, the house is getting smaller each day...

One last thing, you really want me to believe your theory that Olympus did a simple ETTR trick on the MKIII? I think you should give the engineers over at Olympus a little more credit. Imagine this, experienced photographers will get great results with an old EP2, imagine what they will do with an EM1 MKIII?

Best Mister
Siegfried - I really wasn’t trying to be aggressive and I’m wondering why you think I was. Perhaps you can explain?

And you say I spent money on the Mark III just so I can criticise it? Huh? I’m not that stupid! And in any case, as I made plain, I’m not regretting the decision - simply pointing out where there are weaknesses and whether it’s worthwhile to upgrade from the EM1.2. Of course, it’s just my opinion, and I’d hope anyone reading it will form their own views. However, I’ve given my reasons so I’m not just ranting.

If you really believe there is any notable improvement in raw IQ over the EM1.2, then please provide some evidence. I can’t see any, and neither can anyone else who’s reviewed it.
 
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retiredfromlife

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Siegfried - I really wasn’t trying to be aggressive and I’m wondering why you think I was. Perhaps you can explain?

And you say I spent money on the Mark III just so I can I’m criticise it? Huh? I’m not that stupid! And in any case, as I made plain, I’m not regretting the decision - simply pointing out where there are weaknesses and whether it’s worthwhile to upgrade from the EM1.2. Of course, it’s just my opinion, and I’d hope anyone reading it will form their own views. However, I’ve given my reasons so I’m not just ranting.

If you really believe there is any notable improvement in raw IQ over the EM1.2, then please provide some evidence. I can’t see any, and neither can anyone else who’s reviewed it.
Not trying to be negative, but I agree that we should be able to talk about the possitives and negatives about the camera. I purchased the EM1.3 as I thought it was the best solution for me. I know I will struggle with the menu and manual but thats why I like the community here, things can and should be able to be discussed in a calm manner.
There a lot of things I do not like about the camera, no camera is perfect. But when the positives out way the negatives we purchase if we can afford it.

I find when I talk about the negatives more often than not someone points to a better way [or correct way] with the camera, win win all round.

Edit;
After re reading my post not sure if it comes across correctly
I was in support of what @pdk42 said, not sure if it reads that way or the opposite
 
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