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EM1 versus GH4

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by JoJo, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. JoJo

    JoJo Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 19, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    My wife gave me an ultimatum: "wife or new camera". Now I am researching my new camera. I have had a few problems with my EM5 bodies and I have read a few posts about EM1 problems.
    I am asking for opinions about which camera is holding up better.....EM1 or the GH4?

    Since a lot of members on this forum own or have owned both cameras, I figure this is the perfect place to ask: Does one camera have the edge over the other when it comes to making photos?
  2. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    Personally, I prefer the E-M1, but I don't shoot video. If I was serious about video, I'd probably go the other way.
  3. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Photos, probably not. The big difference is video. The GH4 by all accounts appears to have the advantage.
  4. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Both are fantastic camera bodies and the two best mirrorless cameras that are available presently IMHO not just from a m43 perspective, but also considering other formats too (Sony A7 series, Fuji X series etc...). I feel that both Panasonic and Olympus have produced what will be the modern Leica experience. Extremely high quality in a small package.
    Both have lightening quick single autofocus - think Nikon D4 speed (The Pan is the fastest focusing camera I've ever experience when you use Panasonic lenses). On the other lenses, some of the Olympus lenses focus a little quicker on the Olympus and some of the Olympus lenses such as the 45 1.8 I've found to focus about the same on both. The take away is that both are lightening quick.
    AF-Tracking. The two manufacturers take different stances on this - the GH4 will be more accurate for continuous shooting and tracking sports subjects if you are using Panasonic lenses. Olympus has the hardware in place for good tracking performance across the frame, I believe that their software implementation while significantly improved over the EM5 could use some work.
    The Olympus has the added advantage of being able to use four thirds lenses as if they were native glass on account of the phase detect pixels. Do not discount this glass. Some of those four thirds Zuiko digital lenses are lust worthy and class leading regardless of format e.g. the 50-200 ... just an amazing piece of glass.
    View finder, I prefer the Olympus. (Entirely subjective).
    Menus. Another entirely subjective one, but I prefer the Panasonic menu system. It is very elegant and I love the option of choosing the range of points to focus on. Very very elegant.
    Rear LCD. Tilt on the EM1, Tilt and reversible on the GH4 , leading to be possibly slightly more versatile from a video usability perspective (not taking into account video quality... will get to that ;) ).
    IBIS. The EM1 has it. The GH4 doesn't. This is a HUGE benefit to the EM1 and really can make a huge different to your out of camera IQ , particularly in low light. Of course fast glass like the stellar voigtlanders, fast Panasonic (some of which like the Nocticron have IS built int) does make being able to shoot at lower ISO's in low light on either platform a very effective experience... I've shot candlelight ISO800 with voigtlander wide open and gotten great results with reasonable shutter speeds on the EM1. It is nice to know though that I can shoot at 1/20 and still get a razor sharp image with the EM1!! Put it this way, I would take IBIS over a larger sensor any day of the week for an IQ point of view as for my style of shooting allows me to keep the ISO down load in the cameras peak operation area. Keep in mind though that Panasonic have great OIS in their lenses (pan12-35 and 35-100 , nocticron, Pan100-300) so this may be a moot point for you - still as good as their OIS is, it is still not as effective as IBIS which will stabilize ANY lens you attach, whether adapter , legacy or even Panasonics own latest and greatest 15mm Leica design.

    Video : GH4 owns. Period. It is ground breaking what it delivers out of then box. Nothing can touch it's video capabilities and if you are an aspiring videographer on a budget you will be hard pressed to find a better video camera capable system for under 10,000 dollars. The Sony A7s is nice, but is not in the same league - the GH4 is the only camera in it's price bracket that can output 4k video in body and if you have the external mount can put out 4k 10bit video (a7s is still only 8bit and this will matter for post prod colour grading if you are into that). Take away is that the GH4 is a power house for video.
    The EM1 is rumored to get a firmware update to provide 4k... I'll be pleasantly surprised if this is the case at photokina, but I'm not sure it will happen. The existing video solution from the EM1 is fine if you are not expecting broadcast quality video. More of an afterthought on the EM1 IMHO.

    Stills IQ : do you like the Oly colour sig, or the Pan colour sig? Both have fantastic IQ IMHO. Both will allow you to get highly detailed sharp images with lots of colour depth at large print sizes (A2, A3 etc...) We even have Lisandra who has shot billboard with her EM1. Both are 16mp. Small differences that may push you one way or the other - the Pan has a weak AA filter so may be better if you shoot patterns , fashion. The EM1 may be a little sharper for resolvable detail as it does not have an AA filter but really to see the differences we are talking pixel peeping. At high ISO, the GH4 may be slightly more controlled noise as it's circuitry is optimized around low noise video. Then again the IBIS of the Em1 allows it to keep it's ISO much lower for much longer yielding a very tangible real world shooting envelope advantage. There are pro's and con's to both cameras and I would see the two systems complementing each other perfectly for a wedding photographer etc...

    Build Quality - I prefer the EM1 personally. The EM1 has the same tank like build as the Canon 1dx which is one of the best built cameras that I have ever held. The GH4 is also built extremely well, but perhaps it is a personal thing, I feel that the GH4 isn't quite as well built. The EM1 feels expensive in hand and buttons have a lovely tactile feel.

    Aftermarket support : This would be a big one for me.... does your local dealer have a good relationship with either / or Panasonic and Olympus? Can you get a replacement body if you camera is in for repair/sensor clean?

    Electronic shutter : GH4 has full electronic shutter for quiet shooting. Possibly interesting to you if you shoot street. EM1 does not. BTW if you get the EM1 make sure to enable 0-sec anti shock in the camera body to rid yourself of any potential shutter shock.

    Face detect : Both EM1 and GH4 support this. I feel the EM1 has a slight edge on this.... it will lock into the nearest eyeball and quite effectively too. Very helpful for portraits.

    Software support : both are supported by lightroom, Photoninja, Iridient, Capture one etc... however Olympus natively provide software to pull the most from their raw files with OV3. This is a nice advantage as Olympus engineers know their RAW format and OV3 does pull more detail than e.g. Lightroom etc... Something worth considering.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    I still believe EM-1 is overprice. If you targeting this, i suggest wait a longer until the new OMD release (according to M43rumors it will be release sooner). The price will be dropped.
  6. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    Not really, they can be gotten for under $1000 nowadays. I paid $750 for my used one, with under 2600 clicks on it.
  7. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    Full weather sealing. Extremely quick and accurate AF. Class leading IBIS system. Huge viewfinder. 1/320 sync speed. Huge range of lenses specifically optimized for the sensor and lens mount. One of the best EVF's available. Extremely fast burst rate. Excellent image quality. I could go on...

    Read Ming Theins conclusion to his review http://blog.mingthein.com/2013/09/11/the-2013-olympus-om-d-e-m1-review-2/

    how is this overpriced?! :confused: 
  8. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    Not in Indonesia. In here the price still about US$ 2,000. But if can get under $1000, take it then. Still, buying gear need to be patient and it's a classic things that every time new camera release, the previous ones's price will be more reasonable.

    Yeps you are right with a lot of features it's a class leading on M43's system together with GH4 but the image quality different with EM5 were not significant noticeable. Also the system have a one weaknesses, long exposure. EM5 is better in this division and i tested with my friend's EM1.

    In my country for the prices US$ 2,000 body only. It's overprice. But if as douggreen said true (can get about US$ 1,000 less), than it's not :smile:
  9. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    It might pay to see what the E-M1 firmware update brings at the end of the month (not going to ask what happened to the wife).
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