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EM1 versus GH4

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by JoJo, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. JoJo

    JoJo Mu-43 Regular

    176
    Mar 19, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    JoJo
    OK, time for some discussion re. EM1 and GH4. I would like to limit this comparison to stills and ruggedness. I own both Pany and Oly lenses and bodies so I have been able to form some personal preferences based on a fair test. I am ready to move on to either the EM1 or the GH4 based on your experiences. Customer support is not a criteria nor is price or ergonomics.....only the ability to record a still image and the quality to survive professional use.

    HAVE AT IT!!!!!
     
  2. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    683
    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    I have both. I had the GH4 before the EM1 simply because I needed something for 4K video (for commercial projects). I'd played with M43 some years ago (GH1) and put it down, but the GH4 brought it back to life for me and yesterday I sold off the last of my big DSLRs (Canon 5D3).

    The GH4 is a great stills camera. It's not just for video as some people would have you believe. It has some advantages over the EM1, though naturally the EM1 has some advantages over the GH4 too.

    It was around October I started looking at the EM1 as a companion. Why? Why wasn't I happy with the GH4? In hind sight everything I shoot day to day is perfectly catered for in the GH4 with the exception of the IBIS for lower light and the live bulb feature, though I use it rarely.

    There are things that are great about both cameras, things that are better on one than the other, although I've learned that much of what is 'better' is often guides by personal preference.

    I tend to pick up the EM1 for stills now simply because the GH4 is almost permanently mounted in my hexacopter for professional aerial photo / video work. I'll be picking up either a second GH4 or maybe a GH5 if it gets released soon. By the same token I may even be tempted by an EM5 II as well. Hmmm....

    In terms of the stills that come from the cameras, I only shoot raw and have no desire to shoot JPEG, so for me the images that come from the cameras are equally as good with very little difference between them. What difference there is is easily compensated for in Lightroom 5.

    In terms of easy usability, the GH4 can be shot singe handed from the back because the power switch is accessible from your right thumb. The EM1 requires two hands because the power switch is on the other side.

    The EM1 has the rear switch to change the modes of the dials, which is OK until you forget to switch it back then end up changing ISO or white balance instead of aperture or shutter speed. The GH4 has buttons that change the dial modes in the same way, but a half press of the shutter button ends the mode change so you're back to normal without having to remember it.

    The EM1 makes it easier to move focus positions than the GH4, but for me the artificial horizon and focus peaking are better on the GH4.

    I could go on and a feature by feature basis but what's the point? They both make excellent cameras.
     
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  3. darrellc

    darrellc Mu-43 Regular

    112
    Aug 21, 2012
    I have both. With previous GH3/EM5 and then EM1 I preferred the Olys for stills. I actually prefer the GH4 for stills over the EM1 after shooting with it for a while, which surprised me. I feel the GH4 is just better and faster for me from a usability/workflow perspective when shooting. That being said the EM1 is vastly better in that regard to the EM5. I think it comes down to individual idiosyncrasies on which is preferable.

    IBIS of course is the killer feature for EM1 for stills.

    I think both are rugged but my sense is the EM1 is more so and has better weather sealing. So I'd say edge to EM1 for you.

    I have the A7ii however, and more of my shooting is moving to the Sony FF system, so my EM1 will be up for sale as the A7ii with IBIS is taking its place, and I'll be using a GH4 and GM5 pair for m4/3, video, light travel, casual photography and other situations where I don't carry the A7ii.
     
  4. Ccasey

    Ccasey Mu-43 Regular

    157
    Jul 29, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Chris
    I'm glad you started this thread, JoJo. I have an E-M1 and mostly love it. The only thing that leaves me wanting is confidence in the AF capabilities. (I, too, sold my 5D3 recently.)

    I shot last weekend in a light forest, with mottled sunlight coming through, and the AF system had a very tough time and was frequently distracted by light on the background foliage.

    Can either of you who have both comment on C-AF? Is there a dramatic difference? My uses are young kids' (up to about 11 years old) outdoor soccer games. They are generally well-lit, and the kids are not extremely fast, but they move erratically.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  5. JoJo

    JoJo Mu-43 Regular

    176
    Mar 19, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    JoJo
    So far, the comments are surprising me!

    JoJo
     
  6. darrellc

    darrellc Mu-43 Regular

    112
    Aug 21, 2012
    ccasey - I don't use C-AF on either the GH4 or EM1. I should try - I just have never been happy with C-AF on any mirrorless cam I've had to date, and the speed of focus acquisiton in S-AF is so good on these cameras, I have a pretty good hit rate with the GH4 against my 2 and 5 year old just smashing the shutter to capture a single image. My A7ii and A7s lag far behind in this respect. I'm hoping the AF tracking performance converges between mirrored and mirrorless cams over the next couple of years.
     
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  7. Ccasey

    Ccasey Mu-43 Regular

    157
    Jul 29, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Chris
    Thanks darrellc. It's probably just nerves / seller's remorse on my part, but I've been looking for this answer for a while now. If you try it and reach a conclusion, please let us know.

    Take care!
     
  8. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    'Killer feature' is a matter of opinion. I would argue that silent shooting is more killer for stills than IBIS vs OIS.
     
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  9. darrellc

    darrellc Mu-43 Regular

    112
    Aug 21, 2012
    Good point. I use silent shutter all the time on my Panasonic m4/3 cams and A7s. I'm selling the EM1 and keeping the GH4, for many reasons, including the silent shutter. Reflecting on my choices, I guess I agree with you!
     
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  10. JoJo

    JoJo Mu-43 Regular

    176
    Mar 19, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    JoJo
    Anybody in the Atlanta, GA area own a GH4? This is a big town but only a couple of photo stores.....strange.

    JoJo