EM5 mk1 with 12-40 2.8 or EM1 with 12-50

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by rudydew, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. EM5 with 12-40 2.8

    27 vote(s)
  2. EM1 with 12-50

    2 vote(s)
  1. rudydew

    rudydew New to Mu-43

    Oct 28, 2015
    rudy dew

    So I am new to m43, I now have the choice to get either the EM5 mark 1 with the 12-40mm 2.8 pro lense, or the EM1 with the 12-50mm, at the exact same price in both cases.

    From what I understand the EM1 has an edge in terms of autofocus, having on sensor phase autofocus, adds WIFI and a better EVF, body construction and handling, + direct dials

    The EM5 in this case would enable me to get the 12-40mm 2.8, which is a better quality lens

    What would you choose ? is there a major advantage I missed ? Do you think the 12-40 2.8 is worth more than the EM1's advantages over the EM5 ?

    Thanks a lot for your opinions
  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    That f/2.8 lens is great and even better value in a kit. If you want to upgrade to the E-M1 you can get one used later - it will have lost more value than a used 12-40. If possible I'd get the E-M1 with 12-40 actually.
  3. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    I'd rather do a used em1 and a used 12-40.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. rudydew

    rudydew New to Mu-43

    Oct 28, 2015
    rudy dew
    Thats a good option too, but I have a good deal at around 700$ and with guarantee, also Im now in Thailand and there is not that many option for used gear as in the states or europe
  5. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Better optics are normally 99% of the time a better option than better camera. I almost gave up on the m43 system when using the 12-50. It was only when I got some primes that I was able to see the potential it had for me. The 12-40 is a superb zoom - they really do not get much better than that for the aperture range and field of view you are getting.

    If it were me I'd go EM5 and 12-40 or as Doof mentioned, look at getting a used EM1 and a used 12-40 from a reputable dealer with a warranty.
  6. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    The E-M5 and the 12-40, no question. The image quality between the two cameras is virtually identical; the handling is nicer on the E-M1 (better grip, better button layout) and does a few things the E-M5 cant (mostly use 43 Oly glass effectively), but other than that..
  7. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    hunting for deals on lenses is the proper way to go. Invest in glass, because they lose less value than bodies.

    That said, i had the option of getting an E-M1 and 12-40 relatively cheap. In the end, i didn't take bcs i can't afford it right now, but if i did, i'd sell the lens to offset the cost. My reason: the body would allow me to do some things i couldn't do with my current camera body (better AF, EVF, 5 axis stabilization, beefier grip etc) and in this part of world (Croatia, EU), it would be easier and faster to sell the lens (and my currenty camera body) than the E-M1 for the price i imagined.

    Each situation is different. if you have no other camera, then i'd recommend E-M1 and 12-50. You'll be set with that camera body for much longer. Olympus deals on lenses are pretty common. 12-50 is better than the standard kit lens, and though it can't be compared to priems or PRO zooms, has a 12mm FL and a pretty solid macro function. If you have DSLR gear, i'd recommend the E-M5 and 12-40, to see how you like the results. The IQ (if we're talking strictly about the sensor) is basically the same as with E-M1 (but keep in mind that m43 cameras are less popular in sports and BIF photography due to arguably poorer CAF) but the IQ coming from lenses used will heavily favor the 12-40. Then after some time if you do decide you want to go deeper into m43, you can easily buy a used E-M1 (or sth else) to improve, and have that sweet lens (which btw, by itself retails for more than $700).

    good luck and welcome to mu43
  8. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    Also consider this. I agree with the others. Glass is better investment. Both cameras are good. If you get the EM1, you could sell the 12-50 (which isn't that bad really)...and get a used 14-54mm mkii (fourthirds) w/MMF adapter. It's a bit bigger than the 12-40, but the 12-40 isn't tiny (by M43 standards) or lightweight. You can get a used one for $200. The MK1 version you can get for $100, but won't focus as fast...still not that bad though on the EM1. I don't recommend this option w/the EM5 though.

    FWIW, I sold the 12-40 f2.8. It's a great lens. I just decided to fund the 40-150 pro by selling it and using a 14-54mkii as a cheaper option that still has the same IQ when I need it. I had fond memories of it when I used it regularly. Just that it's F3.5 on the long end, but also has more reach. It's all about compromises. I also have primes to cover some of those other focal lengths when I want small/light and I still find the 12-50 on the wide end is good enough for even large prints and long exposures. I haven't been able to bring myself to sell it. Still good for lightweight travel and weatherproof.

    Also the EM5 allows you the option to add a grip or not depending on your preference. With a larger lens, it's helpful. With a prime it's unnecessary, but still useful (partial grip..not full battery grip). If you go the EM5 route, remember the EM1 will only get cheaper in the next year or two (esp when the MKii is released).
  9. rudydew

    rudydew New to Mu-43

    Oct 28, 2015
    rudy dew
    Thanks for these great replies !

    One thing the 12-50 I read has some macro capabilities which I find interesting, however the aperture f-3.5 6.3, If I got it right is the full frame equivalent of F7 minimum aperture at wild angle, so for portaits say at 30mm zoomed in, its really not fast, guess It really cannot compare to the 12-40 for portaits and bokeh ?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    The 12-40 and 12-50 are worlds apart in quality. As far as versatility goes I think you'll find something than can do 40/2.8 for decent portraits to be more frequently useful than occasional macros. As others said, if on a budget buy older bodies and good deals on lenses.
  11. Rudy

    Rudy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 24, 2013
    Oakland, CA
    The 12-40 has actually a very close focus distance. It's not a macro, but neither is the 12-50. If macro is important you could get yourself one of the excellent legacy macro lenses in the 90 to 105mm focal range for very cheap. They will be manual focus, but that is OK for macro and add a nice telephoto option to your kit. The f/2.8 of the 12-40 will be very useful. It is heavier, but the 12-50 is pretty bulky itself, albeit light.
    The quality of the images you get out of the E-M1 and E-M5 will be identical.
    Bodies will be pretty worthless after the next new thing comes on the market, which is why you can pick up a used E-M5 Mk I for under $300. The E-M1 will follow as soon as the Mk II comes out.
  12. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Depends. Do you shoot sports, BIF, etc.? E-M1, with a good lens, could make it easier. Do you use manual focus lenses? E-M1 focus peaking could be useful (even if I no longer use it and prefer magnify). Do you plan to do macro? Focus stacking on the E-M1 could be nice, etc.
    But unless you are going to use the camera for one very specific purpose (sport, wildlife, macro, portraits, astronomy, etc.) this are just "nice to have" features.

    About aperture: one is 2.8 the other goes up to 6.3. Unless you have shot on full frame for years and you have DoF tables burned in your mind my advice is to forget about the ugly "equivalent aperture" concept. The 12-40 blurs much more and it is much faster.

    One more thing: the 12-40 is a super pro lens. Usually you get this because you really want it and you pay 700$ for a used one alone. An E-M5 body costs much less and you could pair it to a Pana 14-45 for a good combo (unless you need weather sealing). The 12-40 costs almost 5 times the 12-50. This is why responses are so much similar (quite unusual).
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    I have the 12-40 and am very pleased with it. It's very sharp, focuses to near-macro and will cover everything the 12-50 does. The sharpness and larger aperture at the long end pay big dividends in everyday shooting.
    I lust after the E-M1 myself, but have decided to wait until the Mk.II comes out. The E-M1 is only a year away from being superceded. You will be easily able to "get by" with the E-M5; as others have said, image quality is the same as the E-M1.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    There are user galleries here on the forum for all native and adapted lenses to see what all lenses are capable of. You'll find great photos with "bad" lenses, bad photos with "great" lenses and everything in between....plenty there to help you decide what's best for you.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. rudydew

    rudydew New to Mu-43

    Oct 28, 2015
    rudy dew
    Thanks, I also saw the firmware upgrade added focus peaking to the EM1 which is very nice to have as well .. for now Im more aiming at the em5 with 12-40, the aperture of the 12-50 kit lense with crop factor scares me a bit
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Lens trumps body 99/100 for me. Especially given that we haven't seen any meaningful improvement in image quality since the E-M5 sensor anyway. If you were going to track the kind of action where the E-M1 would give an advantage, you wouldn't be comparing short zooms anyway. So the choice is easy for me. 12-40 and E-M5 all the way.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  17. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    I wouldn't get EM5. Even as image quality is may be identical (EM1 is sharper as it skips AA filter, but EM5 is better on long (30s+) exposures), the EM1 carries much more in itself, and EM5 seems to be abandoned by Olympus - no firmware updates, even for zero antishock, while EM1 is still current and next big firmware update is scheduled in November.
    If you can get EM1 at decent price - go for it and look for good deal on 12-40 elsewhere.

    IMO, neither of your deals is good - looks like seller is trying to offload items that do not sell well: EM5 or 12-50
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  18. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    I choose the EM5 because the combo with 12-40mm f2.8. Invest on body, only one or two years the depreciation is high. The price can be dropped. Lens? It's slow.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Will this be your only kit forever, or will you be adding lenses?

    If this is all for a long time then go with the e-m5 and 12-40,2.8.

    If this is just the start then go with the e-m1 for more capability long-term. It's a better base to build upon.

    $700 is a great price for either kit.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  20. welder

    welder New to Mu-43

    Aug 27, 2015
    I'd go for the e-m5 with the f2.8 lens. You can always pick up the Oly 12-50MM for under $200 on Ebay.
    • Agree Agree x 1