EM5 woes. Move to GX7, EM1, or wait?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by sprocket87, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. sprocket87

    sprocket87 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2011
    So Back in 2012 I sold all my Nikon FX gear and went cold turkey to m43 with the EM5, picking up plenty of lenses along the way. Overall I really enjoy it, and the weight and size reduction (the main reason for changing systems) has been a real blessing. But I have just never bonded with the EM5. The ergonomics are just... Frustrating. I have set the controls and custom functions the best way I can, and am very familiar with how to operate the camera, but I am constantly fighting with it. The add on grips help some, but in general I just don't care for the camera controls.

    Don't get me wrong, I have produced many images I am proud of with the EM5, but using it is a struggle and if I am being honest, takes some of the joy out of photography. I know, it sounds like I'm just being whiney, but I'm trying to be honest. The fact that it has been over two years and I just haven't gelled with the camera is frustrating.

    The only two real viable replacements in m43 are the GX7 and EM1 (I find the Gh3/4 to be too large for my tastes). I am really worried the EM1 will just be more of the same from a handling standpoint. I know there have been several improvements, but I just wonder if Olympus' design/operation vision isn't my style.

    The GX7 looks like it checks all the right boxes from a features standpoint, and seems like a much better handling camera, but part of me hates the idea of spending a bunch of money on a new body that isn't really a step forward, more to the side.

    I guess I am wondering if it would be smarter to wait for the next "real" upgrade in m43 tech, like a next generation sensor. I know chasing the next big thing can be a dangerous gambit, but I can't really afford to buy a new flagship body every other year, so maybe I should just hang onto the em5 until I there is something hat really moves the goalpost.

    Finally, since the EM5 used prices have absolutely hit the floor, I think I would best off keeping the em5 as a second body. Especially for non OIS lenses like my Oly 12-40 which wouldn't perform as well on the GX7. It sure would be nice having a second body with a different focal range for certain events/photo shoots. I would keep the GX7 as my daily prime shooter, but have the Oly kit on hand for the versatility.

    So... I guess I just needed to get his off my chest and see what your opinions are. Would you suck it up and hang onto the EM5 until a more significant replacement comes out? Or get the GX7 or EM1 right now, possibly keeping the EM5 as a backup body? Remember that from a financial standpoint whatever decision I make will have to last for a couple years at least.

    Let's not even get started on the Fuji XT1... I am seriously tempted to sell all my m43 and switch, I just love the ergonomics of that camera. ;)

    Thanks for your time and thoughts
    • Like Like x 1
  2. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    I had the EM5, added a GX7, and replaced the 5 with a 1. The 1 handles more or less like my Nikon D7000 did. It's a bit smaller and lighter, and of course the comparable lenses are much more so. The grip is great, the buttons are flexible and well placed, the EVF is big. It's pricey. You know about the Menus.

    I also found the EM5 a bit awkward, albeit a huge improvement over the Nikon V1 I used for over a year. Which isn't to say it wasn't good, it just wasn't excellent in this regard.

    The GX7 handles differently but is also sweet. It's noticably lighter and smaller than the EM1, which I have compounded by adding the RRS L bracket to the EM1. The menus are simpler than the EM1's.

    If you're looking for DSLR-like handling, IMHO the EM1 is the way to go. If you're looking for a camera with comparable IQ to the EM5 but with better handling at a bargain price (no weatherproofing, 3 axis IBIS), the GX7 will work.
  3. The GX7 has a decent IBIS system, so I'm not sure why your 12-40 would be much worse on it. Go try it in a store?

    Not sure that it's much of an improvement though unless you're interested in video, tilting EVF, WiFI, or electronic shutter.
  4. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    As wjiang points out, the GX7 does have IBIS, though reportedly inferior to the e-m5's, it is also supposed to be decent.

    Another option, if you don't feel the need for IBIS and don't have to have absolutely the best sensor, is to look at the G5 or G6. I own the G5 and after a while did grow to love it -- to the point where I won't upgrade to another camera until there's something a lot better. Of course, if you do want the best of the best, you should probably wait a few months and see what the e-m5 successor and GX8 will be like.
  5. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    I got the E-M5 just under two years ago and didn't like the button and menu interface, or how the camera felt in hand. After a while I got used to it, now actually enjoy using the crazy thing. I might like an E-M1 or GX-7 better, but with the current setup and User Control Panel, I am happy enough with it. If the GX-7 felt good and had comparable Jpegs I might try one. I like the old rangefinder design. Maybe you could rent one a week.
  6. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    I can't speak to specifics about the GX7 or EM1 ergonomics. But, IMO, ergonomics are one of the really big factors that folks should be evaluating when choosing cameras. Overall, I've been really happy with my E-M5, but if a camera doesn't work for YOU the way YOU use it, that's a big issue. And in the end, only YOU can really determine if the ergonomics of a camera work for you.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Al.

    Al. Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
    I feel the same way about my EM-5, who's idea was it to put the on/off switch were it is...
    • Like Like x 1
  8. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I added an E-M1 to my E-M5 and whilst the controls are certainly more manly and better placed than the 5's, for me it was really more of the same. Now I don't actually have too many issues with the handling of either so that wasn't a big deal, but I decided to move the 1 on since I didn't think it was that much of an upgrade for the extra money. Oly cameras are what they are, so if you find it not to your taste, it would be sensible to give the GX7 (or GH4) a good test drive.
  9. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Good prices on the GX7 right now.
  10. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I have both the 1 and the 5 and the ergonomics of the 1 address many of the issues of the 5. It is a bit of a mini-Nikon, and a pleasure to use. I do not own the GX-7, and like its design a lot (as I am a sucker for rangefinders), but as I just enjoy shooting with the Oly so much, I passed on the firesale pricing recently.

    Good luck,

  11. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I thought the really good deals have passed?

  12. sprocket87

    sprocket87 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2011
    Your comment has me torn as to which direction I want to go. Again, coming from a Nikon D700, I relish full manual control, so the EM1 seems logical. But if it really is just a more spaced out, firmer button version of the EM5, I'm not sure that will be enough. The GX7 looks way simpler to operate while still offering all the manual control I need. I should also add that I have an old GF1, and while it's definitely antiquated and simple as far as controls go, the Panasonic style suits me. Menu, buttons, etc, are all more to my liking than Olympus' approach. Not sure how much the GF1 translates to the GX7 but that's a factor.

    Yeah, I know it has IBIS but even if it performs comparably to the EM5's it won't work in the EVF or during video. Besides, typically lenses have better compatibility when used with same-branded bodies (in camera CA and distortion removal, for example). I guess I just meant, if I have the chance to keep a body from each manufacturer I could in a way have the best of both worlds. I don't see giving up my Oly 12-40 for the Pana 12-35, and as long as I keep it it would probably perform best on the EM5. Likewise the PL25 would immediately live on the GX7 (I hate the CA I get on my EM5 with that lens).

    The other features -- tilting EVF, Wifi and electronic shutter are ALL of interest to me. I would consider those icing on the cake, assuming the camera handling was to my liking.

    Not sure what that the G5/G6 would get me that the GX7 doesn't, unless you mean handling (I know they are supposed to be very comfortable with the large grips). I demoed a GH4 in store last week and it was waaaay too large and traditional DSLR-like for me, after having the EM5 for a couple years.

    That's not a bad idea. I know I need to try the GX7 and EM1 in store, if my local shop has one I definitely will, but renting one isn't a terrible idea.

    That's where I'm at... I feel like it's a cop out, but in the end, the EM5 just frustrates me. I guess I have a love/hate relationship with it; I love the size, the overall form factor and the features, but I hate almost everything about operating it. And like you said, that's a pretty big issue.

    I KNOW RIGHT. I mean, that in itself isn't a huge deal, but it's another log on the fire.
    I will definitely have to get one in hands to try it myself.

    Yeah, the sub-$400 are done but Adorama has it new for $497 or used for $449. I could do that.

    Another thing is that the EM1 is a physically larger camera, comparable to my EM5 with grip, whereas the GX7 is on the smaller side. I have the HLD-6 for my EM5, and most often I use it with only the grip portion and not the vertical portion attached, so it's similar to the EM1 size. But I like having the freedom to remove that grip for when I'm shooting really light, with a pancake. If I kept the EM5+grip and then got the GX7 I could again have the best of both worlds. The EM5 could be my big lens, long shoot (2x battery), weather sealed alternate body to the more comfortable daily driver. Kinda like the 4x4 offroad truck to my sportscar... ehh????? :biggrin:

    If I had to choose right now, without actually taking a GX7 and EM1 for a test drive, I feel like the GX7 is the right pick for me, especially if I kept my EM5 to fill the gaps (weather sealing, IBIS video, vertical grip, etc). I guess I won't know until I try them out. It is just tough mentally to sell myself on a new camera that was technically just discontinued :)

    In the end I know I'm the only one who can make a choice, but hearing your feedback and comments is very helpful to give me different angles to look at, so thanks again.
  13. JYPfoto

    JYPfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 27, 2013
    Here are my thoughts. If you like the output from the E-M5 you'll appreciate the improved buttons on the E-M1. It fixed most of the issues I had with the E-M5 such as the tiny buttons and the squishy feel they had. The only thing I don't care for on the 1 is the power on the left side. But I see why they did, so they can put a dial around the shutter button. I'm not a huge fan of the front control dial being so far forward of the shutter, such as is the case on the new Sony a7ii. Having it around the shutter is a great touch.

    My experience with the GX7 is short but I had a chance to shoot with it for a few weeks last summer. It's a fine camera, but didn't mesh with me. It has a fairly decent grip, but nothing like the E-M1. I would hesitate to use it with large glass. Also it reminds me more of a fixed compact design, like the x100 and not like a DSLR which tends to be modular. What I mean is you can slap on a battery grip to handle better if you use long glass or have big hands. My he GX7 has no grip, you can't add to it other than possibly a Arca plate or a case.

    The EVF on the 1 is leaps and bounds better than the GX7 if you ask me. There are a few things I do like about the GX7. The silent shutter, the better video (even if it's not 4k, I think better quality that the E-M1). The focus peaking and manual focus aides are much better.

    I know it sounds like an easy solution, but if you have a chance pick the, up in a camera store if you have a chance. To me I can know in about 5 minutes whether I will like shooting with a camera or not. To me at least it has to be comfortable and ergonomically friendly, no amount of DR or high ISO performan e or fast AF will make me want to shoot a camera if I don't feel comfortable shooting with it. That's why ever since I rebought my E-M1 I'm less likely to keep the a7ii around. I figured that with a FF sensor and having IBIS it would be the end all camera for me. But the uncomfortable feeling I have using the dials (I have to change my grip multiple times if I need to use the front or rear dials) make me not want to shoot it. What good is having a great sensor or great features if the camera doesn't feel like an extension of your hand.

    You can wait and wait and wait for a new camera to come out. Or you can grab a deal on a used E-M1 or a GX7, save a boatload off new retail price. If and when you upgrade the net cost to you wont be as much. You can probably get a gently used E-M1 in the $700-800 range. When you go and sell it later, even getting back $400-500 for it would cost you a net $300 in possibly 1-2 years.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. sprocket87

    sprocket87 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2011
    ^ thank you for the extremely rational, logical reply. Tomorrow if my local shop is open I will try to take both for a spin. My gut tells me they won't have an EM1 in stock but it's worth a shot.

    Out of curiosity how does the shutter noise on the EM1 compare to the 5?
  15. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Oops. I didn't notice. I spent my money on other stuff.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    I started in the m43 system with a pair of PENs (EP-2, EP-3). I enjoyed using them, even if the menu system took a while to get used to. When the EM-5 came out, I almost bought one if only for its built-in EVF and nostalgic design, but I held off as my EP-3 was only a year old.

    When the GX7 was released, I went to the store and immediately fell in love. It addressed everything on my wishlist for a PEN replacement, and the camera just felt so comfortable in my hand. All the controls were in the right place for my hand size, so I know what you mean about camera fit. It's like finding a good fitting pair of shoes or jeans. It may not be for everyone, but it was perfect for me.

    I've since had a chance to handle the EM-5 and EM-1. While the EM-1 felt more comfortable, for my hands, the controls of both OMD series cameras just didn't feel right. The buttons, switches and shutter didn't fall perfectly under my fingers in the way they did on the GX7. So I recently replaced the EP-3 with a second GX7. Good luck with your search.
    • Like Like x 1
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  17. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    If you've tolerated 2+ years of the em-5 I'd hold out a tad longer to see what the M43 has to offer in the upcoming models. No sense selling the em-5 if you need a second body. On the other hand if your not gonna use it then you might as well give it away to a family member or sell it to aid in a new lens acquisition.

    Even though I dont have large hands I still prefer my gh3 handling vs em-5. I do agree it's nice to have stabilization in the Oly body.

    The em-1 is not a lateral move. Going that route is a better package. I do like the xt1 but it's a clunky setup that may not fully jive with your preference. Sony alpha series is also something to get accustomed too.

    Does the em-5 performance meet your needs for the next 2+yrs??

    My gh3 (gh4 body) is pretty well the only m43 body that is comfortable and great as far as ergonomics is concerned but still is a hair weak for iso performance for my style. I'm always on the fence in choosing a secondary platform. The A7s (or newer revision in the future) isn't the most comfortable body but I know for a secondary system it will provide me the "light sponge" capabilities I need. Since it has insane high iso capabilities it will provide fast shutters speeds to stop motion blur. A72 is another consideration but I still prefer "better" iso performance. I dont care for the em-1 "feel" but the sony isn't anything to brag about either. Bottom line is that larger lenses on small bodies isn't ideal. My primary system is heavier but delivers exactly what I need in a heavier form factor.

    If there's going to be a GH5 with stabilization and light sponge capabilities I'll definitely stick with the m43.

    Lots to think about.........
  18. Ellsass

    Ellsass Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2014
    The Olympus menu system and user interface is… gross, to put it as kindly as I can. If you don’t enjoy using your camera and the interface doesn’t stay out of your way and just let you take great shots, then what’s the point? Try the GX7.
  19. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    You rarely if ever need to dive into the menu system once you set up the oly the way you like it/want it. Set the super control panel and some mysets to buttons or dial positions and I can't think of a good reason to menu dove short of formatting a memory card. I never found it a huge problem coming from canon.

    I had an E-M5, it got stolen, used the insurance money to get an E-M1. It's a much better handling camera - buttons nicer, dials better, 2x2 interface much more flexible. And more comfortable to hold and a much better EVF.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 12, 2012
    The em5 with j.b design grip is a way to go... just saying
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