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EM5II vs EM1

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by EarthQuake, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    833
    Sep 30, 2013
    Now that the EM5 II is out, I wonder how many people are mulling over the same decision. I won't go over the full specs, but I'll talk quickly about what is important to me and what I'm thinking. I currently use an EM5 I as a backup to my EM1, however, my EM5 has some lingering issues that wouldn't be economical to repair, so I'm looking for a replacement.

    Size/Weight: EM5II weighs in at only 30g less, which is practically no difference at all. Its a little smaller, but to me weight is more important as either camera is about the same size, too big to fit in a pocket (I have an RX100 for that), but small enough to fit in a very small bag and comfortably carry all day. The EM1 has a much better and more comfortable grip (assuming based on my experience with EM5 I), even though the EM1 is fractionally bigger and heavier, the bigger grip makes handling and balance with medium to large size lenses much more comfortable, and the stress of the camera on my wrist is significantly reduced due to the better balance and weight distribution. I often carry around the EM1 with one hand and no strap, and doing the same with the EM5 is unnerving due to the small/slippery grip.

    Ergonomics/controls: Again the EM1 has a much more comfortable grip. I also prefer the control layout on the EM1, to be fair I haven't used an EM5 II yet, but I can tell just by looking at it that some of the FN buttons will be harder to reach than they are on the EM1.

    Video/IBIS: Looks like the EM5II is a clear winner here with better frame ranges and codec, but I don't shoot much video. IBIS also appears to be improved, however, the EM1 IBIS is already fantastic.

    CAF: Not sure on this one, I'll be curious to see how the EM1 with 3.0 firmware compares to the EM5II. I don't shoot action very often so this isn't a big concern.

    Image quality: No real difference here. EM5 has multi-shot high res mode, which would be fun to play with, but not something I would use frequently as I only bring a tripod when doing HDR work.

    Bracketing: EM1 wins here with up to 7 shots at 2EV (1EV for EM5II), which is very important for 360 degree HDR panorama work that I do.

    Buffer: Can't find buffer specs for EM5II but I assume the EM1 wins here.

    Shutter: EM5II has a very nice max shutter of 1/16000, I was expecting 1/4000 and am pleasantly surprised here. However, its not a mechanical shutter at those speeds, and I;m not sure if there are any implications on image quality (10 bit vs 12 bit like other cameras with electronic shutters, rolling/jello effect). 1/8000th mechanical shutter on EM1 is a known quantity that I am very happy with.

    Screen: I may be in the minority, but I hate fully articulating screens, as I find it a pain to have to flip the screen out to the side just to tilt it up/down a little (my most frequent use case for a tilting screen), so EM1 wins here for me as well.

    Price: $1400 for EM1 and $1100 for EM5II, EM5II wins on face value if we compare retail, however the EM1 regularly sells for $1200 on sale from the major outlets, and can be purchased for much less from Asia ($1585 from Taiwan WITH 12-40/2.8), used prices are also around $800-900, which is probably what I would do.

    Overall I'm leaning towards picking up a second EM1 used, rather than the EM5II.

    Now to be clear, this is how I look at the differences for my personal shooting style, I'm not trying to declare one or other better in absolute terms. I'm also curious to know who else has the same dilemma, and how you view the various differences in these two cameras. If I'm missing some glaring difference that would be good to know as well!
     
  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    From the reviews I've seen, I think the E-M5ii is the better camera unless using 4/3 lenses is an important factor. Even if you don't do video, the new IBIS seems like a big improvement and the electronic shutter is a great feature - silent and with no worries about shutter shock. I think you'd need the grip with the E-M5ii though - I agree that the body is probably too slippery without it.

    On the articulated screen issue - I like the ability to use it flipped out in portrait format, but I agree that having to fold it out to the left to use it in horizontal format is not ideal. Pity it doesn't have a folding hinge on the left.
     
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  3. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Price gets really close if you believe that the E-M5 (either of them) need an accessory grip, as I do. Unless either the high res mode or the video is compelling, I'd go with the E-M1. YMMV!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    833
    Sep 30, 2013
    Thanks for the response. What is it about the IBIS that you see as a big improvement over the EM1? From what I've read, it seemed like the primary improvement was in video. With the EM1, I can shoot down to 1.3s seconds handheld at 7mm, and about 0.5 seconds at 25mm. Thats 4-5 stops or so, so I feel any improvement for still shooting (while welcome) would be marginal.

    Shutter shock is not a problem I've noticed with my EM1, or my EM5 for that matter, and I don't frequently shoot in areas where the (relatively quiet) shutter sound of the EM1 is even a consideration, so the electronic shutter to me goes in the category of interesting but not essential features, just like the high res mode.

    I don't shoot 43rds lenses and maybe I'm an oddball here, but that was never something I considered a particular strength of my EM1, mostly because by and large 43rds lenses are much bigger than their M43rds counterparts, and my primary draw to this system is small size/weight. To me, things like ergonomics and performance (bracketing, buffer, etc) were what set the EM1 apart from the EM5, and those areas seem to remain about the same.

    If I need to add the grip to the EM5 II to get similar ergonomics, and thus make it just as/or more expensive, heavier, and about the same size, I struggle to see the appeal.

    Yeah, I agree, I would have loved to see a Sony A77 style screen that gives you the best of both worlds.
     
  5. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    From a few reviews I've read that show the results of the Hi Res mode (e.g. http://www.dpreview.com/previews/olympus-om-d-e-m5-ii), I think it's actually quite a remarkable feature on a camera at around the $1000 mark. For studio still-life shots I can see it being of real benefit. However, the limitations of tripod + no subject movement probably make it less than useful for what most of us use cameras for. I'd like it, but I wouldn't drop other features for it.

    On the electronic shutter - I've been using a GX7 for a couple of months (which I'm now selling - see https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=73361 :wink:), and I've found the electronic shutter very useful. Having a truly silent camera makes a big difference in many circumstances - theatre, churches, street/candid etc.
     
  6. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    833
    Sep 30, 2013
    Thats pretty much where I land on it as well. It seems cool, and I want to play with it for nerdy reasons, but the times I would take advantage of it in reality would be very slim, due to needing a tripod and very specific subject matter.

    Yeah, I can see the appeal for certain types of shooting, however, I don't shoot much in churches (well I do, but not during service, and only the more touristy ones where they are used to cameras being used) or theaters, and I've used my EM1 for street shooting plenty (the shutter sound is a drop in the bucket on a busy city street). I've used a GX7 and the silent shutter was fun to play around with but other than that didn't show much benefit for me in real use. I sold the GX7 due to various issues I had with the ergonomics with that camera. Maybe I would use it more on an OMD body, who knows.
     
  7. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    505
    Jan 10, 2014
    Miami
    David
    You already have an em1 why not get the em5mkII. You get the best that Olympus has to offer. I think they compliment each other rather well. The screen may grow on you especially when you have a choice. Plus you get extra goodies like silent shooting, 40mp images to play with and better video. Trust me shooting true 24p video is really rather wonderful especially with the lenses we get to choose from. Not to mention you have almost zero compromise. Both are weather-resistant, both shot at ISO 100. Both have IBIS. You really can't lose here.
     
  8. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I agree David - but if you were in the market to spend a little over $1000 for a u43 body - which would you go for? Seems it's not such a clear choice.
     
  9. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    833
    Sep 30, 2013
    This is actually the most compelling argument so far, why not? I was actually planing to get the mkII as soon as I heard it would be released soon. However, the more I look into it, the less I like it, namely because there is basically no weight difference, which is a big reason to have a second, different, smaller body, and the screen. Though, playing with a new camera would be more fun than another EM1, so I might do it anyway :biggrin:

    Well, the thing is, most of the notable improvements are features I would rarely if ever use, the 40mp thing I would probably test out to make sure it works and then never really use it again. I shoot video very infrequently. On the other had, I would have to live with the worse ergonomics every time I shoot, deal with the fiddly screen every single time. I've owned cameras with that type of screen and I find them slow and clunky to use, with the EM1 screen I can tilt it up or down in a split second to shoot high, shoot low, reduce glare on the screen, etc. The fully articulating screen has benefits, namely odd angles for portrait shooting and selfies, but those cases are much less frequent for me personally.

    My gut tells me to get an EM5II because its new and exciting and fun, while my brain tells me to get an EM1. I think its easy to look at the EM5 II's feature list and come up with bullet points where it is improved over the EM1, but honestly I don't think thats doing the EM1, and all of its advantages, justice. I know when I got my EM1, I didn't even want to pick up the EM5 anymore. The reason for that was less technical specs, and almost entirely how it feels in the hand.

    This camera will mostly be used as a backup, or when my wife is out shooting with me on photo-centric vacations. Even though she prefers her camera to be smaller, she is always trying to take the EM1 instead of the EM5, because it simply feels that much better in the hand.
     
  10. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    505
    Jan 10, 2014
    Miami
    David
    Yes, I think it would definitely be tougher if you were starting from scratch or looking to replace entirely. But I think there is a lot of advantages in having choices with a second body. You cover more ground in features and functionality. Unless you are shooting professionally and do a lot of event work, I don't see the advantage in duplicating cameras.

    But I did take my own advice. I pre-ordered the em5ii to supplement my em1 [emoji6] Though I suspect the em5 will end up in my hands more. [emoji2]
     
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  11. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    833
    Sep 30, 2013
    Yeah, I see what you're saying there and agree in concept. I've been trying to think in terms of EM1 primarily for stills and EM5II for video, that seems logical enough, and I would like to do more video work. However, I've been telling myself that one of these days I'm going to start doing more video work for years now, and its very difficult to find the time to actually get into it, and even the video I do take, It's very hard to find the time to actually put the files in Premiere and cut them up.

    I'll be very curious to see what you think of your mkII when you get it!
     
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  12. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    505
    Jan 10, 2014
    Miami
    David
    Ah. Well you make some good points. Sharing with the wife is a good reason as well.
     
  13. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    Do you care about video specs even a wee bit. If so, no brainer. Em5r2.

    Do you care about long exposures and not needing to do dark frame double exposure... em5r2

    Do you need phase detect trickery for better tracking af. Em1

    Do you use legacy om lenses. Em1

    Do you need to show others you got an em1. Get an Em1.
     
  14. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    What in your mind makes the E-M1 better for legacy om lenses?
     
  15. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    833
    Sep 30, 2013
    Only thing on that list that is a consideration for me is the long exposure noise, but in my use that is mostly an issue with HDR bracketing, in low light, where the slowest exposures can take numerous seconds. Even then the EM5 II is not a clear cut winner, as it can't bracket at 7x2, only 7x1.
     
  16. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    The phase detect array and gpu makes it significantly better and faster af on many of the om lenses.
     
  17. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    Ah...you mean four thirds lenses.

    OM's are purely MF.
     
  18. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    The noise issue isn't in relation to bracketing just the em1 phase pixel add a tremendous amount of noise for 30s plus exposures and needs dark subtraction to remove the bright pixels. If non issue for you... It really becomes a video and 40+mp shift image...

    Em5rii will probably an ISO improvement as well, hopefully cleaner 800-3200 ISO..if that's a factor for you.

    Otherwise since video is no biggie for you, just get the em1 so that you don't feel like you got the lesser variant of the omd cameras and always wondering if you should have.

    Em5r2 is really a mark1 getting closer to em1 as a faster shutter etc. but now they have an omd with proper video sans 4k..and this high iq multishot static architecture feature.
     
  19. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The DPReview samples show no such improvement with RAW. JPEG maybe.
     
  20. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Depending of course on what you do, if you already have an E-M1, then another E-M1 is a logical choice as there will be no cognitive dissonance as you swap from one to another.
     
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