em5III vs em1II or III?

gardengirl13

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I'm sorry to post another what do I buy threads, but I've gone through a lots of posts and reviews and am only getting more confused.

I bought my em5 exactly 8 years ago this week. It's starting to act wonky and when I looked up possible upgrades I see that Oly is selling it's cameras and lenses. Well now what? If I sell now I can afford a small canon kit, if I wait the prices on things might get so low I won't be able to put any money into a new kit. I switched to the em5 due to bad health issues, so going back to canon DSLRs again is out of the question. This camera lasted me 8 years so if the next one lasts that long well then I won't have to worry about what to do until later.

Looking between the em5III and the em1II or III, and I don't want the weight of the em1II or I'd probably just go for it. I've loved the em5 so I really wanted to just get the III and not look back, but the plastic is a bit of a concern, I use tripods often as well and seeing that it can fail is not encouraging. Plus, the main concern I have is I already despise the battery life on my camera. Like it's really frustrating for me because I only have 2 batteries and I've been stuck in the lurch a couple times even with two fully charged batteries. And yes I've tried the wasabi batteries and they were worse. The first two lasted a year and died a week apart, they replaced them for free which was great, but after just 1-2 months use both new ones died on the same day. Seeing that it's worse, than that alone makes me not really want to buy it. But I love my em5 and the weight might be an issue for me.

Are the plastic and the battery issues real problems, or just people acting a little nutty??
 

wimg

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The plastic is not really a problem, but the batteries are, IMO, and that is quite a change when going to the EM-1, II or II.

I started off with a Panny GF2, then had an EM-10 for a short while, liked the rendering very much, and upgraded to the EM-5 II because it was a lot better with regard to capabilities. However, when the EM-1 II arrived almost a year later, I jumped on it, because for me the increase in MP, plus the way longer battery life, and the better handgrip, which increased ergonomics for me no end, were the dealmakers. All the rest, like increased speed and better weather sealing was just a bonus.

I understand the EM-5 III is quite up there with the EM-1 II, also has a 20 MP sensor, but it still has the small battery, and for me the smaller handgrip has worse ergonomics. Weight difference is really minimal IMO (I also use FF with rather heavy primes), so personally I would opt for the EM-1 II or III, and most likely for the III considering the changes they have made to it. Personally I won't upgrade yet, because I am very happy with the II as it stands.

I happen to use Canon as well, mirrorless however (EOS R), and that also has absolutely great ergonomics. I did not opt for the smaller model, the RP, basically because it has a smaller battery, and is ergonomically not as good for me, not even with the extra grip, so from that POV if you'd only had to go for a single camera, IMO it would have to be the EOS R, or any of the new models coming out soon, the R5 or the R6.

However, that would really require a rather large budget, which you indicate you would struggle with, and in addition, with lenses, that would become rather heavy compared to any Oly setup.

So, from that POV, it would have to be Oly. I do think either of the choices you indicated would be great: if you were happy with the EM-5, you should be happy with the EM-5 III as well. However, if you are indeed looking for an even more solid camera, and much, much longer battery life, I'd say better go with either the EM-1 II or III, depending on what your budget is. If you do have the budget for the III, I'd say go for that, otherwise the II - that won't disappoint either.

I do suggest you make sure to try it out first, compare it with the EM-5 you have now, to see if you don't mind the little extra weight, and do like the different ergonomics.

In short: try out the EM-1 II or III, with a few of your current lenses, and compare that with the E-M5 III, and select the one you feel happiest with. All of these are great cameras. Considering the way you feel, make sure you don't get second thoughts after your buy, as you seem to be drawn towards the EM-1 currently: thsi is why I suggest you should really ohysically compare them.

BTW, I find the EM-1 ergonomics as comfortable as those of the EOS R, if that is of any help.

HTH, kind regards, Wim
 

ac12

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Battery run time IS an issue.

My EM1-mk1 has a similar capacity battery as the EM5-mk2 and mk3.

I used my EM1-mk1 continuously on vacation (so worst case), and my average continuous run time was 4 hours, with the Panasonic-Lumix 12-60.
This run time was consistent enough that I could predict a battery change at 11am and 4pm.
On vacation I used 3 batteries, and at the end of the day #3 was almost empty. I could have easily hit empty on #3.
When I got back I immediately bought a FOURTH battery.

Then I got the Olympus 12-100/4.
That lens is a POWER HOG. My run time DROPPED from 4 hours down to 2-1/2 hours.
I had to buy a FIFTH battery.

And YES, buying this many batteries is EXPENSIVE.

BTW, on vacation I took TWO chargers, so that I could charge two batteries at once.
Soon as I got to the hotel, 2 batteries would go into the charger. This was shift #1.
When I got back from dinner, or as soon as shift #1 charged, I would put in the 3rd battery, for an overnight charge. This was shift #2.
With 2 chargers, I could charge up to 4 batteries a night.
5 batteries would require a 3rd charger.

The EM1-mk2 and mk3 use a larger capacity battery.
My run time with the 12-100 went up to about 3-1/2+ hours.
I have FOUR batteries for my EM1-mk2.
 

Michael Meissner

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The EM1-iii will let you charge the battery in the camera, so that helps with the charger situation
The E-m5 mark III will also charge the battery in camera, provided the camera is turned off. If you have periods of time when you are not using the camera (such as eating or driving), you can always use a USB battery pack or a car charging cable to top off the battery.
 

PakkyT

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Weight difference is really minimal IMO (I also use FF with rather heavy primes),
Well sort of. I think it is the grip of the E-M1s that make a heavier camera body not seem heavier since you have an actual grip to curl your fingers around. Where as the grip style of the E-M5 is more of a "pinching the camera" style so you notice extra weight more there.

But to put it in perspective, her having used the E-M5 for 8 years, moving to the E-M1s would be about equivalent to strapping a hockey puck or a billiard ball on the bottom of her E-M5. Hopefully the better grip negates that extra weight, but it is there.

As to battery life, with mirrorless best to get in the habit of turning it off all the time rather than letting it sleep. On my E-M1.1 I do this and while the argument is the extra wear & tear on that switch, I am going on 6 years with mine and haven't had any issues with the power switch. So powering ON then back OFF again can really extend the battery life. Also, for the 12-100 lens, during bright times of the day, if you notice your shutter speed is always high (I usually shoot in A mode), over 1/200 at least but certainly if you are seeing 1/500 and faster, you can probably use the convenient switch on the side of that lens to turn off the IS and save a lot of unneeded "Sync IS" battery hogging.
 

Bushboy

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Have you considered another M5 mk1?
Cheaper than chips!
I knew a man with an artificial leg, and , he was nicknamed, “Wonky”. He always got there in the end... :)
Yes,the 2nd hand market is awash with cameras over here.
Thousands of them for sale and not selling. I can’t help thinking that there will be an almighty crash in the values soon.
 

ac12

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Battery life really depends on HOW you use the camera.
If you shoot occasional shots, it makes sense to turn it off.
When I am not shooting sports, I do this. It does not take long to power up the camera. And it may be MANY minutes between shots.​
If you are shooting a sporting event, as I do, the camera is going to be on all the time.
The more you can power down, or even let the camera sleep, the longer the battery will last.

As for Sync-IS, again it depends on HOW you use the lens.
If you are shooting at the long end, you may want the IS on, even if the shutter speed is up at 1/1000+.
The reason is that the IS stabilizes the image in the viewfinder. I find it MUCH easier to hold the autofocus point on the subject, when the subject is not bouncing around in the viewfinder. I found that a surprising but very welcomed benefit when I first used a stabilized lens. So much so, that when my Nikon 70-200 VR lens had to go into the shop, I switched to my Olympus and it's IBIS, rather than use a non-stabilized lens on my Nikon.
But on the short end, I don't see the benefit of IS as much, as I can easily hold the AF point on the subject.
 

Bushboy

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I used to turn the switch off with my camera 📷 too. But then the switch stopped working... yeah
 

gardengirl13

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OK to kind of answer a few things...

1- my health sucks, bad. I have an auto-immune arthritis that affects my back, hips, knees, shoulders etc... but especially my hands and fingers. So ergonomics and weight are an issue.

But, and here's the reason I'm on this forum asking, the closest camera shop that will have all three olys is 3 hours each way between car, train and taxi. I can't easily do that on a good day, let alone just any old time to check out the 2 (3) cameras in person. I mean sure, the shop I buy from (Adorama) is that close shop which is awesome, but I've never actually been there in person, when we go to the city it's for other things not camera shopping. I also haven't bought anything aside from a battery in probably 5 years as when I have a kit I like I tend to stick with it.

I had tried another camera that family had and it was lighter than the em5 but the ergonomics made it horribly uncomfortable to use. So that's a slight concern with the em1. Adorama is pretty good if I need to exchange it, so worst case if I can't stand it I can swap it out. But some stores are weird right now due to COVID19 with returns. I'll have to call them to make sure it'll be ok.

2- I do shoot both ways, if it's something I need quick the camera stays on all the time, if it's something I can handle a little slower I always turn it off to save the battery. I can't have heavy lenses so them using power isn't an issue for me. I use regular IBIS and don't have it set up to stabilize in the viewfinder/LCD since it makes me nauseous when I use it that way. Not sure if that uses less power or not?

3- I don't want a used camera because I need it to last me as long as this one did. I will buy used lenses but cameras to me are like cars, I'd rather buy them new with full warranty and have them until they're almost useless for me. I don't like inheriting problems since I can't afford to buy new stuff often. This camera has 73k shutter count and isn't exposing right any more and has a crazy increase of noise with longer shots compared to just a year ago, and I dropped it for the first time three days ago because, and I swear the timing on all this going wrong is impeckable, the back thumb rest just popped off and I couldn't hold it since it was so shocking that it happened. Luckily I was grabbing the camera to shoot an animal in our yard and I was still in the house and it fell on a rug so it's fine, but that thumb rest is making it almost unusable. My husband might try gluing it, but since I'm getting something new I've been dealing with until then.

4- as for what's different with the cameras aside from this other stuff, I hate to say it I could care less. The way I use my cameras has always been the same since film. I set it up as close to my old Canon A1 as possible and ignore all the extras. I do really like weather protection as I do shoot in drizzles and snow especially. I do shoot in really cold weather too, around 0*F without any issue aside from my fingers freezing. Something I do appreciate is the IBIS due to my wobbliness. But higher MP doesn't do anything for me since my old computers can't handle large images, and can't handle RAW, yeah I know I know, but I can't afford a new computer too and I hate that they don't have DVD drives in them any more. I'm too old to want to change! ha ha ha!! Also with the in camera charging I don't think my USB port will do that will it?? My laptop is 8+ years old and the desk top (where I have ancient photoshop) is about 12+ years old! So whatever USB they have is what it is, I don't know what USBc is or whatever it is.

My budget is about $1000 but I might be able to push it to the $1500 for the em1III but I might prefer the mkII and a new lens to put money to a little better use. One of my lenses (the cheap kit 12-50 that came with the camera and is used often as a walk around for me when I only want 1 lens) is kind of making a weird noise, but it's been going on for a year now and it still works. But when it decides it's done I'll need something else. I'm not sure I want to wait until it dies or get something before it happens. But I'm also wanting another lens to add. I need a wider prime and a longer prime since I sometimes shoot my husbands band and the lighting there can be very tricky (think ISO 6400 with a 25 1.4 prime struggling at 1.8 with shutter speeds of 1/10 or less) so another prime to do that would be great. I've always done really well with cheap glass, hell my most awarded photo was taken with a p&s that I only kept for 2 days because it wasn't enough for me (when I first went from film to digital in 06 I thought a p&s would work and then exchanged that for the Canon 30D) but due to weight I've always shot with the budget glass and have always been mostly happy.
 

gardengirl13

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Ok scratch that bit in 4 a little, the in camera ND filter does excite me a bit since that's the reason I have the 9-18 because I use ND filters on it a lot. And maybe in the future getting a faster ultrawide and NOT having to worry about it taking screw on filters makes me a bit happy! I'm sure there are other fun things I'll use/try out and have fun with, but my main shooting is the same setup I've always had.

(also when I joke about being old and not wanting to change, I'm only slightly old, I just have the body of an 85 year old due to health stuff ha ha! I also don't like change when it comes to computers, but that has nothing to do with age, I've never owned a cell phone, we only got a smart TV because they don't sell dumb ones any more, we're not big on electronics so change can be annoying.)
 
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If you are happy with the photos you get from your em5, and are worried about batteries and build quality then find an em5ii.
I bought one a few months ago after the mark iii was released. There are still some hanging around.

It's built like the proverbial brick outhouse. It is 96 grams (about 4oz) heavier than the mark 1, but a better camera in most respects..
It will be a lot cheaper than a em1 or em5iii.
You will have spare batteries from the em5i
All you existing lenses work, no need to sell or buy into a new system
With extra money you were setting aside for the camera can then buy a 12-45 pro or Panasonic 12-60 to replace your failing 12-50, and if you use macro a macro lens as well, or even another 12-50
 

GBarrington

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I bought the E-M5 III in January 2020, along with the Oly grip. I've never found the battery situation to be problematic, as I have always used the E-M10 and E-M10 II. I carry a couple of charged Wasabi branded batteries in my camera shooting bag as insurance.

The built-in grip is fine for the smaller, less front-heavy lenses, say, the kit lenses, and up to and including the 12-40 f/2.8. Anything heavier and longer, the add on grip becomes pretty useful. Before I bought the Oly grip though, if I had it to do over, I'd have looked a bit harder for a viable 3rd party grip. Nothing wrong with the Oly grip, but I do think it's $20-$30 overpriced.

The plastic body is not a problem for me. I feel it is every bit as rugged and reliable as my E-M10s (Pretty darned rugged, also plastic). I use it on a tripod quite a bit. If you want all that E-M1 'goodness' in a tiny lightweight body, I suspect you will have to learn to live with plastic. For me, small and light is an absolute essential. I have no health reasons, but it is an aesthetic and creative choice for me.

Image quality and 5 axis IBIS is superb. The only thing I wish it had, that is in the E-M1 is the tethering ability. I don't know that I would use it all that much, but I would like to have it.

I doubt you would see much practical difference between the 16 mp and 20 mp sensors. Maybe a 'bit' more room to crop, but not by much. The weather resistance is pretty nice, as I shoot mostly nature and landscape.
 

dimap

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I’m in the same boat still shooting EM5m1. As Oly closes the shop I think to pick up my last Olympus.

I would add EM5m2 to your list as some advise if you don’t need phase detect AF. In my place I can get it for $520 new.

Bigger camera is more comfortable to shoot with bigger lenses e.g. 2.8 zooms. But size difference is noticeable: shoot comfortably on special occasions (EM1) vs. take it everywhere with a small prime or two (EM5). I am more for the latter scenario, particularly that EM5m2/m3 are better ergonomically than EM5m1.
 

Michael Meissner

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I bought the E-M5 III in January 2020, along with the Oly grip. I've never found the battery situation to be problematic, as I have always used the E-M10 and E-M10 II. I carry a couple of charged Wasabi branded batteries in my camera shooting bag as insurance.

The built-in grip is fine for the smaller, less front-heavy lenses, say, the kit lenses, and up to and including the 12-40 f/2.8. Anything heavier and longer, the add on grip becomes pretty useful. Before I bought the Oly grip though, if I had it to do over, I'd have looked a bit harder for a viable 3rd party grip. Nothing wrong with the Oly grip, but I do think it's $20-$30 overpriced.
I bought my E-m5 mark III in February, and I don't believe there were any of the third party grips and 1/2 cases that targeted the E-m5 mark III specifically when I bought it. Compared to other bodies, even now the choice is rather slim.
 

gardengirl13

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I think I saw Adorama still had new em5IIs in stock. Maybe I'll look into that like you guys suggest. Newest, latest and greatest isn't a big concern for me, longevity and durability is much more important. Plastic doesn't bother me, I mean I shoot with the 40-150 and it's all plastic and a couple of my really good primes in canon were too, and yes I might have gotten exceptional versions of the lenses they were both super tack sharp and took great photos, not quite up to par with the 1.4L glass, but I did well with them, but they were still plastic mounts. I just really like how "there" the camera feels in my hand and I worry about the plastic cracking over time. I've only even dropped a camera once (see above with the thumb grip thingy) but I'm not overly gentle, I will set my camera on the ground if needed, I shoot in very cold weather with snow etc... But I do take great care of my equipment. So I don't think it'll be too much of an issue. And the batteries are cheaper now (when I bought my backup they were charging $70 each!) so if needed I can buy a couple extra instead of just one.

As for phase AF, I don't know what that is so that won't matter to me.

I only have one camera (aside from film) and have loved that I can take the em5 with me all the time. I've gotten a few fun shots that I never would have gotten without it with me all the time. And like I said above I don't have a cell phone, so that's not an option to have if I get a heavier camera and find I leave it home more often. Due to weight I only have lighter lenses, the 40-150, 9-18, 25 1.4 and the 60 macro. I'm interested in a few others, but will have to look at weight with those too. I'd love a nice long tele but they're all way to heavy for me I think. I really miss the 200 2.8 with the 1.4TC I had with the canon, but it got too heavy for me and I went down to the plastic 55-250 and got some great shots with it. I slowly had to get rid of all my glass and was really depressed about it until I stumbled upon the em5 and decided what the hell, let's try it. I then sold all my canon stuff for the m43 stuff and while I miss it and some of the things I can't do now, my health makes me not be able to do a lot of other things too, so it's par for the course I guess. I make the best of it and keep going.
 

Michael Meissner

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As for phase AF, I don't know what that is so that won't matter to me.
Wikipedia has an article on the two focus methods: Autofocus link.

In particular, phase detect autofocus was the method used by SLR cameras, both film and later digital. The E-m1 mark II/III, E-m1x, and E-m5 mark III all have both phase detect auto focus sensors and contract detect autofocus. The original E-m1 mark I also had phase detect auto focus, but it was more limited compared to later generations.
 

dimap

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phase detect AF if you need continuous AF on moving subjects and when shooting video. Also helps when focusing in low light. If all your needs is single AF, than there’s little reason to pick EM5m3 over m2. A new lens is better investment IMHO.
 

gardengirl13

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I use center point AF only, or MF, it might help with the low light band stuff, but that would probably be it. I do video maybe once or twice a year if that, and only for crazy things like the severe hail storm we got two years (everyone told me to send it to the local news, until I pointed out all the swearing I did throughout the whole series), or fun birds in the yard like the woodcock we see once a year hunting for worms with his funny little dance.
 

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