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From G6 to EM1, my thoughts

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by jonlong, May 27, 2014.

  1. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    This is not going to be a review of either camera, but just my thoughts and impressions moving from the G6 to the EM1.

    I began my foray into m43 with the G6 and always had dslrs in the back of my mind. After shooting with the G6 and checking out comparisons of m43 vs apsc sensors, I was sold on the m43 format. I couldn't see any appreciable difference between apsc and m43 and it's always bugged me that apsc dslrs have a very limited set of native lenses. I don't plan on buying a full frame body, so it didn't make sense to have to buy full frame glass.

    With the G6, I got the 14-42ii, and then purchased the 45-150 and 100-300. I'm mostly interested in nature and wildlife photography and my camera is a tool that comes with me when I'm backpacking, biking, rock climbing, etc. It's been wonderful to be able to carry such a comprehensive kit in such a light and portable package.

    When I purchased the G6, I was on the fence about the GH3 because I wanted the weather sealed body, but didn't think that the GH3 warranted the extra cost over the G6, which is a truly remarkable and fully features camera for not a lot of money. I decided to use the G6 until the successor to the GH3 became available, and then I would upgrade.

    Fast forward about 6 months and the GH4 was finally announced. I checked reviews every day and it looks like a fantastic camera, but the focus is so much on video. It seems that panasonic has captured the attention of the videographer market and is smartly playing to that strength. But as a stills shooter, the video was not a selling point to me and $1700 is a lot of money for a faster GH3 with an improved viewfinder.

    I started looking at the EM1 again and decided that it checked all my boxes: rugged and weatherproof, good evf, good image quality, good auto focus and high burst rate. The reason that I didn't consider the EM1 earlier on was because I didn't like the flippy screen. I've always loved the fully articulated screens, like on the G6 and GH series. Partially because of the flexibility and in great part because the screen is protected when it is closed and facing the camera. I was willing to live without this feature though and ordered the EM1 and 12-40 2.8.

    The EM1 is a wonderful feeling camera. I expected it to have more of a grip than the G6, but the G6 actually has slightly thicker grip. Both of them work well even with heavier lenses. The EM1 build quality is great and it feels more premium than the G6. The G6 doesn't feel poor by any means, it just feels lighter. However, the rugged feeling of the EM1 is tempered by the fact that the big glass screen is always exposed and can't be protected. I do wish the EM1 had a slightly taller grip, so I ordered the Really Right Stuff base plate and am waiting for that to come in. I think the added height will be perfect for me to be able to get my pinky on the grip. M43 systems are small enough due to the lens size, so I still prefer a body that's large enough to be comfortable and well-equipped with controls.

    As everyone says, the EM1 has a daunting menu system and I honestly prefer Panasonic's approach. Panasonic provides more usable customization, in my opinion. With that said, I am able to get the EM1 to do what I want it to do. I still need to read the full manual, though, to make sure I understand all the features and settings. Panasonic has a more complete touch screen implementation, and lets you move info around on the screen. I usually prefer to avoid using the touchscreen to avoid fingerprints, though, so it's not a big deal to me.

    In terms of image quality, there's really not much of a difference. The 12-40 lens is awesome, but yields similar results between the G6 and EM1. The EM1 has slightly cleaner files and does well at higher ISO. The ibis on the EM1 is as good as people say. It's weird to me that the sensor moves around when the camera is off, but I trust that Olympus engineers didn't design something that would fall apart.

    I plan on upgrading to the olympus 40-150 when it becomes available and hope to see a good weather sealed super tele. The 300 f4 sounds good, but a 150-something zoom sounds better.

    That's about all that comes to mind. Hope this info is useful or interesting to someone!




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  2. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    662
    Jul 1, 2013
    Make sure you enable the SCP. It makes life much easier!
     
  3. profgregorio

    profgregorio Mu-43 Regular

    116
    May 21, 2013
    Manila, Philippines
    Can you please give a detailed comparison of the EVF of the G6 vis-a-vis that of the EM1? I use the EVF almost exclusively for composing my shots and I have read that the EVF of the EM1 is the best among M43 cameras.
     
  4. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    I can tell you what I noticed, but it won't be more helpful than what you already likely know.

    I thought the viewfinder in the G6 was sufficient, and read that it was better than the GH3. When I used the EM1 evf for the first time, I wasn't blown away. I thought "ok, it's a little bigger and there's less pixel texture." I think both evfs are good and comfortable to use. The EM1 seems to have a wider sweet spot for viewing, so it's hard to get distortion through the optics. The EM1 eye sensor is also better calibrated to avoid the main display from shutting off. Though I turned down the sensitivity on the G6 and it was fine.

    In terms of dynamic range and contrast, I didn't do A/B comparisons, but the fact that the EM1 didn't blow me away tells me that they're not very different and both are very good.


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  5. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    As far as I know Olympus has not claimed any special ruggedness for the E-M1, although it is definitely weathersealed.
    The "floating" sensor always looks like a non-rugged potential to me.
     
  6. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    The EM1's environmental resistance (cold/dust/water) qualifies as ruggedness to me. I am gentle with my gear and keep it well protected, so environmental protection is all I need. If people want to hammer nails at the top of Everest with their cameras, they can pick up a D4s, haha.


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  7. profgregorio

    profgregorio Mu-43 Regular

    116
    May 21, 2013
    Manila, Philippines
    Thank you so much for your comments about the EM1. It is one of cameras am I interested in and the information which you provided has been very helpful.
     
  8. nog

    nog New to Mu-43

    5
    May 25, 2014
    North Wales, UK
    Keith
    Thanks for the info, ebayed my G6 last week and EM1 should be here tomorrow according to Fedex. Read some (lots) of reviews and they all rave about the EM1 view finder so bit disappointed reading you thought there was little in it.
    I liked the G6 jpegs though thought they were a bit noisy at higher ISOs, though as I had a Fuji EX1 at one time I think I am a bit spoiled. Can`t remember why I sold the EX1 - oh yeah because I wanted a smaller camera so got a sony RX100 but hated the handling and the imo on/off shutter button.
    Think I might be a camera tart/have gas. Thanks again and hello all:tiphat:
     
  9. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    Nog, the EM1 viewfinder is great, my comments were more a testament to the quality of the G6 viewfinder.

    I never found the G6 evf to be insufficient, so the one on the EM1 wasn't a game changer for me. But it's a pleasure to use.


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  10. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    jon, as a nature/wildlife photographer do you often shoot bursts of moving objects? I have the G5 and have missed having an OVF when trying to photograph things like my dogs running in the backyard. If you do, do you find the EM1 significantly better at this than the G6? I don't plan to upgrade my camera for a while, but the GH4 has moved onto my radar mainly because of what I have read about its C-AF and the ability of the EVF to keep up with action pretty well. Since you didn't mention that aspect of the cameras I was wondering if you use C-AF or shoot bursts of moving subjects and whether you noticed much improvement in the EM1 vs. the G6.

    Thanks
     
  11. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    DynaSport - I'm simply a hobbyist, so it may be best to take my comments with a grain of salt.

    I rarely use C-AF, but just because it's not something I'm used to. I tend to single focus on a relatively stationary subject or pre focus on the area I know the subject will be. I like using a focus lock in manual mode so that I can just press the shutter each time I like what I'm seeing. I also like burst mode from time to time. The burst rate on the EM1 is just silly. 10 fps vs 6 on the G6.

    I rely on the viewfinder, especially when tracking things at longer distances. For some reason, it's much easier for me than tracking with the rear LCD screen. They key, I've found, is that you have to disable the image display feature so that the EVF goes right back to live view after taking a picture. There is still a blackout when the shutter closes, but it doesn't affect tracking too much.

    Check out the very recent mirrorless AF test by TheCameraStoreTV on YouTube. It will give you a much better answer.


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  12. jonlong

    jonlong Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Oct 25, 2013
    Here are a few images from the G6 and EM1. First two are EM1 and last few are from G6. These were compressed and uploaded to Facebook and then downloaded from Facebook to my phone and the posted here with whatever service Tapatalk uses, so there is probably significant iq loss.

    ma2e2a5a.
    pa2abese.
    u8y8ery6.
    he6u4yde.
    jyturuse.


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