G3 to E-M5?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Dch, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. Dch

    Dch Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 20, 2013
    i've searched some direct comparisons on the net but could find very little, so i'm asking for suggestions here.
    I've had a G3 for almost two years and overall i'm reasonably happy; in fact i bought it used, had it for a while along with a Canon 5D and ended selling all the Canon stuff (with economic considerations included).
    But now there are a few things annoying me and i was wondering if an E-M5 would be more appropriate now that it's getting cheaper.
    I would not consider an E-M1, out of reach.
    Here goes a list of what i like and what i don't on the G3:


    - IQ (overall)
    - Size
    - Articulated LCD (closed)
    - C modes on dial
    - Blinking highlights right after shot in VF (sadly, only in burst mode)

    Don't like:

    - HATE the push wheel (i hate it!); i want two separate controls for aperture and exp. comp.
    - LOW iso noise; at base iso, i like cleaner results.
    - No iso 100 (base 160)
    - EVF (pretty crude, low DR)
    - No fulltime manual focus (AF override) unless AF lock
    - Small and almost flush buttons
    - Slow write times, small buffer
    - MF assist goes black on low light
    - Shutter shock (i do really notice it)
    - Small battery
    - Cumbersome to move focus point (using VF, not touch screen)

    I think i would LOVE the ibis on the E-M5; of course i know it has base iso 200, two separate controls for aperture and exp. comp.
    But i would really like for somebody who actually have experience with BOTH cameras to enlighten me on the details and real world experience between them.
    One thing that worries me: if i end up buying used, how would i check with the seller regarding the cracked LCD frame issue? Other things to beware of?
    Thanks a lot for the suggestions and opinions,
  2. Everhandy

    Everhandy Guest

    I think an upgrade to the G5 would address some of the con's you have with the G3. Of course the OMD cameras are quite good but pricey.
    I had an E-PL5 with VF-4 and 14-45mm Panny and was amazed at the IQ and usability of the outfit. The E-PL5 has the same or better IQ than the EM5 (no low-pass filter?) and half the cost (or less).
    I got the G5 for the built-in viewfinder and after spending some time with it, I wish I could take off the evf and drop it into a smaller bag from time to time. I miss my E-PL5 (a lot!).
  3. Toddster

    Toddster Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Real Name:
    Todd Cleaver
    I have and love two G5's but I disagree that it would solve the OP's objections to the G3. Many of the items on his list carry forward to the G5.
  4. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2012
    Real Name:
    Ok, here goes, first addressing your likes:
    -IQ is much better. JPEG processing is different (I like it more on E-M5), but overall quality is certainly better.
    -Size wise, isn't that much larger- in fact I think i might be a little less "thick", but it is a bit heavier. Feels nice, though.
    - No way to close the screen on the E-M5.
    - You get no "C" modes on the dial, but can assign several buttons to activate a "My Set" which is sort of similar.
    - Blinkies are in the viewfinder while composing, but not after the shot- they are viewable on the screen in playback mode (by cycling "info"), but you can't playback images in the viewfinder.

    Now, addressing your dislikes, and how they will be addressed by E-M5:
    - Two wheels are very nice.
    - Base ISO is very clean, but there are times that I notice a little noise. This seems to be VERY lens dependant (and of course lighting, etc). I have no issues using it through ISO 1600, but I'm not a huge fan of how it handles noise reduction.
    - MUCH better evf. I actually use it (and it's usable in less than stellar light without too noticeable frame rate dropping like the G3)
    - You can have AF+MF selected, but I find my lenses way to touchy to use this for myself.
    - Most buttons aren't any bigger than the G3. In fact, two of them are even worse (playback and Fn1). They are buggers to press at times.
    - Much faster write times, especially when shooting in JPG. Card write speed has a LOT to do with this.
    - IBIS is incredible. Far better than the in lens IS, at least in the Panny lenses I own.
    - The battery on my E-M5 certainly doesn't last any longer than my G3, possibly even less. I solved this by purchasing more batteries :)
    - Changing the focus point is pretty easy when looking through the viewfinder, using the arrow buttons on the back.

    Regarding the cracked bezel, I'd ask for pics from that area. Most people selling the E-M5 should be aware of the issue, I know if I was selling mine I'd make sure to let the buyer know. Regarding other things to keep in mind with the switch- I'm not nearly as happy with AF during video on the E-M5 as I was with the G3. Granted, it does have that amazing IBIS, but for some reason it seems to focus hunt way more than my G3. I keep the G3 around for times when I want to record video. I think there's a lot to be had with the upgrade from G3 to E-M5, and I'm certainly glad I did.

    Let me know if you've got any more questions. Oh! Just remembered- the shutter sound is *much* better on the E-M5 :) Good luck!
  5. Dch

    Dch Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 20, 2013
    thanks for the suggestions so far.

    i checked the G5 and in fact there are some noteworthy improvements, yet i still have reservations:
    - Although it has the extra 'lever' near the shutter button, still has that pesky wheel on the back and even in a more difficult position.
    - Sensor and EVF are basically the same (i know the sensor in the G5 is 'digital', yet it has very similar results, esp. dynamic range still lower than E-M5).
    - For the buttons, i suppose i will have to get used to them, even if i go the E-M5 route.
    The other negatives i outlined would be at least improved though.
    I will check the E-PL5 plus VF-4 option (did not have time today), but i'm not very hot on the separate VF aspect; i kept the GF-1 for a while for the times the G3 would be too big because of the VF, but i finally sold it 'cause it was not an issue to me.

    Does anybody that moved from a G3 to a G5 have any comments about the switch?

    - Blinkies in the VF before the shot sound even better.
    - The viewfinder sound like would be another BIG plus, then; i use it a lot - i grew up with SLR (film, then digital).
    - The IBIS would be so great... I often use an adapted 50mm Pentax macro lens and i suppose it would help a lot with it (even more than the other lenses).
    - Shutter sound: in fact i do not like the sound of the G3.
    I never do video, ever, so i don't care about the negatives on that side.

    In general, though, the E-M5 would be quite more money than a G5 :frown:

    Would you think the E-M5 needs the extra half grip to be confortable to hold or can be ok as is? I don't find the G3 particularly easy to hold well, but not impossible either and got more or less used to it, apart when having to press in that wheel! Did i say i hate it?! :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

    Thanks for all the help,
  6. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2012
    Real Name:
    Regarding the viewfinder- it's certainly much better than the G3 (like I said, I use mine all the time), but keep in mind it's not as nice a an optical VF. I hear the E-M1 is much nicer. The IBIS is amazing, and works really well with manually adapted lenses. When you've got a manual lens attached, you can set the IBIS to that specific focal length, which helps fine tune it for the lens. It's great. I'm not shocked that you aren't a fan of the shutter sound of the G3- if it's like mine, it has sort of a plastic higher pitched sound (I'm sure it's not plastic, but sounds like plastic clicking together). The E-M5 has a much more "normal" sounding shutter, perhaps a little muted.

    Honestly, I think the E-M5 is an amazing camera. I know it's more expensive, but it's completely worth it if you can swing it. When I was shooting with my G3 I never had the thought that it would replace my big dSLR gear, but after getting the E-M5 I've downgraded quite a bit (sold one body and about half my lenses).

    Regarding the grip, for me, it depends on the lens and what I'm shooting. Most of the time I shoot I've got both grip parts attached as I do a lot of portrait shooting, and I like having the extra battery. I don't mind using it without the grip, but with larger lenses it's a little front heavy without the better grip to hold on to. But just leaving the grip off I still feel confindent holding it- the thumb rest on the back has a lot to do with it. Also, I use a wrist strap, so that helps.

    And, it looks good. :)
  7. Dch

    Dch Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 20, 2013
    Another rather silly (or not so silly) question: would i get an E-M5, any practical reason to choose one color over the other? I like the black better 'cause the silver looks too 'fashionable' and might even produce some reflections in certain circumstances. But what about how they wear out? Any other consideration? BTW, i've never seen them other than on the web.
  8. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2012
    Real Name:
    I got the silver one myself, I loved the "retro" look. I always get people asking me if I'm shooting with an old film camera :)

    I also like that when I use the silver Olympus lenses it matches, rather than having an all black body with a silver lens. I've had mine about a year and I've got several dings and scratches it in- but I love that, it gives character!

    If you want to see what the camera looks like with different lenses, check out this website here- it will let you pick your m43 camera and lens (and accessories) to see what they look like :)

  9. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 25, 2012
    I sold my G3 and bought an EM-5 last fall. It was definitely a positive move—a big step up.

    Every complaint you mention about the G3 sounds just like what I thought when I was looking to upgrade. That hateful, mushy little dial on the back. No eye sensor for switching the EVF. Tiny, mushy buttons. Painful white balance and poor jpeg results indoors.

    Just a couple comments:

    - EM-5 buttons aren't perfect, but the dual dials make it so, so much nicer than the G3. Otherwise, it's probably a wash with regard to the other buttons. The EM-5's buttons are small and mushy, too.
    - Shutter sound is wonderful, much nicer than the plasticky "clack" on the G3.
    - Much nicer screen and EVF. EVF is more responsive in low light. The OLED panel is worlds better than the TFT LCD panel in the G3 (which has a miserable screen). And the touchscreen is capacitive (although not multitouch) like all modern smartphones, instead of the older "resistive" touchscreen that the G3 has. And... I vastly prefer the tilting screen to the fully articulating ones, because those get in your way when shooting at waste level.
    - The 5 axis IBIS is the real deal.
    - Image quality is a great step up both in low light and in dynamic range (it's noticeable and it really helps in high contrast scenes). Jpegs much better, especially indoors and in artificial light, and the white balance is seldom wrong. I have turned off "Keep Warm Colors" in the menu, as most people suggest, because it is a little heavy-handed, and I do sometimes tweak the warmth in post. Otherwise, solid. Some people might have the skills to process a RAW to improve skin tones compared to shooting with the Portrait color setting, but I surely can't.
    - Sadly, exposure bracketing is cumbersome. Was easier on the G3.
    - I strongly prefer the Olympus Live Super Control Panel to the Panasonic Q Menu. The reportedly bad Oly menus don't bother me. A couple things definitely seem illogical, but you can learn those.
    - The grip isn't a step up. It's at least one small step back. I'm used to it now, but if I could get my hands on a HLD-6 or even a third party grip for free, I'd totally go for it.
    - Even though I like having the eye sensor, it's just a second too slow when switching and it's very sensitive when using the rear touchscreen. It's annoying, so you'll have to learn to keep your fingers low and away from the EVF.

    Ok, that was more than a couple things. Conclusion is that in most regards, it's a step up from your G3. It's not a perfect camera, either, but it's much, much closer to perfect than the G3 is. I say go for it.
  10. Robstar1963

    Robstar1963 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 10, 2011
    Isle of Wight England UK
    Real Name:
    Robert (Rob)
    To the OP
    The 'push wheel' on both the G5 and G6 are definitely worse than the one on the G3
    I have grown to hate the feel of these on those two cameras
    The wheel is not easy to push from one setting to the other or to use to adjust aperture or shutter speed.
    Panasonic moved the wheel too far around the corner making it uncomfortable to use imo
    However the addition of the 'toggle' switch on G5 and G6 models does provide a nice comfortable easy to use control for exposure comp
    For me the (push) control wheel has affected my feeling for these two cameras especially after using an E-M5 which has very light and easy to use twin dials which are in a completely different league o the Panasonic wheel in use and feel.
    The G3 wheel being placed in a flat plane rather than around the corner is much more comfortable to use and I continue to use a G3 for this reason and for compactness with pancake lens and built in vf
    I miss the front grip mounted wheel of the GH1 which for me was a far better placement and much nicer and more comfortable to use. The GH3 has a very good front wheel which is also very comfortable and easy to use
    If you hate the control wheel on the G3 I would definitely recommend going with the E-M5 (or the GH3) as these sort of dislikes tend to be very much a make or break in enjoying the use of a camera for me and by the sound of it for you too
    Hope this helps