G9 or EM1 MK for surf photography

Joined
Feb 16, 2020
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My EM5 MKII stopped working and I decided I am due for an upgrade. Over the past year I have gotten into shooting surf from in the water using a water housing and therefore would really like to see some improvements in C-AF and battery life. I was keen on getting the EM1 mkii as I do really like the Olympus system and own the 60mm oly, 12-40 & 40-150 pro, but after comparing the autofocus systems and the cost of the water housings available I am torn between the two.

The EM1ii has a proprietary housing available, but it is expensive new ($1300 without lens ports) and the ports and housing are very difficult to find used.

For the G9 on the other hand I found I could get a housing from B&H with a lens port for about $650.

Looking at the autofocus system, I saw that although the EM1ii has contrast and phase detect autofocus which is supposedly more reliable than just contrast detect, the G9 has decent face and body detect that seems like it would work well for stills with the new firmware update.

Does anyone have any experience with the two bodies specifically for sports? Would it be worth spending the extra money to stick with an olympus body? Although I'm planning to do a bit of video, the video features on the G9 seem like overkill for me.

Would appreciate your thoughts/opinions!
 
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if you want the best caf go with Olympus. every decently conducted test I have seen between Olympus and Panasonic has Olympus coming up on top.

just my 2 copper pieces
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2014
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Eugene, Oregon
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Paul
The Olympus housing and port system will most likely be of substantially better quality than knock-off stuff for the G9. You'll want a dome port, which may not be available for what you're looking at anyways (at least, a quick search on B&H didn't turn up anything). While you're looking, the OEM housing manufacturer for Olympus (AOI) sells a housing for the E-M5mkIII:
https://www.backscatter.com/AOI-Olympus-OM-D-E-M5-III-Underwater-Housing-UH-EM5III
If it were me, that's what I would go with over either of the options you listed. Cheaper housing than the M1mkII (plus it has a vacuum), same ports, and the the cost difference between bodies isn't too substantial unless you're looking at a clapped out M1mkII on ebay or something. The M5mkIII is basically an M1mkII in a smaller package- same AF, etc. For what it's worth, I have an M1mkI in an Oly housing, and an M1mkIII that I would love to house but unless AOI comes up with a housing anytime soon, it's actually a lot cheaper for me to go with an M5mkIII body and housing than it would be to buy a Nauticam housing for the M1mkIII.

The one big potential downside about the M5 combo is the shorter battery life, but as you won't be using strobes it may not be that big of a deal.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2020
Messages
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The Olympus housing and port system will most likely be of substantially better quality than knock-off stuff for the G9. You'll want a dome port, which may not be available for what you're looking at anyways (at least, a quick search on B&H didn't turn up anything). While you're looking, the OEM housing manufacturer for Olympus (AOI) sells a housing for the E-M5mkIII:
https://www.backscatter.com/AOI-Olympus-OM-D-E-M5-III-Underwater-Housing-UH-EM5III
If it were me, that's what I would go with over either of the options you listed. Cheaper housing than the M1mkII (plus it has a vacuum), same ports, and the the cost difference between bodies isn't too substantial unless you're looking at a clapped out M1mkII on ebay or something. The M5mkIII is basically an M1mkII in a smaller package- same AF, etc. For what it's worth, I have an M1mkI in an Oly housing, and an M1mkIII that I would love to house but unless AOI comes up with a housing anytime soon, it's actually a lot cheaper for me to go with an M5mkIII body and housing than it would be to buy a Nauticam housing for the M1mkIII.

The one big potential downside about the M5 combo is the shorter battery life, but as you won't be using strobes it may not be that big of a deal.
The Panasonic housing I found is from a company called Nimar, even though they miss some of the features you mentioned, their housings seem alright for my purpose. I briefly looked at the EM5mkIII, but since you can’t add a battery grip like you can on my EM5mkii I am really hesitant to go with that as I find the handling with the pro lenses out of the water without a grip not so good and really appreciate the extra battery life. That being said I will have another look as the AOI housings do look great. Thank you (and everyone else) for your insights!
 

Darmok N Jalad

Temba, his aperture wide
Joined
Sep 6, 2019
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Tanagra (not really)
No worries, my wording was slightly confusing. Yes the act of surfing/surfers.
No problem! While I can't speak for surfing exactly, I did have a recent experience with the G9 at a local pond, where an adult was doing the "toss the kid into the air" trick out in the water. The G9's face detect seemed to work pretty well there. The 2.4 firmware improved head and face-tracking, so maybe that's a big component. The G9 AFC struggles most with lower-contrast, random tracking, but I would suspect surfing is going to be very high-contrast and motion is fairly predictable (if you're doing it right). I wish I could be more helpful, but just my experiences with the camera.

I would say welcome to the forum, but I guess you've been lurking for some time!
 

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