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G9 vs E-M1 Mk2 - to upgrade or not?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Gromit, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Gromit

    Gromit Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 27, 2017
    Lincoln UK
    Hi folks,

    Here in sunny (which makes a change) UK there are some pretty good deals to be had on both G9 and E-M1.2 - the former being available with £300 cashback, the latter with a free HLD-9 grip. That, whilst making a change more tempting, isn't the whole reason to go for one of these - the change from my beloved E-M1 Mk1 would be made to gain slightly better IQ from their newer sensors, and of course a boost in all-round performance. I had a play with a G9 at a show late last year, and loved the feel of it - as I do the E-M1. The G9 would work out cheaper (not bother about its grip - it's too big imho) but Olympus do seem to have a much better rep for after-care, especially in the longer term.

    A short list of important stuff, and what I'd hope to achieve by upgrading:

    1. Improvement in IQ, even if it is slight.
    2. Better low-light/high ISO performance - and better DR.
    3. Quicker focus in S-AF.
    4. Better IBIS - I have the Panasonic 100-300 II so can take advantage of the G9's dual IS.

    Stuff which doesn't really matter:

    1. I rarely use C-AF and burst speed/capacity is of no real interest.
    2. Video - have never used it, not even once.

    My other kit includes a Pen F which, whilst it's subtle, does have a slightly better - cleaner - IQ than the E-M1 Mk1. Glass consists of O12-40 Pro, P20-1.7, Sigma 30-1.4, O45-1.8 and the P100-300 II.

    Upgrading wouldn't be cheap (thinking around £800-1k to make a change) but is affordable - I'd just like to think it's worthwhile and really appreciate any input from folks who've made the same leap - be it to the E-M1.2 or the G9.

    Or just spend it on posh glass. :D 

    Thanks all.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    There's improvement, but it really is slight. Noise is a wash (except LE noise which is much improved). DR is the main win - highlight preservation is better on the E-M1ii
    IMHO there's no real difference in noise if shooting raw. Maybe a very small improvement at ISO 3200 or 6400, but it's truly marginal. JPEGs might be better, but I never shoot JPEG so can't really say.

    No improvement E-M1 to E-M1ii in S-AF. C-AF is a big improvement though.

    Can't speak to G9, but E-M1ii's IBIS is definitely better than the E-M1.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    I think it boils down to whether one has a particular feature you like or whether you prefer the handling of one. Coming from a dslr background I really liked the G9 when it first came out and assumed I would buy one as my next camera. However, I have since bought a couple of old 4/3 lenses that I really like and require an E-M1 to focus properly, so I will almost certainly get the E-M1 II for my next camera.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  4. danelkins

    danelkins Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 9, 2013
    Norhtern Illinois
    I used them both and feel the EM-1 MKii has better AF in low contrast situations. Maybe I had something set wrong on the G9 but tried different sttings and found the G9 struggling sometimes. Also, I would usually reccomend going with the camera manufacture that your favorite lenses are from.
  5. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    Based on your needs and things that make no difference, I would say go for it. HOWEVER...

    The reasons FOR the upgrade to EM1 II: Everything you mentioned. And you want one now as soon as possible.

    The reasons NOT upgrading at this time: the changes in photo quality, ISO improvement, AF speed, is very small over what you have. And the biggest improvements are in what matters the least to you, like video, burst shooting. Also, consider, you have the best MU43 photo camera of it's period, a good future proof investment that will be a great camera for many years to come.

    Good luck with your decision. Also, keep in mind the EM1 II is a few years old, and Olympus should be coming out with a new top line camera soon in 2019. You may want to hold off to see what improvements the new one has over the current EM1 II.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  6. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 2, 2013
    Since you already have the em1 and pen-f, my vote would be to spend the money on new glass.
    • Like Like x 3
  7. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Long time EM1 user here, in fact I added a 2nd body about a 18 months ago as I liked it so much. Almost all of my lenses are Olympus except for the 42.5mm f1.2 Nocticron, which is used for close to 50% of my M4/3 shooting. When the EM1-MKII came out I did not upgrade for a few different reasons, mainly I wanted to get a body that had dedicated ISO and WB buttons, and hopefully a joystick and top LCD screen like my D500 has, it just make shooting the smaller body so much easier for me vs. the EM1. When the G9 came out I bought it right away.

    Know that you mentioned you were not interested in the CAF or burst speed modes, but since the G9 has these, others may be interested. So I include comments on these modes.

    Overall I have been somewhat happy with the G9 decision, based upon the camera ergonomics as described above, the IBIS is an improvement and there is a slight increase in IQ and DR, but I don’t notice any quicker AF with the Nocticron, even with DFD 2 vs the EM1. But I also did not notice any slower AF with my Olympus lenses when using the G9. I really haven’t pushed the ISO beyond ISO 800 yet, as I like to mostly shoot near wide open with fast primes, but ISO 800 on the G9 is cleaner than ISO 800 on my EM1’s. The G9 grip is great for larger lenses like my 40-150 f2.8 Pro. With both my EM1's I added contoured Arca L base plates, but see no reason to with the G9.

    But there are a few gotchas with the G9 that I have found or was not aware of:
    The AF Face/Eye/Body detect mode, for the lifestyle model shooting I do, is not nearly as effective as my EM1’s eye detect. This is true with my 3 portrait lenses, the Sigma 30mm f1.4, the Nocticron and the Oly 75mm f1.8.

    The EM1’s SCP control panel is way better the the G9’s implementation.

    Flash only works with the manual shutter, not the electronic shutter. This means the “trick” 6k/4k, pre-capture, high speed and hi res modes will not will not work with flash.

    The AFC FPS mode is locked at 2 FPS for low, 7 for medium and 9 for high. You cannot select 3, 4, 5 or 6 FPS!

    Both Panasonic and Olympus want to sell you their lenses with their bodies, and there are some features with certain lenses from one brand that won’t work with a camera from the other brand. My 40-150 f2.8 Pro lens works great with the G9 and in fact my keeper rate with BIF and action shots has improved over my EM1’s by slightly more than twofold. But for some reason when I add the Olympus MC-14 to the mix, the AF becomes worthless and my keeper rate is less than 10%.

    The G9 is a very complicated camera and unfortunately the G9 manual absolutely sucks in explaining anything. Haven’t seen a 3rd party help book yet, but it is sorely needed.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 24, 2018
    Personally, I think there isn't enough relevant improvement to jump from the E-M1-mk1 to the mk2.
    I would hold off for another generation (the mk3) or more. That way you get more improvement when you do upgrade.

    I have the mk1 and have no interest in going to the mk2.
    Instead I am looking at the E-M10-mk2, for a smaller lighter companion to my E-M1-mk1.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    OTOH the new E-M1 II has better focus capabilities under all conditions. There are lots of incremental improvements that prove Olympus listened to all of our griping. In well lit, well exposed scenes there isn't any difference between the 2 generations apart from almost imperceptible (A-B comparison of the same image shot with the same lens) differences in color.
    I haven't had a chance to really wring it out but plan to get some shooting done this weekend with the new camera. I'm going to be brave and leave the E-M1.1 at home.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I have his G80/85 book and it is helpfull, cheap as well

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  11. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Since it is rumored that Olympus may give information on a new flag ship next year I would wait to see, as you have good gear now anyway.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I can't see Oly replacing the EM1.2 next year. 2020 earliest .
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    Agreed. I think EM5 Mark III first
  14. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Probably right I think the rumor was they were going to announce something new.
  15. InlawBiker

    InlawBiker Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 1, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    I think you already have a great combination, E-M1 body + a 20mp body in the PEN-F. I'd go for a new lens or two if you must buy something.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    I'm a little late to the party here, but I, like Jim, also upgraded to a G9 from an EM1.1. To be quite honest, if video isn't something you're interested in, I doubt you're going to see that much of an upgrade, apart from a few extra MP and better ergonomics. The IBIS is better, but the IBIS in the EM1.1 is already pretty darn good.

    Regarding single AF, if you have a lens that supports DFD, I find that it is actually quite effective- I can tell a difference in AF acquisition speed when using the Pana 25 1.7 vs the Oly 25 1.8. It's not that non DFD lenses focus slow, it's just that ones that use it seem to just snap to focus. Using the Oly 12-40 and 40-150 2.8 lenses focus just as well, if not a slight bit better, than on my EM1.1. I still use SAF mode 99.9% of the time, even when shooting moving things.

    It's not that the G9 isn't an amazing upgrade- I absolutely love mine. I'm just not sure that I would have upgraded if video wasn't a large priority for me.
  17. Gromit

    Gromit Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 27, 2017
    Lincoln UK
    Thank you all so much for the input - so many constructive, and valid points made which has given me much food for thought. :) 

    I popped into my local dealer today - we're lucky to have to excellent camera shops in Lincoln (2 branches of LCE), only slight downside is one stocks Panasonic, the other Olympus. No dramas though.

    Chatting to the salesman (who I know and trust) he was of the view that with my current set-up, and me not needing the performance upgrades/video etc of the newer bodies, I'd be better spending funds on glass. Which is exactly what I ended up doing, and couldn't be happier:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Black and white by Boxertrixter, on Flickr

    Thanks again. :) 
    • Winner Winner x 4
    • Like Like x 3
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