GH2 vs. OM-D E-M5

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by frugalman, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. frugalman

    frugalman Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 25, 2012
    are these 2 camera in the same spec level ?

    ( i know answered many times before here probably )
  2. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    It depends a lot on who you ask, and what you place importance on.

    The OM-D is weather-sealed, the GH2 is not. That matters to some, not to others.

    The OM-D is mostly metal construction. The GH2 is a plastic skin over a metal chassis. Functionally, there's no real difference unless you plan to use it to pound tent stakes. Some feel the plastic covered GH-2 feels "cheap." It's never bothered me.

    The OM-D has somewhat better noise levels at high ISO, and somewhat better DR. How much depends a lot on who you ask, and how emotionally invested they are in their OM-D. From the tests I've seen, it seems that OM-D has, at best, a 1 stop advantage in DR, and in high ISO noise. The noise difference is considerably less at base ISO, but noise really isn't an issue with either camera at low ISO. Part of the noise difference seems to be attributable to an inflated ISO rating on the Oly. ISO 1600 is less sensitive than 1600 on the GH2.

    The Oly will shoot at 9 FPS, but at that speed it AFs only on the first frame. For full AF it's limited to 4 fps. The GH2 is limited to 5 fps, but does AF between frames. Neither is very good at tracking moving subjects, but the Oly appears to be a little bit better.

    AF performance in S-AF, for static subjects, is so fast on either than any measured differences are academic.

    The Oly has a tilt screen, the OMD fully articulated, so it can be angled out for vertical shots and turned completely around to protect the screen.

    Ergonomics are in the hands of the beholder, but I think the GH2 is significantly easier to use with it's large array of clearly marked single function controls. The Oly will force you to the screen or menus more often to change things you can do with a switch or button on the GH2. Exposure bracketing is something I use quite a bit: On the GH2 it's two clicks of a switch. On the OMD, it's a trip through the menus. The dials on the OMD are modal, which means there function changes depending on what you've chosen in the menus. That makes them potentially more powerful, but also less clear. With the GH2 you can immediately see what values you've set; with the OMD, you need to look at the screen or in the viewfinder. To each his own, but I prefer Panasonic's approach. Many people say the OMD's ergos are much better with the accessory grip, but that adds $300 to the price.

    The GH2 has a multi-aspect sensor. You get the full resolution of the camera whether you're in 4:3, 3:2 or 16:9 aspect ratio. The OM-D just crops pixels off the top and bottom for those aspect ratios. That also means that in 3:2 or 16:9 your wide angles are a little wider than on the OMD. Not a bit deal, but since I mostly shoot in 3:2 or 16:9 I like it.

    The GH2 has a larger EVF, the OMD one responds faster when your subject or camera is moving around. Both are perfectly usable, both have strengths and weaknesses compared to OVFs.

    Both have quirks in their user interface and menuing system. There are a few things in the way the OMD works that would drive me nuts. I prefer Panasonic's approach, but others will feel differently, I'm sure.

    Bottom line: try them both, pick the one that works the best for the way you work. Either will make very high quality photos in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing.
    • Like Like x 8
  3. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Just a few amendments to meyerweb's excellent summary:
    * The OMD has the new sensor stabilization system, whereas the GH2 only gets stabilization with certain lenses.
    * The GH2 is a vastly more capable video camera, and includes an audio input with volume control directly in the body.
    * The touch screen on the OMD is a lot more useful for adjusting settings, whereas on the GH2 it's largely useless apart from touch-to-focus.
    * I find the EVF and particularly the LCD on the OMD to be dramatically better quality than the GH2.
    * The burst buffer on the OMD is a lot deeper.
    * The GH2 is a hell of a lot cheaper than the OMD.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. frugalman

    frugalman Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 25, 2012
    thanks for the long write up!

    I don't see anything popping out that tells me to get "this one" over the other.

    however, i read from other article, that GH2 is superior in video. (also mentioned here).
    How much better is it for video? it blows away the OM-D?

    I plan to just long zoom in video. Will the OM-D be stable?
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    It really depends on what your needs are for video. The GH2 does 24p (for that film like look), 30p and 60P. The OMD only does 30p. the GH2 is often seen as being very close in quality to the Canon 5D with regards to video. If video is a significant part of what you want the camera for the GH2 is more capable and has higher ultimate resolution. Does it "blow away the OMD in I wouldn't think so but if you are primarily interested in video the differences between them would be significant.

    As far as which to get...I like the handling and ergonomics of the GH quite a lot and from what I have read folks that have both will often comment that the GH2 handling is a bit better. They're both excellent cameras. Right now you can pick up a low mileage GH2 for about half of what the OMD is going for. That may not be an issue for some but it was a huge part of why I went for the GH2 over the OMD.
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I think if you're a pro or semi-pro videographer, the GH2 probably does blow the EM5 away for video. If you're shooting home videos, even pretty good ones, the EM5 is real good too. In terms of stabilization, you can use the same stabilized Pany lenses on the OMD as you can on the GH2. But you also have IBIS on a wider range of un stabilized lenses with the OMD. With previous Pens this was helpful - with the OMD it borders on mind-blowing, and it works really well for video too with native m43 and (I think) 43 lenses. So at the lower end of mom and pop video shooting, the OMD may even be better than the GH2 (ie, even a vidiot like me can get decent videos very easily with pretty much any lens in the bag), but at the more sophisticated videographer level, the GH2 was designed from the ground up as a pro or semi-pro tool and it has a lot more capability than the OMD.

    On all of the other issues, I think the similarities and differences have been covered pretty well. Both are fine cameras. I have a pretty strong preference for the OMD after using both, but it's only based on personal preference, not that it's demonstrably "better" on balance.

    • Like Like x 1
  7. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    GH2 has specs video geeks like (e.g. 24p mode). So videographers naturally gravitate to the GH2.

    I'm not a geek and just wanted bright, vividly colorful, rock steady outdoor hand held video, not dark, bland colored, jerky hand held video. After spending alot of time reviewing GH2 videos on YouTube and Vimeo, I decided the GH2 was not for me. The OMD has pretty much satisfied my expectations and after 2 months of use I am still learning how to tweak settings to further improve the output.

    So I would say you should study the samples of GH2 and OMD video on Youtube and Vimeo and decide what you like best.
  8. leuallen

    leuallen Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 26, 2010
    Mackinaw, Il
    User experience with both cameras.

    I shot both a GH2 (with 100-300) and EM-5 (with14-140) on Sunday at a tractor pull. The day started overcast and ended up sunny so I used 1600 iso to start (need high shutter speed) and went down when it became sunny. Shot mostly with EM-5. My observations:

    Prefer handling of GH2 overall because I am probably a little more used to it. But loved the EM-5 grip for portrait orientation. Prefer to do my chimping in the EVF. A snap with the GH2, very awkward with the Oly- always comes up in the LCD and you must switch to the EVF after it appears in the LCD and then back to the EVF to shoot again.

    I don't like the Oly focusing system. The GH2 seemed to snap into focus more quickly-the tractors are moving slowly but moving so when they were close I missed more with the Oly than the GH2. The smaller focus rectangle of the GH2 is preferred and it is easier to move about the screen. You can get a smaller focus rectangle with the Oly but at a high price - the shadows/highlights blinkies in the viewfinder is no longer available (strange behavior). This feature is a real strong point with the Oly. I love it. So it is a choice, cut off my right hand or my left.

    I like back button focusing in many circumstances but want to be able to switch to half press focusing instantly if the circumstances change. Easy with the GH2. With back button focusing a press of the button focuses and locks (set up to keep focus when button released) and a green rectangle lights up. All set, shoot. Want to refocus, press the button once and the green rectangle goes away - now on half press focus. Really wanted to keep back button focus, so press back button again. In other words, to keep back button focus press the button quickly twice, otherwise in half press focus. Very simple and quick. Not possible with the Oly, it is back button focus only when set. To get half press, menu time. Much too slow for action.

    The focus rectangle of the GH2 lights up green when focused and stays lit. The Oly blinks green then dies. I like the rectangle to stay lit. Further the rectangle in the Oly is very hard to see so if you have it off center it is often hard to tell where it is. This is all with the Oly set to normal focus size rectangle as I don't want to give up the blinkies.

    To the Olies credit. At iso 1600 much better. Colors better. Exposure using the blinkies was better. Dynamic range when faced with the full sun/shadow situation was much better.

    Explain how I uses the shadow/highlight blinkies. Highlights set to 255, shadows 0. Crank up exposure until red blinkies just start to appear (disregarding anything which may be a specular highlight). Then back off one click. There will be no clipped highlights unless speculars are present and they don't count. Shadows will fall where they may and will be pulled up. There is enough highlight headroom so that things can be balanced in post. Note that for this to work, the EVF brightness boost must be off so that the EVF is showing approximately what a jpg would look like.

    Now, Sunday the situation I was in was that there was a bright overcast sky and I was in the cover of large trees. The sky was included in many of the shots. Impossible to get both the sky and subject in range. Something has to give and in this case it was the sky. So when I used the blinkies for exposure and in this situation I ignored the sky and let it blink red, watching the subject to see if it was getting enough exposure with no red and minimum blue. It worked well. I got exposures that I could manipulate in Lightroom to good effect. Shot all in raw-don't know how it would work with jpg.

    If you want to see the results, go to ''. Search my name: Larry Leuallen. Photos-Albums. Album name is Mackafest Tractor Pull 2012. Note that this ain't art. It was shot for the participants and for historical reasons.

    In conclusion I want the focusing of the GH2 and the swivel LCD, everything else EM-5. Eagerly awaiting the GH3 to see if is such an animal.

    • Like Like x 1
  9. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I am not a video geek. I shoot video as part of my job and the inclusion of 24p and 60P alone is a reason that I would not choose the OMD. For most folks the OMD would terrific for video. To characterize the GH2 as dark, bland shaky video is silly. The GH2 is widely considered to be almost as good as the highly respected Canon 5D and from what I have seen on my own GH2 is capable of absolutely terrific video. If you like the OMD and prefer its video for your needs that's fine but there is no need to tear down the GH2. The are both very capable bits of gear.
  10. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    60p is pretty much the sole thing keeping the GH2 as part of my kit right now. NEED it for work. Might not for much longer...but I don't understand why Oly is not more flexible with video, considering the 120hz sensor drive.
  11. frugalman

    frugalman Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 25, 2012
    I take a lot of photos of my kids, and they are constantly moving or they would turn their faces to me for a second when they are playing. Which of the 2 cameras would be better?

    I would be using the lumix 14-140mm lens mostly.
  12. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    It's not just the sensor readouts, the codec in the E-M5 is also not up to GH2, and it's not just the bitrate, they just haven't implemented it as well as Panasonic. As well, the lower bitrate over 30fps vs the higher bitrate over 24fps means the GH2 retains a lot more detail per frame.
  13. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Tough question to answer. In truth, neither camera (and no other mirrorless) is as good at focusing on randomly moving subjects as the better DSLRs. Continuous AF is still a weakness of mirrorless (with the partial exception of the Nikon 1 cameras, but they have problems of their own).

    The Oly seems to be a little bit better at continuous AF, if configured properly. But based on other things I've read, some Panasonic lenses seem to focus slower on the Oly body than on the GH2. I don't know if this is true of the 14-140 or not. But the best method to shoot kids (and I've used it very successfully with my GH2) is to use the follow techniques:

    * Shoot when they're moving more or less parallel to you, rather than toward you.
    * If you're going to shoot them in random motion, shoot in S-AF and single shot (rather than burst mode), pressing the shutter release repeatedly for multiple shots. This will force the camera to refocus for each shot. It still doesn't guarantee you'll get the shot exactly when you want it, though.
    * Shoot when they pause in their motion. Like that moment when they turn and look at you. Both cameras have fast enough AF and short enough shutter lag to work this way.

    There are reasons to choose one camera over the other, depending on your requirements, but I don't think the AF is really enough different to choose based on AF.
  14. Rawfa

    Rawfa Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 17, 2009
    I´ve been shooting video for over 10 years (professionally and personally) and I´m very active in a lot of video forums and I can tell you that if video is a must, the video on the GH2 has even been compared to the RED camera when it comes to sharpness and resolution...ok, it´s an exaggerated comparison, but this goes to show how good this camera is video wise (specially if you apply the video hacks that are all over the internet). Just type GH2 on vimeo and you will see some stuff that will blow your mind.
  15. viztyger

    viztyger Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 16, 2009
    At this point in time, I would wait for the announcement of the GH3 in late August before deciding. The E-M5 is 16 months newer than the GH2, so it's bound to be more advanced technically. I suspect the GH3 will feature Panasonic's next generation sensor and EVF technology as well as a new, more high end body. If it doesn't Panasonic would be in trouble given what the competition offers.
  16. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Yes. But so will the GH2. The main advantages of the E-M5 are in stills, not video, so you're paying a good amount extra for features you won't be using.

  17. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    The killer feature on the GH2 for me, is the Extra-Tele-Crop feature, an extra 2.6x crop in 1080p and 4x in 720p. That turns my 100-300 to almost 2000mm equiv, which is very necessary for wildlife. Don't even think of handholding at those lengths.
  18. RichA

    RichA Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 28, 2012
    Handling is far better with the GH2 if you are used to a DSLR.
  19. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Short version: you'll be very happy with the GH2.
  20. Microman

    Microman Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 16, 2012
    Forget about the old GH2 and get the EM-5 if you care anything about image quality. The sensor in the GH2 is ancient and it shows.
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