Go with Olympus E-M1MK III or Panasonic G9?

So Thankful

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Well I am coming back to MU-43 having strayed off into full frame land. Long story short I have developed some significant arthritis so weight is really becoming an issue. I used to shoot Olympus some years back but have always been curious about Panasonic. The options I am looking at are

Olympus
E-M1 MK III
E-M1 MK II
12-40
40-150
7-14
60 Macro
45 1.2 Pro
17 1.2 Pro
25 1.2 Pro
Either 14-150 or 12-100

Panasonic
G9 x2
12-60 Leica
8-18 Leica
50-200 Leica
45 Leica Macro
25 Leica
12 Leica
42.5 Leica

A couple of concerns I have are:
1. If I go with Olympus: Are they going to be around? I know the new owners have just released a body and a pro lens so that is promising but I still have concerns.
2. If I go with Panasonic: The G9 is getting long in the tooth. It does have some features that even brand new cameras don't. It was pretty advanced for it's release date.
3. I hear many bad reports about Panasonic AF ability. I hear there has been a recent firmware update. Has it made a big difference?

Thanks in advance for any input!
 
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A couple of concerns I have are:
1. If I go with Olympus: Are they going to be around? I know the new owners have just released a body and a pro lens so that is promising but I still have concerns.
Nobody knows.

2. If I go with Panasonic: The G9 is getting long in the tooth. It does have some features that even brand new cameras don't. It was pretty advanced for it's release date.
It's a good option. It's heavier and bigger than the Olympus E-M1 II and III though. But also cheaper compared to the Olympus E-M1 III. (But not much cheaper, and maybe even more expensive than the E-M1 II, with all the heavy discounts on the Olympus.)

3. I hear many bad reports about Panasonic AF ability. I hear there has been a recent firmware update. Has it made a big difference?
Panasonic AF is excellent as long as you use S-AF. There have indeed been improvements to the C-AF with the latest firmware update, but it still won't match PDAF systems (like the one in the Olympus). Probably only an issue if you shoot video or take photos of fast-moving subjects where S-AF is not the best option (like birds in flight or cars).


About your lens choices: you have picked many (relatively) heavy lenses (the f/1.2 Pro primes, the PL 50-200mm, the 40-150mm if you mean the Pro one, the 12-100mm, and the 7-14mm f/2.8). If weight is really an issue, consider going with lighter options like the Olympus 25mm f/1.8, either the Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 or the Olympus 45mm f/1.8, the Panasonic 12-35mm and Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 (or even their tiny equivalents, the 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 and the 35-100mm f/4-5.6), the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, etc. Of course everything depends on what type of photography you do and how much weight you are willing to carry.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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I keep coming back to the G9 thanks to the 3 programmable dials and the big and beautiful EVF. It's a very well laid-out body, and build quality is excellent.

What are you migrating from and what do you plan to shoot? I've shot both brands (though not the E-M1) and I have no qualms with Panasonic's AF as long as it's not a fast moving object like BIF (which I suck at), and they just had a firmware update to improve CAF some more.

The G9 and E-M1ii are about the same price these days. The E-M1iii is a $500 premium. Though looking at what you intend to buy, cost may not be much of an object. There are a few reviews out there that pit the G9 against the E-M1iii, and it ends up being a close-enough outcome that to me it comes down to which camera's features look the best to you.
 

So Thankful

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I am coming from Canon R6 and the fast glass. The body itself was not the main issue. The huge fast glass was.
i do shoot weddings so having fast glass is a need. The fast micro 4/3 glass is much smaller and lighter than it’s full frame equivalents.
I do enjoy shooting birds on occasion but it is just for fun.
Has anyone been able to try BIF with the G9 and new firmware?
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I am coming from Canon R6 and the fast glass. The body itself was not the main issue. The huge fast glass was.
i do shoot weddings so having fast glass is a need. The fast micro 4/3 glass is much smaller and lighter than it’s full frame equivalents.
I do enjoy shooting birds on occasion but it is just for fun.
Has anyone been able to try BIF with the G9 and new firmware?
I'd assume you mean the primes when you're talking fast? The PL lenses are really good, but definitely not f/1.7. Then again, they have the 10-25 f/1.7 and just announced the 25-50 f/1.7. They are certainly expensive, but might be just what you're looking for.
 

retiredfromlife

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Hard choice between the two systems especially now with the industry in a down turn. Unfortunately nobody knows the future for Olympus.

If you go with Panasonic I would keep to using their brand lenses as the "Dual IS" is very good especially if you ever want to use one of the 100-400 zooms.
Panasonic battery life is also very good if you lose the sleep mode.

Even though I own the Oly EM1.3 I think the Panasonic G9 is a great camera, just a little big. I purchased the EM1.3 over the 1.2 as the features like the joystick, dedicated ISO button and modes from the EM1x were worth it for me even though it was a lot more expensive.

Ease of use features is what I mainly look for thee days and the G9 does not disappoint either.
 

So Thankful

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I'd assume you mean the primes when you're talking fast? The PL lenses are really good, but definitely not f/1.7. Then again, they have the 10-25 f/1.7 and just announced the 25-50 f/1.7. They are certainly expensive, but might be just what you're looking for.
Yes, the 1.2 Oly primes and the 1.4, 1.2 Leica primes.
The Oly zooms are 2.8 through the range where the Panasonic ones are 2.8-4 I think either would work. I have certain shots I use certain lenses for. I knew going in I would loose some oof backgrounds. The fast primes would allow lower ISO’s in receptions and things.
 

archaeopteryx

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There have indeed been improvements to the C-AF with the latest firmware update, but it still won't match PDAF systems (like the one in the Olympus).
True. DFD outperforms a lot of DSLR and OSPDAF implementations. :laugh: Most comparisons I'm aware of put E-M1 II C-AF slightly ahead of G9 AF-C but, since the E-M1 II doesn't do hybrid C-AF, that's at least partially contingent on going through multipoint C-AF microadjust on every combination of lenses and E-M1 bodies that's of interest. There's quite a few folks on the forum who prefer DFD because they don't want to go through the microadjust process (plus occasional threads pop up about Olympus bodies forgetting microadjust settings, meaning a tedious restore if you haven't backed them up). I have the impression the microadjust requirements remain unchanged on the E-M1 III, E-M1X, and E-M5 III but, not being an Olympus shooter, that may be incorrect.

I would say an important consideration is Olympus is, to the best of my knowledge, still the only mirrorless manufacturer implementing cross type PDAF. Fuji, Nikon, and Sony only do vertical points on the sensor and Canon DPAF is also vertically oriented. Vertical points can be correlated to provide some horizontal detection and approximate a cross point. But this isn't always implemented and it doesn't always work well. I know of several bodies with which at least some, and in some cases all, of their firmware versions have to be tilted to pick up horizontal detail and focus properly. DFD has no such limitation so, depending on what you're collecting images of and the cameras it's being compared to, it can be more effective to use DFD than PDAF. This also applies to hybrid AF implementations as, if the PDAF part isn't working well, those fall back to plain CDAF and run slower than DFD.

So, as someone who uses DFD all the time and has evaluated quite a few other AF systems over the years, it's my experience the idea Panasonic has bad AF is largely fictional. I'm not saying DFD is the best but it's certainly competitive most of the time and, like pretty much any tool, has useful properties which differ somewhat from the useful properties of other similar tools. The most common objection to DFD seems to be visible AF-C wobble but every PDAF AF-C implementation I've used has been at least as prone to wobbling. I find it difficult to construct an objective argument this somehow makes DFD worse.

An additional concern is manufacturers are quite cryptic about what f/stop their OSPDAF stops PDAFing and hybrid AF reverts to plain CDAF. However, all of the lenses listed by the OP are fast enough I wouldn't anticipate this to be much of an issue in this particular case.
 

JDS

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1. If I go with Olympus: Are they going to be around? I know the new owners have just released a body and a pro lens so that is promising but I still have concerns.
Olympus is a huge unknown, but Panasonic is invested in FF and is a big electronics company, would anyone be shocked if they bailed on M43? In fact, would anyone be shocked if any camera company failed at this point? So your concern is very valid, I just don't know how to assess risk on this issue - other than to say use an iPhone ;-)
 

Darmok N Jalad

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True. DFD outperforms a lot of DSLR and OSPDAF implementations. :laugh: Most comparisons I'm aware of put E-M1 II C-AF slightly ahead of G9 AF-C but, since the E-M1 II doesn't do hybrid C-AF, that's at least partially contingent on going through multipoint C-AF microadjust on every combination of lenses and E-M1 bodies that's of interest. There's quite a few folks on the forum who prefer DFD because they don't want to go through the microadjust process (plus occasional threads pop up about Olympus bodies forgetting microadjust settings, meaning a tedious restore if you haven't backed them up). I have the impression the microadjust requirements remain unchanged on the E-M1 III, E-M1X, and E-M5 III but, not being an Olympus shooter, that may be incorrect.

I would say an important consideration is Olympus is, to the best of my knowledge, still the only mirrorless manufacturer implementing cross type PDAF. Fuji, Nikon, and Sony only do vertical points on the sensor and Canon DPAF is also vertically oriented. Vertical points can be correlated to provide some horizontal detection and approximate a cross point. But this isn't always implemented and it doesn't always work well. I know of several bodies with which at least some, and in some cases all, of their firmware versions have to be tilted to pick up horizontal detail and focus properly. DFD has no such limitation so, depending on what you're collecting images of and the cameras it's being compared to, it can be more effective to use DFD than PDAF. This also applies to hybrid AF implementations as, if the PDAF part isn't working well, those fall back to plain CDAF and run slower than DFD.

So, as someone who uses DFD all the time and has evaluated quite a few other AF systems over the years, it's my experience the idea Panasonic has bad AF is largely fictional. I'm not saying DFD is the best but it's certainly competitive most of the time and, like pretty much any tool, has useful properties which differ somewhat from the useful properties of other similar tools. The most common objection to DFD seems to be visible AF-C wobble but every PDAF AF-C implementation I've used has been at least as prone to wobbling. I find it difficult to construct an objective argument this somehow makes DFD worse.

An additional concern is manufacturers are quite cryptic about what f/stop their OSPDAF stops PDAFing and hybrid AF reverts to plain CDAF. However, all of the lenses listed by the OP are fast enough I wouldn't anticipate this to be much of an issue in this particular case.
Isn't DFD better in low light, or am I remembering that wrong?
 

So Thankful

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True. DFD outperforms a lot of DSLR and OSPDAF implementations. :laugh: Most comparisons I'm aware of put E-M1 II C-AF slightly ahead of G9 AF-C but, since the E-M1 II doesn't do hybrid C-AF, that's at least partially contingent on going through multipoint C-AF microadjust on every combination of lenses and E-M1 bodies that's of interest. There's quite a few folks on the forum who prefer DFD because they don't want to go through the microadjust process (plus occasional threads pop up about Olympus bodies forgetting microadjust settings, meaning a tedious restore if you haven't backed them up). I have the impression the microadjust requirements remain unchanged on the E-M1 III, E-M1X, and E-M5 III but, not being an Olympus shooter, that may be incorrect.

I would say an important consideration is Olympus is, to the best of my knowledge, still the only mirrorless manufacturer implementing cross type PDAF. Fuji, Nikon, and Sony only do vertical points on the sensor and Canon DPAF is also vertically oriented. Vertical points can be correlated to provide some horizontal detection and approximate a cross point. But this isn't always implemented and it doesn't always work well. I know of several bodies with which at least some, and in some cases all, of their firmware versions have to be tilted to pick up horizontal detail and focus properly. DFD has no such limitation so, depending on what you're collecting images of and the cameras it's being compared to, it can be more effective to use DFD than PDAF. This also applies to hybrid AF implementations as, if the PDAF part isn't working well, those fall back to plain CDAF and run slower than DFD.

So, as someone who uses DFD all the time and has evaluated quite a few other AF systems over the years, it's my experience the idea Panasonic has bad AF is largely fictional. I'm not saying DFD is the best but it's certainly competitive most of the time and, like pretty much any tool, has useful properties which differ somewhat from the useful properties of other similar tools. The most common objection to DFD seems to be visible AF-C wobble but every PDAF AF-C implementation I've used has been at least as prone to wobbling. I find it difficult to construct an objective argument this somehow makes DFD worse.

An additional concern is manufacturers are quite cryptic about what f/stop their OSPDAF stops PDAFing and hybrid AF reverts to plain CDAF. However, all of the lenses listed by the OP are fast enough I wouldn't anticipate this to be much of an issue in this particular case.
Thank you for the detailed explanation. It is very helpful.
 

archaeopteryx

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Isn't DFD better in low light, or am I remembering that wrong?
I don't know that it's ever been rigorously evaluated, but that's been my personal experience. I think there are two reasons.
  1. While I've had no luck finding documentation on OSPDAF point availability the information available for late generation DSLRs with many point PDAF arrays indicates most points are available only at f/2.8 with progressively declining numbers at f/4, f/5.6, and maybe f/8. Based on how the AF behaves I'm virtually certain some of the mirrorless bodies I've used have maybe only a central PDAF point by f/5.6 and are fully CDAF at f/8. Is the Olympus array better about this? The Nikon Zs? Canon Rs? Fuji X in at least some generations? Sony? If anyone actually knows of definitive indications I'd love to check out links. In comparison, I can't tell any difference with DFD at slow apertures.
  2. Panasonic firmware has a fallback mode where, if it's too dark to AF with normal size points, it seems to use most of the frame as one giant AF point. This works pretty well in extending the AF system's low light reach. Based on what Fuji's mentioned about how their points work the difference seems mainly in degree rather than in kind (other ILC manufacturers are presumably doing binnings similar to Fuji). So I wouldn't really call this a DFD specific advantage in low light but, based on how it behaves with my Panasonic lenses versus the Olympus lens I have, it certainly does appear DFD remains active.
I feel like I should point out all of the ILC OSPDAF implementations I know operate with halves of pixels. Either by masking off half of some set of pixels in the same direction (everybody but Olympus and Canon), masking half of pixels in two directions (Olympus), or splitting pixels in half and reading out both halves (Canon). At least Canon, Nikon, and Olympus hold quad pixel AF patents and Sony's already implemented it in 2x2 OCL quad Bayer phone sensors. By splitting pixels into quarters, OCL enables a cross point at every pixel (at least if it's not too dim to require pixel binning) and in principle every pixel can operate as a double cross point. ILCs will presumably catch up whenever it is they adopt quad sensors (there've been rumors for a while, but I don't know of anything announced or shipping).
 

wimg

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I am coming from Canon R6 and the fast glass. The body itself was not the main issue. The huge fast glass was.
i do shoot weddings so having fast glass is a need. The fast micro 4/3 glass is much smaller and lighter than it’s full frame equivalents.
I do enjoy shooting birds on occasion but it is just for fun.
Has anyone been able to try BIF with the G9 and new firmware?
Coming from Canon R6: if you like the rendering of Canon cameras and glass, go for Olympus, it is very similar.

Fast glass for weddings: the Oly Pro primes are absolutely excellent, and so is the 75 F/1.8 if you need longer glass, and all with a roll-off to die for, basically similar to the RF 50L and RF 85L - I shoudl know considering I shoot both MFT and Canon, and both with similar glass :ninja::laugh:.
If you need fast zooms, I'd recommend the Oly 12-40 F/2.8 Pro, and the Panny 35-100 F/2.8. The latter a Panny because it has, IMO, better bokeh and roll-off than the Oly 40-150 F/2.8 Pro and is significantly lighter too.

Shooting birds: the AF on the Oly E-M1, Mk II or Mk III is better/faster than the DFD on a Panny - I owned both, I am used to Canon too, both DSLR and R-series, which is why I dare to say this, although I may upset Panny shooters with that statement. It is true for me, however. Lens wise, if you want somethign really good at a not too exorbitant price, do get the Oly 100-400. The Panny 100-400 is good too, but the Oly is a little newer, and just that little better, especially at the long end.

Just my 2c, FWIW.

Kind regards, Wim
 

RAH

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Long story short I have developed some significant arthritis so weight is really becoming an issue. The options I am looking at are

Olympus
E-M1 MK III
E-M1 MK II
I am a little surprised you haven't considered the E-M5.3. It is quite a bit lighter than the E-M1.3, and compared to the G9, it is much lighter. Capability-wise, it is similar to them pretty much, except for HHHR and a few other additional E-M1 features.
 

So Thankful

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I am a little surprised you haven't considered the E-M5.3. It is quite a bit lighter than the E-M1.3, and compared to the G9, it is much lighter. Capability-wise, it is similar to them pretty much, except for HHHR and a few other additional E-M1 features.
I had the E-M5.2 years back. I had to shoot it with the grip because I found the body only to be a bit cramped for my hands. I figured that I may as well just go with the E-M1.2 for the same money.
 

RAH

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I had the E-M5.2 years back. I had to shoot it with the grip because I found the body only to be a bit cramped for my hands. I figured that I may as well just go with the E-M1.2 for the same money.
They have improved the grip some on the E-M5.3 (and made it much lighter), but it certainly isn't as robust as the E-M1s.
 

Generationfourth

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If you have arthritis and are downsizing I'd say the first order of business is getting both cameras in hand and which ever fits you the best is the one you should get. I wish I would've listened to my gut instinct when I held the G9 in the store- it just didn't feel right to me. I couldn't shoot for very long, even with smaller zooms, without getting hand and wrist fatigue. And I’m able bodied. I rented an EM1iii and poof!, it is a lot more comfortable even with my PL100-400 for extended periods. I currently own both but as you can probably guess I will be selling the G9. I am not knocking the G9- it's a great camera especially for the money, it just simply didn't fit me.

I do think I am in the minority with my experience because plenty of people rave about G9's ergonomics. But I will say they are both distinctly different in terms of size & weight, ergonomics- how they feel in hand, and styling- I think on paper or internet comparison it's impossible to see any of these differences.

In terms of AF I will give the edge to Oly for action/wildlife shooting using the traditional method of using the smallest cluster of AF points you can get away with. It also does face and eye tracking quite well. One major difference was how composed the em1iii feels when shooting bursts + C-AF. That Panasonic DFD flutter kind of feels like a war movie- though it has improved with 2.4 FW. Where I think the G9 excels in AF is how it triages from animal to human eye to face to body (and is intuitive to switch between different people to focus on) to all points AF. For a lot of my shooting (people doing stuff in landscapes, not necessarily portraits) I do miss Panny's implementation. I think it could work quite well for event shooters. I haven't tested the new 2.4 FW that much but it has improved which is crazy because I thought it worked quite well to begin with.
 

ac12

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For your pro work, I would NOT mix Olympus and Panasonic zooms.
The reason is the zoom rings turn in opposite directions.
That is not an issue for casual use. But for pro work, when time is critical, if you turn the zoom ring the wrong way, you could miss a shot. Been there, done that. :mad:
The lenses that I use for sports, are all Olympus for that reason. Muscle memory to turn the zoom ring.

re: batteries.
The battery run time depends on which lens I use. The 12-100 is a GREAT lens, but it just sucks battery power.
On my older EM1-mk1, with a non-pro Panasonic 12-60 on my EM1-mk1, I was getting about 4 hours run time.
But when I used the 12-100, I only got about 2-1/2 hours. That short run time was an unpleasant kick in the pants.
The EM1-mk2/mk3 has a 40% larger capacity battery and lasts about 40% longer.
So when I use the 12-100, it is with the mk2, not the mk1.

re the EM1-mk2 vs mk3.
At this point in time, I would go with the later mk3.

Warning. I have read posts reporting that Panasonic will NOT repair some of the P-Leica lenses. I do not know if they do a swap, and give you another serviced lens, or if they just don't support the lenses after purchase.

If you have a weight issue, you may hit a point where you can't carry the stuff.
I switched from Nikon dSLR to Olympus to cut the weight of my kit.
But on some of my long shoots, the Olympus pro lenses feel HEAVY, and start to wear me out. So I can see myself using the pro lenses less, and switching to the lighter non-pro lenses.
 
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