GX8 to Pen-F to GH5 to EM1.2 and back to GX8

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by MillsArt, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. MillsArt

    MillsArt Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Jul 8, 2012
    There are lots of great MFT camera choices these days, and I've been through a bunch of them, with the surprising revelation that I think I enjoy my GX8 the best of all of them....

    I picked up a Pen-F when they came out, since it certainly has some good lucks (less so on the back side of course) and cool features like Olympus IBIS, high rez, live comp etc. Good camera by all accounts but it just wasn't very comfortable to hold. From the sharp edges of the color wheel on the front, to the lack of any real grip which required me to really squeeze hard to balance larger glass like the 85/1.2 etc. Just didn't find it really that much better than my GX8, and in some ways such as the EVF, a bit lacking.

    So, I was excited to pick up the GH5, which certainly has all the features one could want... great EVF, AF joystick, great video spec, great IBIS, you name it. I'm not a big video shooter so some of the stuff is a bit of a waste, but I think its still a great, if maybe slightly expensive, stills camera. Its BIG too.... I have maybe medium to smaller hands for a male, and honestly the GH5 felt a little too big in my hand if I'm being honest. Just a lot of camera body, you can wrap your hand around it like a D500 or similar, which for some folks is probably a great thing. Mine ended up having an issue with some bad column of pixels, every image having a purple vertical streak on it so I had to return it, and as the dealer had no other stock, I got a refund instead of an exchange. That was frankly okay too, because while the camera did a lot of things really well, it was a bit much for just a daily carry type of setup, and it looked a bit silly with smaller lens like the 15/1.7. I think if I was serious about video it would of been a different story, but for just stills usage, maybe not quite what I needed.

    Enter the EM1.2, a great stills camera that by all accounts does great video too. Amazing IBIS, and I got the 12-100, so I'm getting 5 seconds handheld at 12mm.. unreal!. Blazing FPS too, but honestly I shoot it in single or maybe the low setting. I just don't really have a need for the high FPS stuff, nor even that much in terms of fast AF tracking. I'm mostly taking walks on the beach after work shooting the sunset. I do though value the rugged built, and the battery life is fantastic. Things I don't quite enjoy as much on the camera is that the EVF and LCD look a little different, not sure which one is more correct, and Olympus WB always feels a bit off to me, plus they don't have the typical shade, cloudy etc settings I was used to on Panasonics. Sometimes the EM1.2 would produce beautiful colors, but when I'd shoot it next to another camera, like my Fuji XT2, they would be very different, sometimes the Olympus having way more purple or orange hues. Looks pretty, but I've felt its a little tricky getting the color right. Compared to the GX8 and GH5 the EVF, while totally usable, is a little lackluster too. My XT2 also has a bit more resolution and brightness. EM1.2 grip is really comfortable though and I do enjoy that aspect of the camera. Some of the other features like high rez, live comp etc are certainly cool too, but as I don't really carry a tripod on my beach walks, I haven't utilized them yet.

    I've since taken my GX8 out a few times, and really planned to put it up for sale, but darn if I didn't really enjoy shooting it. Perhaps more than my EM1.2.... which is the reason for this sort of "thinking aloud" posting. The GX8 EVF is just lovely and huge... plus the tilting feature I really like as well. Works great for getting a bit of a lower angle shot, and is so much easier to see than the LCD screen when the sun is still pretty bright. I'm using the Oly 8mm FE and 12-100 on it and handle nicely, the 12-100 OIS is very, very good too! I think the GX8 gives really pleasing and accurate color too. I think it might actually be a little cleaner looking files than the EM1.2 as well, though some of that may just be the settings I'm using. They aren't that different in overall quality, but colors do vary a good bit. The GX8 of course has outdated IBIS compared to the EM1.2, however, its still nice to have with a longer prime like the 75/1.8, where every little bit helps. I also rather like having a dedicated EC dial, as being new to the EM1.2 sometimes forget if I had the toggle switch up or down and think I'm adjusting EC but change the ISO and vice versa. I've grown used to having a dedicated dial on my Fuji as well. Some of that is just learning the Olympus settings better, but its such a vast camera that it can be a little difficulty to pick up. While on the subject, why do they give you a touch screen and then make you select so much with the buttons ? Panasonic lets you select everything by touch which just seems to make sense, being a touch screen and all.....

    Anyways, here I had this $2000 EM1.2 which by all accounts is a really good camera, and I still have my GX8, which I figured maybe was worth like $600 used, so like $550 net after PP fees, shipping etc., and I'm thinking maybe I should stick with the GX8. It would save me a ton of money, and its design and handling just work for me. Would be giving up a bit with the IBIS, though if I keep the 12-100 that actually was letting me handhold at a second or two which is pretty amazing. Very useful lens I highly recommend, though again, not cheap, and a little big.

    Essentially if I don't sell the EM1.2 I'd be keeping it for its IBIS more than anything. I can't see myself really using the FPS, or the live comp etc, since I just don't carry a tripod. Its basically a camera that can allow handheld motion blur when I come across a waterfall hiking etc. Does that brilliantly, but its also $2000.....

    GX8 gives me equally nice files, with perhaps subjectively better color, improved EVF (with tilt!), more familiar handling, a ton of money back in my wallet, and if I keep the 12-100 on it, maybe enough stabilization to still shoot some longer exposures handheld. Need to carry a second battery for it, would have to shoot a bunch of frames and use the lighten blend mode in PS to achieve what live comp does in camera, wouldn't have high rez mode, but again, if I'm not carrying a tripod, am I even going to use that feature much in actual shooting ?

    So I'm at a bit of an impasse, thinking I would be taking some FS images of my GX8 and not looking back, but here I am thinking maybe its the EM1.2 I should be selling......
     
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  2. MillsArt

    MillsArt Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Jul 8, 2012
    I forgot to mention, that while the GX8 is certainly not match from the EM1.2 in terms of AF-C ability, for AF-S, I think the Panasonics, both GX8 and GH5, are actually a little snappier feeling, especially in low light. EM1.2 is still darn quick, as is any MFT camera. My XT2 in comparison hunts seemingly forever in lower indoor light, while the GX8 just seems oblivious to if its trying to focus in candlelight or the brightest of sunny days.

    Again, AF-C isn't nearly as good, but Panasonic, be it DFD or whatnot, just seems to have mastered fast and accurate AF-S
     
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  3. Sounds like my past Pentax kit, I blew through several models as family health/budget crises stole them away. It can be a good learning experience if you consider any losses as rental fees. If you found a good fit in hand that's a big plus! Neither one is bad to be 'stuck' with that's certain.
     
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  4. Stanga

    Stanga Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    Oct 16, 2016
    I am experiencing the same symptoms, except that it is between the GX8 and the G80. I even had the GX8 serviced to remove a dust spec in the EVF, and another one stuck on the sensor. They did not affect me, but I was worried that it might affect the sale of the GX8. But when I got the GX8 back from the repairer I noticed that the image viewed through the EVF was now far better, and so too were the pictures taken... To add to my problem, I bought the G80 mainly for trying out video recording in 4K. I was led to believe that the IBIS in the G80 would make for a stable 4K video, unlike the unstabilised GX8 4K. But I don't do any vlogging, so I don't really walk with the camera stuck out whilst filming a scene. I tend to be stationary. The two lenses I use for video both have OIS, and they do a great job in giving me a stable video. I also get a far wider video image from the GX8 compared to the G80. So I can't get myself to sell the GX8. The G80 is however nearly identical to the FZ50 that I have been using since 2006 in looks and feel. I can't get myself to sell either of them now...
     
  5. saladin

    saladin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    964
    May 29, 2015
    jason
    lol, I've now got 4, no wait, 5! MFT bodies because I cant bring myself to sell any of them!

    On topic, I'm a big believer in using the camera that makes you happy first and foremost. Then I look at specific use requirements etc. Reading the OP, if beach walks, single shots and methodical shooting etc are your main genre then I can absolutely see why the GX8 is tough to unseat by the EM1. (actually, I found myself wondering why you have an XT2 rather than an X-pro2 , lol. the Pro2 seems to fit your needs perfectly. But I digress......)

    err, anyway. I'd say to use the Em1 a bit more and see if you grow into it or it grows into you. If not, its a hell of a lot of money to have tied up in something you either don't enjoy or wont make use of.

    I've just got a GX8 myself. Early impressions, in many ways I prefer my G85 but the GX is growing on me and I think its just a matter of learning how best to use it. And also process it, I think it needs more sharpening in post than I expected. I view them as differing use camera's. Its a learning curve with any new camera. Particularly one as complex and competent as an EM1ii.
     
  6. Christop82

    Christop82 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    504
    Sep 10, 2016
    Do you use the Olympus Super Control Panel? With two programmable wheels and the SCP, I really don't see the need to be pressing lots of buttons in comparison to the Gx8.
     
  7. I love everything about my GX8 apart from the non-stabilised view finder. I have a 40-150mm Pro and prefer to use it on my GX80 than the GX8, just so the viewfinder is stabilised. I'm now waiting on a G80 to arrive as I think it will complement the GX8 a bit better than the GX80 (although I'm sure I'll miss the smaller size!).
     
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  8. MillsArt

    MillsArt Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Jul 8, 2012
    I do make use of the SCP and it works well. Nice having so many parameters in one place, and it's one of the few menus that can be selected via touch.

    My issue is largely just one of practice. For example I hit the drive button and spin the wrong wheel so I change metering instead. Just a bit how Olympus works and it's not bad or wrong, just need to get used to it. On Panasonics you can really only adjust one thing at a time, which technically may be slower, but also surer. I just sometimes get a little flustered trying to quickly change things when out shooting, and adjust a parameter I didn't mean to because I was rushing. I think in time it would become more second nature to me, but there is no denying that it's a very deep camera in terms of features, and Olympus and Panasonic have very different menu structure and ways of turning features on/off
     
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  9. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Honestly, if you're not using the C-AF and fast burst rates, why keep the E-M1 II? That is THE reason to own that camera, so if you're not using those features, you essentially have a VERY expensive camera that you use a fraction of the capabilities of, when a far cheaper camera would suite your needs entirely (like the GX8 does).

    Regarding the color, Olympus most certainly does have adjustable white balance modes like sunny, cloudy, etc. Also, if you feel the default WB values are a bit off, you can go in to the menus and adjust them by altering the Green/Purple tint, as well as the Blue/Yellow temperature. You can either have that change apply just to a specific WB setting, or have it apply to all WB settings.

    The GX8 appears to work for you, so why keep the E-M1 II? Use the money from selling it to buy a second body (they're crazy cheap on the used market), and take a trip somewhere to put those cameras to good use.
     
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  10. MillsArt

    MillsArt Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Jul 8, 2012
    How do you adjust the yellow/blue temp ?? I've found the options to adjust the red/greens, but didn't see the more familiar 4-way grid. Its tough though making judgements for the WB as well because I don't quite know if I should trust the LCD or the EVF. I've tried adjusting them a bit, as the EVF seems to have a bit of a green cast to it, but then that is just compensating for potential WB issues. Shooting RAW of course is a solution to an extend, but then there is certainly a bit of difference between the Adobe profile, and the camera profiles, not to mention the auto vs as shot options. On a sunny day the Olympus WB is perfectly fine, but when getting more towards things like sunset colors, storm clouds etc the auto settings really differ a fair amount between cameras. To some extent its just a workflow issue, as one can generally get good color from any camera if you tweak the profiles etc, but I was a bit spoiled by my Fuji's since they generally gave me what was pleasing, if maybe not 100% accurate WB just from auto mode.

    EM1.2 is as you say though, a lot of money for features I'm not making all that much use of, thus this thread..... EM1.2 does have the amazing IBIS though, which is largely what I purchased it for. Will be going to Hawaii soon and figured the EM1.2 and 12-100 combo should be ideal for near any beach or hiking photo, sans tripod. Might wait til after I get back before making a sell-off decision, or see how well it actually works in those conditions.

    GX8 takes great images, and is well priced, but the fact remains I'd need to bring a tripod to accomplish many of the same shots that I could easily handhold..... Here is the issue with that though which keeps rolling around in the back of my mind, and that is that sometimes even a 5-10 second exposure isn't long enough. Now for most things like waterfalls its plenty to get some good blurring of the water, and again, never would I of imagined doing a shot like that handheld, but, some seascapes do work better with very long exposures of several minutes (color cast issues from 10 stop ND's being another thread issue entirely lol) so while the EM1.2 may have the best IBIS on the market, I still might end up using a tripod for some shots, and of course can't do high rez, live comp etc without a tripod

    I could pick up a Pen-F again for $850-900 used any day of the week and that would give me high-rez, live comp and all the other fun Olympus-specific features, or a EM5 II, maybe a new EM10 mkIII (if it comes out) and those might be some good bang for the buck, tripod-centric shooting tools. Yet then that would be 180 degrees from my original goal of getting the EM1.2 was for, to shoot/travel without things like a tripod.... got to love 1st world problems like this huh ?
     
  11. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    If you shoot raw then the colour issues you seem to have will all disappear.
     
  12. MillsArt

    MillsArt Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Jul 8, 2012
    I wouldn't say they totally disappear, rather I simply have more options at my disposal to help address them. I can make a custom X-rite profile for example, which could help, as would simply shooting a custom WB, but to some degree I like have the "as shot" settings look pleasing and near usable without any extra workflow. I've spent 15 years as a pro sports photographer and photo editor, and probably spent what equated to over a a few years worth of time staring at computer screens editing. I'm not adverse to editing photos but its nice if I can come home, dump a card, crop/level a file, maybe tweak the curves slightly, resize and share on the web while dinner is cooking.

    Here is an example shot, near identical framing, taken seconds apart, showing some of the differences in the auto WB settings between cameras

    fuji color. olympus color.

    This isn't to say the bottom Olympus shot can't be adjusted to match the top frame, but its showing that the EM1.2 is giving a rather different AWB, and even when I go and set the same Kelvin temps the are differences in the overall colors.

    Overall though, there will be differences in color and AWB and metering etc between cameras. I think I can learn to manage any of them, and overall its a pretty minor factor in the overall decision process, but it is still there, for better or worse.

    I think if I end up keeping the EM1.2 I will need to figure out how to make some adjustments to the settings to hopefully get something a little more accurate out of the camera for twilight type conditions. Again, on a sunny day, the Olympus is bang on the money with anything else, but during the hour or so prior to sunset here on the Gulf coast of Florida, we can get some really unique light from the setting sun and thunderheads building up over Tampa Bay to the East. Crazy pink, red, orange etc light, plays havoc on skin tones but I do like the ability to capture things as close to how they actually looked as possible.
     
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  13. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    In my early days of digital I succumbed to Ken Rockwell's advice that jpegs were fine and raw not worth the hassle. It was only after taking some sunset shots (on Canon gear) alongside a friend using raw that I realised what a huge mistake that was. I've since come to appreciate what good PP can do to a shot and even now will return to raws several years old and significantly improve them.

    I like doing PP so this approach is no issue but I know many others hate computer work. Having said that, applying minor tweaks like WB and curves can be done quickly and batched so it needn't be an onerous task.

    AWB is IMHO a bit of a trap that's best avoided - esp when the lighting is challenging (blue hour, sunsets, some types of artificial lighting). It's one of the big advantages of raw of course. If I were shooting jpeg i'd be much less likely to rely on AWB.
     
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  14. Ironbark

    Ironbark Mu-43 Regular

    83
    Jul 13, 2017
    Perth Australia
    I have two GX8's and love using them - seems to be perfect for my use which is mainly sports photography.

    The speed and accuracy of the single shot auto focus is great....

    Some sample of photos I took at the Australian National Water Ski Titles will give you an idea of what the camera is capable of - 90% keeper rate....all hand held - very happy..:2thumbs:

    Water Ski Australian National Titles - GX8 and 100 to 400

    cheers

    ironbark
     
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  15. saladin

    saladin Mu-43 Top Veteran

    964
    May 29, 2015
    jason
    Just thinking, if you really like the do-everything of the Oly 12-100 but decide to make the Gx8 your only body, then it may be worth getting the PL 12-60. Not as long as the Oly , obviously. But it will give you the dual IS advantage and save a few dollars.
     
  16. MillsArt

    MillsArt Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Jul 8, 2012
    I've been looking at the 12-60, both the Leica and LUMIX versions. I've owned and enjoyed the 15/1.7, nocticron and 100-400 PL's and always enjoyed the quality, though the 12-60 is giving me a little pause as the Panny version seems to offer near the benefit for about 1/3rd the cost ($300 for a used one) vs about $900 used or $999 new for the PL version
     
  17. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    I honestly can't recommend anyone purchase the PanaLeica 12-60 at $1k, when used Panasonic 12-35's & Olympus 12-40's can be picked up for half that price, and give you a constant f/2.8 aperture (the 12-60 loses the f/2.8 very quickly).

    I'd recommend either the normal 12-60, split-from-kit, which can be picked up for ~$250-300, or look at picking up a lightly used Olympus 12-100 PRO for right around $1k if you feel the f/2.8 lenses are too constraining from a range perspective. The 12-100 is a constant f/4, has much better range than the PanaLeica 12-60 (although it is larger and heavier, so I'm not sure how it'll work with the GX8's grip).
     
  18. MillsArt

    MillsArt Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Jul 8, 2012
    12-100 Pro works quite well in the GX8, and the OIS is really good. I don't know if the dual IS would really be much, if any, better. Hybrid IS on the em1.2 is another story all together....

    I had the original 12-35/2.8 and it was a great lens, handled wonderfully. Only issue was that it really tended to flare easily, worse than the 12-40. The 12-100, especially in the em1.2 still can get some flare, but it's usually a small purple spot, instead of a big purple blob

    Living in Florida and having a west coast sunset most every evening certainly requires some different characteristics this my days in Ohio where we had gray skies at least half the year lol
     
  19. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    I've been using my Gx8's since about a month after introduction. Honestly for what I do (Even Bifs with the PL100-400 on a large video tripod without stabilization) I love the camera, after 2 years the feel is just right - for me. If a Gx9 never comes I'll keep mine for a long time but probably pick up an Em1 (II or III)( or Gh5(6) but enjoy the Gx8 for a long time. No camera fits everyone the same way, but in my case Pany got it right. Never using the 14-140 I have not seen shutter shock with either the 12-35 or the 100-400. Since you don't need the real strengths of the Em1 I don't see a reason to keep it, but if you did I'd keep the Gx8 also. The Em1 II is a very fine camera I am sure of that, but so is the Gx8. I'd keep both:)
     
  20. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I haven't read any of the rest of the thread, but will say that to my liking, I would sell the EM1.2 and go with keeping the GX8 (or two).

    I've had and still have a good number of different Pany and Oly bodies and can confidently say that the GX8 is the nicest camera and most enjoyable m4/3 camera that I've used. Loaded with great features and very comfortable to hold and operate. I love the 20mp sensor, top mounted EC dial, fully articulating LCD, high quality/tiltable EVF, grip hold. Awesome camera. The Pen-F is a cool camera, but the hand hold on it is bad for me, just as it was for you, so mine has had very little use.

    If Panasonic updates the GX8 to a GX9, retaining all the great features of the GX8, but upgrading to the latest shutter and IBIS system, I will buy one in a heartbeat - and still keep my GX8 as an alternative body.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017