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Help? I'm finally considering upgrading ....

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Eiron, May 12, 2018.

  1. Eiron

    Eiron Mu-43 Rookie

    May 12, 2018
    Loveland, CO
    Hi All, first time on the forum and first post. :) 

    I've been using an E-PL2 for about 7 yrs and I'm thinking I should upgrade. When I got the camera my primary concerns were versatility, size, and price. Those are all current considerations as well, but a lot of my recent shooting has included indoor theater shots involving low light and dance movement, so I'm motivated to look for something newer with improved low light image capturing over what my E-PL2 offers.

    With all of that in mind, I've been looking at either the E-PL8 or the E-M10ii. From what I've read online IS is improved in both models and they both use TruePic VII processing. The body-only prices are reasonably close, and I can justify the extra cost of the E-M10ii for its 5-axis IS and included EVF (that I haven't really missed over the past 7 yrs except on really sunny days). I did find this thread from 2016 and it seems to validate the OM-D body over the PEN body. I was wondering if people still felt the same way 1-1/2 yrs later?

    I started out in photography using both an OM-1 and an OM-2, but the OM-D line looks considerably more cramped for hand space. Any thoughts on that? Nobody around me carries the PEN line for direct comparisons of size and controls layout. Also, are there any reliability issues that are present (or corrected?) with either camera? My biggest concern here is with the 5-axis IS.

  2. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Welcome to the forum.
    The E-M10ii still gets a lot of love on this forum, more so than the E-M10 Mk3. It is a great camera and I see a lot of them on my travels [probably because of the price]
    For just a little more you may be able to get the EM5 Mk2 they are going for good prices now, always worth checking.

    Since you have used the same camera for a number of years I would suggest also looking at Panasonic even if you do not intend buying that brand just to see the differences. The ergonomics and controls and very different including the touch screen menus etc.

    The Panasonic GX85 & G85 maybe worth looking into. If you are looking for a good EVF the G85 will be closer to the E-M10ii
    Once you try both brands a lot of the suggestion people make will make more sense.

    As for low light I will let others comment who are more experienced in the system. Low light is not the strongest point of the Mu-43 system but can be optimised with the right gear, depending on your situation.
  3. Martin11er

    Martin11er Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 18, 2018
    I think this is a case of choosing with your heart. The core is more or less the same between the two, with regard to image quality and so on. There doesn't seem to be a great price difference between them at the moment, at least not in my neck of the woods. They both look really good. As for me personally, I'm very happy with my E-M10 II. It has almost all the functionality of my E-M1 in an even smaller package. I admit that I am still in the honey moon phase, but I have had the E-M1 for four years so I pretty much know what to expect and really appreciate the OM-D body style. If you are happy with the PEN style body, then that is surely a fine choice too. I don't think there is a wrong choice here, just a personal one!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. wimg

    wimg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 10, 2016
    If you care most about 5-axis IS I reckon that you should really go for the E-M1 II.
    As to reliability issues: personally I haven't run into any reliability issues so far with MFT, and as to size: if you used an OM-1 and OM-2 before, you shouldn't have any problems with the E-M10. The problem with digital cameras is that they are generally quite a bit bigger than the old analog cameras, and essentially MFT cameras are the exception to that. The OM-Ds are all more or less similar in size to the old OM-series.

    HTH, kind regards, Wim
  5. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 24, 2018
    For LOW light, I would look at the lenses first. The old saying, "in low light, FAST glass wins," is true.
    This is important with dance, as IS will stabilize YOUR motion, NOT the subject/dancer's motion.
    You need a high enough shutter speed to freeze the dancer's motion. That means a fast lens to let you shoot at a high enough shutter speed, to freeze motion.

    Does Olympus or Panasonic make a lens that will do what you need it to do. Probably yes.
    If you can get within range of a 75mm (150mm FF equiv), there are f/1.x fast prime lenses from 17mm up to 75mm. The f/1.x lenses will keep you from having to crank up the ISO, and using low shutter speeds.
    Although if the theater has enough light, you may be able to use a f/2.8 zoom lens, which would be more convenient.

    IMHO, you want the E-M10 over the PL8. The #1 reason is the viewfinder, or more specifically, the lack of one on the PL8. I find it difficult to use the back LCD screen for precise shooting, nor can I track a fast moving subject very well on the back screen. But most importantly, I cannot hold the camera as steady. This is because the camera has to be held away from my body, so that I can look at the back screen. IOW, you have to use IS just to compensate for a poor camera holding position. Putting the camera up to your face with proper positioning, could gain you 2+ stops of stability, without IS.

    The pics of the top of the E-M10-mk2 show the control dials being very prominent, so likely as easy to use as dials on a film camera. Because the body is smaller, it does not have as much real estate to put buttons and dial, but I think Olympus did a good job. And there are 3 customizeable function buttons that give you access to some of the stuff that you would otherwise have to go into the menus for. I personally HATE having to go into the menu for stuff that I change often.
    Example, I normally shoot manual ISO, and I have one of the Fn buttons set to ISO.
    To change ISO, I press that Fn button and turn the control dial to change my ISO level.
    Easy and fast, without lowering the camera from my face.
    Depending on the theater and the production, you may want the ability to easily switch to Manual exposure, and control the settings manually. My experience has been that different color/light level of the background will fool the meter into overexposing the subjects on stage. The only way I have been able to manage that is to determine the correct exposure, then switch to manual, so that the changing background will not affect the exposure. So you need a camera that is easy to use in Manual exposure mode. From the pictures I have seen, the EPL8 does not have the control knobs that the EM10 has. So changing settings is likely more difficult.

    So my vote is for the EM10-II.
    Though if you have the budget, the EM5 or EM1-II might give you additional useful functions, at a higher cost.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Underwater

    Underwater Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2014
    Eugene, Oregon
    I started in this format with the E-PL2; it was a great camera and I got a lot of nice shots with it. I eventually upgraded to a couple of OMD bodies and never looked back. If you can swing it, the M5II gives you a little better IS plus weather sealing and a slightly larger body. I'll also echo what ac said above- spending the money for good glass is a smart move. Not only does that get you better low light performance, but lenses don't depreciate as much as cameras do.
  7. Eiron

    Eiron Mu-43 Rookie

    May 12, 2018
    Loveland, CO
    Thanks everyone! I'll try to capture all of the replies in a single response:

    retiredfromlife, thanks for the welcome! :)  I'm trying to keep the replacement cost as close to $400 USD as I can, so for that reason (and others I'll detail later) I think the M5ii is out. Similarly, as much as I love Panasonic's electronics expertise, Olympus' camera experience and design decisions almost always make more user-sense to me. I certainly can appreciate your love for Panasonic, though!

    Martin11er, I understand exactly what you mean! Prior to this camera I'd been using 35mm SLR eqpt for 40 yrs and was surprised at how much I loved the rangefinder style of the E-PL2. That's the biggest reason why I'm considering staying with the PEN line! A friend of mine (MDGColorado on this forum) suggested I also look at the M10ii and that this forum would be a great resource to ask for info. Thanks for reminding me that's it's not always about specs!

    wimg, I don't know that I care most about 5-axis. Only that it maybe seems like a valid reason for a higher price? (along with the EVF of course) OTOH, if people said the E-M10ii's 5-axis was more problematic than the E-PL8's 3-axis then I'd feel better with the 3-axis. The OM-D bodies are a bit more compact than the OM film bodies, but then the lenses are more compact as well, so maybe it balances out? Thanks for the input!

    ac12, I hadn't thought about IS stabilizing my movement and compensating for poor shooting position, so that's good input. I've been shooting for more than 40 yrs and I've always shot available light, so I do understand the benefit of better glass. But if I felt the solution was only glass, I'd keep the E-PL2 and just get new lenses. :)  (I've heard that the 16mp sensor has better low-light sensitivity than the 12mp sensor of the E-PL2?) I'd love to get all of the Zuiko Pro f1.x primes and a couple of the Pro zooms, but that's where the majority expense is and I'm not made of money. One of the things I've enjoyed about the E-PL2 is its ability to correct for stage lighting without needing exposure setting changes. I'd expect either of my 2 choices to be at least as capable. I definitely appreciate your thoughts and comments!

    Underwater, the weather sealing, IS improvements, and TruePic VIII are probably the biggest draws for me on the M5ii. Unfortunately, the upgrade cost is more than I'm willing bridge right now. Do you recall your thoughts about changing from the PEN to the OM-D body styles at that time?

    Thanks again everyone for all of the comments so far!
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  8. Apollo T.

    Apollo T. Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 27, 2016
    Northern New Jersey
    If you’vebeen using Olympus gear for a very long time I’d suggest staying within that brand. There’s a learning curve when switching mfrs.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 24, 2018
    I know where you are coming from. Being retired, I have to be careful with my funds also.
    I have the Panasonic 12-60 f/3.5-5.6 on my Olympus, as a GP/travel lens. Next, I plan to get the Olympus 17 f/1.8, for indoor low light use.
    You might be able get get by with 1 or 2 prime lenses. You just need to figure out which ones you REALLY need. And I would get the f/1.8 lens rather than the expensive pro f/1.4 lens.

    I looked at the E-PL2. It does not have a viewfinder, but it seems that you can attach an EVF to it.
    I just checked and you can attach an EVF to the E-PL8 also.
    The EVF would take care of the stability issue that I had with using the rear screen, cuz you won't use the rear screen.
    BUT, my issue with slide-on EVF is that, it is sticking up waiting to be banged into and broken.
    I prefer my viewfinder integrated into the body, since the viewfinder is how I prefer to use the camera.

    What do you mean by "correct for stage lighting without needing exposure setting changes?"
    Maybe my stage experience is different from yours.
  10. Eiron

    Eiron Mu-43 Rookie

    May 12, 2018
    Loveland, CO
    So, I went to a Big Box store today and was able to hold both the M10iii and M5ii in my hands. I brought my E-PL2 with 12mm-50mm zoom for comparative feel. I called ahead and the sales associate said they had the Mk2 as well, but when I got there they only had the Mk3 on display.

    The M10iii felt surprisingly similar to the E-PL2, with a bit less space between the grip and the lens. Since the Mk2 has a slightly smaller grip (allowing slightly more space to the lens), I'd expect it to feel even closer to the E-PL2.

    At first the M5ii felt very similar to the Mk3, with only a bit more weight and real estate overall. However, as I switched back and forth between the two cameras, I realized that the natural placement of my thumb made it likely to turn the adjustment wheel on the top of the camera. (I have no idea what that wheel does!) I think I like having all of the control wheels together on the right side (maybe that's a throwback to my 35mm use?), but realistically, I could get used to their placement on the M5ii. And even though I almost never use flash, I was disappointed at the lack of having a built-in fill-flash. (Packing a separate flash of any kind means I would always be without it when I actually needed it!).

    The extra features of the M5ii -- combined with the placement of that top wheel -- don't seem enough of a benefit for me to pay the higher price. Now if I could only find an E-PL8 to hold somewhere .....
  11. Eiron

    Eiron Mu-43 Rookie

    May 12, 2018
    Loveland, CO
    Apollo T., thanks for the welcome! I agree, not only from a familiarity standpoint, but also from a "design intent" standpoint. Everyone's got a different idea of what makes a good user design, and I appreciate the design decisions Olympus makes. :) 

    ac12, I have the Zuiko 45mm f1.8 and love it! I use it exclusively for the "after party" dinners. (My two favorite 35mm film lenses were an 85mm f1.4 prime and a 25-50 f4.0 zoom. I've somewhat duplicated those with the 45mm f1.8 and the Zuiko 12-50, but I'd prefer the Pro versions of each.) Since I'm moving all around the theater, from the audience to the wings, I'd need multiple bodies if I used only primes. So the wide zoom provides me with better framing flexibility. And, as you pointed out, it makes a fantastic GP lens when I'm traveling. I agree that a built-in EVF is a better option than an add-on. And much less expensive too! For those reasons I never purchased the add-on EVF for the E-PL2, nor would I choose to for the E-PL8. What I tried to say is that with the E-PL2's spot metering I never have to manually set the exposure controls. It does a good enough job that combined with its exposure latitude I can get good shots without a lot of fiddling. :) 
  12. doogie

    doogie Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2016
    The EPL8 is essentially the same as the EPL7, although I prefer the look of the EPL7. Both models are based on EM10mk1 electronics.

    One thing they both lack compared to an EM10mk2 is the electronic shutter which can come in handy for shooting fast lenses in daylight. One workaround is to use an ND filter of course.

    The EPL9 does have an electronic shutter, although you can't use the VF4 optional viewfinder with that model.
  13. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    I would think that the use of a viewfinder would be really good for indoor theater use, because you could turn off or flip around the LCD screen (depending on the model) so as not to disturb others around you with the light. I’d tend to the OM-D bodies.

    Yes, IBIS has improved, and if you are getting blurred images from handshake then it will help. To fix your lowlight action performance issue faster glass can provide more benefit than a new sensor/processor, but you might want the combined benefits of both. The new bodies have consistently marginal incremental improvements, but over an older EPL-2, that might add up to a noticeable difference (not sure). I own the Pro lenses you are interested in, and owned the two lenses you are currently using. The 45 f/1.8 should work fairly well, and in this case the Pro alternative will only provide a small amount of lowlight performance boost. The 12-50, however, is almost certainly too slow, and the 12-40 Pro would help considerably. The 12-40 would probably be my first purchase if I were you, though my only reservation would be how much the loss of those extra 10mm would impact your shooting?
  14. I have an Ep-3 and an Em10ii and find the IBIS is a massive leap forward on the 10. They both produce great images and can use the same batteries but the 10 is a master at dropping the iso and still getting sharp images right down to a second. Just a point on the viewfinder, if you use adaptive lens in bright daylight and using peaking and evf is often the only way you can be sure you nailed it. I cant fault the 10ii and it just keeps on amazing me.
  15. Ed Diaz

    Ed Diaz Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jan 26, 2017
    Though I haven't had an E-PL8 or E-M10ii, I have had an E-PL5 and still have an E-M10i. For me, if it were my main camera, I would choose the OMD over the Pen-Lite every time. In addition to the EVF. the dual control dials make a huge difference. Though I did like the portability of the E-PL5, the E-M10 was much easier to use, which made the user experience, at least for me, much more enjoyable. Also, if you're shooting indoor performances where the audience is in the dark, you can turn-off the LCD and just use the EVF to be less distracting to the folks around you.
  16. The Kathmandu Cat

    The Kathmandu Cat Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 10, 2017
    Kathmandu, Nepal.
    Have you considered the Pen-F? Although more expensive it has an EVF and is at 20 mp also much better looking than the EPL8/9 or EM’s.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Eiron

    Eiron Mu-43 Rookie

    May 12, 2018
    Loveland, CO
    Well, I'm definitely leaning towards the E-M10ii at this point! :-D

    doogie, I actually prefer the look of the E-PL8! I guess that's why there are so many different models, eh? I'm not familiar with the different digital shutters, so I guess that's more studying I need to do. Thanks!

    Lcrunyon, I'm always shooting at a dress rehearsal, so there's really no audience to offend. :)  But I'm glad to hear that I can turn the screen off! I completely agree about the lenses. The reality is that I'd probably never buy more glass if I keep using the E-PL2. With the upgrades of the newer models, I might actually add a new lens or two down the road. Thanks!

    Christopher Almond, this is good info! Thanks!

    Ed Diaz, yes, portability of the OM-D was a concern for me. Since the 10ii is in-between the E-PL2 and 10iii for size, I think it's going to be fine for traveling. Thanks!

    The Kathmandu Cat, due to its cost I've never really considered the Pen-F. As much as I love the styling and the features, I just can't bring myself to spend that much! :eek-31:

    Now, where do I go for the best price on a 10ii body?? :confused-53: I see some grey market prices right around $420 USD (free shipping, no tax), or I can buy direct from Olympus for $477 USD (shipping, tax, "free" case & 16gb card). Any suggestions/recommendations?
    Oh, and one more question: does anybody (besides me) worry about the effects of heat absorption on the electronics? Meaning, is a silver body better than a black body for any slight protection to the internals?
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  18. RyanM

    RyanM Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 16, 2017
    If you're looking for a deal on the EM10mkii, Olympus was selling them for $299 just a few days ago (reconditioned, body only, probably ~320 with tax and free shipping). They're out of stock at the moment, but if you keep an eye out, they're available pretty regularly at that price.

    Refurbished Digital Cameras - Reconditioned Outlet | Olympus
  19. Eiron

    Eiron Mu-43 Rookie

    May 12, 2018
    Loveland, CO
    RyanM, hmmm, I'm not 100% comfortable with refurbished electronics. The 90-day warranty seems like a big drop from the 365-day new warranty, especially for something as complicated as an OM-D. Have you purchased anything refurb from Olympus?
  20. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 24, 2018
    Olympus recondition EM10-mk2 + 14-42-EZ pancake lens = $430
    Refurbished Digital Cameras - Reconditioned Outlet | Olympus
    That is $300 for the body + $130 for the lens.

    And here are the refurb lenses:
    Reconditioned Lenses - Outlet | Olympus

    As long as the camera does not get HOT, I don't worry about it.
    Out of an old habit, I usually try to shade the camera from the sun. Because with the old metal film cameras and lenses, if it got too hot, you could not comfortably hold it. Plastic does make a camera more comfortable to hold in hot/cold ambient temp vs. metal. And plastic is a heat insulator.

    Silver/chrome vs. black has been a topic since I first got into 35mm photography.
    • Silver/Chrome
      • Chrome plated brass of the old film cameras was more practical, as it took wear much better than the black paint on the black bodies. The black paint scraped off easily, so it looked ratty much faster than a chrome body. I think Leica used black chrome, but everyone else used black paint.
      • The newspaper photographers that I knew, when I was in high school, all used chrome bodies. My guess was because the chrome was more durable than black paint. And the newspaper photogs did not have to worry about being discreet.
      • Chrome did reflect sunlight/heat, but you still had all the black panels that absorbed sunlight/heat.
      • I don't know what the base material and silver surface of today's camera is. Is it metal or metalized plastic?
    • Black:
      • Black was the cool "pro" color.
      • But today most all DSLRs are black, so today, black is just the standard color. And it is probably cheaper to produce than a metalized plastic.
      • Black is less obviously visible, if you wear dark clothes, so that the camera kinda blends in to you. But that is of less value if you put a BIG lens on it (like a FF 70-200 f/2.8), and much less value if it is a big white lens.
        • IMHO, Canon made their pro lenses white, so it was more visible. IOW, the color was for branding/marketing and advertising. Look at a photo of a bunch of pros, and you see that the white Canon lenses stand out much more than the black Nikon lenses.
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