Help me! Full Frame to EM5?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by chrism_scotland, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    Looking for a little advice, I've been shooting with a D600 for the last few months and while the IQ is stellar its also a pain in the rear end at times with its size... not helped by my love of multiple prime lenses.
    When I was on holiday it was a bit of a pain and I almost long for the days before when I had an EP2 / EM5 and I could carry my entire kit in my day to day bag (Gripped EM5, 14mm, 25mm, 45mm & 100-300) wheras I struggled to get my D600 and just 1 prime lens in (24mm f2.8 D).

    I'm a bit loathed to give up the image quality, I've borrowed an EM5 (&12mm) for the weekend and while in good light there seems little difference the D600 seems to have (as expected) a massive margin in lower light.

    I just wondered if anyone else had made the move from Full Frame to the EM5 and how they'd got on?
  2. BLX

    BLX Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2012
    Real Name:
    I kept my my D700 to get a full frame fix once in a while :biggrin:
  3. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    Heresey on this forum, but..... Have a look at the Fuji XE1. It is what you are looking for.

  4. Chris,

    I've been shooting with a D600 for most of this year, and then it suffered some damage (from falling out of an open bag!) and had to be sent in for repair. I had been looking for a small mirrorless system for some time, since the D600 and lenses were so heavy to cart around, and sending it off was the catalyst that made me get the EM-5.

    I'm very happy with the EM-5. You're right, it can't touch the D600 in low light, but its RAW files aren't too bad up to 3200, and more importantly, I can carry the camera and 3 primes in one small bag and it weighs nothing. This makes taking images faster and easier. The image stabilisation is amazing and the LIVE TIME feature is a revelation. I even shot my sister's wedding on the EM-5 and the pics came out great.

    My D600 is back and repaired, and I'll be keeping it for more serious work (it's still a winner coupled to the 70-200mm), but for travels and fun shoots the EM-5 is perfect, and I'm using it more readily and more often than the D600. I only wish I had bought the EM-5 sooner :)

    You can see lots of examples from my D600 and the EM-5 HERE.
  5. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    Thanks I had been thinking of a move back to an X-Pro 1 but I wasn't sure the AF would be up to it if I'm honest, I had one early last year and loved the output but I'm not sure the firmware updates will have had enough of an impact on AF.
  6. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Thanks I will take a look, I think I've seen a few of your shots before with the EM5 and I was very impressed.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Lindsay D

    Lindsay D Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 2, 2013
    West Sussex, England
    Real Name:
    I am a full-time pro with a full complement of top-of-the-line Canon full frame bodies and L lenses. However I think I've only used them once in the last year, since buying into the OMD setup with the excellent Micro 4/3 lenses. My work is based on portraiture and I also do quite a bit of wildlife photography in my spare time. My subjects are often moving around, and are often in less than perfect light.

    The IQ differences are far less than one imagines.

    If you were to consider something like the XE1, as has just been suggested (which I owned and couldn't wait to get rid of) you would need to give up the performance you're used to, but if speed isn't necessary to what you do, and if you don't mind X Trans output, and a pretty poor viewfinder, then maybe it would suit you.
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  8. darosk

    darosk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 17, 2013
    Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
    Real Name:
    There's no contest when it comes to low light performance with FF vs m43. There are days when I miss my 5DIII, and the main reason is the low light ISO performance. I also seem to recall it being quicker to focus in bad light, though I guess that might be lens dependent. Other than that I have had no issues, IQ with my E-M5 is stellar in good/controlled light, which is 90% of what I shoot.

    I do not miss the size and weight of big black camera bricks. The image quality difference was not enough of a reason for me to have kept both systems - and besides, I have a minimalist philosophy when it comes to camera gear anyway.
  9. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    Thanks again, the AF performance of the X-Cameras probably would rule it out for me, I tried one last year thinking that I didn't need decent AF but I was very wrong and the OMD AF (even a year ago) was fine for me.

    Always liked the EM5 viewfinder having not got on with EVF's much before.
  10. TransientEye

    TransientEye Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 18, 2013
    Real Name:
    I have both a 5DIII and E-M5, and yes the image quality differences are largely negligible at ISO 1600 or below. With some simple PP, the only real practical advantage of the FF camera in most cases is the better DOF control.

    However, while the E-M5 is fun to carry, for me the 5DIII is more fun to shoot. This means that I tend to come back with better images from the 5DIII because I put more effort in to composition than worrying about the fiddly E-M5 back button AF and AF point-size/selection.

    I would suggest shooting for a while with both and see which you enjoy using more - it will translate in to better images more than any minor difference in sensor noise!
  11. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I wish I could shoot both together for a spell, sadly I can't have both!!

    I think what you say is right enough though, the EM5 would be much better for carrying and taking with me but one of the reasons I got rid of one last year was the size, I have quite large hands which meant I found the EM5 (with the grip) a little fiddly at times wheras the D600 fits very comfortably into my hands.

    If I'm honest I think I'm leaning toward the EM5, for 99% of what I like to take I think the size would be better than than the ultimate IQ in the D600, I might not be able to get as great low light performance but it seems that it is possible to get some stunning low light images with the EM5.

    I will be a little sad to see the D600 go but I can't keep both and its better to have a camera I take with me than one that sits in the house only to be taken out when I'm "going out for photos"
  12. LowriderS10

    LowriderS10 Monkey with a camera.

    May 19, 2013
    I sold my 5D Mark II, 135L f2, 16-35L II f2.8, 40 2.8 STM and Tamron 70-300 VC USD to pick up the OM-D (now have the 9-18, the O45 1.8 and the O75 1.8 for it).

    Zero regrets. The only part where it falls behind is bokeh...I'm a bit of a bokeh addict, and the OM-D's small sensor struggles there...BUT...with the 45 and especially with the 75 I'm still getting results I'm happy with. Plus, a 42.5 f1.2 is on the way...supposedly.

    I travel/hike/etc a ton, so size/weight are HUGE considerations for me...I've shot 3,000+ frames in 5 months with this camera, lugged it all around a bunch of places from the Alps in Switzerland to downtown's right at home everywhere.

    You'd be surprised at how little *REAL WORLD* difference there is in the pics between the OM-D and a full frame...factor in the OM-D's IBIS and all of the sudden, you're shooting at ISO 400 where on the FF DSLR you were doing ISO 1600 and all of the sudden the OM-D has the edge! ;)
    • Like Like x 2
  13. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    I know it doesn't have IBIS, but have you considered a GH3? I have large hands (6' 8" tall) and the GH3 fits my hands nicely.

    Where I think the system wins hands down is lens size, not body size. Sometimes you can be just too small....
  14. mperete

    mperete Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 11, 2012
    NSW Australia
    Real Name:
    I sold my 5D to get into m4/3. I had the OM-D and loved its size and design, but sold it after a few months to get back to the 5D. For the type of photography I was into which was maximum subject isolation I didn't mind letting go of the OM-D's very good IQ.

    Now I'm happy with my 5D and a Fuji X100 as a take anywhere camera with a little omph. I'm actually tired of switching lenses when I'm out so these cameras really suit me well :)
  15. khollister

    khollister Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 16, 2010
    Orlando, FL
    Real Name:
    I came from almost 40 years of film and digital photography on a variety of platforms - 35mm SLR's (Olympus & Nikon), Mamiya MF, 5x7 view camera and Nikon DSLR's. I owned a D700 and now have a pair of D800's with considerable glass and flash equipment. I also have an E-M5, E-PL5 and the 7.5 FE, 12, 14, 25, 45, 60 & 75 primes.

    I use the D800's for a few specialized things at this point ...
    1. Landscapes due to the 36MP sensor and DR if it is a dedicated trip for that purpose
    2. Birds due to the AF and long lens availability (I have a 300/2.8 w all of the TC's)
    3. Motorsports due to AF and the 300/2.8
    4. Sophisticated wireless TTL flash work since I haver the PocketWizard RF TTL triggers

    I use the m43 stuff for everything else. Is the IQ from the D800 better? - sort of. The resolution is obviously higher and there is more DR, however I like the color better from the Oly (and I shoot raw exclusively). I also rarely go above ISO 1600, so the FX improvement at high ISO is not a big deal for me.

    If I didn't photograph birds and the E-M1 has adequate AF with 4/3 SWD lenses, the 50-200 would take care of the motorsports stuff. I take the D800 & 16-35VRor landscapes because I have it. If birding went away and I could use the E-M1 and 50-200 for sports, FX would hold little attraction any more other than nostalgia. If you are primarily a travel/portrait/street/landscape photographer, then m43 is the way to go IMHO.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. waffley

    waffley Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 28, 2012
    Just a thought Chris, but if you found the E-M5 a bit small for your size hands, how about the E-M1 which has the bigger grip?
  17. khollister

    khollister Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 16, 2010
    Orlando, FL
    Real Name:
    Another point - high ISO. Looking at Ming's E-M1/D600 comparison review, it appears the D600 has about a 1.5-2 stop advantage above ISO 1600 (it varies depending on whether you are concerned most about resolution, luminance noise or chroma noise). Now consider that for a stationary subject, the 5 axis IBIS in the Oly will likely allow a handheld shot at a slower shutter speed (and therefore lower EV) than a VRII lens on the Nikon (personal experience here - I own both). Also consider that for a subject where you are using normal/long focal lengths, you are not likely to shoot an f/1.4 or 2.0 lens wide open on FX due to DOF, especially if it is in motion. On m43, you have a 2 stop DOF advantage, so that 45/1.8 Oly is equivalent to a Nikon 85 @ f/3.5-4.0, a 2 stop EV advantage to m43.

    There is no doubt that FX has lower noise and slower resolution falloff with high ISO. When you are talking about high resolution bodies like the D800 (36MP), the effect is even more due to pixel(noise) size. But the OM-D is hand holdable at slower speeds due to IBIS and can be shot at larger apertures for equivalent DOF, so you need to consider whether FX really provides the ability to take photos where you couldn't with the OM-D.

    I don't think I really lost much in low EV IQ/usability with the E-M5 relative to my D700. The D800's I have now are better, but I never seem to have the DSLR rig with me in the situations where I could use ISO 3200/6400.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    Real Name:
    Chris, size-wise see if you can get a look at an E-M1 - they had some at an event in London over the weekend and it'll probably feel more 'handy' than the E-M5. I like my M5 but if you think it's too fiddly it may be worth a wait to handle the M1.
  19. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011

    The GH3 has dramatically better Ergonomics than the em5. I couldn't deal with the em5's handling and menus at all, but I'd put the GH3 right there with my Canon gear in that regard. The EM1 looks to be a smidgen smaller than the GH3, and with better ergos than the em5. But still with Oly's menus....

    Sent from my Sprint Galaxy S3. Please forgive any typos or auto-correct errors.
  20. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Real Name:
    Napier Lopez
    As mentioned by others, you need to factor not just the formats, but the specific value of each camera and lens. For the focal lengths I tend to use and the subjects I tend to shoot, the E-M5's IBIS means that I'm getting equal or better image quality than most FF camera+lens kits; this is something that should be even truer on the E-M1 since it seems to have noticeably improved IBIS over the E-M5, which is saying something. Most of my shooting happens in the 90mm and below range, and most lenses in this range aren't stabilized on FF.

    FF's real-world IQ advantages are the option for greater DoF control (particularly for a given lens price), and better high ISO performance. But given there are many situations where you can get away with lower ISO on an E-M5, that is less of an issue than one might expect if not shooting a lot of sports/action. The E-M1 should close that gap even more.

    Besides, a RAW file from the current sensor up to ISO 6400 is surpisingly workable with just a little care. These are all ISO 6400 in supremely low light with minimal noise reduction(more annoying are the terrible skin casts lightroom applies at high ISOs, which are mostly corrected for here). The two images with my face in them are pulled up by like half a stop too, and they have minimal if any luminance noise reduction.

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    <a href="" title="New-54 by napilopez, on Flickr">[​IMG]"640" height="480" alt="New-54"></a>

    <a href="" title="New-71 by napilopez, on Flickr">[​IMG]"640" height="480" alt="New-71"></a>

    <a href="" title="New-91 by napilopez, on Flickr">[​IMG]"640" height="480" alt="New-91"></a>