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Lacking a reason to upgrade

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by dhazeghi, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I suppose I should be grateful (my bank account is), but at the moment, I find myself in the odd situation of wanting to upgrade one or both of my camera bodies, but not really seeing anything all that interesting to upgrade them to.

    First there's my little Olympus E-PM2 which after 2 years I still haven't really fallen in love with. On a bang-for-the-buck basis, it's a great camera, but I find it on the whole uninspiring - the IBIS is hit-or-miss, the missing EVF forces me to compromise portability by adding the VF-2, and the clacky mechanical shutter makes discreet shooting difficult. Shutter-shock is also a worry.

    Of the three items, Olympus's supposed successor, the E-PL7, addresses only the IBIS. For a price of $600, I'm inclined to pass. Panasonic on the other side seems to have finally figured out how to put an EVF, albeit a fairly small one, in a compact m4/3 body. But with no IBIS, no OIS on the lenses that best suit the body (14/2.5, 20/1.7 and 45/1.8) and a $800 price tag, the GM5 isn't that compelling a choice either. Plus neither offers an image-quality upgrade.

    My workhorse is the E-M5, and in addition to the usual cosmetic blemishes, it has developed a reticence about starting up. I think there's something amiss with the battery contacts, but cleaning them hasn't made a big difference. The E-M5 has certainly proven to be a good camera, but it too has a few annoying limitations, most notably the many tiny buttons that make operating with gloves a real pain, the lack of an electronic shutter and the complete absence of competent C-AF. None of these are deal-breakers, but after 2.5 years, I'm rather disappointed to find that there isn't anything unambiguously better available.

    In particular, neither Panasonic nor Olympus seem to believe in having good tracking AF in any model other than their flagships. Good for getting extra money from customers perhaps, but bad for anybody who'd rather not have something that handles (and looks) like a mid-sized DSLR. The E-M1 and GH4 seem to finally offer competent if not spectacular C-AF, but both are also significantly larger than the E-M5, and both command a much higher MSRP. Neither offer an appreciably better sensor either, and with the GH4 missing IBIS and the E-M1 missing an electronic shutter, I expect to pass on both. The E-M10 and G6 don't have much to claim either.

    I guess this is more of a rant than anything else, but I can't help but feel that 2014 has been rather a lost year in m4/3-land, with the dial barely moving in most respects. Yes, the GH4 does offer a breakthrough if you shoot video, and the GM5 is in a new category of compactness/utility, but when it comes to bread-and-butter features, it's been a disappointing 12 months all in all. In the meantime, if either of my cameras do croak (the E-M5 is the likelier candidate), I'll probably just buy the same thing again, secondhand.
     
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  2. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    The EM5II will probably be a tighter body with a better processing engine, but aside from that rumored 40 MP trick it looks like the same basic camera. I have no problem with small improvements for new buyers, but it doesn't sound like it's worth an upgrade from the current EM5. Maybe if you get lucky, your current EM5 will just stop working and you'll have a reason to get the new one :wink:
     
  3. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    You can probably get your E-M5 serviced for a reasonable cost, and quit having annoying startup problems. Plus, you will have an up-to-snuff used camera to trade when something new comes out in another year or so.
     
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    But my point is actually that there's not much reason to get the new one, even if the current one stops working. Which strikes me as disappointing, given that they've had 2.5+ years to design the new camera.

    Fortunately it's an intermittent problem so far. My guess though is that when it goes completely, it'll be cheaper to buy a secondhand one than to fix it.

    What puzzles me is that the technology clearly exists to improve the camera's AF, shutter, ergonomics and even sensor, but their approach seems to stop at making just a couple of modest tweaks. Panasonic's even worse - they seem to be discontinuing the mid-range model altogether. I hope it works well for them, but it's the sort of approach that's going to make me start looking elsewhere.
     
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I really do understand. I don't do video or really use C-AF. Except for a "better" (higher iso? more MP?, really hi rez EVF?) all I really can look forward to is gilding the lily. I would really like at least the VF4-level finder on the EM5II.
     
  6. Al.

    Al. Mu-43 Veteran

    372
    Jul 3, 2010
    Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
    Alan
    Thats the reason I am jumping ship to Fuji, already have the x-pro1 body and selling some of m43 stuff to finance some lenses
     
  7. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    The LX-100 is the only thing that interests me as a PenMini replacement. I really like the PM1 I have but you are right the external EVF (VF4 in my case) does make it bigger.

    The E-M1 is a much better camera than the E-M5. If you already have a really small body to me the E-M1 is a no brainer.

    The E-M5II with the 40MP trick may work very well for landscapes, one of the main areas more MP would be nice, we'll see how it works out.
     
  8. Al.

    Al. Mu-43 Veteran

    372
    Jul 3, 2010
    Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
    Alan
    last I heard the EM-5 11 will have a normal sensor
     
  9. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    Olympus is certainly taking an anemic approach in regards to upgrading their cameras. It's not the first time they did this. Remember how long it took for the E-3 update to the E-1? 4 years, where during this time period Canon and Nikon were already past their 2nd to 3rd generation upgrades. Also, Olympus is in a bad financial position where they have to decide wisely what they have to put into their upgraded models so it will last another 3 years or so. If you like yearly upgrades, Sony would be your best choice.
    Speaking of Sony, their Sony A7 Mark 2 isn't a big upgrade but comes with a bigger price tag. The 5 axis IBIS and 30% improved AF, but still slower than the Nikon D750 or the even the D610. So even with Sony, the AF performance isn't up to DSLR standards yet. It's tough to innovate when camera sales is tanking and is projected to tank even more in 2015. Take a look at Sony's cautious move with the new Sony A7 MK 2 -- some places still on pre-order with no stock even on Christmas eve. This is different from a year ago where they made boat loads of A7 and A7r only to realize that demand is anemic at best. 11% total sales of cameras in North America alone goes to show that people are not on any upgrade path. I've been out to a few meet up groups and the majority of people who shoot are shooting with at least 2 generation behind, and most with 3rd generation behind. They have all realized that it's wise to improve on their skills. My friend's wife whose husband bought her a A6000 to upgrade her D90 was at last not fully satisfied with the camera. She tried liking it but in the end, she likes the Nikon D90 more. Just because the A6000 is superior technologically does not mean a capable photographer will like it. A camera is just a tool, but I see so many people chasing faster AF, more dynamic range, better noise and keep looking to upgrade year over year. If you're happy with your E-M5, keep using it. If it breaks, buy a used one. Maybe the E-M5 Mk 2 is an improvement to the original E-M5. If that's the case, then just wait a year or so and see the price plummets. It's not even a year that we see the price of the E-M10 gone down. We can see specials going on with the E-M10 with dual lens kit for the price of just the body alone when it first came out.

    Going into 2015, camera sales will continue their decline so perhaps you'll see Canon and Nikon come into the mirrorless scene. And when that happens, more price cuts may happen, because ultimately the major brands will hold their value. A digital camera is like a computer now. Just buy a camera, a used last generation model when you need it. It's unwise to buy new unless you're rich and flushed with cash.

    I project that we will see a glut of Sony A7 FF used come on the market in 2015 as soon as all BO A7 Mark 2 are fulfilled with prices around $700 to $800. When that's the case, it's really tempting for me to pick one up to complement my E-P5 for wide angle and astrophotography. I'll be staying with the E-P5 for a long time! I'm also shooting with the E-1 I got bundled with the 14-54 and I love it!! With the new OV3 and RAW, this baby is really still capable. I love the colors and the files. I also plan to shoot with it long and if it breaks, it's cheap to replace with another E-1 or maybe E-3.
     
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  10. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    Yeah, can't Sony or someone improve on that sensor??
    I am surprised you thought Em1 was large. I am guessing you don't use a grip with Em5 then.
    Agreed about small viewfinder in Gx7. That kept me from getting one until prices crashed.
    Gm5 prices will go down too eventually.
    I don't have Em5, but if I had to choose today, larger viewfinder and better video , and 1/8000 shutter would make me go for new model.
     
  11. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    632
    Jan 4, 2014
    Yeah, I can't see myself upgrading to a new body unless one of two things happen:
    1. For photography, I get a true higher resolution sensor (I'm on the fence about the em-5ii - it MAY work ok if it can spit out one 40MP raw picture, at least for landscape). That said, not often I wish for more resolution.
    2. For video, getting a camera that can do 4K AND has IBIS. This is partially because I got several primes without OIS, as well as the 35-100 has a bad jitter issue when shooting handheld video. I think I would even be ok with a limitation in recording time (like the LX100), if it helps with the heat issues that Panasonic is complaining about.
     
  12. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Sony did (i.e., CMOS BSI), but they seem to be more interested in selling 1", FF & APS-C sensors to camera manufactures.
    The fact that Sony hasn't introduced a new 4/3 sensor in almost 3 years should make it apparent that Sony is only involved with Olympus' medical imaging business and not their cameras.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    Yes this is something you have to hold side by side to really believe. The E-M5 even with the half grip is larger and heavier than the E-M1. I used the half grip quite a bit so for me the E-M1 size is much less of an issue.
     
  14. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    It'd be interesting to see how camera economics from a vendor perspective works. Does the systems survival depend on selling bodies, lenses or both in some mix (obviously they need to keep selling stuff, I just wonder what mix) ?

    Like other commentors in this thread I can't really see the point in upgrading and if I do it will be a used body. As an amateur, I can't justify keeping up with vendors roadmap - the cameras capabilities have long outstripped mine. On the other hand, they may be relying on selling a proportion of bodies to upgraders and some to people new to the system, to keep the system alive.

    I wonder if their marketing and sale people have a model over 5-10 years which says annually they'll sell x% to new clients, y% to upgraders in the first year and in the second year z% will be an increased number of upgraders who skipped a model ?
     
  15. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 Top Veteran

    708
    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    Rob
    Yeah me too. I used the same East German (film) 35mm SLR kit for over a decade and a half, repaired several times. Then a Canon 35mm EOS film SLR for circa 7 years. Then no "quality" camera at all for another 5 years. Now I have a G3 and an E-PM2, and an almost-under-control lens buying habit. But I can't see any particular reason to buy a "new new" body. And that despite the fact that I have (God willing) a big landmark birthday in the not too distant future.


    Rob
     
  16. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I've used the E-M1 enough (rentals, etc.) to conclude that it handles like a mid-sized DSLR. It's got the classic grip, and so forth. All well and good, but if I wanted a DSLR, I'd still be using one. I've never wanted the horizontal grip on the E-M5, and the fact that the E-M1 forces me to use it is annoying. Not to mention it makes the camera a lot less pleasing aesthetically.
     
  17. Listener

    Listener Mu-43 Regular

    Patience, grasshoppers.
     
  18. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    Perhaps. With the 12-60 the E-M1 seems like the body of choice. And it is not that big:

    PanaGH4_EM1.

    E-M1-vs-GX7-vs-GH3-vs-NEX-7.

    But to each his own. That is what makes a variety of choice great!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    I don't mind that the new models are incremental rather than exponential upgrades. It hellos me keep the temptation to spend money on a new camera body down. I traditionally don't buy new camera bodies very often anyway. I used my Canon 20D all the way through the 60D. In fact, I never upgraded it with another Canon, I switched to M4/3. I'm now using a G5 and the body I want most now is the GH4. The things that appeal to me are better C-AF and a bigger buffer for more burst photos. I'd also like better high ISO noise control. But the G5 is working fine within its limitations and I don't see replacing it for a while. I'm actually more tempted to add something like the Sony A7 for a big discounted price to have a go at a FF camera, which I've never had since film.
     
  20. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    563
    Sep 3, 2011
    L.A.
    I couldn't agree more. I just added a black body to pair with my silver, and I think I'm set for a very long time. I may add a lens or two, but I'm basically done buying gear. I can now spend my money getting to destinations on my bucket list, or taking masters classes to up my skill level.
     
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