Need advice on Oly, Panny or what?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by pondball, Feb 28, 2016.

Which one should I choose

Poll closed Mar 6, 2016.
  1. Wait patiently for the Oly OM-D1 MII

    5 vote(s)
  2. Jump at the Oly OM-D5 MII while the price is still ok in Canada

    6 vote(s)
  3. Just get the Oly OM-D1 now

    10 vote(s)
  4. Forget the Oly... go Panny!

    6 vote(s)
  5. Get the OM-D5 MII now and the OM-D1 MII later.

    2 vote(s)
  6. There are other options that are better... see below!

    1 vote(s)
  7. Sit and wait... you seem to be good at it!

    2 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. I presently shoot with a FF D700 as I've posted elsewhere here. Love it... but its a brick when I'm travelling and it doesn't do video. My best glass is a Sigma 105mm Macro. Love it too and now realize what good glass can do but I'm hesitant to upgrade my Nikkor kit lens for travel as the brick would soon turn into an anchor. I intend to hang onto my D700 for macro, product shoots and low light work.

    But... I've been looking at moving to M4/3s since the fall and was hoping that the OM-D1 MII would have been announced by now. I have no real urgent need to purchase my travel camera right now... except that I just received a heads up from Henry's Camera here in Canada that prices of camera equipment will probably be rising by as much as 30% on April 1, 2016 to offset the US/Cdn$ differential.

    I've spent time at shops and shows reviewing all the smaller compact and M4/3 offerings and the more I look the more some look the same. I'm impressed with the wide range of glass available from both Oly and Panny and am leaning that way right now, but it will still come down to my basic travel and "new camera" needs.

    They are:
    • lighter than my D700 - that would make it all of the M4/3s
    • high end affordable glass - I love the looks of the Oly Pro series
    • video: for travel and for coaching - the latter to vimeo and youtube
    • photography: I'd be using the new system for: birding, landscape, travel (interior and exterior shots), and some sports so need at least true 5fps as I presently shoot with my D700
    • raw files - I use Lightroom, ON1 Photo10 and Affinity Photo and shoot only Raw right now
    • excellent screen and VF as I have a wee problem with Macular Pucker in right eye

    What I don't know right now is whether I wait bit longer for the new OM-D1 if Oly is the way I'm going or to pick up the OM-D5 MII which has just announced Version 2 and 4K video availability. That last option would be beneficial in my coaching I would think, allowing me to both capture video and extract stills from that video. Which one has better video right now... the OM-D1 or the OM-D5 Mii?

    Or is there a better option in other cameras out there that will still cover as many of the above as I seem to need right now. The lightweight requirement is my first so I have no doubt that mirrorless is the way I am leaning, with a real lean to M4/3s at this point.

    Any suggestions would be welcome.
  2. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    If you are in a hurry get the E-M1 now. Then wait to see both the E-M1 mk2 and the GH-5.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    If you want to shoot sports then get the EM1 or wait for the mk2 version. The EM1 is the only OMD with PDAF and the only one I would and do use for sports (I'm mostly a wildlife and sports photographer).

    If I already had a camera I would wait for EM1 mk2. But the price increase is only something you can answer. By the time the mk2 is available prices could be the same, better, or worse.
  4. Bruce McL

    Bruce McL Mu-43 Veteran

    At times like this, I turn to the camera feature search at DPReview. It says the Panasonic GH4 is the camera for you! :)

    Camera feature search: Digital Photography Review

    Seriously, I don't always take the advice of that web page, but I always learn something. I learn the most by changing the parameters. Settling for 1080p will certainly give you a lot more choices.

    Another strategy when making a big change is to abandon the hope of getting the perfect camera. Look for a camera that you will be the most comfortable with for one year. A year of MFT experience could change what you want in a MFT camera.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    Gx8 with 12-35 & 35-100. Great stills with DFD and Dual IS. Very good 1080P (60 fps) with software and OIS for stabilization, and OIS only for 4K video (30 fps) (you can use a much smaller lens & capture all of the action then crop to 1080P (up to 75% and still have better 1080P).
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 18, 2015
    I don't think the Oly vs Panasonic question can be decided on features alone. When I decided I went to a shop and held an EM5 and Gx7 and I just didn't feel comfortable with the EM5. The viewfinder was definitely better, but having all the buttons in good places and the small grip made the difference to me. In terms of features the Oly cameras are a bit more advanced for stills and the Panasonic for Video, but ergonomics matter.

    The other factor to decide on is lenses. If you want to have a smaller system with pro zooms than the Panasonic offerings will give you what you're looking for. They also seem to have the best autofocus in m43 if paired with DFD capable bodies. However, the Oly Zooms are definitely a bit nicer in terms of build (not necessary quality, but things like the manual focus clutch) and the Oly 40-150 f2.8 offers more reach, but is double the size. If you want the Oly zooms I don't think there is really a way past the Oly bodies for the 5 axis IBIS.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. ashburtononline

    ashburtononline Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 21, 2015
    New Zealand
    I switched from Nikon FF (D3's) to EM1's ... no regrets. IF you use top grade m43 lenses, it compares .... just cant go nearly as high with ISO .... I shoot basketball a lot but with our new stadium with at least 1 stop better light and a Nocticron, I can get good results. Not AS good, but good enough for publication.

    Get the current EM1
  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    I voted E-M5 mkII unless video is a primary need. I'm not a video guy but I do know Panasonic does do video better in general. Otherwise I find going between Nikon and Olympus bodies very easy. I'll add if you're a zoom shooter you might want to use Panasonic zooms since the zoom ring turns in the same direction as Nikon.

    I was actually in a similar situation when I got into m4/3. I was shooting a pair of D700's and the smallest lens I had was the 28-105 AF-D. I picked up an E-PM1 and kit lens that was lighter the 28-105 was alone, never mind the brick of the D700. I still shoot Nikon for events, but for personal stuff I love m4/3.
  9. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Any modern mirrorless camera (Panny, Oly, Fuji, Sony) will be great. Unless there is a killer feature you're looking for, buy whichever one handles best and spend money on good glass (although I read that Fuji files don't get along great w/ LR, so if you don't want to learn a new post routine, go M43).
  10. robcee

    robcee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 10, 2016
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Rob Campbell
    I concur with the mob: go to henry's and play with a couple to see what feels best in the hand. I upgraded to the E-M1 from a mk1 E-M5 and love it, originally as a backup for my D800. I've since made the full switch to m43.

    I'm interested in seeing what the E-M1mk2 looks like, but it could a year before they make it into people's hands. I expect the announce to be in September with units to start shipping in November, December. That could mean Jan-Feb in Canada. If you can wait, sit tight.

    oh yeah, it'll be expensive when they announce it. With the Pen-F tipping in at 1700CAN, I can see the EM1 coming in around 2k. If you can bundle the 12-40mm Pro with it, you'll save some money. It could be another 6 months for prices to start dropping after initial release.
  11. heli-mech

    heli-mech Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Mar 9, 2012
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Not sure what your budget is but I am pretty sure that the EM1 mk2 will be north of $2000CAN+tax (seeing as the PEN-F is $1500), with a little waiting you can find a mint used EM1 for around $900-1000 or new for $1200+tax, or if you look on you can also still find the EM5 mk2 for under $900 (couple weeks delivery though) Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Digital Camera, Black, Body: Camera & Photo That would save you a fair amount towards those nice lenses....
  12. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    How important is video, and what is the quality you are expecting from it? Will you be shooting video handheld? How much post-processing of video will you want to do? Answering these questions may help guide your decision as many people prefer the video codecs and files from Panasonic's better cameras. But, if you are going to be shooting a lot of handheld, Oly's IBIS comes in handy, and may offer you a bit extra stabilization over Panasonic's OIS, but a lot of it comes down to your shooting style.

    Having switched from a D300 into m4/3rd's, I will say that the E-M1's controls felt natural to me. I suspect that the Panasonic G7 and/or GH-4 might offer the same feeling, but I have not shot with them. The EVF on the E-M1 is also a pleasure. Having said that, I do consider bodies to be more "disposable" than lenses, so I try to buy them on deep sales, refurbished or on close-out as I do not use them to earn income. I have not shot with the newer Mark II bodies of the E-M5/E-M10, but they may offer you what you seek at a lower price point, but only the E-M1 offers PDAF.

    Good luck,

    • Useful Useful x 1
  13. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    While I've enjoyed (for the most part) the Panasonic bodies I've used, I find the Olympus bodies handle more closely like Nikon than Panasonic do.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  14. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    If you are truly looking for sports shooting like your D700, then you would be only looking at two cameras at the moment, the E-M1 and the GX-8/GH-4. Don't forget that while a camera can do 5fps minimum, the shot buffer is really important. Not enough of a shot buffer means it takes time clearing the images to the card so you have to wait and you will miss shots. This is especially important for Bird In Flight. The E-M1 has an impressive shot buffer that easily exceeds your D700 20 frames RAW buffer. The buffer rate on the E-M5 II is less, which also explains why this camera can not do on the fly focus stacking (lacking buffer space). The GX-8 buffer rate isn't as impressive as the E-M1; about 36 frames for RAW and 32 frames for RAW+JPEG as opposed to 50 frames RAW and 34 frames for RAW+JPEG for the E-M1. Despite that, the GX-8 possess 1 thing that the E-M1 doesn't have but the Nikon D700 has. It is 3D AF tracking. The GX-8 and the G-7 are the only 2 cameras that possess the new AF algorithm that tracks subject matter very well. They called it 3D AF tracking DFD. Obviously, you need to use Panasonic lenses. But when I tried a G7 with this mode and a Panasonic lens (I own mostly Panny primes and pro zooms), the performance is impressively good! It can match the D700 AF quite well or a Nikon D3. If you are an avid birder, use the Panasonic 100-400 to shoot birds on a bright day, the 3D AF tracking is impressively fast, stable and accurate. Unfortunately, DFD does not work with Olympus lenses. The Olympus E-M1 II should introduce a new PDAF AF tracking system that matches or exceeds the 3D AF tracking DFD and should work with both Panasonic and Olympus lenses.

    So if you are willing to wait for the Mark 2, I would do this and see if the new PDAF system is any better than the current Panasonic DFD 3D AF tracking setup. If you want it now, then the GX-8 would be a better choice if you don't mind using only Panasonic lenses to take advantage of 3D AF tracking DFD and need a matching DSLR AF performance. The GX-8 can also do 4K video which is something Olympus does not have. And there's no guarantee the Mark 2 will have 4K.

    If you're ok with 1080p video, the E-M1 is a better deal. The E-M1 went down to $999.99 during the Canada Black Friday and Boxing day sale in 2015. I see only the E-M1 dropping in price further once the E-M1 II and this camera could be priced like $1899 or $1999 CDN even if it comes with handheld hi-res. For sports, the E-M1 ticks all the right boxes and it's the only body you know will have its price lowered. Used prices I saw sold at my dealer ranges from $799 to $849 and they are sold really fast. People mainly eye for the buffer rate because it's the only Oly camera I know that has an impressive 50 frames RAW. My E-P5 has 18 frames for RAW and 15 combined. At the last dog show I shot, my E-P5 just couldn't keep up clearing the buffer. The only camera that can keep up 5fps in my arsenal now is the E-5 if I shoot JPEG at 120 frames and 16 frames for RAW, but couldn't do it in the dog show because I need somewhat of a clean ISO 6400. So in hindsight, the E-M1 serves as a camera that can keep up with most current high end m43 cameras today, except that you know the price isn't going to be subjected to a 30% currency up like the new PEN-F and the new E-M1 II.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
    • Informative Informative x 2
  15. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Find a used (well loved) em1 and see if mirrorless is for you.
    • Useful Useful x 1
  16. Thanks for the great advice so far folks! Interesting to note that most of the votes are lending towards the Oly with just a few in favour of the Panny system... Nobody is really chiming in recommending other manufacturers which is both interesting and helpful... guess the last thing I need is to start branching out to Fuji, Sony and messing up this already cluttered head! ;) I have actually looked at those offerings and quite frankly really didn't like the feel of the Sony... or the price... or the glass offerings to date.

    I think it was the compatibility, or as it appears from reading here at mu-43, the "near" compatability of the Oly and Panny glass that is making me lean to one or the other... or both eventually of these.

    If Oly is the final choice and if a decision is made sooner than later, then one key point that is probably tending to make me think it will be the OM-D1 over the OM-D5 MII is the increase in buffer when in continuous mode. For both my bird shots and for my coaching it would be a catastrophe (in my mind anyway) if the shot or sequence was missed due to a camera that was trying to catch up. One other thing I like about the Oly is that the choices seem pretty cut and dry... a good thing, imo. it would be between the D1 and D5 MII right now, whereas when I look at the Panny site and the plethora of offerings I just haven't got a clue which camera is meant for which photographer. The GH series looks interesting but when compared together the Panny looks massive... and I already have massive in my D700!

    I have to admit I had to look up exactly what PDAF meant... interesting... we live in a world of acronyms don't we!?

    Question (maybe for @Phocal@Phocal)... Is PDAF fast enough to catch a bird in flight. I know it's still my skill, or lack of, with catching birds in flight but I've had three not so successful attempts recently at catching a hawk in flight with my D700. Maybe I've got it on the wrong setting but I always seem to lose focus of this magnificent bird as it flies out of plane. When I did a lot of photography many moons ago I shot with a very basic Canon FtB/QL... in black and white and developed my own film and prints. I only had 3 settings to change and I new them all very well indeed. I got back into photography again with a barely used D700 and I have to admit after two years with this camera I still don't take advantage of many of the settings. My preference is to shoot either Aperture Priority or Manual but opted the last time with the Hawk to shoot on Speed and set it to 1000, with a ISO of 6400 so that I could bump my Aperture to f11... hoping to keep the depth of field deep enough to keep the Hawk in focus no matter what path he took to fly off. The results were better but still not to my liking.

    I'll be interested to see more comments as they come in. Again, Travelling light is my first priority, image quality is second, followed by fast, quality glass availability, video and then price.

    Edit: Should have added that weathertight, weatherproof or close to it is high on the list too.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  17. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    The EM1 is more then fast enough any type of action when it comes keeping focus. The one thing it lacks compared to say a Canon 7D or Nikon D500 is tracking, so this forces the user to keep the focus point on the target. Tracking does work and I have used it successfully for a number of things, including birds in is just not as error free as the two aforementioned cameras. Not sure if you have seen this, but here is a tread I created that has links to all my action photography threads that I have created: Using the EM1 with 4/3 Lenses for Sports/Action/Wildlife Photography This is while using 4/3 lenses, I do not own any of the Olympus Pro lenses at this time......will start buying them soon tho. Those threads have lots of sample photographs, but here a few bird in flight shots I have taken using my EM1 w/ ZD 50-200 SWD and EC-14.

    View attachment 459213

    View attachment 459214

    I don't shoot birds in flight that often, it is not an area that really interest me when it comes to wildlife or even bird photography. I prefer to photograph gators (they don't move very fast except when chasing you) or water birds on the hunt. Mostly I photograph in the swamps of southeast Texas, so seeing birds fly is difficult.

    Any other questions don't hesitate to ask.


    Edit - forgot to add that both those shots were taken using tracking, which worked pretty well at the rookery.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  18. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Here there is a series of articles discussing birds with m43. There is also a long and detailed comparison with a Canon 7D.

    Blog | Mirrorless Planet

    If I remember correctly it's @Lcrunyon@Lcrunyon blog.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. @Phocal@Phocal ... Thanks again for the informative reply... and, no I hadn't seen that thread yet... but it was extremely helpful... I'll obviously have to start learning more about the difference between 4/3 and M4/3 lens... love your photos btw and yup... no doubt there will be more questions... especially when I finally dive into the M4/3s world... heading up to Ottawa in a couple of weeks so will stop in at one of my favourite Henry's to see what they have.
  20. Thanks @Klorenzo@Klorenzo I took a quick look at that blog just now and realize it will need a deeper look-see when I have more time so have bookmarked it for future reference as well