New camera Quandary

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Paul80, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    Hi all

    looking for some advice re a new Camera Purchase

    I am stuck between the Olympus E-M1 and the Panasonic Lumix GH-4

    Currently I am a Lumix user with G5, G6 & GX7 Cameras and a few Lumix lenses

    Obviously the lenses would work on either and as Lumix owner I am tending to favour the GH-4 but how do the two of them compare side by side, any obvious strengths or weaknesses I should be aware of.

    Thanks for any help with this

  2. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I've never used either, but if I had the money, I'd get the GH4. It is the camera on my wishlist at present. I prefer the GH4 because in the tests I have seen online, the GH4 has better continuous AF tracking. I would also like to get more into video, and the GH4 excels there as well. The reasons to get the EM-1 is the IBIS and the better OOC JPEGs. So, if IBIS and JPEGs are more important to you than C-AF and video, I'd say go for the EM-1. I"m sure I could be very happy with either. I'm also sure I'll have one of them or their successor one day.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    I'm currently writing a comparative review between them but it's going to take time and not going to be finished in the next few days.

    Here are some shots of them next to each other:


    There are absolutely things I love about one over the other, so it really does depend on what style of shooting you're going to do and of course of video is at all important to you.

    From a stills point of view they both have positives and negatives (as a comparison), so please, tell me more about your expectations and I'll try to help with direct comparisons....
  4. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    if video is important - GH4... its in a class of its own

    if not

    then the in-body image stabilisation of the OMD is a major plus... really a major plus

  5. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Interesten in video and have mostly stabilised MFT glass? gH4. Stills, adapted glass, unstabilised glass and/or want to use 43 lenses? E-M1.

    That's my shirt version.
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Totally agree with Kevin. Besides, the GH4 is just UGLY,
  7. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    That's really a personal thing.... I know people who think the GH4 is perfect and the EM1 is ugly. :) 

    I like them both (and dislike them both) for different reasons.
  8. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    So Paul, let's ask some specific questions to get us going:

    1) How much do you like choosing a specific focus point over letting the camera pick?

    2) How much do you use flash (built in or otherwise) ?

    3) How often do you find yourself changing things like ISO, White Balance etc?

    4) How often do you shoot in manual mode?

    5) Do you do any macro or have things you'd like to be able to choose a very tiny point of focus rather than a general area?

    6) How often are you swapping between AF and MF modes?

    7) How often do you take a burst of shots and then want to look at them right away?

    8) How often do you shoot then want to zoom in to check focus?

    9) Do you ever shoot timelapse?

    10) How much do you shoot at night?
  9. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Yea, I know it's personal - but the GH4 just looks like so many of the plastic DSLRs from Nikon/Canon etc. At least the E - M1 has a somewhat different feel to it. I'm sure it's a superb camera - but just not for me.
  10. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium

    I doubt you will get a job in sales or the diplomatic corp

    really.. a 10 question quiz?.. about features!!

    how about asking what kinds of pictures he/she wants to take

    thats kinda why most people buy a camera

  11. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I'm more in the camp of liking the GH4 looks than the EM1, maybe it's just me but the EM1 looks like some frankenstein monstrosity that was cobbled together from the bodies of dead cameras... the GH4 looks like a workhorse.
  12. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    suppose that depends on where you are coming from.. i am from a time where there first real camera I used was my fathers Pen F. When I bought my E-P1 which was the digital embodiment of that quirky classic, I hoped and wished they would make a digital OM-1. Or at very least something as small and light at the Nikon EM 1 that served me well through the 90's

    The OMD is a continuation of a pedigree in photography,

    the GH4 ... while a very fine camera, is the frankenstein

    both are as only as good as the person looking through the viewfinder

  13. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    I think they're both ugly. That's why I bought a GX7. So I can stare at it all day and be satisfied, even if I never take a single photo. After all, what is a camera, if one can't look cool holding one. Yeah. That's what this photography thing is about. Looking cool.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    [Kevin] Forgive my total ignorance regarding your idea of sales and diplomatic corp, but since the OP already has 3 cameras I figured they might actually know how they use their current cameras. [/Kevin]

    The question of GH4 vs EM1 comes up quite often and typically draws a response from EM1 owners along the lines of "GH4=Video", "EM1=Photo" as if products should be pigeon holed by a single function.

    The assumption appears to be that since the GH4 is so good at video, the "only" reason you'd ever buy it would be for video. This couldn't be further from the truth and this rather naive approach probably stems from the fact that the GH4 broke new ground with 4K video, so it's been shouted about a lot. If the GH4 had only the miserable video capabilities of the EM1 then the reviews would have talked about it's excellent photo capabilities instead.

    Before we go any further, I've never seen the point of being tribal about these things, like the Canon / Nikon camps often appear to be, especially when Panasonic & Olympus share the same lenses and people often have a cross over in that area anyway. Does it really matter if someone chooses a different camera to us? Does that make our choice wrong? far too often I see people trashing another brand in order to reassure themselves they didn't screw up in their own choices.

    Both cameras can take equally good pictures in just about all situations and if you show me a picture I may remember what camera I used at the time, but I certainly wouldn't be able to tell you which camera was used by looking at the photo. If we believe the internet, they use the same sensor, so it's unsurprising that the raw images don't look that different. The JPEG engines differ, of course, but since I never shoot JPEG that doesn't worry me. If you shoot only JEPG then clearly there could be a preference in one direction over the other.

    As far as looks go, one is squared off (EM1) the other is rounded (GH4). One is slightly larger (though tiny compared to regular DSLRs) and one a 'little' smaller, though not much. It's enough that I have to hold the camera differently to stop my little finger falling off the bottom. If you add the grip it becomes bigger.

    After that, it really does come down to the features of the user interface and tactile feel of the controls. Let's put video aside (yes, if you want decent video the argument is over - get the GH4) and concentrate on how you use it for photography.

    Take a simple example. If you use pop-up flash quite a lot (let's not get in to whether that's good or bad vs off camera flash), then the GH4 has a built in flash. The EM1 has a flash you have to remember to take with you separately, then remove two plastic parts (separately and remembering not to lose them) before mounting the flash accessory. So if pop-up flash was important, the GH4 may seem the better option.

    OTOH, if you shoot a lot in low light without flash then the EM1 has IBIS, which is very good, particularly with primes that don't have built in IS. So that would lean in favour of the EM1.

    If you go from AF to MF frequently the GH4 has a dedicated switch for it. With the EM1 you have to either fumble with a button somewhere top left then fiddle with menus, or program a function button to do it, which is great, but you can only do this for so many functions before running out of buttons.

    If you want to change ISO a lot the GH4 has a dedicated button followed by a wheel turn whereas the EM1 has a lever you move then turn a wheel, requiring you to remember to move the lever back or you could change the wrong settings next time you move the wheel.

    When it comes to changing focus points there are ways in which the EM1 is better than the GH4, but then the GH4 has spot focusing that the EM1 lacks and can focus on somethings much easier and more accurately than the EM1.

    Then we have the MF focus assist functions, like image magnification and focus peaking. The GH4 magnifies a patch where you are focusing, leaving the overall image in context. The EM1 enlarges the entire screen, which can be nice, but you can also lose context in the process. The GH4 focus peaking has colour options and keeps a full high resolution image with subtle peaking over lays while the EM1 is black and white only and prefers to dumb down the picture to a cartoon like image with huge black (or white) lines around the focus areas.

    The LCD has much more limited travel on the EM1 compared to the GH4 which has full flip out + rotation, including being able to store it in a protected state. I know a lot of people think flip out LCDs are too flimsy or vulnerable, but the GH4 LCD feels more solid than the EM1 does and gives many more options for shooting angles.

    If you like to pull a camera out and shoot single handed the GH4 can be turned on and used with one hand, the EM1 requires two because of the inconvenient power switch position.

    There are lots of these simple differences. Neither one is right or wrong and you may find you prefer one over the other.

    I actually like (love) BOTH cameras and look at them as equals on the photography side of things, each having their own unique advantages over the other in different areas. If I sound like I'm defending the GH4, maybe I am a little because EM1 owners seem to dismiss it as a video camera, yet it's far more capable as a photo camera than they think.

    So, sorry to those who say GH4=Video, EM1=photo, that should really be:

    Photo & Video = GH4

    Photo (with occasional video) EM1 vs GH4 (noting that EM1 only has frame rates for North America and Japan)

    Photo Only = EM1 or GH4 equally based on personal preference.

    I could go on comparing function against function, button vs button, but really, it's all personal preference since they can both take equally good pictures.

    We could pick any one feature we like and build a straw man argument such that without that one feature the world would collapse (e.g. IBIS on the EM1), yet for many people that feature may be totally irrelevant. The same goes for video, for some it's important and for others it's an irrelevance.

    So, EM1 vs GH4 for photos? There is no absolute winner and no obvious wrong choice that applies to everyone, but one may be better suited to an individual person based on what and how they shoot, and yes, how you use certain features too.

    Let's hear back from the OP before going too much further :)  Paul?
    • Like Like x 2
  15. JYPfoto

    JYPfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 27, 2013
    I decided to go back to m4/3 with the E-M1 and the Premium/Pro line of lenses. Just liked the direction they're headed with the lenses and the 75 and 40-150 just scream the necessity of IBIS.
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