Novice needs advice

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by igork007, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. igork007

    igork007 New to Mu-43

    Oct 9, 2012
    Hi guys,

    I'm new to the forum and I'm a total novice so please don't flame me for not knowing nearly as much about photography. I greatly respect the skills of good photographers but it's just not something that I have wanted to get into seriously. So why am I posting here? The reason is I need a new camera to replace a circa 2005 Canon P/S and I'd like some advice. The camera I get will be used 100% in Auto mode. Maybe after owning it for a while I'll read some books and get into the more creative stuff but for now I need one with really good Auto Everything mode. I've been doing a lot of reading and have become familiar with the various brands and models of camera's available but 99% of the discussions are between those who are knowledgeable in photography. Does anyone use the iAuto mode on OMD-EM5? Does it make good pictures? I will be shooting 95% family indoors and out. My wife has requested a camera that does really well in low light. Cost and size are not a huge factor but I definitely don't want something as big as a Nikon 7000 or as costly as a Leica M9. I've narrowed down my search to the OMD-EM5, Fuji XE1 (when it comes out) or just a basic Sony RX100. I'm leaning towards the OMD because almost every single thing I've read about it has been positive. Is it a total waste of a good camera to use it in iAuto mode and should I just get the Sony or will this be a worthwhile investment? Finally, I will be shooting some video. Not for anything serious, just for family memories.

    Thanks in advance for any and all assistance.
  2. Papadoc

    Papadoc Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 12, 2012
    Search here through the image galleries and see what the photographers here are using to shoot the kinds of pics you think you'll be shooting. There are galleries here covering subject matter from family and life events, to street shots, nature, architectural, in black and white and in all variations of color. See what fits you most and find out which cameras, lenses and equipment those photogs used and that may give you some idea what would suit your needs best. There are LOTS of good shooters on this site.
  3. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Real Name:
    Last time I used iAuto mode was in E-PL1, didn't do it again. :smile: Nothing against it - I have started with the Auto mode. It's just that as I kept using my camera, I've learned more and more, well enough to use now A/S mode. But you'll still catch me using P mode heavily. P mode I think is basically iAuto without the flash. :biggrin:

    But, if you really want point and shoot but with a higher quality (and something to "grow" with), I don't think you can go wrong with your choices. But for the sake of making you lose some more hair, may I suggest looking into the Fuji line, specifically the X10? That is, if you do not want an interchangeable lens.

    I had nothing but very good IQ when I shot with its Auto-EXR mode, even in low-light. If the picture is bad, it's most probably because of me. :smile: yes, there's the orb issue, but I haven't even encountered it during my time with the X10. I suggest looking into that little gem, too.
  4. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Real Name:
    You don't mention size/weight, but there's a huge difference between the OM-D and the Sony RX100, for example. Gigantic. The RX100 can slip in your pocket; the OM-D can't. One of the reasons the OM-D is so much larger is that it's designed to accommodate exchangeable lenses, while the RX100 has a fixed zoom lens (albeit over a very useful range).

    Honestly, for what you've described I'd get the RX100. It's very good in low light, and takes excellent movies. It's easier to use. It's much smaller, so you're more likely to have it with you when your kid does something cute. And it's cheaper.

    Not to say that the RX100 can't be used in an advanced mode. Maybe after you've had the camera for a while you'll start playing with those modes (A, P, S priority; adjusting exposure compensation; manual focusing, etc.). And if you decide you like fiddling with the camera, then would be the time I'd invest in something more sophisticated, like an OM-D.
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  5. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Real Name:
    Our church builds ramps for folks in wheelchairs, etc. One evening the woman in charge forgot her camera and asked me to bring one for her to use. I took my E-P1 and kit lens, set it to I-auto and let her go. The photos came out very well. She is not a photographer, strictly P&S. The nice thing about the OM-D EM-5 is that you can use auto and if you want to learn more you have the camera to do it with. It is smaller than a DSLR and lighter. Someone will likely tell you that it's a waste to buy such an expensive camera and not take it off of I-auto, but that's for you to decide. :cool:
  6. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Real Name:
    I don't know about the OM-D EM-5 specifically but if you're coming from a point and shoot I can confirm that the Panasonic iAuto mode is about as comfortable as it can be for someone who doesn't want to make any settings changes. I've handed my GX1 to non-photographers a few times without a problem. I would presume the Olympus mode is the same ballpark. However:

    1) If you're going to buy an expensive camera for the low light capability, image quality and other features, spending even an hour or two learning about exposure basics will pay dividends many, many times over. I know it can be intimidating as a new user, but I promise it's not as complex as it seems. I always recommend the book Understanding Exposure because it approaches the important basics in a very accessible way. I am not exaggerating when I say that within the first 5 minutes of reading that book it made me a better photographer. For that matter, there are almost always local photography day classes geared toward getting one out of auto mode... time well spent! :smile:

    2) f you're not going to change lenses around, use manual settings and so forth, the value of the OM-D or X-E1 sn't there over a P&S in most instances. If your main goal is basically a P&S with high image quality, maybe the RX100 would meet your needs, in a more pocketable form factor and for less cost outlay.

    Are you just trying to make snapshots, or are you wanting to get into photography? If it's the latter and you're just feeling overwhelmed, then my best advice is not to let it intimidate you, because it's not nearly as complicated as it sounds. Start with a few basics, get a solid camera (any of the ones you mentioned will be more than enough to get you rolling), and start making images. There's a whole big world out there outside of Auto mode and I can practically guarantee you'll be happier with your photos (and your camera) if you understand why photos sometimes come out too dark, too bright, blurry, or grainy.

    The long and short of it is I would really encourage you to take a step back, maybe invest in a copy of Understanding Exposure or read a few basic articles on the exposure triangle. Then figure out what direction you want to go in. The key thing to remember is the camera doesn't make the pictures - you do. You can buy the greatest camera in the world but if it's always on auto mode, you may never get the photos you want.
  7. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    I'd recommend the Olympus XZ1 at around $300 if OP doesn't want to learn much about photography, but still wants to take good pictures. It offers the chance to learn how aperture, shutter, and ISO are related too.
  8. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    Real Name:
    One thing to consider - the OM-D has an electronic viewfinder (as well, of course, as a touch screen). For those who are 'old school' or who have hand tremor (or both) the availability of an EVF means that the camera can be held close to the body, resulting in (possibly) steadier shots.

    For me any camera w/o a viewfinder option is"out of the picture" :wink:.


  9. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    We know that you want to use automatic exposure - but do you have any interest in changing lenses (either now or at some point in the future)? If not, cameras such as the Sony RX100 or Fuji X100 might be worth considering (but don't dismiss the benefits of lens changing until you read the below). (If you are keen on low light quality, don't get the XZ1, however: its smaller sensor will not perform as well in low light as the latest Micro Four Thirds cameras, or other comparable models with fixed lenses discussed above).

    Also, if the only reason that you are interested in the OM-D EM-5 is the quality of the sensor in low light, consider the about to be released E-PL5 or E-PM2. They have the same sensor as the OM-D, but are much cheaper and smaller and lighter, and more geared to the sort of automatic everything that you are interested in (although the OM-D has iAuto mode, too, which works just as well). The smaller PEN cameras (E-PL5 and E-PM2) are more pocketable than the OM-D, as well. On the other hand, if you are really fanatical about low light image quality, the OM-D does have the advantage of the 5-axis stabilisation. However, this advantage is (in at least some senses) wasted if you just use the OM-D with the lens that it comes with.

    The reason for this is that different lenses let in different amounts of light. This is referred to as the "maximum aperture", and lenses with a higher maximum aperture are described as "faster". The zoom lens that comes with the OM-D has a maximum aperture of f/3.5 at the wide end and f/6.3 zoomed in all the way. The 5-axis stabilisation in the OM-D is worth about two extra stops (a measure of the aperture) of light, whereas the 2-axis stabilisation in the Pen cameras is worth about one extra stop of light.

    In other words, for the same money as the OM-D with the lens that comes with it, you could buy an E-PL5 or E-PM2 and one or two very fast lenses (f/2.5, f/1.8, f/1.7 or f/1.4 - the lower the number the better here) and get a camera/lens combination with much better low light performance.

    For example, if you get the E-PL5 or E-PM2 and, say, the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 lens (can be had cheaply on eBay), the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 lens (or alternatively the less expensive but slower to focus Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens) and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens, you will have covered a similar range to the OM-D with its 12-50mm kit lens but be able to have much more flexibility to hold the camera by hand in low light. (Of course, the ultimate combination would be the OM-D with these lenses - but the lenses here will make the bigger difference than the 5-axis stabilisation by a long way: up to five stops of difference with the lenses compared to only one stop of difference with the 5-axis stabilisation compared to the 2-axis type).

    If you don't care much for changing lenses, but want to be able to zoom in and out, you could consider the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 lens instead, together with the E-PM2 or E-PL5. This will not give you as good low light performance as if you are prepared to change lenses, however, but it will be less hassle and give you more flexibility and ability to react to photographic situations much more quickly.

    If you don't care much for changing lenses or zooming in or out, but want the ultimate in low light ability (whilst still retaining automatic everything), consider the E-PM2 or E-PL5 with the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 lens.

    Alternatively, if you only want to take photographs in low light of things that don't move in easy to reach locations, you could just get a tripod instead of a new camera.

    None of this should dissuade you from getting the OM-D if any of its other features (weather sealing - but this only works with the 12-50mm kit lens or the forthcoming 60mm macro lens; or built-in viewfinder) are of any use to you. One of the OM-D's other important features is its good quality manual controls, but that will not be so important to you if you want to use it in iAuto mode most of the time. (Indeed, that is also a distinguishing feature between the E-PL5 and E-PM2, so, unless the E-PM2 is too small for your hands, you might as well get one of those unless you are really keen to learn manual controls in the future).

    You should also try handling each of the cameras that you are considering getting in a shop or similar before deciding which to buy, as ergonomics is just as important as features if you use it regularly.
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    The E-M5 works okay in iAuto, but if you don't want to be bothered with changing settings, it's really not an ideal camera - there are simply too many buttons and options that can accidentally be changed.

    A good P&S like the RX100 would make a lot more sense to me - there are far fewer controls and options as the camera isn't designed to replace a mid-grade DSLR.