Olympus, Fuji, Pentax

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by Zobeid Zuma, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. Zobeid Zuma

    Zobeid Zuma Mu-43 Regular

    May 13, 2013
    So, here's my dilemma.

    My E-M5 is under the weather. It seems to read the battery capacity erratically, sometimes deciding the battery is nearly empty when it's not, and a few times even refusing to operate. Sometimes I can pop out the battery and pop it back in, and everything is OK. . . for a while. The problem is erratic. I know from past experience that sending it in for repair would take A While, and I worry about getting that dreaded "we can't duplicate the problem" response. Meanwhile the camera doesn't work dependably enough for me to rely on it, and it ends up sidelined.

    I've pondered a new E-M10 Mk2. It wouldn't cost too much, and it would actually upgrade one thing about the E-M5 that seems a bit weak, which is the EVF. However, M4/3 has somewhat lost its luster for me. The last couple of lenses I got were disappointing. The M4/3 lens catalog is large(ish) but disorderly, with both gaps and redundancies. And getting the E-M10 Mk2 would mean no escape from the awkward Olympus user interface and labyrinthine menu system.

    I've longed for the Fuji X-T1 ever since it came out. The look, the size, the control layout. . . all reminds me of the Ricoh XR7 film camera that I first learned on, and which I still find very pleasant to operate. It's as though Fuji somehow got into my head and pulled my dream camera out. It also has multiple aids for manual focusing, which is an area where I feel the E-M5 really falls down. There's no question I would have bought the X-T1 when it was released, if I hadn't already got the E-M5 and was in my honeymoon time with it!

    However... With the Fuji, I would be starting from zero. I have no lenses, nothing. And the lenses, they are pricey. This would be a costly commitment for a camera that would perform only slightly better by any objective standard.

    And now. . . Now Pentax are rolling out their long-fabled full frame camera, the K-1. It's an expensive camera body, by my standards, but I wouldn't have to buy any lenses up front. (I could even use some lenses from the old Ricoh XR7!) The Pentax lens catalog is an endless bounty. Vintage lenses are plentiful, new Samyangs are cheap (and actually work with full aperture control on the Pentax!), and any way I figure the math I would end up spending less total money on a considerably higher-specified camera with the K-1 as opposed to the Fuji.

    The K-1 would be the biggest and most cumbersome setup, but I wouldn't be getting rid of my Pentax Q7 system, which is about as compact and portable as any system camera ever gets. So I'd have both ends of the spectrum covered there.

    I've been back and forth over this, and I don't seem to be getting anywhere. And while I'm locked in indecision, window shopping, I continue using the Q7 and XR7 for nearly everything. . . Maybe I should just stick with them, I dunno. Kodak Ektar 100 does turn out some pretty colors. I could afford a lot of film and processing for what I'd spend on a "new hotness" camera.
  2. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    You should figure out what you mostly shoot and choose a camera that suits the subjects you photograph. If you're a landscape guy, the K1 will be awesome. If you shoot people, the Fuji has pretty awesome colors. If you're a street shooter, the E-M10 II might be the best choice.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Real Name:
    Jim R
    I swore I'd never own a "FF" size body again, ever.
    I swore again when R.Pentax showed the feature set on the K-1. Most impressive.

    So I know how you feel. Once my budget is under control - that happens some times, right? :p - Pentax may get a piece of me again. In the meantime I've finally decoded enough Oly menus to get the ePM2 to behave as I like, so small (price and inĀ³/cc) wins for the near term. You could grab the eP5 and reuse your batteries, as I recall.. :drinks:
  4. Krigskoen

    Krigskoen Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 10, 2015
    Of course the logical choice would be to stick to M43 since you already own some lenses etc, but if you don't feel excited using the system it would probably be best to sell it off to finance a switch to another system. Otherwise get some hands-on experience with the new models (E-M10 II and E-M5 II) first, since they've come a long way since the old E-M5.

    Have you considered Sony if you're looking for FF and small size? As for the Fuji X-T1, the successor should be out shortly so you might wanna wait for that.
  5. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Maybe your BLN-1 is just dying? LiOn batteries have a limited life after all.

    In general? I think there's a bit of grass is greener going on... If you're looking for features the E-M5 really is getting old, despite its still competitive sensor quality. A used E-M1 will be a huge upgrade in comparison.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Have you ever held a K1? It's huge and very heavy. Not my cup of tea at all.
  7. Clean the contacts on the battery and inside the camera. A little DeOxit on a cotton swab will reach inside. The contacts area is pretty small and it doesn't take much to mess it up. The contacts on the batteries are gold on fiberglass pc board I believe, and a pretty thin layer of gold at that.
  8. Biro

    Biro Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 8, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Real Name:
    I have to agree. I'm a long-time Pentaxian and I wasn't kidding when I said 10-plus years go that I was no longer interested in carrying around a big, heavy full-frame kit. More power to those drawn to the K1, though.

    As for the OP, I agree with those who advise to make sure first the problem isn't the battery or contacts. After that, I'd think long and hard about why I was no longer thrilled by micro four thirds. Is the system really failing you in any way? Are there any lenses you require that aren't available?

    With the exception of the newer, fast, pro-level zooms, I find the price of mu-43 glass to be quite reasonable, especially if you buy refurbished directly from Olympus. The same goes for refurbed camera bodies. I recently picked up an E-M1 for under $500.

    Bookmark the site below, check back often, sign up for alerts and wait for the periodic 20-25% off sales (on top of the lower refurb prices).

    Outlet Store | Olympus
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  9. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Were you happy with the E-M5 size/performance? Was it small enough to replace the Q7? Why did you originally went to m43?

    I fear that getting a "big" camera you may end up simply using the smaller cameras more. And if you are worried to remain without the E-M5 for a long time it means it is hitting a sweet spot that the other cameras you own do not.

    What about a Panasonic camera, GX80 or GX8 maybe? Or the super offers you can find now for an E-M1 (larger evf, better layout, etc.)? Selling all the lenses you do not love and starting fresh? Wait to see the E-M1 mk2/GH5?
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Just yesterday I received a K-S2 + 18-135WR combo that I found for $600. I was expecting it to be chunky, but something about DSLR ergonomics make it feel even heavier than it is. The K-1 had been on my radar, but it's off now. Still looking forward to shooting it in earnest though, it's my first DSLR. Mostly I was curious.

    The K-S2 is going to be my wet weather / rugged kit. The E-M5 II + 14-150 II would be pretty analogous in most respects, but that combo would cost at least twice as much up here in Canada, and while the Pentax has limited IQ benefits over M4/3, the E-M5 II is directly equivalent image quality-wise to my GX7, so no benefit at all there.

    I also briefly considered and dismissed a Fuji X-T1, since I find the X-Trans IQ worse than AA-less Pentax (and mainly trades worse low-ISO sharpness for better high-ISO smoothness vs M4/3), it doesn't have the fully-articulated screen that I wanted, and when coupled with their WR lenses would be even more than twice as expensive compared to the Pentax. I also don't trust Fuji's weather sealing nearly as much as Oly or Pentax.
  11. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Well buy a cheap battery replacement first, just to rule that out.

    If you wanted to stay in the system and are frustrated by Olympus, there is always Panasonic.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Real Name:
    List all of your system options in a spreadsheet and see what it totals up to be. Something about seeing reality in print helps think things through...and the total is rarely what we ballpark in our heads.

    If stay is likely then but a used e-m1. Great camera, cost is low, if you decide to liquidate one day you'll get most of that money back.

    FWIW the Pentax K-3ii looks like a great alternative.
  13. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    Have you taken a look at the Fuji X-T10? I sold one of my m43 bodies and decided it would be my E-m5. The X-T10 is virtually the same size.

    The difference is I find the IQ of the Fuji was noticeably better than my Em5 with Panny 12-35mm. The M43 combo was aprox $2000 CDN out of my wallet vs the $1100 for my Fuji w/ 18-55 kit lens. Looking at the fuji kit lens files I was in disbelief in how a kit lens can produce incredible digital files.

    The only issue I have with the Fuji is that the AF is not fast like an M43 system. This is totally upto the indivdual using the fuji system. However for my casual application it's sufficient. Battery life sucks just like the E-M5. Noise control is not blotchy like the M43 body in low light.

    I'd wait for the X-T2 before buying the X-T1. I'll eventually get an X-T2 simply for faster AF and the new 24mpx sensor. The speed of the xpro2 (assumption of the XT2)AF is what fuji should have been many years ago.

    I use my Canon gear when I need to assure clients clean files regardless of low light ambient at 12800 ISO or higher in any type of situation be it fast moving or slow. I use my GH3 for casual photography/ video. The Fuji is a recent system I've adopted and in due time my X-T10 will be replaced with a X-T2. For my casual shoots my fuji kit lens and 24mm f/1.4 equivalent prime is meeting a high percentage of my needs for casual family documentation stuff. Everyone has different needs in a system.

    If you buy another M43 body the IQ will be virtually the same as the aging E-M5. Nothing wrong with changing systems as we always seek new adventures in photography.

    If you get the Pentax I think it can deliver you pleasure and produce the full frame look. full frame has a different "feel" in the images.

    This is where the fun begins as you can try new things.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    To be fair, the 18-55 "kit" lens, is not a $100 plastic fantastic like everyone else uses. It is a high grade f2.8-4 lens with a $700 regular retail price. It's more in line with the 12-40 from Olympus, which was offered with the E-M1 in some countries as a "kit lens".

    I agree with what you are saying as it is a great lens, but I don't think it is fair to compare it to your standard 14-42 for example. It is a great value, though!
  15. dougpayne

    dougpayne Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 2, 2016
    Real Name:
    C.D. Payne
    I dipped my toe into Fuji system briefly, but found the lenses big and heavy compared to M4/3 versions. Something to consider.
  16. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    One thing I am really impressed with is the build quality on the Pentax 18-135WR. Despite the weather-sealing it has a super smooth two-cam zoom and neatly damped MF ring with a nice throw. And at 400g with a 62mm filter is both smaller and lighter than the Fuji 18-135, not to mention half the price.

    Nicer to handle than my Panasonic 14-140. I was thinking the Pentax would let me get rid of that lens, but every time I use it in earnest I really appreciate what it offers. Really I just need to see if the Pentax can match it optically.
  17. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    The aprox price of the fuji 18-55 is about $300 when you buy the "kit". Lets compare "out of wallet" money to IQ ratio :)

    This is where a photographer's needed application comes into play. For family snapshots and daily use (not sports where fast AF is required) the $1100CDN fuji "kit" packs incredible IQ and noise control compared to an OMD E-m5mk2 with 12-40 for $2049(Em1 even more) similar IQ. This is where I bought the Fuji X-T10 with 18-55 and a $1000 16mm f/1.4 prime for about the same price of an Olympus with 12-40 "pro" lens. I do find for the same price the IQ of the Fuji for my casual photography has been a pleasant system to use. Analyzing folders of photos from my GH3 and Em5 the Fuji has not been a lateral move. I'll have to say I'm still surprised I own fuji gear and the IQ has shocked me.

    I think Fuji is smart in the pricing. Lens are not cheap but not insanely expensive. Not for everyone but it's definitely a nice system.
  18. DMLarson

    DMLarson Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 19, 2014
    Real Name:
    Fuji lenses are a little bit pricey, and if a person didn't gel with their Fuji gear then they could easily resent how much they spent. But a person could resent the price on any system if they don't like the system. I love my Fuji gear and keep buying more lenses as I can afford them. To me they are worth every penny. I just sold my Olympus 75mm this week to fund the purchase of another Fuji lens. I have really loved using Olympus, but have been moving to Fuji and the Olympus doesn't get used much at all any more.

    To the OP, my first SLR was a Ricoh XR10. I know that it was a budget camera, but I was in high school and it was such a luxury to me. Boy I loved that camera. I would recommend that if you switch to another system that you do it gradually while holding onto some of your Olympus gear so you can judge for yourself which system you like better. I prefer the images from my Fuji over what I have gotten from my EM10, EM1, and GX7 in every possible way. Some people like to bash Fuji based on what they've read on the internet rather than personal experience. And some reviewers refuse to alter their post processing to maximize what they can get from Fuji, instead relying on the software and methods that they've used for other systems. If you switch to Fuji your workflow and software may need to change.
  19. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Personally I find the Fuji lenses insanely expensive. I could literally never justify spending $1000 on their primes, when M4/3 lenses that are a bit slower cost 1/3 to 1/2 as much. I know, I know "equivalence." But the M4/3 primes have more resolution wide-open, and compare well with the Fuji lenses stopped down 1 stop. M4/3 doesn't have enough f1.4 primes, but Fuji has no affordable offerings at all except for their $400 35/f2, if you can call $400 cheap. The two systems are kind of opposite extremes in that way.

    I think that Fuji vs. M4/3 (or other systems) really does just come down to image quality preferences. In general, M4/3 and comparable lenses show objectively better pixel level detail than the Fuji system, whereas Fuji's output is objectively smoother with more pleasant noise. I shoot mostly at low ISOs and stopped down, so Fuji has only negatives for me. For low light at matched exposures (not matched settings, since ISO values are not comparable between Fuji and other systems), a little noise reduction on M4/3 goes a long way to match the noise vs. detail balance that Fuji 16MP sensors have.

    The X-Pro2 is a bit of a different story, but that's a brand new generation of sensor, and that camera is priced like a full-frame body.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  20. MaK543

    MaK543 Mu-43 Regular

    May 1, 2012
    MD USA
    Make a list of your system requirement and shoot style, then go from there.

    One major disadvantage about APSC system is that lenses are almost as big and expensive as FF system. I've tried m43, Fuji X, and Nikon FF over the past few years, and found myself grabbing EM5 for family and casual photo, or Nikon FF when I need ultimate image quality.