Olympus Pen-F vs. Panasonic GM5

DeeJayK

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I'm sure this comparison has been done before here, but I couldn't find it.

I picked up a GM5 a while back to use as a "bring it everywhere" camera for cases when I didn't want to lug around my "big" E-M1. It's been a fun little camera to shoot with, but I'm having a hard time moving from Olympus controls and menus to Panasonic. That's probably more a familiarity thing than a value judgement.

On one recent outing where I found myself switching between the E-M1 and the GM5 my frustration in not being able to do something on the GM5 which is second-nature on the E-M1 made me wonder if there was a better compact :mu43: camera for me. I've tried (and own) several PEN series cameras including from the Lite and Mini sub-lines, but the lack of a built-in viewfinder on these always left me wanting. The obvious answer was the Pen-F, which I've lusted after since it was introduced but could never really justify from a value perspective. I knew from poring over and comparing the specs that the Pen-F was bigger than the GM5, but the GAS made me minimize those "few millimeters" of difference.

Well, I soon found myself scouring sales sites in search of a Pen-F, and as if a sign from above, one popped up locally at a very attractive price. As soon as I picked it up I liked the solid feel. In addition, the controls feel super intuitive (once I moved the exposure compensation from the dedicated dial to the rear dial). It really is a terrific camera.

What the Pen-F isn't, though, is any sort of replacement for the GM5. As the images below show, the Pen-F is significantly larger. Seemingly like nearly twice the overall volume larger. What the photos don't show is the weight difference, which is just as significant.

In conclusion, while these are both terrific cameras, they shouldn't really be considered to competitors to each other or to fill a similar niche. For now, it looks like I'm a three body guy, as I can't really see eliminating either of these for the other, and neither will replace my E-M1.

- K
 

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ralf-11

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what menus do you need to access on the GM5?

I rarely use mine and usually in P or A mode, and that's it.
 

DeeJayK

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what menus do you need to access on the GM5?

I rarely use mine and usually in P or A mode, and that's it.
Usually I'm the same — "A" mode all day, every day. It's just that any time I want to do something else, my lack of familiarity with the Panasonic menus and layout is painful. The one particular time I mentioned I was trying to play around with some long exposure settings.

I'm sure if I spent some time and shot some more with the GM5 I'd get there, but as it stands right now I the "Olympus way" is more ingrained for me.

- K
 

BosseBe

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In a way I am like you, but I have a G80, a GM5 and the PenF.
But for me it was lust after the Pen F that caused me to buy it.
So for me it is the Pen F that has unfamiliar controls.
But since it has replace the GM5 as the daily carry (it lives in a Tenba BYOB7 in my backpack) I have learned to handle the Pen F reasonably well by now.

I have added a rubber finger grip to the front of my GM5 and that helps with handling that small body (The grip is for a Sony RX or something and fits well).
I think that if you use the GM5 for a while longer and read that fine manual a bit, you will soon learn how to handle the controls. There is a logic to where stuff is in the menus even if it is different then the Olympus logic.

Having the G80 with its nice grip is a must for longer heavier lenses, so I don't think I will change my setup. (Except if I get GAS and buy a G9).
 

DeeJayK

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In a way I am like you, but I have a G80, a GM5 and the PenF.
But for me it was lust after the Pen F that caused me to buy it.
So for me it is the Pen F that has unfamiliar controls.
But since it has replace the GM5 as the daily carry (it lives in a Tenba BYOB7 in my backpack) I have learned to handle the Pen F reasonably well by now.

I have added a rubber finger grip to the front of my GM5 and that helps with handling that small body (The grip is for a Sony RX or something and fits well).
I think that if you use the GM5 for a while longer and read that fine manual a bit, you will soon learn how to handle the controls. There is a logic to where stuff is in the menus even if it is different then the Olympus logic.

Having the G80 with its nice grip is a must for longer heavier lenses, so I don't think I will change my setup. (Except if I get GAS and buy a G9).
That sounds like a pretty similar trio, just with the Pen as the "odd man out" rather than the GM5.

I'm sure you're right that dedicated time spent using the GM5 and referencing the manual would go a long way toward solving my woes. I'm definitely feeling also that old saw about old dogs and new tricks. ;)

I'm also similar to you in that the E-M1 is a must for any extended use of heavy or long lenses. The 12-40 usually lives on that body. I've been trying to figure out a good solution to improve the grip of the GM5, but I'm resisting any of the stick-on grip options and have been unable to find any of the removable add-on grips at a price I found reasonable.

I'm also constantly considering upgrading to the E-M1 II or III, but my dislike of the fully articulating screen (like on the Pen-F) has so far kept me from taking that plunge. I'm kinda hoping that using the Pen-F doesn't get me liking that style of screen and eliminate that barrier to entry — or, more precisely, my pocketbook is hoping that.

- K
 

BosseBe

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I can understand that you don't want to add a black stick on grip with that colour on the camera, it would destroy the looks!
My GM5 is black and the stick on grip is not sticking out colour wise.
 

wimg

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I have owned both, and still own the Pen-F, actually two of them currently.

The GM5 never did it for me. Tiny camera, yes, but the VF was not up to scratch IMO, and it was just too limiting. I sold it again after a bit over a year.
 
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BosseBe

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The GM5 is no longer my daily carrier, now it my desktop camera with the P20 or P30 Macro, really useful.
It doesn't take much space so I can just stretch out my hand and have a camera in it when I want to take a picture of something.
 

ralf-11

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I'm glad I have a GM5 but it is difficult to get good ergonomics in such a tiny package.

I'm glad I have a GX85 but I don't use it much since the giganto G9 has much better ergonomics.

I'm glad I have an old Hassy but it's big, heavy, no zooms and I like digital...
 

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