For the past three weeks I’ve been shooting primarily with an OM-D, coupled to a Panasonic 14-45, 7-14, and a Rokinon fisheye. Previously, most of my m43 shooting has been with a GH2. While I haven’t really done a direct, side-by-side comparison, I’m plenty familiar with the GH2, and have gotten familiar enough with the OM-D to reach some judgments. Understand, though, that this is my opinion, based on how I use the cameras. You may feel differently, and that’s fine. What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. If you want to argue about my opinions, I’d suggest you go yell at the mirror, because they're opinions. If you think I've actually gotten something about the camera wrong, I'll be happy to talk about that. I post this in the hopes it will be useful for those still trying to make up their minds whether to buy one or the other camera, and interesting for others. (And, of course, because posting one’s opinion is what forums like this are all about.) Let’s start off by looking at some of the things many people feel are the major advantages of the OM-D. Build Quality: Yes, it's a nice piece of kit. It’s surprisingly heavy for its size, and has a more robust feel than the GH2. But I think it really is more about feel than actual quality. I’m not convinced that, in the end, it’s really significantly more robust than the GH2. Under the plastic skin, the GH2 has a metal chassis, too, and I’ve seen plastic skinned DSLRs bounce off the ground with nothing more than some scratches, and all-metal bodies come away dented. There aren't a lot of reports of broken or failing GH2s. If you want to use your camera to pound tent states, you’d better use one of Nikon’s or Canon’s pro bodies, and not any m43. Advantage: Tie “Weatherproofing”: Frankly, I’m not convinced this is much more than a marketing claim. The weatherproofing apparently is dependent on several removable, and easily lost, seals. That’s a far cry from cameras like the Nikon D3 or D4 and the Canon 1D series, or even the 7D. And even with the seals, it’s rated only IPX1, which means “Protection against vertically falling drops of water e.g. condensation.” It’s not even IPX2 certified, “Protected against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from the vertical.” So maybe a light drizzle is safe, but maybe not much more. I wouldn't even think about using it in a storm, or in the surf to shoot surf boarding. This is not weatherproof to the degree professional PJ cameras are. Not even close. Then again, I shoot in the rain very infrequently, and the various aftermarket solutions work well enough for me, so this isn’t a big deal either way. Advantage: OM-D, but just barely. Size: Yes, it’s smaller than the GH2. But with the lenses I commonly use, the effective size with lens mounted really isn’t all that different. All of my lenses (except the 20mm) protrude well beyond the grip on the GH2, so the real depth of the body/lens combo is pretty much the same. Yes, the EVF protrudes more on the GH2, but I think that’s actually an advantage, as it leaves more “nose clearance” than the OM-D’s EVF. In any case, I don’t find the OM-D enough smaller in actual use that it’s a significant benefit. If how it fits in your pocket without a lens is important, then the OM-D has the advantage. That’s not important to me. Both are enough smaller and lighter than my EOS gear that I'm happy, and the GH2 may be a little lighter. In some cases, the smaller size is actually a problem for me. See “ergonomics,” below. Advantage: Tie Sensor: Some still want to argue the point, but the sensor in the OM-D is better, in at least 2 respects, than the one in the GH2. It is less noisy at high ISO, and it does have better DR. I haven’t done a bunch of side-by-side comparisons, because I’m more interested in taking photographs than pixel peeping. Many other people have done so. But I did take one set of bracketed exposures, on each camera, of a very high contrast scene (under an overpass, in the evening, deep shadows and bright street and traffic lights). Neither could really recover the shadows without noise, and both blew the highlights. Based on what I’ve seen and read on the webz, I think the OM-D has about a 1 stop advantage in DR and high ISO noise. For the vast majority of what I shoot I have no complaints about the GH2’s noise and DR. And I really do miss one feature of the GH2 sensor when I’m shooting with the OM-D, and that’s the multi-aspect capability. I was shooting with the 7-14 one evening, and decided I wanted a wider FOV than I was seeing in the EVF, so I switched to 16:9. Oops. On the OM-D, that doesn’t actually make the captured image wider, like it does on the GH2. I think the GH2 is a better wide angle tool because of this capability. Advantage: Tie (If the Oly had a multi-aspect sensor, I’d give it the win.) IBIS (vs OIS): OK, I think everyone understands the advantage IBIS has in stabilizing all lenses, including legacy lenses. I honestly don’t find myself shooting very slow shutter speeds with wide-angles very often, but I can see that it will be useful sometimes. I didn’t do any comparisons of OIS vs. IBIS, but there are enough people who have to convince me that they are very comparable. Some tests show OIS a bit better, some show IBIS a bit better, but they seem very close. The difference may be due to each individual’s particular form of shake, but I also get the feeling (and it’s nothing more than that) that IBIS might be a tiny bit better with wider lenses, OIS with longer ones. Given that IBIS doesn’t take anything away, I give the Oly the advantage here. Advantage: Oly 9 fps: This is cool, without question. I don’t shoot a lot of sports these days, but it’s real nice for hand-held AEB. Of course, it’s handicapped by not providing AF after the first shot, but if I shot more sports I might consider this a bigger advantage. Given my typical subject matter, though, it’s not that much of a factor for me. Advantage: Oly, but only marginally for me. I’m not sure this got a lot of coverage, compared to the features above, but The EVF: I am surprised. It is quite a bit better than the one in the GH2. It seems crisper and clearer, even in the higher refresh rate mode. And it does a better job of showing me what the actual exposure is going to look like. It’s also better in handling rapid subject or camera movement in dim light. And I think finder “blackout” in high speed mode is much better than in the GH2. This is slightly offset by the smaller magnification, but overall I’m very impressed. For me, this might be the biggest advantage of the OM-D. Advantage: Oly But I’m not as happy with the OM-D in some other respects. For example: The flash: I rarely shoot with flash, which means I probably wouldn’t carry the separate OM-D flash a lot of the time. But occasionally I find it handy to be able to add a little fill, or find myself in a dark restaurant with friends and want to snap a couple of pics. With the GH2 I always have a flash. With the OM-D I’d probably not have one with me when I wanted it. The biggest drawback to me, and pretty close do a deal breaker: AEB: I've posted about this previously, but the contortions necessary to turn AEB on and off are ridiculous. This is perhaps the best example of how NOT to implement camera controls, and the worst implementation of a camera user interface I’ve ever seen. It literally takes a dozen button pushes or more to turn AEB on, and the same to turn it off again. Unlike Panasonic, which separates the selection of AEB options (e.g. 5 frames at 1 stop intervals) from turning it on and off, Oly combines them into the same menu tree, forcing you to navigate to, and through, the options selection even if all you want to do is turn the previously selected option off, or on. (Yes, I know you can set AEB to a myset, but unfortunately that doesn’t affect only AEB, it affects nearly every camera setting, potentially overriding your current shooting options. That’s just not a good option.) I frankly can’t believe the UI got through Oly testing this way. And, since I use AEB quite often, this is a major issue for me. Advantage: Panasonic Ergonomics: Although nothing else is as dumbfoundingly bad as AEB, there are a number of other UI problems that I find annoying at best, and interfere with my use of the camera at worst. Starting with maybe the least significant, the touch screen interface is half-a$$ed. The SCP is a great feature (mostly), but why do I have to touch an option on the screen and then press the OK button or spin the front dial to change settings. It's a touch screen, Olympus! If I’ve tapped the WB button, why can’t the camera understand it’s because I want to change the ISO and go directly to the setting menu for that, and let me tap the choice I want? Having to touch the screen and then push a button or turn a knob, is not making good use of the touch screen. Panasonic implements the touch screen much more elegantly. It’s not a deal breaker, but after using much better touch screen implementations it’s frustrating. Other foibles: -- The SCP is nice, but why can’t I customize what features appear? The similar Panasonic feature is customizable. Why is color space, which most people will set once and never change, on the SCP, while the bracketing options are buried multiple levels into the menus? Oh, and setting ISO via the SCP is a pain, with all the ISOs arranged in a row. If you want to switch from auto to ISO 3200 you need to push buttons repeatedly or spin the dial through every ISO in between. On the GH2, the numbers are arranged in a grid, and you can just touch the value you want. Even if you don’t use the touch screen, you can still choose the desired ISO more rapidly wince you don't have to scroll through every value. -- Dual control wheels are nice, and I’d prefer to have a second wheel on the GH2. But I much prefer the location of the rear wheel on the GH2. The rear dial on the OM-D is harder for me to reach over there by the hump than the more outside location on the GH2. But because of Oly’s emphasis on making the body tiny, there’s simply no way to position it to the outside. --The eye sensor for switching between the EVF and the rear screen is a nice feature, and both cameras have it. But Oly didn’t quite think it through. If you’re carrying the camera around your neck or over your shoulder, the eye sensor will keep the camera from going into sleep mode. So you need to turn off the eye sensor, or turn off the camera in between shots. The GH2 doesn’t let the eye sensor prevent sleep mode. A much better implementation. -- The rear screen itself is a toss up. I don’t see a huge advantage in viewing quality for either, for my use. I rarely compose on the screen, though, so I might not really notice. But I much prefer the articulated design of the GH2, both because it’s more useful for vertical and over your head shots, and because it allows the screen to be turned around facing the camera to protect it when not in use. I’m also not thrilled with the capacitive screen on the OM-D, since in chilly or cold weather I wear gloves a lot. -- The controls, in general, are better on the GH2, IMO. Changing drive mode (single vs. burst), choosing AEB or self-timer, and AF modes can all be done with a simple flick of a switch. On the OM-D they require diving into the SCP and/or menus. I don’t change focus modes frequently, but I do switch between single, burst and AEB a lot, and that’s simply much, much, much easier on the GH2. --The grip on the GH2 is much, much better, for me. It just makes the camera much easier to hold and use, and the more forward mounted shutter release is more comfortable. Yes, a grip is available for the OM-D, and if I could get just the horizontal portion for about $50 I might call this even, but even that would pretty much eliminate any size advantage the OM-D can claim. And $300 is just way too much for me to pay for a grip, when I don't care about the vertical grip or an extra battery. So for me, the GH2 is just better ergonomically in almost every way. A little bit better in some respects, a lot better in others. Advantage: GH2 Two things that I’ve seen others complain about are the location of the on-off switch and the “mushy” buttons. Oddly, neither bothers me at all. The on-off switch on the GH2 is more conveninet, but the OM-D switch isn’t a problem for me. So, on balance, the things about the OM-D that I really prefer are IBIS and the EVF. In pretty much every other respect, I prefer the GH2. And I just can’t get over how poorly implemented AEB is on the Oly. I find myself using exposure compensation instead of AEB, but that really slows down the ability to take multiple shots rapidly. The OM-D is a very capable camera handicapped by a poor UI and ergonomics that are compromised by Oly’s focus on tiny size. I used EOS cameras for years, and got used to the select an option and spin a dial approach to UI, but when I started using Panasonics, I realized just how much better the GH2's interface is, in most respects. And Olympus is well behind Canon in ease of selecting options. If I hadn’t used cameras with better interfaces, I’d probably be satisfied with the OM-D’s. Unfortunately, I have, and I’m not. Are IBIS and a better EVF enough to overcome the other issues? Not for me. Advantage: GH2. The OM-D is a very good camera in many respects. It’s just not the best choice for me. If it's the best choice for you, go for it. But I'd suggest you not assume it's the best if you've never used a GH2. Just as Panasonic users shouldn't put down the OM-D without trying one.