OMD EM-5 compared to the Nikon D800

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by MrPhotoBob, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. MrPhotoBob

    MrPhotoBob Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 16, 2012
    I mainly shoot a lot of landscapes scenes, and I am wondering just how the EM-5 compares to the D800. I have read that the D800 was a great camera for shooting landscapes, but I have gotten some nice landscapes with the EM-5 as well. I guess that I am asking if anyone have shot with both cameras and have any suggestions on the images that they have received from both. I print my images up to a maximum of 11x14, and I am just wondering if that is a size that would even be noticeable in either image. I have thought about buying the D800 and shoot with both cameras. Let me set everyone straight, I am not thinking of getting rid of my EM-5, I love shooting with it too much? Anyone have any ideas on of how they would compare?
  2. Tapper

    Tapper Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 12, 2013
    I have never owned a D800, so I really have no right to comment... But at 11x14 I have to imagine the EM5 would do as well as almost any good camera and lens combo.
  3. xdayv

    xdayv Color Blind

    Aug 26, 2011
    Tacloban City, Philippines
    Since you print up to maximum of 11x14, I think there won't be any noticeable difference when you shoot either of the cameras, maybe just except for wider dynamic range, more megapixels and cropping abilities in favor of the D800.
  4. MrPhotoBob

    MrPhotoBob Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 16, 2012

    From what I have read so far, the cameras are going to come close as to what they can produce for me, especially since I make it a point to do all of my cropping in the camera prior to clicking the shutter. Being retired and able to travel around the country with my camera, this has been a dream of mine to drive across country photographing beautiful images. If I was to use the D800, it would only be on a tripod, and at shots that would be within a VERY short walking distance from my car. I have used my EM-5 for some of my shots, and I must agree, it produces some great images. My thoughts is that over $5k is a lot of money to put into a camera and lens just for a very few shots, but if what I would get from it is worth it, I just might consider doing it.
  5. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    I have shot with both, and sold my D800 (for a number of reasons) after getting my OM-D. The pixel density (sensor pixels/inch) is very close in both cameras. But in a single frame the D800 wins in pixel count (since it's got a much larger sensor). I have printed as large as 24" x 74" with the D800 (admittedly using 3 stitched frames across for extreme detail), and it really excels at that scale, but even if you go as large as 24" x 36" (which I have admittedly not done yet with the OM-D - mostly because I'm tired of big prints), I don't think you need to worry about the capability of the OM-D especially at 11x14.

    And by the way I have even printed as large as 24" x 36" with the D700 (a full-frame camera with a sensor of only 12.3 MP), and they are satisfactorily detailed as well.
  6. Conrad

    Conrad Mu-43 Veteran

    I print regularly 16x20" (40x50cm) from both my GF1 and GX1. Pixel count is not a problem on this size, and will not be the differentiating factor between a D800 and an OM-D when printing smaller. Other aspects (dynamic range, high ISO performance, weight, cost, AF performance, ergonomics) are much more significant.
  7. sam_m

    sam_m Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2010
    Totaly agree with this post. My GF1 has been a fantastic little camera, but there are times where the High ISO and dynamic range have really lacked where as on the OMD I do not have this worry at all. If the GF1 had the same High Iso performance and dynamic range as the OMD, then megapixels wouldn`t even really come into it.

    Can`t comment too much on the D800, but the main reason I see for big megapixels are for cropping ability. Although I have to admit that sensor on the D800 looks incredible.

    OMD is a superb camera, I am finding that I`m using mine more than my 5Dii for anything other than professional work, I have 100% confidence in its ability to capture details, highlights, shadows etc as good as the 5D in landscape. The portability of the M43 format for when you go on walks, hikes etc, is unbeatable. Lugging a DSLR with all the beefy lenses is a pain most of the time.
  8. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    Well, we used to regularly print that size with the 5mp Olympus E-1 with no issues..lthe E-M5 has three times the megapixels, so 16x20 is no big deal!
  9. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    The D800 files at low ISO are cleaner and have more detail to them, given an adequate lens. My 5DII's files do as well, though the dynamic range is theoretically a little less than the E-M5's, I still prefer the 5DII output for landscape, but that's almost entirely because I love printing big (largest two are a hair under 80", 2 meters wide), often stitched panoramas. I have no qualms about doing so with E-M5 files (only done tests so far, but what I've seen I like).
  10. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    I'll add color depth to dynamic range and ISO in favor of the D800. And that don't even take angle of view into account. I'm not in the slightest saying the E-M5 is bad or can't do the job. Especially at the relatively smaller 11 x 14 print size.
  11. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    At 11x14, I don't think you'll see much difference other than small differences in minor detail and dynamic range. Honestly I think the D800 is a bit overrated and I own one! I just keep it for the cropping ability.
  12. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Perhaps it's just me, but I don't understand the notion of upgrading to a whole new camera system to the tune of $5k+, unless you have a clear problem you want to solve. Granted, we all get the itch to try something new from time to time. For that, rent one over a weekend, and take it on a long walk.
  13. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
  14. MrPhotoBob

    MrPhotoBob Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 16, 2012
    No, there is not a problem, it is just that I enjoy photography and I have heard a great deal about the new D800 and I am just wondering how it compares to my EM-5. It is not so much that I have an itch and wish to try something new, it is that I enjoy my photography and there are a lot of medium format cameras out there that I have admired and wanted to use in my photography for quite a few years. It is just that at this time there is a camera out there that can compete with some of those medium format cameras in regards to producing great images at a price that will not break my pocket and I am very much interested in it at this point.
  15. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    I think the question is just what do you want it for? The bottom line is the D800 will have more resolution, more detail reproduction, better dynamic range, and cleaner noise performance. Whether or not you'd see that at all in a smallish print though is debatable.

    For me, the reason I like shooting the D800 are distinct:
    - I love the AF system, it suits my way of shooting very well
    - I like bigger camera ergonomics, and size and weight isn't important to me all the time (when it is, I have m4/3 for that!)
    - I enjoy the extra latitude for PP, since I don't always get it right in camera :wink:
    - shallow DoF capability of a FF sensor appeals to me at least some of the time
    - huge resolution and detail means I can print just about any size I want - now or later
    - future-proofs my photos to an extent. For my favorite photos, I'm all about having the most detail possible and the largest number of options later for when we have ultra high-res displays available, I decide I want a huge wall print of something, etc.

    Ultimately whether or not a D800 is worth it to you over an OM-D for your landscapes is going to be totally personal and based on how you use it. If you're not going to take advantage of the extra resolution and resolving power, or lugging around a heavy DSLR isn't fun for you, then it makes no sense to get one "just because". OTOH, just because you may not see a huge difference in your 11x14 prints doesn't mean there's no reason to shoot your landscapes with a D800 either.

    It's a lot of money, and realistically only you'll be able to say whether that's worth it to you. I second Dara's suggestion - rent a D800 for a weekend, and use one. You'll probably know very quickly if it's for you :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  16. MrPhotoBob

    MrPhotoBob Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 16, 2012
    I have found a video on YouTube that did compare the lowest model Hasselblad that I have been looking at for quite some time with the D800. There is also a video on there that compares the digital medium format Pentax that I was interested in with the D800 as well. All in all, it states that the D800 beats the Hasselblad in some aspects, where as the Hasselblad beats the D800 in other aspects, but the D800 pretty much run neck and neck with the digital medium format Pentax. This is something that I have personally wanted to own for a very long time. I have shot with a lot of film medium format cameras and loved the image that I could get from them, but I was not too up to date on what was out there in the digital world of medium format. When I heard that the D800 could compete with some digital format cameras and I would not have to mortgage my home to own it, I knew that I had to do some research on it and make it a part of my system if what I found out would make it worth getting. After retiring from teaching school for over 30 years, I have had this desire to travel all over the US with a medium format camera and capturing the images, and the D800 puts that type of system within my means. I plan on taking a memory card to my local dealer and bring home some D800 images that I can view on my monitor. If all goes well, I will own a D800 next week while there is a rebate on the lenses.
  17. FrayAdjacent

    FrayAdjacent Mu-43 Veteran

    I think the overwhelming response is that the OM-D has great dynamic range, and can handle prints well over the size the OP wants to do.

    The advantages it has in addition is that it is smaller and lighter, and lenses are smaller and lighter. Another one that may not get mentioned is the ability to use old SLR manual glass without any modifying optics. For scenery, this is a boon. Lots of nice old glass out there that works great with an inexpensive adapter.

    The Nikon will have a better selection of glass, but u4/3 is growing!
  18. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
  19. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    The lenses really are what makes (or breaks) the whole thing. One of the main things I miss from FF is the substantial collection second-tier zoom lenses. Of course, if you're getting a D800, price and weight probably aren't foremost concerns, and if you're going to be emulating medium format, you're probably looking mostly at primes.
  20. MrPhotoBob

    MrPhotoBob Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 16, 2012
    I am going to also place the 24-70 f2.8 in one of my bags, there is a rebate on it. I am also thinking about the 16-35 f4.:2thumbs:
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