OMD EM1.2 vs EM5.3

travelbug

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Congrats on your new em1.2 OP.
Since some people may still be viewing this post and might still be on the fence, Ill post a counterargument and list down a couple of reasons why I would prefer the em5.3:

Mobility and Compactness
I think this is the most obvious difference and doesnt need much explanation. Robin Wong even called it a mini em1.2.

Plastic Body
I know many people dont like the change in material but I personally think it might be a good thing. Aside from the weight savings, polycarbonate seems to be quite scratch resistant, if it is of the same quality as that used in guns like a glock. Also, plastic is much less affected by temperature. So this could be a great boon when using the camera in very cold or hot climates, where a metal body would be a conductor.

Newer Model
Being the newest Olympus body, the model could receive some new features while the em1.2 will probably be replaced quite soon and not get any firmware upgrades anymore.

Newer Electronics
This model is said to use newer/more efficient electronics, so even with a smaller battery, it has the same endurance as the em5.2 with a bigger battery. Like the plastic body, the newer electronics could help in keeping the camera (and maybe sensor) cooler.

OLED screen
OLED screen do look better but tend to be a little more vibrant, which for me isnt necessarily an advantage photography wise. But looking thru a more vibrant screen can be more enjoyable to the user.

USB Charging
Too bad it isnt usb-c and too bad we cant use the camera while doing so, but its better than not having the option.

Newer Ultrasonic Cleaner
I dont know what its called exactly, but having the newer sensor dust cleaner is also an advantage for me.


There are other advantages to the em5.3, like bluetooth, that I didnt mention cause I dont think theyd affect my use case. Hope this helps others looking to upgrade like myself.
 

Rob Trek

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Hi. I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject. I made a video showing the main advantages of the em1.2 over the em5.3 which you may want to consider over the em5.3's smaller size. Owning both, long story short, I prefer the em5.3 for my daily camera. The em1.2 for paid work.

 

Pluttis

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Nice summary Rob.
If one plan to use the E-M5 MarkIII mainly with the extra grip i would recommend to go with the E-M1 MarkII insted.

E-M5 MarkIII with the extra grip is basically same size and weight as E-M1 MarkII, you will need 1 extra battery to match the E-M1 MarkII battery performance/life.
With the extra grip plus one extra battery the E-M5 MarkIII will cost more than the E-M1 MarkII
 

pake

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Nice summary Rob.
If one plan to use the E-M5 MarkIII mainly with the extra grip i would recommend to go with the E-M1 MarkII insted.

E-M5 MarkIII with the extra grip is basically same size and weight as E-M1 MarkII, you will need 1 extra battery to match the E-M1 MarkII battery performance/life.
With the extra grip plus one extra battery the E-M5 MarkIII will cost more than the E-M1 MarkII
Exactly my thoughts as well. I'm in the "every mm counts" so I'll be in the E-M5III camp on this one. Have had mine for a week now and I (almost) couldn't be happier and I know it wouldn't be the case with an E-M1.
 

Pluttis

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Exactly my thoughts as well. I'm in the "every mm counts" so I'll be in the E-M5III camp on this one. Have had mine for a week now and I (almost) couldn't be happier and I know it wouldn't be the case with an E-M1.
Yeah the big advantage with the E-M5III is that it can be both small(without extra grip) and big(with extra grip).
I went with E-M1 MarkII, its pretty much same size and weight as my Pen-F with extra grip.
 

Neil Harris

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Cross-posted from "what photography related item did you buy this week?"

E-M1 Mark II during the Black Friday sale. I visited my local camera store to look at the heavily discounted Pana G9, but it proved too large and it lacks some photography-centric features I valued (I have little interest in the G9s video capabilities). The store had just got in the E-M5 III to demo, so I was keen to get hands-on since it seemed like the ideal upgrade from my E-M10 III. Despite the E-M5 III's technical excellence, I was underwhelmed by the E-M5 III's handling and ergonomics. The E-M5 III and E-M10 III are virtually identical in size, weight, and layout, so to me the handling of the E-M5 III felt almost identical to that of the E-M10 III. I was expecting an ergonomic/handling improvement over the E-M10 III. I also found that the shape of the rear thumb rest on the E-M5 III made it more difficult to operate the rear dial (Peter Forsgård also raised this point in his YouTube video). The sales associate sensing my disappointment in the E-M5 III promptly handed me the E-M1 Mark II, which was only priced $100 more than the E-M5 III, and wow what a revelation! The E-M1 Mark II felt perfect in-hand, with solid, quality construction. It balanced perfectly with my 12-40/f2.8 and the larger rear button controls made operating it so much easier. Furthermore, the E-M1 II is not a lot larger than the E-M5 III; about 1 cm wider, 0.5 cm taller, and with a non-pancake lens attached is only about 0.5 cm deeper. The E-M1 II is clearly heavier than the E-M5 III (160 g more), but the substantial, ergonomic grip, longer battery life, and greater customization of the E-M1 II outweigh the weight penalty for me. Unsurprisingly, I brought the E-M1 Mark II, and I shall be taking it with me next week on a two-week vacation to New Zealand!!! ✈🇳🇿📷
 
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I tried them both in the store too (E-M1.2 and E-M5.3) plus I owned an E-M10 II, and I owned a G9 for while. In the end, I couldn't justify the E-M5.3 as my main camera. I just want the better controls, even if I'm always stuck with a bigger body.

And anyway, it's pretty easy to find an E-M10 as a second camera for dirt cheap. They make perfect travel companions for non-photography trips.

The G9 price was very tempting but I preferred the E-M1.2 and some patience paid off with the recent sales. E-M1.2 for $400 cheaper than the E-M5.3? Yes, sign me up.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I have the Olympus E-M5 Mark II for 2 years now, coming from Panasonic GX-7 previously which I owned almost 2 years as well. It took me a while to get used to the Olympus way (aka quarks and protons and all), but the thing I never could get used to was the length of the camera, I don't have particularly long or big hands, I can squeeze Medium size gloves on while Large gloves feel just a tiny bit large so I'm somewhere in between. And where ergonomics frustrated me was the spacing on the back of the camera for my thumb, I could not keep a good grip with my palm on the camera because my thumb would reach the EVF and my hand never felt secure on the grip an every time I tried to use any of the back or top buttons and dials of the camera my hole grip would shift forward leaving a gap between the palm and the camera body. This was especially worrisome with any lens heavier then 200 grams or longer then 5-6 cm. I had to buy a 3rd party metal grip attachment (not battery grip but just extended front grip) to give me a better and safer purchase with my fingers on the grip of the camera ... but it did NOT help with the thumb problem and I still felt unsure and unsafe to use with my most used lenses at that time: Olympus 14-54mm Mark I and 50-200mm Mark I (yes, I know they are not suited for the size of the camera and for the type of sensor because of lack of PDAF, but I wanted to test the IQ of that grade of lenses without heavy investment in the glass for the time being).

While using the E-M5 Mark II I missed the incredible ergonomics of the Panasonic GX-7, slightly wider and a lot more comfortable grip while still being compact camera, unfortunately I had an accident with my little Panny and it died.

Because of the Olympus 50-200mm Mark I and they excitement of the amazing (for me at least) results of my first proper wildlife tries I had to get the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I, so I got one used for 400£ because of budget constraints, for the PDAF performance and better ergonomics. And it made a hole world of differences for the ergonomics, deeper grip means a better grip for my fingers, my palm stays tighter on the side of the camera and there is enough room for my thumb to not smash any button or the side of the EVF. I could never use AE/AL button for back focusing on E-M5 Mark II because of the extreme contortion of the fingers and hands to hold the camera in such a way, but even on E-M1 Mark II I still can't do it comfortably either. Ever since I got the Big Oly (E-M1) I haven't touched the Little Oly (E-M5) so I am going to give that camera to my little sister since she has very small hands and would love to try photography.

From what I have seen the physical size is not that much different from E-M5 Mark II to Mark III so that camera will not suit me well even after all the upgrades internally, the only fact that I liked left is the lighter weight (closer to the Panny GX-7 then to Big Oly). If I am not enjoying myself using the camera then there is not point in breaking my fingers and feeling uncomfortable just for the format sake.

As for the EVF, I haven't experienced OLED EVFs yet. Though I have experienced OLED on laptops for the first time and to be honest I can never go back to any other format. The blacks are true blacks, the colours are deep (and maybe over saturated on some devices but not to the point of the first generations like the Samsung Galaxy S1 to S4 for example) but most of all the response time for motion is near perfection, as close to the original CRTs (which even today the best LCDs, be it VA or IPS they can never match them) and from that experience I think OLED EVFs are extremely well suited for panning and action motion even IF they are at 60 Hz refresh compared to 120 Hz of the TFT LCD (what that means is while TFT refreshes faster then OLED the TFTs are more blurry and less detailed then the slower OLEDs. Here is an example of this:
. I know that this not exactly the same thing comparing gaming with EVFs usage the underlying technology is the same for all displays since each pixel in OLED is its own light source they can switch on and off faster then having a back-light that is trying to reach many pixels that needs different colour configuration at a sub-pixel level to obtain brightness for the same result (think of it like trying to light up a row of candles from a single source at once but only from one side compared to having each candle light itself up instantly).
As for OLED burn-in I do not believe that is a big issue for EVFs because of the nature of their usage: we frame with the EVF but we do nott playback the image constantly through it, it's easier to chimp from the back at an arms length unless the situation is needed for very fast response time where you keep the camera constantly to the eye. Otherwise the information does not change the location in the EVF, meaning where the static information is located in the same place and the screen does not change the information on that area enough to notice a drastic burn-in. Still, OLEDs are considerably new tech compared to TFT which has been used everywhere since the early 90s so it's not an absolute guarantee of no burn-in in the first 5 years of usage.
I think I will wait for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III or the Panasonic G9 Mark II to see if we will get an 120Hz mode OLED at 5 milion dots.

For me another consideration is I always liked to have a DSLR style camera with deep grip for longer lenses that is more focused on speed for wildlife and a rangefinder style camera with for usage indoors, street photography and travelling, where discretion is needed, mostly with primes. I don't find much interest in the Olympus OM-D E-M10 and E-M5 series anymore because they still have a DSLR hump (which does attract more attention from what I have noticed compared to rangefinder) while making the right side of the camera to cramped for comfortable usage. Where cameras like Olympus PEN-F and the Panasonic GX series feel a lot more natural and discreet because of the top flat deck and more room for the thumb to rest (provided if they have a comfortable front grip to place your fingers securely).
Come to think of it the size of the front grip should not have importance if your lens attached to the camera is still longer then the grip itself as a smaller grip would not make a camera more compact now would it, unless you like to keep no lens attached to the camera ??? So if you use zoom lenses or really fast primes a bigger grip is more important, if you use smaller lenses you might benefit from a smaller grip but it might feel uncomfortable to put big lenses on smaller grip cameras = uncomfortable grips means higher risk or less effectiveness on the IBIS, higher ISO usage forced by higher shutter speeds, potentially lower IQ brought by higher ISO and/or vibrations/shutter shock (at less then 1:1 Shutter Speed per Focal Length), or even less photographic opportunities if you feel like your hand is cramping from holding the camera to long for example.

And as pointed by others here battery compatibility can be important when you have 2 bodies, you get higher costs of having to buy multiple types of batteries (and the nature of mirroless technology we all need at least 2 batteries per camera unless you shoot very sparingly, just like condoms: better to have one when you don't need it and not to have one when you need it :p ), you also need to have 2 different chargers (if you want to use your camera while batteries are charging or want to charge more then one battery at a time), and to top it all off you need a organising discipline of which battery goes in which cameras and which ones are empty and which ones are full.

Sorry for the long post, at some point I think I am just spilling out my own thoughts and realisations of the nature of Micro Four Thirds to ask if other people think or believe the same and I'm not crazy and alone in thinking of this. But I hope it helps someone. I have been using Micro Four Thirds since 2010 now ... exclusively.
 

Holoholo55

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This has been an interesting discussion. I have the EM1.2, EM1.1, and EM10.2. The 1.2 and 10.2 get quite a bit of use, but the 1.1 is languishing. I like the EM10 II for my small, light camera kit, but like my friend who had three bodies as well, I'm planning to replace the 1.1 and 10.2 with a 5.3. It'll have much of the image characteristics of the 1.2, but close to the size of the 10.2. That makes it a good 2nd body that would be likely to get more use as a backup to the 1.2 and would still fit my small, compact kit. That'll help simplify my battery collection with currently three different types.
 

ac12

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If you have or plan to use the 12-100/4, the battery run time of the EM5-mk3 will be reduced considerably. The 12-100 sucks power, as the gyro powers up with the camera, not the shutter. I get about a 40% run time reduction on my EM1-mk1, from about 4 hours (with a P-Lumix 12-60 and IBIS) down to about 2-1/2 hours (with the 12-100 and Sync-IS).
In a somewhat long shoot, I regularly have to change batteries on my EM1-mk1 + 12-100/4. I have yet to have to use the spare battery with the mk2.
I would guess that the continuous ON run time of the EM5-mk3 would be similar to my EM1-mk1.
Depending on how and what you shoot, that may or may not make a difference to you.
 

Holoholo55

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If you have or plan to use the 12-100/4, the battery run time of the EM5-mk3 will be reduced considerably. The 12-100 sucks power, as the gyro powers up with the camera, not the shutter. I get about a 40% run time reduction on my EM1-mk1, from about 4 hours (with a P-Lumix 12-60 and IBIS) down to about 2-1/2 hours (with the 12-100 and Sync-IS).
In a somewhat long shoot, I regularly have to change batteries on my EM1-mk1 + 12-100/4. I have yet to have to use the spare battery with the mk2.
I would guess that the continuous ON run time of the EM5-mk3 would be similar to my EM1-mk1.
Depending on how and what you shoot, that may or may not make a difference to you.
I agree that making sure I have spare batteries for the 5.3 would be important. I use my 12-100 mostly on my EM1.2, which can go through a shoot without changing a battery. But, I don't take 1,000 shots every session. I figure the 300 f4 Pro must be another "battery hog" with its IS too. Does anyone have any experience with that?
 

RS86

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And as pointed by others here battery compatibility can be important when you have 2 bodies, you get higher costs of having to buy multiple types of batteries (and the nature of mirroless technology we all need at least 2 batteries per camera unless you shoot very sparingly, just like condoms: better to have one when you don't need it and not to have one when you need it :p ), you also need to have 2 different chargers (if you want to use your camera while batteries are charging or want to charge more then one battery at a time), and to top it all off you need a organising discipline of which battery goes in which cameras and which ones are empty and which ones are full.
I don't totally understand this issue. Another charger must weight something like 50 grams? Is that make or break at the airport or why is it so heavy? I don't carry those in my camera bag when walking outside. Also why are different batteries more expensive than others?

I usually have 1 additional battery in my bag for each camera. I got Olympus BLN-1 and Panasonic BLG-10E for 50 euros each. I think they all cost about the same.

Can't a person just color or name the batteries? My batteries are very different anyway because of different brand cameras. And doesn't a person need to know where he puts empty batteries anyway? How is this related to having different batteries?

Is the point that you can have 2 bodies that use same batteries, and only carry 3 batteries in total compared to 4? BLN-1 weights about 50 grams. I really don't see a huge issue here, zero problems with it, but maybe someone can chime in and explain this to me? :)

Only way I understand this makes sense is that if you run out of both batteries with the other camera, you still have back up if they have same batteries. But I haven't yet ran out of both batteries on one camera. And in this case I'd just use the other camera for the rest of the day. Different for professionals of course.
 
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Michael Meissner

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I agree that making sure I have spare batteries for the 5.3 would be important. I use my 12-100 mostly on my EM1.2, which can go through a shoot without changing a battery. But, I don't take 1,000 shots every session. I figure the 300 f4 Pro must be another "battery hog" with its IS too. Does anyone have any experience with that?
The problem is the E-m5 mark III does not have a battery grip, so you need to be much more careful about changing batteries frequently if you shoot video or have the camera mounted on a tripod/jib where it is more involved to change the batteries.

When I'm shooting long video with my G85, I use the battery grip, and once the camera has changed from using the grip battery to the camera battery, I change the grip battery (while the camera is still recording on a secure tripod). Once I close the door, the camera switches back over to the grip battery. This gives me a cushion to change batteries when it is convenient to do so. I've also done the same with the E-m1 mark I, though there it was mostly shooting stills.

Unfortunately, the E-m5 mark III does not support being powered directly with USB. You should be able to use dummy batteries and external 9v power, but it is inconvenient to use dummy batteries, and the dummy BLS batteries are hard to find. This is the one source I've found for the dummy battery:
 
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I agree that making sure I have spare batteries for the 5.3 would be important. I use my 12-100 mostly on my EM1.2, which can go through a shoot without changing a battery. But, I don't take 1,000 shots every session. I figure the 300 f4 Pro must be another "battery hog" with its IS too. Does anyone have any experience with that?
The f/4 Pro lenses are my most used glass and I haven’t noticed any major battery loss using them. I have the cameras (EM1 II and EM10 I) set to sleep at some usable interval. I usually turn them off if I’m not using them because a cold start isn’t much different than walking up, especially with the EM10.
 

PakkyT

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Come to think of it the size of the front grip should not have importance if your lens attached to the camera is still longer then the grip itself as a smaller grip would not make a camera more compact now would it, unless you like to keep no lens attached to the camera ??? So if you use zoom lenses or really fast primes a bigger grip is more important, if you use smaller lenses you might benefit from a smaller grip
Most people will say the smaller camera with the smaller grip is a problem with big lenses. I would argue the opposite.

With big lenses the camera size doesn't really matter since the proper way to hold such a setup is with your left hand under and holding the setup by the lens. Your right hand is mainly for stabilization and to operate the controls, but doesn't really have to "hold" the camera up (left had doing the heavy lifting).

It is when you are using small light lenses that grip, weight, and ergonomics of the camera body matters, especially with primes, as that is when you are much more likely to lift, hold and shoot the camera mainly with your right hand (with primes a lot of exclusively one handed operation may be used). In fact with some of the more compact camera body models they tend to be relatively heavy/dense where with a tiny grip the camera body will want to kind of twist out of your grip when holding with one hand, even with a light small lens.

TL: DR Camera body size & grip do not matter as much with large heavy lenses as is does when using small light lenses where the ability to grip the camera with the right hand becomes much more important.
 
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