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Panasonic GM5 as an E-PM2 replacement and compact alternative

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by dhazeghi, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    I finally had a chance to check out all the Photokina announcements today, and it seems to me like the GM5 isn't getting nearly the amount attention that some of the other announcements have gotten.

    From my perspective, it seems to be a very well-sorted camera that ticks pretty much all of the areas that interest me.

    1) Size. It's small - even smaller than the E-PM2 - but amazingly it seems to make no sacrifices in terms of controls (buttons are as large or larger) or LCD.

    2) EVF. It's frankly embarrassing that Olympus can't manage to fit an EVF on their substantially larger E-P5, while Panasonic manages to get one onto this barely-larger-than-GM1-size camera.

    3) Electronic shutter. I've wanted a camera that could shoot discreetly for a while, and the electronic shutter makes that possible. It also alleviates issues with shuttershock - a particular problem with smaller bodies and compact lenses.

    4) ILC with small lens options. The LX100 looks like a fantastic camera, but it has two major disadvantages in my book - controlling the zoom is via a lever which makes it slow and imprecise, and the lens is a stop slower than the inexpensive and compact 20/1.7 and 45/1.8 lenses. The 12-32 lens may not be as fancy, but at daylight apertures, I don't think the image quality will differ meaningfully, and it has none of the delays of using a zoom lever. Meanwhile, when the light drops down, every stop of light is critical.

    About the only significant feature I'd miss is IBIS. The 2-axis system on the E-PM2 isn't really all that useful, but the E-PL7's 3-axis appears to be pretty darn good - similar to the E-M5 and it's relations. But as long as the slower lenses have OIS (and the kit 12-32 does), that's not a huge concern.

    I have seen a few complaints about the size of the EVF, but I honestly can't get that worked up about it - I've never had much luck with manual focus, and for framing/visualization it seems plenty large.

    Overall, it seems like a great replacement for my E-PM2 - a decent camera that I've not quite managed to bond with, and a more flexible alternative to the non-pocketable compact camera options (LX100, G1X m2 et al.).
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    775
    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    I have the GM1 and love it as a small camera that can fit in a large pocket with the 12-32 or a small prime on it. The controls are actually quite good, but on the GM1 many people complain about bumping the edge of the touch screen when using the dial. Looks like the GM5 likely has fixed that issue by using a new dial.

    As to the shutter it is better than just an electronic shutter. The mechanical shutter is electronic first curtain sync and the second mechanical curtain is low mass and relatively slow. So no shutter shock even with the mechanical shutter and it produces are very gentle click sound. There are a few draw backs to the shutter implementation though:

    - Since the mechanical shutter is rather slow you can actually get minor rolling shutter artifacts even when using the mechanical shutter.
    - Again due to slowness the flash sync speed is quite slow.
    - You can only use the mechanical shutter up to 1/500 and so at wide apertures in bright light you are forced to use the electronic rolling shutter.
    - The electronic rolling shutter is a faster read out than older cameras but still relatively slow so you can get rolling shutter artifacts
    - The electronic shutter reads at 10-bits and so you lose some base ISO dynamic range when using it (not an issue at higher ISOs where read noise is high anyway).

    You can read more details about the 10-bit readout here:

    https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=61612

    Anyway, yes the GM5 looks great and seems to tick a lot of boxes that people missed on the GM1. Personally I prefer the features of the GM1 to those of the GM5 but I'm probably in the minority.

    Oh, and on IBIS for me it hasn't proved to be a problem since I'm usually shooting my daughter who moves enough that shutter speeds need to be reasonably fast anyway. But yes, as a night street shooter or interior architecture it would be nice to have IBIS for primes. Can't have everything in such a tiny package I suppose!
     
  3. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I doubt Olympus can't fit an EVF into a Pen body. They just annoyingly refuse not to. I know they make extra $$$ on the accessory EVF. The PM2 and PL5/7 are lower end and the P&S upgraders don't necessarily want it. The EP5 just baffles me. They could easily make the high end Pen with a built in EVF. It may cut into OMD sales, but the money is still going into their pockets.
     
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Thanks for the comments, Ken. You always have something helpful to add!

    Regarding the 10-bit readout, a friend of mine did some fairly extensive post-processing tests and could not make the differences visible save with really exotic post-processing, so I'm not too worried.

    You're probably right about IBIS - it's just something I've gotten used to having with the E-M5, even though I often turn it off altogether for normal daylight photography.

    Honestly, I think the biggest drawback for me about the GM5 is the price. Especially considering how much my E-PM2 has depreciated, I'm just not sure it makes sense to put $900 into what will be my secondary camera.

    You're right - I was being a little dramatic. Still, I don't expect to buy another Pen after this round. The external EVF is too much of an ugly hack.
     
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I never say never, but the GX7 is bringing me around to this way of thinking.
     
  6. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    775
    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    Indeed, it is only an issue if you take a low ISO image and boost the shadows a whole lot. At higher ISOs it is completely a non-issue as read noise is higher than the 10 bit "penalty" anyway. Just worth being aware of, very rarely an issue.

    I had a really hard time clicking "buy" on the GM1 originally because the E-PM2 could be had incredibly cheaply (refurbs were like $300 or less) while the GM1+12-32 was $700 when I bought it. Though I did really want the 12-32 and my is that an incredibly good little lens so that made the GM1 kit cost a bit easier to digest (the 12-32 goes for about $250 on E-Bay from split kits). I just got a 12-40 and when testing it I compared to the 12-32. Stopped down for landscape to F/5.6 the 12-32 was holding up amazingly well to the 12-40 even in the corners at all focal lengths. Yes, the 12-40 was a tiny bit sharper with slightly better micro-contrast in the corners but you really had to have 100% crops side by side to tell. That 12-32 is one heck of a little lens and so if you are interested in that kind of a zoom it is worth considering that in equation. It is the 14-45 reborn much smaller and wider.

    Anyway, I understand you dilemma - buying depreciating bodies at the bleeding edge of release date is often depressing when you see the prices a year or two later! For me it has worked out, being so small and paired with things like the 15/1.7, 17/1.8 and 12-32 it has come along with me lots of places and despite the cramped ergonomics I actually like the UI quite a bit. I paid a bit for that extra bit of smallness and slightly nicer controls and at this point I'm quite happy with the decision. I'm sure someone else could easily reach a different conclusion!
     
  7. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    318
    Aug 26, 2013
    Canada
    Theo K.
    I have a E-PM2 as well. Unlike you, I held up clicking "buy" on GM1 kit. Instead I picked up a 12-32 separately by itself on eBay.

    I totally concur with your experience with the 12-32. While I have not done a direct comparison against the 12-40, I did a simple comparison against the PL25. The center sharpness of the 12-32 at 25mm matches the PL25 at f5.6; the surprise is that the 12-32 edges and corners are actually sharper than the PL25 at this aperture. At f8, the sharpness across the frame is too close to call. It's a wonder little lens.
     
  8. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I've long yearned for the 14-45 to be re-done in 12-40, or so. (14-x in a kit zoom leaves so much to be desired at the wide-end.) If it finally arrived in the form of 12-32 and much smaller, that's great too!

    Having pre-ordered the GM5 kit, I am especially happy to hear yet more confirmation regarding the high quality rendering given by the little 12-32. Most of the time I'm not interested in razor thin DOF, but rather in clean, crisp sharpness. Thus, most of the time I'm shooting the wide variety of m4/3 lenses at f/4 and f/5.6 (including the 17/1.8, 20/1.7, and 25/1.4). The smaller maximum apertures of the 12-32, especially given the good higher ISO performance of the sensor combined with the OIS, isn't off-putting to me at all with this type of lens. One can always pop on the 15/1.7, 20/1.7, 25/1.4, 45/1.8, even the 75/1.8, etc. for those times where light levels are very low and/or thin DOF is desired.

    It looks as though the GM5 with 12-32 is going to be a fantastic little imaging companion! I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival.
     
  9. broody

    broody Mu-43 Veteran

    388
    Sep 8, 2013
    Ah, but you may also find the 1/16,000 max shutter speed quite addicting for working with those lenses wide open under the sunniest lighting conditions! ;) That's a little feature I love on the GM1.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Absolutely.
     
  11. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    High praise indeed. I've been making do with Panasonic 14-42 II which is a pleasant enough lens, but not quite small enough to be truly exciting.

    And for some reason, the depreciation seems to be worst for these small bodies. I mean, my E-PM2 is worth less than 1/3 what I paid for it, whereas the E-M5, despite being older and far more heavily used, has lost relatively less.

    From what I've seen, Panasonic's done a better job than Olympus with the UI on these smaller bodies. The problem for me is that my other camera is an Olympus and switching back and forth requires a lot of mental adjustments.
     
  12. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    The LX100 was.... yawwwwwwn.... nothing to get excited about. At least it didn't stir any interest for me.

    IMO, the real exciting news came from the GM5 and the CM1 (smartphone camera with 1" sensor and fixed f2.8 Leica branded lens that can also record 4K videos).

    http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/15/6151671/panasonic-leica-cm1-android-cameraphone

    The only thing that's questionable is the quality and size of the GM5's viewfinder. Will it be big enough to be really usable? It's better than nothing, but if it is usable, I might end up picking one up because everything else seems exactly what I would want in a mini ILC. Worst case, it might be something I would buy for my GF.
     
  13. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    775
    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    One important thing to add on the 12-32 which I only recently became aware of, it does appear to be an easy victim of shutter shock - or at least some copies do. Of course never an issue on the GM1 which has EFCS or electronic rolling shutter and thus no shock to any lens. But if you've got an Olympus body without 0-sec AS setting or don't like the rolling electronic shutter on the newer Panasonic bodies you might find the 12-32 a bad fit.

    I haven't tested mine for shutter shock on the E-M5 yet (only other body I've got these days) but I have seen someone else do testing and find the 12-32 is impacted by shutter shock on the E-M5.

    EDIT: I'm wrong in the sentence above, the comparison I've seen is on the GX7 not the E-M5. I'll need to test for myself on the E-M5 at some point.
     
  14. Theo

    Theo Mu-43 Veteran

    318
    Aug 26, 2013
    Canada
    Theo K.
    I don't notice shutter shock using 12-32 on my E-M10 (0s AS) and E-PM2 (1/8s AS). Please provide link where I can find these test reports.

    Sent from my Nexus 5 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  15. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    775
    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    I'd definitely expect no shutter shock with the E-M10 (0s AS) since that's the whole point of 0s AS. As to the 1/8s AS I've had mixed results with that setting on my E-M5, some lenses it seems to help a lot and others not so much. So entirely possible that it fixes the issue with the 12-32, which is useful information.

    However - critical boo-boo in my last post. The comparison in question is on the GX7, not the E-M5. Different shutter mechanisms obviously. I'll need to test on my E-M5 after all.

    Here is a link to the GX7 mechanical vs electrical shutter:

    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/54462669

    Be sure to click "original size" to see at 100% where the shock effects are pretty obvious.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Would the 12-32 be any more subject to shutter shock on Oly bodies than a variety of other Oly and Pany lenses would be?
     
  17. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    775
    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    I can't see any particular reason shutter shock would be worse on Oly bodies in general compared to Panasonic bodies in general. What matters is the shutter, not which company makes it. They have both made shutters prone to shock with certain lenses. The G3 for instance did an absolutely wonderful job of making the 45-175 completely useless because its shutter produced enough shock that it freaked out the OIS system in the 45-175. The GH2 on the other hand which has a different shutter than the G3 could use the 45-175 just fine. Both cameras from Panasonic as was the lens. At least one of the Oly kit lenses suffered shutter shock issues on certain EP bodies.

    Susceptibility to shock also depends on the lens. It seems like having an OIS system makes it a bit more likely that shutter shock may occur but that is certainly not a requirement (as noted Oly kit lens on EP involves no OIS). As mentioned already the 45-175 is a relatively easy victim, but when first released it was extremely susceptible and Panasonic released a FW update that changed something in the OIS to reduce the problem (this does seem to have eliminated the problem on the GH2 but there is still residual shock on the G3). So clearly in that case OIS played a role.

    As to what cameras the 12-32 would be more or less subject to shock on I haven't a clue. It appears it has a problem on the GX7. I had someone else report they returned their 12-32 because of shutter shock issues but I don't know what body they shot on. If you've got an Oly body with 0s AS setting that seems like that fixes the problem. In general as far as trade offs go I think 0s AS on Olympus is preferable to electronic rolling shutter on Panasonic bodies. Perhaps 1/8s AS would fix it or at least reduce it on bodies like the E-M5 that don't have 0s AS (and at this point I don't even know if the 12-32 has a problem on the E-M5 at all to begin with - I'd need to test it).
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Actually, that sounds a lot like what I've heard. Friend of mine won't use the 12-32 on the E-M5 due to shutter shock. Perhaps he's a little paranoid, but I don't think he's wrong. Frankly it's an embarrassment that Olympus hasn't offered a way to fix this on most of their current cameras (E-PM2, E-PL5 and E-M5 all suffer from it).

    On a different note, do you have any thoughts on how the 20/1.7 performs AF-wise on the GM1? When I briefly had the GX7, I remember the 20/1.7 worked much better with it than on my Olympus bodies. I'd be curious if that's true of the GM-series as well.
     
  19. Serhan

    Serhan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    533
    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    I had to find my 20mm and it took a while since it was not packed with lenses when we moved... I tried it and it might be better on GM1 then Oly's but still slow as you can hear the lens focuses esp when you change from close focus 1-2 ft to eg 6 ft... I think it is usable but not lightning fast like other m43 primes. My issue with it on newer Oly bodies was missed focuses in low light... I have to take it out and see, but I like Oly 25mm on GM1 a lot and it is one of favorite m43 lens due to its size and zero auto distortion correction (optically corrected)... 20mm has a bigger dia then 25mm and it looks weird on gm1. 14mm/12-32mm and 25mm make a good combo... I had to take 45mm also as lately I haven't used much...

    Also here is some 12-32 shots on GX7 (Later I changed to 14-150 for longer zoom):
    https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=14159&page=85&p=692694#post692694

     
  20. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    842
    Feb 20, 2013
    You seem to know the pros and cons, but IMO, the lack of a real shutter on the GM1 is what turned me off (idk if GM5 has it and am too lazy too look). Either way, PM2 feels better in the hand, has IBIS (which is only useful once you're already at ISO3200), sits up straight with the 20 on it, and (apparently) does better at higher ISO due to less heat buildup. I mean, you can weigh the pros and cons yourself. Here's my ultimate reason for NOT getting rid of the PM2: money! You sell the PM2 body for $150 after shipping, etc., and you need to spend, what, $700 on the GM5? Is it worth over $500 for such an upgrade? To me, it is not. If you were keeping the PM2 and grabbing an LX100, however, that would seem to be more worth it because of the speed of the lens vs the 12-32. Just my two cents. :)