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Panasonic vs Olympus bodies

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by davidavdavid, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. davidavdavid

    davidavdavid Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 2, 2015
    Migrating from my Nikon DSLR gear to Micro Four Thirds was not terribly difficult ... choosing between Panasonic and Olympus proved a bit more tricky, but I finally decided on Panasonic and here's why:

    * Panasonic bodies (G6 and G5) are larger and less fiddly than their Olympus counterparts. For those us with big hands and fingers, the Panasonic bodies are more: tactile out of the box (no additional grip necessary), controls more ergonomic (and where you expect them to be)

    * Panasonic bodies (G6 and G5) possess articulated live viewfinders. Olympus's latest OMD EM5 Mk.II is their first to sport this feature, and it really comes in handy for street photography and those situations where holding the camera up to one's eye simply won't do

    * Panasonic bodies (G6 and G5) are also readily available "pre-owned" and "pre-loved" on buy/sell/trade sites online rather inexpensively - MU-43, eBay and a good number of Facebook groups whose sole focus is the buying, selling and trading of camera gear. The deals on Olympus bodies not as enticing.

    Parting Shots:

    * Lenses: WHEN POSSIBLE, and the lenses are equivalent I opt for matching lens manufacturer to camera manufacturer. I have tried and evaluated Olympus lenses on my Panasonic bodies and prefer the stabilization that matching offers. Third party lens manufactures: Tamron, Sigma and Voigtlander are making things interesting, but of all three Voigtlander really stokes my curiosity - yes they are manual focus and peaking can assist with this, but they are so incredibly FAST < f1.0. These warrant far more exploration.

    And now my present system list:

    Panasonic DMC-G6
    Panasonic DMC-G5


    Lumix G 14mm f/2.5
    Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Power O.I.S
    Lumix G Leica DG Summilux 25mm/f1.4
    Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8
    Lumix G Vario 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6


    Fisheye Conversion Lens DMW-GFC1
    [ I was contemplating the Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 wide angle/fisheye zoom, but realized that I would not use it so frequently, so I grabbed the Lumix conversion lens and have not looked back. For those truly wide shots, I set my camera to 16:9, focus dead in the center and then using software crop the bowed/distorted edges on either side, and there are certain software applications which allow its users to "de-fish".]

    In closing, it's' not that Panasonic is better than Olympus, but rather their bodies and system work better for me, and that's all you can pretty much ask of gear :) 
  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team Subscribing Member

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I guess it's a personal thing. I agree that the Panasonic bodies have a better control layout compared to the E-M5 and Pens, but I think the E-M1 and E-M5ii have rectified that. I also think the "feel" and looks of the Oly cameras are somewhat more luxurious, esp compared to the G and GH cameras which IMHO have a plastic DSLR feel to them. The IBIS is superb too. Prices of used G cameras are however very appealing.

    On the lenses front, I think that Panasonic are definitely on a roll at the moment - all of their recent lens releases have been superb. It's great to have two manufacturers being so creative.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. davidavdavid

    davidavdavid Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 2, 2015
    It is a personal thing. Am really not concerned with my gear being luxurious, I want it to feel right in my hands. Of all the Olympus camera bodies, the only one I could really get my hands around is the EM-1... literally :) 

    At the end of the day, it is about the output...the results...the photography.

    Please visit: http://facebook.com/davidmblumenstein/photos

    I am an avid hobbyist and i shoot what I see and feel. As for post-production, I do next to none. Sure, I'll use software for cropping and "de-fishing" and the occasional foray into b&w desaturation, but for the most part I try to get it right "in the moment", so I have as little to do as possible afterwards. I can be lazy :) 

    Best thing about Micro 4/3 is that I can head out with others and we can swap lenses from different manufacturers and assess. We all know about Panasonic and Olympus lenses, and while Tamron has one zoom and Sigma three primes, it is Voigtlander with its three Nokton primes which should have all enthusiasts abuzz. And let's not forget that with the appropriate lens adapters there are loads of "legacy" lens which can be fitted.
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I'm not on Facebook, so I guess I'll have to take your word for it.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Compared to you I have such a mishmash of gear... OM-D primary body, with GM1 secondary. 4 Panasonic lenses, 2 Olympus, 1 Samyang. Will probably replace the Olympus 45mm with the Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 when it comes out, making it 5 Panasonic, 1 Olympus, 1 Samyang. What can I say, I prefer Olympus bodies and Panasonic lenses. Then there's flash from Nissin and Yongnuo...

    There are other lens options apart from Panasonic, Olympus, Tamron, Sigma, and Voigtlander. I've already mentioned Samyang, but there's also SLR Magic and Kowa, who all offer fast wide and ultra wide angles which are presently unavailable in native mount. Like the Voigtlanders, they're all manual.
  7. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I'm glad you qualified your list with the "for me" caveat because there are some points on your list that would only apply if your experience of Olympus equipment is the opposite of mine.
  8. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Nice kit. I haven't handled the EM10 or EM5ii, but I kind of agree that aside from the EM1, Olympus ergonomics that I tried didn't work for me. That being said, I do use Olympus and off brand lenses on my Panasonic bodies. The Samyang/Rokinon/Bowyer 7.5 fisheye and the Sigma 60 are both superb at any price, but at a bit over $200 they are jaw dropping bargains (no... thats not hyperbole).
  9. Ricoh

    Ricoh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 2, 2013
    The difference has parallels to the choice between Kia and Hyundai, or BMW and Audi.
    In camera terms, both Olympus and Panasonic are very good. We should celebrate the fact that it creates competition and therefore innovation in both camps.
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 1
  10. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I definitely agree about the build of the G series, but have you handled a GH3 or 4? The only thing that's plastic on those is the flash cover, SD/battery cover, and the articulating LCD. Everything else is extremely solid feeling, and I get no sense of "cheapness" when handling either camera.
  11. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    My first m4/3 camera was an Olympus E-PL1. At first, when I moved up to a Panasonic G5, I thought that the G5 looked cheap compared to the E-PL1. And yet, over time, the G5 has always felt like a tank. It's not stylish, but it just feels right.

    Anyway, I like both brands. I'm in no rush to upgrade, but when I do, I want built-in stabilization, so it'll probably be an Olympus, unless Panasonic really dedicates the GX8 to stills and improves the image stabilization in the camera.
  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    Bodies are very subjective but the EM-5 ii is IMHO the best ergonomically and size-wise for me of all of the m4/3 bodies that I have handled or used.
  13. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I started with a Panny G1 because I think an EVF is essential and at the time Oly did not offer one except the scabbed-on adapters. I briefly (each) tried GF-1 and GF-2 looking for compactness with a UI similar to the G1 but quickly realized that putting a lump onto the hotshoe pretty much eliminated compactness. So from that point a pair of G1s served me well, also featuring fully articulated LCDs. Low light and poor manual focus were their main weaknesses in my mind.

    When the GX7 came out it seemed like a dream come true. Good low light performance, excellent focus peaking, and compact size with an internal EVF. So I have a pair of those now. I miss the articulated LCD much more than I expected and I have found the battery life to be poor due to the small size of the battery. A day of tourist photography with two bodies will usually require three batteries.

    I plan to replace the GX7s with something as good or better which also features an articulated LCD. My eyes are on the EM5 Mk. II and on the to-be-announced-September GX8. Oly vs Panny is not a choice between religions for me. The choice has been and will be made based on major features that are important to me. More ethereal things like "handling," "build quality," "stylishness," etc. are not significant differentiators. For others, the tradeoffs are different.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I have the EM10, which, were it by itself, I would say I don't really like the ergonomics of, same with the EM5. However, I have the Olympus ECG1 grip, and with that attached, the EM10 is ergonomically wonderful and better than any other m4/3 camera I've held. I never take it off.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    When I bought into m43, I wanted something really small. I thought I was going to use primes most of the time.

    Back then, my choices were GF3, EPM1 and EPL3. I went with the EPL3 because:

    IBIS. I wanted my primes to be stabilised.
    White Balance. The Pannies at this time were known to still be a bit off.
    Mode dial. No menu diving, like on the other two.
    Fn Button. The Pen Mini didn't have one, the Panny did but it was unreachable.

    The flip screen on the EPL3 actually counted against it because it made it bigger! It wasn't long though before I was taking mostly waist height shots, and now I'd probably not buy a camera that didn't have a flip screen.
  16. MMouse

    MMouse Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 29, 2015
    I like the Olympus retro look, but it is a personal thing. I tested the GM1 and I found it well built but a bit too small. I had in hands some other Pana and the "plastic" feel of G Serie, even if it seems to be durable, does not really please me.
    I have an EM-10 and I love it, built quality looks and feels very good. Ergonomics is nice, except for the menus but I've heard that Panasonic ones are also complicated sometimes.
  17. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    I guess I'll post the opposite viewpoint that NEEDS to be said!

    I LOVE the E-M5 body...OK it could use a few tweaks like the design of the Play and FN1 buttons, and it can use a swivel screen, but I LOVE the fact it isn't a bulky, needlessly oversized camera, unlike the GH bodies (I have the GH1, and HATE its grip).

    (I also LOVE the Olympus E-M5 menus over the simplified Panasonic GH-1 menus...I keep on wanting to set something like I can on the Olympus (and have been able to set for the past 10 years of using Olys), but the Panasonic won't let me!)

    The E-M5 is designed like the SLRs I used for decades over 15 years ago, for example a few from my past:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Note the location of the shutter release...and before someone comments about lens sizes I also had a telephoto for it. And before that one I had the following as a kid:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I admit there was a time that dSLRs needed to be big and bulky, for instance the Kodak DCS420 I own, similar in size to this 460:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    But the need for bulky grips are GONE...Olympus has proven that a dSLR can be "normal sized" like SLRs used to be with the E-4xx bodies, shown here next to a Consina SLR (which was similar to the Cosina built Exakta I owned, which was the biggest gripped camera I owned before having to suffer the torment that dSLRs forced upon us):
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I'd pay $1500 for a gripless E-M5 camera over any camera with a bulky grip, even if that camera was given to me FREE! Because they've had to have the grip in cameras to make room typically for the internal flash capacitor, the manufacturers have forgotten how to design a DECENT camera!
  18. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    I like GM1 but wish that it has 3 or 5 axis. That's why i returned to Olympus.
  19. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
    I chose the GX7 because at the time it was the best choice for a rangefinder-esque camera with a good balance of photo and video capability.

    If I chose today, I'd probably get the E-M5 Mk II also because there is no AA filter. I was looking at the photos I took on the Olympus and they simply looked sharper.
  20. Andym72

    Andym72 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 4, 2013
    Reading, UK
    Woah! Cheap compared to a E-PL1? Harsh. I've got one, and I'm sure they melted down the plastic tray with the individual compartments you find in boxes of chocolates to make the casing ;-)

    Having said that, it's a bombproof little bugger.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
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