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questions on buying used e-m5

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by a_hit_of_meth, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Jan 7, 2012
    A used em-5 right now in my part of the world is around 450usd, body only, which is cheaper than the e-em10 which was my cheaper alternative to the gx7 that I now realize is a bit over my price range. Initially I wasn't interested in buying a used body but budget limitations has made it quite an attractive little package for me. Now I'm considering it as a serious option, I do have a few questions since I've been into m4/3 for a few years now (epl-3, gx-1 and currently own gf-3), I haven't really been paying attention or keeping up with what's going.

    Firstly, I know enough to know the e-m5 was and still is a big deal in the mirrorless world so I'm a little skeptical on the price drop. I've only had a quick look but it does seem 450usd is about the norm for a body which seems like quite a steep drop for such an advanced body, even if it has already been out for around 2 years or so.

    Second, I will be giving it a thorough check but are there common issues with this model I should know about, perhaps a certain batch with issues that I can identify through the serial or date of manufacture? I already know about the cracked LCD's but I'm not familiar enough with to know if there's anything I should be paying attention to.

    Next, from users of the body, if given the option should I go for ones with the hand grip? I've had the epl-3, gx-1 and gf-3 and I've never felt like I needed anything more to help me with the grip on any of them. I use my gf-3 regularly with the old 14-140 and never have problems with the weight. I don't know if I'll need the extra ergonomics on the e-m5 which is already a larger body to what I'm used to working with.

    Additionally, is there any way to check the weather sealing, or if it's been tampered with without opening it up?

    Thanks in advance, I'll be doing my own research on this but additional info and opinions are always welcome.
     
  2. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It's not so steep in relation to the normal lifecycle of a consumer electronic. As soon as the next iteration of the model is released, there is a steep drop in pricing and a more gradual depression to bottom pricing. The market is often flooded with people selling off used samples in conjunction with the manufacturer lowering the price on new.

    If you have concern about buying used, you could simply save a little more and try to buy new. The premium you pay for new is a warranty and maybe a little more peace of mind. A middle route would be refurbished. Items have gone into the field (tested and failed for some reason or another) and subsequently fixed by the manufacturer directly. IMO, that's a bit better than buying used from an anonymous source. I've purchased a few from an ebay seller "pvt4545" and haven't had a problem. You can shoot him a message and ask if a manufacturer refurbished warranty is applicable (I don't recall). That ebay seller has EM5s for $500 USD at the moment. Another option is to buy used but from a known seller of used camera equipment such as BH, Adorama, and KEH. KEH has a fairly reasonable return policy and I have always had good experience with them.

    Buying used always has some sort of risk associated.... The price has to be very good to offset that risk. With that said, in over 20 years of buying and selling used (I generally buy used stuff) I haven't run into any problems. For higher priced items in the several thousands of value, I generally go through a dealer such as BH, Adorama, KEH, or my local shop.

    Its all personal preference. Mine is I prefer the grip. I leave the upper half on generally but quite frequently use the second battery/portrait grip portion. If I want small, I like the option of leaving it sans grip.... works well when paired with the 14-42 EZ pancake zoom. If you never really felt the need for it in the past, just don't worry about it.

    As for weather sealing... I know that the EM5 is supposedly weathersealed but from my observation and when compared to my previous Canon 1d markII, I am not totally convinced. The design and build doesn't scream sealed to me. For example the accessory port just behind the hotshoe. The non-springloaded port and sd card doors. Maybe "splashproof" but I wouldn't go into Niagara falls trip with it (My Canon 1dmII + 24-105L was drenched and continued to operated like a champ) Furthermore, there are not that many lenses that are also weather sealed. It would be difficult to know if the seals are intact on any used item that was repaired after the fact.
     
  3. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
  4. emorgan451

    emorgan451 Mu-43 Veteran

    As someone who bought a used EM5 I wouldn't be worried about picking up a used one, especially at the current price of $450-$500. I may have taken the biggest risk, I bought a used one from someone that had bought it as a refurb. It had between 3 and 4 thousand shutter clicks, but now it has around 8 or 9 with no issues so far. I bought mine in October last year with a 17 2.8 included for $650. A lot of people trade gear frequently and move to the next big thing so a selloff and price fall is inevitable. It makes it really nice for people who are willing to wait. For my money a used EM5 is one of the best buys in a camera. For all intents and purposes equal image quality to the EM1 and EM10, very fast AF, a really nice EFV (not as good as EM1 and EM10), good build quality, cheapest way to get 5-axis stablization, tilting touch screen. I actually find the ergonomics fine for me, though a grip with large lenses is nice.

    Just do all your due diligence, lots of photos, checking the shutter count, looking for signs of dropping, seeing pictures of the EFV and LCD illuminated, etc. and good luck!
     
  5. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Jan 7, 2012
    Thanks for the quick replies guys. We don't have the option to buy refurbs here in HK, so it's a bit riskier buying used. There are some basic things to look out for, my bare minimum requirement for something less than 3years old is that the seller has the receipt to prove it was purchased locally. For some reason that gives me better confidence in buying one that doesn't which could mean it was stolen or a grey import, not that that those things necessarily make it a lemon.

    As for the weathersealing question, I don't expect much from that but i was looking more to see any signs of it's sealing integrity or signs of having been tampered more as a way to see how honest the seller was, if it matched their description or as a means of additional bargaining in case it had been compromised.


    For some reason I see the e-m5 as a more hardcore enthusiast model, more so than other's like ep's or epl's from Oly or gf's from panasonic that have come out in recent years. Which means, in my mind anyway, users are likely to have really used and to an extent abused their e-m5's. For some reason it reminds me of the honda civic from the late 90's to early 2000's where you could hardly get a used one that hadn't been repainted or modded in some way because it attracted the type of enthusiast that was more likely to do that sort of thing. Not sure if anyone will agree with that comparison but that's why I'm trying to be more cautious with this purchase if it happens.

    EDIT: I've looked at three online, the average shutter count seems to be between 8-12k. I know we all have different shooting habits but any other input you guys can offer on the shutter count would help.
     
  6. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    The price drop is just the natural cycle of things as newer models come along. In fact, arguably the E-M5 went longer before seeing that price drop than any other camera in the Micro 4/3 system, since, the E-M1 was sold for well above it. Only once the very comparable E-M10 came out at an aggressive price point did the E-M5 really drop much in the used market. And basically used E-M5s have had to stay under the new or refurb E-M10 price to have much chance to sell.
    If at all possible, I'd try to find a body with no more than 5-8K of shutter actuations. The camera itself is probably good for at least 50K, but the simple fact is, One that has more than 10K has been given a pretty thorough use by it's prior ownership. Nowadays, anything with less than 5K on it is probably going to be tough to find if not sold at a premium price.
     
  7. Rick Waldroup

    Rick Waldroup Mu-43 Veteran

    419
    May 28, 2009
    Texas
    It is rare when I buy any camera gear new. Both of my e-m5's were purchased used, one from a member here. Most of my lenses were purchased used. If you really do your homework, on the gear and the seller, you can get some great deals on used stuff. I have been buying used gear for decades now with almost no problem at all. You can save yourself a lot of money, and at the rate that digital camera bodies depreciate nowadays, I would almost never buy any camera bodies new.
     
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  8. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    Myself as well. Just pulled the trigger on an E-M1 with some cosmetic blemishes, for $750 about 10 days ago, and, along with my E-PL5 as a compact travel kit and backup, I'm squared away for M4/3 bodies for a couple of years now. I sold my G5 as soon as I pulled the trigger on this, and along with selling my little used 7-14mm lens in exchange for a Rokinon 7.5 fisheye (and taking my great 4/3 11-22 lens out of retirement for use on the E-M1), this set of transactions actually was cash neutral for me.
     
  9. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I picked up two used E-M5's and both needed to be sent in for repairs. The first had the high speed shutter issue, and the second had an IBIS issue. The former seems to have plagued a small number of bodies, and is relatively easy to detect. The latter issue may have happened when the camera was sent in for an LCD repair, but I cannot say for certain. Both have been repaired and are operating fine now.

    --Ken
     
  10. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    771
    Nov 16, 2012
    Emily
    Several months ago, I bought a used E-M5 from a member here, and it's working like a champ. I can't remember exactly what I paid, but it was somewhere around $500, I think.

    You may want a grip of some sort, whether it's the battery grip or another. The E-M5 doesn't have much to hold on to. I added a JB grip. I'd like to do without it, in the interest of keeping the camera package as small as possible, but it just doesn't feel secure in my hand without that extra bump on the front. For what it's worth, I don't have particularly large hands -- medium to largish woman's hands, so smaller than the average man's hand.
     
  11. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Prices are dropping because Photokina is right around the corner and being the EM5 is the oldest of the OMD bodies, it will be the first to be phased out and retired from the lineup. Hence, people are looking to get rid of them and get some money out of it before the newly announced cameras are officially revealed.

    The EM5 is a great body, and I love using it. Then again, I love cameras in general and photography not only provides income, but brings me joy.

    I would not worry about buying used, especially if you buy from a reputable dealer. I prefer KEH.com as they give you a 6 month warranty and they have a repair center. B&H and Adorama also stand behind their used products.
    I find that the OMD cameras are some of the best mirrorless cameras out there right now and work well for how I shoot.
     
  12. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Jan 7, 2012
    So how much did the repairs cost? Those are the two main things apart from sensor issues that I'm worried about so i'd like an idea what your local olympus charged you for these repairs.
     
  13. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Remarkable bad luck...

    I think I've been through close to 15 cameras purchased new or used in working condition and the only one that needed a repair was bought brand new. The others were bought knowing they would be repaired.
     
  14. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Yes, it was a bit of bad luck, but my local dealer warranted them, and the price was quite nice, so it was a good deal.

    The IBIS was initially sent to Olympus for a free LCD replacement. They check out the camera and clean the sensor while they have the camera, so when it came back with a highly defective IBIS system, Olympus covered it for free. It took a bit of time, but I had other bodies to use so I was not totally out of commission. It seems fine now, but it is mostly a back up body at present.

    The dealer sent the E-M5 with the shutter problem to Olympus hoping they would cover it for free because the camera was not that old. They declined, and I believe they charged the dealer about $140 for the repair. This, too, took forever, but it is also now a back up body, and it has not yet caused any problems. I would like to put a bit more use on both bodies to make sure they are running fine, and then I will probably thin the heard a bit as I have an E-M1, and that is the camera that I pick up first. Then again, given my track record on repairs, it may make sense to have three bodies, not unlike owning an old
    British convertible with Lucas electronics. :rolleyes:

    I suspect that I had a bad run on these two bodies, but I also suspect that despite their design, Olympus bodies are just not up to the level of reliability of my trusty old D300. I think that when Nikon introduced the D3/D700/D300, they were at their peak for QC and durable designs. I know that there are similar bodies in Olympus' past, but I never had the chance to own one.

    Remember, if you do have Precision do work for you (in the US), they have an estimator on their web site that you can easily use, and I believe that they warrant all of their work for 6 months.

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
  15. esnift

    esnift Mu-43 Veteran

    247
    Mar 17, 2013
    Boston, MA
    Dan
    If you are using smaller lenses, you can get away without a grip, though one handed use is slightly awkward (can press the shutter, but one handed operation of the wheels and buttons isn't possible for me despite not having excessively large hands). When I upgraded from my e-pl2 to the e-m5, I was surprised that the e-pl2 was actually more ergonomic and secure in my hands than the e-m5. If you are planning on using any larger lenses or flash (like the 600r flash or 75mm lens) then all bets are off and a grip is a necessity to prevent hand cramps. Alternatively, you can always have both hands on the camera, but who has time for that?

    It took me about 3 months to finally get the HLD-6 and it was a total game changer. I thought I would just use the top grip portion, but I love the feel of the whole package together and the extra battery power is great. Surprisingly, I've found myself using the horizontal grip way more than expected. I either didn't pay attention to how often I rotated my camera body before, or it's so comfortable and easy now that I find myself doing it more.
     
  16. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Jan 7, 2012
    You're lucky local dealers stand by their products. Here, apart form buying off individuals online there are quite a few second hand shops that carry used cameras but they only "cover" them for 7 days, 14 if you are lucky. Mostly this after sales coverage consists of ignoring or laughing at you while you explain the problem and then telling you to **** off. The better ones will not bother to fix their used goods but offer a replacement product of similar or more value where you have to add more cash and getting your money back is not an option which is why I'm being a little anal about what can go wrong.




    About the LCD on your first body, was that a replacement for the cracked one that Olympus were replacing for free? So initially the actual used body was fine then before the Oly service messed it up?
     
  17. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Yes, I sent the LCD in for free replacement almost immediately after I purchased the body. The deadline was approaching, and they approved the repair for free. So, I was not able to use the body much before shipping it, but the IBIS issues was so apparent right after I received the camera that I suspect that I would have seem it immediately. The IBIS in these cameras is quite amazing, but it is a moving part, and that just seems like one more item that can go out of alignment. Then again, IIRC, somebody else recently reported in another thread that when they received their camera back from IBIS repairs, it was working better than when they purchased the camera. I would still buy an Olympus body, new, used, or refurbished, but I would certainly make sure that I was covered in case of any problems.

    --Ken
     
  18. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Jan 7, 2012
    Thanks again guys for taking the time to read and contribute to my post, hopefully I haven'y bored you to death yet with my over analyzing these little details as there are a few more things I would like your input on.

    I've been out and about looking around and I found a store that still stocks them e-m5 black body for around 540usd, which is 130 more than the used ones I've been able to find online. I'm still going over it in my head to if the additional 130usd is worth the new body and more importantly warranty and peace of mind. I phoned Olympus locally and they don't cover the lcd replacement for units without the warranty but it's only a around 35usd to get it replaced anyway, so that's not much of a factor.

    I did also compare the em-10 with the 5, it seemed to fit better in my hand but the only lens I have to use with it is my 14-140 mk1 which made the em-5 heavier and seemingly less grippy. My 14-140 and 14 2.5 will be the two primary lenses I will be using with this body since my 20mm is on loan and I won't get it back until december and I've since sold my 45 1.8 to finance some medical costs, thinking I would buy another one later in the year but buying a new body will mean I have to postpone that for a bit more.

    I was also able to look at the e-pl6 which is also really desirable due to it's small size and portability. The only cons for me vs the omd models is no 5 or 3 axis ibis and on evf. The first thing isn't an issue for me but an evf is one of the main reasons I was looking at the gx7/omd models. A new e-pl6 is about 450, an additonal 100 or so which makes the pricing for both around the same and already 100 over my initial budget for when I was looking at used bodies, the only difference is, I was only really just looking when I first put up my original post but now I really want to buy something...
     
  19. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Unless you are happy adding an external EVF, go with one of the OM-D models. The 5 and 10 each have their pros/cons, so try to decide based on what works better for you. I like the 10, but wanted a sealed body for our rainy season. and as i do not know how tight your budget is for this purchase, you need to decide what will work for you, especially if you have a later problem. Few people complain about paying a bit extra for a product that works, but i cannot say the same about folks who saved money and had problems resolving issues later on.

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
  20. a_hit_of_meth

    a_hit_of_meth Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Jan 7, 2012
    I am on a bit of a limited budget for electronics in general and hadn't planned on getting a new body until next year, but having a look around has really got me interested. I've spent the last six hours or so reading reviews and threads still unable to make up my mind. Everytime I get up from my desk I think of different reasons to get one model over the other.
    I'll probably stick with an OMD model though, I like the smaller size of the 10 better, it's only 29 grams lighter but felt considerably lighter and a bit better in my hands for the short duration I as able to test it compared to the 5. I suppose I need to go back and have a proper look, now that I'm more sure of what I'm really looking for.
    Admittedly one other factor I've been thinking on is purely cosmetic but there are enough threads out there on which color is prettier.
    The 5axis ibis and price are the main things for me with the 5, but the fresher and smaller design as well as the 81 focus points on the 10 really appeal to me. I'll have another look to see and if I don't get the em-5 in the next few days, I can always get the 10 when the price drops a bit.

    Here's another question, does the weather sealed body make it cost more in repairs or labor once the warranty expires?