Sell a GH-2 to buy a used EM-5; good idea?

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by RDM, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    So I am thinking of selling my GH-2 to buy a used EM-5 and I am still not sure if that is a good idea or dumb idea.

    My main reason for even THINKING about switching was for the IBIS. You see, I primarily use Adapted Legacy Glass to photograph with.
    I only contemplated this switch because i found that the GH-2 still has a high resale value and the EM-5 cameras are selling pretty cheep used.

    I started in the µ4/3 world with the G-1, chosen because I needed a camera that I can adapt all my film lenses to; also I wanted to have a camera with an eye level view finder and still had an available hot shoe and use an off camera flash. I also loved the large grip and Articulating rear screen.
    When I upgraded I went with the GH-2 model, I liked it because it still had the separate SD card door and larger sensor also it was a great sale deal at the time.

    I do not know if the GH-2 is a better camera. Many say the Panasonic RAW file is best. I shoot mostly Raw and process in Light room, Although I do not usually do much adjustment unless I really like the photo.

    Anyone wanna help me to decide if I should stay or go? I am not opposed to some Q & A to help me.
  2. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    The IBIS is a big deal, so I can see your logic. But if you haven't used an E-M5, or some other Olympus camera, you really should try to before making a decision. Some folks really don't gel with the interface. If you are used to Panasonic's approach and like it the switch may not be worthwhile for you.
  3. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    EM5 will have slightly better stills, GH2 will have dramatically better video. EM5s IBIS is useful, even fantastic in certain conditions. This is subjective, but GH2 has much better ergonomics. The EM5 is a very small camera. There are plenty of folks who love the camera, but will tell you that the extra grip is necessary to make it comfortable to use. It never felt good in my hands (although I never tried one with the extra grip). And I echo demiros comments about the interface. If I loved the camera, it wouldn't be a factor and I would figure it out, but it is not exactly an intuitive system.
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    IBIS is handy for manual focus lenses, especially with telephotos, since it can stabilize the viewfinder as you frame, allowing you to magnify the frame enough to achieve critical focus.

    The current fashionable way to do manual focus seems to be via focus peaking (personally I'm not a big fan), which the E-M5 offers in a limited form. There is however a rumor that the E-M5's next firmware update will make it a full-fledged option.

    I think most would actually agree that the E-M5 produces better RAW images, although the difference may or may not be apparent to you. The main loss is the multi-aspect sensor, and of course video quality.

    The biggest difficulty in switching is simply the difference in how Olympus organizes their controls and menus. It's not an insurmountable challenge, but there is some learning curve to getting things configured satisfactorily, and you may find it unintuitive or annoying compared to what you're used to
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  5. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran

    May 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    That pretty much mirrors my own thoughts. Other advantages of the Panasonic are the silent electronic shutter and the multi-aspect ratio sensor.
  6. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Silent mode is great, but I don't think the GH2 had it. I may be wrong. And I forgot about the true multi aspect sensor, I wish the newer Panasonics had it.
  7. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    I went directly from the GH2 to the EM5 and I'd generally agree with all of this ^^ I'd also mention that the EM5 build quality is much better (the GH2 always felt like a budget body). End of the day though, I've definitely connected more with the Olympus and haven't had any urges to pick up the Panasonic again.

    The multi-aspect sensor is fantastic but I wasn't aware the GH2 has a silent shutter?
  8. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    The only Digital Oly camera that I have used is the E-PL1 that I got for my mom. I hate that interface. It is so difficult to use it in manual mode that I usually use it in idiot mode or Park. Non Digital Oly's I have used were the OM2 and Pen-F. Both great cameras, and I wish all cameras had the same ergonomics and controls as the old OM.
    But I have no idea where I could handle and use an OM-D before I buy. On the other hand, I loved the Pana G1 handling, and not the GH2 as much. (Hate the thumb wheel and some other things).

    I already realize the ergonomics of the EM-5 would be a down grade, but I plan to get a low cost grip and would eventually go up to the HDL-6 battery grip.
    Even the GH-2 seems a little too small for my hands, but there are not any good grip options for it.

    Yes, I use telephotos often, which is why I think I can benefit from the IBIS.
    As for focus peaking, an Oly rep did say that they will be adding it Via a firmware update, but it will definitely not be included in the next update to be released.
    It's nice to know the Raw files will not be worse but better. I will miss the multi-aspect sensor, and I do not use my camera much for video.
    I am sure there would be a learning curve, but there was one with the 1st µ4/3 camera I used, just like with the 1st dSLR that I used (nikon). Hopefully it will not be too annoying.

    Yea, I Do not think the GH2 has the silent shutter. Its a shame that a true multi-aspect sensor is not still used. I think they all should have them (with an added aspect).

    Good to hear from Someone else that did the move I was thinking about.
    Do you miss the Fully articulating screen & do you use any adapted glass?
  9. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran

    May 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    Oops, sorry to mislead about the silent shutter on the GH2 :redface: I've had so many Panasonic bodies, I forgot when the silent shutter arrived. I should remember, since that's the reason I went from the GH2 to the G5!

    I'd dispute that - I'd say the build quality of the GH2 is every bit as good as the EM5. What I think you're describing is your personal preference for the feel of the materials, which is an entirely different thing :)
  10. phl0wtography

    phl0wtography Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 15, 2011
    You cannot compare a PL body with no external controls to an OM-D body with two dials and loads of customizable buttons. The E-M5 is a joy to use in M, really.
    Olympus' interface is always let down by people that have problems reading comprehensively it seems (how to set small AF points proved that most recently, although it was documented perfectly fine by Oly). There's nothing wrong with the interface, add to that the brilliant SCP, and navigating settings is quick, and painless.

    I wouldn't settle for a budget grip, only to buy the HLD6 later on. You can get them quite reasonably priced, and hardly used from people that upgraded to an E-M1, or that sell their free ones back from the promotion when the E-M5 was introduced.
  11. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    In no way did I mean to compare those two cameras. Sorry if I some how got you confused there. I just meant to indicate I have only experienced the E-P1, meaning I have not handled nor have any experience with, the OM-D.
    Thank you for that opinion & review on the interface. Its comforting to know that if I decide to move that way, I should have no difficulty with it, since I have no trouble at reading comprehensively.
    I envy your financial freedom. Unfortunately for me, unless I can find the HDL-6 for less than $120 when I make my move, I do have to settle. However from the reviews I have read by people using one , I feel that i would be satisfied for a while.

    I wish that I lived near a store where I could easily Handel one for a bit.
  12. PhilS

    PhilS Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 24, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Phil Savory
    I have a GH2 and an EM5. As mentioned above the GH2 has far better video and there is the ability to patch it to record at very high data rates. The stills out of the EM5 are streets ahead of the GH2 in my opinion. I was always disappointing with the GH2 stills, they just did not make me excited, lacked a certain pop!!. The EM5 on the other hand. thats a different story :)
  13. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    No, I don't miss the screen from the GH2 - I always found it a bit odd to compose with the screen off-centre, and found the EM5 much more intuitive (it's in-line with the lens axis when tilted). That said, it was nice being able to fold the screen away for storage, and the EM5 solution isn't much help for landscape. In terms of picture quality, the EM5 screen is streets ahead.

    I frequently use the manual Voigtlander 25mm and occasionally use a Pentax M50/f1.4. I've found them easy to use on both bodies - I just assigned a Fn button to magnify the viewfinder to aid focussing. One thing that is handy is that the EM5 viewfinder is stabilised, which makes it a little easier to critically compose.
  14. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Thank you, the EM-5 Sounds better and better to me.

    I mostly do stills, with lots of landscapes and architectural photos. I like folding away the GH-2 screen too, mostly because I do not use it often, and to save power since it will be off. Also to protect it and it's a distraction too. I use the articulating screen for over head shooting or very low angle shooting. Occasionally I do sneaky off to the side shooting with it; better than a right angel lens attachment.
  15. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Thinking maybe the GX7 instead

    I still have the GH2. I have not had a chance to list it for sale yet. I am still not sure what to ask for it .
    In the mean time, Someone messaged me and suggested that I might consider the move to a GX7 instead. I thought about it and I am not really into Video. Hardly use it.
    Since the GX7 has many of the features I am looking for and would be very good for use with adapted lenses with IBIS and Focus peaking. The E-M5 does not have Peaking yet.
    I must admit, the popup flash and swivel EVF are nice features. Plus like you all have mentioned, I would not be switching to a new interface ( I would assume) since its still a Panny.

    Any input would be appreciated
  16. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Real Name:
    Bruce Foreman
    The GH2 with low shutter count seems to be going for $400-$450 now (body only). I converted from Canon to GH2's then sold those and upgraded to a pair of GH3's (I do as much video as I do stills). I recently acquired a lightly used E-M5 specifically for the 5 axis IBIS and although I've never depended on IS in the past, I really appreciate it in the E-M5 both for video and stills.

    I think once you "got" the interface, like many others you would find the E-M5 a really great camera to work with.

    My advice: If there is any way you could swing it, keep the GH2 and save up for a "lightly used" E-M5 (those keep showing up on this site's Buy/Sell section - that's where I got mine for $650 with 736 shutter count). The GX7 is well worth looking at, I just got one from B&H's used dept for $639 two days ago. First round of stills and the one video clip I shot today look great.

    As far as the Panny JPEGs not having the POP the Olympus ones do...That is an easy fix!!!

    In PhotoShop (or PhotoShop Elements) use the Levels command to work with the dark and midtones, takes me mere seconds to do this. Click on the leftmost slider and barely move it to the right just a tad to strengthen the dark tones in the image, If it needs more use the midtone slider (center one) and darken midtones only a very little bit.

    If you don't have PhotoShop or can't afford it use the free program called FastStone Image Viewer (download from - It's for PC only, no MAC version). This little jewel will do most of what PhotoShop does except for layers. But it has the same Levels command I mentioned above.

    Good luck
  17. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Thanks Bif. I appreciated the advice. I have Photoshop cs5 and Light room 3.4.1. Money is tight right now and I hardly ever do videos. When I shoot images I always shoot raw files and then process in light room later. Photoshop I only use occasionally when I need to, as it runs slow on my computer..
  18. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Real Name:

    my 5c on this is that I've stuck with my GH1 for some time now because I see few advantages in the other cameras. While I might be tempted by an EM-5, only yesterday I was taking shots and used the swivel tilt screen to allow a easy composition down on the ground

    one of the things I loved about digital when I started nearly fifteen years ago was that screens could be oriented to make odd angle composition easier than it ever had been with my 35mm SLR and an angle finder.

    Ask yourself "What will you gain"

    myself I've never found the IBIS worth much (except for hand held video where its stunningly good) , and have fairly extensively (and regularly revisited) tested my hand holding VS the OIS on my lenses. I've always come up with the issue that once the shutter goes low then people shots are compromised because people move. So its not worth a higher shutter to me.


    Of course with your legacy lenses you may get the higher shutter anyway, and so what does IBIS bring to your table?

    as always YMMV :)

    PS: I also almost always shoot in RAW, below is the extracted JPG from the RAW file that I processed into the image above

    just took a few clicks ...
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  19. dko22

    dko22 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2010
    Stuttgart, Germany
    RDM, my progression from G1 to GH-2 to E-M5 is identical to what you are considering. I would say that the E-M5 has a clear stills advantage in dynamic range (and colour if you use JPEGs) and the IBIS is a huge boon if you want to use Oly lenses. I found that the IBIS in video made for steadier videos than the GH2 but of course serious videographers, of which you don't appear to be one, would prefer the extra features of the GH-2. Personally the only thing I missed about the GH-2 was the oversized sensor which not only gave me much more in the image with the 7-14 at 16x9 but also I was freed from the infamous purple bands. Just occasionally the swivel screen was useful. As regards the interface, the OMD is much more complicated but once you've spent about three years setting it up, it's done and you can forget it and enjoy the extra flexibility

    Conclusion --go with the E-M5 or wait a little for the first second hand E-M10's which should save you a bit more if you don't need the weathersealing.

    • Like Like x 1
  20. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Thank you all for your input. I truly valued every comment and point made.
    I will be taking a trip down to the city sometime later this month and I will head to B&H to hold the choices in my hand.

    At this point I am seriously leaning towards the GX-7. Right now I feel the Focus peaking and top shutter speed of 1/8000 would be the two features make the upgrade worth while.
    Also I think the body style and tilting EVF helps to make shoting people in crouds seem more unobtrusive.

    I was asked to photograph a Baby shower this june so i think i shoould get a move on and decide on a somthing new soon. If I still can't make up my mind by then, I will certainly have to rent an AF lens or two for the ocasion.