Some questions for my fellow E-PL5 users

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Replytoken, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I picked up a lightly used E-PL5 earlier this year and it has been a nice step up from my E-PL2. But, as much as I like the camera, it seems as if it is becoming a bit of a Goldilocks as of late. I have been wanting to expand my gear selection (read a mild case of GAS) and have had a number of items in mind. Near the top of the list is the well loved Oly 75mm. But, after having several short discussions about this lens/body combination on other threads, it appears that they are not quite the best match WRT ergonomics and balance. I know that this is a totally personal choice, but I was wondering what are the longest lenses that E-PL5 owners feel comfortable carrying around (strapped in hand) when they are out and about? The 75, unlike the 25, 45 or 60 really pushes the idea of a "compact" prime, but its IQ seems nothing short of amazing from some of the shots that I have seen posted here, and that is certainly a big draw for me. I know that it would fit well on a larger body (possibly my G3 which, unfortunately, does not offer any IBIS), but I was hoping to put off any body upgrades for a bit since none really offer that much improvement in IQ over my E-PL5.

    Alternately, I have been seriously eyeing a Ricoh GR as a compact, shirt pocket camera. The E-PL5/14mm combo is certainly small, but it is not small enough to fit comfortably in a shirt or jacket breast pocket. I am fully aware of the pros/cons of the Ricoh GR, but it does not have a tilt screen or EVF, two items that I normally use when shooting that my E-PL5 offers. But as the E-PL5 has not yet found its way into my brief or jacket, I take that as a sign that it is just a bit too large for this role. I mention this here mostly to offer up my other desired alternative if I chose not to purchase the 75mm.

    So, do E-PL5 owners find the E-PL5/75 combination tolerable, intolerable, or acceptable given the ergonomic/IQ trade off it presents? Granted, I lugged around a D300 and 70-200 VRII more than I care to admit, but those days are now few and far between due to health reasons. And, as I stated above, I really do not want to consider a body upgrade at this time even though several candidates would mate well with this lens (unless there are some really screaming deals offered). User opinions/experiences are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    --Ken
     
  2. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I had the 75mm for about a week before I returned it, not for lack of IQ or awkwardness on the e-pl5. but because of my lack of need for the 75mm focal length (actually 150mm). It was just too long for my purposes.

    The 45mm has terrific IQ as well and is a better fit for my needs. I use the 75-200, which is much cheaper, quite a lot, but it is unfortunately not a very "fast" lens, with it's maximum aperture at f/5.6 when zoomed out. It doesn't have the IQ of the 45,but does have its purposes. If the 45 isn't long enough the e-pl5 images take nicely to heavy cropping!

    Isabel
     
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  3. AceAceBaby

    AceAceBaby Mu-43 Veteran

    249
    Jan 21, 2013
    I put the MCG-2 grip on mine, which I found helps a lot. Most of my lenses are "big" (old 35mm, Sigma 19mm, Panasonic 45-200) so there's always a bit of front-weight going on. Even with the Bodycap 15mm I don't feel that the camera is "shirt pocket" sized, so if that's a real requirement you may be better off with a camera that's not as deep; something with a fixed lens and low profile.
     
  4. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I did, too. I consider it a TREMENDOUS help and necessary!

    I also have a wrist strap on the left side to help me stabilize the camera because there is really no good space with which to hold the camera at the left. I grasp the strap with some fingers and use the rest on the body. (If the camera weren't in transit back to me from Texas where the rear controller was replaced I'd be better able to describe how I hold it.)

    The E-PL5 isn't the most ergonomically comfortable camera to work with, the the quality of its images make me put up with a body that's much less friendly that that of the GH2, which I also have.
     
  5. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    I have the E-PL5 and for me, the 75 is all about the image at the expense of ergonomics. It's something you accept when you buy the 75 along with the uncommon focal length and lack of use when compared to more useful focal length lenses like the 14/17/20/45. Plus there's no way you'll be fitting the 75 in your pocket, you'll need a separate bag to carry it. The images it produces make all this it worth it to me but given your criteria, it doesn't seem to be what you need at the moment.


    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  6. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I recently put the larger grip on, and it has made a difference. Highly recommended to anybody looking to improve their ability to hold the body.

    --Ken
     
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I had no expectation of putting this in my pocket with the 75, let alone the 14! :eek: I mentioned shirt pocketability, and the GR, as it is also on my wish list, and is about the same price as the 75, and it helps to highlight the "Goldilocks" nature of this camera body. I know they are totally different beasts, but I would expect to have use for both of them in different shooting situations. I am assuming that the tradeoff of ergonomics for IQ been worth it for you?

    --Ken
     
  8. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Yes, I recently picked up an almost new E-PL5 and immediately ordered the larger grip for it. It makes a tremendous improvement! :smile:
     
  9. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I have a 75 and both an E-PL5 and an E-M5. The 75 never goes on the E-PL5 - the body just doesn't feel right with such a big lens attached. Works great on the E-M5 though.

    As to the merits of the 75 itself - well, all those superlatives about its IQ are not wrong. It's pitched as a portrait lens of course and it's great for that use (when you have enough room), but I also find it useful for landscape too. So, whilst it's not the most versatile focal length in the world, it's not a one-trick pony either:

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_kaye/10465822276/" title="Little Malvern Priory by Paul Kaye, on Flickr"> 10465822276_d7fbe52a2d_b. "1024" height="768" alt="Little Malvern Priory"></a>
     
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  10. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    Hi Replytoken, I'm sure you won't be surprised to find my answer is yes it is worth it, if only because in relation to the image quality with m43, it's kinda unique.


    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 mobile app
     
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  11. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    It turns out that one of my local dealers now has the 75 in their rental pool. I have a shoot tomorrow so I rented a copy for the weekend along with a 35-100.

    --Ken
     
  12. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Well, it's late and I have not had a chance to review the raw files, but I did end up renting the 75 and the 35-100 to use at a shoot today. I kept the 75 on the E-PL5 for a bit of IBIS, and placed the 35-100 on the G3 since it offered OIS. I would like to have switched the lenses around, but time did not easily allow that. Lighting conditions were quite lousy, and I wanted to shoot without flash to see how these lenses faired wide open at higher than (my) normal ISOs (max 1600). Think mild torture test rather than scientific test. Almost all were shot wide open with the shutter between 1/50 and 1/80th. I would normally consider these speeds too low for a good keeper rate, but I also wanted to see how well the IBIS and OIS systems worked to "save my bacon". On first glace of the embedded previews using FastStone, my keeper rate was about what I expected, and was lower than I would really like. I assumed that the OIS would be working within its range, but many of the shots seemed soft, albeit that could also be due to subject movement or misfocusing (a combination of single point, pinpoint and face recognition). Again, these shots were not scientific, but rather quick samples of ways that I might approach a scene.

    I am looking forward to importing these images into LIghtroom, probably tomorrow when I am not so tired, where I can better examine them and more easily study the exif info. There were a number of shots that the 75/E-PL5 combo produced that caught my eye in that first review. And while I must say that the 35-100 was convenient, it seemed a bit sluggish on the G3. I suspect that one question that is going to be hanging over my head after I review the images in more detail tomorrow is how much higher of a keeper rate would I have had if I was using an Olympus body with 5-way IBIS. This is not technology that I like to rely on, and I have often thought of it as a bit of extra insurance so I would not be disappointed. But, if I plan on using the 75 in marginal lighting conditions, having the 5-way IBIS may be less of an option.

    Regarding handling, the 35-100 on the G3 felt fine WRT weight and balance. It is certainly a much lighter combination that my D300/70-200VRII. And as to my original question about the 75 on the E-PL5? I feel somewhat like bigboysdad. It is not an ideal match, but I quickly made peace with the setup, although it felt a lot like shooting with an NEX - all lens, almost no body. I often gripped the 75 at its base with my left hand to stabilize the gear, and let my right hand work the controls. It was not ideal, but it was not unreasonable. Too bad they did not make the 45 out of metal and the 75 out of plastic; it might have made the lens a bit more friendly to smaller bodies.

    I have not made any final decision, but I do have a copy on hold at the new sale price. I suspect that the 75 is one of those lenses that may not get used on a daily basis, but when it is needed, nothing can easily deliver like it. In regards to the 35-100, I wanted to like it as much as my beloved 70-200 VRII, but I think that the G3 got in the way. it is a great lens for the size and weight, but I was not able to extract what I wanted out of it, although I am reserving final judgement since this was not really a test as much as a sampling and a first impression. I was a bit hesitant to rent both lenses, and wished I had more time to evaluate them, but I am hoping that the store will let me evaluate their display copy for a bit before I make a final decision.

    --Ken

    P.S. I know that folks may be wanting to see these images for evaluation, but as they were shot on behalf of a nonprofit agency, their clients and participants privacy needs to be respected, so I will not be posting any of these shots. Sorry.
     
  13. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    Great review, thanks. I remember my head considering the 35-100 and my heart yearning for the 75, knowing that both would be relatively awkward on the E-PL5. In the end I went for the 75 and your review seems to confirm my thoughts on the 35-100. No doubt it's an excellent lens, but it doesn't seem to have the thrill of the 75.


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  14. sigamy

    sigamy Mu-43 Regular

    134
    Dec 4, 2012
    What about the E-PM2? Should be more pocketable with one of the pancake lenses...
     
  15. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    On the other end ofbthe scale, away from the 75 and other large lenses, I have found the E-PL5 with the 14 to be very small, but not shirt pocketable. The 14 and, by its looks the new 12-32, are just a bit too thick for a shirt or jacket pocket without an unusual bulge. For pocketable, I'm considering Ricoh's GR. It is quite flat, light, and the IQ is reported to be quite exceptional. Learning to shoot 28mm AOV again is going to be the challenge.

    --Ken
     
  16. Mohun

    Mohun Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Sep 19, 2012
    so, Ken. For us older folks not hip to the jargon, what is "AOV." (Accessory) Optical Virwfinder?

    Jim
     
  17. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Angle of view.
     
  18. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    A quick update and a few OT thoughts which may be of interest to E-PL5 owners. After a bit more thought, I decided to take advantage of the current instant rebates and buy a 75mm from my local dealer that rented a copy to me this past weekend. In short, it is a pretty unique lens, but I believe that it will serve me well in the long run, and it was not too cumbersome on the E-PL5 (without its lens hood). I picked up my copy today (in black), but have not had a chance to try it out.

    And, since I was purchasing the lens, I took a few minutes to briefly look at some other items on my "wish list" (think retail speed dating). First up, the VF-4. After having looked at the viewfinder of an E-M1, I thought that I would be blown away comparing the new VF-4 to my VF-2. While it was only a quick comparison in the store, I was not able to see much of a difference between the two. I tried them on my E-PL5 with a 45 attached, as well as an E-P5 with a 17. I am not even remotely saying that there is not a difference or improvement, but it did not pop out at me in this quick comparison. So for now, that has moved to near the back of my list.

    Next up, a few minutes with an E-P5. I almost bought this camera site unseen when it was released as it is quite a beautiful camera in all of its pictures. And while its dials seemed well placed, it just did not feel that comfortable in my hand. A somewhat unexpected disappointment as this was again moving towards the top of my list as its price is beginning to come down a bit. I am sure that I could learn to live with it as it is quite a nicely designed and built camera, but it certainly was not love at first site.

    With a quick trip to lens land, I mounted a new 12-40 on my E-PL5. It is a solid lens, and like the 75, is a bit large for the E-PL5. But, if it was needed, it could be made to work with that sized body. I have no comments on its IQ as I was not able to fire off any shots, and was really looking at how this lens handled on smaller bodies. One thing that did strike me from my very quick introduction with the lens, is that it has its own feel that is quite different from the 75 and the PL 25, one of my favorite lenses when it comes to handling. It seemed to have a bit less damping, and to me, that feels a bit less smooth for my personal tastes. Certainly not a reason not to get this lens, but more of a quick initial observation. This lens is still high on my list, but it will probably be purchased after I acquire a body that is better matched to it WRT size and handling.

    Speaking of bodies, I was able to play with their new GM1 with its kit lens. I had my doubts about this camera, as the lens sticks out a bit more than I would like for a real shirt pocket camera. But, IMHO, it was actually a bet better at being "small" than I expected. I placed it in my jacket and my fleece breast pockets, and it was not bulging nearly as much as I had expected. It looked to be about as thick as the E-PL5 with a 14mm, but its reduced dimensions in height and width seemed to add to its ability to fit in my test pockets. It is now a contender with the Ricoh for a camera that can be shoved in a pocket and used at will. The pros/cons list when comparing this camera with the GR would probably generate long lists for each camera as they are radically different in their designs, but nonetheless, both are competing in the ultra sub-compact class along with the RX100 and a few others.

    My biggest frustrations was with the GX7. It felt great in the hand, especially in comparison to the E-P5, but they could not find its battery, so I could not test out its viewfinder. It is not too hard to pay another visit, but I was hoping to do my preliminary window shopping in one visit. So, it remains on my list, but most likely as a new secondary body as I am currently more interested in seeing how Oly's 5-way IBIS works with the 75mm in low light. And this leads me back to another quick hand hold of an E-M1. It is not a perfect grip, but for my hands, it is probably the best designed camera (perhaps only challenged by the GH# or an E-M5 with its added grip).

    In summary, before today, I was highly interested in considering a rangefinder-style body for my next upgrade, mostly on features, and a bit on looks. But, when I consider the features that I want in a camera body upgrade, the E-M1 is the closest in meeting my needs. And since I am not in any hurry to upgrade because the sensor in the E-PL5 is so good, and I have come to appreciate the camera for what it is, I have the luxury of waiting to see what new bodies will be released next year. I am sorry to have strayed a bit OT from my OP about the 75, but I am hoping that my brief observations (which in no way should be constituted as a review in any way shape or form) might be of value to my fellow E-PL5 owners who are wondering if the grass is greener in the files from another camera body.

    I have another shoot this weekend, and am looking forward to trying out the 75 if conditions permit. I'll post more thoughts about the E-PL5/75 combo if/when they arise.

    Thank you for your patience,

    --Ken
     
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  19. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    Haha, knew you'd buy the 75, I know if I tested/ rented it then had to give it back, I'd be thinking about it all the time too.


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