switch from D5000 to mu4/3: GX8 or GX85? 1st lens to go with it?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by ibd, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. GX8 + Pana 12-35

    13 vote(s)
  2. GX8 + Oly 12-40

    2 vote(s)
  3. GX85 + Pana 12-35

    18 vote(s)
  4. GX85 + Oly 12-40

    1 vote(s)
  5. Other, please specify

    5 vote(s)
  1. ibd

    ibd Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 5, 2016
    Hi all!

    After about 7 years with my Nikon D5000, which is my first DSLR, I'm considering the switch to mu4/3. Main reason: I would like to take my camera out more, and the D5000 + lens is just a bit too bulky for my motivation to do so. I have mostly used the D5000 for mixed travel and street photography, and the lenses I have used most are the 18-105mm zoom and the 35mm f/1.8, both by Nikon. I have also used a few "toy" lenses on it with great pleasure (fisheye adapter, holga lens, ...), and have also dabbled with analog photography on various cameras! :)
    When making the switch, I would like to reduce in overall gear size, but I would also like not to lose important features, so as to move to a "equal" or "better" camera, not just to a "smaller" camera.

    So far I am taking a closer look at the GX8 as well as the GX85 (GX80, GX7 mark II). The GX8 is on the upper end of my available budget for the body. I really value the IBIS on these two cameras as the most important feature. The fact that they support 4K video and that they're fairly recent makes me think they're also future proof enough to last a while.
    Any other cameras I should consider for these criteria?
    As for the E-M1 and the E-M5 II, I would be hesitant to consider them because the E-M1 II would surpass them both, and soon. For the sony a6300, it is lacking stabilization. Yes, I am open to suggestions outside of mu4/3, but don't expect them here. :D
    Some personal pros/cons:
    + 20MP is a more substantial upgrade over my old camera
    - I don't really save that much in gear size with this one
    + IBIS in movie recording is sweet
    + It's very reasonably priced and leaves me with some money for a cheap fisheye lens, for example.
    - Some parts like the sensor and the EVF seem to be a bit outdated

    Now for my first lens. I'm following the philosophy "lens is more important than body when it comes to image quality". I enjoy zoom lenses for versatility.
    So I am leaning towards either the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8, or the Panasonic equivalent (12-35mm) of that lens. This brings me to the question:
    Since the camera should have IBIS, does the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 offer any advantages over the Olympus equivalent?
    Has anyone tried the Olympus PRO lens on the GX85? I know it is a bit bulkier again, but I like the longer reach on the tele end. It also scores a tiny bit better in lab tests.

    Any advice and personal experience would be greatly appreciated!
  2. If bulk is a big motivation the smaller GX 80/85 sounds ideal. I've not seen the GX8 but the jump in size is always mentioned before any comments on how light it migbt be. Either is a fair step down from your current gear though.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. ahinesdesign

    ahinesdesign Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 6, 2011
    NC, USA
    The GX8 isnt that big, I find it more eaily packed than my previous EM5 with grip (both with the large eye cup that tends to snag on bags). I use the Oly 12-40 on the GX8, and it works great. The 12-35 is a bit smaller and gives you dual-IS and DFD focusing on GX8/85, not that the 12-40 is poor in focusing (its better on the GX8 than it was on the EM5).

    I see the stabilization icon when shooting 4K with non-OIS Oly lens on the GX8, and footage looks smooth, maybe not as smooth as the EM5's IBIS, but IBIS is certainly working. I have the latest firmware on the GX8.

    I recently debated GX8 vs GX85, and the GX8 won ultimately for weather sealing and high res EVF. Totally worth it IMO. I can't see any image quality difference in 16mp vs 20mp, and 16 is plenty for all but the most demanding uses.
  4. Palmguy

    Palmguy Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 3, 2013
    NW Florida
    I'd stay with the 12-35 due to the Panasonic specific features (dual IS and DFD). As far as the body, no real wrong answer; comes down to personal preference.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  5. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Start with the GX85 with the 12-32 kit lens. Enjoy it for a month and go from there.
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 2
  6. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    And don't forget to grab a Nikon adaptor, so you can use some of those toy lenses directly!
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Definitely the GX85 and the kit 12-32. This is a pretty good kit zoom and the GX85 has most of the good GX8 features with som improvements like the new shutter.
  8. If possible, go to a store where you can get your hands on both the GX8 and GX85 tp see if one feels better than the other – they will feel different. Test out grip comfort and dial position/usage. If you are unable to put your hands on them before buying either would be great cameras to continue your photographic journey. I can't think of anything you will miss from your D5000.
  9. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Why not use the kit lens for awhile and add a nice prime when you want more? Since you're used to a fast 50mm equivalent, try one of the m4/2 25mm lenses, from the f1.8 f1.7 or f1.4 options, or even the couple manual f0.95 options, there's a lot of choices!
  10. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    GX85 + 12-32 - Keep the kit lens, it's a handy little lens. It's wider than what you currently have and makes a nice small set.
    Add either the 35-100 f/3.5-5.6 as a two lens kit or the newer Panasonic 14-140, the f/3.5-5.6 version. It'll give you more reach than your 18-105 if you want to keep the all in one option. The 35-100 will also give more "reach" based on angle of view and is a really small kit, but not an all in one.

    The 35mm gives you a 52mm angle of view, so add the 25mm Panasonic or Olympus and you're covered. I'd add the Olympus 9mm body cap fisheye lens for fun.

    You say you're looking at an f/2.8 zoom? But it's not something you have for your current setup. They are fine lenses but I'm just wondering why you're thinking of going right to something like that.
  11. ibd

    ibd Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 5, 2016
    Thank you all! Enjoying the diverse lens recommendations.
    Maybe to clarify, I usually shoot in RAW and process in Lightroom.

    About video + IS: Very interesting, I'm reading everywhere that GX8 doesn't support IBIS during video. Could you take a short video where you are walking?
    I agree 20mp is not a big difference to 16mp. It's more of a nice thing to have.

    Will definitely do that, once I have a good idea which cameras to consider. Some salespeople really like to talk you in a specific direction sometimes... :)

    I am not looking to replace my current setup exactly. The current setup is just what I could get access to somehow. For example, I got the 18-105mm by getting a great deal at a Nikon D90 kit (including that lens) a few years back, then selling the D90. I got the 18-105mm lens for about USD 100 (D90 kit buying price minus D90 selling price).
    These superzooms also aren't very sharp usually, but the (of course more expensive) 12-35 and 12-40 lenses I mentioned got rave reviews all around.

    The reason why I am looking at the faster (aperture) zoom is that I find myself wanting faster aperture often with my current 18-105mm.
    To give you an example: Recently I was in a forest, in high-contrast shadow&light lighting conditions. I was taking pictures of a toad. I had a polarizer on my lens because it helped to reduce the shininess of leaves and to make them appear more green, but of course it also steals light from the lens. I had to crank up the ISO to lower my shutter speed to get acceptably sharp photos. Because the ISO was high, I got washed out colors. Of course, this is one situation where IBIS also helps a lot. In that case, a faster aperture would also have helped.
    I also like the faster aperture for portraits. The example pictures I have seen have amazing depth of field. I understand that for shallower depth of field, moving to a smaller sensor seems counterintuitive. However, a quick calculation (Depth of Field, Angle & Field of View, & Equivalent Lens Calculator - Points in Focus Photography) shows that the f/2.8 at 40mm already has 25% less DoF than the Nikon 18-105mm at 55mm at f/5 (maximum aperture at that focal length).
    While the reach of something like the 14-140mm by Panasonic would be very nice, I would prioritize image clarity over it.
  12. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Just a quick note. The calculator you used uses a different circle of confusion depending on the sensors size you choose (may be reasonable, but muddies the waters). The size of an m43 sensor is about the same of an APS-C (when you account for the different aspect ratio):

    Sensor Size and the Importance of Aspect Ratio

    so the DoF is similar and 1.5 stops of difference is way too much, you have about 0.5 depending on how you handle the aspect ratio difference (you have 2 stops with a FF sensor). I'll skip the details not to hijack the thread.

    In practice I think you'll notice very little difference when comparing identical apertures. This is how a real life comparison may look like(*):

    MIRRORLESS BATTLE! Micro 4/3 vs APS-C vs Full Frame!

    This is a tool I find useful for this kind of comparisons:

    How much blur? - A visual background blur calculator

    (*) I know, I know, he's an Olympus fanboy, and Sony fanboy, and Leica fanboy of course, and he carefully selected all the samples...

    Back in topic, the GX85 + 12-32 is a small (but not tiny) excellent camera that you can later complement with the 12-35 or the 35-100/2.8 or a couple of primes (the Samyang 7.5 is a very good fisheye at a reasonable price). GX8 is probably better to handle and use, but minimal shutter shock and no low pass filter on the GX85 may be better for pictures.

    Panasonic GX85 / GX80 Review - MirrorLessons (a nice blog for m43 stuff)
    10 Key Differences Between the Panasonic GX8 and GX85 / GX80
    Compact Camera Meter

    If you do not plan to replace your current setup (you probably will... :)) maybe the smaller option is the better as you can have two clearly different options.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    I would discount any combination with the GX8 or Olympus 12-40 if weight reduction is one of your goals. IF that's not really a part of it then pick up a D5500 and Sigma 18-50 f/2.8-4.5. That combination is actually a gram lighter than the GX8 and 12-40. And you wouldn't have to change much else.

    The GX85 would still be my pick. And I'd probably go with the 12-32 / 35-100 f3.5-5.6 combo. Then add a few primes, 15 / 25 / 42.5 f1.7. If you're looking for more DOF control the primes are a better way to go.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  14. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    The 35-100 3.5-5.6 is a great little lens. Sharp, small and incredibly light given the focal length range. I imagine that this +12-32 + GX85 would be a pretty great kit.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. dlhomesolutions

    dlhomesolutions Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Peoria, IL
    I would get the Panasonic 25mm 1.4 as my first lens besides the kit lens.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. JensM

    JensM Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 6, 2016
    Oslo(ish), Norway
    As screename
    It is rather overstated, unless you are Peter Dinklage or of somewhat similar stature. :)

    As for the latest and greatest gear, someone once stated that what you have, is as good as the day you bought it, newer generations coming through does not lessen the quality of the gear you have, it is just newer so if you are not obsessed with "New" as a thing, be content, wear down what you have and upgrade at will. No need to gnash teeth, while oogling what came out later. (At least thats what I am telling myself, as I bought a GX7 in March)
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  17. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    In the grand scheme of things the GX8 is not that big but when paired with the Oly 12-40 it's nearly as big as the gear that the OP is trying to downsize from; it's not really going to change the kind of camera bag or commitment required for carrying. And while the Panny 12-35 F2.8 is smaller, it's up to the OP to decide if the GX8 + 12-35 F2.8 is small enough. The GX80/85 with the 12-32 Vario on the other hand is radically smaller.

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 5
  18. JensM

    JensM Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 6, 2016
    Oslo(ish), Norway
    As screename
    Cant seem to get that camera comparison to work properly for the moment, I manage to pull up the houses, but the lenses will not play ball. The 12-32 are a mighty fine little lens and would not be out of sight on a GX8, either, it is my primary on the GX7, but it may swapped to the GX8, which currently holds my 14-42.

    The Panasonic 12-35 f 2,8 are a bit smaller than the Olympus shown, if I understand it correctly and the 2,8 are a must.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I think it's hard to go wrong with the GX85 at this point. Unless weather-sealing and/or huge EVF are must-haves, it's a really compelling body for a really compelling price, especially with the very nice 12-32 lens included.

    That said, I was actually fairly happy with the ergonomics on the GX8, size-wise. It feels almost just like my GX7 + thumb grip, which is my preferred way to use that camera. So if you want something that still feels big, serious, and professional, I wouldn't shy away from the GX8. But I think you'll find the GX85 really refreshing, personally.

    The 12-35 is noticeably smaller and lighter than the 12-40, and the Dual IS will work better than just using the IBIS with the 12-40. That said, you'll probably be able to get a solid 3 stops of compensation with just the IBIS, so I wouldn't sweat that too much, and the snap-clutch and wide-angle cross-frame resolution on the 12-40 are nice advantages that would be hard to ignore. I'd pick the 12-35 if I was more interested in videography, and the 12-40 if I was more interested in landscape. For other uses, I'd call it a tossup.
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    I have moved from Mostly Nikon (D300, D90, D7100, D600) to Mostly m4/3 (E-M5 I & II). I tend to like long focal length lenses and I tend to like competent lenses so I don't have the luxury of insisting on Smallest. Smaller is a perfectly valid choice and is just fine by me. In the same vein, Lighter often will trump Lightest. There's always a penalty for enhanced competence: Price, Weight, Size, need to practice, you name it. Put either of the lenses being considered on any of the cameras (including the E-Mxs) mentioned in the original post and, in the great majority of circumstances you'll be punching way above the weight of the D5000 (essentially the same sensor as D300, D90).

    As to the E-M1/II, it is an unknown entity which may or may not (!) surpass the current offerings in ways that individuals will find make truly meaningful contributions to their photography. Yes, we all hope it will (I certainly do), but we will all score the results differently... Using it as a bogeyman to eliminate consideration of two very competent current bodies seems to me suspect. My E-M5/I is still a workhorse onto which the 12-40 is effectively glued. There's real bang for the buck, there.
    • Agree Agree x 1