The itch: trying different cameras (from a G85)

WT21

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Ruminations as I explore other cameras -- feel free to ignore if you hate this kind of "thinking out loud" post, but I don't have my own blog, so ... oh well.

As I mentioned in other posts, I have ordered some other cameras to try against my G85.

My G85 has been a great camera for the last 3 years, but I'd like to see if I can up my DR and high ISO a bit (one stop would be nice), color bit depth, and also get into some kind of C-AF and/or tracking. I also shoot less than I used to and am thinking I might want a simpler camera setup that can handle broader opportunities, rather than a drawer full of lenses that I feel guilty about not using.

Canon
I tried a Canon RP last year, which was good, but wasn't quite there. The 24-240 is a giant lens, the 35/1.8 was pretty nice, though the shallow DOF at 1.8 was a pain in many ways. While the color and color bit depth were there (along with DR and high ISO vs my G85) ergonomics were not good, nor were controls. No IBIS, no weather sealing, and no interest in the R5/R6 prices.

Nikon
I have admired the new Nikon Zs and finally ordered a Z5 refurb w/24-200, which I now have in my house, but while the controls are MUCH better than the RP, the colors coming out of the Nikon in LR -- I am not used to at all. The look nothing like the G85, and I'm struggling to find pleasing WB (on RAW) in the develop module. Add to that the controls are very alien to me, and I'm left with quite a learning curve. Then there's that the $1600 price tag for Z5 + 24-200. It's 50% heavier than my G85 + PL12-60, but better balanced than the RP (the 24-240 is very front heavy). Testing will continue with the Z. One of the reasons I was interested in the Z5 is the forthcoming Z 40mm 2.0, rumored to be released/available starting June 28th. We'll see. It would put the total kit over $2,000, but it might be a pretty powerful 2 lens kit for most of my needs.


I thought I would only be comparing the G85 to the Z5, but I didn't realize Amazon would have the deals they had this week, and so I ordered a G95 and an E-M5.3 on Prime deals, to add to the confusion.


G95
The G95 arrived today, and I don't see any reason to keep it after only 75 shots. It's already boxed up. There is nothing wrong with the G95, and it's the budget option (at $699 w/the kit 12-60), but it adds nothing to the G85 that I can see. I thought operations might be faster (not really), hit rates higher (nope) better ISO and color depth (actually, I swear it's a step back a bit in high ISO noise) and more resolution (hardly noticeable). I think if I'm going to switch, there need to be a lot better reasons. One upside of the G95 was I grappled more with the G85 focus tracking and picked up a few tips to up my hit rate. I can see why the G95 didn't sell many. It doesn't add much of anything, and takes away a few things (aggressive video crop and shorter battery life!) The G9, frankly, looks more interesting with its new firmware tracking update, but I'm not sure that if I went that big, I'd not just go FF.

EM5.3
I'm most excited right now to try the EM5.3. I watched videos all day of it. I could keep my G85 for the long lenses, and the EM5.3 for more of a walk-around or when I need that tracking. It looks like it could be fun. PDAF, IBIS, a lot of external controls. I'd have to adapt to the left-hand on switch (not my favorite). I think the main bake-off will be the Z5 vs the EM5.3. I am sure the Z5 will be better in many ways, but size and convenience will be hard to top over the Oly. I am thinking they might tie in tracking, too, given Nikon is not Sony nor Canon in AF tracking. That will be an interesting test.

The problem is, the EM5.3. doesn't arrive until Tuesday :( Talk about "how to keep a turkey in suspense." Here I sit and wait.
 

retiredfromlife

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I have the G85, and when I looked all there was that was a viable alternative for me was the EM1.3.
After the G85 I don't want a smaller grip, and bodies like the EM5.3 do not have a good grip for me.

The G95 is far too expensive for what it is.

Apart from these the only other interest I have is Fuji.

Good luck with your choice [first world problem :drinks:]
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Yeah, I can’t recall anyone really raving about the G95 here. I’ve wondered why that is, and maybe your findings sum it up. The Em5iii is a really good camera, and I debate getting one again from time to time. Though the first Em5 I bought I sent back right away, too. The second one I used for quite a while before going back to the G9. I think to me, if you’re going to go with a gripped body, the camera should have more of the pro features, IMO. You get that on the G9 and EM1 line. The G85 is a good value, but the G95 just wasn’t very compelling.

I think the thing that might take a bit of adjusting is going between the 2 different menu systems. I wish Olympus had a quicker way to switch between AF modes, without taking your eye away from the EVF. It’s a simple flick of the thumb with most LUMIX cameras. Best I could do with the Em5 was program a button to manual focus, then press and hold it and scroll with the dial to the AF mode of my choosing. It works, but feels really awkward.
 

WT21

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Yeah, I can’t recall anyone really raving about the G95 here. I’ve wondered why that is, and maybe your findings sum it up. The Em5iii is a really good camera, and I debate getting one again from time to time. Though the first Em5 I bought I sent back right away, too. The second one I used for quite a while before going back to the G9. I think to me, if you’re going to go with a gripped body, the camera should have more of the pro features, IMO. You get that on the G9 and EM1 line. The G85 is a good value, but the G95 just wasn’t very compelling.

I think the thing that might take a bit of adjusting is going between the 2 different menu systems. I wish Olympus had a quicker way to switch between AF modes, without taking your eye away from the EVF. It’s a simple flick of the thumb with most LUMIX cameras. Best I could do with the Em5 was program a button to manual focus, then press and hold it and scroll with the dial to the AF mode of my choosing. It works, but feels really awkward.
I understand the menu switching but if I had a G9 I’d want a compact camera and panny doesn’t currently make a compelling one IMO. The gx9 is as interesting as the g95 - that is not at all and also takes some steps back. The gx880 misses on a few things too. I’ll see what I think of the em5.3. I got into this with Oly (ep1, em1). Maybe it will pick up where it left off lol. But the menus are so 2005.
 

John King

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Yeah, I can’t recall anyone really raving about the G95 here. I’ve wondered why that is, and maybe your findings sum it up. The Em5iii is a really good camera, and I debate getting one again from time to time. Though the first Em5 I bought I sent back right away, too. The second one I used for quite a while before going back to the G9. I think to me, if you’re going to go with a gripped body, the camera should have more of the pro features, IMO. You get that on the G9 and EM1 line. The G85 is a good value, but the G95 just wasn’t very compelling.

I think the thing that might take a bit of adjusting is going between the 2 different menu systems. I wish Olympus had a quicker way to switch between AF modes, without taking your eye away from the EVF. It’s a simple flick of the thumb with most LUMIX cameras. Best I could do with the Em5 was program a button to manual focus, then press and hold it and scroll with the dial to the AF mode of my choosing. It works, but feels really awkward.
Randy, the E-M1 line have focus modes on the top l/h back half button + rear wheel. Hard to be simpler! I cannot say for the E-M5 series.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Randy, the E-M1 line have focus modes on the top l/h back half button + rear wheel. Hard to be simpler! I cannot say for the E-M5 series.
That is handy, and something the EM5 lacks, or at least I couldn’t find a better way that what I mentioned. I wondered why it wasn’t something simpler, as it seems like something you’d want a quick way to change on-the-fly. I still like the thumb switch, since it’s operable by a single digit, and very tactile.

I understand the menu switching but if I had a G9 I’d want a compact camera and panny doesn’t currently make a compelling one IMO. The gx9 is as interesting as the g95 - that is not at all and also takes some steps back. The gx880 misses on a few things too. I’ll see what I think of the em5.3. I got into this with Oly (ep1, em1). Maybe it will pick up where it left off lol. But the menus are so 2005.
What did you not like about the GX9? I’ve been very curious about this one, as the GX85 was my first M43 and I had some really good results with it. I like the idea of the flippable EVF and the fold-out LCD. There are a lot of times I wish my G9 LCD folded out this way.
 
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Did you look at the Panasonic S5? I guess the different mount system is a deal breaker for some. From the specs and reviews I think it sounds like a great FF camera but I haven't seen one in person yet.
 
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WT21

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What did you not like about the GX9? I’ve been very curious about this one, as the GX85 was my first M43 and I had some really good results with it. I like the idea of the flippable EVF and the fold-out LCD. There are a lot of times I wish my G9 LCD folded out this way.
I’m actually not a fan of that EVF on any level. I used it on the gx7 and don’t like the flip or the panel tech. Yuck. I also enjoyed the gx85 but found it dense for its size. I’d be interested in a gx880 with the 20 MP sensor and full as cards (not micro SD cards) but I fear Panasonic is done making compact m43 bodies (if not done with m43 in general, and maybe even photo gear overall)
 

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Did you look at the Panasonic S5? I guess the different mount system is a deal breaker for some. I think it looks like a great FF camera but I haven't seen one in person yet.
I've held one, and it's fantastic. It is as ergonomically pleasing as the G9. There is a nice group of third party lenses. It is not unreasonably priced. Until about 3 weeks ago, it was a top contender for my next camera.
 

WT21

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Did you look at the Panasonic S5? I guess the different mount system is a deal breaker for some. I think it looks like a great FF camera but I haven't seen one in person yet.
I do think it looks good but lthink L Mount is too late to the party to warrant spending their prices. Also, z5 as big as I’d want to go (actually a bit bigger even)
 

Brownie

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I do think it looks good but lthink L Mount is too late to the party to warrant spending their prices. Also, z5 as big as I’d want to go (actually a bit bigger even)
The S5 is better to hold than the Z5. In fact, the grip on the Z5 was an immediate non-starter for me. I held both of them at the same time.
 
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I looked at that camera hard. It's a helluva deal and very capable.
Yeah. It does exactly what I wanted it to do. Which is a bit unfortunate. If it let me down on any one thing, I probably would have sold it on. Now I just take it out and almost always return with an outstanding shot.
 
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Sounds like you had a similar reaction to the G95 that I did - almost instant "yuck." I don't know why, but it rubs me the wrong way.

EM1 ii should be worth a try! Holding and shooting with it elicits the exact opposite reaction to the G95. It's fantastic all around.

I don't know that you're going to get a ton more out of the 20MP sensors. Going from the GX85 to the GX9 I noticed more resolution for cropping a bit, but no real improvement to color depth or noise. Actually, to be precise, I tested GX9 files in processing and said "hey, these aren't bad" and went on my merry way thinking it was a decent upgrade, until I went back and was again impressed at how good the files out of the GX85 looked. The 16MP sensor at its latest and greatest installments was pretty good. So far the 20MP is only a bit better.

On the flip side, you could also upgrade your editing software if there's any improvement to be had there. I got PhotoLab 4 Elite and am definitely able to turn around somewhat noisy M4/3 files with DeepPRIME noise reduction.
 

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