Thoughts on the Pen F or GM5 with big lenses

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Jock Elliott, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott Mu-43 Veteran

    218
    Dec 13, 2015
    Troy, NY
    Jock Elliott
    I shoot with both hands: right hand gripping the right side of the camera, index finger poised over the shutter button; left hand cradling the lens, ready to turn the zoom ring (if there is one) or tickle the focus ring. If you are a habitual one-handed shooter, you can safely ignore what follows.

    Before I purchased my GM5, I was prowling the internet, checking out reviews of the Pen F. One was a comparative review purported to help readers choose between the Pen F and the OMD EM5 MkII. The conclusion: choose the OMD EM5 Mk II if you want to use long lenses; choose the Pen F if you plan on using small primes.

    Having now purchased a GM5 (as near as I can tell, the smallest camera you can buy that has both interchangeable lenses and a viewfinder), my conclusion is that the reviewer's recommendation is bunkum, hooey, a load of codswallop. I've tried the GM5 with the Oly 14-150 Mk II attached and it works just fine, but the dynamic of the camera changes.

    Here's what I mean. When you shoot a Pen F or GM5 with a pancake or small prime attached, you are shooting a camera with a small lens attached. Most of the weight is in the camera and your right hand supports it. When I am using my GM5 with, say, the 14-42 EZ or 17 f/1.8 attached, I grip the camera with my right hand (usually the camera is also secured with a wrist strap). When I shoot, I bring the camera to my eye with my right hand, my left hand slides in under the lens, and we're off to the races.

    With the 14-150 II attached, it's like I am shooting a lens with a camera attached. I carry the combo in my left hand, gripping the unit by the lens barrel. When I shoot, I bring the camera to my eye with my left hand, my right hand slides into position to trigger the shot, and we're good to go. But in both cases, once the camera is to my eye with both hands in position, I feel equally comfortable. So, bottom line, I really don't see an issue using Pen F or GM5 with long lenses. It's probably worth noting that I don't use the touch screen with either my GM5 or OMD EM5 II.

    If I have missed something, feel free to chime.

    Cheers, Jock
     
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  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I have some experience with all sorts of bodies, from the E-M5 and E-M1, to the GM1, GM5 and GF7.

    I would disagree with the original author and say that the E-M5 Mk2 without grip and PEN-F aren't that different for big lenses, because they both lack real grips.

    I do think there is a difference for bodies with a proper molded grip though, like the full sized G/GH/GX models and the E-M1s, or the OM-Ds with their proper optional grip. The little stubby things that you can get for the PEN-F and GM/GFs don't really compare.

    With a full grip it's much easier to reposition rapidly from portrait to landscape. On a body with less grip you end up having to do it by pinching the camera which isn't nice. A proper moulded grip is also a more secure hold than a large round lens barrel when you need to move around to get a shot.

    With a proper grip you can still hold the camera steady and do things like adjust a circular polariser or variable ND while looking through the EVF, it's a little more awkward while holding a big circular lens barrel with the left hand and reaching around with the right to adjust the filter. Because most camera controls are operated with the right hand, there's also a slight loss in efficiency due to having to swap between right hand operating the camera versus right hand adjusting other bits and pieces. The left hand, on the other hand, usually has an easy job with AF lenses.

    Straps also come into it. I carry on a sling strap that rests on my left side. It's a lot easier to draw the camera up by grabbing the grip with the right hand reaching across, than to use the left hand to lift from the same side.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  3. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Grips are a very personal thing. I have always been pretty grip adaptive but when I got the Pen F-1 ,this camera has no grip. Plus the tripod attachment is so close to the front,it blocks the base of some large lenses. I immediately got the optional base plate which gives it a grip similar to the EM-5,making it comfortable for a small zoom. Plus the tripod attachment is set back.
     
  4. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Yup, I've never had an issue with large lenses on small cameras. I've had to change the way I hold the contraption (much like Jock describes) but it works.
     
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  5. ivoire

    ivoire Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2011
    Naperville, IL
    mike
    I modified the GM1 grip for longer lens use. A bit tight for the fingers with some longer lenses but it improves handling (for me)

    24870490098_c452637c6b_c. _B300028 by Michael Wolf, on Flickr
     
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  6. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    A minor point: I like to use wrist straps. It's usually setup for the right hand, so any single hand holding has to be done by that hand. I could change sides for the strap with larger lenses. My current solution to all this is that I've gotten rid of my tiny cameras and use the grip on the EM5 ii. My thinking is that a little camera with a big lens is no longer small so why bother with a small body. Even the EM1 is not so big that I can't carry it around. The minute I'm using a larger lens, even jacket-pocketable is no possible anyway and I'm probably using a bag.

    As noted above, all of this is very much a matter of personal preference.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
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  7. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I use the JB wood grip and I really like it. I will agree it looks better on a silver Pen-F though.

    PA292402.

    Sometimes I use a strap (A&A Silk) and sometimes I use a wrist strap (Gordy leather), I go back and forth.
     
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  8. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I am a bit on the fence about big blobby DSLR-style grips. I find that I am much more comfortable with a reasonably sized front grip with a prominent, secure hook for a thumb grip, especially if it is widely spaced from the front grip.

    I use the Fotodiox Thumb Grip B with my GX7, and it utterly transforms the handling with larger lenses. You can dangle it from your right hand even without supporting the lens and it feels very secure.

    I wish that some manufacturer made a flip-out / foldable thumb grip in a similar style. That way the body is low profile to slip into a jacket pocket or a tight bag, you have a very secure grip, and I don't need to permanently occupy my flash hotshoe with a 3rd party accessory.
     
  9. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I would certainly agree with this.
     
  10. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    I didn't realize that 14-150 II was a "big" lens. When I think of a "big" lens, I'm thinking 40-150 PRO, 100-400, 300/4, 200/2.8, 50-200 SWD, 150/2 SHG, etc.
     
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  11. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    "That's not a knife... This is a knife!"


    Man, I haven't watched Crocodile Dundee in years. I wonder if it still holds up?
     
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  12. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I would tend to agree.

    Somewhere around ~500-600g is pretty much my threshold for "big" though it sort of depends on what kind of lens it is (I'm more forgiving of the size of zoom lenses). Once you hit the ~650-700g threshold, I'm not that interested anymore.

    At 284g, the 14-150mm is pretty teensy for what it offers.
     
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  13. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott Mu-43 Veteran

    218
    Dec 13, 2015
    Troy, NY
    Jock Elliott
    Well, it's the biggest lens I have.

    Cheers, Jock
     
  14. alex g

    alex g Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Mar 30, 2016
    New York / Bath
    I've found the GM5 to be perfectly usable with the 300/4. You hold the lens with one hand and steer it with the other. For me, the size of the body/grip only becomes an issue if any significant torque is required to operate the lens. I wouldn't recommend putting something like a 100-400 or 50-200 SWD on a GM5, but primes and smooth-actioned zooms seem fine, regardless of size. :)
     
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  15. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    There’s a big sale on Olympus lenses if you want to work on that :p
     
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  16. Gromit

    Gromit Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    219
    Mar 27, 2017
    Lincoln UK
    Richard
    I'm blessed (cursed?) with large hands - it helps with playing the piano, making Brahms and Rachmaninov more manageable - but with cameras it's not ideal. However I've found some small cameras, providing their ergos are well thought-out, are surprisingly useable. The Pen F is a case in point. I'm quite happy using the Nocti on my Pen F, as I am the 12-40 Pro. Saying that, I've not tried the 40-150 Pro on it yet though.

    I did get the Oly grip for it recently but this was purely for the reason that Olympus boo-boo'd with the tripod thread position imho, and I'd be lying if I didn't say it made the camera more comfortable in-hands. The grip's quite small though and doesn't seem to bulk-out the little Pen too much. A Good Thing. :)

    What is interesting is that I occasionally shoot film with my trusty old Nikon FE which is hardly any larger than the Pen F. A camera which I never baulked at using larger lenses with. How times change. :)
     
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  17. wimg

    wimg Mu-43 Veteran

    371
    Dec 10, 2016
    Netherlands
    :)

    The same still applies.

    I used a Canon 100-400L with a 400D, 40D, 5D mk I and II, and I handled the combo just as Jock described (and I hate it they changed the design form a one-ringed approach with the original to the 2-ring approach with version II :)). I always have done this, from my analog days onward. I find it easier to work without a grip, especially on smaller bodies, whether for landscape or portrait orientation. Basically, this is because I have always used the lens for holding and supporting the combo, except for small/tiny lenses - but then, it is so light it isn't an issue.

    Personally I have never understood the gripes about grips and such, as IMO it is a personal matter. Some want them, some don't, which is fine with me :).

    Kind regards, Wim
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
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  18. Grips? We don't need no stinking grips! :shakehead:
     
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  19. spdavies

    spdavies Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    Hawaii
    Stephen
    Get a grip, you guys . . . :laugh1::laugh1::laugh1::laugh1: