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Through the paces, E-M5 mk2 at Disney World

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by DigitalD, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2014
    Ah, finally made it back from taking my family to Disney last week. Very fun and now I am very tired. I had the pleasant surprise of receiving my EM5mk2 literally a day before we left. I was excited to run this little guy thought the ringer as I packed only the EM5mk2 and a select few lenses. This included the O12-40mm 2.8 Pro, The O17mm 1.8 and the P7-14mm f4. Unfortunately the 7-14 never saw the light of day as I have 2 small children (5 & 3) and the 12-40 was my daytime lens of choice. The 17 1.8 was perfect for a lightweight alternative.

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    Being a mostly prime shooter the 12-40mm Pro gets the least amount of my attention. EXCEPT when out with the family on excursions where A) I have no idea what I might come up against and B) Rather not fiddle with lenses. Yep its big and heavy but coming from a Canon DSLR background, its really nothing in the grand scheme of things and it really packs a whole bunch of IQ and versatility that I have yet to match in any other zoom I have used. From Macro and landscapes to portraits and candids, its hard to miss a shot with it.

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    The problem with big and heavy on a MFT camera is usually more about balance then anything else. On a GX7 or a naked EM5 depending on how you hold it, can get very tiring when shooting all day. That is where the HLD-8G grip comes in. Coming from the EM1 and also shooting with the Sony A7II I knew the extended grip will be very important in holding heavier lenses. I also shoot with Canon FD lenses which weigh like small dumbbells on the end of the camera. The other great item to note is with the grip the EM5 is just about the same size as a naked EM1. So size is still very compact even with the added ergonomics. Big plus for me.

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    Though the grip is not quite as 'comfortable' as an Em1 is, its very useful with larger lenses. The biggest con I would assume is it blocks access to the battery. I don't find this a huge issue for me as I rarely shoot more then 1 battery in a day, but it is a bit inconvenient when you do need to change out the battery. I counter this by always having a fresh battery in the morning along with an extra in the bag.

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    Forgetting about big lenses and add-on grips for a second, the one thing that surprised me most about the EM5mk2 was its size. My father in-law owns an EM10 and I own a EM1 and a GX7. The EM5mk2 is practically the size of the EM10! Checking now on Camerasize.com its only about 4.5mm wider and 2.5mm taller. Thats a lot of camera to pack into such a small package and its what I gravitate to the most in MFT cameras. This camera is so small and so well built that the GX7 is now definitely on the chopping block. But for more reasons then just size.

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    To me the EM5mk2 is a dream second camera. I would say it is the MOST versatile camera on the market today. From stills to video, legacy to modern lenses, size, weight, build, weather-sealing and robust features, there is not too much more you could argue for and win at this price point. I also completely applaud anyone who can hold out for the price to drop as getting this camera under 1K will be a super deal. And what a joy to use. The very well dampned mechanical shutter makes such a small vibration in shooting that is oh so pleasant. If you want even more stealth, the electronic shutter is something I use a lot as I love candids. Anti-shock is great for landscape and detail work. Plus, just about every other feature I hold dear in the EM1 is here at my fingertips. When I pair it with the O17 1.8 the camera is extremely small and compact, totally unassuming and discreet. Like a little stealth bomber waiting to take the next big picture in your portfolio.

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    For this trip I only shot JPEGs as I didn't want to fool with trying to convert the raw files and I did not want to wait to see my images from the trip and share them with F&F. I am also very comfortable shooting JPEG as I have outlined in other posts. Wifi feature worked as expected along with everything else. I did not use the HiRes mode at all as I was mostly focused on having a great time with my kids and less about what I can do with my camera.

    Interestingly enough the JPEGS looked very different to me then the EM1. I would almost say they have a fuji like rendering to the noise and color. Smooth but with some detail loss. It looks great on screen and in posts like these but after pixel peeping them compared to the EM1 there was a slight amount of detail loss. I did not want to believe it but its there. A few of the family below...

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    However, over the weekend I read that OV3 now supports the EM5mkII raw files so I tried a few shots on Sunday. I haven't finished post processing them but shooting JPEG+Raw and importing through OV3 made a world of difference!! The noise, detail and color is NIGHT & DAY compared to bringing OOC JPEGs in through Lightroom. My Lesson learned, and for now on, until I see a performance difference in the yet-to-be-released LR raw plugin, this will be the way I will be processing my images going forward. I hope to post some of those shots later this week and I will try and do an IQ comparison with the EM1 and GX7.

    The size and versatility of this camera is absolutely amazing for what it offers. Usability and IQ are way up the food chain. It has now made me decide to sell off the my GX7 and my EM1 as I doubt I will have reason to pick up either one! Especially after I figured out the raw processing. The images are really fantastic and the camera is an absolute joy to use. I have already started to shoot video with it and so far its delivering on that promise as well. The hi res mode will be the next thing I will try and tackle and make use of.

    My final answer, EM5mk2 is a winner in my book and for my needs. Quiet, compact and extremely versatile. It delivers the goods IQ wise as well for travel and casual to pro photography. My primary 'art' camera will still be my Sony A7II but I only use MF lenses with that camera so the EM5 will also be the camera of choice when AF is key.

    Hope you all enjoyed the photos and the post! Feel free to ask me anything!

    - David
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  2. jefft

    jefft Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2012
    Wow, great pics overall but that first firework shot is awesome!
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  3. Tapper

    Tapper Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 12, 2013
    Great stuff!

    I have an EM5 II and the pro lenses, and you're right about the imbalance issues. I probably need to buy the grip.

    Regarding detail in jpegs, have you set the in-camera noise reduction to off?

    Regarding A7 II -- I am constantly flirting with getting into the A7 system, especially now that Sony is finally making lenses for it. For many reasons I decided to go M43 instead, so I bought the EM5 II and lenses. Basically, I wanted versatility, weather sealing, and decreased weight. Maybe someday I will add an A7 series camera to my bag.

    Here is a question for you -- how much better is the A7 II image quality compared to OMD's with pro lenses? I know they will be higher resolution, and better DR in extreme situations. But in general, do you think OMD with good lenses is not too far behind?
  4. w0den

    w0den Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 13, 2015
    New Jersey
    I am going to Disney in a few weeks, and I am extremely excited to take some pictures! Right now I only have the 12-40mm 2.8 (I just ditched my canon gear). All of your pictures are fantastic.
    Any chance you can give some details as to how you took the fireworks shots? Settings? Lens? Were you using a tripod, or is this an example of impossibly good image stabilization?
  5. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2014
    Hey thanks!

    I love the way OMDs render. I think their OOC jpegs are one of the best in class. The features, speed and of course size fit my photography style the best. Its hard to not like the OMDs. I have a few choice lenses as well. From the 12-40 pro to the 42.5 Nocticron, good lenses are easy to find and WAY more affordable then any FF equivalent in IQ, performance and aperture speed.

    For me the biggest drawback in MFT is Noise. Even at 100 (low) ISO its still there. And though 90% of the time it won't make the least bit of difference (especially in small prints) its nice to have the added files size and low noise capability of a FF sensor. That combined with greater control over DOF and a tad more DR makes for seemingly better detailed photographs in theory.

    However I reach for my MFT system about 70-80% of the time because it has so much to offer with very little downside in the long run. I shot a wedding a few months back and I used both the EM1 and the A7. Final images from both were fantastic. Was hard to tell them apart. I also recently had a studio shoot where I used the EM1 only. It did a fantastic job there as well. So in general practice the OMD can keep pace with just about any system out there.

    Final thought. You can't go wrong with MFT in terms of IQ. You do have a few pitfalls with a smaller sensor. You can also get a more complete lineup of lenses and Focal Lengths with great IQ from the MFT system compared to the Sony system right now. And for far less money. Neither one out does the other one significantly in IQ but you will get slightly cleaner, larger files from the FF sensor edging out the MFT in Noise, DR and physical file sizes.
  6. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2014
    Impossibly good IBIS. ;) 

    I almost did a post just on the fireworks photos. I was very impressed with how it did.

    Settings were:
    Lens: 12-40 pro @ about 30-35mm
    ƒ 3.5
    ISO AUTO if you can believe it!
    EV +1/3
    and a little post processing magic from LightRoom CC 2014
    Forgot to add Center Weighted Metering and Manual Focus on the castle with Peeking set to high.

    The first shot was at ISO 250. It was during the finale and it was pretty darn bright in the sky. The second one jumped to 2500 ISO. I have a couple at 8000 and 10000 ISO. All pretty clean considering! Pretty impressive as the WB was auto as well. OMD for the win!
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
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  7. SkiHound

    SkiHound Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2012
    The fireworks shots are stunning!
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