Wishlist for the E-M5 replacement (E-M5 II?)

dhazeghi

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First, I should say that the prospects for an E-M5 successor aren't looking that great - Olympus is continuing to lose money on cameras and build up inventory, and the obvious response would be to consolidate their 6-model m4/3 lineup into something more compact and coherent. Offhand, 2 OM-Ds and 2 Pens seem like more than enough to cover the ground.

A lot of us were expecting first the E-M1 and then the E-M10 to be the E-M5's replacement, but both ended up being designed with somewhat different users in mind. The E-M1 with its larger size, built-in grip and heftier price-tag seems aimed more toward professionals, while the E-M10 loses flexibility (battery grip, weather-sealing, accessory port) in a bid to decrease costs and compete directly with smaller consumer DSLRs.

With that in mind, here are the main changes I would like to see in the E-M5 mk2, should we be lucky enough to see one produced. Obviously, some things can't be done because the technology isn't available (24MP sensor, lower noise) or because it would upstage the E-M1 (10 fps with tracking), but I think the following are readily achievable based on what's currently out there:

  1. Improved tracking AF. Whether they use the PDAF system of the E-M1 or the CDAF-based system of Panasonic's new GH4, something needs to be done to help action shooters. The current E-M5's tracking abilities do not compare at all favorably to the $700 Sony A6000, let alone the $1000 Canon 70D or $1100 Nikon D7100.
  2. Electronic shutter. The ability to shoot silently and without any chance of shutter-induced shake is to me one of the most under-appreciated features of Panasonic's ILCs (GF6 excepted). It simply makes the camera easier to use in a variety of situations.
  3. Better video. I'm not a video shooter, but the current implementation simply looks subpar compared to other cameras, thanks to artifacts from compression and the rolling shutter.
  4. Larger, better feeling controls. Admittedly, this is tricky to improve and keep the size down, but they could stand to borrow the buttons and general design of the E-M1's rear controls. If they need to leave off a function button that's okay. As is, the tiny buttons are all but unusable with gloves on. The playback, fn1, fn2 and record buttons are particularly bad offenders.
  5. Locking pin on the mode dial. No more inexplicable changes to the mode taking the camera out of its back.
  6. On-off switch around the shutter release. There's a reason why Nikon, Pentax and Sony do it this way - it lets you turn the camera on or off from a natural holding position.
  7. EVF as first class citizen. When the EVF is on, everything should happen there by default - not just shooting, but also playback and menu navigation. Not the way it is now where some functions appear on the rear LCD regardless.
  8. Focus Peaking for the manual shooters.
  9. CA correction on all lenses. The E-M10 implementation is nice enough, but it only works for native lenses. An approach like Nikon's would work for any lens, including legacy or non-chipped manual focus ones.
  10. WiFi. Basically, the E-M10's implementation, plus Live View, to essentially allow tethered shooting.

I think priced at $1000, such a camera would address pretty much all the existing complaints about the E-M5 and be compelling enough to sell both to existing m4/3 users and those migrating from DSLRs. What do you folks think?
 

dornblaser

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I, too, fear that Olympus will adopt a 2 OM-D series. I would prefer to see an E-M5 mk.II rather than be forced to upgrade/replace with the E-M1. I would add one thing to your listing of better video: better codec. If Olympus paid better attention to video their sales would jump.
 

jnewell

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I love my E-M5, but I'd really be surprised to see an E-M5 MkII. It's clear that even over the short term it would be a feature update rather than an IQ update. I never use my E-M5 without the landscape portion of the HLD-6 grip, and used that way it's virtually the same size as the E-M1.

I guess time will tell. :-/
 

dhazeghi

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I, too, fear that Olympus will adopt a 2 OM-D series. I would prefer to see an E-M5 mk.II rather than be forced to upgrade/replace with the E-M1. I would add one thing to your listing of better video: better codec. If Olympus paid better attention to video their sales would jump.
Good point. I guess I'd lump that under better video, but I'm not enough of a video guy to see the nuances of codec vs. processing vs. bandwidth.

I love my E-M5, but I'd really be surprised to see an E-M5 MkII. It's clear that even over the short term it would be a feature update rather than an IQ update. I never use my E-M5 without the landscape portion of the HLD-6 grip, and used that way it's virtually the same size as the E-M1.
I must be the only person under the sun who's never used the HLD-6 on the E-M5 and never felt that I was missing much. If the E-M1 grip were removable, I'd probably be saving up for one.

My theory is that the E-M5's success was what prompted them to create the E-M1, by demonstrating that there was enthusiasm for Olympus m4/3 at the high end, and not just as a P&S upgrade. If the E-M5 hadn't done so well, I suspect we'd be seeing an E-M5 update today, rather than the separate E-M1 and E-M10 models.
 

GFFPhoto

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Aside from the typical evolutionary upgrades, they should add silent mode and high quality video to the EM1 and make that the new EM5 and slot that one at the top of the heap, then lower the price of the EM1 to take the middle slot in the line up. A three camera line up of compact, high end, and super high end. The demand for the GH4 shows people will line up to pay $1700 for m43 if its well implemented, so Olympus can add a whole lot and stay competitive on price.
 

dornblaser

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I must be the only person under the sun who's never used the HLD-6 on the E-M5 and never felt that I was missing much. If the E-M1 grip were removable, I'd probably be saving up for one.

My theory is that the E-M5's success was what prompted them to create the E-M1, by demonstrating that there was enthusiasm for Olympus m4/3 at the high end, and not just as a P&S upgrade. If the E-M5 hadn't done so well, I suspect we'd be seeing an E-M5 update today, rather than the separate E-M1 and E-M10 models.
I don't have a grip for my E-M5 either. Size is one the things that attracts me to :43: While the E-M10 has replaced our E-PMx, because of both the controls and EVF, I have resisted the jump to E-M1. Part of that is because the GHx is my "big" camera. Although it is now an elderly lady, I have always felt that the E-M5 to be the "perfect" travel and everyday camera.
 

Linh

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I want the E-M1 minus the grip plus a more improved sensor (or rather, slightly less pronounced grip even). I'm happy in the 16-18MP range, but if they could just up dynamic range by a stop or two... heh.

Well, could have the same shutter/sealing as the current E-M5 actually. Just to keep differentiation.
 

Arcturus

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Whatever they do, I hope they keep the EM10/EM5 form factor and size. Add in improved video at least to 1080p, improve the f**** eyecup, improve EVF, better weathersealing, wifi functionality, and work on that IBIS so that we can keep our ISO as low as we can get our IQ improvements from there :)

I'd also like if they kept it so that everything from powering on the camera to taking my shot can be done with one hand.
 

gotak

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I just got my e-m1 yesterday. So far so good not sure if I'll keep the e-m5. Although it would be nice to have 2 bodies for using primes easily.

I really just want future version to get more resolution although I know that might be difficult. Mostly for really big prints. I have a pro 3880 now and the 16 mp from Oly is ok but leaves me with less DPI than I'd like on big big prints.
 

pake

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Hmmm... First things first: A brand new sensor with less noise and even better DR (18Mpx?). That's the most important thing for me to make the switch.

The other wishes:
- Improved tracking (it can't really be worse than it is now)
- Better video
        -> at least 1080p but 1440p would be nice too. Can't even dream about 4k...
        -> better codec & higher bitrates
        -> keep the mjpeg (avi) (for better support in video editors)
        -> focus peaking for video
- CA correction with all lenses
- A brand new EVF (best on the market)
- The exact measures of the current E-M5 (no need to buy new grips)
- 14-bit RAW?
- Soft shutter sound (like the current E-M5) + perhaps the electronic curtain

And I do like the idea of putting on/off-switch around the shutter.

Obviously there will be wi-fi's etc that e.g. the E-M10 has so there's no need to list them as well.
 

jnewell

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The way you divided that makes a lot of sense. Everything in the second group could probably be implemented today, albeit at some cost.

The leap from "feature upgrade" to IQ upgrade needs another sensor. I have no complaints about the sensor in the E-M5 or E-M1. It would take a pretty significant upgrade to get me to sell one or both and buy a new body. It's inevitable, but the question is when and at what cost?
 

fransglans

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1.Right hands strap holder should be placed better
2. Replace the mode wheel with an dedicated Iso wheel as fuji xt1.
3. Grip as gx7.

Rest is fine imo.
btw i think em5s shuttersound is the most lovely sound ive heard. Not too loud not too discrete.
 

dhazeghi

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Whatever they do, I hope they keep the EM10/EM5 form factor and size. Add in improved video at least to 1080p, improve the f**** eyecup, improve EVF, better weathersealing, wifi functionality, and work on that IBIS so that we can keep our ISO as low as we can get our IQ improvements from there.
The eyecup is a good point. It's something of a miracle that I've not lost mine yet, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

I'd also like if they kept it so that everything from powering on the camera to taking my shot can be done with one hand.
Agreed. It's an underrated feature that one often notices only once it's missing. Another underrated feature is usability when wearing gloves. The E-M5's tiny buttons make it marginal with even the thinnest liner gloves.

Hmmm... First things first: A brand new sensor with less noise and even better DR (18Mpx?). That's the most important thing for me to make the switch.
I'd certainly hope to see a new sensor sooner than later, but pixel-per-pixel, the E-M5 is pretty much on par with the best currently available. Plus it's going to be difficult to sell the E-M1 if the lower-priced E-M5-class model has a better sensor.

- 14-bit RAW?
This might be interesting, but only if the sensor has enough real DR to take advantage - otherwise it's just wasting storage. Most of the Canon APS-C sensors support 14 bits, but all that buys them in practice is larger files and more noise being recorded.

2. Replace the mode wheel with an dedicated Iso wheel as fuji xt1.
I'd really like to avoid dedicated controls as much as possible. They're not extensible and they don't fit the design of the E-M5 at all. Plus, some people like 1/3 step ISOs, some like whole steps and so forth. That's easy to accommodate in the current system, but a dial like the one on the X-T1 locks you in.

3. Grip as gx7.
I can see some folks liking this, but anything breaking compatibility with the HLD-6 is a bad idea in my book.

btw i think em5s shuttersound is the most lovely sound ive heard. Not too loud not too discrete.
I didn't know a shutter could be too discreet! What situations are there where a louder shutter is beneficial?
 

fransglans

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I didn't know a shutter could be too discreet! What situations are there where a louder shutter is beneficial?
I've had the x100. And yes it could be great with an quite shutter. but there are alot of times when I think its nice to have some hearable feedback from the camera and even the person who has been photagraphed likes that kind of confirmation. And the em5 shutter is discrete enough to be discrete in a church and loud enough to be heard from the model 3 metres away.
 

nstelemark

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Dara, The E-M5 II is here it is called the E-M1 and E-M10. I can't see a refresh.

It is really too bad. If I wasn't using the 50-200 a lot I would have stayed with the E-M5 especially after the 12-40 introduction. If you add the 40-150 and 300 to the mix the E-M1 great as it is, is a lot less compelling. I really liked the dual nature of the E-M5 with and without the grip.

The only thing that really drove me nuts was the non-locking mode dial.
 

rich9cinti

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A nice list there for current EM5 owners like myself to wish for. I commend the OP in taking the time to thoughtfully list them out and the reasoning to it all.

As for AF tracking, it is a definite want for the EM5 but then again, how crucial is it and how much do I want to pay for it. I'm not sure how any other mirrorless camera system will compete with top notch Canon & Nikon DSLR's without making their systems much higher in price and even lose the compact features that drew me in. Can Oly, Pana and Fuji get their AF tracking improved over time, yes, but there is a cost and a reality check that only pro-DSLR's can do better. Achieving 98% focus hit rate covering fast action belongs still to the DSLR's.

I know, everyone's going to jump on me now but I'm speaking from experience. I love my M43's systems for what they are. I also don't look at it as "migrating from DSLR's". My three systems co-exist and they all have a place in my heart (and my pocket).

The glass is another thing I would think would hamper any AF tracking improvements. Are the motors in our M43's lenses really that good to keep up with AF tracking improvements? Again, cost and size would likely be affected.

Don't get me wrong, M43's can capture some great shots... I am a big fan and love to see the work all have contributed. I even know the potential that our small bodied cameras can generate in the world of sports or fast paced events. If Oly, Pana and Fuji can pull it off where pricing stays at the enthusiast range, I'm in.
 

pake

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Auto ISO with minimum shutter speed setting
Well... You know there's a "hack" for that: F-menu -> Slow Limit? At least my E-M5 and E-PM2 obey that setting (1/40s or shorter) when AUTO-ISO is selected. I know it's not perfect but it's something.
 
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