My impressions between the E-M5 and NEX-7

Started Apr 18, 2012 | Discussions thread
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My impressions between the E-M5 and NEX-7
Apr 18, 2012

I received the E-M5 yesterday and have spent a good day with it so I thought I give my impression of this camera versus the NEX-7. I got the NEX-7 back in December and have used it for a few months before selling it for the E-M5.

In no particular order, I'll start:

Firstly, my hands aren't that big and the silver E-M5 fits fine in the hand with enough grip thanks to the rear thumb hook and the textured front padding. Also, since I don't use the neck strap, I've removed those triangle things and just used a simple wrist strap so nothing gets in the way. I did the same with the NEX-7 and must say that the NEX-7 feels 10X's better in the hand than the E-M5. Out of all the camera's I've owned in the past, the NEX-7 felt the best to hold. The hand just contours around the perfectly sized grip. I'm sure with the optional battery grip the E-M5 will handle much better but I don't plan on getting the grip.

The tri-navi dials on the NEX-7 was definitely very good and easy to use but I too often found myself turning the rear dial with the palm of my hand, changing the ISO. Also found myself often unintentionally turning the top right dial, which adjusts the EV. I'm glad the E-M5 has the regular navigation buttons on the back. I also found myself liking the two top dials too. Feels more natural in use, very similar to previous DSLR's that I've owned.

I love having the tilting screen and much prefer this than the articulating one that I used on the G3. I find the tilting screen on the NEX-7 much smoother to operate compared to the E-M5 which is a bit stiff. Next is the capacitive touch screen. I usually don't like touch screens but being able to focus and release the shutter by touching the screen is pretty awesome and somewhat handy to have. This was something I wished the NEX-7 had.

AF performance, I am very happy with the E-M5. The NEX-7 is not slow at all, just not as fast. As I've posted in other threads previously, I complained about the NEX-7's low light performance where, in a dimly lit restaurant, I wasn't able to lock focus at all and when I did, it focused on the background. Last night while I was at my friend's house showing him my camera, I tested out the AF performance. At the time, he only had the TV and a desk lamp on so there wasn't much light. I had the 45mm on the E-M5 and was able to lock focus pretty quickly on most of the subjects I pointed to, at times it will hunt back and forth a bit in those darker areas but was still able to lock focus. I'm impressed. I haven't tested out the continuous AF or tracking yet though.

One thing that annoyed me on the NEX-7 was the SD card location. It's in the battery compartment right up against the hinge where the lid opens and close. It was hard to get to and was very annoying at times. I'm very glad the SD card slow is on the side of the E-M5, much easier to access.

The E-M5 you can easily customize the settings to your liking. On the NEX-7, you cannot set the highest ISO setting for auto ISO (it's set to 1600) and the ISO settings do not have 1/3 increments. I'm glad I'm able to control this option on the E-M5.

When I had the NEX-7 I only used the Zeiss 24mm f1.8 lens since nothing else interested me. Due to the limited amount of fast native lenses, I started looking into legacy lenses. I do wish the E-M5 has the focus peaking feature that I found very helpful on the NEX-7. On the other hand, having the IBIS worked very well for me and I'm able to magnify the view without it jumping around. I'll just say that the IBIS is awesome! =] Works very well with the long legacy lenses.

24MP vs 16MP, hmm. For sure the 24MP captures a ton of details and it amazes me every time when I zoom in. The IQ is definitely better on the NEX-7 as it's seems more clear and sharp. However, I love the Oly colors a lot as I did with the E-P3. The Sony color's just a bit too artificial looking. I guess the warmer Oly colors are more soothing in a way haha For ISO performance, I can say that I'm happy with using 6400 with the E-M5 whereas I usually wouldn't go higher than 3200 on the NEX-7. I actually took a couple shots at night using 12800 and 25600 to see how they look and it's actually not that bad, I wouldn't use 25600 tho. Maybe would be okay if resized for web use and stuff. But I'm not a pixel peeping tom so I don't really care about 100% crops or test charts and stuff, and I don't crop any of the pics I take, I only resize them so I'm very happy with how the E-M5 performs.

Sorry for the long post, I'm sure I missed some stuff but can't think right now lol I'll just say that both cameras are awesome and both have their pros and cons. But for now, the E-M5 seems to fit most of my needs right now. I only wish I can afford both cameras =/

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I only shoot JPEG =]

Olympus PEN E-P3 Sony Alpha NEX-7
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