OM-D and G5 side by side comparison with surprising results

Started Oct 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
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OM-D and G5 side by side comparison with surprising results
Oct 7, 2012

I bought a G5 a week or so ago, and I've been very happy with it with a couple of exceptions:

1-Plasticky! Coming from Nikon DSLRs, this thing feels like it will snap in half if I press a button too hard.

2-Crappy off-camera flash capabilities: 160th top sync speed, no continuous drive mode when flash is enabled, either built-in or hot-shoe

So I bought an OM-D with the intention of selling the G5 when I experienced the sheer bliss of the legendary OM-D. I was a bit surprised at what I found:

1-The OM-D is good looking and tough! I love the build quality and look. Everything feels super solid. But wait, what's with these spongy, insubstantial directional buttons? I'm never sure if I've pressed them enough. The G5's directional buttons have great feedback and a healthy click.vThat said, the control wheel on the G5 is crap. It's the very definition of fiddly. It's great that it doubles as a button, but there's too much tension on it. The tension makes it so that putting enough pressure on the wheel to turn it also means I inadvertently push it quite often. The OM-D's dials are fantastic in comparison. OM-D wins.

2-The menus on the OM-D positively suck next to the G5. I'm sorry, but I knew how the adjust pretty much everything on the G5 within 10 or 15 minutes, no manual required. With the OM-D, I have to read DPReview's setup primer just to find the Super Control Panel. And I vastly prefer the instant feedback of pushing an Fn button and spinning a control wheel than pausing to poke at the touch screen. On the G5, I almost never have to use the touchscreen, and that was with very minimal setup. G5 wins.

3-The autofocus. I was extremely surprised to find the OM-D hunting quite often with any lens I put on it, where the G5 nails focus instantly almost without fail. I have read that the 20mm 1.7 is kinda slow, but I've been wondering what everybody is talking about with it mounted on the G5. I have the OM-D kit lens, the G5 kit lens, the 20mm 1.7, the 12mm 2 and the 45mm 1.8. The G5 autofocus is beyond reproach with all of these lenses. The OM-D hunts a lot in lowish light, especially with the 45. Very surprising! Is there something wrong with my OM-D? G5 wins.

4-Auto white balance. The OM-D seems to not understand the concept of auto white balance. I pretty much don't trust it in anything but sunlight. The G5, however, does an admirable job in almost all situations aside from mixed low-lighting. Another surprise. G5 wins.

5-The OM-D's screen is lower resolution than the G5, so it's to be expected that it's not quite as nice for composing and reviewing. The thing that's weird to me is that the OM-D's display and EVF seem to be off, color-wise. Everything looks a bit too cool. The photos turn out more or less accurate to my eye, but using the display and EVF is jarring. I noticed that I can adjust the color of the EVF, but I couldn't find a similar setting for the display. I don't want to change one without changing the other, because they currently match. The G5, however, seems slightly over-saturated. It's very pleasing to look at, but it seems to be not entirely accurate--much closer than the OM-D, though. Another surprising find. G5 wins.

6-Speaking of screens, I much prefer using the capacitive touch screen of the OM-D to the pressure-sensitive (and less-sensitive) G5. As I said above, I rarely use the G5's touch-screen, but the OM-D still wins.

7-The OM-D is much more flexible than the G5 with off-camera flash. The sync speed of the OM-D is 250 versus 160 on the OM-D. Also, with a flash enabled (or in the shoe) the G5 locks the shutter speed at 160, where the OM-D lets the human make the decision whether or not to push the shutter speed beyond 250. Also, the OM-D will trigger the flash consistently on low-speed continuous drive mode, whereas the G5 will only let you take one photo at a time with flash in continuous drive mode. OM-D wins.

8-IBIS. OM-D wins.

9-For some reason I can't quite put my finger on, I prefer the video output of the G5 slightly over the OM-D, when IBIS is not factored into the equation. This probably comes down to opinion, but it seems like the video of the G5 is richer. It may be the differing video formats. For me personally, the G5 wins, but I'll say this one is a tie for objectivity's sake.

10-Image quality, of course, should be the overall deciding factor in this comparison. To my eye, they're equal. I know that the sensor of the OM-D is technically better. I know that if I do resolution chart tests and noise tests and all sorts of other tests, the OM-D will come out ahead. But I don't use my camera to conduct tests. For photography, in my opinion, the image quality of the G5 and OM-D is equal. Tie.

This is obviously a non-scientific comparison, but for those of you still reading, here are the results:

OM-D: 4

G5: 4

Tie: 2


Which camera do I keep and use?! Most of these categories I've devised are not deal-breakers. The screen and EVF of the G5 is a big deal. The flash capability of the OM-D is a big deal. I just want to smash these two cameras together into the perfect camera (for me).

Has anybody had experience working around some of the shortcomings of these two cameras, that would help push one of them forward to the obvious choice?

This is ridiculous.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
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