O-MD purchase decision

Started Nov 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
Mark B UK
Contributing MemberPosts: 905Gear list
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Re: O-MD purchase decision
In reply to richarddd, Nov 20, 2012

richarddd wrote:

I'm moving towards buying a O-MD and lenses and wanted to get some thoughts on my reasoning.

I take mostly landscape, travel and interiors of cathedrals and the like, in RAW. I rarely shoot anything that's moving. Size and weight are the main reason for wanting m43.

The O-MD is appealing for its dynamic range (especially for landscapes and interiors - dark with bright areas), high ISO (interiors) and IBIS (allows for some lighter lenses). I worry about ergonomics and menus, as well as shutter shock. The other camera I was seriously considering was the G5, which seems better at ergonomics, as well as shutter shock, but doesn't have IBIS. I like a built-in flash for fill, which is a minor advantage of the G5

I'd get a Panasonic 7-14. Reports of purple spots with the O-MD are troubling. The alternative would be the 9-18, but the wider angle of the 7-14 is very appealing.

The 12-50 kit lens and 40-150 seem a nice combination, even if it means switching lenses more often. The alternative would be the 14-150 (or 14-140 if I went with a G5).

At some point I'd likely get the 45/1.8, which looks like a great lens. The main use would be interiors where I need a wider aperture. There does not seem anything equivalent for Panasonic, and IBIS would be necessary for interior use when I can't brace for stability.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

I recently bought an E-M5, upgrading from a GH-1, after six months or more of fence-sitting (mainly waiting to see what the GH-3 held in store - rejected it for excessive bulk). My photography is mainly travel and size, weight, DR, IBIS and decent high ISO performance are the reasons I bought.

The menus, more than the ergonomics, worried me too, though I find them a lot less objectionable than those of an E-3 I owned a few years back. The camera can be counterintuitive and obstructive out of the box but is endlessly cusomisable. Mine is now set up in a way that I find very helpful.

One of the areas that concerned me the most was AEB, which required separate menu dives for continuous firing and bracketing, then the same to revert to normal single-shot operation. I've now set the function button to the right of the EVF (I think it's FN2) to a MySet that includes high speed continuous and five-frame, one stop apart AEB. So now I just press and hold that button to bracket. And with the EVF as standard set up to show areas of blackout and burnout, and the ability to change the exposure using the rear control dial (I have the front one for program shift/aperture/shutter speed changes) and the record button set to combine spot metering with AEL, I seldom need to bracket anyway...

You mention shutter shock; I haven't noticed it. I've shot images at as little as 1/15sec at 35mm with IBIS to test the system and they've been sharp; presumably if shutter shock were a problem, they'd be blurred because IBIS alone would be insufficient.

Unfortunately I don't have the 7-14 so can't comment on the flare/ghosting problem. I have the 12-35, with the 35-100 on order. I had the 14-140 on my GH-1; while I liked the convenience of a single lens, the image quality deteriorated fast beyond 70mm and at its best (14-~30mm) is noticeably less sharp than the Lumix, especially in the corners.

I will probably add the 12 and either 45 or 60 macro primes in due course for times when any spare lens must be pocketable, avoiding the need for even the smallest gadget bag.

Taking the E-M5 as a whole, especially with the two fast weather-sealed zooms and the two pocket primes, I think it's probably the best travel camera introduced in the digital era. I had an OM4Ti and a Leica M6 in the film age and it seems to me smaller and lighter than either of those - and of course it does a lot more, and delivers in most respects superior IQ.

 Mark B UK's gear list:Mark B UK's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 OIS
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