Yet another OM-D vs. GH3 thread

Started Jan 27, 2013 | Discussions thread
Anders W
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Re: Yet another OM-D vs. GH3 thread
In reply to gtravis, Jan 27, 2013

gtravis wrote:

Got my GH3 last Friday. Thought I would post some initial impressions given that I've had an OM-D E-M5 since early December and have a pretty long history of owning m4/3rds cameras.

The first thing that struck me is "This thing is big." I mean, really big. Much bigger than any other m4/5ths camera I've owned (G1, GH2, OM-D). Especially with the optional Panasonic battery holder / grip (which I have) and the 12-35mm lens (which I have).

The second thing is "This thing is solid." MUCH more solid than the GH2. On a par with the OM-D, although significantly heavier in the hand and more robust feeling.

The third thing is "The menus are so much more initiative, logical, and simpler than the OM-D."

This is a point which I have sometimes seen mentioned before. However, In spite of repeatedly asking those who make such claims, I have never got an answer that manages to specify exactly what is "more intuitive, logical, and simpler" about the menu system on the GH3 (or other Panasonics) than on the E-M5. Of course, the E-M5 has a large number of menu settings. So, however, I would guess, has the GH3. So precisely what is so much better about the GH3 menus?

Personally, I haven't found a whole lot to complain about as far as the E-M5 menus are concerned, in spite of coming from a Panasonic G1. Apparently, the same is true about DPR. Here's what they have to say about the matter in their review of the E-M5:

"The menus are about as logically laid-out as they can be, given how many options and settings they contain. To get the most out of the E-M5, it's well-worth scanning through the options in the Settings menu, on the next page of this review. There you'll find options to customize almost every aspect of the camera's behavior, including changing button functions, control interfaces and display options."

Source:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusem5/9

The fourth thing is "This thing is FAST. Very similar to the GH2 in that regard but even faster. Power-on is instantaneous. Shutter response is immediate."

The fifth thing is, the EVF is significantly improved over the GH2s. Much crisper, detailed, etc. Mine doesn't seem to suffer from some of the criticisms I've seen here although the corners get "fuzzy" if you don't have your eye in the eyepiece fully.

Finally, I am loving the plethora of LABELLED buttons on the camera, particularly the buttons for ISO, focus, and WB.

Qualitatively, I don't see a difference between the OM-D and the GH3. They are really two different cameras for two different kinds of activity. The GH3 is pretty industrially-ugly (i.e. looks like a professional DSLR throughout) and the OM-D is (in my opinion) a stunning looker.

The GH3 is hopelessly un-pocketable. It suffers from the same thing that DSLRs do -- when you are carrying it, you are carrying it. And it is conspicuous. The OM-D, particularly with a good pancake lens like the Panasonic 20mm, will actually fit in one of my pants pockets (barely). It is much less conspicuous in the hand and thus a better candidate for street photography, for parties and social events (where is would match you in a suit, etc.). The GH3 is a camera for when you have a "job" to do.

I have been pleasantly pleased with the quality of the JPEGs out of the GH3. I was not that wild about the GH2s JPEGS and didn't expect the GH3's JPEGs to equal the OM-D's and they don't. But they are closer than I expected. The increase in dynamic range between the GH3 and the GH2 is pretty damned clear.

I have not had a chance to do any kind of quantitative comparison between the GH3 images and OM-D but it looks like both cameras can, with the same lens, produce essentially identical pictures, particularly via the RAW route. That is not surprising.

The GH3's high ISO (12,000+) performance appears to be significantly better than the OM-Ds but there may be a variable that I am not controlling for -- I did not expect them to be that different. The OM-D is definitely a better high-ISO machine than the GH2 but the GH3 is really something.

In sum:

1. Picture quality, at least at reasonable ISOs (3200 and below), appears to be nearly identical between the cameras.

2. The "look and feel" of the cameras is totally different. So much so that they have very little overlap (in my opinion) in "mission." If I was asked by a friend to document their wedding or other significant event, I'd take the GH3. If I was going to a party, an awards ceremony, or doing some walkabout street photography, it would be the OM-D.

3. The range of external controls on the GH3 is much more (and much better) than the OM-D.

4. The firmware in the GH3 & processing power is much better than the OM-D -- at least from a user interface point of view.

5. The GH3 can easily be confused with a professional DSLR in both form and function. That is what it is, in fact, a professional DSLR.

6. The OM-D is going the other direction, more walkabout rangefinder a-la Leica M series.

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