Leaving DSLR - pros and cons of X-E1 vs OM-D EM-5

Started Mar 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
Tapper123
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Re: Leaving DSLR - pros and cons of X-E1 vs OM-D EM-5
In reply to pavinder, Mar 18, 2013

pavinder wrote:

Would really appreciate some advice on what is becoming an incredibly frustrating decision.
I currently have an EOS 20D and a ton of lenses, but have hardly used it in years - due mainly to
a) the weight and bulk, and
b) the crop factor.
I considered a 5D or 6D for a long time because of the full frame sensor, but realized that it would make issue b) even worse. I'm therefore absolutely convinced I should sell my Canon gear and am now looking at these mirrorless systems.
I've been deliberating over the choice of the OM-D E-M5 vs. X-E1 for ages. I see strong arguments for and against both cameras/systems on these forums.
Here are what I'm coming up against as my main pros and cons of each:
X-E1 Pros:
. Great image quality, large sensor, the "creamy film-like feel" of the images.
. Low light performance (but given the low-light focussing issues, does this detract?)
X-E1 Cons:
. No environmental sealing,
. The fully "old school" controls (having to manually turn the aperture ring on the lens barrel and the click dial for shutter speed). I find it a little cumbersome.
. No in-body IS, only in some lenses
. Very limited video options (no shutter speed setting etc)
. Lack of filters and effects (this is less important)

OM-D E-M5 Pros:
. Environmental sealing,
. In-body IS,
. Easy access to dials and other adjustments with one finger while using viewfinder (i.e. good ergonomics)
. Highly customizable including menus/dials,
. Wider range of lenses (although many aren't of high quality)
. Slightly more video options (over the X-E1, although still not really great)
. "Live Time" function (I do a lot of low light photography and long exposures)
OM-D E-M5 Cons:
. Lower IQ and smaller sensor than X-E1
. More noise in low-light shots
. Video limitations (no 24fps option for example)
With regard to my shooting preferences, I have 2 main areas:
1. A lot of low-light and night photography using long exposures.

As well as urban street scenes (dark alleyways etc.) I often shoot bulb exposures of a few minutes or more in forests or mountains at night, using ambient light only.
The X-E1 seems to have less noise and better low light performance, but I wonder if the IS of the OM-D can balance the equation.
To be honest I rarely shoot above 400 ISO anyway - I don't need to get sharper shots at 12,800 to freeze motion for example. I'd rather use a longer exposure at lower ISO.
In this regard, the OM-D's Live Time function looks quite brilliant.
2. Shallow DOF shots with soft bokeh. Including night shots.
The X-E1seems far better based on samples I've seen. I've not seen a single sample from the OM-D with very narrow DOF and beautiful bokeh.
But perhaps this could be compensated by the choice of lens on the OM-D?
Any comments from photographers on the above points would be gratefully appreciated.

I own an OMD and a NEX. But based upon your described preferences, sounds like the XE1 may be a good choice. BUT be sure you're OK with its relative limitations. I think OMD is a great all-arounder. Personally I bought it because of the MFT lens selection and the weather sealing, especially the weather sealed 60mm Macro since I love nature macros.

Try to test one in person if possible.

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