An anti-EM1 Thread - Here's why

Started Sep 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
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John Mason
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Re: An anti-EM1 Thread - Here's why
In reply to Corpy2, Oct 30, 2013

Corpy2 wrote:

I love m43. I loved it with the GH2, which I thought was acceptable in terms of image quality and flexibility, but the e-m5 showed me I was wrong. The em-5, however, is acceptable.

It is very acceptable. And so, an anti-EM1 thread, for those m43'ers out there, especially who own an em-5, and are incorrectly salivating at the notices of the impending arrival and beaching of the EM1. Note, this missive is not based on personal experience. It is based on reading lots of reviews.

1) The image quality, despite a few hyperventilating reviews, is a little bit better. You hear that? A little bit better. It's not a lot better. It seems to be better anywhere from 1/3 to almost 1 stop. There. You can stop pixel peeping ISO 12,000. One splotch looks like another. The em-5 was very usable at ISO 1600. So's the EM1. So big deal. One's a little better. NOT WORTH $1400.

True - image quality virtually identical

2) It's obvious that this camera was aimed to try to salvage 43. It's not optimized for m43. Reviews conflict on just how much better it will focus, if at all better, for older m43 lenses. If I have 6 m43 lenses (and I have more than that, actually, including the 20mm 1.7, 25mm, 45mm, 75mm, 75-300, etc.) and I think to buy a new m43 camera, I DO NOT REALLY CARE if it works nicely with older 43 lenses (and a few reviews even said that it did not focus 43 lenses as fast as that last generation of 43 (What was that? E5? I dunno--before my time). I want it to focus my older m43 lenses faster, hopefully a lot faster. I have not really seen an excess of reviews telling me this. So, WTF?

Not true - CAF vastly improved.  m4/3 lenses use both the PDAF and CDAF system focusing in what their marketing peeps are calling 'hybrid' focusing mode.  All reviews I've read point this out and verify that this might be the first m4/3 camera to actually have some success with CAF focusing.  This one feature may make the the camera worth it as I can ditch some lenses I use in another system for this need.  Will see after I get it in and play with it.

3) It's bigger. Oh yes. Oh yes it is. It's not a lot bigger (I mean, it's not a joke like the pigging out that the GH2 went when it turned into a GH3 [for what? Did the reviews say that the GH3 IQ was much better than that of the GH2? I don't remember seeing that]). First Panasonic didn't realize the value of the superb GH2 video, then they paid attention to only that in making the GH3. And the GH3 is much, much bigger than the GH2. Epic fail, folks.
Ok, back to the EM1. It's bigger. Why? If I want a camera approaching a Canon APC camera, I'll buy a Canon APC camera. Or maybe that cute little $800 Canon that takes regular Canon lenses (oh yes, I remember the 70-200f4 IS-- very few m43 lenses approach the IQ of that lens). Fail.

I normally shoot the EM5 with the 1/2 grip on it, thus for me the EM1 will be only very slightly bigger than my EM5 is.  The EM1 will be just enough bigger than that to accommodate lots more dedicated controls.  That feature is VERY worthwhile.  I shoot the E5 also and from early reports the EM1 is even better for ergonomics and speed of camera control than the E5.

4) Finally, in summation, to paraphrase the Goldwater campaign (Goldwater? Who's that? Bring your grandfather some daisies and ask him) In your heart you know that this is the classical example of an in-between camera. If you own an em-5, hang on to your money for the next iteration of the *small* em6 or whatever. If you own a bunch of 43 lenses, and had given up hope, now's the time not to buy the EM1, but to unload those 43 lenses on the next sucker. This is the prototypical example of the "Pump and dump" so often done in the stock market with tiny companies

I can assume from item number 4 that you don't own nor have used any 4/3 SHG lenses?  These are some of the best lenses I've ever used from any manufacturer.  To be able to use them with the improved sensor over the E5 is not a small feature.


Other features that make the EM1 look like a fun camera.

faster shutter with 1/8000 and ISO 100 for more control at the 'edges'

slr leading flash sync speed

Pro level weather sealing and better quality buttons and knobs

Oh, you left out mentioning the viewfinder.  That's just a bit improved


A unique feature on the the EM1 has, which for me will be AMAZING, the live bulb feature when doing long exposures.  (like I do a lot)
I believe it's a bit narrow minded to focus on this camera's only purpose for being to allow 4/3 lenses to be used though that was certainly one of many technical improvements over the em5 Olympus has brought to the table with this camera.
But of course you knew that with your attention getting title and selective ignoring of the main well known features listed in all those reviews and now in real life user reports coming to this forum.  I do enjoy a good controversial post!

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