why does the E-M1's video get dissed?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
Anders W
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Re: why does the E-M1's video get dissed?
In reply to duartix, 4 months ago

duartix wrote:

William Porter wrote:

Cheers Will!

Need some help from you video mavens.

What doesn't the E-M1 do that some recent Panasonic camera can do? And who does this matter to?

Let me just count the ways...

Excellent summary. Many thanks for spelling it out so clearly. I am hardly shooting any video at all but it's good to have a summary of the various pros and cons anyway.

A couple of comments about specific things below.

  1. Sensor readout. Panasonic bins pixels, Olympus skips lines. In the end there must be a ~2EV signal to noise advantage by Panasonic, not to mention ~30% better resolution/sharpness.
  2. Frame rates. Panasonic supports 24p, 25p, 30p, 50p and 60p (plus some esoteric overcranking modes in the GH models). Olympus is limited to 30p. The shot really hits the Oly fan (accidental pun) when you are filming inside and the video frame rate doesn't marry the lighting.
  3. Codec.Not only Panasonic is typically using higher bitrates (can't exactly figure the numbers though) but they use a higher h.264 profile (5.0) which means their encoder is using more advanced features and thus getting even more IQ for the bitrate they use.
  4. Peaking & Zebras. This I can't be sure but I believe I've read around that Panasonics have a lot more customization room for both these modes than Olympus (which I suspect doesn't even feature a zebra mode).
  5. Audio monitoring. Another one I'm not familiar on the Olympus, but I believe you have no way to do audio monitoring in-camera, while you have a stereo audio levels graph displayed on the Pannys.

Now this isn't just a Panasonic party:

  1. Stabilization. Olympus IBIS will effectively stabilize every lens that can be mounted on the camera. This is a serious advantage when you can't afford equivalent stabilized lenses, when the lenses in question aren't just stabilized to begin with and when you don't want to be bothered or just can't have the option to use a stabilization rig. Pro's will rebate that argument because they have the camera on a tripod 80% of the time, but I believe it's Olympus only clear and solid win in the video game.

Another advantage of the (new) Oly IBIS, apart from offering stabilization even with non-OIS lenses, is that the stabilization is, as far as I can tell, more efficient for video than that provided by Pany OIS lenses. If I understand things correctly, stabilization for video is not quite the same as stabilization for stills. With video, the point is not so much to maximize sharpness within a single frame but to smoothen variations in framing, and as far as I can tell, the (new) Oly IBIS excels in that regard.

  1. Focus. Kind of a tie. Even though focus is already at a high level on most Panasonics (the GH4 is reported to excel at this) the E-M1 has on-sensor phase detection and this might give it some edge in some kind of situations (like sports). Pro's will rebate that argument because they'll focus manually 95% of the time (and that's why peaking might switch the tables).

Another advantage of PDAF (if utilized right by the manufacturer) is that the camera should be able to change focus without the back-and-forth search CDAF employs, and which looks bad when you are forced to watch it. Bit I have no idea whether and how well the E-M1 uses its PDAF for video.

Unknown variable:

  1. Rolling shutter. I just don't know how each brand's sensor is placed in this field, however I know that Panasonic has doubled the readout speed (and thus cut RS in half) in their latest batch of sensors (GX7 and forward I believe, even though I might be wrong). Yet this might be a minor detail because you really need to be panning like mad to feel the effect, and if you are panning like mad, the chances are your video will be have bigger problems than RS.

For these reasons, especially 1,2 &3 (for Panasonic) I believe it's really a no brainer if you have a minor interest in video, since the Olympus advantages can always be dealt with through additional hardware if the demand is justifiable.

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Duarte Bruno

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