Olympus OM D EM-5

Started Apr 18, 2012 | Discussions
vectranos
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Olympus OM D EM-5
Apr 18, 2012

Hello,

So why should i buy olympus OM D EM-5 - 999 USD ( body only) on Amazon instead of Pentax K-5 - 989.89 USD ( body only on Amazon)? Only for tickness? Only for heart :)?

Thank you,
Nicos

Pentax K-5
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vanilla4785
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Re: Olympus OM D EM-5
In reply to vectranos, Apr 18, 2012

The K5 has a bigger sensor, better DR and has better IQ at high ISO. OM-D is smaller and has smaller lenses. It's a trade off, some would say the IQ is good enough on the OM-D and would prefer a smaller system and others want better IQ and don't mind the larger size.

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Dolan Halbrook
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Re: Olympus OM D EM-5
In reply to vectranos, Apr 18, 2012

As a K-7 owner (predecessor to the K-5, and VERY similar except for the sensor) let me explain why I'm switching systems to the OM-D:

  • weight and size: The EM-5 plus any given lens is approximately 1/2 the weight and 2/3 the size of an equivalent K-5 setup. Since I'm often enough carrying a 30+ child with me as well, system weight matters.

  • quieter lenses: Many of the Pentax lenses are screw drive. Generally I wouldn't care that much (I think it's actually more reliable and makes for smaller lenses). However, the AF on a screw-drive system is very noisy, and often startles subjects you're wishing to photograph (like my children), which has a fairly dire effect on portraiture.

  • AF in video: yeah, yeah, I know, REAL videographers use MF. Since I'm clearly not a REAL videographer I'd prefer being able to AF in video if I want to.

  • viability of Pentax: The K-7 is my second Pentax digital body (had a K10D before) so I'm definitely a fan of Pentax, but one would have to be willfully ignorant not to wonder about their future viability. I hope they can continue to put out more bodies like the K-5 and 645D, and fewer like the K-01 and Q.

If the things I listed above don't concern you, I certainly would be the last person to talk someone out of buying a K-5. It's an excellent camera for the money, esp. now that's near the end of its life cycle. However, those things in the list are important enough for me to switch systems.

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tda101
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Re: Olympus OM D EM-5
In reply to Dolan Halbrook, May 3, 2012

In the UK the Pentax K-5 is now around £700 after cashback, with kit lens, the OM-D around £1150 with lens. That is quite a premium for size and slightly better video.

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kpevav
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Re: Olympus OM D EM-5
In reply to tda101, May 3, 2012

I received an Olympus OM-D 12-50 kit this afternoon (paid dearly for overnight, since I would be home today). I opened it up and handled it for a few minutes before deciding to return it immediately (another investment in postage) because it felt terrible in my hands. One person's experience only, and I have read that people are adding a $300 grip to make it better (free in the UK, apparently, for now). I tried a 40-150 Oly lens on it and between the shape and handling and the small buttons, returned the camera within an hour.

Now, I am a m4/3 person, my camera for the last year (since it came out) being a Panasonic G3, so it is not a sensor issue. Actually, if I didn't want to have a lighter camera, the K-5 would be the one I would be using. But to me, the G3 is much more comfortable in my hands than the OM-D. The GH-2 would be even better in handling terms.

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dark goob
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Re: Olympus OM D EM-5
In reply to kpevav, May 4, 2012

I'm surprised you only gave yourself an hour with the OM-D. That's like buying a new car and returning it because the clutch and brakes feel different than your last car, and the radio buttons are in a weird place.

I mean, after awhile (more than an hour...!) you get accustomed to how it feels. Your muscle memory adapts. It starts to feel quite natural.

The Panasonic G3 is a great camera and so, if I already had that, then I would probably not see a big step to the E-M5. All you gain is weather-proofing and IBIS, but you lose the built-in flash, you lose Panny's fully-articulating screen, and you lose Panny's great touch menu system (Oly's barely takes advantage of the touch screen at all!).

As for me I was coming from the Oly E-5, which I still have, and which I originally chose over the K-5 simply because I found Oly's lens line-up more compelling. Now you can use all those same Zuiko Digital lenses with the MMF-series adapters on the E-M5, although you'll want the HLD-6 if you want to be able to adequately hold those big lenses like the 7-14mm, the f/2.0 zooms, etc.

Now in my experience so far, the Zuiko Digital lenses are quite usable in terms of AF speed on the E-M5. I am already accustomed to shooting with live view contrast-detect focusing on the E-5, and so the E-M5 is even faster than E-5 in that AF mode with the same lenses. I'd still use the E-5 for anything where phase-detect is called for, like a car race or air-show, birding, sports, PR event coverage, wedding reception, etc. as opposed to E-M5 with contrast detection on lenses that are phase-detect-optimized. But for still subjects, landscape, portraiture, etc. the ZD lenses perform just fine.

Of course you could also use MZD (Micro ZD) lenses for action with E-M5 but I haven't tried it yet. DPReview didn't care for its C-AF performance, but I'm not sure if they had IBIS on or off.

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JoeDaBassPlayer
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Also, K 01
In reply to vectranos, May 4, 2012

The K 01 adds another dimension by being just $750 for the body and still retaining the IQ of the K5. It loses the ability to shoot fast action yet improves video and manual focus.

Focus Peaking is the new Killer App in cameras. If it is a mirrorless camera, it pretty much is crippled without it. IBIS is also vital. The camera can then be held in ways that allow better control of framing as well as better control of focus through focus peaking. When the subject is not moving or moving slowly, the K 01 is better to use.

The first time I took it out for serious shooting was a large event. I was able to get photos from perspectives that would elude an eye level DSLR. I was also able to handle the camera faster, going from subject to subject more quickly. It was an amazing experience. I never wished for a viewfinder nor flippy screen. I also realized that the Focus Peaking and IBIS were two of the main helps with this camera.

Low light shooting is awesome. Focus Peaking will work when AF will not on a DSLR. A clean ISO 3200 + as well as IBIS makes longer lenses still possible to use. I have used an old M135/2.5 in very low light, been able to meter, focus and shoot at 1/15second.

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kpevav
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Re: Olympus OM D EM-5
In reply to dark goob, May 4, 2012

Yes, you may be right that I was quick to judge. You are also correct that the G3 is a gem, although some people don't like its handling. It does have a fully articulating screen, built-in flash, and a pretty good touchscreen system. The real impetuousness -- although I ordered the Olympus back in February when announced -- might have been to buy the OM-D EM-5 without first handling one. With that opportunity, I would not have bought the camera.

I have never bought a car, for instance, without driving it first. With cars (that cost a lot more than cameras, generally), our judgment about what we like and what we don't like is critical, even after a short time driving one.

Fortunately, everyone else is happy about my experience. FedEx made money on overnight delivery to me and then ground delivery back to the camera store. The store is at no loss as I barely handled it, let alone used it. And some desperate soul out there will get their long-awaited camera, which they very well may either immediately love or learn to accommodate the minor annoyances they might find.

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CAcreeks
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Re: Olympus 12-50 lens?
In reply to kpevav, May 4, 2012

kpevav wrote:

I received an Olympus OM-D 12-50 kit this afternoon ...

Has anybody seen an optical test of this lens? SLRgear.com has not tested it yet. Occasionally I see blogs saying it is not a very sharp lens.

The Pentax 17-70/4 seems excellent, but I don't know how fast it would autofocus on a K-01. (The K-01 interests me more than the K-5.)

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TrapperJohn
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Some first EM5 impressions
In reply to vectranos, May 4, 2012

If you're thinking about a K5, then you should be thinking DA* primes, they are the main reason to get the K5 over similar dslr's from C/N. DA* are some of the best prime lenses made, by anyone, at any price.

So, does the EM5 have access to similar quality glass? Somewhat. In particular, the 12 2.0, 14 2.5, CV 17 .95, PL25 1.4, CV 25 .95, and 45 1.8 are extremely sharp. And after the recent Pentax price rise on lenses, most of the good M43 primes are actually less expensive - the 45 1.8 is $400, and sharp as a razor. So I'd give DA* a slight nod on IQ, but MZD primes get a plus for size and price.

The EM5 has a new electromagnetic 5 axis IBIS system that is nothing short of fantastic. It works, and works very well, better than any IBIS or OIS I've ever used. The VF is stabilized, too. Not only steadier view, it also gives you a clue as to how much motion you're dealing with after IS.

EM5 AF with native M43 glass is extremely fast. Better still, it is very accurate in low light, almost always locks. These are areas where I've heard the K5 isn't strong, though K5 owners might want to either verify or debunk that. Every once in a while, the EM5 can have trouble with a less contrasty target, but for the most part, AF is silent, fast, and extremely accurate.

From what I've seen, sensor IQ and high ISO are roughly on a par - the EM5 is fairly clean to 6400, and even 25600 is salvagable with noise reduction, albeit with loss of detail. That's about what the K5 can do, as I recall.

So I'd say that with the EM5, you're getting about the same sensor performace, better IS, better AF especially in low light, stabilized VF.

Price - the K5 body is less expensive, but the better MZD primes are not only smaller but less expensive than DA* primes, especially after the recent price rise.

And, yes, the EM5 is quite a bit smaller overall, and definitely thinner, especially if the pancake lenses are installed. If you see one in person, that's your first impression - it's smaller than you expected.

Obviously, I chose the EM5, so I have my own perspective. If you already own Pentax glass, the K5 would probably be the better choice, unless AF speed is at the top of your list. I already owned a few fast Oly ZD zooms, which led me to the EM5. If you have no vested interest in either system right now, you'll just have to size up strengths and weaknesses. There's no clear cut winner one way or another.

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TrapperJohn
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Check out the 45 1.8
In reply to dark goob, May 4, 2012

I'm also coming from 4/3 (E3), had a few HG ZD's. The EM5 really brings them to life. AF speed isn't terrific, in the 1.5 to 2 second range, but especially with the 50-200 (which handles well with a gripp'ed EM5), it's aperture to spare and sharp in lower light. The MZD tele zooms tend to go soft in lower light.

The other interesting revelation was to pit the 45 1.8 I bought with the EM5 against the ultra sharp ZD 50 F2 Macro. I believe the little 45 1.8 is as sharp, plus it's a lightning quick focuser on the EM5 - the 50M always was cranky on AF, even on 4/3 bodies.

Now I don't know how well the E5 does in low light, but I've found that the EM5 routinely gets lock in low light situations that would baffle the E3 or my Pen. Very impressive.

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Bob Tullis
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Simple.
In reply to vectranos, May 9, 2012

vectranos wrote:

Hello,

So why should i buy olympus OM D EM-5 - 999 USD ( body only) on Amazon instead of Pentax K-5 - 989.89 USD ( body only on Amazon)? Only for tickness? Only for heart :)?

If you didn't think "I should buy it", then you shouldn't.

If you did, then ask yourself why.

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digifan
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Re: K 01 ...
In reply to JoeDaBassPlayer, May 10, 2012

... only useful if you want to use your K-mount lenses else it has more negatives than positives. AF is terribly slow. In the ballpark of my E-P1.

JoeDaBassPlayer wrote:

The K 01 adds another dimension by being just $750 for the body and still retaining the IQ of the K5. It loses the ability to shoot fast action yet improves video and manual focus.

Focus Peaking is the new Killer App in cameras. If it is a mirrorless camera, it pretty much is crippled without it. IBIS is also vital. The camera can then be held in ways that allow better control of framing as well as better control of focus through focus peaking. When the subject is not moving or moving slowly, the K 01 is better to use.

I totally disagree on focus peeking. While it's a nice addition it's not THE killer app.

Magnified view is still a must for obtaining critical focus with manual lenses, focus peeking is there to get quicly in "the zone".

The first time I took it out for serious shooting was a large event. I was able to get photos from perspectives that would elude an eye level DSLR. I was also able to handle the camera faster, going from subject to subject more quickly. It was an amazing experience. I never wished for a viewfinder nor flippy screen. I also realized that the Focus Peaking and IBIS were two of the main helps with this camera.

Low light shooting is awesome. Focus Peaking will work when AF will not on a DSLR. A clean ISO 3200 + as well as IBIS makes longer lenses still possible to use. I have used an old M135/2.5 in very low light, been able to meter, focus and shoot at 1/15second.

Well you should really try the m43 E-M5 or G3, focus aquisition on the evf is very good. With an OVF one would not be able to see if things are in focus.

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AllBrands
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Re: Some first EM5 impressions
In reply to TrapperJohn, May 13, 2012

TrapperJohn wrote:

If you're thinking about a K5, then you should be thinking DA* primes, they are the main reason to get the K5 over similar dslr's from C/N. DA* are some of the best prime lenses made, by anyone, at any price.

Aren't you really referring to the FA and DA Limited primes? The DA* 55mm, 200mm and 300mm primes are nice enough but perhaps not as compelling for many shooters as the smaller FA and DA Limited-series primes, IMHO.

Anyway, either way, DA* or Limited-series, I disagree. I know it's often said that Limited-series primes may be THE major reason for anyone to buy into the K-mount. However, In-Body Image Stabilization allows for zoom lenses which are far less expensive than their OIS/VR/VC counterparts and also more reliable which is a terrific advantage for Pentax in my uses.

The Tamron 28-75/2.8 and the Tamron 70-200/2.8 are both excellent and very reasonably priced lenses. I owned a 40mm Limited pancake for a short time but it's these two zoom lenses that make me happy to be shooting Pentax.

I recently shared some impressive image samples from the $769 Tamron 70-200 with a friend who shoots Nikon. He's struggling to choose between buying the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 for $1,100 (no stabilization) or the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII for a whopping $2,400.

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JoeDaBassPlayer
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Re: K 01 ...
In reply to digifan, May 13, 2012

I have played with them. Focus peaking is far faster and every bit as accurate. IQ, especially in terms of tonality and real world DR are lacking on M43.

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CAcreeks
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K-01 looks bad (DCresource)
In reply to JoeDaBassPlayer, May 14, 2012

Aside from lens quality and slow autofocus, dynamic range is fairly horrendous for APS-C. Don't think I would buy a K-01 if this is the best it can do with blue sky in an otherwise dark image, with so-called highlight correction enabled. HDR doesn't work very well, either.

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JoeDaBassPlayer
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Re: K-01 looks bad (DCresource)
In reply to CAcreeks, May 14, 2012

????

DR is great and far better than the P&S like results of Canon And the M43 cameras. In fact, the K5 and K 01 are at or very close to the top of the APS C pile in terms of IQ and DR.
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CAcreeks
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Re: K-01 looks bad (DCresource)
In reply to JoeDaBassPlayer, May 14, 2012

JoeDaBassPlayer wrote:

DR is great and far better than the P&S like results of Canon And the M43 cameras. In fact, the K5 and K-01 are at or very close to the top of the APS C pile in terms of IQ and DR.

You mean in RAW mode DR is great

In JPEG it is not good according to DPreview tests. With Gradation Auto set, the OM-D E-M5 has -6.3 +4.7 stops DR. With Highlight DR On, the K-5 has -5.0 +3.8 stops DR. That is worse than my Fuji EXR P&S. This can be seen in the 1st interactive graph:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusem5/18

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