GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?

Started May 11, 2012 | Discussions
Setter Dog
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GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
May 11, 2012

I just sold my GH2 and am considering the E-M5, which seems to be the only thing available with EVF and similar features.

Those of you that have made the move to the E-M5, what are your general impressions of the new camera? Do you like it better? Does it handle as well?

I'm not looking for IQ comparisons etc, since those are available elsewhere, but it would be interesting to hear from actual users that have made the change. Thanks.

Jack

Moonlighter
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

for stills, EM5 is a definite improvement, even with old legacy manual lenses. IBIS is great.

For videos, autofocus seems to hunt more on my 20mm 1.7 lens. IBIS also works great. But if you are into video post-production, color grading and manual legacy lens, GH2 is still the better camera.

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Travis
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

I'd love to answer your question, if only from my point of view.

The GH2 was my main camera for over a year and I enjoyed it very much. I still have it and plan on keeping it for a second body. However, I'm definitely finding the OMD more enjoyable to use. I'd like to think that after nearly 3 weeks of use, it goes beyond just having a new and exciting camera to play with. There are definite tangible differences that I'm appreciating:

  • IBIS. I can't say enough how nice it is to have IBIS that works well. While the OIS works good on the lenses with the GH2, having it in-body means I can have stabilization on my primes that have no OIS. It seems to work much better when half-pressing the shutter to preview a composition on long lenses or when using the magnified view.

  • Industrial Design. The camera is both smaller than the GH2 and seems to be built better. The GH2 feels cheap and "plasticy" to me (something that doesn't distract from its image or video quality, but is definitely noticeable when holding the camera). The OMD feels very solid, and of course is weather-sealed. The flip-up LCD is actually better IMO than the flip-out LCD on the GH2, mainly because you can keep the LCD behind the camera while using it at waist level.

  • Image Quality. Yes, I know you don't want to hear about this, but it's also one of the reasons I like the OMD better. The high-ISO noise seems to be a small (but noticeable) step above the GH2, the dynamic range is noticeably better, and the JPG output is quite a bit better. Video quality is nearly as good, but not quite up to par of the GH2 (especially if you use the hacks available on the GH2).

I wouldn't say the OMD is leaps and bounds better than the GH2 by any means, but I'm finding it a more enjoyable camera to use.

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Setter Dog
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Travis, May 11, 2012

I'm thinking maybe I made the right decision to move on from my GH2,.....at the time, I thought maybe a GH3 was in my future, but it looks like that may be way down the road.

Jack

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Willing
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

Setter Dog wrote:

I just sold my GH2 and am considering the E-M5, which seems to be the only thing available with EVF and similar features.

Those of you that have made the move to the E-M5, what are your general impressions of the new camera? Do you like it better? Does it handle as well?

I'm not looking for IQ comparisons etc, since those are available elsewhere, but it would be interesting to hear from actual users that have made the change. Thanks.

Jack

Yes, I sold my GH2 body on craigslist and happened to be the buyer is a film student. I do agree that the movie file from the GH2 is the best I ever seen. But if you do a lot of movie than the GH2 is the way to go, other than that then E-M5 becomes a real winner.

It feels solid and heavy compared to GH2. But actually I enjoyed the light weight and deeper grip on the GH2. Also, the GH2 is very easy to set up cause pretty much all the usual settings like ISO, flash, AF has dedicated buttons or dials. The only things I like on the EM-5 will be the tiltable screen, jpeg color and the IBIS which I think is more effective than OIS on Panny plus the shutter sound is much quieter. After all these, I still think the GH2 has better handling and lighter body(somebody may not agree with me, my reason going to m4/3 is less weight)

Also, I missed the built-in flash on GH2 even though it comes with a flash on E-M5 but I need to remember to bring it with me. Be honest this is my 1st Olympus m4/3 camera, I hear a lot a good things about the Jpeg color and all the art filters. I guess my mind told me to try some different and I did.

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stproducer
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

From a video perspective:

I dropped the GH2 and went to the OM-D (with a short detour into Sony A77 world) and I have no regrets. The GH2 (hacked) was terrific: great image, very usable audio- but the Olympus IBIS stabilization is just so incredibly good it more than makes up for the camera's flaws.

https://vimeo.com/41958921

The two issues that trouble me most are: no audio input- you have to buy the adapter thing which then takes up the hotshoe leaving you nowhere to mount a mic and on and on...

And the real annoying one- the IBIS doesn't work with legacy lenses or even lenses like the Voigtlander .95.

Otherwise I have no regrets.

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TEBnewyork
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

I don't do video at all.

  1. The OMD seems speedier. I have image review turned off but when I do want to review an image, I never have to wait.

  2. The shutter - feels better on release, certainly sounds better. I know it sounds minor but it is noticeably different.

  3. I'm a fan of the tilt screen vs the swivel because I like to tilt it right below me more often than I need the full rotation of the G's

  4. Changing size of focus box and magnifying image is much more straightforward on GH2

  5. I don't have the grip yet but without grip ergonomics with long lens favor the GH2

  6. Menus and interface of Panny to me are better but I like the newer style quick menu introduced on the G3 much better than the GH2.

  7. Would have preferred OMD with a built in flash.

  8. Custom settings GH2 clear winner

  9. Image quality seems to be favoring the OMD - to be expected 18 months later

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jalywol
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

Setter Dog wrote:

I just sold my GH2 and am considering the E-M5, which seems to be the only thing available with EVF and similar features.

Those of you that have made the move to the E-M5, what are your general impressions of the new camera? Do you like it better? Does it handle as well?

I'm not looking for IQ comparisons etc, since those are available elsewhere, but it would be interesting to hear from actual users that have made the change. Thanks.

Jack

I am not going to be helpful here, but I had to put my two cents in ... I sold my GH2 a few months ago and planned to get the E-M5. After the first full samples from it came out, I decided I really had made a mistake; cancelled my order, and got another GH2.

How do I feel now that the E-M5 is out and there are lots of user's photos and opinions? I am very happy that I stayed with the GH2.

The things that I like about the GH2 are things that I do not like about the E-M5. The things that the E-M5 does better are not things that matter to me a heck of a lot, so on balance, the GH2 was still the right camera for me.

I like the UI and ergonomics of the Panasonics better.
I prefer the larger EVF of the GH2
I like not having to buy a separate grip for comfort with larger lenses
I prefer how the GH2 sensor handles extremely fine detail
I prefer the noise pattern of the GH2 sensor
I prefer the tonal gradation capabilities of the GH2 sensor
I do not care one way or the other about IBIS vs OIS
I like being able to flip the LCD completely closed
I am left-eyed, so the EVF on the GH2 is easier to use

I don't care for the JPG engine at all on the E-M5. With the GH2, JPG color is not perfect, but it does not overprocess and lose detail like the Olys.

There is more, but I think you get the idea. For me, the E-M5 would have been a bad fit.

Now, if the GH3 retains the sensor qualities I like about the GH2 but improves the camera AWB and color balance, and increases the DR and high ISO performance a bit, then that will be my next camera. If it compromises any of those things, I'll stick with the GH2 until the generation after the GH3.....but I don't see an Oly in my future anytime soon.

-Janet

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Willing
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to jalywol, May 11, 2012

I am not going to be helpful here, but I had to put my two cents in ... I sold my GH2 a few months ago and planned to get the E-M5. After the first full samples from it came out, I decided I really had made a mistake; cancelled my order, and got another GH2.

What is wrong with the samples pics? Are you talking about the samples from the dpreview? I'm not sure why you cancelled the E-M5 order because you saw some bad photos from E-M5?

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Panda9
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to stproducer, May 11, 2012

stproducer wrote:

And the real annoying one- the IBIS doesn't work with legacy lenses or even lenses like the Voigtlander .95.

IBIS works for legacy lenses or any non-automatic lens such as the Voigtlander. Since the body can't determine the FL of the lens, and IBIS depends on the FL, you have to dial that in for the lens. Once you dial it in, it works exactly as if it were a native lens.

To do this, you enter the IS menu (where you would choose off, IS1, IS2, or IS3). You hit the INFO button, then use the arrows to change the FL shown. Hit OK and you're done.

You can/could do this on any Olympus body with IBIS, going back to the E-510 for 4/3. The exact steps are a bit different for each body, but they're pretty much the same effect.

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teohyc
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Panda9, May 11, 2012

I was also considering the OMD.

But looking at the images posted so far, the quality isn't really much of a step up from GH2. They may be better, but for me not worth it for the upgrade. I like the OMD dials though.

Instead I bought a X-Pro1. It's image quality is sublime, a drastic improvement from GH2, or m43 for that matter.

I'm still keeping the GH2 though because I have some lens and the video quality is amazing.

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jalywol
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Willing, May 11, 2012

Willing wrote:

I am not going to be helpful here, but I had to put my two cents in ... I sold my GH2 a few months ago and planned to get the E-M5. After the first full samples from it came out, I decided I really had made a mistake; cancelled my order, and got another GH2.

What is wrong with the samples pics? Are you talking about the samples from the dpreview? I'm not sure why you cancelled the E-M5 order because you saw some bad photos from E-M5?

Absolutely nothing is wrong with the sample pics. The EM5 is a nice camera, and it does many things extremely well, including some better than the GH2.

However, the particular things I am looking for; things that are important to me in my own photos, are things the GH2, on close examination of the photo files, still does better. It does not matter which samples I have seen, as the things I find objectionable are present in all of them.

If you want me to be more precise, it comes down to areas of finest detail and of fine tonal gradation. (This is not the same as dynamic range, by the way.) Let me give you a couple of examples; without going through sample photos I will try and describe the differences: First, you need to remember that these are really, really subtle differences that most people will neither see nor care about. I do, and I do, so they matter to me. Do they matter in the final print? Maybe, maybe not, but they still matter to me.

When I speak about tonal gradation, the easiest way to visualize it is to think of a shiny metal object; say a chrome tube or a pipe. If you look at a photo of this object taken with the GH2, there are many, many shades of black to white, or gradation, in the object that enables you to visualize its 3 dimensional shape while looking at a 2D photo of it. The smoother the transition from dark to light areas, the more dimensional the object will appear. The fewer shades of gradation, the flatter it will appear. Where the GH2 excels is in rendering many subtle shades of gradation from dark to light. Where the EM5 does less well is that it appears to render fewer shades of gradation in the same circumstances, leading to a very smooth, and almost plasticky impression of objects that should have more depth to them. (Now this is not actually hard to see, but you have to look for it.)

The other thing that is also not terribly hard to see is how the Oly image processing engine snips out the tiniest fine detail especially against a larger solid color background. An easy way to see this is to compare a photo taken with both cameras of something with fine hairs on it (such as a leaf with fine hairs on its surface). If you look at the photos by the GH2, all of the hair detail will be there. The EM5 will lose many of the fine hairs to the background color; it seems as if the processor cannot tell the difference between the hairs and noise, so it eliminates them and just shows the background color instead. This is also not at all hard to find on sample photos....

So, as I have said before, I think the EM5 is a fine camera and it has really brought M43s into a great place for most users. 99% of those using the camera will neither see nor care about these pixel level quibbles that I have with it. However, for me they mattered, and these things would have made me nuts had I gotten the camera.

BTW, as another poster has mentioned, the Fuji XPro has IQ that seems to be a huge step up from any M43....and I think one of the things that make it seem that way is that ability to render fine tonal gradation. I like M43, and plan to stay with it, but if I had a spare $2500 or so lying around, I most certainly would give the Fuji a try, since it does exactly what I value the most with its image processing......

-J

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bg2b
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Panda9, May 11, 2012

Panda9 wrote:

IBIS works for legacy lenses or any non-automatic lens such as the Voigtlander. Since the body can't determine the FL of the lens, and IBIS depends on the FL, you have to dial that in for the lens. Once you dial it in, it works exactly as if it were a native lens.

IBIS for non-auto lenses only works for stills, not video. Don't ask me why.

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bg2b
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

I still have my GH2 and no plan to sell it, but I also sprung for an E-M5. My thoughts...

The E-M5 feels much more robust, and the shutter sound is 100x better than the GH2. (That said, my GH2 has seen much abuse without causing me any grief.) I like the GH2's grip a little better, but manage OK with the E-M5 too.

GH2 is certainly better for video quality (especially with hack). AF in video is smoother and more controllable than with the E-M5. However, the E-M5's IBIS works well if you're using a non-stabilized lens without some sort of support, so for casual video with one of the micro-4/3 primes like the 45 or 20 or 25 or 14 or 12, the E-M5 might give you a nicer result at the end of the day. It probably depends on what you shoot and how well you can hold the camera steady.

I prefer the GH2's flip-style screen to the E-M5's tilt, but otherwise the E-M5's screen is much better than the GH2's.

Both viewfinders have their pluses. The GH2's is bigger, while the E-M5 avoids the tearing phenomenon of the GH2's sequential display. I don't have a real preference.

I like the E-M5's live histogram much better than the GH2's. It's also got a separate little green histogram inside it that shows a histogram for what's under the focus point (at least I assume it's under the focus point; I always use center focus). That's neat, like an always-active spot meter.

The E-M5 feels much snappier in terms of things like formatting cards, deleting images or videos, image playback, etc.

I like the feel of the GH2's buttons; the E-M5's are a bit mushy. The E-M5's dials are much nicer than the GH2's though.

I like the GH2's external controls, though the E-M5 works pretty well once you figure out how you want it set up. There are still some niggles though (why can't I easily get image playback in the viewfinder without having to use auto-review for example).

The GH2's C1/C2/C3 are great; I wish the E-M5 had something easily accessible like that.

Single AF seems about the same in normal light (with my regular lenses; I didn't buy the 12-50 kit lens for the E-M5). I haven't tried continuous AF. In low light, the GH2 is notably faster and more sure-footed.

I use both cameras exclusively in RAW with Lightroom. Caucasian skin tones from the E-M5 seem to magically come out more pleasing to me. Maybe you could figure out some preset or profile for the GH2 that would work better though (I always used the stock Adobe GH2 profile).

I really like the improved (stills) sensor performance. After mistakenly leaving the E-M5 on ISO 3200 the other day, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the result was. Combine that with IBIS for non-stabilized lenses, and I think as a stills camera the E-M5 is really for choice.

Is the E-M5 worth the extra $$? If you're primarily video oriented, I'd say no way. If you're 100% stills, I'd say yes. As for me, I'll definitely keep both cameras.

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Jman13
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

I will be selling my GH2 shortly after getting the E-M5.

The E-M5 does MOST things better than the GH2, though not all.

Things it does better:

High ISO is a little better. Not a huge jump in the 800-1600 range, but a little more significant in the 3200-12,800 range.

Dynamic range is significantly better. I used to clip highlights all the time in contrasty scenes, and with the E-M5 it is very hard to clip highlights, even while maintaining the same midtone exposure.

In body IS is amazing. I had previously owned an E-p1, and never thought much about the IBIS. It was OK, but really didn't do all that much. The IBIS in the E-M5 is awesome. In fact, except for shooting people indoors in natural light (where their movement is more of an issue than camera shake), I almost never have to shoot at high ISO with the E-M5. I went out to shoot handheld night architecture a few times, and the highest ISO I had to use was 800, and shot most of the night at 400.

I love the sturdiness of the body and the rear screen is excellent. The EVF is clear, though not as large as the GH2...it's a wash there.

JPEGs are pretty good and overall color response is better to my eyes.

Things the GH2 does better than the E-M5:

Video - The E-M5's video is pretty good, but not as good as the GH2s, either in quality or in settings/capabilities.

The GH2's 'TC' is actually great in video mode, but the E-M5's just crops and enlarges, even in video, rather than using the central 1920x1080 pixels...so it's not as sharp as the GH2 in this mode.

I find the GH2 autofocus to be more precise. This is generally a non-issue, but the E-M5's focus points can still be a bit large, making it more difficult to lock on a ver specific point. The E-M5 also isn't quite as sure in AF operation in lower light as the GH2 with fast lenses (though it does a much better job focusing the Leica 45 macro in low light). In good light, they are both very quick and accurate, with the E-M5 maybe being a tiny bit faster.

The GH2's exterior controls are a bit better laid out as well, giving direct action to most important things right away. The E-M5 is more customizable, but isn't quite as fluid in operation as the GH2 is.

Still, all in all, I think the E-M5 is a rather noticeable step up. The 'wins' for the GH2 are by very small degrees except in video (which I don't really care about), while the 'wins' for the E-M5 are pretty big...especially the DR and IBIS.
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tgutgu
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

I have done the move and haven't sold my GH2 yet.

The design of the OMD is certainly more unique, but the GH2 is well formed and constructed well. Some people claim that the OMD is better build and more robust. I don't feel that except for the weather sealed aspect. The GH2 feels very solid although it is made of a strong plastic shell. On the other hand, the external controls of the GH2 feel stronger, I particularly don't trust the mode dial of the OMD.

The handling of each camera has positive and negative aspects. The GH2 shines through its mechanical, labeled switches, which give quick access to continuous shooting mode and bracketing. With the OMD you have to consult the menu (Bracketing is seven "clicks" away!). Add to this the custom modes C1, C2, C3 of the GH2 and you find that the GH2 allows much quicker access to your custom configuration. However, mode switches aren't the only thing, whihc contributes to handling. The OMD shines thorugh much better haptics of the control dials, which adjust exposure and shooting parameters. These are smoother to operate. The big plus of the OMD is the life view exposure paired with the highlighting of blocked shadows and blown highlights. This makes exposure control, a very important aspect of handling, a charme.

Therefore, I think handling of the OMD is in practice quite a bit better than that of the GH2.

If you like to use unstabilzed primes lenses or the 7-14mm zoom, the very effective sensor stabilisator (IBIS) is a big plus too.

The responsiveness of the OMD is slightly better as well. Most notably better is the burst performance, which really let the GH2 down. However, I find no magic with "the world's fastest AF", which I believe can't be true. I have the feeling that most m4/3 AF lenses hunt more with the OMD than with the GH2 on low light. On the other hand face detection works really nice.

I miss the fully tiltable screen of the GH2 as well. The view finders are on par. One is bigger but does not allow relieable life view exposure control and has no highlight marking.

The menu system and how the camera is to be configured are a pain. And despite of being customizable a lot, it is surprising that Olympus has limited this possibilities unnecessarily and a important aspects. There is now way to engage bracketing mode or any of the mysets quickly. At the GH2 it is just the turn of a large and robust mode dial!

In summary, despite of Olympus being a traditional, experienced photographic company, Panasonic got the analog part of the handling (which should be Olympus' competence) much better, whereas the OMD has to be expected the technology advance of the 1.5 year between GH2 and OMD. The Olympus engineers missed a lot of opportunities with the camera, probably thinking that retro styling is enough.

So, was the switch worth it? Definitely yes, because the OMD allows shoots not possible with the GH2. These are enabled by the better burst performance (also good for handheld exposure bracketing), IBIS, good handling of exposure control, and the better overall IQ especially in low light. This outweighs the aforementioned quibbles of the OMD, mostly induced by not enough thought out engineering decisions in the firmware department.

It is a pitty though, that in the OMD camera generation, Olympus did not spend any effort to increase the already poor battery life of previous m4/3 cameras. This is especially troublesome, as the batteries aren't readily available and because charging time is too long (3 to 4 hours). Mirrorless is now 3.5 years old. This should have been enough time to improve things (either by improving battery life or have spare batteries buyable).

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Setter Dog
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to tgutgu, May 11, 2012

Some interesting comments that did not come out in any of the professional reviews. It seems that some of the features I really liked on my GH2, are either gone or harder to activate. I especially liked the C1,C2, C3 selections. I'm surprised the E-M5 doesn't have this. I also REALLY liked the external selection of burst mode and focus modes. It beats going into the menu and jerking around with that for many seconds.

However, the improved burst rate in the E-M3 is a major improvement for my purposes. I probably won't enjoy getting in and out of the mode very much. I also will appreciate even a slight improvement in high ISO shooting.

It's good to have users of both cameras giving us some details.

Where are you when we need you, GH3?

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Louis_Dobson
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

Shoots much faster, primary interface much better, secondary interface much worse. IBIS works - first IS system I've found that is valuable for other than long lenses. Cameras is much smaller, with all that implies, both good and bad. You can presumably take it back up to GH2 size with the grip, mine is in transit.

You may not want an IQ comparison, but you'll get one: you cannot pull down GH2 files but pulling down OM-D files is easy. You can pull up GH2 files, but you can pull up OM-D files more.

It's a better camera on any logical basis except secondary handling, where the GH2 is excellent and the Oly is poor.

Setter Dog wrote:

I just sold my GH2 and am considering the E-M5, which seems to be the only thing available with EVF and similar features.

Those of you that have made the move to the E-M5, what are your general impressions of the new camera? Do you like it better? Does it handle as well?

I'm not looking for IQ comparisons etc, since those are available elsewhere, but it would be interesting to hear from actual users that have made the change. Thanks.

Jack

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TEBnewyork
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to Setter Dog, May 11, 2012

Setter Dog wrote:

Some interesting comments that did not come out in any of the professional reviews. It seems that some of the features I really liked on my GH2, are either gone or harder to activate. I especially liked the C1,C2, C3 selections. I'm surprised the E-M5 doesn't have this. I also REALLY liked the external selection of burst mode and focus modes. It beats going into the menu and jerking around with that for many seconds.

It has mysets but they are very convoluted to use.

However, the improved burst rate in the E-M3 is a major improvement for my purposes. I probably won't enjoy getting in and out of the mode very much. I also will appreciate even a slight improvement in high ISO shooting.

Burst you can get to from the super control panel (single, burst, self timer). Bracketing is not on that drive mode setting, it is independent and in menus.

It's good to have users of both cameras giving us some details.

Where are you when we need you, GH3?

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Setter Dog
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Re: GH2 users that went to E-M5, Impressions?
In reply to TEBnewyork, May 11, 2012

TEBnewyork wrote:
It has mysets but they are very convoluted to use.

Burst you can get to from the super control panel (single, burst, self timer). Bracketing is not on that drive mode setting, it is independent and in menus.

The super control panel must be a shortcut type thing to the menus?

I do have one specific question. Is it possible, and quick, to get a very small spot focus with the E-M5? For example, you are shooting Elk in open country with one area focus and you see an animal (maybe a bear?) in heavy cover. To get that shot you will need to shoot between hanging limbs etc. GH2 owners know this is very easy and fast to get the spot focus small square. How about the E-M5?

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