What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?

Started Feb 3, 2013 | Questions
Kim Flowers
Forum MemberPosts: 72
Like?
What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
Feb 3, 2013

There are almost too many options on the market today, but all in all, I think that's good, if not a little overwhelming when trying to decide what to buy.  Apart from the high price tag, this small sensor mirrorless camera seems to perform very well (can't say that I see any difference in IQ on my computer screen from the DSLR's, but then the computer screen only has so much resolution) and the Olympus has the size advantage for always being at your side.  I've wanted to purchase a DSLR or Sony SLT camera for the creative control, but this camera seems to offer as much!  What am I missing?

ANSWER:
cerberusjf
Regular MemberPosts: 293
Like?
Re: What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
In reply to Kim Flowers, Feb 3, 2013

For me it was high iso image quality and handling (I didn't like the small rubbery buttons or grip) and price actually.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Brent J
Regular MemberPosts: 383Gear list
Like?
Re: What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
In reply to Kim Flowers, Feb 3, 2013

Are you asking why the EM5 doesn't sell as well as some of the big DSLR models? There are probably several reasons. For one thing, I don't see any of the Micro Four-Thirds cameras in stores. I think a lot of people do their camera shopping at Target, Walmart, Costco, Best Buy, etc. I've never seen any MFT cameras at any of these businesses. So, many people just simply aren't aware cameras like the EM5 even exist.

Another reason could be that many people see working "pros" using the big black DSLR and big lenses and they figure the big cameras are the best. So that is what they buy. Those of us that read this website are probably in the super-minority relative to all camera buyers.

-- hide signature --

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
bob5050
Regular MemberPosts: 159Gear list
Like?
Re: What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
In reply to Kim Flowers, Feb 3, 2013

All else being equal, a larger sensor and bigger, faster glass is always going to get a bit more light captured, so a bit more detail, a bit less noise.

That said, however, there is a question of diminishing returns here--how often are you going to need an extreme blowup/crop? How big you going to print? How dark a scene are you gong to want to shoot? If you're never going to push the limits of what the camera can do, then the benefits of that last 'what am I missing' capability might be nothing at all.

At the level of camera you're talking about, it's really about the fit of the camera to you--any of them (dSLR, M43, SLT) are going to do a good job.

bob

 bob5050's gear list:bob5050's gear list
Canon PowerShot SD800 IS Olympus C-5050 Zoom Pentax K-30 Pentax smc DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR Pentax smc DA 35mm F2.4 AL
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
micronean
Regular MemberPosts: 296Gear list
Like?
Re: What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
In reply to Kim Flowers, Feb 3, 2013

Kim Flowers wrote:

There are almost too many options on the market today, but all in all, I think that's good, if not a little overwhelming when trying to decide what to buy. Apart from the high price tag, this small sensor mirrorless camera seems to perform very well (can't say that I see any difference in IQ on my computer screen from the DSLR's, but then the computer screen only has so much resolution) and the Olympus has the size advantage for always being at your side. I've wanted to purchase a DSLR or Sony SLT camera for the creative control, but this camera seems to offer as much! What am I missing?

I was exactly in the same boat a few months ago. I had all the intentions of getting a sony A77, but I chose the EM-5 instead.

I chose it because:

a) it was lighter. it wasn't so important that it was small, but that it was lighter even with a lens of similar focal length.

b) the viewfinder I found less cluttered--and easier to see through with my glasses--than the sony. This was a big one for me.

c) the manual controls dials were where I wanted them. I also don't care for the on/off switch being by the shutter button, so the location of the switch on the EM-5 is no problem.

d) it looked and felt like the vintage cameras I learned on.

In the end, because I'm not a pro, just an enthusiast, I opted for something capable of being "artistic" with, and especially something to fit more with my own style. Not that I couldn't do with a Nikon d7000, or A77, but the EM-5 felt more "right" and less pretentious.

The only real drawback for me about the EM-5 isn't so much the focus tracking, because I don't take pictures of sports or wild animals, but it's that the AF cannot--and will not--focus on a flat, uniform colour background. I tried focusing on a brown wooden door and it will not do it. my old SLRs would (then I stuck a yellow post-it note on the door, and it focused perfectly. go figure ). That's pretty much the only "real world" drawback I've had with the EM-5, and if that is all, then you know I am over the moon with this camera.

 micronean's gear list:micronean's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Lee Jay
Forum ProPosts: 44,307Gear list
Like?
Anything with moving subjects
In reply to Kim Flowers, Feb 3, 2013

Such a camera can't do that well on moving subjects because the AF system doesn't track well and because the EVF has lag.

It also has poor ergonomics due to the small size so if you shoot for hours at a time, you'll end up in a lot more pain than if you were shooting with a better-fitting camera.

Third, it has perhaps 1/5th the battery life of a modest dSLR so if you shoot a lot of shots, you'll need a lot of batteries with you.

Finally, it's not part of a big, flexible system.  There are fewer support accessory options and no possibility to move up in sensor size if you should choose to do that later.

-- hide signature --

Lee Jay
(see profile for equipment)

 Lee Jay's gear list:Lee Jay's gear list
Canon ELPH 500 HS Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 20D Canon EOS 550D +23 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
TrapperJohn
Forum ProPosts: 10,422
Like?
From an EM5 owner
In reply to Kim Flowers, Feb 3, 2013

I have had an EM5 since last April, got one of the first to be shipped. It has performed in a stellar manner. Amazing that so much can be put into such a small package. Some outstanding points:

Size: it is smaller than you might think. It's especially thinner than the typical dslr. Doesn't quite fit in a pocket, but it doesn't make its presence known nearly as much, because it's lighter, smaller, and thinner. It does not intrude on your other activities the way a larger dslr will. People around you just don't seem to notice it the way a dslr will draw attention, which is a nice bonus.

Image stabilization: quite simply, the best I've ever seen. I'm getting handheld telephoto shots that would have been unthinkable with other image stabilization systems: in body or in lens.

General performance: very clean images, up through ISO3200. 6400 is cleanable. Dynamic range is quite good.

AF accuracy is outstanding, better than most dslr's. The later lenses for the EM5 AF extremely fast. Low light AF is also quite good.

The lens selection is the best of any mirrorless platform, from inexpensive kit up through exquisitely sharp fast primes. And, the lenses are quite small, unlike some mirrorless systems that have small bodies but very large (in comparison) lenses. Bonus: if you shoot a lot of static subjects, you can pick up some real deals on the larger Olympus 4/3 lenses right now. They are some of the sharpest fast zooms available at any price, they're going cheap right now, the only caveat is - AF with those lenses is slow, in the 1-2 second range. But, you can't beat the price.

Limitations:

Continuous autofocus does not always work well. If the subject is moving towards or away from you at a fairly constant rate, it does pretty good, but it can't deal well with a subject that changes direction.

AF struggles with targets that don't have a lot of contrast, like a smooth wall. This is contrast detection autofocus, which means there has to be a bit of contrast to detect.

The buttons on the back are small. I got used to them pretty quickly, but if you have particularly large hands or large fingers, you might want to handle one to see how you like it.

Some common misconceptions I keep hearing, from people who probably haven't used an EM5 to any degree:

The EVF. It's very good, and I've been using OVF's for decades. It's so good that I tend to forget it's an EVF. I keep hearing people talk about EVF lag, but I haven't seen it, even when tracking a moving subject. Resolution is very good, not at all grainy, good enough to judge MF, especially if you engage the true DOF preview, you just adjust the in focus band.

Price: It's not cheap, but when you consider that it pretty much matches the high end APS DSLR's from C/N at a slightly lower price, and it's quite a bit more compact, and it's weathersealed, and it has built in image stabilization that's better than what C/N charge extra per lens to get, it's really not that expensive.

Here's a favorite EM5 shot, taken using an old manual focus Nikkor 400 3.5 plus 2x TC:

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mosswings
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,862Gear list
Like?
Re: What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
In reply to Kim Flowers, Feb 3, 2013

The Oly OMD EM5 is perhaps the first u4/3 camera than can go head to head with APS-C DSLRs in terms of image quality...at least 2009 image quality.  It's often directly compared to the Nikon D90 in that regard.  Basically, the sensor technology finally caught up, and Oly is using the EXMOR technology that made the D7000/D5100/NEX5 so impressive.  However, it still ain't there in terms of tracking AF (no PDAF), but for single relatively static subjects it does great...this encompasses much of what most folks want in a camera.

However, the overall u4/3 system price is still very high; the EM5 competes closely with top-level enthusiast DSLRs like the D7000 directly in terms of configurability and direct manual settings, as well as single shot AF and image stabilization, but entry level DSLRs can beat it in the grab shot and in bang for buck.  When you can get a D3200, T3i, or similar camera for $600-$900 in a kit, the cost of the EM5 is sobering.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mike_PEAT
Forum ProPosts: 10,190Gear list
Like?
You don't actually own one, so how can you answer?
In reply to Lee Jay, Feb 3, 2013

I don't see one listed on your gear list...and it seems you are answering based on what you've heard only, rather than your own experience, or the facts.

ljfinger wrote:

Such a camera can't do that well on moving subjects because the AF system doesn't track well and because the EVF has lag.

Personally I've done birds using CAF+TR, but BIF takes practice with ANY camera.  Also the EVF frame rate can be sped up using a menu setting getting rid of the lag.

It also has poor ergonomics due to the small size so if you shoot for hours at a time, you'll end up in a lot more pain than if you were shooting with a better-fitting camera.

For many decades the majority of SLR cameras on the market used to be similar in size to the E-M5...pros used them for decades without issue.  Some did add a grip to the camera, and the E-M5 has that option.  It's certainly a lot better than the big, bulky, heavy, oversized dSLRs the manufacturers have been forcing us to use, rather than making normal sized cameras like the E-M5.

I'm in a lot less pain after a two hour studio shoot with the much lighter E-M5 and grip, than with the monster dSLRs with grips I used to use!  Again if you've never tried both in that situation you're only guessing, not stating fact!

Third, it has perhaps 1/5th the battery life of a modest dSLR so if you shoot a lot of shots, you'll need a lot of batteries with you.

I did a studio shoot where I got 800 shots in an hour. In that case though I had IS off and wasn't doing a lot of reviewing or walking around with the viewfinder/monitor on.

Finally, it's not part of a big, flexible system. There are fewer support accessory options and no possibility to move up in sensor size if you should choose to do that later.

It's more flexible than any other system.  With an adapter you can attach lenses from other brands including Nikon and Canon.  Don't know what "accessory options" you're talking about that it doesn't support since I've used external flashes, remote TTL flashes, radio slaves, remote shutter triggers (including light, sound, and motion detection types), filters, tethering, etc.

As for larger sensors, if you get a 135/35mm Canon or Nikon body you can't move up to a larger sensor size either without getting all new lenses, so that's a moot point.

 Mike_PEAT's gear list:Mike_PEAT's gear list
Lytro Light Field 16GB
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Lee Jay
Forum ProPosts: 44,307Gear list
Like?
Re: You don't actually own one, so how can you answer?
In reply to Mike_PEAT, Feb 4, 2013

Mike_PEAT wrote:

I don't see one listed on your gear list...and it seems you are answering based on what you've heard only, rather than your own experience, or the facts.

I've tried out several of them.

ljfinger wrote:

Such a camera can't do that well on moving subjects because the AF system doesn't track well and because the EVF has lag.

Personally I've done birds using CAF+TR, but BIF takes practice with ANY camera. Also the EVF frame rate can be sped up using a menu setting getting rid of the lag.

No, the lag will be there regardless.  You might be able to reduce it but you can't get rid of it.

It also has poor ergonomics due to the small size so if you shoot for hours at a time, you'll end up in a lot more pain than if you were shooting with a better-fitting camera.

For many decades the majority of SLR cameras on the market used to be similar in size to the E-M5...pros used them for decades without issue.

I had one - and it was most certainly an issue.  The thing that helped was that I'd never shoot more than perhaps 100 shots in a day.  Digital changed that.

Some did add a grip to the camera, and the E-M5 has that option. It's certainly a lot better than the big, bulky, heavy, oversized dSLRs the manufacturers have been forcing us to use, rather than making normal sized cameras like the E-M5.

My 5D is much, much more comfortable to hold than any smaller camera, including the E-M5.

I'm in a lot less pain after a two hour studio shoot with the much lighter E-M5 and grip, than with the monster dSLRs with grips I used to use! Again if you've never tried both in that situation you're only guessing, not stating fact!

I have tried it, and spent several days with cramps.

Third, it has perhaps 1/5th the battery life of a modest dSLR so if you shoot a lot of shots, you'll need a lot of batteries with you.

I did a studio shoot where I got 800 shots in an hour. In that case though I had IS off and wasn't doing a lot of reviewing or walking around with the viewfinder/monitor on.

Oooo...800.  I'd taken 900 shots in 5 minutes without dropping a bar.  I shot 2,000 shots on a charge with my Rebel in horrid conditions without dropping a bar.  I know someone that got 13,000 shots on a charge under ideal conditions.

Finally, it's not part of a big, flexible system. There are fewer support accessory options and no possibility to move up in sensor size if you should choose to do that later.

It's more flexible than any other system.

As long as you don't mind manual focal.

As for larger sensors, if you get a 135/35mm Canon or Nikon body you can't move up to a larger sensor size either without getting all new lenses, so that's a moot point.

But you're starting out 4 times as big.  I started with APS-c, and moved up to full-frame when the option became available.

-- hide signature --

Lee Jay
(see profile for equipment)

 Lee Jay's gear list:Lee Jay's gear list
Canon ELPH 500 HS Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 20D Canon EOS 550D +23 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
bob5050
Regular MemberPosts: 159Gear list
Like?
Re: You don't actually own one, so how can you answer?
In reply to Lee Jay, Feb 4, 2013

ljfinger wrote:

My 5D is much, much more comfortable to hold than any smaller camera, including the E-M5.

Still going to be personal fit. Finding dSLRs inconveniently large isn't exactly unknown.

bob

 bob5050's gear list:bob5050's gear list
Canon PowerShot SD800 IS Olympus C-5050 Zoom Pentax K-30 Pentax smc DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR Pentax smc DA 35mm F2.4 AL
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Lee Jay
Forum ProPosts: 44,307Gear list
Like?
Re: You don't actually own one, so how can you answer?
In reply to bob5050, Feb 4, 2013

bob5050 wrote:

ljfinger wrote:

My 5D is much, much more comfortable to hold than any smaller camera, including the E-M5.

Still going to be personal fit. Finding dSLRs inconveniently large isn't exactly unknown.

To carry, perhaps.  To use?  Which looks like a more comfortable grip to you?

-- hide signature --

Lee Jay
(see profile for equipment)

 Lee Jay's gear list:Lee Jay's gear list
Canon ELPH 500 HS Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 20D Canon EOS 550D +23 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
bob5050
Regular MemberPosts: 159Gear list
Like?
Re: You don't actually own one, so how can you answer?
In reply to Lee Jay, Feb 4, 2013

ljfinger wrote:

bob5050 wrote:

Still going to be personal fit. Finding dSLRs inconveniently large isn't exactly unknown.

To carry, perhaps. To use? Which looks like a more comfortable grip to you?

-- hide signature --

Lee Jay
(see profile for equipment)

Which looks more comfortable to me hardly matters, since (1) I don't tend to take pictures one-handed anyway, and (2) most likely neither of us knows how big Kim's hands are--surely it's the OP's fit that matters.

Then too, carrying is not necessarily an unimportant part of the equation. Even dSLR owners commonly have secondary cameras as carry-arounds rather than constantly toting the big gear. How much hefting is going to be acceptable depends on whether you go to take the pictures, or just take the pictures to better remember the trip.

bob

 bob5050's gear list:bob5050's gear list
Canon PowerShot SD800 IS Olympus C-5050 Zoom Pentax K-30 Pentax smc DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR Pentax smc DA 35mm F2.4 AL
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kim Flowers
Forum MemberPosts: 72
Like?
Re: What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
In reply to micronean, Feb 4, 2013

Thanks!  It's quite helpful to hear of your experience, both with the decision-making and the end result.  The pictures I've seen taken with this camera have been fantastic (on flickriver.com) and it sounds like you've been enjoying it, too.

Happy Shooting!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kim Flowers
Forum MemberPosts: 72
Like?
Re: From an EM5 owner
In reply to TrapperJohn, Feb 4, 2013

Thank you for the insight from your experience with this camera!  It's good to know that the EVF and the image stabilization are so good, but ultimately, I think the AF issues may end up being a problem for me.  Not only do I want to use the camera for everything from macro to landscapes, I want to be able to get good, quick pictures on the fly of my kids.  I will see if I can find it at a real camera store and do some tests before I dismiss it, however.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kim Flowers
Forum MemberPosts: 72
Like?
Re: What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
In reply to mosswings, Feb 4, 2013

Good to know that it has all the manual capabilities of a DSLR.  That was one thing I was unsure about.  A couple EM5 owners also commented that the EVF is actually very good with little or no lag, so that's another of my concerns answered.  (I live in a beautiful mountain town, but we have no real camera store so I haven't seen the EM5 in person yet.)

The clincher is, I don't only shoot static subjects.  Unfortunately, in order to gain quick/tracking AF (i.e. by purchasing an entry/mid level dslr), I may have to give up the IQ and other awesome features of this camera   It does sound like the mirrorless cameras may eventually overcome these AF issues through improvements with contrast detection AF in the future, though (I'd essentially asked this same question regarding the Sony NEX cameras compared to the Sony dSLT's, but I wasn'tcertain the same AF issues applied to the EM5 with its different sensor size.)

Thanks much for your input!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kim Flowers
Forum MemberPosts: 72
Like?
Re: Anything with moving subjects
In reply to Lee Jay, Feb 4, 2013

Thanks for your reply.

I have heard from a few owners that have said the EVF is actually pretty good with little or no perceivable lag, but I think the AF issues (which sound the same as those with the NEX cameras, resulting from only having contrast detection rather than phase detection AF) are the dealbreaker for me.

It's a shame, because I think this camera probably has better IQ/features than whatever I will end up with/can afford in the DSLR market.  Also, although I have serious concerns about the ergonomics with the grip, it would be nice to have a more concealable camera with me in Manhattan on an upcoming pleasure trip so as not to scream, "I'm a tourist!"

Anyway, this has helped to further define what I need and want in a camera, so thanks again.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mosswings
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,862Gear list
Like?
Re: What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
In reply to Kim Flowers, Feb 4, 2013

Kim Flowers wrote:

Good to know that it has all the manual capabilities of a DSLR. That was one thing I was unsure about. A couple EM5 owners also commented that the EVF is actually very good with little or no lag, so that's another of my concerns answered. (I live in a beautiful mountain town, but we have no real camera store so I haven't seen the EM5 in person yet.)

The clincher is, I don't only shoot static subjects. Unfortunately, in order to gain quick/tracking AF (i.e. by purchasing an entry/mid level dslr), I may have to give up the IQ and other awesome features of this camera

To be clear: The IQ of an APS-C camera like the Nikon D5100, D7000, or D5200 will exceed that of the EM5. But mostly what you give up in the EM5 is tracking autofocus speed, battery life, certain fine details. I've noted a modest tendency of the EVF to "tear" when rapidly panning, but only occasionally. Thom Hogan recently published an EM5 review after a year of heavy use. Its pros and cons vs. other mirrorless, DSLRs, and in general is a very good pre-purchase read:

http://www.sansmirror.com/cameras/a-note-about-camera-reviews/olympus-camera-reviews/olympus-om-d-e-m5-review.html


 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kim Flowers
Forum MemberPosts: 72
Like?
Re: What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
In reply to mosswings, Feb 4, 2013


Thanks for the link!

I may go for the Sony A57, actually.  Any thought on its IQ?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mosswings
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,862Gear list
Like?
Re: What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?
In reply to Kim Flowers, Feb 4, 2013

Kim Flowers wrote:


Thanks for the link!

I may go for the Sony A57, actually. Any thought on its IQ?

I have no experience with the Sony, but it does use the same sensor as the NEX-5 and D5100/D7000 - however, Nikon always has some secret sauce it uses in its imaging chain that gets just a little more out of the sensor than Sony does.  You probably wouldn't notice.  DPReview did a review on the A57 and gave it a Gold award.  Read it elsewhere on this site.  Remember that its not the camera body that makes a DSLR, its the lenses.  Sony's lenses are quite good.  Nikon's and Canon's are generally better.  But good third party lenses are available for all.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads