Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)

Started May 14, 2013 | Discussions
Pierrrrrrre
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
May 14, 2013

Hi everyone!

After using a DSLR for more than 5 years (and loving the optical viewfinder), I want to switch to a smaller camera, because I realized I was missing a lot of opportunities of shooting, simply because I was leaving my camera at home most of the time...

So, after reading a lot about these systems, and trying out the OM-D and the NEX-6 a few days ago, I would like to ask for your opinion about it.

First, my current point of view on both cameras:

Olympus OM-D
+ Excellent image quality, even in Jpeg
+ Stabilisation (5 axes !) included in the camera body
+ Good quantity of Four Third lenses (Panasonic, Olympus, Sigma...)
+ Very nice retro design
+ Heavy customization possible (looks like you can customize almost all the buttons!)
- Four Third sensor = smaller than an APS-C = less light = issues in low light (?)
- Body is a bit too small, and buttons as well...
- The kit lens (12-50mm) looks quite big compared to the 16-50 of the Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-6
+ APS-C sensor, therefore better image quality than a Four Third sensor (?)
+ With its kit lens (16-50mm), it's really small and light!
+ The elecontric viewfinder resolution is pretty amazing
+ Hybrid AF system: The best of both Worlds?
+ WiFi included, can be useful
- The picture quality doesn't look that amazing for a camera "with a Reflex sensor"
- No body stabilisation

I used the very useful DPReview comparison widget to check the quality of both cameras in same situation, and I am very impressed by the image quality of the Olympus OM-D; Although it has a smaller sensor, it seems more capable in terms of sharpness, contrast (in Jpeg) and overall details, even in high ISO.

In comparison, the Sony NEX-6 Jpeg pictures look too smooth.

I plan to shoot street views, especially at night or in low light conditions, and I always thought my previous camera, a DSLR (Nikon D7000 with the 24mm f2.8D), delivered images that lacked sharpness.

Did you try both of them? What did you like/not like in them? What would you recommend, and why, or would you recommend another one, and why?

Thanks for your feedback!

P.S.: Should I also post this in the Sony NEX section of this forum?

Nikon D7000 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Sony Alpha NEX-6
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Alumna Gorp
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pierrrrrrre, May 14, 2013

Pierrrrrrre wrote:

Hi everyone!

After using a DSLR for more than 5 years (and loving the optical viewfinder), I want to switch to a smaller camera, because I realized I was missing a lot of opportunities of shooting, simply because I was leaving my camera at home most of the time...

So, after reading a lot about these systems, and trying out the OM-D and the NEX-6 a few days ago, I would like to ask for your opinion about it.

First, my current point of view on both cameras:

Olympus OM-D
+ Excellent image quality, even in Jpeg
+ Stabilisation (5 axes !) included in the camera body
+ Good quantity of Four Third lenses (Panasonic, Olympus, Sigma...)
+ Very nice retro design
+ Heavy customization possible (looks like you can customize almost all the buttons!)
- Four Third sensor = smaller than an APS-C = less light = issues in low light (?)
- Body is a bit too small, and buttons as well...
- The kit lens (12-50mm) looks quite big compared to the 16-50 of the Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-6
+ APS-C sensor, therefore better image quality than a Four Third sensor (?)
+ With its kit lens (16-50mm), it's really small and light!
+ The elecontric viewfinder resolution is pretty amazing
+ Hybrid AF system: The best of both Worlds?
+ WiFi included, can be useful
- The picture quality doesn't look that amazing for a camera "with a Reflex sensor"
- No body stabilisation

I used the very useful DPReview comparison widget to check the quality of both cameras in same situation, and I am very impressed by the image quality of the Olympus OM-D; Although it has a smaller sensor, it seems more capable in terms of sharpness, contrast (in Jpeg) and overall details, even in high ISO.

In comparison, the Sony NEX-6 Jpeg pictures look too smooth.

I plan to shoot street views, especially at night or in low light conditions, and I always thought my previous camera, a DSLR (Nikon D7000 with the 24mm f2.8D), delivered images that lacked sharpness.

Did you try both of them? What did you like/not like in them? What would you recommend, and why, or would you recommend another one, and why?

Thanks for your feedback!

P.S.: Should I also post this in the Sony NEX section of this forum?

Four Third sensor = smaller than an APS-C = less light = issues in low light (?)
- Body is a bit too small, and buttons as well...
- The kit lens (12-50mm) looks quite big compared to the 16-50 of the Sony NEX-6

There is nothing wrong with the OMD and latest M4/3 Olympus sensors in low light, these sensors are made by Sony.

Body too small, you can always add the grip, the first part simply improves handling.

The 12-50mm kit lens is no bigger than any other normal kit lens, what you see is what you get, this lens does not extend when you zoom.

If you want a dslr sized system, get the Sony.

If you want a compact system, go M4/3.

When choosing a system as a whole don`t go by the camera`s body size, it hardly ever tells the full story.

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joergzielosko
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pierrrrrrre, May 15, 2013

Pierrrrrrre wrote:

- The kit lens (12-50mm) looks quite big compared to the 16-50 of the Sony NEX-6

You are comparing a weather-sealed, non-extracting lens to a retractable power zoom lens. If size does matter, you can use the Panasonic 14-42 X lens with the E-M5: http://j.mp/WqMQZH

For me personally, solidity is more important than size. I used the retractable Olympus 14-42 II for some time on an E-PL2, but never liked the fiddly folding mechanism and extracting zoom barrel.

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Jorginho
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pierrrrrrre, May 15, 2013

1) Yes, you should indeed post this on the NEX forum too. People over here are biased clearly and so are they on the NEX forum. So Combined, you get a better picture I believe.

2) No, the OMD is not worse at high ISO. From ISO 200 onwards it is identical to the NEX6 in each and every way (noise, dynamic range, colour depth and tonality). Compare both at dxomark.com

3) I think you a re forgetting about the lenses, may be also the reason why your D7000 gave you too smooth images. The mFT lenses, especially the primes and the fast zooms are all better than any NEX lens. and there are more of them too. And they are smaller and lighter in weight.

4) Ergonomics: I found the NEX6 to be excellent in my hand. I think it is a very well built body. Quite some complaints about the knobs being small and not so responsive on the OMD.

5) It seems AF of the m43 cams is still better than on the NEX. Check it out I'd say.

6) yes, all lenses are now stablized. And very good too.

7) Weathersealing could be important too.

Hope it helps!

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zxaar
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Jorginho, May 15, 2013

Jorginho wrote:

1) Yes, you should indeed post this on the NEX forum too. People over here are biased clearly and so are they on the NEX forum. So Combined, you get a better picture I believe.

2) No, the OMD is not worse at high ISO. From ISO 200 onwards it is identical to the NEX6 in each and every way (noise, dynamic range, colour depth and tonality). Compare both at dxomark.com

Compared and OMD is worse than NEX - 6

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors/Compare-cameras-side-by-side/%28appareil1%29/832|0/%28brand%29/Sony/%28appareil2%29/793|0/%28brand2%29/Olympus

3) I think you a re forgetting about the lenses, may be also the reason why your D7000 gave you too smooth images. The mFT lenses, especially the primes and the fast zooms are all better than any NEX lens. and there are more of them too. And they are smaller and lighter in weight.

4) Ergonomics: I found the NEX6 to be excellent in my hand. I think it is a very well built body. Quite some complaints about the knobs being small and not so responsive on the OMD.

5) It seems AF of the m43 cams is still better than on the NEX. Check it out I'd say.

6) yes, all lenses are now stablized. And very good too.

7) Weathersealing could be important too.

Hope it helps!

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::> I make spelling mistakes. May Dog forgive me for this.

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Pyramides
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pierrrrrrre, May 15, 2013

Pierrrrrrre wrote:

P.S.: Should I also post this in the Sony NEX section of this forum?

No. Ignore the NEX forum. They are infidels.

Oh, and the E-M5 is the better camera.

(sorry for the silly post, could not resist)

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Francisco

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BingoCharlie
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pyramides, May 15, 2013

You'll get better pictures with the E-M5.  People get way too wrapped up in sensor scores.  The E-M5 has an excellent sensor.  That, combined with great glass and the best stabilization in the business, will give you better results more of the time.

5-axis stabilization is a very big deal.  I shot over 2,000 photos on a recent trip and maybe a dozen of them were OOF due to camera shake.  We were outside and moving around a lot.  The camera was not babied.  The E-M5's 5-axis IBIS is its trump card in real world shooting, but it's the kind of thing that makes zero difference in studio testing.

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Jorginho
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to zxaar, May 15, 2013

Above ISO 200: no. A difference of 1/6 of a stop is not significant. And thatonly happens with i think tonality here and there.

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JudyN
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pierrrrrrre, May 15, 2013

One day I thought I really want a smaller camera than my Sony A77.  So I looked at NEX.  No image stabilization?  That's a no-go for me.  I noticed in a thread mention of the E-M5 and took a look.  Now I have one.

My history is probably different from yours -- I have some micro four thirds and four thirds lenses.  My Panasonic G1 has been converted to IR and lives with the Pany 14-140mm lens.  I also still have the Pany 20mm pancake, a four thirds wide angle, and an Oly 70-300mm four thirds.  Plus a converter of course.

But even if you don't have lenses, look at the lens lineup for the NEX.  Not much.  And even with a converter and my Sony lenses, the NEX has no stabilization and the lenses don't because the A77 and A55 bodies do.

So to me it was mostly no stabilization (a killer for me) and few lenses.  Add that I had lenses that would work on the E-M5, I bought the E-M5.

I don't know how large the lenses are for the NEX but I am really enjoying again the small lens size of micro four thirds.  Or even four thirds!  I bought a long zoom for the Sony and I swear I've almost never use it.  It's almost as large as my car.  I love the four thirds Oly 70-300mm (to 600 equivalent) but am looking forward to springing for the 75-300mm micro four thirds.  Both focus at about 3 ft, which makes it great for "macro" flower photography.  As well as birds.

You need to see the E-M5 with the Pany 20mm pancake.  Nice lens, lovely  package.

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cmpatti
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pierrrrrrre, May 16, 2013

People tend to obsess over immaterial difference--for example sensor quality--that won't really make any visible difference in prints or web-sized images. To my mind there are three major factors--factors that will make a significant difference to your shooting experience and photographs--that should be the basis of your decision between these two cameras:

1.  Availability of lenses.  Here the EM5 (or any MFT camera) has a clear edge over the Sony.

2. IBIS.  EM5 has it, Sony doesn't.

3. Handling.  This one is subjective and could legitimately be the deciding factor if you really like the handling of the Sony more than the EM5.

For me, 1 & 2 were decisive in choosing the EM5 over the NEX system (I was looking at the NEX 7), but #3 might be decisive for you in the other direction.  At the end of the day, however, they are both great cameras, and you should be able to take fabulous pictures with either, so whatever decision you make, stick with it and avoid the temptation to continually system-swap.

PS--You forgot to ask about the Fuji.

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Rodolfo
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to cmpatti, May 16, 2013

cmpatti wrote:

PS--You forgot to ask about the Fuji.

I'd agree; I have the X-10, and am considering the G5, in large part because of the 7-14 lens. But, I am balking because I'm fairly sure I really want to spring for the X-E1. Be patient and enjoy your new camera.

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CosmoZooo
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pierrrrrrre, May 16, 2013

I keep seeing this question come up over and over It is a tough choice between the two and IMO they are very closely matched - each one has their own strengths and weaknesses.

For me the deciding factor was the price...I got the NEX-6 about 3 month back for an awsome price of about $970 after taxes with both kit 16-50 and tele 55-210. Once I add a 50mm to this (50mm f1.8 OSS for $300 looks great) I will be pretty much set, so it all depends on your needs.

You can have all lense selection in the world but if the lenses you need are covered by the system it becomes a moot point. All the lenses I mentioned are already stabilized - I am not sure if any of the e-mount are not.

OMD was a $300+ more just with the kit lens and over $400 with the tele added. In addition video AF was important to me and based on what I have seen and read OMD has some hunting issues when tracking moving subjects in video (maybe of no importance to you though).

I wouldn't get hung up on the Dpreview test images...I've discussed those scenarios and where the camera focused during the test shoot and what lens was used (in this case it's not even an E-mount lens - it's an A mount through adapter) can make quite a difference to how sharp the image looks.

From what I have seen the OMD images are indeed sharper but it's due to the JPEG engine in the camera...OMD JPEGs are very nice - if you hate any kind of PP could be the right choice for you but with just a little PP you can transform NEX-6 images to look just like that. On the other hand if you look at higher ISO images on the comparison tools you may notice some artifacts due to sharpening, which can also be boosted on the NEX-6 in-camera. I am not defending the NEX - just trying to point out that you shouldn't concentrate on that softness in Dpreview tests - look at the many sample images posted on the forums instead.

I think that image quality wise it is safe to say that neither camera really has much of the upper hand over the other so base your decision on other factors.

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AllMankind
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pierrrrrrre, May 16, 2013

Pierrrrrrre wrote:

Olympus OM-D
+ Excellent image quality, even in Jpeg
+ Stabilisation (5 axes !) included in the camera body
+ Good quantity of Four Third lenses (Panasonic, Olympus, Sigma...)
+ Very nice retro design

Yes, micro43 has an outstanding native mount lens selection.


+ Heavy customization possible (looks like you can customize almost all the buttons!)
- Four Third sensor = smaller than an APS-C = less light = issues in low light (?)

Right now APS still does better than 4/3 for high ISO.  That said, the current generation of micro43 cameras are very very good.  So I would have to say it depends on how heavily you weight high ISO performance in your considerations.


- Body is a bit too small, and buttons as well...

Not really, unless you really like the size of FF 35mm SLRs, or have very big hands.


- The kit lens (12-50mm) looks quite big compared to the 16-50 of the Sony NEX-6
Sony NEX-6

Yes, it does make for a very nice small NEX package.  But if top notch image quality is what you are after, you will definately need a better lens.


+ APS-C sensor, therefore better image quality than a Four Third sensor (?)
+ With its kit lens (16-50mm), it's really small and light!

See my comment above.  APS still gets the nudge for high ISO performance


+ The elecontric viewfinder resolution is pretty amazing

It beats not having an EVF, that's for sure, but in no way compares to a good OVF.

+ Hybrid AF system: The best of both Worlds?

Push.  Only works with some lenses, not all, and of course, not at all with any legacy lens.

+ WiFi included, can be useful

Could be, but really isn't.  The Sony remote control app is severely crippled.


- The picture quality doesn't look that amazing for a camera "with a Reflex sensor"

Huh?

- No body stabilisation

No IBIS.  Sony, like Panasonic, has optical stabilization in some lenses (the 16-50 kit lens, for example).

I own the NEX-6 and a Panasonic GX1.  Personally, I think the GX1 is the better camera.

One thing you did not mention is the NEX mickey mouse menu system.  It is just horrible.

The GX1 gives more opportunities to customize the camera to work the way you want it to.  To me, the NEX fights you all the way.

The NEX has no custom save slots for camera settings... NONE, ZERO, NADA.

The GX1 has 4.

I like the NEX EVF, but only because the GX1 does not have a builtin EVF.

The grip on the NEX is very good.

The tilting LCD on the NEX is not only good, but quite useful.

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YuriS
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pierrrrrrre, May 16, 2013

Hi! I had in the same situation couple of months ago and even posted same question on both MFT and NEX forums. See below.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3364173

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3365201

In a fact I chose NEX-6. A major reason was the price. In my local store OM-D costs $1400 (body only), while Nex-6 - $820. I see no reason to pay more for OM-D.

Also I would like to add two benefit points for Nex-6:

1. Min ISO 100 – OM-D have only ISO 200 capability.

2. Focus peaking during manual focusing or legacy lens usage – it is very exiting…

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brunoch
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to YuriS, May 16, 2013

I switched from a NEX-5N to the OM-D several months ago.

The reasons were:

- to have a more reactive camera (I find that nex cameras are slow to boo-up and resume)

- to have a better autofocus

- to have smaller lenses, and primes with good cost/quality ratio (zeiss 24mm is indeed excellent, but very expensive)

At this time, I'm very happy with the OM-D. The image quality is excellent, and actually I prefer the rendering of the OM-D pictures.

To sum-up my impression: I feel that the OM-D is a great photographic tool, while the NEX are more designed as small (and not very reactive) small computers... But that's only my impression

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CosmoZooo
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to YuriS, May 16, 2013

Ditto and that was precisely my point...both are great cameras but unless weather proofing is a must or the money is of no particular importance the value of NEX-6 is superior to the OMD. I've added an extra lens and 4 year warranty with accidental damage protection directly from Sony and still came out under the price of OMD with a kit.

This comparison will be a lot closer as the OMD drops in price (if ever) or perhaps if we start comparing NEX-6 to the E-P5 although the latter lacks EVF.

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captura
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Alumna Gorp, May 16, 2013

Did you just pull that one out of thin air? The 6/5R with 16-50 PZ are smaller and much lighter than the E-P5 with the 12-50.

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captura
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Jorginho, May 16, 2013

Jorginho wrote:

1) Yes, you should indeed post this on the NEX forum too. People over here are biased clearly and so are they on the NEX forum. So Combined, you get a better picture I believe.

2) No, the OMD is not worse at high ISO. From ISO 200 onwards it is identical to the NEX6 in each and every way (noise, dynamic range, colour depth and tonality). Compare both at dxomark.com

3) I think you a re forgetting about the lenses, may be also the reason why your D7000 gave you too smooth images. The mFT lenses, especially the primes and the fast zooms are all better than any NEX lens. and there are more of them too. And they are smaller and lighter in weight.

4) Ergonomics: I found the NEX6 to be excellent in my hand. I think it is a very well built body. Quite some complaints about the knobs being small and not so responsive on the OMD.

5) It seems AF of the m43 cams is still better than on the NEX. Check it out I'd say.

6) yes, all lenses are now stablized. And very good too.

7) Weathersealing could be important too.

Hope it helps!

Heh heh, yes.  I post on the NEX forum, too!

The 24mm Zeiss lens is not stabilized.

The NEX_6 point score on DXO is higher than the OMD.

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Oli4D
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to JudyN, May 17, 2013

JudyN wrote:


You need to see the E-M5 with the Pany 20mm pancake.  Nice lens, lovely  package.

-- hide signature --

True but he would like to shoot a lot in low light so I can't really recommend the Pany 20mm in Combo with the OM-D. I have it myself and it's focusing rather slow and sometimes AF is huntig in low light.

In bright light it's not an issue.

But for lowlight, I can recommend the Olympus 17mm 1.8 much more than the Pany 20mm, at least when using the OM-D.

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Andy, Moscow
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Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Vs. Sony NEX-6 (or other APS-C mirrorless)
In reply to Pierrrrrrre, May 17, 2013

Compared both - NEX-6 is INCREDIBLY slow camera, applications are working weird. Regular NEX-5 was faster in my opinion. OMD is lightning fast

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