Dilemma: A99 vs new Olympus E-M1

Started 10 months ago | Discussions
jackgreen
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Re: Thinking about problems ...
In reply to Nordstjernen, 10 months ago

Earlier we took lot of pictures, but not like today, not in same lighting and action situations. I'm in ballet photography and ballet performance photographing was almost impossible back then. All major works are studio or stage setups, not performance. May be you should sit more at the desk and study woks back from 60-ties, 70-ties.

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Clayton1985
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Re: Not so easy
In reply to EarthQuake, 10 months ago

EarthQuake wrote:

That is complete hyperbole.

The A99 has a 1 stop gain in ISO performance over the OMD. 1 stop. The OMD is on par with all of the current APS-C Sony SLTs. Are those useless in bad light as well?

Have you ever actually used the OMD (or any of the current gen pens with the new Sony sensor)?

The OMD is certainly not useless in low light but I have used the OMD and the A77 and they were roughly the same in low light performance. The A99 is significantly better and it is more than a 1 stop difference but less than 2 in my experience.   I think there will be less than a 1 stop difference between the E-M1 and the A99.

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William Curtindale
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Your Dilemma (Not A Dilemma At All But Self Imposed)
In reply to Kwick1, 10 months ago

I rarely reply to this type of post (Dilemma). I see you have been a DPreview member since 2009 and figure by now you should know better than any body on the forum what your likes / dislikes and needs are (at least I would hope so).

I looked at all the images on your site and enjoyed them very much (very creative - lots of use of grain effect and all B/W). Although I didn't see a single image that requires FF or expensive Zeiss lenses (or latest / greatest modern day equipment). You are an artist and will produce you images with what ever you have.

So, if weight is the big / important thing for you then that's where you should go. I don't see any risk about a new camera availability date because you already have equipment you can use if it doesn't arrive before leaving on your trip.

To me the biggest risk is having a new camera arrive three days before your trip and not having time to become totally familiar or not having all the little add on you want. In that case I would stick with what you have. You and only you are the best judge of what to do.

Good Luck

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A99, A900, A700 w/Zeiss Glass + Sony G

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EarthQuake
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Re: Not so easy
In reply to jackgreen, 10 months ago

jackgreen wrote:

First, I really don't buy Your 1 stop excuse. First, duet to noise character, Sony a99 is usable at least plus 2 stops in low noise compared to other APS-C Sony models (a77). Secondly, Sony actually acquires focus in reasonable time in this situation thanks to PDAF.

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You don't need to buy anything from me, there are many resources out there that back up the mere 1 stop difference.

DPR studio shot comparison: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/studiocompare.asp#baseDir=%2Freviews_data&cameraDataSubdir=boxshot&indexFileName=boxshotindex.xml&presetsFileName=boxshotpresets.xml&showDescriptions=false&headerTitle=Studio%20scene&headerSubTitle=Standard%20studio%20scene%20comparison&masterCamera=oly_em5&masterSample=p1010017.acr&slotsCount=4&slot0Camera=oly_em5&slot0Sample=p1010017.acr&slot0DisableCameraSelection=true&slot0DisableSampleSelection=true&slot0LinkWithMaster=true&slot1Camera=sony_slta99&slot1Sample=dsc00079.acr&slot2Camera=nikon_d600&slot2Sample=dsc_4526_03.acr&slot3Camera=sony_slta77&slot3Sample=dsc02826_2.acr&x=-0.2957903953660671&y=-1.3965126048582226

DXO:

OMD: 826 ISO

A77: 801

A99: 1555

D600: 2980

D800: 2853

The common thought that a M43rd sensor and FF sensor of the same generation/efficiency will be about two stops apart holds true for the most part, just not for the A99. The A99 is well below competitors in it's class for noise performance. That doesn't make it a bad camera (it does many things very well on the contrary, and has a very good EVF and IBIS which is unique to it in this range). So comparing the A99 to the OMD and coming to the conclusion that the OMD is useless and the A99 is awesome is just silly. The OMD is to the A99 what the A99 is to the D800, 0.9 stops of difference in ISO performance between them.

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Pikme
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why not rent EP5 and PL25 for a week or two and try it? (nt)
In reply to Kwick1, 10 months ago
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Roberto M.

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Jurka
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Re: Dilemma: A99 vs new Olympus E-M1
In reply to Kwick1, 10 months ago

Here are some Sony A99 pictures:

http://www.portreti.lv/kaitbords-saulkrastos-12-augusta-2013-kitesurfing/

Maybe this can help you with yours decision.

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Nordstjernen
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Re: Thinking about problems ...
In reply to jackgreen, 10 months ago

jackgreen wrote:

I'm in ballet photography and ballet performance photographing was almost impossible back then.

Sure! My point is: You have to do what is possible within the limitations of the camera you are using. Creativity makes you push the limits. With new tehnology you might exceed the limits. But until then you are stuck with what you have or what you can afford or are willing to spend money on.

So if I buy a 4/3 camera (small and highly portable), I have to work within it's limits, and so also if I am buying the A99 (large, bulky and expensive system). When I have a camera, it doesn't matter what I could do with other cameras. The choise of gear will always be a compromise, considering much more than high ISO performance.

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Dennis
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Comparing the wrong thing
In reply to Kwick1, 10 months ago

Kwick1 wrote:

I used to love the a900 - probably the best ergonomics of any camera I've handled. And I absolutely love Zeiss glass.

As I said the Zeiss glass is also huge - I'd be buying the 24-70, 85/1.4 and the 70-300G for wildlife (yes, I know not Zeiss, just G, but I don't want the weight of the 70-400).

Total weight for all that? Just under 7 lbs, not including extra batteries.

With high-end m 4/3 glass (their new Olympus "Pro" 2.8 24-80 equiv lens, the Panny 35-100 2.8 and the Panny/Leica 25/1.4). Yeah, not Zeiss, but pretty damn good.

Total weight for all that? Estimated 2.9 lbs. Big difference.

So here's the thing that I think is all wrong in the comparison.  You're choosing the best lenses for each system, when you don't need anything remotely like the best lenses on a FF body to match the capabilities of the small sensor system.

You can use smaller, slower lenses, and just increase the ISO on the A99 when needed.  (And when not needed, enjoy all the benefits of the FF system).

So if you're interested in the A99, you don't need the relatively big, heavy 24-70/2.8 to match the 12-40 on the Oly ... 24-105 would do just fine.  (And don't sweat the optics; 24MP FF is not nearly as demanding as 16MP m43).  85/1.4 is serious overkill versus 25/1.4 on m43; a 50/2.8 would be an equivalent match, while the 85/1.4 gives you tremendously shallower DOF.  The cheap, compact, light weight 85/2.8 would be a fine alternative, and again, despite the far-from-Zeissness of it, would result in image files that would easily trounce what you get with a smaller sensor.

You'll still end up with a bigger, heavier kit, and end up using lenses that lack some of the "joy" of the high end lenses you were considering.  (You *could* actually end up with a cheaper kit ... I think that's going to be the great irony in another couple years ... that coupled with cheaper, slower lenses, FF systems are going to be more affordable than equivalent m43 systems).

So - no advice for you, except to consider compromises in the FF lineup.  You have a lot of room between the systems you've proposed.

- Dennis

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Dennis
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Re: Thinking about problems ...
In reply to Nordstjernen, 10 months ago

Nordstjernen wrote:

Earler we took a lot of great photographs with Kodak Tri-X film, ISO 400, developed with Kodak HC-110 or Agfa Rodinal. Grainy. Yes! But this was the best we could get.

Earlier we took a lot of great photographs with big cameras and didn't whine about carrying a few pounds of gear around

What's interesting is that the proposed FF kit is serious overkill compared to the proposed m43 kit.  The big 24-70 and the 85/1.4 both provide significantly greater low light capability and significantly shallower DOF on FF then their m43 counterparts.  That FF system can be scaled back considerably.  What's also interesting is that the proposed m43 system does not exploit the potential size benefits of m43.  The 25/1.4 is far from a big lens, but the 20/1.7 is well loved for its convenience, and the f/2.8 zooms are going to be big.  So it's more about total kit size/weight, and there's a lot of room for compromise in the FF kit while still providing greater capabilities than the m43 system.  That's not to say I blindly recommend the FF kit.  (Personally, I'd skip the m43 and go with APS-C).  Just that it doesn't have to be 3 lbs versus 7 lbs.

- Dennis

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Nordstjernen
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Re: Thinking about problems ...
In reply to Dennis, 10 months ago

Dennis wrote:

Just that it doesn't have to be 3 lbs versus 7 lbs.

Good point! At the end gear is a personal choise, and what matter is the pictures.

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Kwick1
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Re: Comparing the wrong thing
In reply to Dennis, 10 months ago

Dennis wrote:

Kwick1 wrote:

I used to love the a900 - probably the best ergonomics of any camera I've handled. And I absolutely love Zeiss glass.

As I said the Zeiss glass is also huge - I'd be buying the 24-70, 85/1.4 and the 70-300G for wildlife (yes, I know not Zeiss, just G, but I don't want the weight of the 70-400).

Total weight for all that? Just under 7 lbs, not including extra batteries.

With high-end m 4/3 glass (their new Olympus "Pro" 2.8 24-80 equiv lens, the Panny 35-100 2.8 and the Panny/Leica 25/1.4). Yeah, not Zeiss, but pretty damn good.

Total weight for all that? Estimated 2.9 lbs. Big difference.

So here's the thing that I think is all wrong in the comparison. You're choosing the best lenses for each system, when you don't need anything remotely like the best lenses on a FF body to match the capabilities of the small sensor system.

So - no advice for you, except to consider compromises in the FF lineup. You have a lot of room between the systems you've proposed.

- Dennis

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Thanks Dennis,

I'm not trying to downgrade the a99 to the Olympus.  I want the best lenses for each system and then assess just how much of downgrade that is.  Spectacular photos are capable with both sensor sizes, but each also has its strengths and weaknesses.

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rbattsall
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Re: Not so easy
In reply to jackgreen, 10 months ago

jackgreen wrote:

I dont argue about portability of Olympus. But it's just pretty much useless in bad light.

I think you need to update your thinking.

I often shoot low light events and after investing in m43 gear I still kept my 5Dii and a range of lenses for the low light work. However, I had a better hit rate with the E-M5 vs the 5Dii in terms of both focus accuracy and noise. The AF was far better in S-AF than the 5Dii in any mode and the shadows especially were far better on the E-M5.

Now, I know the 5Dii hasn't the best FF sensor or the best AF but two years ago it was used by a lot of people for low light work so my E-M5 which was previously used for travel and street is now used for low light eventing too.

As someone else has said, to get enough DOF at a fast enough aperture is easier with a smaller sensor and the low light performance benefits from the faster aperture so it's a win win.

On top of that, I don't really see the point of a FF that throws away one third of the light available to it, especially when newer cameras such as the E-M1 have on sensor PDAF which as it matures will very soon make SLT's redundant.

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Clayton1985
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Re: Not so easy
In reply to rbattsall, 10 months ago

rbattsall wrote:

On top of that, I don't really see the point of a FF that throws away one third of the light available to it, especially when newer cameras such as the E-M1 have on sensor PDAF which as it matures will very soon make SLT's redundant.

So, are you suggesting that you know right now that the E-M1's OSPDAF will be as good or better than the A99's PDAF making SLT unnecessary?  Or are you simply speculating about what will happen at some unknown time in the future when OSPDAF is good enough to rival PDAF....  to which my response would be "gee, no kidding".

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jackgreen
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Re: Thinking about problems ...
In reply to Nordstjernen, 10 months ago

Please dont take me wrong. I have been huge evangelist of hybrids. I shoot mainly my Lumix GX1. But there are environments, where extra 1 or 2 stops, croppability and phase detection makes a huge difference.

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jackgreen
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Re: Not so easy
In reply to rbattsall, 10 months ago

Du You have lack of knowledge or just trying to spread a lie? Semi-translucent mirror needs 1/3 of the stop, not 1/3 of light. And that fixed mirror makes difference. I have direct comparison with 5D mk II, missing too many frames cause of failed AF, moving objects in drive mode, poorly lit scenario.

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rbattsall
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Re: Not so easy
In reply to Clayton1985, 10 months ago

Clayton1985 wrote:

rbattsall wrote:

On top of that, I don't really see the point of a FF that throws away one third of the light available to it, especially when newer cameras such as the E-M1 have on sensor PDAF which as it matures will very soon make SLT's redundant.

So, are you suggesting that you know right now that the E-M1's OSPDAF will be as good or better than the A99's PDAF making SLT unnecessary? Or are you simply speculating about what will happen at some unknown time in the future when OSPDAF is good enough to rival PDAF.... to which my response would be "gee, no kidding".

What I am saying is that if I really wanted low light FF performance, and that seems to be the biggest reason stated in this thread to go for FF over a smaller sensor, I would go for a camera that doesn't waste a third of the light such as a D600, D800 or 5DIII. That was the reason I sold my A55, as in loosing that light it was worse at low light than my E-M5.

However, if I really wanted the SLT for the EVF and high ISO was important, then to get much better than M43 I can see the argument for the A99.

I'm also suggesting that ultimately electronics giants would prefer not to have the stack up of tolerances associated with the two light paths and their affect on PDAF resulting in front and back focus. DSLR's have AF adjust features to attempt to address it so the manufacturers already see it as an issue, they see the tight tolerances required as a major cost driver and most are developing cameras with OSPDAF as at least one of the solutions. This is where the technology is moving most quickly, it at the start of the development cycle on a steep curve where two light path PDAF is pretty much fully developed and limited by the production tolerances required at each model price point.

Right now I make no assumption about the E-M1 just refer back to the technology curve and the DV associated with OSPDAF. In terms of noise the E-M5 was as good as APS-C although the latest have leap frogged it but a new sensor at the same MP should be better still in the E-M1.

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Wilu
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Re: Dilemma: A99 vs new Olympus E-M1
In reply to Kwick1, 10 months ago

Kwick1 wrote:

Okay, before you start saying "Apples and Oranges", I know they are. My problem is that there's a twist at the end.

I used to love the a900 - probably the best ergonomics of any camera I've handled. And I absolutely love Zeiss glass.

The a99 looks to be a great update. Yes, a few drawbacks like the battery life, but the dynamic range and color rendition is especially appealing (among other things). As I said the Zeiss glass is also huge - I'd be buying the 24-70, 85/1.4 and the 70-300G for wildlife (yes, I know not Zeiss, just G, but I don't want the weight of the 70-400).

Total weight for all that? Just under 7 lbs, not including extra batteries.

So then I read the leaks about the upcoming Olympus E-M1, which is supposedly being announced on Sept 10th. Micro 4/3rds has come a long way, but still not FF quality. But the question I keep asking is "What's good enough" for me?

With high-end m 4/3 glass (their new Olympus "Pro" 2.8 24-80 equiv lens, the Panny 35-100 2.8 and the Panny/Leica 25/1.4). Yeah, not Zeiss, but pretty damn good.

Total weight for all that? Estimated 2.9 lbs. Big difference.

Normally I'd wait and try them both, but here's the twist: I'm leaving on a trip on Oct 25th.

If I go for the new E-M1, I'd need to pre-order it the instant it's announced - and even then I don't know the exact delivery date.

I know the a99 is better quality, but that weight difference is huge, especially considering that I travel a LOT and mainly use my gear then.

Yes, I know this post is rambling, and I don't think there's a definite answer - basically this post is therapy to help me vent and decide before the Sept 10th launch date.

Oh, I can't afford both. Wish I could!

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don't know the expectations you have for your gear. i too have and love the a900. had the Oly E-M5, now have the Panny GH3 for better ergonomics. my m43 gear consists of the Oly 9-18, the Pana 14-45 and the Pana 45-200 plus two Raynox macro lenses.

i think my expectations regarding IQ are "reasonable" - i want good quality but i'm not a pixel peeper. to me, my m43 gear meets these expectations (perhaps with the exception of the 9-18 with its quite soft corners). i take the a900 for shallow DOF and great ergonomics. i take the Pana for lightness and compactness (and the ergonomics are really good too). IQ is usually not the main criteria when deciding which camera to take out. if you buy the lenses you listed the IQ will only be better.

based on my experiences with FF and m43 and the fact that you seem to travel a lot i think the Oly makes more sense for you - though of course you can't yet know if the ergonomics and user interface will suit your needs. in the end a picture is more about content than about ultimate IQ (not saying that great IQ is a bad thing).

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cosmonaut
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Re: Dilemma: A99 vs new Olympus E-M1
In reply to Kwick1, 10 months ago

Only you know what's good for you. I wouldn't swap my a99 and 24-70mm combo for an E-M1 and a bag full of lenses. The a99, 24-70mm is maybe the best camera lens combo out there.

The E-M1 lacks enough dynamic range for me. That alone is a big enough issue for me. What will the E-M1 offer you that you just have to have that the E-M5 doesn't have? They share the same sensor and short of some fancy wifi stuff I don't see the huge need for the E-M1,

If the a99, non gripped, with the 24-70mm is to heavy you need to join a gym.

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Nordstjernen
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Re: Thinking about problems ...
In reply to jackgreen, 10 months ago

jackgreen wrote:

Please dont take me wrong. [ ... ] But there are environments, where extra 1 or 2 stops, croppability and phase detection makes a huge difference.

Sure! No offence! The problem is that short answers on a forum tends to look like black & white arguing, lacking nuances.

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moimoi
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Re: Dilemma: A99 vs new Olympus E-M1
In reply to cosmonaut, 10 months ago

+1

I would never trade a FF sensor for a tiny MFT sensor. Indeed, it is hard to beat the 24-70 when mounted with a 24 MP FF camera.

The gym argument sounds reasonable as well. Good one!

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Moimoi

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