Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
Jerodequin
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Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
7 months ago

While I know that this decision can only really be answered by myself, I'm interested to hear from others in similar circumstances that have already made or are about to make a decision on which camera to upgrade to - I would really like to do this soon, but get the feeling I'm going to have to keep waiting even longer to find a good upgrade within the M4/3 system.

At the end of the day I would like to purchase an upgrade that is at least as good ergonomically as the camera it replaces, has noticeably better IQ and more flexibility feature wise (things like the 1/8000 shutter which would allow me to shoot wide open in a wider range of conditions).

So far, I'm not convinced or really sold on any of the options - am I missing something or should I just keep hanging on until the G7/Exxx are released at some indeterminate point in 2014 (I feel like I am missing out on the fun of shooting with a newer, faster, more flexible model in the meantime).

Some background on what I use, what would like, what's important to me etc...

My current cameras:

  • Panasonic GH2
  • Olympus EPL5

Lenses:

  • Panasonic 12-35
  • Panasonic 35-100 -
  • PL 25
  • Olympus 45
  • Panasonic 14
  • Panasonic 100-300

What do I like to shoot?

  • Landscapes
  • Travel
  • Friends and family (inc. kids)
  • Long exposures (waterfalls, landscapes etc)
  • Available light photography (although I do sometimes fit a flash)
  • Events (in a non professional capacity - weddings, parties etc.)
  • Video

Other things I might like to shoot/try:

  • Night sky (just basic, from the ground shooting, no telescopes).
  • Studio lighting (have more space in our new house so might get a chance to setup some basic lighting etc - probably not for the next 12 months though).

What do I like/dislike about my current cameras:

+ (positive)

/ (neutral)

- (negative)

GH2

+ Ergonomics - physical and virtual

+ General speed of operation

+ Articulated screen

+ Video quality

+ EVF

/ IQ in good light

- IQ in poor light (flexibility to post process, push and pull shadows selectively etc.)

- Image buffer size - way too small, fills up too quickly and very slow to review images until everything is saved

- Max shutter speed sometimes restricts shooting wide open in bright light

EPL5

+ Size

/ Jpeg quality (I shoot raw so this is not of any importance to me)

/ IBIS (the OIS in the 12-35 and 35-100 is more than enough for my needs, I can consistently shoot as slow as 1/8s with sharp results using these two lenses).

- Pretty much everything else (don't like the ergonomics, menu interface, screen and low light IQ)

Possible upgrade options and current thinking:

Olympus EM5

Have handled this several times and generally find that it doesn't sit right in my hands, not amazed by the built in EVF (it seems fine, just as good as the GH2 but not noticeably superior and I'm not interested on sticking on and add-on EVF to improve it). Like the IQ and the 5 axis IBIS although the IBIS is not something I would need that often given the lenses I use daily. Lack of direct control over features like focus mode, bracketing etc are a big downside, I like to be able to set all of this individually at a flick of switch. Really don't think it is a camera for me.

Olympus EP5

Pretty much written this one off as I don't want to have to stick on an EVF (even if it is the best EVF out there).

Olympus EM1

An intriguing camera - definitely more than I want to spend for features I don't want or need (not interested in focusing or phase detect with 4/3 lenses for example). IQ at the price point doesn't make sense for me given the price (by this I mean, I don't need the advanced features that justify the price for many so the only thing that would be worth me paying that much would be far superior IQ which isn't there).

Panasonic GM1

Looks like a lovely replacement for my EPL5 but not even in the running for a GH2 upgrade.

Panasonic G6

I like the additional features it has over my GH2, but IQ wise it's not really moved on and appears like I would be paying for not much of an upgrade (and in some areas a downgrade?)

Panasonic GX7

Have handled one of these a few times - liked the feel of the camera and the EVF worked well for me. Has a lot of good features like 1/8000 shutter and faster flash sync speed, also IBIS (but not that fussed about that, always nice to have a feature and not use it than not have it and miss it though I guess). Relatively pricey still but costs less than a GH3.

Panasonic GH3

This seems to be the best match so far, good IQ, good, familiar ergonomics, has the fully articulated screen - seems to have a noticeable positive bump in IQ (both for stills and video) and seems to do long exposures a lot better. *but* many tales of the EVF being worse than the one in the GH2 (this really is a dealbreaker if so), lacks features like 1/8000 and faster sync speeds. Not 100% sure about the larger size, but I am happy carrying my GH2 as an 'always on me' camera, I take it everywhere I go, so don't necessarily need a camera to be tiny. It is still relatively expensive (costs more than the GX7 which is now more 'advanced' in many ways).

My GH2 has been a wonderful tool to use over the last few years but I really do feel I could make use of some of the improvements in the new bodies which would add to my enjoyment of photography - the problem is the improvements seem to be scattered among a host of different body styles and prices with nothing really bringing it all together (outside of the EM1 which costs more than I would like to spend and features and interface I don't get on that well with).

Many thanks if you've managed to read this far through all my waffle, would be great to hear the thoughts of others.

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Bob Tullis
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If you're having this much trouble. . .
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

. . . maybe more of what you seek will be due in 2014.Q1?

When I'm 'ready' to upgrade, there's no doubt in my mind what to choose.   To that, I'd suggest you might want to wait until you yourself feel the same about a particular model.

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toronto1818
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

From your list, it sounds like the GX7 has the least amount of dislikes you have... otherwise, you can save up/wait for a price drop on the EM1.

Personally, I got over my own external VF dislike and recently got a EP5+Vf4.  The viewfinder is amazing and I really like its features... it's really a EM1 lite for me. 

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Ulric
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

The cameras you already have are very good. I would keep them.

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Peng Bian
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

Seems GM1 video quality is really superb, better than the GH3 apparently in many respects...

http://www.eoshd.com/content/11643/panasonic-gm1-review-another-pocket-cinema-camera

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Jerodequin
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Re: If you're having this much trouble. . .
In reply to Bob Tullis, 7 months ago

Bob Tullis wrote:

. . . maybe more of what you seek will be due in 2014.Q1?

When I'm 'ready' to upgrade, there's no doubt in my mind what to choose. To that, I'd suggest you might want to wait until you yourself feel the same about a particular model.

Thanks, that is my feeling too, I guess I'm just a little disappointed as previously whenever I've been ready to upgrade after a few years there has always been a pretty obvious choice, but this time it seems like I'll just have to wait longer.

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Jerodequin
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Ulric, 7 months ago

Ulric wrote:

The cameras you already have are very good. I would keep them.

That seems to be the only option for now - I do like my existing cameras and have achieved a lot with them, but there are areas where I now feel my photography is being held back which is why I was hoping to find a good candidate (without having to change systems as I'm heavily invested in M4/3 and like the format).

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Jerodequin
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to toronto1818, 7 months ago

toronto1818 wrote:

From your list, it sounds like the GX7 has the least amount of dislikes you have... otherwise, you can save up/wait for a price drop on the EM1.

Personally, I got over my own external VF dislike and recently got a EP5+Vf4. The viewfinder is amazing and I really like its features... it's really a EM1 lite for me.

I'm going to be grabbing some more hands on time with the various choices, I'm just not convinced the GX7/EP5 formfactor is a good substitute for the GH2 yet

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s_grins
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

I think that your indecisiveness derives from the fact that you're not ready. When you're ready, you know exactly what do you want, and why do you want.

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CharlesTokyo
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

Jerodequin wrote:

My current cameras:

  • Panasonic GH2
  • Olympus EPL5

You've already got two nice cameras there.

GH2

+ Ergonomics - physical and virtual

+ Articulated screen

Unfortunately anything Oly isn't going to match it.

+ Video quality

Nor this.

- IQ in poor light (flexibility to post process, push and pull shadows selectively etc.)

All the current models are a step up here. I'm not that familiar with the GH2, but if you are happy with the EPL5 then it might be worth upgrading. The next major sensor improvement is probably a couple years off though.

- Image buffer size - way too small, fills up too quickly and very slow to review images until everything is saved

The E-M5 isn't great here, about 10 for me I think. The E-M1 is a huge improvement.

EPL5

+ Size

Well, the GM1 is smaller, but I'm not sure anything out is much of an improvement as far as image quality. The E-P5 has a better control scheme. The GX7 sounds like it might come close to replacing both cameras.

- Pretty much everything else (don't like the ergonomics, menu interface, screen and low light IQ)

Well, the menu interface isn't going to see much difference on any Oly.

Possible upgrade options and current thinking:

Olympus EM5

Have handled this several times and generally find that it doesn't sit right in my hands,

I'd probably wouldn't recommend the E-M5. No quality improvement over the E-PL5 (well, 5 way IBIS, that's debatable). I would of said for better controls, but the E-M1 trumps it in controls and ergonomics in every way. That said, I'm still very satisfied with my E-M5 bodies.

Olympus EP5

Pretty much written this one off as I don't want to have to stick on an EVF (even if it is the best EVF out there).

Well, if you need the EVF and don't want the add-on that does remove it from the running.

Olympus EM1

An intriguing camera - definitely more than I want to spend for features I don't want or need (not interested in focusing or phase detect with 4/3 lenses for example). IQ at the price point doesn't make sense for me given the price (by this I mean, I don't need the advanced features that justify the price for many so the only thing that would be worth me paying that much would be far superior IQ which isn't there).

I haven't used the high end Panasonics, but assuming you like how it feels in the hand the controls are great. The RAW buffer is quite large (30+ at high 9-10 FPS). I find I like the Wifi features a lot. Phase detect does help with CAF, but doesn't sound like you use it much. The EVF is a thing of beauty. Yes, it is expensive.

Panasonic GM1

Looks like a lovely replacement for my EPL5 but not even in the running for a GH2 upgrade.

I want one too, but why Panasonic do you not have English menus on your Japanese models? And why are your batteries so expensive and always different? I love the 12-32 lens and the fact the camera has Wifi.

Panasonic GX7

Have handled one of these a few times - liked the feel of the camera and the EVF worked well for me. Has a lot of good features like 1/8000 shutter and faster flash sync speed, also IBIS (but not that fussed about that, always nice to have a feature and not use it than not have it and miss it though I guess). Relatively pricey still but costs less than a GH3.

I choose the E-M1 over this camera, but I have to admit it's really appealing. I'd like an excuse to get it. I'm not sure if you'd like the ergonomics. I think they are pretty good, but different than the GH2.

Panasonic GH3

This seems to be the best match so far, good IQ, good, familiar ergonomics, has the fully articulated screen - seems to have a noticeable positive bump in IQ (both for stills and video) and seems to do long exposures a lot better. *but* many tales of the EVF being worse than the one in the GH2 (this really is a dealbreaker if so), lacks features like 1/8000 and faster sync speeds. Not 100% sure about the larger size, but I am happy carrying my GH2 as an 'always on me' camera, I take it everywhere I go, so don't necessarily need a camera to be tiny. It is still relatively expensive (costs more than the GX7 which is now more 'advanced' in many ways).

Depends what other features you want, but it is getting to be an older body. It might be worth holding out a while longer if its the GH3 you want. The next body might be better, or the GH3 might come down in price more. It is fairly large.

I'd say take a good look at the GX7. I'm quite impressed with it and it's got all most all of the new toys. If you are on the fence with that camera I'd just wait and save your pennies.

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jeffharris
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

Jerodequin wrote:

toronto1818 wrote:

From your list, it sounds like the GX7 has the least amount of dislikes you have... otherwise, you can save up/wait for a price drop on the EM1.

Personally, I got over my own external VF dislike and recently got a EP5+Vf4. The viewfinder is amazing and I really like its features... it's really a EM1 lite for me.

I'm going to be grabbing some more hands on time with the various choices, I'm just not convinced the GX7/EP5 formfactor is a good substitute for the GH2 yet

That was my dilemma. I've used a GH2 since early 2011.

When I bought it, what I really wanted was a GF1, but disliked the clip-on EVF and fixed LCD screen. I tried the Olys of that period and while the EVF of the time was markedly better than the Panasonic, I absolutely hated the Oly interface and ergonomics. So, I got a GH2 because it had a built-in EVF and very good handling. The fully articulated screen was a major selling point, as well!

Recently, I kept trying the GH3, but really didn't like the size increase over the GH2, though the external controls and ergonomics are excellent.

So, then there was the GX7. It ticked a lot of boxes, including the more streamlined body. Silent mode, focus peaking, ISO125 and 1/8000th shutter speed. IBIS? It's not really something I care much about. I disliked the offset LVF, but figured I'd learn to work with it. The fact that it tilts makes a big difference handling-wise. The eyecup was an irritation, so I ordered the add-on eyecup, which makes a big difference shooting in bright ambient light and for getting my eye aligned with the LVF, a minor issue.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the GX7 and it really is a big improvement over the GH2 in terms of image quality.

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Ulfric M Douglas
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

Jerodequin wrote:

At the end of the day I would like to purchase an upgrade that is at least as good ergonomically as the camera it replaces, has noticeably better IQ ...

  • Olympus EPL5...

Nothing m4/3rds exists with noticeably better IQ than the e-pL5, end of story.

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You're evil Ulfric.

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Roberto Angelo
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

Lack of enthusiasm for an upgrade from a current camera (E-pl5) to another current camera can only be treated by medication.

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hindesite
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

I'd be in no hurry to upgrade - you've got a couple of great cameras and decent lenses.

I doubt you are getting the best out of them at this stage; the bottleneck, (with all due respect) is probably your abilities, not the cameras.

Spend more time on photography and less on speculating; get those challenge scores up higher.

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eques
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In reply to Ulfric M Douglas, 7 months ago

Ulfric M Douglas wrote:

Jerodequin wrote:

At the end of the day I would like to purchase an upgrade that is at least as good ergonomically as the camera it replaces, has noticeably better IQ ...

  • Olympus EPL5...

Nothing m4/3rds exists with noticeably better IQ than the e-pL5, end of story.

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Cheksa wrote:
You're evil Ulfric.

... you will have to change to FF (D800, A7R) to see a difference in IQ, get a Sigma DPx - or wait for the organic 36 MP Panasonic/Fuji sensor.

Peter.

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Elemental Photography
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

It doesn't look like there's much left to give feedback on.  Based on your analysis, either a GX7 or GH3 would do well for you.  Go into a camera store, see which one best meets your needs, and proceed!

Jerodequin wrote:

Olympus EM5

Have handled this several times and generally find that it doesn't sit right in my hands... Really don't think it is a camera for me.

Olympus EP5

Pretty much written this one off...

Olympus EM1

An intriguing camera - definitely more than I want to spend for features I don't want or need...

Panasonic GM1

Looks like a lovely replacement for my EPL5 but not even in the running for a GH2 upgrade.

Panasonic G6

I like the additional features it has over my GH2, but IQ wise it's not really moved on and appears like I would be paying for not much of an upgrade (and in some areas a downgrade?)

Panasonic GX7

Have handled one of these a few times - liked the feel of the camera and the EVF worked well for me. Has a lot of good features... Relatively pricey still but costs less than a GH3.

Panasonic GH3

This seems to be the best match so far... It is still relatively expensive (costs more than the GX7 which is now more 'advanced' in many ways).

Many thanks if you've managed to read this far through all my waffle, would be great to hear the thoughts of others.

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baxters
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Re: Another, which M4/3 camera should I upgrade to thread (long)...
In reply to Jerodequin, 7 months ago

You got two very good cameras and a great group of lens. Hard to do any better.

Wait. Where's your wide angle zoom?

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