E-5 vs OMD vs D800 - part 2 Locked

Started Jan 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
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msusic Senior Member • Posts: 2,576
E-5 vs OMD vs D800 - part 2

This time I'll write about the camera operation, build, focus etc... so almost everything except image quality since that one is not easy to compare.

1. Autofocus

We keep hearing how Nikon's AF is so great and all, but honestly I haven't been that impressed so far.

Ok, I didn't test C-AF that extensively, but in S-AF and low light it's not that great, I don't think it's much better than E-5's AF. Maybe using center AF point it's bit better and more sure footed but Nikon claims it works well under -2EV which is probably something much higher than what I have been using it in so far.

Center point works kinda ok in those conditions but using Matrix (all 51) camera often can't find focus in darker environment.

Low light focus is probably a wash between D800 and E-5 in terms of S-AF. D800 can take a while too and that's using fast f1.8 primes (f2 zooms on Olympus).

It's worth noting that D800's center point is better than any other while any of the E-5's 11 AF points is pretty much the same.

OMD blows both cameras out of the water in that regard.

D800 has built in flash illuminator which is so "in your face" that I've disabled it since it's like pointing a flashlight in people's faces.

OMD has much better AF illuminator having orange LED which doesn't bother people at all, but you rarely use it anyway since it's low light focus is much better than either E-5 or D800.

2. Build quality

I'd rank E-5 as the best here followed by D800 and OMD.

Flash on D800 is much flimsier than on the E-5, front panel surrounding the mount and bottom of the built in flash is plastic (probably glued or screwed onto magnesium frame).

Battery door is also weaker on D800, card doors are very similar, buttons are similar as well but dials worked smoother on E-5, although they're quite fine on D800.

OMD is built quite well overalll but rear dial and mode dials feel a bit flimsy. OMD's card door is the best of the lot giving the most secure feel and doesn't creak or "breathe" under the hand.

D800 has more protruding parts than E-5 it gives worse impression of toughness. Things such as left dial, diopter adjustment knob and strap eyelets feel like they would be damaged if something hit them, in comparison, E-5 has a more streamlined profile.

All 3 cameras are weather sealed but only Olympus has entire lines which are clearly weather sealed while Nikon doesn't really specify that.

3. Ergonomics

It's not that easy to talk about this considering that I haven't used D800 for as long as I have used E-5 or OMD, but there are some annoying things regarding D800.

ISO button cannot be accessed by right hand

Button used to raise built in flash is way too soft and easily pressed by accident

Lack of flip or swivel screen is really annoying. I thought it wouldn't be much of a problem, but although I didn't use the feature often, I do miss it a lot sometimes.

Grip is quite good and rubber is quite grippy but there's a groove at the end supposedly for a little finger, but it doesn't really work for me. I'd prefer straigt grip like on the E-5.

I was able to use all E-5's functions by just one hand, but on D800 it's impossible (ISO, AF, Playback, Zoom buttons etc).

D800's metering knob is tough to turn, impossible using just one hand (turning it by thumb which it seems to be designed for).

OMD is clearly the worst here due to being so small and having tiny buttons in comparison.

However, considering the size, OMD is quite good and overall not bad at all.

While E-5 and D800 both weigh nearly the same, I feel more fatigue using D800 because most of it's weight is off center and away from your hand having more leverage than E-5 which had more of it's weight towards the middle of the body.

4. Viewfinder

I was looking forward to D800's FF viewfinder, but at the end it's nothing special. It's about the same size vertically as E-5, only wider (I know - technical data says otherwise but in use it sure feels like this).

E-5 VF is bit brighter too, possibly due to D800's overlaying LCD panel inside.

Camera does have 2 axis level like E-5 but it since it uses the same system as AF points, when it's dark you can't see level indicators since they're black unless you have AF lights set to on all the time.

OMD's EVF is completely different and can't be compared directly to the OVF, but some features are hard to beat and drawbacks of the EVF are mostly aesthetical and not so much practical in truth.

5. Live View

OMD is clearly the best here being mirrorless and having all those LV-centric features.

E-5 is second followed by D800 which actually surprised me pleasantly by having decent AF in LV.

Otherwise it's quite annoying when changing focus points or when you turn the level indicator it takes up the entire screen so you have to set level and then turn it off to compose but they you lose level etc... so stupid. They should've implemented simple system from the E-5 by having bottom and side bars indicating horizontal and vertical axis.

6. Functions

D800 is filled with nice feature set such as timer, time lapse, extensive customization functions, uncompressed HDMI output, various video framerates and dual card option.

OMD has great stuff in as well - Live bulb and Live time, face detect AF, touch focus/shooting and incredible IS system.

E-5 doesn't have all the fancy features but it's got 2 point AF adjust (wide and tele ends) for zoom lenses unlike D800 which only has one making it pretty much useless for zoom lenses.

It's also got IS which while not as good as the OMD's is excellent too while on Nikon you have to buy lenses with IS (VR).

So, that's it

IMO, Nikon is overhyped camera. Sure it can deliver amazing IQ, but both E-5 and OMD can deliver excellent results as well.

Nikon does offer certain advantages such as shallow depth of field and higher resolution obviously but some things are not that great such as AF, ergonomics and build quality (for such an expensive and popular camera).

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Cheers, Marin

Nikon D800 Olympus E-5
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