Advice on Full Frame and Printing vs my E5

Started Feb 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
elbows2 Regular Member • Posts: 367
Re: Advice on Full Frame and Printing vs my E5

At the start of the year I was asking myself pretty much the same questions as the OP. I was getting pretty close to being out the door until the small buzz started about Oly's plans for late 2013 and 2014. That brought the E-M5 into the mix as a bridge between my E-5 and a hoped-for new Oly flagship body. Using my ZD HG lenses and the MMF-3, what jump in IQ would the E-M5 provide a sufficient jump in IQ over the E-5 I have loved from day one? Would it be enough to justify hanging around, waiting to see what Oly comes up with? With a once-in-a-lifetime shooting opportunity this fall, those were very tough questions.

Questions to which the answer turned out to be "yes". The differences between the E-5 and the E-M5 were evident from the start. The E-M5's sensor is clearly superior, and not just because it has more MP. As TrapperJohn says, you get much better DR and room to push in PP. The increased performance at higher ISOs makes a big difference shooting in low light -- 1600 ISO is no sweat at all. The E-M5's IS also seems better. And since you asked about printing large, remember that at native resolution the E-M5's RAW images are already just a bit more than 19 inches on the long side.

Most of my E-M5 shooting has been with the ZD 12-60, the ZD 50-200, and the PL 25 1.4 (the full 4/3s version). AF on the zooms can be slow and they hunt a bit, most especially in low light or low contrast situations. AF is more precise shooting short, somewhat less so shooting long, with a bit more hunting at the long end than at the short.

There's a very satisfactory way around this (satisfactory to me, at least): Use S-AF+MF with MF Assist turned on. Then even slightly moving the lens MF ring brings up a zoomed-in view (both in live view and through the EVF) that allows fine tuning focus. Magnification can be adjusted based on shooting situation. I don't shoot fast action, and quite often use a tripod, so this isn't a hassle.

As for the PL 25 1.4, it actually behaves better on the E-M5 / MMF-3 combination than on the E-5.

I second what TrapperJohn said about the HLD-6 grip. The E-M5 is very small -- I couldn't use it at all without the HLD-6. Definitely much more manageable with the grip. Besides, the grip allows a second battery, which is good because the E-M5 drains batteries fairly quickly. (A nice touch is that it uses batteries sequentially, in the order you set.)

Back to printing large -- I routinely print at 16 x 20 from E-5 images, have never had any objections to quality either from customers or competition judges. Good exposure and proper processing are the keys, the MP less so. In fact, I've sold prints 50 inches on the long side to customers for display in board rooms and meeting rooms -- and done so from images made with the 8 MP E-500.


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Everything I need to know I learned at the rink: Keep your head up, your knees bent & your stick on the ice.

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