12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge

Started Feb 23, 2013 | Questions thread
OP ken henke Contributing Member • Posts: 777
Re: 12 questions on the Olympus OM-D/ Lumix GH3 - before I take the 4/3 plunge

Raven15 wrote:

I'll answer the questions I can, since I only have the E-M5 and my DSLR also was 4/3's.

ken henke wrote:

... thus, landscape and macro close-up images are most photographed. ... so cold weather performance is somewhat important.

With only electronic viewfinder these cameras eat batteries fast, especially the O-MD (turning off features like IBIS can help). You'll need to take more batteries and precautions in the cold than normal. Otherwise, no camera I've used has had issues in the cold, nor would I expect any camera to have issues. In fact cold results in noticeably less noise for long exposures. If it doesn't work because of a little cold throw it at a big rock because it sucks.

I also have started taking night images as well, primarily Milky Way images.

These two cameras have the first 4/3 sensor I'd feel confident in for Milky Way - type shots. See end of reply for an example.

Thanks so much for answering this question and posting an image. It was just what I wanted to hear!

My most important reason for wanting to change are weight and cost. I certainly noticed last summer trying to carry that 17 extra lbs of camera gear backpacking is not enjoyable!

That would be intolerable. My entire pack weighs 17 pounds for a weekend if I didn't carry a camera. When I first started photography a few years ago, I used to compare the prices and weights of combinations of cameras and several lenses from different manufacturers in a spreadsheet. In every case Nikon had the heaviest and most expensive system, with a wide variety of cameras, lenses, and manufacturers compared over three or so years. There was never a single exception. With micro 4/3, the difference is even more pronounced. People who want to minimize price or weight or especially both would do well to avoid Nikon.

On to the questions:

1. Are they significant issues with sensor dust on the Oly and GH3?

I have never had a dust problem with any camera using the Olympus dust buster (all m4/3 cameras do) in five years, and I shoot in some appallingly dusty environments and have no caution whatsoever when changing lenses. I can't speculate on #2 as a result.

4. For those who use Aperture for RAW processing, any advantage to either the oly or gh3?

They should be close to identical, but I only have the E-M5.

5. I am still confused over the Oly lenses(Zuiko). Do they need an adaptor to fit onto the OM-D?

Mirrorless 4/3 lenses need no adapter. DSLR 4/3 lenses need an adapter and they'll lose focus speed. Panasonic also made DSLR 4/3 lenses. If slow or manual focus and the larger size is OK with you, adapting an original 4/3 lens can get you higher-quality glass and more zoom range for the money. (For example the Olympus 14-35mm and Panasonic/Leica 14-150mm lenses likely have the best image quality of all mid-range and super-zoom lenses ever made for interchangeable lens cameras, respectively. Other options represent great quality and range for the money).

6. I really like the idea of the articulating screen on the gh3, particularly as it relates to macro photography. However, for those with the oly, is their tilt screen sufficient or do you wish it had the same movement capability as the gh3?

I frequently wish mine had more articulation, this is the worst possible implementation of a moving screen. Pointing the camera away from you in landscape orientation will be perfectly fine however.

9. I am assuming on all Zuiko and Lumix lens, one can utilize a manual focusing mode?

Yes, the Olympus 12mm and 17mm especially have the option to focus directly rather than by wire. There are also some nice manual focus lenses, for example Samyang 7.5mm fisheye and Voightlander 17.5mm and 25mm f/0.95 lenses.

10. What are the experiences folks have on moving focus point via the rear screen? I believe both cameras have that ability? I would find that quite a nice advantage over DLSRs. Oftentimes, I have to use focus stacking to get DOF in a landscape scene.

Touch the screen and the focus point goes where you touch. You can have it activate the shutter at the same time. Very useful.

11. For landscape images, I am often confronted with high dynamic range scenes. Thus, HDR software or exposure blending is often used. I noticed both cameras have a nice range of multiple auto bracketing exposures available. In fact, more exposure range than my Nikon. Any experiences with auto bracketing you can relate?

While the E-M5 has many bracketing options, it is not easy to activate them (and once it is set to bracket it takes as many button presses to turn off).

That is a definitely strike against the Oly for me. I bracket quite frequently, thus, it must be easy to operate.

Considering the questions and my general explanation on my photography, if anyone wants to chime in on either camera (plus or minus), it would be appreciated.

Image quality should be about equal, with each camera having a few features that would move it a little bit in either direction depending on shooting conditions. E-M5 notably has built in stabilization, which may not matter to you.

Like others I suppose, I am struggling on which camera to go with. With some financial issues Olympus reported last year, that makes me somewhat nervous.

Since both manufacturers are completely interchangeable, you could continue right on with your lenses either way.

For your use shooting RAW and using a tripod, the GH3 is probably the best choice. However, the E-M5 has the same image quality and a few different features for less size and money. The GH3 is the largest and most expensive m4/3 camera, which does go against the point of switching in the first place. Still, the lens system counts for far more than the camera in terms of size and weight. There's no sense getting a camera that is too small and fiddly for you to use.

Yep, your right, the lenses are the primarily issue for weight and size when sticking them in a backpack.

The 7.5mm fisheye is great for the Milky Way. There is more noise here than there should be because I was trying to expose the foreground also. I still need to work on my technique.

What ISO did you use. I typically use 1600-3200. From night images I have seen with these cameras, it appears 1600 is good, with more concern over noise at 3200. Fortunately, I don't conduct a lot of  night imagery, thus, degradation of image quality above 1600 is not a deal breaker for me.

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