Compact DSLR vs. OM-D

Started Mar 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
boggis the cat Veteran Member • Posts: 6,329
Either go Nikon, or spend some time weighing up the pros and cons

gbhwc wrote:

I am ready to upgrade from an older fixed lens camera and looking for a versatile camera for:

  • Misc. Family Activities
  • Kids sports – outdoors
  • Travel
  • Backpacking & landscapes

Note: The above use list is in descending order of expected use.

From your list, the two potential areas where the 5200 should be better (depending on the lenses, to some extent) would be "kids sports" due to C-AF superiority over the OM-D and landscapes where the 3:2 aspect ratio is likely to be better in many cases than the 4:3.

If you can get hold of the best lenses for the Nikon you should also get a resolution advantage for landscape due to the extra pixels (24 MP v 16 MP) and the wider aspect ratio.  I would opt for the Nikon for landscape work.  The only problem would be the 'backpacking' part, where the Nikon kit will inevitably be bulkier and heavier -- you may have to compromise on the lenses to keep the weight down.

Further on lenses: I have the OM-D (and the E-5 and some HG lenses) and find it a good camera, but the native (Micro FourThirds) zooms available are a bit limited and the standard FT lenses I have do not work well on it.  Nikon should offer you far more options at this point and if you are careful and do your homework you should be able to find better 'bang per buck' than you will get from MicroFT at this point.

I currently have a Nikon so I am partial to them.  The Nikon 5200 has caught my attention.

It looks like an excellent value.  There are a lot of features missing, unfortunately ('standard Nikon practice' to pull features from lower end bodies), but as a basic camera it should be fine.


Size is obviously important and the OMD wins there.

Weigh is also important and the OMD body is 4.6 oz. lighter.  Now sure about zoom lenses but a 4.6oz difference seems minor.

Perhaps you should set aside the cameras at this point and look at lenses.

Does MicroFT offer suitable lenses?  What are the trade-offs for size / weight and cost?

Environmental sealing is a nice feature.

There are only three sealed MicroFT lenses that I am aware of.  The 12-50 f/3.5-6.3 (relatively poor optically), and the expensive 12-35 f/2.8 and 35-100 f/2.8.

If you want sealed lenses on APS-C then Pentax looks like a better option.

There are a few things I like about Nikon that is better:

-       Low light focusing

-       Built in flash

-       Optical viewfinder

Check out the OM-D EVF in person.  I found it to be -- surprisingly -- better than I was assuming.

The optical VF in my E-5 is far better in some ways, of course, but I could live with using the OM-D EVF.

-       Better feel/comfort unless I add optional power battery holder / grips which reduce the weight / size advantage.  (I wouldn’t bring these backpacking and probably not traveling).

-       NOTE: I just compared the reviews from this website and the OMD received a higher rating on ergonomics and handling.  Does this make sense?

Well, maybe if you also buy the HLD-6 two-part grip.  The E-M5 is very flexible with that grip as an option.

But, the 5200 should be fine once you get used to peculiarities such as button placement.

-       What else am I missing?  What do you think?

My advice would be either go with Nikon, as you appear comfortable with that; or, if you really want to consider other options, then put the Pentax K-30 and possibly a NEX in the mix along with MicroFT.  The Pentax system could be a better solution than Nikon -- but do check the C-AF capability and flash system differences out.

Also, as some have already suggested, the G5 is a possible contender for an "SLR-like" body.  It is less expensive than the OM-D, has a sensor not hugely worse, but the lack of IBIS could be a major issue.

 boggis the cat's gear list:boggis the cat's gear list
Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 SWD Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 +7 more
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