Buying new camera (set) and choice between two m4/3 and FF

Started Jan 16, 2014 | Questions thread
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Mk82 Regular Member • Posts: 259
Buying new camera (set) and choice between two m4/3 and FF

I am about to buy a new camera and I want to start fresh if possible as my main gear got destroyed (crushed) and nothing than metal/magnesium pieces and glass was left in flat form.

My secondary gear (now the only one) was Olympus E-520 double kit. 24-45mm and 70-300mm what I used for macro and low light photography.

Now I am going to spend 800-2400€ to new set and I have difficulties to make a choice.

Here are my choices:

1) Olympus E-M1 + 12-40mm f/2.8 for 2199€

Then later buy a DHL-7 grip to give extra battery and better portrait handling.

Probably as well get a speedbooster with OM mount (0.7x) to attach old OM macro set and prime lenses. Or simply a OM and 4/3 adapters.

2) Olympus E-M5 + 12--50mm f/3.5-6.3 & 40-150 f/4-5.6 for 799€

Then later buy a DHL-6 dual-grip and FV-4 both about 240€

And same as in choice 1) adapters/booster.

3) Nikon D600 for 1449€ and Jupion grip for it 129€

Then get a nice f/1.4 50mm Nikkor for it 199€

Later some kind 18-22mm wide angle lens and 85-200mm tele.

And now what I want and need.

1) I do lots of macros (1:1-9:1 scales!) and close-up photos 1:2-1:4) with my E-520

2) I take lots of landscape and environment photographs

3) I love shallow depth of field and especially on portraits, motion shots are like second nature for me.

And now the what I like in those cameras and what are my limits:

I suddenly got two years ago a pain to my eyes and on next morning I lost permanentally my vision by about 1-2 diopters. Nothing wrong was found and only one doctor of dozen or so was heard about similar case. Result was I got glasses and it has taken this time to even wear glasses in daily life as I had perfect vision before what ever triggered it (I could read 20cm letters from 2km distance at night and medium rain from moving car as long the text was light) and I really hate glasses when using a cameras. Now I have 5th degree astigmatic what means I see lots of reflections on longer distances, what makes every optical device hard to use especially at low light.

I love E-520 because its live view and remote control via USB in studio environment. Its preview for whitebalance has come nice trick in some cases but not so important as I use grey card to balance before shooting and nevertheless RAW almost always.

I really liked its stabilization system and definetly its dust remover what has allowed me to swap lenses even under sand/mud storms without fearing destroying sensor.

But I really missed shallow depth of field what FF cameras offers so I bought to it a OM adapter to give access to Zuiko 28mm f/2 and 50mm f/1.2 and f/1.8 and they gave me some of the feelings what it was shooting FF camera.

Reason why I would buy a Nikon is cheap price and shallow depth of field, but I even could consider 1.6x crop camera with light booster to give -1 stop and shallower depth with few old manual focus lenses if live view would be as fast as with m4/3 and capture shots as fast without delay (mirror).

But the size is huge and only benefit I find is their weight helps to stabilize the camera but they are clumsy and difficult to wear, what was reason why OM-1 and OM-2 cameras are better than any Nikon or Canon film cameras in usability and speed (I even have today two motor grips giving 5 FPS)

Olympus M5 is more like OM-2 but the display requires bigger grip so M1 feels better on that.

I really love the idea of EVF and I didn't notice so big difference in size but resolution requires me to think FV-4 if I take M5 and gives bonus for 90 degree possibility angle for macro, street and portrait photography.

The M1 has WiFi what I liked when tested with the live bulb mode. I do now and then 30-180s exposures with ultra dim neutral grey filters (2xnd400) what gives long exposure times for daylight shooting and live view has helped on that a lot as it gave some visual hint what was sharp and how photo was composed in its boost mode. Optical view didn't five possibility to that all! And same thing with macro when you add 30-35cm between lens and sensor and you working area is 1x0.3mm it comes impossible to see what you are shooting without bright light source and there the 7-10x live view magnification is just awesome for great manual focusing.

And again the 2x crop factor helps here too as it gives extra steps for close-up shots with normal lenses.

For landscape I like the possibility to see what I get before launching, as most of the times there is no seconds to waste when doing landscape shooting. You can not try and make mistakes as the correct lightning can be over in time when you notice the metering was wrong. Instead wasting for EV bracketing or metering around, it sounds nice to see what you get from EVF but how well does it work? As waiting months or even year to get correct lightning and then spending hours/days on location just to miss once or few times the perfect light does frustrate more than missing shot when shooting while just driving around.

I tested 30min M1 in store (OIShare in tablet too) and I didn't find spot where to try it in low light or high contrast subject. So I ask about M1 owners how well it does show you the results? I was amazed by the speed on both olympus and size of M1 VF but as I can not turn it up, it gives VF-4 some benefit to buy, even when it should be same display module.

The image stabilization system was amazing, I tested it and I shaked more and more camera in 40mm end and I noticed that how much I was trying to shake it without seeing anything moving. I have never seen anything like it, E-520 stabilization system was already a amazing years back and nothing was close to it on Nikon or Canon lenses and now I am scared about idea to get a FF camera (D600) as I don't want to buy anymore every lens with VR/IS to get something in low light with acceptable DOF (f/4-8).

Am I crazy if I don't get E-M5 or D600?

Price for E-M1 is huge but.... That single lens seems to fit for most my situations very well. Attaching a old 4/3 lens with its PDAF is tempting and I see wet dreams from speedbooster and 50mm f/1.2 to turn 70mm f/0.85-0.9 so it would be about f/1.4 by DOF but when speedbooster costs $400 it is just new extra cost...

For wedding/funeral and other shooting (from indoor sports to dancing in low light etc) I need speed, wide angles and long tele. The 12-40mm covers wide range of needed ones but then again 70-300 could give benefit in many situations but how about 7-14mm for M1/M5? They give worth to their money? As even then I need speed so I can stop motion at longer range.

The M5 features would be enough but WiFi control, live bulb, PDAF sounds to be huge benefit but I could still live without them if EVF could give something benefit, attaching flash setups wirelessly or with sync cable...

I have very hard times to deny from buying M5 for cheap price but it requires to invest more to multiple lenses, external EVF, dual battery grip. Or then get just the body for 599€ and think about was it wise not to spend 3x for M1 or D600?

So few features I can see in FF, mainly the shallower DOF, higher megapixel count and of course again the stupid "pro status" with a bigger camera when in sport events etc where you can even be thrown out of press area because you are not pro as you have just "hobbiest" camera and waving press card doesn't help at all.

 Mk82's gear list:Mk82's gear list
Olympus E-M1
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Nikon D600 Olympus E-520 (EVOLT E-520) Olympus E-M1
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