A quick day out with the Olympus E-M1 and the SONY a7

Started Jan 27, 2014 | Discussions thread
Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,390
Re: Turning off the LCD in the back

Daniel Wee wrote:

The thing with the a7, though, is that when you're using the EVF, the LCD backlight is totally turned off. With the E-M1, the screen is black but the backlight is still active, drawing power unnecessarily. All things being equal, the E-M1's auto-switching mode consumes more power unnecessarily when compared to the a7's auto-switching mode. They both work well. It may be true that the E-M1's backlight is kept on because of the longer start-up time which could affect switching responsiveness. Keeping it on would then allow for faster switching. Again, the a7 manages this without the need of keeping the backlight on so presumably their hardware is better in that particular respect.

Well, my impression of the cameras in use is that the A7 auto-switch responsiveness is slower by quite a bit compared to the E-M1, and that the backlight is actually still powered (perhaps lower than the E-M1) unless you go to the menu and switch to the EVF. Then it powers off completely, just like with the E-M1.

Meanwhile, the A7 consumes a full battery charge in about 300-400 exposures where with the E-M1 I'm often able to make 600-700 exposures per charge.

So ... I don't really care all that much about the specifics, to be honest ... the E-M1, regardless of its specifically lighting the LCD or not, runs a bit longer per charge than the A7, and that despite the fact that the E-M1 also powers the IBIS system and all the lens servo focusing motors, where I'm only using manual focus lenses on the A7. The A7 battery is nominally rated at 1080mAh, the E-M1 battery is rated at 1220mAh—I'm not sure that 140mAh difference fully accounts for the difference between 300-400 exposures and 600-700 exposures. I think, based on all this, that the E-M1 is simply a more power efficient camera than the A7, for whatever reason.

Not that it really matters to me. If I need more power, I'll get the A7 grip and fit two batteries at a time for extended shooting. I only rarely shoot more than a hundred or so exposures in a session with either camera. I've already got two chargers and three batteries for the E-M1; two chargers and two more batteries for the A7 are on the way to me now. (Wasabi sells a package of two batteries and charger for the A7 for about $30, so it's not like it's much of a financial burden. :-))

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