EM1-Mk2 v GX8

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Adrian Harris
Adrian Harris Veteran Member • Posts: 4,066
EM1-Mk2 v GX8
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Realising that I will never go back to my DSLR gear which has sat in the cupboard for over a year, I have decided to sell or trade it all to get something that I would enjoy using.

Many of you will be well aware that I am a very enthusiastic GX8 user and not surprisingly as it really is a pro-level camera. However there are a couple of caveats that could do with improvement, so have been looking at the EM1-Mk2.

I would wait for a GX9 to be launched to see if the areas I find weak on the GX8 to have been addressed, but I don't hold up any chances as most of the talk on the forums for a GX9 wishlist never even mention what I consider to be real weaknesses.

A 'perfect' electronic shutter is something that would be a dream for all cameras, and sadly the GX8 one has 2 serious limitations: Its line-read times are slow which causes distortions when photographing certain subjects, and most irritatingly the electronic shutter won't allow exposures for longer than 1 second. The mechanical shutter has to be used for flash, but if I have to guarantee an ultra-sharp image and I have only a one shot chance I can not 'trust' the mechanical shutter to deliver (which appears to be a problem on all three of my M43 cameras G1, GX7, GX8).

Hence I have looked at the Olympus EM1-Mk2 as it has electronic first curtain (which my Sony DSLR had) and from experience I know this is a perfect compromise that produces imperceptible 'shock'. Also the Olympus EM1-Mk2 electronic shutter has a much faster readout than that of the GX8. ... way to go Olympus.

I am also concerned about the Panasonic DFD focus system, which on their ultra long 100-400 zoom is not quite as accurate as it should be. Possibly because it is a seriously fast to zoom camera, but whatever, it is still an issue if you want the finest feather detail to show on a bird that is a 100 metres away, ...which is possibly why Panasonic have created the auto+manual focus option. I know that why I 'tweak' the focus manually 9 times out of 10 there is a very observable improvement on some far off subjects.

Again I look towards the EM1-Mk2 which has proper phase detect autofocus as well as contrast detect, which in theory should be perfect. ... way to go Olympus.

So why am I hesitating to jump ship from Panasonic to Olympus?

Well what has surprised me most is that for all the theory and chit chat, the EM1-Mk2 really doesn't seem to be an improvement over the GX8, and certainly not when it comes to picture detail, which everyone can clearly see if they use the DP review 'Image Quality: Studio Comparison' tool. I set it up to compare the EM1-Mk2, GH5 and GX8 Standard (mechanical) Shutter and GX8 Electronic shutter. And looked at various parts of the scene using both RAW and JPG and from ISO200 to ISO6,400. And what amazed me most was the amount of extra detail the GX8 produces compared to the EM1-Mk2 and that there was no improvement with the GH5!

We know that the GH5 has an even slower electronic shutter than the GX8 so I don't hold out to much hope for a GX9 to be a winner on that score.

So this big question is, in real terms what could an EM1-Mk2 offer me in real practical terms over the GX8?

Certainly not the 5 axis IBIS stabilisation, as for me the GX8 has terrific stabilisation.

Focus accuracy ? Well according to what I read from people on this forum complaining about the 'to large' spot focus missing the target.

60fps v whatever the GX8 can do. For me possibly of little use as I normally only use the GX8 on the slowest burst (going home with a few thousand shots to plow through and throw out after a difficult day is already far to many, ...mind you just a few good ones would suffice!!!)

And I would miss that beautiful tilting EVF.

If only Panasonic would release some forward information on their camera intentions, it could stop me making a big mistake.

All modern cameras will take good photos, but some make it a bit easier for old folk like me.

Question1: For nature and sports, in your 'experience' what do you consider the EM1-Mk2 would bring to the table?

Question2: So what would you suggest I do. It will cost me a lot of money even after I have sold all my DSLR gear and accessories to subsidise another camera. I am afraid of spending all my cash reserve to buy something that might equally have as many 'quirks' as the camera I already have (which excells in so many areas). That would leave me empty pocketed if Panasonic did release a new 'sorted' GX9 in a few weeks?

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 Adrian Harris's gear list:Adrian Harris's gear list
Sony RX100 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
Panasonic GH5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
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