EM-10 Mark ii: Early thoughts after two weeks

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cwathington Regular Member • Posts: 139
EM-10 Mark ii: Early thoughts after two weeks
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I needed a small body to replace my aging GF2, so I decided to get a EM-10 mark II, refurbed and on sale from Roberts Camera. (I've been having some luck with Olympus refurbs lately. Purchased a 12-40mm this way, and it's pretty sharp corner to corner at all focal lengths - none of the softness at 40 that I read about).

This is my first Olympus body. I started my photography journey with a Panasonic superzoom, so when I transitioned to m4/3s 7 years ago, I stuck with Panansonic.

Overall, I love the EM-10 much more than I expected to. However, there were some surprises - surprises because I expected to know everything given all the gear reviews I read and forums I participate in. So, I figured I should document my surprises for others, as they might be new information for some folks.

  • White balance, oh white balance. First, Olympus jpegs are indeed pretty great. I will still shoot raw, but the color is pretty pleasing, as is the reputation. Panasonic isn't too far away these days, but I see what Olympus fans are talking about with Olympus color and the quality of the jpegs. My surprise was how this difference plays out indoors vs. outdoors! Outdoors, the colors are fantastic. Indoors, given OIympus' approach to white balance, it can produce some less than stellar results. If the em-10 is any indication of Olympus' overall color philosophy, then it's fair to say while Panasonic has moved away from warmer white balance inside over the years, Olympus has stuck with it. Greenish orange white balance indoors is terrible for skin tones.
  • My biggest surprise was around focusing philosophy. The performance of the focus is great in terms of all the gear head metrics. But, my em-10 feels more like my experience with DSLRs. Olympus wants the user to choose the focus point, and any smarts come secondarily. If you let the camera choose the focus point, it pretty much picks the highest contrast thing in the scene. Face detection works well, but it is an option, not a front and center focusing mode. Panasonic is the opposite. Since the pre-micro four thirds days, it has worked a lot on scene detection, even outside its iA automatic mode. More often than not, it's good at picking what I'm trying to focus on. So instead of letting the camera take a guess and correct it if it's wrong, with my em-10 I have explicitly choose more often. That's actually quite refreshing, but I was frustrated until I figured this out.
  • The menus are awesome. I know this is a polarizing thing in the community. I realize they expose a lot of complexity and could be labeled a bit better, but I expected a nightmare scenario. Given all the historic complaints from Panasonic users, I was pleasantly surprised. I don't know if they have substantially improved over the years, but I don't see what all the fuss is about.

Anyway, overall, if you stick with one side of the system, I encourage you to mix it up. I've always been pleased with my Olympus lenses, and now I know I like the bodies as well.

 cwathington's gear list:cwathington's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Panasonic G85 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS +5 more
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2
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