Still using & loving the original E-M5? and want an upgrade?

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Sergey Borachev Veteran Member • Posts: 5,154
Still using & loving the original E-M5? and want an upgrade?

I searched for years for an upgrade to my E-M5s and I looked at every camera that is small but not entry level, and that has a tilt screen and a better sensor. The only M43 camera that I can accept is the GX9. It is now very cheap, esp with the 12-32mm, and it turns out to be particularly good for street shooting, candids, etc. Here are my comments and I hope it is useful reference:

There are 3 negatives for any E-M5 upgrader, but a whole lot of positives (below):

1. A small field sequential EVF. Some people including me have no problem using it. Many find a rainbow colour tearing. You should check this at a store or with someone else,s camera with this "feature", which is on many smaller Panasonic cameras. This is a show stopper for many people, but may still be OK for others.

2. WR. This is a downgrade but not life and death for me, and for those who also have another WR camera.

3. The rangefinder shape, which many people prefer but is a problem for left-eye dominant shooters like me. There is a simple menu setting to switch off the annoying thing when your nose touches the screen while shooting with the EVF, and that causes AF position to change. Switching off this setting does not affect the use of the touchscreen when you eye is not against the EVF. So, no problem.

Here is what you gain by switching to it, and it is well worth it, esp given the demise of Olympus.

- Support/service for the camera, which is a huge question for Olympus cameras going forward

- 20 MP sensor, which provides slightly better IQ

- WiFi and Bluetooth. The former is particularly useful for stealth, candids and street shooting, as you can operate the camera remotely while looking at your phone (and not at the camera, and not even touching the camera).

- Focus Peaking, which is great for manual lenses, and for macro shooting when precise focusing is needed

- USB charging, very useful also for charging while shooting, using a phone powerbank

- Tilt EVF, very useful for near the ground shots when it is sunny and bright

- Electronic shutter, for silent shooting and faster shutter speeds

- Faster AF, esp when using Panasonic lenses due to DFD, and Dual-IS (and the 12-32mm has it). Olympus only put Sync-IS in its expensive lenses and only in a few of them.

- A built-in flash, useful for filling in and getting catch light in the eyes

- Better LCD, higher resolution

- A nice street shooting camera. The camera is less intimidating as an SLR shaped one. Even better after I I used black gaffer tape to cover the only LUMIX label. Controls are fine.

Finally I will be able to use the aperture ring on the small 15mm, a natural match for this camera for those who like street shooting. You see, I have also wanted for years and years to buy a small 35mm equiv lens, but Olympus 17mm f/1.8 is just too mediocre. I also use the Laowa 17mm and zone focusing for street. These small lenses are just right on the GX9, which is as many reviewers have found a very nice street shooter. The 12-32mm is not too shabby when outdoors or when there's adequate light.

- Better video, incl. 4K and 60p HD

- and other minor features, like Panorama mode
So far so good, after 2 weeks, and there is no issue with Olympus lenses.  AF and IBIS seem to work just as well on the GX9.

Surprisingly, the colours are pretty good, and I say it's not worse than Olympus colours, just different. Olympus colours are attractive but can be off esp when surrounded by a lot or trees. It seems Panasonic's previous colour issues have been fixed. They are no longer a problem now. I am happy with this upgrade. I can see a way forward, after Olympus, and I can look forward to using some of the fine Panasonic lenses with full functionality. I hope Panasonic will release an updated model with a better EVF, WR, and more advanced features when a new one is due. But keep the small size and the tilt screen!

Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9
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