3 Months with the Oly OMS EM5 III

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pablolie Contributing Member • Posts: 671
3 Months with the Oly OMS EM5 III

Hi everybody

Just want to share some thoughts after a few months with the EM5 III aka v3.

It is a *great* camera and does everything I want, just a smidgen better, so this is not to be taken as a criticism of the the v3, but rather as a philosophical discussion on "when is new gear *really* an upgrade?".

I had been shooting for a long time with my trusted EM5 v1. Clearly I know it inside out. I have taken fantastic shots with it. From day 1 I thought it represented everything that is awesome about M43: perfect size (especially with low aperture or long focal length lenses!), awesome attractive design, lots of choices in high quality glass to cover the entire spectrum without having to log around 40lbs of gear, and a sensor size that provides great quality for 99.95% of my photo needs. I think there have only been 3 o 4 occasions since I got the EM5 when I thought "I'd like to try this with a FF, maybe it'd be better".

But for many years I have been ecstatic with my EM5 v1. So finally, this year, when the long overdue and awaited v3 came out, I got it. The feel at first disappointed me, being more plasticky, I was reminded of the camera that got me into M43, the E-PL1, which by the way is still performing strong in the hands of my 13 year old niece, a budding photographer. I love her, not just because she is awesome, but because when I asked her if she wanted a new camera for her birthday, she was like "NO - I know this one and I *like* to wrestle with its limitations and learn." But that's beside the point.

But as I used the EM5 v3, of course I loved its capabilities. But - was it really an upgrade? Did I *need* it to take better pictures? And the answer there, to me, ranges from a "hm... sometimes" to a "no". This is in no way a knock against the v3, it just means the v1 was a phenomenal camera and that true breakthroughs in dedicated photo gear are very far and inbetween these days. And you could say that the additional pixels and ISO range (which make only a slight difference IMHO) are a convenience tool rather than a true performance improvement, you can and should learn to work around some gear limitations as a photographer. Same with the improved autofocus. I think this may be because my shooting style, I am a manual first person in many cases, I mean, if I use auto I may as well use my smartphone (Samsung S10+, which has a pretty phenomenal camera with awesome software capabilities, however completely makes me feel like I accomplished *nothing* photographically).

A huge omission in my opinion is a built-in neutral density mode, which they did with other cameras in the OMD line-up, damn them. No logic there.

That brings me to a point about Olympus' camera strategy: why on earth did they have so many M43 models out? At some point in time they had 4 to 5 M43 cameras at the same time... Having to maintain and develop them in parallel is a sure way to fall behind when you have a limited market and limited resources, but hey, that's water under the bridge. But compare that to Apple, who sell over 100M iPhones a quarter and *they* offer at most 4 models.

Anyhow - I like the EM5 v3, but I don't quite love it the way I was amazed and loved the EM5 v1 when I first got it, which made me go "wow!" after many photo sessions. Like I said, it's a great camera, it just means we're getting back to the days when you probably could easily keep your camera for 10 years. And, in my opinion, that's a good thing.

 pablolie's gear list:pablolie's gear list
Olympus XZ-2 iHS Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS Panasonic Leica D Summilux Asph 25mm F1.4 +6 more
Nikon 1 V3 Olympus PEN E-PL1
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