Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

Started Jan 10, 2013 | Discussions
YuriS Regular Member • Posts: 337
Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

Hello everybody!

I’m enthusiastic photographer (for about 25 years - not professional). Currently I use Olympus E-PL1, my favorite activity – take landscape pictures with Fisheye and, along with my wife, shot art portraitures with legacy manual lenses (especially Minoltas 50mm and 85mm).

http://natalispalette.jimdo.com/photo/minolta-md-rokkor-50mm-f1-4-lens/

http://natalispalette.jimdo.com/photo/samyang-7-5-mm-f3-5-umc-fish-eye-mft/

We decided to upgrade our gear and inputs for our decision are:

  1. Body for $800-$1000.
  2. Mirrorless system to adapt legacy lenses.
  3. Tilt LCD screen, EVF preferable.
  4. As large as possible physical sensor size (not M-pixels).
  5. MF assistance for legacy lenses and Friendly buttons customization / menu.

Two candidates (Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Sony NEX-6) are perfectly fit to me. Besides lens availability (not so important to me – I use legacy and adapters are cheap) there are several major differences:

1. In body stabilization - Olympus OM-D E-M5 win

2. Larger sensor - Sony NEX-6 win

3. About 30% (in Europe) price difference. - Sony NEX-6 win

4. ISO 100 availability - Sony NEX-6 win

Does Larger sensor for less money worth more than In body stabilization? Is Sony NEX-6 preferable?  Or maybe I am missing some other points? Do you have other suggestions?

I have posted same question at MTF forum and received several feedbacks.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3364173

So I would appreciate your feedbacks as well.

 YuriS's gear list:YuriS's gear list
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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Sony Alpha NEX-6
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blue_skies
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,328
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

Try a search here, this has been debated at length recently.

Just adding in crop factor as another consideration.

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Cheers,
Henry

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OP YuriS Regular Member • Posts: 337
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

blue_skies wrote:

Try a search here, this has been debated at length recently.

Thank you! Yes it was debated but not in term of legacy lens usage (if I’m not mistaken).

Just adding in crop factor as another consideration.

Yes it is inside: 2. Larger sensor - Sony NEX-6 win.

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nevercat Veteran Member • Posts: 3,193
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

These two cameras are very fine cameras indeed. Both with their own strong and weak points, you summed up very well.

For landscape the wider aspect ratio of the APS sensor can be an other plus for the Nex.

IQ wise the Nex and the OM-D are so close that that will not be very noticable in real life so it is not a real deciding point.

A very important point is handling. Try both cameras in a shop. Go for the camera that handles best.

For IBIS: When doing landscape in good light, and/or with wideangle lenses IBIS is not giving you a lot more room to take pictures, a tripod will be a better companion even when your camera has IBIS. When taking movies IBIS is great.

nrcole Regular Member • Posts: 411
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

Crop factor would do it for me. Even a 35mm is a medium telephoto on MFT. Wide angle lenses are rarer and more expensive. 
Not that I wouldn't love an OMD, but if I purely wanted legacy it wouldn't work.

OP YuriS Regular Member • Posts: 337
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

Thank you for suggestion!

 YuriS's gear list:YuriS's gear list
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paul1508 Regular Member • Posts: 404
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

The two main differences I see:

I would guess, with IBIS and fast legacy glass the OMD is a low-light-monster! The slightly better high ISO of the NEX won't change that...

But if you want the shallow DOF APS-C is your way to go...

For instance:

Use a 50 mm legacy lens on the OMD... It gets a 100 mm instead of the 75 mm equivalent on APS-C... (what could also be a positive effect if you are using tele a lot!)

Next thing is, if you want to shoot 50 mm equivalent, you need 25 mm, or rather 24 mm... There are cheaper f2.8 or expensive f2 lenses which result in a DOF of (for 2 m) 0.59 m or 0.42 m where you get (with 35 mm) on APS-C with the f1.8 or f2 (which some lenses have) 0.17 m or 0.19 m...

Sensor size really matters for DOF!

nzmacro
nzmacro Forum Pro • Posts: 14,614
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?
2

  I did comment in that thread and mainly because the majority of m4/3 users just don't understand NEX and legacy MF lenses. They get the wrong idea most of the time between the difference of the two systems. Some just have a good guess at what they think the NEX offers for MF users.

I used the Panasonic G2 at the time (with MF lenses) and a darn nice camera it was. Handling wise the NEX was a shock, its small. Amazing they put an APS-C sensor in a box this size.

So we don't have IBIS for MF lenses and that would be nice to have if you shoot at certain exposures. I don't and use higher shutter speeds or a tripod / monopod. So for me personally, IBIS is a complete waste of time, while for others it would be a huge benefit and I can see that for sure.

No secret that I love focus peaking and the control it allows for what I take. I'm not sure how important that is for wider angle lenses, others here will have a far better idea on that than I do. I use longer lenses 300mm and over, so for me focus peaking is amazing and I won't go back to a camera without it, never !!

Of course NEX has a larger sensor which simply offers better cropping ability and that's exactly what I need.

M4/3 is an excellent system if you are into more native AF lenses, but then a DSLR is even better again in that case. The adaptor for NEX to take the Sony DSLR lenses which allows PDAF is an interesting one.

All the best and MF is all I have and use.

Danny.

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don_van_vliet Contributing Member • Posts: 618
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?
4

I'm an Oly fanboy but I think NEX is the clear winner for using legacy lenses. The smaller crop factor and focus peaking are more important than any advantages M43 might have.

nzmacro
nzmacro Forum Pro • Posts: 14,614
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

don_van_vliet wrote:

I'm an Oly fanboy but I think NEX is the clear winner for using legacy lenses. The smaller crop factor and focus peaking are more important than any advantages M43 might have.

Phew, that is a very refreshing post

I'm still watching the GH3 to see if they do put in focus peaking. I would be very tempted to grab one if they do. I would add one lens to that for the crop factor and another to the NEX-7. That would be very handy IMO. I wish Oly would put it in the OMD, but it doesn't look like it. Still IBIS does offer a lot.

All the best.

Danny.

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OP YuriS Regular Member • Posts: 337
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

paul1508 wrote:

The two main differences I see:

I would guess, with IBIS and fast legacy glass the OMD is a low-light-monster! The slightly better high ISO of the NEX won't change that...

But if you want the shallow DOF APS-C is your way to go...

For instance:

Use a 50 mm legacy lens on the OMD... It gets a 100 mm instead of the 75 mm equivalent on APS-C... (what could also be a positive effect if you are using tele a lot!)

Next thing is, if you want to shoot 50 mm equivalent, you need 25 mm, or rather 24 mm... There are cheaper f2.8 or expensive f2 lenses which result in a DOF of (for 2 m) 0.59 m or 0.42 m where you get (with 35 mm) on APS-C with the f1.8 or f2 (which some lenses have) 0.17 m or 0.19 m...

Sensor size really matters for DOF!

Thank you! My plan is to have Samyang 8mm f2.8 for landscape pictures, Sigma 30mm f2.8 (or any other 30mm faster lens) as a AF day-by-day lens and 50mm and longer fast primes for art photo. As I see 50mm f1.4 or 85mm f2.0 will have huge advantage at x1.5 crop over x2.0 crop.

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OP YuriS Regular Member • Posts: 337
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

nzmacro wrote:

I did comment in that thread and mainly because the majority of m4/3 users just don't understand NEX and legacy MF lenses. They get the wrong idea most of the time between the difference of the two systems. Some just have a good guess at what they think the NEX offers for MF users.

I used the Panasonic G2 at the time (with MF lenses) and a darn nice camera it was. Handling wise the NEX was a shock, its small. Amazing they put an APS-C sensor in a box this size.

So we don't have IBIS for MF lenses and that would be nice to have if you shoot at certain exposures. I don't and use higher shutter speeds or a tripod / monopod. So for me personally, IBIS is a complete waste of time, while for others it would be a huge benefit and I can see that for sure.

No secret that I love focus peaking and the control it allows for what I take. I'm not sure how important that is for wider angle lenses, others here will have a far better idea on that than I do. I use longer lenses 300mm and over, so for me focus peaking is amazing and I won't go back to a camera without it, never !!

Of course NEX has a larger sensor which simply offers better cropping ability and that's exactly what I need.

M4/3 is an excellent system if you are into more native AF lenses, but then a DSLR is even better again in that case. The adaptor for NEX to take the Sony DSLR lenses which allows PDAF is an interesting one.

All the best and MF is all I have and use.

Danny.

Thank you Danny! That is exactly a reason I put same question for two forums. It is absolutely necessary to see full picture. I don’t plan to use lenses with more than 135mm focal length (at least at this moment). So I like your comment regarding IBIS, it was one of my major concerns. Thanks again!

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DouglasG
DouglasG Regular Member • Posts: 286
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

I'm a Nex user, but the weather sealed body of the Olympus is a point to consider too plus the IBIS with legacy lenses, some says peaking is coming to Olympus too among others surprises on a new  firmware.

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OP YuriS Regular Member • Posts: 337
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

nzmacro wrote:

don_van_vliet wrote:

I'm an Oly fanboy but I think NEX is the clear winner for using legacy lenses. The smaller crop factor and focus peaking are more important than any advantages M43 might have.

Phew, that is a very refreshing post

I'm still watching the GH3 to see if they do put in focus peaking. I would be very tempted to grab one if they do. I would add one lens to that for the crop factor and another to the NEX-7. That would be very handy IMO. I wish Oly would put it in the OMD, but it doesn't look like it. Still IBIS does offer a lot.

All the best.

Danny.

Thank you for comments! As I see m4/3 system (especially OM-D) have an advantage over NEX’s in term of Auto Focus, means “Street”, “Point-and-Shot” and “Journalist” shooting. There AF is extremely important. But in case of “art” slow photo – NEX gives more flexibility.

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OP YuriS Regular Member • Posts: 337
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

DouglasG wrote:

I'm a Nex user, but the weather sealed body of the Olympus is a point to consider too plus the IBIS with legacy lenses, some says peaking is coming to Olympus too among others surprises on a new firmware.

Thank you! Weatherproof might be huge advantage but even MTF forum has big concern whether it “proof” or not so.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/50621179

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SQLGuy Veteran Member • Posts: 5,503
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

There's also the consideration that, while the body may be sealed, the legacy lenses almost always won't be.

Re: IBIS, I think it and OSS both get overrated, at least for stills. The reason I say this is that they only really help with static subjects, or people staying quite still. Even people sitting at a dinner table talking are likely to be moving too much for good shots at 1/10th of a second with a "normal" lens. If you're into shooting architecture and landscapes at night, hand held (as I am), then stabilization is great. If you think it's going to help you with sports photography or people shots in dim areas, you're likely to be disappointed.

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blue_skies
blue_skies Forum Pro • Posts: 11,328
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?
1

YuriS wrote:

nzmacro wrote:

I did comment in that thread and mainly because the majority of m4/3 users just don't understand NEX and legacy MF lenses. They get the wrong idea most of the time between the difference of the two systems. Some just have a good guess at what they think the NEX offers for MF users.

I used the Panasonic G2 at the time (with MF lenses) and a darn nice camera it was. Handling wise the NEX was a shock, its small. Amazing they put an APS-C sensor in a box this size.

So we don't have IBIS for MF lenses and that would be nice to have if you shoot at certain exposures. I don't and use higher shutter speeds or a tripod / monopod. So for me personally, IBIS is a complete waste of time, while for others it would be a huge benefit and I can see that for sure.

No secret that I love focus peaking and the control it allows for what I take. I'm not sure how important that is for wider angle lenses, others here will have a far better idea on that than I do. I use longer lenses 300mm and over, so for me focus peaking is amazing and I won't go back to a camera without it, never !!

Of course NEX has a larger sensor which simply offers better cropping ability and that's exactly what I need.

M4/3 is an excellent system if you are into more native AF lenses, but then a DSLR is even better again in that case. The adaptor for NEX to take the Sony DSLR lenses which allows PDAF is an interesting one.

All the best and MF is all I have and use.

Danny.

Thank you Danny! That is exactly a reason I put same question for two forums. It is absolutely necessary to see full picture. I don’t plan to use lenses with more than 135mm focal length (at least at this moment). So I like your comment regarding IBIS, it was one of my major concerns. Thanks again!

I use the 18200, but it is sometimes a little slow. I also have the Vivitar 1 70-210, which is similar to the 18200, just a tad faster, the Sony 70300 A (on LE-EA2 adapter). The latter two I can use handheld, with no IS, by just keeping the shutter speeds fast enough (and sometimes higher ISO). The Nex handles higher ISO quite well, don't be afraid to go there. Typically, I can get away with 1/(2*FL) for shake free shots.

I also use a legacy MF 100/2.8 and a 135/2.8 and when lights drop, these two lenses are absolutely wonderful. The problem under low light is not IS, it is subject blur. (e.g. branches moving in the wind). I get much sharper images with the 135/2.8 than the 18200 @ 135mm/6.0 because of the two stop advantage. IS means nothing then.

Since you mention 135mm max, I think that you will share this same experience.

M43 have a disadvantage with the lower ISO sensitivity. I know that the OM-D sensor has much improved, but is comparable to the Nex-7 (small pixels), and should be down sampled to reduce low light noise. If you want 16Mp output under lowlight, the Nex cameras (including Nex-7) are the winner imo,

For daytime tele, with both AF and IS, the m43 has the advantage, including crop. But, as I said earlier, getting sharp handheld images with the Sony 70300 A mount lens at 300mm is not that difficult. And the moment you focus on something darker (e.g sports hall, or forest/animals/zoo), the slow AF lenses become useless, and so does the m43 setup. A faster lens, f2.8, and the larger sensor are the way to go then.

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Cheers,
Henry

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OP YuriS Regular Member • Posts: 337
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

blue_skies wrote:

YuriS wrote:

nzmacro wrote:

I did comment in that thread and mainly because the majority of m4/3 users just don't understand NEX and legacy MF lenses. They get the wrong idea most of the time between the difference of the two systems. Some just have a good guess at what they think the NEX offers for MF users.

I used the Panasonic G2 at the time (with MF lenses) and a darn nice camera it was. Handling wise the NEX was a shock, its small. Amazing they put an APS-C sensor in a box this size.

So we don't have IBIS for MF lenses and that would be nice to have if you shoot at certain exposures. I don't and use higher shutter speeds or a tripod / monopod. So for me personally, IBIS is a complete waste of time, while for others it would be a huge benefit and I can see that for sure.

No secret that I love focus peaking and the control it allows for what I take. I'm not sure how important that is for wider angle lenses, others here will have a far better idea on that than I do. I use longer lenses 300mm and over, so for me focus peaking is amazing and I won't go back to a camera without it, never !!

Of course NEX has a larger sensor which simply offers better cropping ability and that's exactly what I need.

M4/3 is an excellent system if you are into more native AF lenses, but then a DSLR is even better again in that case. The adaptor for NEX to take the Sony DSLR lenses which allows PDAF is an interesting one.

All the best and MF is all I have and use.

Danny.

Thank you Danny! That is exactly a reason I put same question for two forums. It is absolutely necessary to see full picture. I don’t plan to use lenses with more than 135mm focal length (at least at this moment). So I like your comment regarding IBIS, it was one of my major concerns. Thanks again!

I use the 18200, but it is sometimes a little slow. I also have the Vivitar 1 70-210, which is similar to the 18200, just a tad faster, the Sony 70300 A (on LE-EA2 adapter). The latter two I can use handheld, with no IS, by just keeping the shutter speeds fast enough (and sometimes higher ISO). The Nex handles higher ISO quite well, don't be afraid to go there. Typically, I can get away with 1/(2*FL) for shake free shots.

I also use a legacy MF 100/2.8 and a 135/2.8 and when lights drop, these two lenses are absolutely wonderful. The problem under low light is not IS, it is subject blur. (e.g. branches moving in the wind). I get much sharper images with the 135/2.8 than the 18200 @ 135mm/6.0 because of the two stop advantage. IS means nothing then.

Since you mention 135mm max, I think that you will share this same experience.

M43 have a disadvantage with the lower ISO sensitivity. I know that the OM-D sensor has much improved, but is comparable to the Nex-7 (small pixels), and should be down sampled to reduce low light noise. If you want 16Mp output under lowlight, the Nex cameras (including Nex-7) are the winner imo,

For daytime tele, with both AF and IS, the m43 has the advantage, including crop. But, as I said earlier, getting sharp handheld images with the Sony 70300 A mount lens at 300mm is not that difficult. And the moment you focus on something darker (e.g sports hall, or forest/animals/zoo), the slow AF lenses become useless, and so does the m43 setup. A faster lens, f2.8, and the larger sensor are the way to go then.

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Cheers,
Henry

Thank you Henry! I admitted the ISO advantage. E-PL1 (my current gear) have minimum 1/2000s shutter speed. Sometimes I need to stop down aperture to avoid overexposure. OM-D have 1/4000s, which is better, but simultaneously Olympus removed ISO100. So Nex-6 with 1/4000s and ISO 100 - is a better way to use fast primes at bright light conditions.

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boardsy Senior Member • Posts: 2,215
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?

SQLGuy wrote:

If you're into shooting architecture and landscapes at night, hand held (as I am), then stabilization is great. If you think it's going to help you with sports photography or people shots in dim areas, you're likely to be disappointed.

Yes, true enough, but I almost always manage to find a wall/rock/railing/bench/ground/bag to stick the NEX on, for ad hoc base-ISO clean long exposures:

Also don't discount HHT & HDR for low-noise multi-shot stacking, which some love, even though I've never managed to get very good results from them, personally! 

Alan

gardnergareth Junior Member • Posts: 33
Re: Advanced legacy lens user: What to choose Olympus OM-D E-M5 or Sony NEX-6?
2

Hi

Not sure if this helps - I have both the EM-5 and NEX-7, so there's a bit of difference compared to the NEX-6.

I have had the EM-5 from when it was launched. Its image quality is excellent, it performs brilliantly with AF lenses and the IBIS is truly excellent.

I am an architectural photographer, so had been using it with a shift adapter and some Nikon manual lenses.

You can achieve great results (if you're interested, take a look at my website), but my own experience has been -

- if you are working fast, it's a pain to keep manually inputting the IBIS focal length and I keep forgetting to change it. In the end I just shoot with IBIS switched off. IBIS is much better with supported AF lenses, as it all happens automatically.

- the control interface is frustrating, particularly zooming for manual focus.

- the 'live time' feature is remarkable and great fun to use. Although I don't use it often, and then have to search through the menus each time until I remember how to activate it!

Anyway, as a result of these frustrations, I decided late in 2012 to give the NEX-7 a go. And yes, it does have a rather esoteric menu system. But in my experience, once you have made the appropriate settings, you never have to visit the menu again.

I bought it mainly to use with my Canon EOS lenses via a Metabones adapter, as a lightweight backup to my 1DS III (I tried an EOS M and couldn't get on with it at all). I wasn't envisaging using with my Nikon legacy lenses and shift adapter. However, the NEX has become my 'go to' tool  for this application.

It's a revelation with legacy lenses. The controls (such as manual focus magnfication) are to hand and intuitive (although the E-M5 has lots of buttons, it's hard to remember what they all do and the layout is pretty cramped). On the NEX, the focus peaking is a dream. The image quality is certainly a step above the already-excellent E-M5 – albeit it with a need to correct corner colour shifts with certain wide angle lenses, but I'm used to doing that anyway

However, I reach for my E-M5 when it comes to using AF lenses and IBIS. In particular, the 14mm, 20mm, 45mm and 75mm are all great to use.

Gareth

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