A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

Started Jan 15, 2014 | Discussions
jfoley Forum Member • Posts: 88
A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

Dear Folks,

I have an Olympus OM-D EM-1, and absolutely love it.  But there are a few occasions (like going in museums, street shooting, or other more cozy locations) where I might like something smaller as a second body.  Also, I like the idea of having a second, lightweight body to take on long trips as a backup -- just in case one of the cameras has a problem.
I'm toying around with picking up an Olympus PEN PL5, or maybe the PM2.  Both can be found as pretty good deals on Amazon or other sites.

I prefer a camera with an EVF and controls as close to the OM-D as possible, but there's nothing like that in the same price range.

Which other micro-4/3 camera is the best lightweight "sidekick" to the EM-1?  Any recommendations on this?

Thanks in advance!   Cheers, Jon

Art_P
Art_P Veteran Member • Posts: 9,875
The E-M10?

Well, we'll have to wait a bit until it hits the shelves... or the specs are even out, but it sounds like an ideal little brother to the E-M1 if you prefer a built in VF.  Controls, menus and output should be similar enough you shouldn't have to worry about which camera you have in hand.

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Michael's Photos Regular Member • Posts: 303
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

If you're not committed to MFT, check out the Olympus Stylus 1.

OP jfoley Forum Member • Posts: 88
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

The Stylus intrigues me, but I'd like to be able to have interchangeable lenses with the companion.  I've already got some nice primes and zooms, and it would be shame not to be able to use them on both cameras.

Also, I sometimes hook my OM-D up to a small telescope (using a simple T-adaptor) to take some simple astrophotographs.  It would be nice to do this with a really light micro-4/3 camera as well.

Jim Salvas
Jim Salvas Veteran Member • Posts: 5,261
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

Olympus has cut the price of the P5 to $799 and is selling the VF-4 finder with it for $99.

This probably tells us a lot about the forthcoming E-M10 and what its pricing will be.

And, by the way, I'd love to have that finder for my PM2. That would be a great combo.

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dougjgreen1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,317
IMHO, E-PL5, E-PM2, or Panasonic GM1 are all good choices

jfoley wrote:

Dear Folks,

I have an Olympus OM-D EM-1, and absolutely love it. But there are a few occasions (like going in museums, street shooting, or other more cozy locations) where I might like something smaller as a second body. Also, I like the idea of having a second, lightweight body to take on long trips as a backup -- just in case one of the cameras has a problem.
I'm toying around with picking up an Olympus PEN PL5, or maybe the PM2. Both can be found as pretty good deals on Amazon or other sites.

I prefer a camera with an EVF and controls as close to the OM-D as possible, but there's nothing like that in the same price range.

Which other micro-4/3 camera is the best lightweight "sidekick" to the EM-1? Any recommendations on this?

Thanks in advance! Cheers, Jon

It simply depends upon what features you care about and what your budget is.

The Panasonic, as you know, lacks a viewfinder option but is the smallest, lightest option.   I personally use an Oly E-PL5 and find it very complete for my needs when used with a VF-2.

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photo perzon
photo perzon Veteran Member • Posts: 4,496
The best "companion" for Olympus E-M1 is the same camera!
2

I bet you if you buy the companion you won't use the E-M1.  The E-M1 brings things no other Olympus brings.  Super quiet shutter, protection, quality feel, better IS, built in VF4.

Part of its charm is the presence it exudes.  Its pathetic to leave a $ 1400 camera at home and spend all day shooting with a $ 300 PM2.  Loud, small, can't see the LCD in the sun, etc.

Get a cool case, and purposely take out the E-M1 as an extexion of your personality.  Some might shy away, most will be attracted and be a part of the experience.  It commands respect.  It builds up the subject.  It makes it special.  It weighs only a few more ounces more than the PL5.  Truth is a PL5 with a lens is gonna drag down any article of clothing too and it also needs a purse or a case.

jfoley wrote:

Dear Folks,

I have an Olympus OM-D EM-1, and absolutely love it. But there are a few occasions (like going in museums, street shooting, or other more cozy locations) where I might like something smaller as a second body. Also, I like the idea of having a second, lightweight body to take on long trips as a backup -- just in case one of the cameras has a problem.
I'm toying around with picking up an Olympus PEN PL5, or maybe the PM2. Both can be found as pretty good deals on Amazon or other sites.

I prefer a camera with an EVF and controls as close to the OM-D as possible, but there's nothing like that in the same price range.

Which other micro-4/3 camera is the best lightweight "sidekick" to the EM-1? Any recommendations on this?

Thanks in advance! Cheers, Jon

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dougjgreen1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,317
What about when you need something smaller?
1

photo perzon wrote:

I bet you if you buy the companion you won't use the E-M1. The E-M1 brings things no other Olympus brings. Super quiet shutter, protection, quality feel, better IS, built in VF4.

Part of its charm is the presence it exudes. Its pathetic to leave a $ 1400 camera at home and spend all day shooting with a $ 300 PM2. Loud, small, can't see the LCD in the sun, etc.

Get a cool case, and purposely take out the E-M1 as an extexion of your personality. Some might shy away, most will be attracted and be a part of the experience. It commands respect. It builds up the subject. It makes it special. It weighs only a few more ounces more than the PL5. Truth is a PL5 with a lens is gonna drag down any article of clothing too and it also needs a purse or a case.

jfoley wrote:

Dear Folks,

I have an Olympus OM-D EM-1, and absolutely love it. But there are a few occasions (like going in museums, street shooting, or other more cozy locations) where I might like something smaller as a second body. Also, I like the idea of having a second, lightweight body to take on long trips as a backup -- just in case one of the cameras has a problem.
I'm toying around with picking up an Olympus PEN PL5, or maybe the PM2. Both can be found as pretty good deals on Amazon or other sites.

I prefer a camera with an EVF and controls as close to the OM-D as possible, but there's nothing like that in the same price range.

Which other micro-4/3 camera is the best lightweight "sidekick" to the EM-1? Any recommendations on this?

Thanks in advance! Cheers, Jon

It's nonsense to suggest that no situations will crop up where the OP needs something smaller than an E-M1 but still wants very good IQ.

I agree with you about sunlight making the screen difficult to view.  So I use a VF-2.

BTW, an E-PL5 does not weigh "a few ounces less" than an E-M1.  It weighs 6 ounces less.

The E-PM2 weighs 8 ounces less than an E-M1.  Those are significant differences.  And a VF-2 only adds 1 ounce to those weights.

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Peter Gregg Veteran Member • Posts: 4,744
Re: What about when you need something smaller?

I use the EM1. My little camera is the RX100. It truly is a pocket camera that can bring quality to the table. Otherwise,the EM1 is what to have.

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dougjgreen1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,317
Re: What about when you need something smaller?

Peter Gregg wrote:

I use the EM1. My little camera is the RX100. It truly is a pocket camera that can bring quality to the table. Otherwise,the EM1 is what to have.

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'Life is good - eternal life is better'

For me, the EM-1 is too big for my needs.  I got rid of a DSLR that was basically the same size and weighed just 2 ounces more.   I was looking  for a 12 ounce ILC camera, not an 18 ounce camera.

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Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,294
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

I bought my 'sidekick' camera before the E-M1 was announced: a dirt cheap E-PL1 bought used for $100 or less. It's trashed but still works flawlessly. I have the VF-4 to use with it, but mostly fit a 28mm optical viewfinder and the Olympus Body Cap Lens 15mm f/8 or a Skink Pinhole lens ... slips in my pocket and I hardly notice it's there. Great for snapshooting..

And yet I've tossed my best lenses on it and gotten some delightful quality photos as well.

It was actually the E-PL1 that inspired me to get back into using Micro-FourThirds gear in the first place.

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radpa
radpa New Member • Posts: 23
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?
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Ulric Senior Member • Posts: 4,386
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?
1

E-PL5, for sure. Great price, same IQ as E-M1, tilting screen, optional VF-4.

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miro3 Senior Member • Posts: 2,792
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?
1

the GM1

DLBlack Forum Pro • Posts: 12,724
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

If the rumors are correct the upcoming E-M10 along with the new kit lens might be the thing for you.  Basically the rumors has the upcoming camera being E-PL5 sized and styled like the Stylus One.  This includes a pop-up flash and EVF.  The kit lens is rumored to be a very compact/pancake lens.  So it might  to worth while to wait a month to see what is actually announced.  It should be announced before  the CP+ show, which starts Feb 14.

If you want something now then the E-PM2, E-PL5 or G-M1 are you best bet.   They are MFT cameras, but don't have buit-in EVF.  The RX100 II or the Stylus One are also worth looking at.

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Ido S
Ido S Senior Member • Posts: 4,923
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

Olympus offers the VF-4 external EVF, that's basically the same as the one you're used to in the E-M1. It can also tilt up for waist-level shooting. The catch? It's only compatible with the newer PEN models (E-P5 and E-PL6), and it's very expensive - a new one can only be had for $279. There are older and inferior models, like the VF-3 and VF-2, but they're still quite expensive, and I haven't checked their compatibility.

The good thing, though, is that you don't need to spend extra on lenses, and you can even buy a camera body-only, as I suppose you already have a collection of lenses that can be shared between the E-M1 and the E-PL6.

If money is no object, then the obvious choice is the Panasonic Lumix GX7. It's a fantastic camera indeed, but pricey for a second, walkaround body.

If you waive the requirement of EVF, then the Olympus PEN E-PL5, E-PM2, Panasonic Lumix GM1, and GF6, are all worthwhile options to consider. I'd actually get the tiny GM1 for obvious reasons, despite its relative lack of physical controls. The touchscreen supposedly makes life easier on that front.

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Lindsay D Contributing Member • Posts: 590
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

Jon, I would certainly agree with suggestions that you consider the EPL5. It's a wonderful little camera and a great companion for your EM1. It's like having a baby OMD, with the very useful option to add a good-quality viewfinder. I love my EPL5 and I use it just as much as my EM1. It is also a very competent backup camera and second camera. Interestingly it seems to produce the sharpest images of all of my Micro 4/3 bodies.

The GM1 is a bit smaller, but you have to give up some features for the smaller size and to me it would not be worth it. But if you want something which is truly pocketable and convenient, for walkabout situations, then maybe you could consider something like the Sony RX100.

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LeeS Contributing Member • Posts: 709
E-M5
1

Without a grip the E-M5 is smaller than E-M1 and more streamlined than Pen + viewfinder.

Similar twin dial control interface, 5 axis IBIS and same battery as E-M1.  The perfect back-up.

For my purposes, the E-PL5 was disappointing as a back-up.  It may be fine as a primary camera but coming from the OMD series, the mode dial falls directly under the right thumb such that I incurably change modes when intending to adjust aperture.  Also, I found that mode dial too easily subject to inadvertent changes when removing from bag or pocket.  Hence if a Pen size camera is desired I would agree with the poster above in preferring the E-PM2.

Lee

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JYPfoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,186
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?
1

I was I'm the market for the same thing and tried out a Panasonic GX7 for a smaller camera, slapped a 20 prime on there, and gave it a whirl. Like you I loved the E-M1 but wanted something smaller, liked the idea of having the ability to mount my lenses to either, etc.  Ended up returning it.  it wasn't that it was a bad camera, but there was just too much redundancy and for the price I paid, wasn't cost effective to have both.  I would use the E-m1 when I went out for planned shooting so having a $1,000 backup that I didn't use often wasn't the best idea.

So against conventional wisdom I bought a Ricoh GR.  Best idea ever.  it's truly compact, more so than any m4/3 outside of a GM1, but once you start mounting lenses on it, it's less compact.  i like having the bigger sensor, the leaf shutter is great, higher flash sync is great, snap focus for street work is great, I'm just really happy I bought it, I actually carry it in my briefcase to work and the last few days I was able to get some snaps of the ice freezing on the Hudson which I wouldn't have been able to get because I wouldn't carry my EM1 to work and my iPhone isn't a camera that I would use.

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Bob Tullis
Bob Tullis Forum Pro • Posts: 33,122
Re: E-M5

LeeS wrote:

Without a grip the E-M5 is smaller than E-M1 and more streamlined than Pen + viewfinder.

Similar twin dial control interface, 5 axis IBIS and same battery as E-M1. The perfect back-up.

Same here, at the moment. Additionally, if/when having two cameras in the bag at the ready, there's never hesitation choosing the 'backup' due to output differences.

I do like the form factor of the E-PL line and the features of the E-PL5, but the EVF and twin dials of the E-M5 I can't give up (unless it's for another E-M1).

Though - if I didn't already have the E-M5 in hand, I'd wait to see what the E-M10 release offers.

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