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

Started Jan 15, 2014 | Discussions
Dave Bennett Senior Member • Posts: 1,602
Re: E-M5

It has to be the EPL5. I bought one before I got my E-M1 and love it, sticking mainly with the only m43 glass I have, the 12-50. I am constantly amazed by the quality I get out of it. Mind you, I got a real bargain - £250 (second hand) including the standard 14-42 kit lens.

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Dave
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zilver Contributing Member • Posts: 921
E-M10

The rumoured E-M10 to be released in the next few weeks, is said to be only little bigger the EPL5 and has a built-in EVF.

I'm currently using Panasonic GM1 as a backup which is good but lacking IBIS and EVF so let's see!

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Bots_Revenge
Bots_Revenge Regular Member • Posts: 125
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

I have bought e E-PM2 for second (third actually) camera. I find its IQ pretty much indistinguishable from the E-M1. I have thought of buying a Panasonic camera but I prefer to have image stabilization in camera so I got the oly.

I find the usability of the E-M1 acceptable. I got used to it quickly and I adjust the camera with ease. If I have to choose a small camera again, it would be the E-PM2 again. The GM1 is very cute but I want in-camera stabilization.

So far I don't have a good pocket lens. I sold the kit lens quickly. Now I usually put the 12mm f2 or the 25mm f1.4 on it. That's not very versatile. At times I attach the 12-40 f2.8 but the balance of the camera goes down the drain. It's still useable, though. Things get serious when I add the Metz 58 AF-2 flash. Then the flash becomes my grip.

It's funny then because the combo looks like a tank with the proper barrel, the big tracks and instead of a real body you put a bucket in between But so what, it still blasts

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EarthQuake Senior Member • Posts: 2,382
Re: E-M5
1

Bob Tullis wrote:

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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...Bob, NYC
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"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't." - Chief Dan George, Little Big Man
.

I own both the EM5 and EM1, with the intent of keeping the EM5 around for backup, for the wife to use when we are both shooting, and when I want a lighter kit. In practice, the size/weight difference is so small that it makes no sense to take the EM5 over the EM1, the weight difference is only 75g and I find the EM1 fits in the same space that the EM5 fit inside all my camera bags (biggest difference being the grip extension, but that only matters if you carry the camera without a lens attached, which I never do).

So I find little/no reason to take the EM5 instead of the EM1, for a tiny bit extra weight I get much, much better controls, ergonomics and in some cases performance (AF, buffer, etc).

I would opt for an EPM or EPL if one desires a compact backup body, or wait for the EM10 if a built in EVF is required, I wasn't really interested in that camera, but if it is noticeably smaller than the EM5 I may just swap them.

The GX7 warrants consideration as well, but I don't think it is significantly smaller or lighter than the EM5.

Lawrence W Contributing Member • Posts: 668
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

I vote for the E-PM2. It is just a fantastic small camera to go with a pancake lens and fits well in my cargo pants

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Barry Stewart
Barry Stewart Veteran Member • Posts: 8,827
Another √ for the E-PL5

I've had mine for a year now and it continues to perform well. Now that I have an E-M1, the E-PL5 will be a very worthy backup.

BTW, I never did buy a viewfinder for the E-PL5, so I've shot over 10,000 photos with just the LCD. Coming from years of DSLR use, the switch hasn't bothered me.

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Paulmorgan Veteran Member • Posts: 7,160
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

EP5 or GX7

dougjgreen1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,368
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

Ido S wrote:

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.

The VF-4 is compatible with all the Pen cameras - but they require the most recent firmware updates to use it.

BTW, it's now on sale for $199, or $99 bundled with an E-P5.

The VF-2 is not as good as the VF-4, but it's smaller and lighter and a perfectly functional EVF, and you can get them mint used or refurb for about $125.  I agree that the VF-3 is inferior, and since it only saves maybe $20-25 relative to the VF-2, I'd pass on that one.

My VF-2 remains on my E-PL5 100% of the time.

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aliasfox Senior Member • Posts: 1,164
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

Another vote for the E-PM2. If you get the two lens deal for $350, you can sell the two kit lenses (not too hard to get to $200, I lucked out and sold my 14-42 for $150 but kept the 40-150) and end up <$200 for a new body. If you need to, you can get the VF4 for it, I believe.

That way, you get a stabilized body with that passes for a p&s when a pancake's on it, and should have nearly identical image quality to the E-M1 in all circumstances. If you put a VF4 on it, the camera can nearly double as an E-M5 - same sensor, same viewfinder, just less-good stabilization.

I will say, however, that I'm still getting used to the touchscreen interface. I find my XZ-1 a better handling camera.

Even with the EVF, the PM2 should still come in cheaper than something like a GX7 - that said, if you think you'll always need an EVF, it may be a better choice as carrying a PM2 with EVF on it all the time doesn't seem to be the most space efficient option.

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Neurad1
Neurad1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,491
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

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

Loving my E-PL5 for that purpose. I bought the VF-4 and like the option to remove it if I feel like it.

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Neurad1
Neurad1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,491
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

Ido S wrote:

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.

I use a VF-4 with my E-PL5. The only problem is that I have to manually switch the LCD screen/EVF on or off. The eye sensor doesn't shut off the LCD. If someone knows how to do this please let me know.

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Barry Stewart
Barry Stewart Veteran Member • Posts: 8,827
14-42 sale.

aliasfox wrote:

"... I lucked out and sold my 14-42 for $150"

P.T. Barnum was right!

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Barry

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RGiskard Regular Member • Posts: 372
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

aliasfox wrote:

If you get the two lens deal for $350.

Where are you getting the deal?  I thought that was an Amazon Gold Box price that ended pretty quickly... thanks!

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RGiskard Regular Member • Posts: 372
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

I would also like to have a small body.  I currently have a Sony A65 and my E-M1 arrives soon.  given that the E-M1 is barely smaller than the A65 (except in thickness), I don't expect that I will suddenly start carrying it everywhere!  I currently have an Oly XZ-1 that works pretty well in decent light and shoots raw.  I would love to leverage my good Oly lenses, but I'm torn on whether a RX100 is a better option even if I had the Oly 17 f/1.8 or a 20-25mm prime.

I want something truly pocketable, and under $500 for sure.  The RX100 meets those criteria, but I don't think there are any zooms that I can put on any u4/3 body that have similar range of the RX100 and that would stay "pocketable."  Of course, the Sony can't match the u4/3 image quality, but there are times that having a flexible zoom makes a huge difference in terms of usability.

Anyway, I'm picking up a cheap E-PM1 body just so I can try out the concept of a second u4/3 body and we'll have to see how it goes.  Hopefully the 25mm 1.8 or Panny compact 15mm will be very small and a good fit for this type of use.

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dougjgreen1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,368
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

Neurad1 wrote:

Ido S wrote:

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.

I use a VF-4 with my E-PL5. The only problem is that I have to manually switch the LCD screen/EVF on or off. The eye sensor doesn't shut off the LCD. If someone knows how to do this please let me know.

That feature of the VF-4 is only supported by the E-P5, not the E-PL5 or any of the earlier Pens.

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viorel Contributing Member • Posts: 939
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

If you want something smaller, just buy a compact. There are plenty of good quality compact these days from  Fuji, Canon or Panasonic, that can fit in pockets, even blue jeans.

Otherwise, for anything else,  the size difference vs EM1 will not be significant enough (especially if you want EVF).

I personally have a Canon S110 as a very light back up for G5 and E1 and I am very happy with the ratio size/quality.

Best

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ryan2007 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,001
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

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

If it does not have to be an additional interchangeable lens camera AND you want compact AND you mentioned street shooting, look at the Fuji X100s. It has a fixed 35 mm equivalent f 2.0 and a larger APS-C sensor. It is however, the same cost as your OMD, over $1k.

aliasfox Senior Member • Posts: 1,164
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

RGiskard wrote:

aliasfox wrote:

If you get the two lens deal for $350.

Where are you getting the deal? I thought that was an Amazon Gold Box price that ended pretty quickly... thanks!

Oh, I don't know if the deal is going on right now - apologies for the confusion. I got it during the Amazon Gold Box deal, but I'm pretty sure I saw it once or twice later in December as well. Given that it's been going on sale on and off for the past couple of months, I bet you'll be able to find it close to that price again sometime soon.

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Sergey Borachev Veteran Member • Posts: 4,206
Re: A good small "companion" body for Olympus OM-D EM-1?

Depends also on what lenses you have. With an E-M1, I assume you won't have only Panasonic lenses, i.e. some are non-OIS lenses, which include the Panasonic 20mm and 14mm. If so, you should stick to Olympus cameras or the GX7 as other cameras cannot stabilise those lenses.

If you really want to have a built-in EVF, then your choices are further reduced, i.e. to only the GX7, the E-M5 and the new E-M10. An additional EVF is not cheap and also fiddly. None of the cameras left are that small, but still quite OK (for reasons given later), if you want the best side-kick. The E-M10 seems to be the smallest out of these but we do not know how good it is yet.

The GX7 is a great all-rounder except for its mediocre IBIS. The E-M5 is the safest bet, being proven as one of the best cameras and also having similar controls and menu system as your E-M1, as well as using the same batteries and charger. That last point is very significant in terms of size and weight of what you need to carry, compared to other cameras as a side-kick. Any size advantage in a smaller body than the E-M5 would be lost if you have to carry a couple of spare batteries for the side-kick, and perhaps for the longer trips also another charger, not to mention a separate EVF. At its currently reduced price for the E-M5 body, I think it should be the best option. All other smaller cameras have a bit too much compromise in my opinion, e.g. having to buy and fiddle with a separate EVF, cramped ergonomics, no IBIS, cannot share E-M1's battery. ....

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

Thanks for all of the suggestions!
What about the new, rumored EM-10?  Built-in viewfinder, cheaper (?), and more compact design?  Would this be a good second body, as both a smaller, less conspicuous camera and a backup?

Thanks!

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