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Archive 2012 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2
  
 
graham_martin
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p.1 #1 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


I'm thinking about getting one of these cameras but can't decide between the two. I own a D300 and a D3 and would probably sell the D300 to help fund the purchase.

I've been looking at a number of the YouTube videos and had a chance to look at both the Olympus and a Panasonic G the other night.

If there are some folks who have used one or both I would appreciate hearing about your first hand experiences. Would also like some recommendations on lenses. Right now I don't want to spend a ton of money on a whole new stable of lenses.



Aug 03, 2012 at 01:20 PM
mawz
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p.1 #2 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


Video or Stills. Decide which you care about more and the choice becomes obvious. EM-5 for stills, GH2 for Video. The IQ advantages of the E-M5 are telling for stills (better DR, better noise performance) and it has in-body IS which is more effective than the IS on any of Panasonic's OIS lenses.

As to lenses, the Oly 12-50 kit lens is pretty decent, or the original Panasonic 14-45 OIS if you want a normal zoom. For primes on a budget I'd get the Pansonic 14/2.5 (dirt cheap on eBay) and the Oly 45/1.8, then pick whichever of the Panasonic 20/1.7 or 25/1.4 you can afford, the 25's definitely worth the price premium though. Finally, for an ultra-wide shooter get the 7-14, the 9-18's good but not enough cheaper to justify unless you need the more compact size or the filter threads.



Aug 03, 2012 at 01:24 PM
graham_martin
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p.1 #3 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


Right now I am more interested in stills than video although I'm sure I will use it to some extent.

BTW, can someone tell me what "hack" refers to in relation to MTF?



Aug 03, 2012 at 01:37 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #4 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


The GH2 was hacked to enable higher bit rate video, which apparently increased quality substantially.

As for lenses, I can tell you what I'm going after or have read on extensively- YMMV.

7-14 - Saving up for this one. While the Oly 9-18 looks nice, is smaller and can take filters, it's barely cheaper than the 7-14, so why the hell not go uber-wide? I will have to think about this more, though, as I love my CPLs.

or

Olympus 12 f2 - Gets universal praise, looks great, a bit expensive but apparently worth it. I don't think I'll get this if someone comes out with a fast 17mm, as this lens would fill that role for me (after cropping).

PanLeica 25 1.4 - I have this coming today - larger than the panny 20 1.7 but has nicer (more distinctive) rendering IMO. I might eventually spring for the 20mm anyway, as it's a very compact normal.

Oly 45 1.8 - Considered one of the must-have lenses for portrait or medium-telephoto usage. I also have this coming today.

Oly 75 1.8 seems to be having great reviews, but I'm personally not going after the lens - I don't like this focal length in primes (~150mm FOV) unless it's a macro. Too bad it wasn't a ~60mm or so.

Upcoming - Panasonic is supposedly introducing a 35-100 2.8 soon, so that looks like it might be a must-have for those people needing that range (including me) - I use this all the time for portraits and event shooting and occasional sports. I expect the price to be high, supplies low. I'm hoping it doesn't grow too big in size and weight, though - I prefer to keep a small kit.

Rumored - a 17.5mm PanLeica lens, maybe 1.4 This should be interesting, and fills a gaping hole in m43 (35mm fast equiv) unless you count the rather large, heavy, and expensive Voigtlander 17 0.95.


edit - The OMD "kit" 12-50 seems to be okay, especially if you're looking for an all-in-one kit lens that's weather-sealed along with the body, has 0.72x or so macro mode and decent optical performance. Won't win any speed contests (f6.3 on the long), but looks to be a good travel choice. I might buy this later - depends.



Edited on Aug 03, 2012 at 02:10 PM · View previous versions



Aug 03, 2012 at 01:51 PM
graham_martin
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p.1 #5 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


So how does one get their camera hacked? Is it some sort of firmware that one downloads? I'm assuming that as soon as one does that it nullifies the manufacturer warranty.


Aug 03, 2012 at 02:08 PM
traveler
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p.1 #6 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


With all due respect I consider it a much easier decision. I've had the D300, D700 and D7000 and recently sold off ALL my DSLR gear for a complete OMD system. I tried the GH2 back when it was released and frankly found it wanting in the stills department. It just wasn't in the league of the DSLR's at ALL. Sure the video is great on the GH2 but frankly I just couldn't warm up to it. The OMD is a another world in so many regards. The sealed magnesium body is superb and fits my hand perfectly especially with that wonderful grip the have available. Battery life is beyond the GH2. The OLED screen is considerably superior as well. Sure it may not swing out but I personally don't care. The customizing possible on the OMD is also top flight. I am sure I'm in the minority but I far and away prefer the video on the OMD as it's built in stabilization provides superior results and gives a "SteadyCam" like ability you WON"T get anywhere else. And of course there is that religious issue about "color" which frankly on the OMD trounces the GH2 right out of the starting gate. If you like to post process till the cows come home sure, you can get "decent" results from the GH2 but to my eyes never quite the same as the OMD provides with no effort. Indeed dynamic range on the OMD to all I've see is at least a full stop better, which was always one thing I found hard to accept leaving a DSLR. I don't miss the DSLR gear with this camera and simply could NOT say that with a GH2. I'm sure this comes off as a strong opinion and is indeed very ONE sided, but you won't find a lot of cameras I haven't either tried or owned. This is just my results and feelings one what I ran into with them.


Aug 03, 2012 at 02:09 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #7 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


graham_martin wrote:
So how does one get their camera hacked? Is it some sort of firmware that one downloads? I'm assuming that as soon as one does that it nullifies the manufacturer warranty.


You could just google GH2 hack and come up with I'm sure a ton of information on how it's done. Sorry, I don't know more than this


Also, to let you know - for a long while now, m43 (and 43) sensors were fairly deficient in the noise and DR department, until the Olympus OM-D. Apparently, it's rumored Olympus went with a Sony sensor this time, not keeping with the Panasonic sensors.

So, from a stills perspective, the OM-D should handily beat the GH2 when it comes to noise and DR. How much this bears out in real life scenes I don't know, as I don't own either (until today, OMD).

Also, IIRC, Panasonic does stabilization in lenses only...Oly has IBIS in some bodies.

Oly has top-notch JPEG processing - I'm unsure how Panasonic does theirs.

The GH2 seems to get really good praise, but a lot of that comes from the video guys, so take it for what it's worth. I'm not much into video.




Aug 03, 2012 at 02:16 PM
graham_martin
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p.1 #8 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


The still images are much more important to me. Back when the dinosaurs roamed the planet I shot 8mm movies and then converted them to VHS. I also shot quite a bit of VHS on those huge video cameras that rested on your shoulder. I haven't viewed one of them in years. For me, video is something you look at when you get home, perhaps share with some family and then it gets filed away and forgotten.

The OM-D has many features that I find appealing.



Aug 03, 2012 at 03:54 PM
stuuke
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p.1 #9 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


I currently own the OMD and just sold my GH2. Like others have mentioned the GH2 is amazing for video. The OMD offers much better IS, weather sealing and better stills. I also think the ergonomics of the GH2 are probably a little better. It looks like the GH2 is going to be replaced pretty soon so if money is an issue there will be some great deals on the GH2. I might even pick one up again just for video. For stills the OMD is at the top right now.


Aug 03, 2012 at 04:05 PM
darrellc
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p.1 #10 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


Have both, OM-D is vastly better for stills, and IBIS is amazing. OM-D video sufficient for me, as a very amateur videographer, so I'm probably selling the GH2. Plus the IBIS on videos with native lenses feels like a steadicam, so for me that negates the other video advantages of GH2.


Aug 03, 2012 at 06:13 PM
 

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coppertop
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p.1 #11 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


IBIS alone is reason enough to opt for the Olympus.


Aug 04, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Lleuallen
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p.1 #12 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


I have both GH2 and EM-5. I think the EM-5 is a flawed camera in some respects that could easily be corrected. The things that annoy me about the EM-5 are:

Exposure bracketing. Must dive into menus or use MySets. So much easier on GH2 as is changing to continuous drive mode or using timer delay. Would love to see such a concentric dial selector on an EM-5.

Focusing. The GH2 seems faster and more sure to me. You can easily change the focus rectangle size on the GH2 and position it anywhere on the screen. The EM-5 focus rectangle size can be changed but with significant penalties-highlights/shadows does not work. The H/S function on the EM-5 is a great feature for getting quick, accurate exposures so a plus for the EM-5. The focus rectangle for the EM-5 moves in discrete steps while the GH2 is continuous so fine tuning is much better.

The focus rectangle in the EM-5 is hard to see (unless using the reduced size which is green). I often loose where it is at. It is a black rectangle which is often hard to see while the GH2 is much more prominent with the rectangle formed by both black and white. The EM-5 flashes green when focus is achieved, the GH2 stays green which I prefer.

The big killer for me is the operation of back button focus. On the GH2 when you press the back button to focus the rectangle turns green indicating that it has been focused. If the rectangle is not green, then half press focus is in effect. So I can use back button when I want or half press when I want without changing anything. If I have back button focus in effect and want to refocus using back button, press the button twice. If I press once, it is half press. In other words the button is a toggle. With the EM-5 when the camera is set for back button focus it is locked there, you cannot get half press without going into the menu. Every press of the back button refocuses, it is sticky, not a toggle. This makes quite a difference in the way the camera handles for me. I often want to prefocus on a spot where some action may take place, take the shot, and then immediately switch to half press as the action moves away from the spot. It really spoils the EM-5 for me.

I do not like to take my eye away from the EVF. With the GH2, if I want to chimp, the image appears in the EVF. Great. In fact I often have the LCD turned inwards with the GH2. With the EM-5, the image always appears on the LCD and you must press an awkwardly located button to switch to the EVF. The button is mushy and does not work half the time. Very frustrating.

Those are my major complaints. However the EM-5 does have a lot of redeeming qualities. Better high ISO, better dynamic range, and better colors. In short better image quality but the GH2 is not dog meat. Then there is IBIS which is great since I have most of the m43 lenses, many of which are not stabilized.

I have not really decided which camera is best. The GH2 handles much better, it is better thought out from a photographers standpoint. I can easily get photos with the GH2 which I have to fight for if using the EM-5. But if I am able to get the photo, then the EM-5 wins. I guess I am waiting for the GH3 of an improved EM-5.

larry



Aug 04, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #13 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


For me the GH2 vs. OM-D is a really tough call! (currently on August 4th, 2012)

The OM-D has lots of awesome features, IBIS, Weather sealing, 9fps continuous, and so on. It also has a slightly better dynamic range and better in-camera JPeg generation.

The GH2 has better video and just about everything else is a match. The low-light performance (ISO Noise) is about the same and so on. The DR of the GH2 is very very good - you have to put images from the two back to back in layers and rapidly flip to actually see any difference in ISO or DR. So that's kinda splitting hairs.

Here's what makes the call tough for me though. The GH2 can be had used in mint condition (maybe only a few hundred clicks) now for $500 and the OM-D is almost three times that. Three fricking times!. So that makes the GH2 an extremely attractive alternative.


On GH2 hacks, there's a whole section of threads here at the developer's site that explains things: http://www.personal-view.com/talks/categories/hacks It's not just about the video. It can change VERY many aspects of what gets recorded in; what format, at what rates, for both video and audio, and so on. It can also defeat a multitude of manufacturer set limitations if you so choose to.

The hack utility loads up the ROM (firmware file) file downloaded for panasonic's site and then patches and/or wedges any of a multitude of feature changes. The patched file is then placed on a memory card and the camera will read, check, and burn that to it's EEPROM. This process can be repeated any number of times (I think the current write limit of most forms of EEPROM is 1,000,000 times. Many users commonly switch back and forth between several different patch configurations. The Patch tool is extremely stable and well made and if you can read it's totally safe to use. The patcher utility itself will tell you what might be potentially dangerous. But even the dangerous ones are recoverable by reapplying either the unmodified ROM or one without that specific "dangerous" feature enabled. Here's what the app looks like:



http://www.gh1-hack.info/wiki/PToolSoftware


I patch all of my cameras. I actually have to if I want english menus! Panasonic is so lame that you can't change menu languages between some regions. I also patch the video, audio, enable 3rd party battery usage and set the timing to Pal for more cinematic specifications. I guess I've run the patch app a few thousand times since it's first release and probably burned the patched files about the same number of times.




Edited on Aug 04, 2012 at 02:53 AM · View previous versions



Aug 04, 2012 at 02:26 AM
graham_martin
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p.1 #14 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


I guess that you, like the rest of us, is still waiting for that perfect camera. One feature of the 4/3 system is that one can use Panasonic and Olympus lenses on either camera. That's a huge change from the Nikon/Canon systems. I am thinking at some point that I might sell all of my DSLR gear and get both the EM-5 and GH2. I think I would about break even or have a little left over if I sold the whole shebang. Not quite ready to make that big jump yet though.


Aug 04, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #15 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


This GH2 tutorial (hack and post-hack) is pretty interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wg_nsfdHe0 Applying The Hack
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uROQbbiiO2I GH2 Set-up
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLDYyGQhYbc Color Profiles
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZbbI7TLI-M Version Comparison

Some very useful tips and setups!!




Aug 04, 2012 at 03:37 AM
najibs
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p.1 #16 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


The easiest way to decide is if you're doing mainly video, get the GH2. If you're doing photos, get the OM-D. The OM-D has a big advantage in photos, just like the GH2 has a big advantage in video.


Aug 04, 2012 at 03:42 AM
graham_martin
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p.1 #17 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


I'll be taking mainly stills. How are these cameras for sports photography? I shoot HS football for my local paper. Since I am only a volunteer they are not expecting 600mm f/4 images. However, I do want to get some good in focus shots with at least some bokeh in order to isolate the player.


Aug 04, 2012 at 03:45 AM
curious80
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p.1 #18 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


Bifurcator wrote:
.....

Here's what makes the call tough for me though. The GH2 can be had used in mint condition (maybe only a few hundred clicks) now for $500 and the OM-D is almost three times that. Three fricking times!. So that makes the GH2 an extremely attractive alternative.
...



This is a bit of an exaggeration EM-5 body sells new for $999, and used is a bit less. So it certainly is not 3 times GH2, a bit less than 2 times. But yes it is an expensive camera!



Aug 04, 2012 at 04:41 AM
cputeq
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p.1 #19 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


Just got in my OM-D.

A few thoughts at my bare blog along with some quick samples (PL 25 and Oly 45):
http://www.clickingwithsmitty.com/2012/08/downsizing-little-mighty-olympus-om-d.html

So far, neat little camera. I probably won't push it past 3200 unless it's an emergency, as ISo 6400 seems to drop rapidly (we're talking pretty bad light though, 1/60s and f1.8)

Tiny compared to my DSLRs.

The grip is better (without the grip) than I thought it would be (because of the really nice thumb "nub), though I'm curious to see what the grip will make it handle like.


The menus and just plain operation of the camera is pretty daunting. I mean...like...yeah, I'm going to need a week or so to figure this stuff out.





Aug 04, 2012 at 04:48 AM
cputeq
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p.1 #20 · Olympus OM-D EM-5 or Panasonic GH2


Oh and yeah, I'm actually a bit disappointed at the lack of decent vignetting wide open - throws another step into my PP process



Aug 04, 2012 at 04:50 AM
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