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Oly OM-D EM5 upgrade path - what's the logical next move?


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#1 Byte Me

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 08:55 AM

As title states, currently shooting EM5 in a Nauticam housing.  Have 8mm fisheye, 60mm macro, 12-40mm pro with nauticam/zen ports, a pair of Inon Z240 strobes, a pair of Big Blue focus lights.  Big fan of this but have begun thinking about what is next.

 

EM1 is better, from the reviews / comparisons I've read but enough to ditch the EM5?  

EM5 II again, a big enough improvement to warrant a switch?

 

At this point I think the key things that would make me jump are improved image quality and faster auto focus.  Would also love if something had continuous AF.  Other items likely fall into the category of nice to have.  When I see the comparison sites talk about "what's missing" things like in camera panorama, Bluetooth, etc are not must haves.

 

Thanks!



#2 Deep6

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 09:36 AM

I have the Nauticam EM-5 Mark I kit and recently purchased the EM-1 Mark II camera (currently $1500 USD).  I hope to get the housing before our fall trip to Indonesia.

 

The EM-1 II is super fast and has 4K video.  If you go from the EM-5 I to II you will save beaucoup coins (including very fast and expensive cards) over the EM-1, but I think you would a kit that would be top notch for the future.  Besides, the EM-1 is a great topside camera (currently shooting nesting raptors with a 300 mm lens).

 

Regards,

Bob


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#3 ChrisRoss

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Posted 20 March 2018 - 04:13 PM

Yeah, the EM-1 mkII is the logical upgrade, AF is heaps better, C-AF with Tracking actually works underwater.  My standard arrangement now is C-AF with tracking assigned to the back button for focus.  Very customisable too I use the the presets with settings stored under C1, C2 & C3 on the mode dial.  I currently have C1 as manual flash settings, C2 as TTL settings, C3 could be video.  Topside can do neat stuff like pro capture, hand held HDR, fast frame rates.  I upgraded from EM-5 mkII.  Nauticam housing is well setup with shutter and back button focus nicely assigned to levers around the included grip.



#4 JMartel

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 06:16 AM

The E-M5mkII has the same sensor as your E-M5. Definitely not worth it to upgrade. If you are going to upgrade, get the E-M1mkII. Or you can wait until fall timeframe and see what Olympus does with the E-M5mkIII which should be coming out soon. Alternatively, you could upgrade to the Panasonic GH5. 


Edited by JMartel, 21 March 2018 - 06:17 AM.


#5 Architeuthis

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 08:33 AM

Hi Bite-Me,

 

I still have EM5MII in Nauticam (the second hand NA5MII housing was a real bargain). Great image quality with right lenses/domes (as likely is the case with EM5MI also; I see your lens list contains all the bonbons). I for myself have no need to upgrade. Rate limiting for my photos at present is not the sensor or the camera, its is simply the photographer behind the rig, better camera will not improve results, don't expect too much from upgrade...

In case of upgrade I can only underline what was said above: upgrade is only worth for new 20Mp sensor. If you stay with Nauticam you save everything and have to exchange "just" housing and camera body...

 

Me and my wife are facing a similar dilemma as you: She has an ELP-6 in Oly housing (that also has the same 16Mp sensor, and it is a very good one!) but she cannot use the nice lenses and domes that I have and I still keep collecting - we would have to purchase everything double, makes no sense. We are thinking now whether to go for a well-led second hand EM1MI or EM5MII in Nauticam housing (many people upgrade now to 20Mp) or go instead for futureproof, but 3x expensive, EM1MII...

(As I know me we will go for EM1MII and not for the decent solution (that rationally fulfills all requirements), but we will see who will prevail, me or my wife :))

 

 

Wolfgang



#6 anenomefish2001

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 07:09 PM

I upgraded this year from the EM5 to the EM1 II....it's well worth the upgrade. 

Focus is faster. 

 

Plus the newer Nauticam housings with the integrated handles is a nice change to the older EM5 handles that always flexed.



#7 hyp

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 08:22 AM

If upgrading to the new Em1mkII you are looking at about 4000$ (or regional equivalent) in cost to get

- 4 extra MP (negligible)

- slightly more DR (probably useful)

- maybe 1/2 stop high ISO performance (unlikely to matter underwater)

- better AF (I think s-af is already good enough)

- higher burst modes (your flash can't keep up anyway)

- better VF

 

Obviously for above water usage, a lot of these may become more important. I've just recently aquired a used EM5 and unless anything goes wrong that will stay my UW rig for quite some time, but above water I use a GX8.

 

If I had your rig, a bunch of money, and I couldn't stop my GAS I would look at upgrading your strobes. The new Retra or Inon Z330 will probably be a much better IQ upgrade than any new mu43 body.



#8 Architeuthis

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 11:42 PM

See here the comparison of the sensors of EM5MII, EM1MII and Nikon D500 (another cropped sensor camera very popular UW), just to document in numbers what hyp was writing...

 

https://www.dxomark...._1136_1061_1006

 

=> If upgrade then to the 20Mp sensor, for 16Mp sensor you can keep EM5. Other investments (lenses, ports, flash) may bring more...



#9 Byte Me

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 11:19 AM

Good points all.  Especially like the idea of staying put and putting that into glass or just improving.  Through this research I've learned a lot, realized that I may in fact have had some settings on the camera sub optimized and now have a new idea on how to move forward with what I've got.

 

Sure the EM1 II would be great but I've never seen that combo used and as others have said, may not be worth the upgrade.  I think I'm in a pretty good place right now and will focus on what's behind the camera :)


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#10 paratom

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 12:17 PM

I have had an e-m1 and housing for some years and last year/this year asked myself the same question:update? I decided to not update. IMO too much money for too little really usefull advantages. Last year I got a spare em-1 body, and 2 spare on camera flashes, I know how everything works. If I was doint 200 dives a year I might upgrade, but for me it is like 20-30 dives with camera, and I really believe differences in IQ between the 16MP and the 20MP sensor are not that big (I do use FF and MF on land, so I believe to be able to see differences in IQ) and AF-speed of first generation em5 and em1 is not bad at all (at least in S-AF).

So IMO - just keep what you have and know to use, and wait for the next generation which might offer a real step forward.



#11 stuartv

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:15 AM

I shoot an E-M10 with 2xZ240.

 

I have asked myself the same question many times. What would be a reasonable upgrade?

 

To ME, the only logical answer is to keep shooting what I have until I'm ready to buy a full-frame mirrorless.

 

The E-M1 II would be a really nice upgrade, just comparing camera to camera. But, I agree with @hyp. The differences, in the grand scheme of the pictures I take, is pretty small. And the cost of the camera itself plus the housing for it is just not worth it. If I'm going to spend that much, I'll spend the extra to go full-frame. Today, if I were buying, I would get the Sony a7r III. 42MP and the much larger sensor would, I think, make a REAL difference to some of my photos.

 

The crop factor and especially the way it affects ISO is a big deal with the m43 sensor - to me, anyway. I have to shoot at ISO 200 to have the equivalent of ISO 800 in a full-frame sensor. That is, of course, based on all other factors being equal and does not take into account comparing a newer, "better" m43 sensor to an older "less nice" FF sensor. The crop factor and its effect on ISO means that I can never get the same IQ as a comparable quality FF sensor shooting at ISO 100. I would need to be able to shoot at ISO 25...

 

Regardless of the technical details, the fact remains, upgrading to an E-M1 II is just not worth the $4K or so that it would cost me.

 

I am also not sure if it's worth upgrading from Inon Z240 to Z330s, either. I very, very rarely shoot with a full dump on the strobes. Mine are usually set at 1/2 power or less. In that case, would a Z330 really be useful? I think it would only be a useful upgrade for the very rare times that I am shooting on Full and still not getting enough light. But, I am all ears if there is a reason I don't know. I definitely do NOT count myself as an expert.

 

As an aside, I saw today on the Seafrogs website that they are now offering strobes that look like a total knock-off of the Z330. Same specs. Same basic housing design and controls. Not exact, but VERY similar. Rated for 100m/330' depth. And they are $297 each (less on AliExpress). The Seafrogs ST-100 Pro. I was actually thinking of ordering a pair to test and compare to my Z240s. The price makes them very tempting!


Edited by stuartv, 19 June 2018 - 11:15 AM.


#12 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 20 June 2018 - 12:05 PM

Hi All

 

I echo the comments above about no need to upgrade.  I shoot with the original EM-5 and the image quality is excellent (and the HD video looks good as well on my 65" TV).  Yes, the EM1- Mk II would offer some resolution improvement and significantly better AF, but the cost of achieving these is really prohibitive (as others have said, at least $4000 US).  I actually rented an EMI Mk II kit for a recent trip and, I can say, that the image quality difference was really not huge, although the focus during video was better.  It really showed me to wait for an upgrade.

 

I am not going to spend that kind of money until I can see a significant and dramatic improvement in image quality.  I am waiting for the M4/3 or maybe Sony E mount (APSC) sensor with 8K resolution (around 30 MP), which is the next generation of cameras might come in the next two years or so.  In the interim, I bought two Retra strobes and a Retra snoot, both of which have greatly improved my image quality.

 

At the very extremes, such as blackwater photography, my older camera can't keep focus like my friends with Nikon D500s, but I still can get some decent shots.  For everything else, the camera works well enough.

 

I periodically go through upgrade fever with each new generation, but the prices soon cool me down.  Right now, if I had $4K to invest, I could get a week liveaboard on the Red Sea and a week in Indonesia.  I would much prefer to invest in these experiences than in new gear.



#13 trimix125

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 05:36 AM

Hi,
had the EM-5 mki and upgraded to a D500.
Why?
Simply because i do low light shooting with and  without strobes under water as well. Tresher sharks in Malapascua, wrecks, cave....
And thats the reason.
For macro the Oly was / is great. Wide angledepends on lens and port combi.

But the question is simply: can the camera do what i want, or is she "good" enought for my goal.
All the other problems are something i have to deal with, learn and practice...

Regards,
Wolfgang