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Experiences with Olympus e-pl5? Versus OM-D EM-5?

olympus e-pl5

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#1 xcetra

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 10:44 AM

It's interesting I can't find any info/experiences of people using the new Olympus E-PL5; seems like it would be a great camera to use underwater. I was wondering how people feel about the ease of operating it (especially in manual mode, adjusting aperture, shutter, iso, macro mode, focusing, etc).

Right now I am looking into updating my G10 rig but don't have tons of money to spend. The Olympus E-PL5 seems perfect for my budget though everyone is talking about the EM-5. Is that really worth the extra expenses? Over my G10 setup, I'm interested in improved image quality, increased creative flexibility (with lenses, fish eye, etc), and a system that I can re-use as much as possible for the upgrade after. I feel somewhat creatively restricted with my G10 setup.

The Olympus OM-D EM5 with a 12-50mm lens, macro port, Nauticam housing seems like a great system but is way out of my initial budget. Though, if it's a huge level above and beyond an E-PL5 with 10 bar housing (?), and lenses then I can stretch the budget (by working more!).

My current rig setup is as follows.
Canon G10 camera
Canon underwater housing
Fiber optic strobe cables
2x Sea and Sea YS-110a strobes
Sea and Sea arms and compact tray
2x Inon [font='ヒ]UCL-165M67[/font]

Help! I can't decide what to do.

Thanks for any information!

#2 troporobo

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:24 PM

I have not used the E-PL5 so take these comments with a grain of salt.

I switched from an E-PL1 with the 14-42 lens to the E-M5 with the 12-50 lens. In terms of user interface and autofocus there is no comparison between the two. The E-PL1 (and maybe the E-PL5?) requires a lot of button pushing and menu navigation for manual settings, whereas the E-EM5 uses dials for shutter and aperture and EV adjustment. I thought this sounded like no big deal until I switched and now would not do it any other way - I simply get more good shots because I am not staring at the LCD constantly. The autofocus is also superb, leagues faster. I also switched from the Olympus housing to the Nauticam which made a similar difference in handling and usability.

I understand that the sensor and autofocus on the E-PL5 are now much better so can't comment on the IQ between the two. I also do not know if the housings for the E-PL5 allow access to the macro function on the 12-50 lens (which requires a somewhat complicated mechanical gear) so that is something to check as the macro is really very good for an all purpose lens.

Edited by troporobo, 01 February 2013 - 02:42 AM.


#3 xcetra

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:45 AM

Hi,

Thanks for the response it helps a lot since you're in a similar situation than me with regards to thinking ergonomics isn't that big of a deal. WIth my G10, I'm used to shooting off the LCD and think it might some time getting used to the view finder underwater.

The Olympus housing doesn't seem like it has much flexibility as the Nauticam. From what you say, I'm leaning towards the E-M5. My bank account won't be happy. =/

#4 troporobo

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:41 AM

By the way, I use the viewfinder and LCD interchangeably for shooting. Both have their advantages and disadvantages within my limited skill and experience (but I do find that I get better compositions with the viewfinder). What I meant about ergonomics was not needing to navigate menus and rear panel buttons for exposure adjustments, which I can now do without looking by using the dials and function buttons

As for the bank account, yes, in the real world such constraints matter and I had to take a deep breath too. But as the old saying goes, some people spend half their money on booze women and gambling, and waste the other half. Just replace the first part of that equation with photo gear . . .

Edited by troporobo, 01 February 2013 - 02:47 AM.


#5 guyharrisonphoto

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:59 AM

I moved from the E-PL2 in the Oly housing, to the OM-D in the Nauticam housing. I shoot dual strobes using optical TTL.

There is just no comparison between the two. The OM-D is a superior designed camera in every respect in term of speed of operation, ease of use, ergonomics. I assume the basic image quality is similar to the E-PL5, and maybe the autofocus is similar to the PL-5, but the image stabilization in the OM-D is light years ahead and, yes, this does make a big difference especially when shooting underwater video.

The dial operation of hte OM-D is so far superior to the push button setup of the PENS that there is just no comparision.

So, bottom line, while the image quality of the photos might be similar, the ease and speed of shooting will give you far more great shots with the OM-D.

Yes, ergonomics do make that much of a difference.

Similarly, the difference between the Nauticam and Oly housing is of the same order of magnitude. The Nauticam is everything you could ever want. Also, getting the 12-50 port and gear is will give you the most amazingly versatile lens available anywhere, in any format, for UW use.

Also, with the Nauti housing you have the option of adding their superb 45 degree magnified viewfinder. Once you use this, you will never again want to squint or chimp at an LCD screen when getting your shots. It is like looking at a movie screen underwater and has greatly increased my ability to get shots and improve compositions..

I dropped a small fortune on this system. I see myself using it happily for many years, so the $$ will be worth it in the end.

#6 derway

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:23 PM

The image quality and auto focus speed are crucial, and they are the same in the elp5, as the em5.

The only difference is view finder, and controls.

Given you are happy with the composing on the LCD, (as I am too), the only difference is the controls!

Making adjustments in manual mode is not so bad. Just requires 1 button press, to go to adjust mode, and then the up or down button to make the change.

It is not bad, for such a big price difference.
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#7 xcetra

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:35 AM

Thanks for all the input! I went into a shop to look at both Olympus and Nauticam housings over the weekend and to figure out more my options and the advantages/disadvantages of each. I need to more look at them as two totally different cameras (despite having the same sensor) and look at my needs based on that. I know either the E-PL5 setup and the E-M5 will be an improvement over my G10 setup. I guess I'm just trying to get the most bang for buck and system that will be versatile and re-usable for future upgrades (upgrading arms/tray to UltraLight probably which can be carried to later systems). I also want to buy a system that is more than just an incremental upgrade from compact that is a good transitional upgrade to a future DSLR. I guess the main reason why I am hesitant about the E-PL5 is that it looks just like a nicer compact camera whereas the E-M5 is more SLR like. I kind of feel like I graduated from the compact camera class I guess.

Derway, thanks for your points too and putting things into perspective. I can easily get jaded by looking at all the really nice features if I spend more. It's good that you are saying what you said coming from a DSLR user.

Another note. I also was thinking about using my new camera topside as well. Replacing the need to bring a D80 around and my G10. In that regards, the E-M5 sounds good. Though it's bigger, the image stabilization is attractive since I like shooting in natural low light situations.

Below is my ongoing research which might be interesting to some to see the price differences.


om-d e-m5 w/12-50mm = 1200 (900 ebay, 1050 cameta)

Nauticam Housing = 1300

Nauticam 60mm port = 300

Austrian gear = 150

Rig == $3000!!


====

e-pl5 w/14-42mm = 600

Olympus housing = 750

Rig == $1350


Olympus 60mm Macro = $500

Panasonic 8mm fisheye $650

Precision 8mm dome port $500

Lens total == $1650


Ultra Light Arms / stay

UL arms = $250

UL stay/handles = $100

Arms total == $350


OM-D E-M5 Adv.

+ 1/250 flash sync

+ stabilization

+ more control

+ easier to control

+ better housing

+ 12-50mm versatility (wide to macro)

+ electronic viewfinder

+ water resistent


E-PL5 Adv.

+ smaller size (pocketable)

+ cheaper


#8 troporobo

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 04:13 PM

A quick note on your comparison: with the Nauticam 60mm port and Austrian gear, you won't be able to access the macro function on the 12-50 lens. As far as I am aware, that is only possible with the Nauticam 12-50 port and their dedicated gear since it requires pushing a button on the lens barrel then sliding the zoom collar longitudinally. The gear is complex (and expensive) but works a treat

#9 xcetra

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:52 AM

troporobo,

Yeah, thanks for the reminder. I read through SO many posts here on the forums on the E-M5 and forgot about that detail. I thought I read a post by Alex M. that there was more magnification using the diopters at 50mm than with diopters at 43mm macro. Don't know where that thread went.

#10 Kenr

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:56 PM

troporobo,

Yeah, thanks for the reminder. I read through SO many posts here on the forums on the E-M5 and forgot about that detail. I thought I read a post by Alex M. that there was more magnification using the diopters at 50mm than with diopters at 43mm macro. Don't know where that thread went.


http://wetpixel.com/...ic=46536&st=380 see photos on post 397 for comparison shots. The 12-50 with a diopter looks to be very good for macro without the macro button. Couple of things to consider, a diopter is going to cost you a couple of hundred dollars as well as a flip holder for the diopter. Either way its not inexpensive to get macro out of the 12-50.

#11 xcetra

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:56 PM

Kenr,

Thanks for the link. I was looking for this as I read this before. I already have 2 Inon close up lens so looks like macro would be covered. I thought though that the Nauticam flat port for the 60mm had 67mm threads for diopters?

#12 idpfish

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:45 PM

Hi there,

I just would like to know how you are getting on with the decision; I am having a similar problem to decide between the OM-D EM-5 and the Sony NEX 7, both with the Nauticam housing. For the last couple of years, I have been using the Canon G12 in the Canon case with a Subsee 10+ on a Fantasea holder.

I know that the sensor sizes of both are quite different and I have been weighing it up for quite some time... and I need someone to convince me so I can stick to that option for the next four years at least.

My local shop has both housings in stock, so I would be very grateful for your advice.

Thanks in advance and best regards,

Ian

PS: Our dive trip sets off in two weeks, so if I am going to make a move, it needs to be soon!

#13 xcetra

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:46 PM

Hi Ian,

I'm still undecided. For a while I was going to just go with the E-PL5 since it's a much cheaper option but then I read more and more E-M5 articles/posts and now lean more towards getting one of those. I want to use my next camera for topside photos and the E-M5 seems much better than the E-PL5. Since I will be spending a lot of money upgrading to my next camera system, I want to at least make it feel like a big upgrade. I fear getting just the E-PL5 isn't a huge jump up compared to the E-M5. I'm certain the E-M5 is a great system, from what I read, but there's a big uncertainty about the E-PL5. I guess I'm kind of waiting for someone with that setup to tell me if it's good or not and what to expect before making my decision. Anyone?

For me the biggest issue with buying the E-M5 is the total price. It's a lot of money for me. For you both systems seem like a lot of money. In your case, for underwater, I would think the EM-5 would be a better choice. There's more lenses (especially for macro) for the micro 4/3s system. So, I guess it depends on what you want to shoot. If you like shooting macro, I would think the E-M5 is for sure the way to go. Take my advice with a grain of salt though because I don't know much about the NEX 7. The NEX 7 also seems to cost more than the E-M5. In the end though, it depends on what you want to use it for (macro, wide, etc) and what's important to you.

Both the Backscatter buyers guide and the Bluewater guide say the E-M5 is the best mirror less system over the NEX.

http://www.backscatt...ticle.php?ID=57

http://www.bluewater...rorless-cameras

Hope this helps. Let me know what you get when you do! Maybe it will help me get mine.

Jason

#14 xcetra

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:50 PM

Ian,

Here is a quote from a guy frequently on this forum and well respected. Maybe it will help you decide


"Having owned both the NEX-7 and now the E-M5 in Nauticam housings I feel that the shortcoming of the NEX system still remains the limited number of quality lenses suited to U/W photography. The Sony 10-18 zoom with the new Nauticam 7 inch dome seems a step in the right direction for wide angle subjects but as a system the E-M5 is still the better choice.

Phil Rudin"

#15 Karl

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:08 AM

Hi there,

I just would like to know how you are getting on with the decision; I am having a similar problem to decide between the OM-D EM-5 and the Sony NEX 7, both with the Nauticam housing. For the last couple of years, I have been using the Canon G12 in the Canon case with a Subsee 10+ on a Fantasea holder.

I know that the sensor sizes of both are quite different and I have been weighing it up for quite some time... and I need someone to convince me so I can stick to that option for the next four years at least.

My local shop has both housings in stock, so I would be very grateful for your advice.

Thanks in advance and best regards,

Ian

PS: Our dive trip sets off in two weeks, so if I am going to make a move, it needs to be soon!


I upgraded from the G12 to the OMD EM-5 and haven't regretted it. The G12 is a great camera but the EM-5 is well beyond the next step and I highly recommend it.

However, I note that you said you are going a a dive trip in two weeks - my advice (for what it is worth) would to take your G12 on the trip and get your new setup when you get back as the EM-5 is really a huge leap up from the G12 and it will take a few dives to get used to it and I personnally wouldn't want to be wasting any dives worrying because the camera is taking a while to get used to.

I use a Canon 7D topside so it isn't like I don't know how to use a DSLR etc but one less thing to worry about underwater would be a bonus.

Karl
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#16 idpfish

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:37 PM

Thanks guys!

I would have probably just got the Sony but the guy at the shop - and he is a pro underwater photographer pretty much - is pushing me to get the Olympus with the Nauticam housing. Buying the cameras here in Switzerland it is within CHF 300 of each other. So there are no real differences in prices even if you buy the macro port for the Olympus which is quite expensive in itself.

My main interest is macro and I would like to think that Sigma or Sony will produce a 50 to a 105 macro lense in the next couple of years, but it might be a big ask.

When I compared the two cameras (http://snapsort.com/...5-vs-Sony-NEX-7) I thought that the higher megapixel and the larger sensor sounds like the better idea, but after all, those results are not underwater in a housing with a 25 knot NE wind blowing.

So I might just go for the Olympus as my wife suggests. If I don't buy one of them I will get my ass served to me on a platter... If anyone else can convince me to buy the Sony, please try as it is the one I would still like to get!!!

Ian

#17 idpfish

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:11 PM

hey Karl
thanks for the reply and advise its Definitely worth something And I appreciate that. at the moment we only go Snorkelling but up to 6 to 8 hours a day so ill have time to learn I hope. we'll be on lady Elliot for two weeks and I really want to get the best out of the trip and photos I'll still take the g12 as its so easy to use now. we'll do a dive course this trip but I don't Expect to be taking a camera with me diving for a long time but on the island the reef flat is a great place to tinker about with macro shots and its one of the things I love to do there. But at the moment it's still the thing Sony vs Olympus ??


Thanks again Ian