OMD EM5 owner purchases OMD EM5 II – impressions so far

Discussion in 'Micro Four Thirds Forum' started by Jock Elliott, Jan 20, 2017.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    The initial purchase of the OMD EM5 (the mark I version) was purely a reaction to my much loved FX200 superzoom getting a spec of dust on its sensor. $100 later, it was fixed, but there was no guarantee that the dust-on-sensor problem would not reoccur.

    What was clearly needed was a camera that was extremely unlikely to collect dust on its sensor. So when a refurbished OMD EM5 with 12-50 zoom (which is weather resistant and internally zooming), it was a no-brainer to purchase it.

    But that particular camera and lens combo never really caught fire for me. It wasn’t until my LX100 also collected a spec of dust on its sensor, leaving me bereft of a good fast lens, that I purchased the Olympus “Travel Lens” combo. It consists of a 17mm f/1.8 prime and a 14-150 weather resistant zoom. With the 14-150 attached, the OMD EM5 rose in my estimation, and I really began to connect with the OMD EM5: “Hey, this is a pretty neat camera!” It is versatile, fast, and useful, and it does almost everything pretty well. When I needed to shoot an assignment for the Salvation Army, it made it easy to get what was needed without fuss or drama.

    When I showed the EM5/14-150 combo to my brother-in-law, a DSLR user, he didn’t know that he was looking through an electronic viewfinder. He asked, “Is this lighted somehow?” Indeed, the view through the EVF makes me wonder if there actually are any advantages to a DSLR.

    The other half of the travel lens combo, the 17mm, would occasionally find service on the OMD EM5 for shooting low-light stuff. Changing lenses, however, makes me nervous; there is always the opportunity to drop a lens or get dust on the sensor or have some other sort of misadventure. So when an OMD EM5 II became available at a good price in December, 2016, I snapped it up.

    The differences between the OMD EM5 and the OMD EM5 II are well enumerated here: 57 differences between the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and the OM-D E-M5 - Amateur Photographer

    My basic take is that, as much as I like the EM5 (which is a lot), the EM5 II is even better in almost every single way. The electronic viewfinder is now so good that I can do critical focus without using focus peaking or magnification. The build quality seems more substantial, and the autofocus seems to be a wee bit quicker as well. Even better, the two cameras use the same battery, so, with the spares that were purchased, there are now four batteries available to power the two camera bodies.

    The two bodies are set up differently. The EM5 is configured with this tweak -- Way to quadruple battery life on the Olympus OM-D EM-5 – to extend the battery life. It turns off the rear screen except for when reviewing shots or changing shooting parameters. The EM5 II is set up so that the eye sensor switches between LCD and EVF, but I have turned off the touch screen feature and shoot primarily through the EVF. The EM5 II plus 17mm has become the go-to combo for shooting the Single-in-January series while the EM5 plus 14-150 would be the first choice for shooting a general-purpose assignment.

    What comes next is a little difficult to describe because my vocabulary fails me. When I first joined Serious Compacts and saw some images taken with digital full-frame Leicas, they had a certain quality of image – a “clarity” if you will – that I really liked. While shooting Single in January with the EM5 II and 17mm, I have sometimes seen that quality in my own images, and that pleases the heck out of me.

    The bottom line: the OMD EM5 is a terrific camera that can be had at very attractive prices these days and, when used in combo with the Travel Lens Kit, delivers a versatility that seems hard to beat. The OMD EM5 II is even “terrific-er.” If you can afford the extra expense, it makes a great choice that I can heartily recommend.

    Cheers, Jock
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
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  2. tonyturley

    tonyturley SC Top Veteran

    524
    Nov 24, 2014
    Scott Depot, WV, USA
    Tony
    I enjoyed the time I had with my E-M5 + 17mm/1.8, and got a lot of great images with that combo. For me, however, Fuji is a better fit, even though the camera/lens combination is a bit heavier. I still hardly notice the weight if I'm out hiking or biking. Glad to see MFT is working well for you.
     
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  3. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 SC Top Veteran

    566
    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    While EM-5 was what got me to choose m43 over Fuji, the EM5 Mk II is a fantastic upgrade. The buttons and dials feel much better to me, the added features are great too.

    If I did not need the PDAF AF features, the EM5 Mk II would be just about perfect. I'm hoping that Olympus puts the PDAF sensor in the EM5 Mk III.
     
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  4. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    I've had the series I, for a few months, and with the old OM 50mm and adapter, has me nearly satisfied. The biggest complaint is the on/off switch. A serious gripe. Bad location and nearly impossible to turn on/off with light gloves, and tedious thumb nail without. But overall, it is a pretty good digital OM2/4 replacement. I can MF through the EVF without magnification, but not with the LCD. Still trying to decide on a AF lens, when the funds become available.
     
  5. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 SC Top Veteran

    566
    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    You cannot really go wrong with the Olympus 17/25/45/75 f/1.8 primes (sounds like primes are your thing).
     
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  6. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    My daughter has the 45mm and I have used it. Fine for portrait use, but a bit soft for my taste in outdoor/landscape. You can check it out in Bysearching's postings here.
    The wife uses the 20mm and it's great, just too wide for my everyday user.
     
  7. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru SC Regular

    41
    Dec 25, 2016
    Sunshine Coast Australia
    Gilly
    I have both the EM 1 and the EM5 mk2 (with olympus battery grip) and find i use the mk2 most of the time. It is small and lightweight without the grip and nearly as easy to hold as my EM 1 with longer lenses when I have the battery grip attached. When I first bought it i thought it would be a great backup camera for its big brother but it has proved to be far nicer than expected.
    A beautiful little camera with great image quality.
     
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  8. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 SC Top Veteran

    566
    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I'll have to admit that this is the first time I've ever heard anyone refer to the O45/1.8 being soft.
     
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  9. marlof

    marlof Trying to focus Subscribing Member

    Dec 25, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Marlof
    Steve, if you find a 20 too wide and the 45 not up your ally, maybe you should look at the Olympus 60 macro. Slightly longer than the 50 you're using, AF, sharp and can be use for macro, portrait and tele.
     
  10. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    The 60 macro is definitely a possibility. Or 'gasp', a quality zoom. No funds for either, at the moment.
    The 45 is not really soft, but not crisp, for landscape detail, that I crave and love.
     
  11. CM_SK

    CM_SK SC Regular

    152
    Apr 23, 2013
    Saskatoon, SK, Canada
    Thanks Jock for reporting your experiences... I too now have both EM5 bodies, with the mark II usually attached to my Oly 100-300 zoom for birding use, and the original with either the 60 macro or 12 prime. A great walk around package I intend to use most days on my current down under stay.
     
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  12. RichardB

    RichardB SC Regular

    44
    Aug 28, 2013
    Keep an eye out for the Sigma 30mm/2.8. Sharp and affordable.
     
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  13. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    I actually had that lens at one time. But on the (pen 3 I think), the out door focus was too iffy. I did my daughter's wedding with that combo, and the Fl36 flash, and the results were great. I think it might be a lot better on the E-m5, that I now use.