When Panasonic started to leak the GX7 micro 4/3 camera, I, along with many micro 4/3 fans started to pine for what seemed on paper to be one of the best offerings for the system yet. Compact, nice grip, IBIS, focus peaking, a step forward in IQ, good video options, integrated EVF, WiFi, rugged chassis… I’m no fanboy, but I will admit to feeling that Panasonic has done a better job at the interface side of things, compared to Olympus in my experience with cameras from both manufacturers. If I could gain access to what I saw as Oly’s two benefits in IBIS and newer sensor tech in a Pana body with it’s more streamlined, yet still customizable interface, I had to see if it could live up to the hype. I’ve long felt that if Oly could re-engineer it’s interface and remove some of the frustrating quirks that plagued the EM5, or, if Panasonic could take a step forward in sensor performance and integrate a decent IBIS system, either could have a quintessential micro 4/3 juggernaut on their hands. Is the GX7 the answer to those desires?
While I love the overall size reduction that newer mirrorless system cameras provide, certain cameras really sacrifice a functional grip, especially for larger hands more suited and accustomed to the larger, deeper DSLR style hand grips. With tiny buttons abound, touch sensitive screens and minimal real estate on the backs of these cameras to grip onto, I found myself looking for something to supplement my EM5’s “grip.” I was not going to pony up $300 for the accessory grip from Olympus because I don’t want the double battery/vertical grip portion, and while I could just use the add on grip on its own, the price is ridiculous to gain access to a simple grip (granted it did incorporate a second shutter button, but I already have one…). Enter the Really Right Stuff OMD EM5 grip plate combo. Read on for pics and a video showing how it fits the body of the OMD EM5…
I’ve been debating a dedicated macro lens for either my full frame setup or my micro 4/3 setup for a little while now. I wanted to try out the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 dedicated macro lens as I felt the micro 4/3 system really played to its benefits with a macro setup. It really had to work to supplant the idea of acquiring the PanaLeica 45mm f/2.8 OIS Macro lens in the micro 4/3 realm, or some more illustrious full frame macro lenses for my larger system as well. Now, I may be the odd man out as every review seems to really like this lens, but I was not impressed. Read on to hear about why…
Just a quick comparison pre and post firmware v1.5 update showing the difference that the IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) makes when using adapted, third party lenses in video mode on the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
The above video was shot using a Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 SSC lens adapted to the OM-D E-M5 with segments using firmware v1.2 to show the lack of IBIS support compared to the same setup after the firmware update to v1.5. I was walking with the camera held out in front of me to further amplify the differences that the IBIS can make for video. I would certainly suggest standing still, IBIS or not when shooting video because nobody wants to watch this type of vomit inducing drivel, with the distinct exception of gear nerds like myself, in small, short doses of course.
To properly engage the IBIS when using adapted lenses for video, you’ll need to manually enter the focal length (just as we have to for still shooting) in the Image Stabilization sub menu.
Along with the added IBIS support in video capture for third party lenses, the update included a muting (or more accurately a disengagement) of the IBIS humming when the camera was inactive prior to entering sleep mode. Unfortunately, we didn’t see some of the other issues we’d raised last week addressed (like focus peaking, high ISO banding, etc) but these are two good changes and hopefully are merely the beginning of the firmware update chain for this camera.
You can find the OMD EM5 at B&H HERE.
Thanks for the read and happy shooting,
As much as I do love this camera, I find myself absolutely frustrated with it in certain situations. While the squeaky wheel is normally the most annoying, it is also the one that gets the grease. Let us become a loud enough wheel so that Olympus may take notice and deliver some updates to make this camera all it can be.
The Micro 4/3 system has really grown up in the last year. Sensor tech has taken a substantial step forward and the lens lineup has rounded itself out very nicely. Much has been eluded to regarding the origins of the OM-D E-M5 sensor, is it a reworked Panasonic sensor, a Sony sensor, an inhouse super secret sensor??? Oly came out and admitted that Sony is the manufacturer of the sensor in the OM-D E-M5 quelling the rumor mill, and of course, the G3/GX1 (and quite possibly the soon to be G5) sensor, built by Panasonic, is in fact different. That all said, I really wanted to see how these two sensors compared to one another as I have been very impressed by the G3. C’mon in and we’ll take a closer look at a few files.