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Thread: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

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    Default E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    I don't have either and am looking to upgrade my E-520 to either one of the next models by Olympus or the E-5, maybe the E-m5.

    After looking at a ton of photos from the E-m5 and E-5 I get the impression photos from the E-M5 have a bit harder look, and the photos from the E-5 are more organic. This is a very general opinion and want to know how other feel? I have the 50-200swd and will probably keep it and either get a used E-5 or wait for the next bodies to come out. I'm not a professional and mostly just take photos of wildlife and outdoor scenes. I'd like to do some portrait photos as well.

    I know the newer sensor is "better" but I'm not concerned too much about noise, more the all around beauty of the photo. I hope you understand what I'm asking.

    Opinions??

    Steve

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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Bradley View Post
    Steve,
    I think that you would be happier with either an E-5 or maybe an E-30 (same picture quality and a lot lighter/smaller/cheaper) to get the most out of your 50-200swd. It seems that the OM-D struggles with the autofocus on that lens, and it might feel strange on such a small body. The E-30 is a big step up from a 520, but feels about the same in the hand. Never held an E-5.
    The look of a picture depends so much on how it is processed. I wouldn't worry about the sensor so much in your case. Think more in terms of what feels best and functions best for what you want to do. All three are excellent cameras.
    While I do not own an E-5, I've had the opportunity to shoot with one. In my opinion, it's picture quality is superior to my E-30. Just an observation.
    E-M1 w/HLD-7 I E-30 w/HLD-4 I DMC-L1 I 25 f1.4 I 14-35 f2 I 14-50 f2.8-3.5 I 35-100 f2
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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    IMO, Even the tiny epm2 has better image quality than the e5 (I own both). It's just not weather sealed...and lacks the viewfinder and extra control dials that the omd has...I'd even trade my e5 right now for an omd...but I doubt anyone would be willing to do that.

    The 50-200swd focuses way too slow on it. IMO I'd wait for the new body that is supposed to come out and be able to handle both sets of lenses.
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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    Steve,

    First off, I've shot with the E-M5 for several months now after using the E-5 for a couple of years; I've tried / used the 50-200 SWD on both. I don't do much wildlife, certainly not the birds in flight thing, but I do shoot some action stuff. Both cameras are quite good when used properly (I've never understood why the E-5 gets a bum rap in some places -- to me, its IQ is very nice; it's certainly served me very well in competitions and shows).

    I agree with your description of the differences between images from the E-M5 and the E-5 -- "organic" is a good word to use. The E-M5 has a significant advantage in dynamic range (as well as in noise), but to me the roll off on the E-5 is a little softer. The E-M5 provides excellent resolution, but its images seem to "harden up" if either sharpening or clarity (e.g., in Lightroom) is pushed just a bit too much. Still, I really do like what the E-M5 is giving me so far -- it's a very versatile camera -- but from what you say, I'd suggest picking up the E-5 if you want to buy now or waiting for Oly's next move. Two reasons:

    1. You're aware that full 4/3s lenses autofocus more slowly on the E-M5 and require an adapter (the MMF-3 is fully weather-sealed and the only choice to make, IMHO). Of the full 4/3s lenses I've used a lot on the E-M5 (the ZD 9-18, 12-60, 50-200 SWD, and the PL 25), the 50-200 SWD is the least responsive, especially at the long end. Handholding the E-M5, I get good results with the other lenses by setting the E-M5 to AF = S-AF + M, and either getting autofocus lock or manually adjusting focus using a zoomed preview in the EVF. This technique doesn't work as well with the 50-200 SWD because of its size. Tripod-mounted, it's just plain slower to autofocus than the others.

    2. The E-5 allows you to adjust the size of the focus point, either normal or small. I find the E-M5's focus point a little too large at times when trying to shoot in a complex scene (e.g., intervening tree branches and the like). I'd guess you find yourself doing this a fair bit if wildlife and landscape are what you like to shoot. Given the sizes of the 50-200 SWD and the E-M5, it's been difficult at times for me to get precise focus very quickly if at all. That's not a problem I ever had with the 50-200 SWD on the E-5 and a small focus point.

    That's my two cents worth -- in any case, both the E-M5 and the E-5 are fine cameras, and the 50-200 SWD is an outstanding lens. Good shooting!

    John
    Last edited by elbows2; 03-24-2013 at 06:35 PM. Reason: Typo
    Old enough to know better, young enough not to care.
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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    The thing I really noticed going from the E-5 to the E-M5 was the increased dynamic range. It was quite striking and a godsend to me. Optical quality between the lenses (14-54 MkII & Panny X 14-42 was minimal at my usual shooting aperture of 5.6.
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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by elbows2 View Post
    2. The E-5 allows you to adjust the size of the focus point, either normal or small. I find the E-M5's focus point a little too large at times when trying to shoot in a complex scene (e.g., intervening tree branches and the like). I'd guess you find yourself doing this a fair bit if wildlife and landscape are what you like to shoot. Given the sizes of the 50-200 SWD and the E-M5, it's been difficult at times for me to get precise focus very quickly if at all.
    After posting this, I found a workaround for the size of the E-M5's focus point -- maybe this is something lots of other folks knew about, but not me. So I posted it in another thread. I don't remember having seen it in the manual, but then again, I don't remember seeing lots of things.

    John
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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    Thanks John and everyone else, I appreciate your opinions.

    Steve

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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    Hi Steve,

    Wildlife merits faster focusing than the E-M5, but the E-520 is similarly handicapped. The E-5 has quick reflexes and importantly, a 1/8000 shutter.

    E-M5 images need less processing than E-series shots, including the E-5, and I can drive them into the ditch pretty easily if I don't use a light hand on them.

    FWIW I shoot more often with the E-M5 than the E-5, but when it's sports (or similar) then it's the E-5.

    I'm weary of speculating over the next camera generation, so won't bother here.

    Cheers,

    Rick

    Quote Originally Posted by SCT View Post
    I don't have either and am looking to upgrade my E-520 to either one of the next models by Olympus or the E-5, maybe the E-m5.

    After looking at a ton of photos from the E-m5 and E-5 I get the impression photos from the E-M5 have a bit harder look, and the photos from the E-5 are more organic. This is a very general opinion and want to know how other feel? I have the 50-200swd and will probably keep it and either get a used E-5 or wait for the next bodies to come out. I'm not a professional and mostly just take photos of wildlife and outdoor scenes. I'd like to do some portrait photos as well.

    I know the newer sensor is "better" but I'm not concerned too much about noise, more the all around beauty of the photo. I hope you understand what I'm asking.

    Opinions??

    Steve

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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by s4ean View Post
    While I do not own an E-5, I've had the opportunity to shoot with one. In my opinion, it's picture quality is superior to my E-30. Just an observation.
    I've owned both:

    Image quality: slight nod to the E-5. It's pretty minimal but there.
    AF: Slight nod to E-5.
    ISO: Slight nod to E-5.
    Feel: E-30, smaller in the hand, lighter. The E-5 is chunkier but I like that feel.

    One one major niggle with the E-30 was AWB (and WB in general) under artificial light. The DPR review mentioned it and I couldn't agree more. Even when using a custom WB it seemed pretty variable....there was just something about it. E-5, no similar problem in my use.

    This might sound like I disliked the E-30, far from the truth. The only reason I upgraded to the E-5 was I had a friend who heard the siren song of Sony and made me a great "buddies" deal on his E-5 and 12-60. Otherwise I was fine with the E-30. In fact, I may get another one at some point. Now that I have the 14-54 instead of the 12-60 the lighter, smaller body has some draw.
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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by SCT View Post
    I don't have either and am looking to upgrade my E-520 to either one of the next models by Olympus or the E-5, maybe the E-m5.

    After looking at a ton of photos from the E-m5 and E-5 I get the impression photos from the E-M5 have a bit harder look, and the photos from the E-5 are more organic. This is a very general opinion and want to know how other feel? I have the 50-200swd and will probably keep it and either get a used E-5 or wait for the next bodies to come out. I'm not a professional and mostly just take photos of wildlife and outdoor scenes. I'd like to do some portrait photos as well.

    I know the newer sensor is "better" but I'm not concerned too much about noise, more the all around beauty of the photo. I hope you understand what I'm asking.

    Opinions??

    Steve
    Steve,

    If one can translate your terms "harder" and "organic" to sharper in place of harder, and softer in place of organic, then there is one distinct difference between the two camera's that may be a consideration explaining a large part of the difference that you describe. It is the difference in Low Pass (AA) filtering, which is primarily a simple analog difference.

    Most now know that the one significant attribute making the E-PL1 create much sharper final images directly "out of the camera" was Olympus' move to install a weaker Low Pass (AA) filter in front of the sensor. It's been long known that the stronger the filtering through the AA filter, the LESS sharp the image becomes.

    Low Pass filtering was originally introduced to reduce instances of an effect called "Moire Patterns" found when shooting repetitive patterns. Consensus was (with all Digital Camera Mfrs) that sharpening could be dealt with in Post Processing. It turns out that in actuality, Moire Patterns don't occur as often as originally considered and are more easily dealt with in Post Processing than sharpening 100% of your images affected by too strong AA Low Pass filtering.

    I'd like to think that Olympus' innovation on going after the Low Pass AA filtering in the E-PL1 woke up the industry to this possibility. That's probably not true. However the industry is certainly tackling technology to counteract Low Pass filtering to add sharpness back into the process of digital capture. Nikons new D7100 has NO Low Pass filter. The new D800e (as opposed to the D800) has technology to neutralize the Low Pass filter. Sony and Pentax are both pursuing weakening or removing Low Pass filtering. Not sure where Canon is going. Still stunned with their newest "smallest" DSLR in the world. Olympus was already there a few times on that one?

    Now, considering your post. All PENS and the OM-D (EM-5) since the E-PL1 have followed the line of the weaker low pass filtering. I'm pretty sure the E-5 has the same stronger filtering that all the past DSLR bodies have incorporated.

    So aside from considerations of the improvements in the sensor AND processing engine, I think the OM-D has the edge BECAUSE it can produce "Harder, less Organic" image straight from the camera.

    My suggestion in part of the choice would be that it's probably far easier to defocus, or unsharpen an image that is too sharp. OTOH, it's a lot of work to make the Organic image sharper, and you have to do it on 100% of your images. The Low Pass AA filter is a fixed analog element of the camera, and you have no control. I also doubt that firmware can control the AA filter in any way, and it's just simpler to change to a weaker, or no, filter and break away from the "smudging" of the image produced in Low Pass filtering. That's just one more way that I have heard it described.

    Bottom line, in my consideration, you have less control over the image sharpness with the E-5. With the EM-5, you are starting with a sharper image... you are going to have to "Organicize" it to your personal taste. Hence the ART filters, and Post Processing.

    Now, I will disclose here that I do not know that the E-5, coming around the same time as the E-PL1 did NOT receive weaker low pass filtering, but I have certainly not been able to document that it did, while I have heard that ALL PEN's, and including the OM-D, did stay with the weaker filters. I suspect it was something attempted on the PEN because they were Not Flagship, and then carried forward. I doubt that Olympus was willing to take that risk on their professional flagship model.

    Whoooh!!

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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    Saichiez, I appreciate your explanation and no doubt what you say is true. I do like to shoot in RAW and pp, but do very little to the sharpness of my photos from my E-520 and 50-200swd. I love the sharpness/clarity I get from the 50-200 and, from what I've seen, same shots I've seen from the E-5. I'm not sure I'd want to tone down the sharpness of every shot from the E-m5 to try and get the "feel" of an E-5 shot. No doubt the e-m5 has an edge over the E-5, I just like that "softer" look of the E-5 photos I've seen. The lense keeps it sharp enough for me I guess, and many of the E-M5 shots look "hard" to me.

    I guess it's just personal preference.

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    Default Re: E-5 vs E-m5 photo quality/preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by saichiez View Post
    ... All PENS and the OM-D (EM-5) since the E-PL1 have followed the line of the weaker low pass filtering. I'm pretty sure the E-5 has the same stronger filtering that all the past DSLR bodies have incorporated. ...
    Um, no. The E-5 distances itself from all the previous Olympus E-system bodies by having either no or very very VERY weak antialiasing (low pass) filtering.

    There are some photos that I couldn't make with the E-5 at all due to moire on fabric textures. The same fabric with the E-1 and E-PL1 is just fine.

    I don't have an E-M5, and I sold my E-5 some time ago now, so I can't compare them directly. The E-5 does make fantastic photos, however, and I was able to obtain clean results with it for even color work at ISO 3200 and 6400, doing event and editorial photography. That's what I bought it for and it did a great job, for that and most everything else. The moire problem showed up on a couple of fabrics and similar types of fine-grained pattern things—the M9 does the same thing now and then. I don't find it much of a problem as I don't shoot those types of things very often at all.

    G

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