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10-14-2012, 10:43 AM   #1
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Q vs. Oly OM-D

Hi guys,
In an attack of compulsive desire I just bought an Oly OM-D E-M5 with 12-50 kit lens. I already have a K5 and--obviously--the Q, but I wanted something in the middle: better than the Q in terms of IQ, lighter and more fast/reliable than the K5 in terms of focus.

The OM-D has the arguable reputation of the best MFT on the market now, and for street photography its swivelling display and reportedly super-quick focus was tempting.

Now, bad weather and other impediments are playing against me, so for now I'm only getting acquainted with its ergonomics and doing some IQ tests, and I wanted to share with you Q-lovers my first impressions.

Ergonomics: I try to be as objective as I can: I still haven't found a camera with better ergonomics than Pentax. In this field, my little Q beats the Oly, no doubt, despite its mini-buttons. BUT, I have to admit, a swivelling, touch screen display has its advantages...

Focus: It is true: OM-D AF is really super fast and 100% reliable, even in the dull light of interiors during these rainy days. The Q comes not even close to its quickness, BUT, I must note, Q AF reliability is pretty damn good.

Image quality: I took two test shots (100% crop), which I attach here after. Ambient light, same ISO for both cameras, aperture on the sweet spot for both lenses (01 for the Q). The Q picture is the second one. OK, the Oly quality is better, BUT not that much, right? I mean: all that "too small sensor" fuss, and the unprocessed result (from raw) does not come too far from one of the best MFT sensors, to my eyes. Oh, one more thing: white balance. I'm pretty convinced that Pentax must have some secret recipe for auto WB, because avery other brand I tested, including my new Oly, often provide significantly worst results in this field.

Conclusion: I'm quite happy with my new camera and it definitely has some killer points (did I mention AF?), but I don't think that my Q will start catching powder, yet.

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10-14-2012, 11:57 AM   #2
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I have both as well.

"OK, the Oly quality is better, BUT not that much, right? I mean: all that "too small sensor" fuss, and the unprocessed result (from raw) does not come too far from one of the best MFT sensors, to my eyes. "

At base ISO and decent light I think the Q is fairly close unless there is a large dynamic range. However, start turning up the ISO and the OMD walks all over the Q.

"Oh, one more thing: white balance."

Try turning off the Warm picture setting and see how you think that looks. I tend to think they are fairly close as far as WB with maybe the advantage to the OMD.

I wish the Q had an EVF like on the OMD as well as the IBIS that works with legacy lenses.

Shawn
10-14-2012, 12:06 PM   #3
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Shawn, thanks for the suggestion, I'm impatient to have time for some tests in real world.
About ISO performance, I think that the Q does well up to 600 ISO, above that it is still acceptable up to 1600 in some situations (BW conversion, low key). Happy to hear that the OM-D can do better.
Your comment points out something I forgot to mention, though: the OM-D IBIS appears to be better than Pentax SR. Do you agree?
10-14-2012, 12:35 PM   #4
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"I think that the Q does well up to 600 ISO, above that it is still acceptable up to 1600 in some situations (BW conversion, low key). Happy to hear that the OM-D can do better."

On the OMD I have a some shots (still in color) at 6400 that are decent. If you are willing to go with B&W and grain 25,600 can be usable in some situations.

For example this is ISO 5000 on the OMD SOOC JPG.



From what I have seen of the Q it can't keep up like that and falls apart at a much lower ISO.

" the OM-D IBIS appears to be better than Pentax SR. Do you agree?"

Yes, with the provision that a lot of what I am shooting with on the Q is legacy glass.... on the Q there is no SR at all with them. Using the same lenses on the OMD IBIS is still active and works *extremely* well.

From a native lens standpoint there is no comparison between M4/3s and the Q. There is a wide range of very good glass available for m4/3s. On the flip side I am really enjoying C mount lenses on the Q. They keep the compact size and cost little money. However, I am missing the OMDs EVF with IBIS and magnification to help MF when using legacy glass on the Q.

Really, they are both good cameras aimed at somewhat different markets. The Q offers some really interesting advantages (taking advantage of its crop factor/DOF, portability) and the OMD is part of a more complete system and can handle a wider range of shooting conditions.


Shawn

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