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07-15-2017, 04:09 PM   #1
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From Pentax K5/Q7 to Oly EM-5 II

So I guess this is another Pentax > Oly question thread, but I'm curious on people's thoughts about the EM-5 II as a go-between for the K5 and the Q7.

A few reasons why I'm looking at the EM-5 II. First, I find myself reaching for my Q7 more than my K5 more and more for anything longer than a few hours. I have a very good complement of K-mount lenses, along with a collection pancakes, but my neck and shoulders just ache at the thought of of a K5 + lenses when traveling abroad. Typically, that means either the 18-135 + 15 (heavy), or my trio of 15/21/40 (more manageable, but everybody is then standing around waiting for me to swap lenses...). For the Q7, I have the 01, 02, and the 08, which combined make for a wonderfully small and light package. So far, I've also been quite happy with what the Q7 can do.

However, I also find myself hitting up against the limitations of the Q system. A minimum aperture of f8 has been quite frustrating (long exposure waterfall on a sunny day?). High ISO performance leaves a lot to be desired (I'm quite picky about this, so much so I won't push my K5 past 3200 if I can help it). Ricoh's continued silence on the future of the Q system, making it hard to convince myself to invest in what might be a dead system. Last but not least, my wife's commandeering of my Q7 as her own .

Ideally I'd like the EM-5 II to, first, serve of as good a light travel package as the Q7 without limiting what I can shoot, and second, possibly replace my K5 further down the road (don't even get me started on my autofocus woes on the K5... ).

What are people's thoughts?

07-15-2017, 04:58 PM   #2
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Hello there

Regarding your comment: "I also find myself hitting up against the limitations of the Q system. A minimum aperture of f8 has been quite frustrating (long exposure waterfall on a sunny day?)"...

I assume you'd like to stop down further to allow longer exposures. Have you tried using the built-in ND filter in the lenses you mention (all of those models have it), which is selectable from the camera? That will give you a couple of stops reduction in light. After that, as with any interchangeable-lens camera (including the Olympus you mention), you could simply add a strong external ND filter to the lens in question. That's how you'd achieve long exposure in daylight on any camera system, and - as such - the Q7 shouldn't be a limiting factor for you in this respect.

As for high ISO performance, I'd agree that the Q7 is a little more limited in this respect, as with any smaller-sensor camera. However, careful post-processing can work wonders. If you haven't already seen it, please take a look at this short article I wrote, which used sample RAW images I took with an original Pentax Q at ISO 3200, processed through Lightroom 6:

Pentax Q - Lightroom processing example - PentaxForums.com

My aim here isn't to put you off buying the EM-5II... it's a fine camera, from what I've seen. But perhaps you might get more from your Q7 than you're currently achieving, and if you can, that might save you some money

Last edited by BigMackCam; 07-16-2017 at 02:01 AM.
07-15-2017, 05:24 PM   #3
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Olympus makes very good cameras and has great glass. I think its a great system. The AF and the IBIS are both great. If you shoot JPEGs you will find that Olympus has a better JPEG engine than the K-5. The K-5 however has much better DR for low light shooting. If you shoot RAW you will find the K-5 DNG files to have significantly more to work with.
07-16-2017, 11:13 PM   #4
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I say get yourself an Oly camera and some good glass. You definitely won't be disappointed. I have the omd em10ii, and I'm very happy with it. Like someone said earlier in a different thread, it's not a bad idea having more than one system. Personally, I think Pentax and Olympus make the best all around cameras on the market today. Go for it!

07-17-2017, 12:04 AM   #5
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I vote for the em5 ii. I use it fairly regularly and am just scratching the surface with it. Ill use it as a back up or wanting to bring something light. Its got some neat features such as live composite or live time. Helps with night/street photography when dealing with light trails and not over exposing your image (havent tried it during the sunny day for long water exposures, might work for that). Also another thing on live composite, you can watch on the screen the picture being taken and stop it at anytime, something that would be nice for other manufacturers to adopt if they could.There is a great number of lenses you can use from different manufacturers. The 25mm lens is really good also use the 12-32 lens from Panasonic which makes for an even smaller package. The high resolution mode gives you great quality images( its very similar to ps from pentax) which gives you full frame quality images. Also been known to give better results then the d810 for product photography(theres a video on youtube). Files are easy to work with, there is enough to work with if you are needing to crop at all. The macro lens is great, it also gives a range to choose from depending on distances. I might add a little bit more on what i like about the em5ii.


07-17-2017, 11:15 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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I don't think that the Q system has any serious limitations beyond the fact that your wife seems to have taken it for her own. To be honest I really don't blame her since it is a fine camera.

Olympus makes some terrific cameras but it will require investment into a different system then what you now use. This is why professionals rarely change systems. The cost is really prohibitive for them and takes lots of earnings to produce a favorable return on their investment. I do think the m4/3 systems are a great idea but I am not sure they are really any more compact then some of the smaller/lighter bodies that Pentax has been producing lately. And I seriously doubt the image quality is really any better.

I recommend you stay with Pentax but move to one of their smaller and lighter APS-c cameras. But I really think you have talked yourself into an Olympus and won't really be happy until you have at least tried it.

For myself, the Q and Q7 remain one of the best investments I ever made in digital photography. I would sell my K5iiS or K10D before I sold my Q system. Maybe you should just go out and pick up another Q system for your wife and retrieve your Q7?

EDIT - ...just out of curiousity? How often do you actually shoot waterfalls using long exposures? I am curious because this has to be the first time I ever heard it used as an excuse to buy a new camera.
07-17-2017, 04:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
...I assume you'd like to stop down further to allow longer exposures. Have you tried using the built-in ND filter in the lenses you mention (all of those models have it), which is selectable from the camera? That will give you a couple of stops reduction in light. After that, as with any interchangeable-lens camera (including the Olympus you mention), you could simply add a strong external ND filter to the lens in question. That's how you'd achieve long exposure in daylight on any camera system, and - as such - the Q7 shouldn't be a limiting factor for you in this respect...
...or you can go shoot the waterfall in the moonlight...

07-17-2017, 09:02 PM   #8
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A 49mm screw on ND filter on Q 08 would work nicely and avoid the diffraction of shooting at F8 on the Q.

The Cokin A filter system also works nicely for the Q. That offers the possibility of a variety of graduated ND filters as well. Very compact filter system.
07-17-2017, 10:05 PM   #9
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...M43 is a great little system with a wide variety of lenses.

A Pano GM1(no evf,like Q) or a GM5(evf) is the M43 size equivalent(to Pentax Q)....IQ is pretty similar though in stills.Video is far superior.

Pano 12/32...35/100mm varios are 2 compact little light lenses that makes it a system just a little bigger than Q.Body cap 9mm/15mm do a good job in good light(both Oly).

OR just find another Q7 AND get the 06 f2.8.
07-18-2017, 07:58 AM   #10
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I shoot with bothEM-5ii and the K-5iis. I use the EM-5ii as my compact camera and for hand-held shooting (Oly 5-axis IBIS clearly superior to 3 axis IBIS in K-5 series of cameras). My K-5iis, along with my limiteds and DA zoom glass, produces better color output than what I get out of the E-M5ii matched with Oly premium primes. The Oly output though is just as sharp. The K-5iis has at least a stop better ISO performance and 2 stops plus of DR.

The E-M5ii is a compelling little camera that packs quite a bit of performance in a small package. But a camera is only as small as the lens its paired with. So if you want to get an E-M5ii, you should figure out what glass you want to use with it. The high end m43 zooms are technically outstanding, often as sharp, or sometimes even sharper, than high end Pentax APS-C glass. But many of them, particularly the Oly ones, weigh as much, or even more, than the DA 18-135. There are quite a few consumer grade zooms in m43 that are light and compact. Some of them, particularly the Panasonic ones, are technically on par, or maybe even a little better, than the DA 18-135. I've been looking at images on flickr from the Pany 14-140ii. For a compact consumer super zoom weighing only 265 grams, it's pretty darn good, with very decent resolution even to the far end of the zoom. Similar comments could be made of the 12-32, the 12-60 f3.5-5.6, and the 45-175. The best of the Oly compact zooms is the 9-18.

Even so, I still think the DA 18-135 will produce better looking output, thanks to superior color rendering and the superior color output of Pentax cameras. I've sold over 80 images online the last five years. Six of those sales have been from my m43 output, the rest from my Pentax cameras and lenses.
07-18-2017, 04:12 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for all of your comments! A few responses to the combined comments.

I've actually found myself in quite a few situations where I'm shooting long-ish exposure shots in bright/sunny light. Mind, I define long-ish as anything longer than 1/focal length to obtain motion trails in the shot. Typically anything involving water and the great outdoors, as the wife and I go hiking quite a bit. So far, I've been hesitant to go down the filter route. The main reason is that I've never needed to, since K-mount lenses all step down far enough that I've been happy with the results. Another reason is probably sheer stubbornness of not wanting to tack on even more gear. Camera + lenses + batteries + tripod + Gorillapod + flash +... soon I'll be cursing my photography experience rather than enjoying it! Damnit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a photographer! Now that I've finally found a small camera system that works, I really would like to stop making it more cumbersome by adding more moving parts that need to be swapped in/out and kept track of.

In my view, I'm already invested in two camera systems: K-mount and Q-mount. If I do go down the m4/3 route, the most likely thing that will happen is that the K-mount system will be replaced (again, neck and shoulders not getting any younger!). I agree that the Q-mount system is one of the best photography investments I ever made, and also one of the best ideas Pentax ever had.

I'll probably wait a short while just to see what the EM-5 III brings and whether Ricoh makes any Q related announcements. Thanks for all the input!
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