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E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

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  • E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

    Having access to both cameras in my household I thought you may want to read about my opinion comparing the two cameras.

    The E-M1 is mine; I use it mostly with the 300 F/4 PRO, 400-500 photo sessions and tens of thousands of frames.
    The G9 is Catherine's, have used it mainly with the Panasonic 100-400. I have used it myself during perhaps ten photo sessions and taken a thousand frames.

    The lenses are not discussed. If you are interested I could write about a comparison in the Lens section.

    I don't shoot video, stills only. Someone else may want to write about video capabilities and performance.


    Physical
    The G9 is almost 100g heavier than the E-M1 M2.
    They have roughly the same width and depth. The G9 is 25 mm higher which reinforces the impression that it is bigger.
    Both cameras feel equally well built.
    The Olympus has a more appealing look and feel, but others may have a different opinion
    I prefer the grip on the E-M1 M2 over the G9. I have medium-sized hands, size 8 1/2 to be precise.

    Image quality
    Both have a 20 MP CMOS sensor, I could as expected not perceive any difference comparing RAWs of the same subject shot at the same ISO and color temperature.

    Ergonomics/mechanical controls
    The Panasonic has the power switch placed on the front of the front dial, which is convenient but it can accidentally be operated on/off. I prefer the location of the switch on the Olympus.
    On the G9 the shutter release button could have been stiffer and/or have a more pronounced half-press before the shutter is released. Coming from Olympus you easily fire the shutter by accident before you get used to it.
    The mode dial is placed on the left side of the body. I definitely prefer the Olympus since you can operate all the controls with the right hand. I make frequent use of the Custom mode (C1, C2, and C3) and I have memorized their position alongside the S and A mode and can quickly switch between these five modes without even looking at the camera while shooting and my left hand is supporting the lens.
    One unique feature with the Panasonic is that there is a second dial beneath the mode dial where you set the burst mode; single frame, sequential frames low or high speed; self-timer and a few other advanced ones. This is a good thing in one way as you have a shortcut to changing the drive mode however I found no way to have the custom modes override this setting. This means that if for instance you have customized mode C1 to be used for AFC in which case you want to use bursts you also need to remember to turn the burst mode switch as well (unless the correct mode is already activated). It could be there is a setting where this behavior could be overridden however not sure, I could not find anything about it written in the user guide.
    The Panasonic has a joystick which comes in handy when moving the pointer across the LCD.

    User guide
    Talking about the user guide which I consulted to find out about advanced features, it is 340 pages, compared to 192 pages for the E-M1 M2. Are more pages better than fewer? Nope. Stop complaining about Olympus' user guide!

    Auto-focus
    The Panasonic uses contrast-detect AF only whereas the Olympus uses Phase Detect as well in continuous AF mode. The Panasonic uses a technology they call "Depth from Defocus", which may result in some "wobbling" while acquiring focus since the camera defocuses back and forth until it has determined focus.
    The AF also works in another different way as there is there are three modes: AFS (S for Static), AFF (F for Flexible) and AFC (C for Continuous). AFS locks focus once acquired, AFF is similar to AFS and it is meant to be used on static subjects however it checks if the subject has moved and does small focus adjustments accordingly. AFC is meant to be used on moving subjects.
    The Panasonic has 225 AF points compared to the Olympus 121.
    A nice functionality on the Panasonic is that you can adjust the AF area to cover an area of almost any size from a single point to all AF points through many steps, more flexible than the Olympus which is constrained to 1, 5, 9 or 15 squares.
    The performance of the AF? On static subjects, it seems very reliable and accurate. When using continuous AF I get less good results than when using the Olympus, looking at keeper rate. It may have to do with me used to handling the E-M1 M2 and less used with the G9, but still, my learning curve was shorter with the Olympus. I have read articles and reviews claiming the Panasonic is better but that is not my experience. Maybe the phase-detect AF is more reliable?

    Viewfinder
    The Panasonic viewfinder has higher resolution and magnification than the Olympus. I do not think it is a game-changer but if that is important for you it could tip the scale in favor of the Panasonic.

    LCD
    Both have articulated touch screens with the same resolution and size.
    There is an LCD on top of the G9 body displaying the most important settings such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. I question if this LCD is really necessary, I hardly ever consult it. Is it meant to give the camera a "professional" look?

    Menu system
    They are differently organized. None is perfect. Both use different, sometimes strange, names for the same thing.
    One nice thing with the Panasonic is "My menu" where you can add the menu choices that you frequently use.
    Related to the menu - the super control panel with immediate access to the most important settings is missing from the Panasonic. Instead, there are (too) many controls that you access by tapping on "tabs" on the LCD.

    Customization
    Both cameras are highly customizable. I think the Panasonic has even more controls than the Olympus, but have not dug deeper. I was able to replicate the most important settings and customization from my Olympus to the Panasonic in something like 10-15 minutes after browsing through the menus and some trial-and-error.

    Card slots
    The Panasonic has two card slots, both of them supporting UHS-2 whereas Olympus has one slot supporting UHS-2 while the other slot supports UHS-1 only. Not a big deal, since I use slot 2 for backup purposes only (copy card 1 content to card 2).

    Charging and battery
    The G9 supports USB charging, which I miss on the E-M1. It's nice to be able to charge the battery while on travel e.g. in the car. You can't shoot while it is charging, though. Hopefully, Olympus will introduce this feature in the coming cameras.

    Both cameras use batteries similar in size and capacity. The G9 is specified to 400 shots and the E-M1 M2 to 440 according to CIPA. In practice I found the E-M1 M2 having a noticeably better battery life in terms of time (better than the above 10%) based on experience from practical field use, where I typically leave the camera on all the time with something like 1-minute sleep and 15 minutes power off.
    The Panasonic has a 4 step battery charging indicator similar to the gauges found on Olympus cameras pre-E-M1 M2. Not so accurate, once it drops to one bar you are about to run out of battery. The percentage indicator on the E-M1 M2 is clearly better.

    Wheater sealing
    Both are weather/splash and dustproof. Olympus has a solid reputation here, I can vouch for the sealing based on own experience.

    After several hours of use in high humidity and rain, I noticed that there was condensation on the rear element of the lens fitted to the G9. The lens was a m.Zuiko 12-40 PRO, which is weather sealed. I have read that using Panasonic and Olympus camera and lens, possibly the other way around as well, could potentially jeopardize the weather sealing as they have adopted slightly different solutions for the sealing. Not sure if that is correct, but my experience seems to confirm it.

    Any questions feel free to ask.

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  • #2
    Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

    Thank you for such a comprehensive comparison.
    John

    "A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there � even if you put them end to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched from eternity." ~ Robert Doisneau

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    • #3
      Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

      That's a great comparison Tord. Looking forward to the lens comparison now
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/flip_photo_flickr/

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      • #4
        Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

        That's a great comparison Tord. Looking forward to the lens comparison now
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/flip_photo_flickr/

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        • #5

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          • #6
            Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

            This morning I made an attempt to rate the cameras using a score card.

            The weights given to the areas are reflecting my own priority, you may have a different opinion regarding what is more or less important for you. The scores are based on my personal opinion with on a scale 0 (not acceptable) to 10 (perfect).

            Something that I realize is missing is after-sales and customer support. I know from my own experience about the good support and attitude I have received from Olympus and I have heard and read that Panasonic and not that great however I have no experience and cannot rate it.

            The E-M1 M2 wins, but not with a big margin. 8,23 vs 7,94 with a max score of 10.

            If you factor in the price tag and you are on a tight budget the G9 could be the right decision for one looking for a high performing m4/3 camera. I checked today and the local retail costs for the body without lens are:
            E-M1 M2: ~1436 €
            G9: ~1126 €

            Someone may be kind to update with prices in UK...

            Cheers,
            Tord
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

              good comparison thanks for taking the time to write it up .. in my case it was a hard choice as I already had a PL100-400 so I could have gone either way .
              one thing that you haven't touched on but is quite important ,is that the Olympus will take the older four thirds lenses via a MMF3 adaptor with no loss of functionality where as I tried them on a friends g9 and they were painfully slow ( 50-200swd +1.4tc.. and 12-60 f2.8) so another win win for olympus

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              • #8
                Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

                Originally posted by blackfox View Post
                good comparison thanks for taking the time to write it up .. in my case it was a hard choice as I already had a PL100-400 so I could have gone either way .
                one thing that you haven't touched on but is quite important ,is that the Olympus will take the older four thirds lenses via a MMF3 adaptor with no loss of functionality where as I tried them on a friends g9 and they were painfully slow ( 50-200swd +1.4tc.. and 12-60 f2.8) so another win win for olympus
                Many thanks for that comment, somehow it slipped my mind. The reason for the poor performance is that the Panasonic uses contrast-detect AF only whereas the Olympus also has phase-detect AF. I use 4/3 lenses myself with my E-M1 M2, focusing speed is quite good, but still much slower compared to m4/3 lenses.

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                • #9
                  Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

                  Just to say - your description of 'depth to defocus' is basically how contrast detect works. The contrast is measured as the lens changes focus distance until the contrast has peaked and starts to reduce again. This means the focus action starts and stops many times, imperceptibly, until it has over-shot and then it can return to the peak contrast and so exact focus point.

                  The lens to mount seal on Olympus lenses is achieved by a rubberised plastic skirt around the edge of the lens mount. I wouldn't expect this to be compromised by fitting the lens on a Panasonic body. The body flange would have to be under-size for the seal to be compromised.

                  I found your post to be very interesting - thanks Tord

                  Ian
                  Founder and editor of:
                  Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
                  Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
                  Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
                  Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)

                  Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
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                  • #10
                    Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

                    Hi Ian,

                    I did not expect that to happen either. Luckily I noticed that the photos taken during the later part of three hour hike started to show softness and poor contrast and that triggered the alarm bell. I immediately unmounted the lens once back in the car, noticed the condensation. Fortunately larger droplets had not yet started to form. Turning on the fan and heat to max fixed it.

                    To be on the safe side I checked my E-M1 M2 + 40-150 and there was NO signs of condensation inside.

                    My Gallery on 500px

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                    • #11
                      Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

                      Originally posted by Tordan58 View Post
                      Hi Ian,

                      I did not expect that to happen either. Luckily I noticed that the photos taken during the later part of three hour hike started to show softness and poor contrast and that triggered the alarm bell. I immediately unmounted the lens once back in the car, noticed the condensation. Fortunately larger droplets had not yet started to form. Turning on the heat fan and heat to max fixed it.

                      To be on the safe side I checked my E-M1 M2 + 40-150 and there was NO signs of condensation inside.
                      Regards,
                      Mark

                      ------------------------------
                      http://www.microcontrast.com
                      Too much Oly gear.
                      Panasonic GM5, 12-32, 12-35, 15, 35-100, Laowa 7.5.
                      Assorted legacy lenses, plus a Fuji X70 & a Sony A7S.

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                      • #12
                        Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

                        Thank you for taking the time and posting your conclusions Tord.

                        Given the sometimes tight fitting of the Pany 100-400mm on Olympus cameras, perhaps Olympus lens mounts (matching Olympus camera mounts) are a shade looser on Panasonic cameras resulting in the slight misting that you noticed on the rear lens element.
                        Cameras: E-M5, E-PM2, OM40, OM4Ti
                        Lenses (M.Zuiko Digital): 7-14mm/F2.8, 12-40mm/F2.8, 40-150mm/F2.8+TC1.4x, 12-50mm/F3.5-6.3, 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 EZ, M.ZD 40-150 F4-5.6 R, 75-300mm/F4.8-6.7 Mk1, 12mm/F2, 17mm/F1.8
                        Lenses (OM Zuiko): 50mm/F1.2, 24mm/F2, 35mm/F2.8 shift
                        Lenses (OM Fit): Vivitar Series II 28-105mm/F2.8-3.8, Sigma 21-35mm/F3.4-4.2, Sigma 35-70mm/F2.8-4, Sigma 75-200mm/F2.8-3.5, Vivitar Series II 100-500mm/F5.6-8.0, Centon 500mm/F8 Mirror
                        Learn something new every day

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                        • #13
                          [email protected]
                          Regards,
                          Mark

                          ------------------------------
                          http://www.microcontrast.com
                          Too much Oly gear.
                          Panasonic GM5, 12-32, 12-35, 15, 35-100, Laowa 7.5.
                          Assorted legacy lenses, plus a Fuji X70 & a Sony A7S.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

                            Interesting comparison but it overlooks one important facet - reliability (and servicing). Olympus has a long history of camera production whereas Panasonic is essentially an electronics company. There have been threads here about the fragility of some Panasonic lenses (the 100-400 iirc) and the quality of Olympus' servicing. I have a couple of Panasonic products (a TV and a DVD/HDD recorder) and neither has been a paragon of quality or reliability. The TV hasn't actually failed but some of its "smart" features (iPlayer, YouTube) don't work properly any more, and the Freeview tuner in the DVD recorder has failed (though repairably by reference to YouTube - on my computer ).

                            My ancient OM-10 and other OM cameras and lenses still work perfectly after 30+ years, and my E-M5i after 6+; that alone would sway my decision in favour of Olympus!
                            Regards
                            Richard

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                            • #15
                              Re: E-M1 Mark 2 compared to Panasonic G9

                              Originally posted by Otto View Post
                              Interesting comparison but it overlooks one important facet - reliability (and servicing). Olympus has a long history of camera production whereas Panasonic is essentially an electronics company. There have been threads here about the fragility of some Panasonic lenses (the 100-400 iirc) and the quality of Olympus' servicing. I have a couple of Panasonic products (a TV and a DVD/HDD recorder) and neither has been a paragon of quality or reliability. The TV hasn't actually failed but some of its "smart" features (iPlayer, YouTube) don't work properly any more, and the Freeview tuner in the DVD recorder has failed (though repairably by reference to YouTube - on my computer ).

                              My ancient OM-10 and other OM cameras and lenses still work perfectly after 30+ years, and my E-M5i after 6+; that alone would sway my decision in favour of Olympus!
                              Hi Otto,

                              I elaborated on this, giving credit to Olympus after-sales service in post #6, howver that was after realizing it was not in scope of the criterias I set up for the comparison. I suppose I could update the original post.

                              Cheers
                              Tord

                              My Gallery on 500px

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