Micro 4/3 GH4 or E-M1?

Sep 8, 2010
123
London UK
Andy
I have done a very bold thing and finally gone for just one system. It's something I have wanted to do for a long time and I have finally sold the last of my Fuji gear. I am now M4/3 only and will try to stick with it as long as I can. IQ from fuji, Sony, Canon etc are better but the M43 system really suits me. I have always had M4/3 and love the size, weight and reliability of panasonic especially. I'm not saying I would not have another DSLR at some time but I would like a really serious body in M4/3 so am looking at either the Panasonic GH4 or the Olympus E-M1.

I already have a GF1, GX1 and GX7. The GF1 and GX1 are great fun to use while buzzing around with family and friends plus great for street. The GX7 is great for street and more serious stuff but it is not a comfy camera to hold so don't use it all that much...as nice as it is. I also have a nice set of lenses so have no need to get more at this point except for the new 15mm f1.7 Leica that I will hopefully be able to get from work. So I'm looking at the GH4 or E-M1 to satisfy my need for a really serious bit of kit. I have absolutely no need for video so looking at these for stills only. The good thing about the E-M1 is the 5 axis IS. I don't think it would make much difference as I would probably have either the 15, 20 or 12-35mm lenses on. Both EVF's on these cameras are superb so it's just down to ergonomics and IQ. They both feel great in the hand. The GH4 fits like a glove, it's perfect!!! With the GH4 you get a free grip and battery and E-m1 you get a free grip.

I am leaning towards the GH4 as I just love Panasonic gear and have had problems with 3 Oly cameras in the past but the E-M1 looks a superb camera.

Over to you guys for your opinion. :)
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
123
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
The EM1 is a superb camera, but I'm fairly certain the GH4 is also. Without having spent any time with a GH4, I'd wager that the primary advantage the EM1 has over the GH4 is the 5-axis IBIS, which really is a fairly amazing bit of technology. I still can't believe some of the handheld shots I've gotten with that system at shutter speeds between a half and a full second. The primary advantage the GH4 has over the EM1 is that it's a world-class video camera in addition to being a really fine stills camera.

Other than that, there are different features that might appeal to individuals that would make one better than the other to them. I always had trouble getting the colors right with Panasonic, but that was no longer the case with the GX7, so I think the GH4 would probably be good too. But you don't have those issues with Pany. So I think IBIS vs video are the primary tradeoffs. I'd say UNLESS you really want the stabilization of the EM1 or if you DO want the video, you should go with the GH4 just based on your preference for Panasonic gear to this point. I'm the opposite - I prefer the Olympus gear. I liked the GF1 well enough and REALLY liiked the GX7, but didn't like any of the other Panasonics I shot with (GH2, G3, G5). And even with the Panasonics I did like, I still preferred the tradeoffs offered in the Olympus bodies. But I've never felt this was because the Oly gear was somehow "better" - just better for me. It sounds like the Panasonic gear is better for you based on a similar amount of experience. So, unless there's some really compelling reason to switch (the IBIS being the only one I can think of), you should probably stick with the GH4. A lot of people can't stand Olympus menus - I'm not one of them but I understand why people don't like them. And the menus in the EM1 are absolutely as deep and convoluted as those on any of the previous Oly models. So if that was one of the things you didn't like, you still won't!

The good news is you can't go wrong. The better news is you can go very very right for your likes and needs. Sounds like that's probably the GH4...

-Ray
 
Sep 8, 2010
123
London UK
Andy
Thanks Ray

I do have a habit of buying cameras because they get good reviews and not because they suit me. I think the GH4 will suit me better. The IS on the 12-35 f2.8 is superb so I'm not worried about shake so much.

All this high end stuff and I still get a kick out of using my GF1 :biggrin:
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
123
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
Thanks Ray

I do have a habit of buying cameras because they get good reviews and not because they suit me. I think the GH4 will suit me better. The IS on the 12-35 f2.8 is superb so I'm not worried about shake so much.

All this high end stuff and I still get a kick out of using my GF1 :biggrin:
Sounds like the right call. But in terms of the IBIS, it's almost not about curing "shake" anymore - pretty much any decent IBIS system (including the one in the GX7) or lens OIS will handle that pretty well. The 5-axis stuff allows you to get into all kinds of wild tricks handheld. An example I trot out a lot is this one, shot at 8/10 of a second, fully handheld. I rarely do much of this kind of shooting, but I love that I can, and every now and then I get some cool results with it. It's also really nice when shooting with long lenses, where it fully stabilizes the EVF as well and allows me to lock focus on stuff I could rarely keep still in the finder previously.

Rush Hour... by ramboorider1, on Flickr

-Ray
 

Biro

Super Moderator
Aug 7, 2011
124
Jersey Shore
Steve
Both are superb cameras and if the ergnomics of one work much better for you then that's the one to go with. But if it's a closer call, then I say it boils down to this: If video is really important to you, then it's the GH4, no contest. If you're more of a stills person with video being less important, then it's the E-M1. But, for you Andy, the ergonomic factor seems like it may be important. All of your other cameras are Panasonics and you are used to their menus and control interface. There's a lot to be said for that.
 

TCSJordan

Regular
Oct 22, 2011
33
If you're doing any work where the fast AF is important, I'd go for the GH4. The DFD system is unbelievable, especially with your 12-35. The E-M1 AF is good, but the GH4 is another world.
 

TCSJordan

Regular
Oct 22, 2011
33
I could not imagine living in the UK and not having a weather resistant camera, so I'd get the Oly. But if you never walk around in the rain taking photos, you clearly show an affinity to the Pannys.
The GH4 is fully weather sealed.
 

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