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Panasonic GH5 vs Olympus E-M1 Mark II

See my micro four thirds wish list.

Panasonic GH5, top view

At CES, I was walking around with the Olympus E-M1 Mark II. While I ended up using my iPhone 7 Plus for most pictures, I was still glad I had the E-M1 II along because I was able to compare it directly to the new about $1998 Panasonic GH5 in the Panasonic booth.

  • The E-M1 II is substantially smaller and just feels more solidly built like a pro camera; the Panasonic looks and feels 'plastic' and like a consumer camera. Not that it feels flimsy, but it just does not feel pro grade in the hand. Given its stunningly advanced video capabilities, that’s a shame, but perhaps that is quickly forgotten once its video capabilities are put to use.
  • Within a few minutes, the GH5 grip made my hand ache because the grip forces my fingers to crimp/pinch; the E-M1 II does not; it feels great. The E-M1 II grip is far superior for my largish hands. The Panasonic GH5 grip is an unpleasant 'fail' for me—what a pity given its otherwise fine feature set. If I buy one, I will have to gaffer tape on some closed cell foam to extend the grip.
  • The GH5 EVF has a 3.8 megapixel EVF that is obviously superior to the EVF of the E-M1 II. The GH5 EVF looks super crisp yet smooth—very nice, much nicer than Olympus (or Sony or Fujifilm) and on par with the Leica SL. Accordingly, a 3.8MP OLED EVF is now something I now see as mandatory for any new Sony or Nikon or Canon or other mirrorless—and yet the as yet unobtainable Hasselblad X1D ($13K with lens) has a far inferior EVF. Go figure.
  • The GH5 has unbeatable video modes (or will by mid-summer), including 4K 30p 10-bit 4-2-2 direct to card.
  • The GH5 now has 5-axis image stabilization that looks to be competitive with the E-M1 II.
  • Focus with the GH5 was instantaneous, similar to the Olympus E-M1 II
  • In stark contrast to the user interface fiasco of the E-M1 II (until reprogrammed)—I picked up the GH5 and was finding and using the critical still-image features I need more or less instantly. Kudos to Panasonic vs Olympus. Partly this is due to Panasonic dedicating buttons such as ISO where they ought to be, and not programming a crapload of junk into everything like Olympus does, and avoiding the menu insanity of Olympus.

So once again, each vendor nails some things, and goofs on others. I want to see these cameras mated into the best of both, but alas that is not in the cards, even at CES in Las Vegas. I wonder how the 10-bit 4-2-2 video shot on the GH5 would look on the Panasonic 4K OLED TV?

  • 20.3MP Digital Live MOS Sensor, Venus Engine Image Processor
  • 4K Video with No Crop [diglloyd: 6K sensor downsampled to 4K for lower noise, reduced moiré, superior resolution]
  • Internal 4:2:2 10-Bit 4K Video at 24/30p [diglloyd: direct to card, no need for external recorder, though external recorder needed for 60p]
  • 5-Axis Sensor Stabilization; Dual I.S. 2
  • 0.76x 3.68m-Dot OLED Viewfinder
  • 3.2" 1.62m-Dot Free-Angle Touchscreen
  • Advanced DFD AF System; 6K & 4K PHOTO
  • ISO 25600 and 12 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Dual UHS-II SD Slots; Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
Panasonic GH5, top view
Olympus E-M1 II, top view

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