Tag Archives: Canon

EM-5 vs EOS-M

EM-5 vs EOS-M

This post is about a quick comparison between my Olympus OM-D EM-5 (that is a mouthful, so I’ll shorten it to EM-5) and the Canon EOS-M.  Sorry, this isn’t an in-depth scientific test, but more of a seat of the pants real world comparison.

The EM-5 is mine and the EOS-M belongs to my son, Steven.  He got a great deal on his gently used EOS-M (with a couple of lenses), and was kind enough to bring it down during our motorhome vacation at the Chula Vista RV Resort.

My first impression of the EOS-M was from what I had read on-line.  And unfortunately the reviews weren’t very good.  But once I actually got to touch and feel one, I was pleasantly surprised.  The size was perfect (small, but not too small), and it had a nice heft to it.  There isn’t an electronic viewfinder (EVF), and the screen is fixed.  The EOS-M also has a touch screen. The other thing I noticed is that there aren’t many external controls.

The EM-5 on the other hand had glowing reviews since it was first introduced.  I knew I had to have one, and have written about it in previous posts.  To summarize, it’s just the right size (for me), has a movable view screen, and a great EVF.  One more plus is the amount of external controls.  The EM-5 has a touch screen, but I don’t use it and have turned it off.

So, how exactly did we go about comparing these two great little mirrorless cameras?  We put each camera on a tripod, and set them to manual.  Then the aperture was set to f/16 and the shutter speed set to 30 seconds.  Finally, each camera had the ISO to 200.  Here are the results:

EOS-M , San Diego Night Sky
The photo above is from the Canon EOS-M, with 22mm EF-M22mm.

Olympus OM-D EM-5, San Diego Night Sky

The photo above is from the EM-5 with 17mm 1.8

Other than converting from RAW and resizing, each image has had no post processing applied.

Let’s look a little closer.  I zoomed in to 100 percent on each image. Then I selected a small section and cropped it.  This is what they look like:

100 percent EOS-M
The photo above is from the EOS-M

100 percent, OM-D EM-5
The photo above is from the EM-5

Now, the question is – which one is better?  Personally I think they are both great, and there is no clear winner in my opinion. Unprocessed, there is some noise, but nothing that some noise reducing software can’t handle. Will these cameras win any low light contests against full frame DSLR’s? No, most likely not. But that’s ok because they have other advantages like size, speed, and ease of use.

I could have processed these images, cleaned them up, sharpened them and applied some other tweaks and adjustments., but I didn’t want to do that.  I wanted to share what each camera can do right out of the box.  Each image is presented honestly so you can judge for yourself.

Either one of these cameras would be a fine choice if you are in the market.  It really boils down to personal preference.  The best thing to do if you’re interested, would be to get your hands on them and see which one feels the best in your hands.

That’s it for now.  Until next time – Happy Shooting!


Sensor Cleaning

Sensor cleaning is not something to get excited about.  It’s kind of like having to go to the dentist for a toothache.  Unfortunately it’s just one of those things that needs to be done from time to time.

For me, it’s my Canon 60D that needed the attention.  I’ve been noticing some annoying spots on many of my pictures, especially those that have clear, blue sky in them.  Pesky spots that need to be either cropped out or cloned out.  A real pain in the neck!

The thought had crossed my mind of sending my 60D to Canon for a “Professional” cleaning.  Researching this option discouraged me.  Seems there are lot of people complaining that either their camera came back just as dirty or sometimes even worse than when it was sent in.

My browsing led me to B&H, one of my favorite online camera shops.  I found the Sensor KlearLoupe Kit by Lenspen.  This little kit came with a lighted loupe for really seeing what is stuck to my sensor, and a nice articulating cleaning pen for reaching in and wiping away the dust.  It also came with a nice Hurricane Blower.

LensPen SensorKlear Loupe

Following the included instructions, I put the 60D into manual sensor cleaning mode, locking up the mirror so I had a clear, unobstructed view of the sensor. The loupe rests against the body of camera, and there is an adjustment for height. Once I got it dialed in, I could clearly see the little bits of dust on the sensor.

LensPen SensorKlear Loupe

The instructions mention trying to use the blower to remove the dust. That didn’t work ,so I put the loupe back on and started to use the pen. I could see that I was removing the little dust specks, but when I put the lens back on and took a test shot, I could see some dust had appeared again. It took several more attempts to get ride of the dust. I was pleased about that, but discovered something else. There is some dust stuck to the bottom of the prism. I can see it through the viewfinder, but it doesn’t affect the pictures.

LensPen SensorKlear Loupe

Cleaning the mirror or prism isn’t recommended. For now, I’m going to leave it and do some more research. It’s not really a problem that affects image quality, but it still bugs me! There may be a part 2 to this post if I’m able to find anything helpful about this.

That’s it for now.  Until next time – Happy Shooting!

Cable Airshow and my OM-D E-M5

The Cable Airshow was something I was looking forward to for a couple of reasons.  The 1st was because it’s an airshow!  And the 2nd is because it was a great place to finally give my Olympus OM-D
E-M5 a real workout!

Cable Airshow, Olympus OM-D E-M5

I’ve been wondering, since I got my E-M5, whether or not it would be a replacement for my Canon 60D, especially with regards to the fast action of an airshow.  And I finally have my answer. Unfortunately it’s no!

In order to really put the E-M5 to the test, I left my Canon 60D at home. This forced me to use the E-M5 in every situation, from high speed fly-by’s to static displays. I brought lenses for the show, but stayed mostly with the Panasonic 45-200mm. I found the 45-200mm adequate, and for this airshow seldom needed the extra reach of a longer lens. The key, no matter which camera system you may own is to be patient. While it can be tempting to start shooting while the planes are far off, the best method for getting that great shot is to wait for them to get closer and then press that shutter. It sounds easier than it is to actually do! As you hear the low rumble of the engines in the distance, the excitement begins to build and you just may not be able to wait. I know I still have that trouble.

As the show progressed, I started to get comfortable with the performance of the E-M5. I set the camera to shutter priority, 1/200th of a second, and let the camera choose the appropriate aperture (f-stop). Some of the other settings were ISO 200, high speed shutter at 9 fps, and RAW file format.

With the shutter speed fixed at 1/200th, the camera could not achieve its maximum 9 fps. How can I tell?  By the sound. Not very scientific and more seat of the pants, but it’s definitely not 9 fps. When I switched over to aperture priority and set the f-stop to f/4, there was a distinct difference in the sound of the shutter firing away in very rapid succession!

Getting back to the airshow, I picked out a good spot about midway down the field and staked out my claim (put my chair down). The planes would take off right in front of me! And, when they would do their fly-by’s, I was perfectly situated to track and pan each plane as it flew by. The E-M5 has an EVF (electronic viewfinder), as opposed to the standard optical viewfinder found on DSLR’s like my Canon 60D. While the EVF on the E-M5 is very good, I noticed a problem using it while trying to track and pan the planes as they quickly flew by. The shutter was firing and I was panning, but the EVF couldn’t seem to keep up. The image in the EVF seemed to stutter, and I’d lose track of the plane. Since I couldn’t consistently keep track of the plane, I’d sometimes end up with pieces of it in the frame and not the whole thing. Frustrating to say the least.

There is a lot of chatter online about the inability of the E-M5 to perform continuous auto focus for fast action. This seems especially true for those involved in capturing birds in flight. One of the techniques used as a work around is the set the camera for single focus, using just one central focus point, pick a spot where the action will happen and press the shutter when your subject enters the frame. Actually I used a modified version of this, tracking and panning the action as best as I could and once the focus locked on I’d press the shutter. I’d capture a few frames and even with the stuttering EVF, I’d try to keep up with the plane, pick another spot, lock the focus on and capture a few more frames.

Compared to my Canon 60D, this is a very clunky way to work. It seems strange that my DSLR 60D, with all of its moving parts does a better job with this type of photography than my high tech E-M5. I don’t think the 60D was much better at locking focus, but it’s defiantly much better at keeping the image in view (optical viewfinder) and continuous auto focus.

There is one thing that I think the E-M5 is equal too or even a little better than the 60D, and that is image quality. Of the shots that I did capture  that were acceptable, I was very pleased with how clean they were. The color and contrast were very nice out of the camera, and even better when adjusted in Photoshop.

And now, here are the results:

Cable Airshow, Olympus OM-D E-M5

Cable Airshow, Olympus OM-D E-M5

Cable Airshow, Olympus OM-D E-M5

Overall, I’m pleased with my results, difficult as they were to achieve. And there’s some good news, I don’t have to wait until May for the Chino Planes of Fame Airshow, there’s a new airshow happening in March and the Blue Angels will be there! Its called the LA County Airshow, here’s the link – I’ll be attending and brining both my Canon 60D and E-M5.

That’s it for now, until next time – Happy Shooting!