Olympus OM-D v Panasonic GH5
Over the past couple of years I have become very fond of the micro four-thirds system for its compactness, speed and travel friendliness. I still love my Leicas, especially the M which provides a diametrically opposed shooting experience, and wouldn’t swap over completely. I’m also currently testing the new Leica TL2 and still have a soft spot for the APS-C format which is now good enough to be considered a replacement for full-frame. But I have grown to love m4/3.
The Panasonic GX8 is a firm favourite and, for the moment, I am also using the smaller GX80 which has both advantages over the GX8 and a number of disadvantages. I’ll be writing about this soon.
When it comes to flagship so-called professional m4/3 bodies, though, there are two contenders — the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II (the Japanese have always had such a racy way with brand names, don't you think?….) and the more economically named Panasonic Lumix GH5. It’s the E-M1 that gets most of the attention and the press coverage and there's no doubt it's an excellent piece of kit. But even Olympus fans will acknowledge that the Lumix is pre-eminent at video work.
For my part, I hitched my colours to the Panasonic camp for a variety of reasons. I prefer the more traditional approach to control layout and, especially to menus, which are second only to Leica in their sensible and minimalistic layout. I also like the range of Leica DG lenses which work best on Panasonic bodies (in particular, the physical aperture rings on the latest primes operate only on Panasonic). To be honest, the GX8 feels and looks like a Leica. If it had LEICA instead of LUMIX on the front no one would bat an eyelid. Some of this, I am sure, comes from the synergy of styling resulting from Leica's long-time cooperation with Panasonic. And the Leica DG lenses do look very much like both TL and SL optics, although on a different scale.
I’ve looked briefly at the GH5 since its introduction, although I haven't used one. Would it be a suitable update for the GX8 — which is due for a refresh — and maybe with the smaller GX80 as a second body to use the same range of lenses? My interest has been aroused by this very comprehensive comparison review between the Olympus E-M1 Mk II and the GH5 written by Mathieu at Mirrorless Comparisons. It’s a well constructed piece and it confirms some of my prejudice, although the GH5 is rather on the heavy side, veering a little towards the DSLR image. But in all other respects the GH5 looks like the camera that would appeal to existing GX8.
Have you considered micro four-thirds (perhaps in the guise of the handy Leica D Lux (Panasonic LX100) and what do you think?