Panasonic Lumix GH3 or Olympus OM-D E-M5 – If You Could Only Choose One, Which Would It Be?

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(Video above courtesy of WhatDigitalCamera)

David Taylor-Hughes at SoundImagePlus is in the process of downsizing his camera collection, and a rather impressive collection it is at that.  Among the cameras at his disposal are the Sigma DP Merrill lineup (1, 2 and 3), a Nikon D800E, an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and a Panasonic Lumix GH3 – and needless to say, he’s having a very difficult time paring this collection down to 2 cameras.  So he has posed an excellent question…  “Olympus OM-D or Pansonic GH3 – Which would I choose?”

This is a question that surely has crossed the minds of numerous photo and video pro and indie shooters, and I;m frankly stunned that no one has posted a video comparison of these two cameras as of yet.

I won’t give away David’s decision here (I highly recommend going over to SoundImagePlus to read it for yourself), but here’s a little taste of what he has to say, followed as always by My 2 Cents…

OM-D or GH3?

“…it’s going to be extremely difficult getting either of these cameras packed up and out the door on their way to new owners. Despite my desire (and financial need) to get my camera stock down, I really don’t want to part with either.

If I keep either of the OM-D or GH3 then the D800E will have to go and again that will be something I would find very difficult. There is no doubt that I will incur a financial penalty if I keep more than I need and I have to come to a decision eventually.
At least I have time to use the cameras more and really decide what I can’t live without. Image quality versus pleasure of use. A difficult choice, and though I usually come down on the side of more pixels and higher MP’s, this decision might be difficult and I’ll probably decide with a snap judgement at the last moment.
However, it is worth repeating again just how good I think the OM-D and GH3 are. Both are superb cameras and produce excellent images, both deserve all the attention and praise they are getting and both seem to be what large numbers of photographers want. If you are looking for versatility, speed and quality without having to wear a back support then they pretty much have no equal. These are “real” cameras for “real” photographers and embrace both photographic history and modern technology in a way that benefits rather than hinders us.
All I’m hoping is that “decision day” i.e. somewhere before the end of my tax year on April 5th. comes slowly, so that I can have more time with these excellent examples of camera engineering, design and yes, art.”

My 2 Cents

Every camera mentioned in this article is excellent, and I don’t want to take anything away from any of them, but if I were personally faced with the same dilemma, I feel I’d have a much easier time making final decision.  Of course, every photographer/videographer has different needs that are best suited by different cameras, so no two shooters will look at this question the same way. So what follows is purely from my own perspective.

If I had to narrow the field from the same cameras I mentioned above, the OM-D and the GH3 would be the last cameras standing.  Admittedly, I’ve never used any of the Sigmas, but they never really had much of an appeal to me as they seem to be highly specialized and I’m a video first shooter who wants the best and most versatile piece of equipment for stills AND video.  (I do LOVE my Sigma lenses though!).

The Nikon D800E is also an excellent camera.  But I would find it hard to justify (for me personally) to invest in that camera and it’s lenses because frankly, I believe that the days of the DSLR are numbered.  We can get into all the pixel peeping arguments that you’d like, but as far as I’m concerned, the image quality discrepancy that once existed between high end DSLRs and high end Mirrorless Systems has been greatly reduced and in some cases, eliminated.  If you’re not planning on blowing up images to the size of say, your garage door, then the smaller sensor in a mirrorless system will do just fine.  As for video, mirrorless systems are wayyyyy better, hands down.

When it comes to the final question, OM-D or GH3, for me personally – it boils down the the following…

  • Both cameras are ostensibly operating from the same sensor, the only difference being the GH3’s Venus Processing Engine.  To me, I don’t see much difference when comparing images from these cameras with the naked eye.  This is a push.
  • Olympus 5 Point In Body Image Stabilization vs Panasonic’s Optical Image Stabilization.  That 5 Point IBIS is killer!  Advantage, OM-D.
  • GH3 has wireless connectivity and the Lumix Link App for remote control with a smart device.  None on the Olympus.  Advantage, GH3.
  • Form Factor – The OM-D is smaller and more stylish, but the GH3 has a better grip with more on body controls, plus a fully articulated touch screen.  Advantage, GH3.
  • Lenses – You can use all micro 4/3 lenses on any micro 4/3 camera.  Push.
  • Still image quality – Push.
  • Video – Advantage GH3.

I could go on, but in the end I would personally choose the GH3.  I just feel that it’s the camera that matches my needs the best (has the equal capacity to shoot stellar quality stills and video, and is the most adaptable), and in my mind, it’s the best hybrid camera on the planet today.

What camera would YOU choose?  Leave a comment below!

Buy the Panasonic Lumix GH3 or the Olympus OM-D E-M5 on Amazon Here

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