Professional E-M5 vs G3 vs NEX-7 vs V1 vs G1X ISO comparison!


Finally we can see a professional and more detailed ISO test comparison between the Olympus E-M5 and other cameras: All JPEG and RAW ISO samples can be seen and downloaded by Focus Numerique (Merci!!!).

Or click on the camera names below to open the full size images from Focus Numerique:
ISO 200: E-M5 vs G3 vs NEX-7 vs V1 vs G1X
ISO 400: E-M5 vs G3 vs NEX-7 vs V1 vs G1X
ISO 800: E-M5 vs G3 vs NEX-7 vs V1 vs G1X
ISO 1600: E-M5 vs G3 vs NEX-7 vs V1 vs G1X
ISO 3200: E-M5 vs G3 vs NEX-7 vs V1 vs G1X
ISO 6400: E-M5 vs G3 vs NEX-7 vs V1 vs G1X
ISO 12800: E-M5 vs NEX-7 vs G1X
ISO 25600: E-M5

P:S.: Full name and specs of the other cameras: Panasonic G3, Sony NEX-7, Nikon V1, Canon G1X.

And here are the conclusions from Focus Numerique:
– There is a significant gain compared to models equipped with a Pen 12MP sensor.
– On pictures taken at 200, 400 and 800 ISO, noise is almost imperceptible, even on flat colors and dense areas. Overall, the images are well detailed with good accent and dynamics is a good level.
– At 1600 ISO, you’ll notice the first details are starting to fade, but this is minimal and at 20×30 print, these small damages will be virtually invisible.
– At 3200 ISO, the images retain a good performance and the images are quite similar to those made in 1600. Dynamics is still good, fairly flat areas clean as the densest areas.
– AT ISO 6400 the details are blurred and the dynamics goes down. The grain remains quite acceptable
– The two higher values ​​(12800 and ISO 25600) are more problematic. The grain becomes coarser and dynamics down another notch.

Your thoughts: Now share your point of view and analysis! What did you learn from those images?

Note: Also Focus Numerique believes the E-M5 uses the same Panasonic G3/GX1 sensor.

E-M5 preorders (Click on the names of the stores to see the product page):
Black E-M5 body at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, J&R, Warehouse UK, Redcoon Germany and Amazon Japan.
Silver E-M5 body at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, J&R, Warehouse UK, Redcoon Germany, and Amazon Japan.
Black E-M5 body with 14-42mm lens at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto and J&R.
Black E-M5 body with 12-50mm lens at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, J&R, Jessops, Redcoon Deutschland, Amazon UK, Amazon Deutschland and Amazon Japan.
Silver E-M5 body with 12-50mm lens at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, J&R, Jessops, Amazon UK, Amazon Deutschland and Amazon Japan.

  • hannes

    Panasonic G3 sensor, but still nice.

  • Leu

    What is the point of comparing it to a camera with the same sensor? And now that I’ve seen the comparison I am sure that it is the G3 sensor.

    • different jpeg engine, different CPU horsepower, different circuitry, different algorithm, etc.

      Sensor alone does not tell the whole story.

      • Leu

        everyone acts like they can say, ‘algorithm, circuitry, cpu,’ (as if those things are in anyway mysterious) to pull out some pseudo-technical terminology to defend their purchase like they’ve actually bought the knowledge that was put into building the cam. Shut up about stuff you don’t know about, judge by what you can see and understand. I see that the colors on these to cams are almost exactly the same, the high-iso noise looks almost exactly the same, so I think, hmm, maybe the sensor is the same.

        Please don’t talk to me about algorithms.

        • Anyway is algorithms important for develop from sensor, so water is for film. :-D

        • elpaciko

          i think youre the one who needs to shut up… they compare it to g3 to know how different it is.. or wether it actually the same

          if they dont do the comparison.. surely you wouldnt know “for sure”

          • Leu

            They actually say they think its the same sensor in the review. Independent of their opinion, I assert that I believe it is the same sensor. When someone starts talking to me about algorithms without giving any specific example of what an ‘algorithm,’ is, in this case for example, it is totally useless. Yeah of course what these enigmatic algorithms are is important, I’m not doubting that, but we aren’t comparing equations and pustulates, we’re comparing PHOTOS.

            • Steve

              If you are interested in PHOTOS and not algorithms, why the heck do you care about who made the sensor? Get what camera takes the photos you like.

        • Ok so my previous answer was not carefully wrapped in words of caution, fine. Loosen up before telling people to shut up, there is room for civilized discussion.

  • Boooo!

    If it’s the same sensor, then Olympus is cooking the raws.

    The G3 files actually look better…

    • MP

      +1 I think the same.

    • Nawaf

      If you look closely you would see more details form the Olympus. I prefer no NR applied to my pics, but if that is NR it really is doing a minimal job which is great to preserve the fine details.

      Wish they had the 12mm and 45mm weather sealed so I can go ahead with my purchase :(

    • +1
      G3 files look better

      • Not in every part for me… Sorry, have you looke at the text on the white paper on the left per example? Why do you think g3 is better???

      • Parci

        Did you download and develop the raw files?
        Olympus jpegs with NR set on Std don’t mean much…

    • Bob B.

      I agree. the G3 files actually look sharper too me at say ISO 400. (I read a translation on the web page but could not find what lens/lenses had been used for this test. I almost wonder if the weakness there that I am seeing is due to the weak performance of the Oly kit lens?

    • bilgy_no1

      I thought the same looking at only the crops. But if you look at the whole picture, the E-M5 files are clearly better. Less noise, better detail overall. The shadows especially are much better.

      The NEX-7 has more detail and less noise. But it’s also overexposed with some bright areas burnt out.

      I’m looking at the ISO6400 full shots, and it’s amazing in itself that the quality is still so good at such high ISOs.

  • Tom

    What settings did they use? I don’t see any reference to noise and other settings, or even what software they used for conversion. Hard to evaluate…

    • The raw files are available for download. The JPEGs are out of camera with noise reduction set to standard (default) in all cases.

  • Vivek

    Once the 5 axis stabilzation is taken into account, the real life shooting value of this camera increases several fold, even if it uses the same G3 sensor.

    • MP

      +1 Especially when using the non stabilized primes…

    • Steve

      As long as your subjects are not moving.

      • Dummy00002


      • your claim is only partly true; IS is most effective at longer focal lenghts when you want to shoot moving subjects as the FL=min shutterspeed rule gives here better chance to freeze subject movement

  • Mar

    Nex7 samples look a lot brighter, by 1EV or so.
    Not sure if they tested it under different light, but compared to OMD/G3 they are exposed much better.
    OMD/G3 is bit underexposed.

    This is odd because according to EXIF, all cameras were set to same settings for equal ISO.

    If the light is constant, that means that those 2 m43 cameras have lower sensitivity by around 1EV meaning that under same settings, you’d have to use double exposure time to get equally exposed photo compared to Nex7 which in turn makes Nex7 quite a bit better for lower light.

    • zf

      But remember that the light transmission of F-stops are not as absolute as T-stops. So, every lens might transmit more or less light even they have the same F openings.

      This is kind of confusing though, because M43 already have a lot better transmission compared to chunky DSLR lenses due to their thinner and less glass element.

      • anentropic

        really? I assumed dslr lenses just had a wider diameter?

        • Walter

          DSLR lenses of less than 50-60mm (depending on the mount) have a wider diameter than m4/3 lenses because of their strongly retrofocal design, required to give the mirror clearance.

          Those designs have to be more complicated to correct for aberrations, necessitating thicker glass and more elements, and thus losing more light to reflections and absorption.

    • rutrem

      … or Nex was over exposing the scene?! this could be to

      • ATif K

        No, all cameras were set to same settings for equal ISO.

  • jorge

    Looks very similar to the G3 indeed. For me: good enough. I like the JPEGS and the camera. And I need a build- in imagestabilization. Under these aspects – no one beats the EM-5.

  • Duchemin

    I do not understand why the picture is different on different cameras esp. on NEX7 pictures. Maybe also the lighting was different…

  • BLI

    Check out Pekka Potka’s practical video test of IS and C-AF at

    • fgl42

      Thanks for the heads up BLI. IMO the 5 axis IS is nothing short of extraordinary. For once the Oly hype is legit. It really is that good.

  • al

    iso 6400 on e-m5 looks far better than 3200 on g3 viewing raw images on faststone viewer. probably 2 stops better than g3

  • al

    it may have something to do with faststone viewer but the e-m5 images look fantastic. however the g3 look terrible.

  • BLI

    The NEX-7 and the G1X appear to be about 1 stop better — with ok quality up to somewhere between 3200 and 6400, while the mFT seem to give ok results up to between 1600-3200 (perhaps slightly closer to the upper number compared to that of the NEX and G1X??) Still, I’m looking forward to the dpreview test and their elegant system for comparing cameras. And — of course — more practical tests.

    • Riley

      problem with the canon is the frame is a molten mess
      it doesnt seem sharp anywhere, but the corners suck
      thing is, you cant change that lens,
      I think thats a problem

  • Agent00soul

    I wonder what raw converter they used. Are there raw converters optimized for the E-M5 out yet? If not, that could skew the results considerably.

  • Mike

    What is the point of comparing the flagship NEX, Nikon system 1, Canon brand new G1X, and flagship Olympus 43 to a non flagship nor even close Panasonic m43 camera? Shouldn’t this be the GH2 or at least the GX1 sensor? With this bias they may as well compare it with the first Kodak digital camera sensor output.

    • JF

      because many people are suspecting EM-5 sensor to be G3 sensor !! and GX1 has same sensor as G3, no doubt about it ! GH2 sensor is better than G3 at base iso (what I prefer…) and less good from 800 iso to max iso.

      • MikeH

        If that were the only criteria then they shouldn’t have compared it to the others. If the point was to put it against the best of the competition, then the GH2 and not the G3 sensor should have been compared. Or, as a compromise, at least have BOTH the G3 and GH2 sensors.

    • Walter

      Because ultimately this doesn’t matter. The E-410 and E-3 have quite similar imaging characteristics, for instance; same with the E-620 and E-30, Nikon D7000 and D5100; Canon 7D and 600D…

      People buy “flagships” for other reasons than getting magic flagship-class sensors, since lots of companies use the same sensor in many bodies.

      • MikeH

        It does matter, compare the best against the best or just randomly sample sensors from the last ten years.

  • Trevor

    This is kind of what I expected in the end. The NEX is still about a stop ahead and the 1 is about a stop behind. It definitely looks like the G3 sensor with some better curves and weaker AA filter.

    So, good to not see banding in the shadows and that the detail is held as much as can be expected. Really though, 25.6k ISO should have been left out.

  • Abacus

    Most of the Pictures from the E-M5 are not in focus, so its hard to compare the RAWs to the G3. For me it seems that the RAWs of the G3 are more natural and not so overdone than the E-M5.

    Overall I’m totaly shocked about this poor performance of the E-M5. I didn’t expect a better quality than the NEX-7 but this is not even equal to the G3.

    • ginsbu

      I noticed the softness too. Unfortunately, that makes this test not very informative. I wouldn’t say the G3 samples are better overall (comparing raw), but they certainly have better detail.

      • Riley

        yeah I agree, G3 looks better here
        very disappointed with G1X
        I think something went wrong there

      • It’s all about the focusing errors. The E-M5 is heavily front-focused, which makes it look with softness and poor detail (if you look at the nearest areas, like the red car at the bottom right, you’ll see the E-M5 does have a lot of detail compared to others).

        However, comparing raws from EM-5, G3 and NEX-5n at ISO 3200 I certainly wouldn’t say that the E-M5 looks any worse than the G3. On the contrary, noise looks quite better, especially in dark areas.

        Let’s wait for other tests, but I think that the EM-5 is closer to the NEX-5n than to the G3 in IQ.

  • Franky S

    I don’t think it is the G3/GX1 sensor at all, because the E-M5 is displaying a lot less detail, and bizarrely, significant smearing. Either that or I don’t think the E-M5 photos are RAW at all. Surely they must be JPEG. I question the accuracy and therefore relevance of these tests.

    • Gianluca

      …+1…these are jpegs for sure….!!

      • Gianluca

        and if you compare g3 high iso raw shot vs.nex7 in dppreview studio shot comparison, you’ll see much more croma noise in nex7 pics…and in focus numerique it seem like next is better…in conclusion I don’t trust much Focus N.

    • +1
      For example focus on bellows camera and car down on test image as go in and out of focus, this is not good.

  • ginsbu

    Is it just me or are the E-M5 samples a bit soft? I checked raw and jpeg and the G3 samples are consistently sharper. Focus error? Lens issue (Oly 12-50 vs Panny 14-42)?

    • Focus error. EM-5 is front focused which makes most of the image look soft and with poor detail.

  • JF

    What I’m reading doesn’t make me very happy, I would like WOW comments but don’t see it… :-(

    • fan_guo_lai_xiang_xiang

      reading robin wong’s “test” today, i was short of preordering… now, i’m back to normal mode and will probably enjoy my g3 a while longer. for a final decision i am going to wait what dpreview has to say. still, a great camera, but no sensor magic apparently.

    • chronocommando

      You need to read between the lines and more important check the “results” yourself if possible.
      In this case I have downloaded the RAW files of ISO 6400 which looks completly different to the JPEG crops on the website itself.
      I cant see much difference between NEX-7 and EM-5. But the G3 picture is definitely worse.

  • Riley

    that canon seems way behind, what goes on there

    clearest seems to be G3
    corners vary on every shot
    quite odd

    • Gianluca

      the canon corners are really awful…may be less noise but really horrible corners…

      • Bob B.

        In-Camera zoom lens.

  • Duchemin

    With all the questions asked already I dont think the test is of much use. Now I am even more keen on the second part of Robin Wong’s review and on some RAW pictures by Pekka Potka! Hope we get them soon!

  • Seems obvious that it is same sensor as G3/G1X. The EM5 has other advantages though, and to me as G3 owner I think it is worth the money to upgrade to EM5.
    Nex-7 has the advantage of larger sensor and 50% more pixels, pays off in terms of high ISO performance and resolution.
    (My recommendation: Don’t look at the small differences – look at the bigger ones; this is a test and variables may not be 100% between separate shots.)

    • kesztió

      The lack of swiveling LCD is so big disadvantage as I’d choose the G3 even the E-M5 had the same price.

      • Gianluca

        for me the tilting lcd if far more useful than swiveling lcd…and Om-d with ibis is my choice…

        • CAT

          Indeed it is a shame no swivel tilt LCD, 80% of my shots are portrait waist level, tilt is useless for that, but i still want to try this camera…..

          • The Real Stig

            So you have a lot of portraits looking up the subjects nostrils? Or are your subjects mainly dwarves?

            • Vlad

              I guess, he meant in portrait orientation, not necessarily a portrait of someone.

            • Chris

              Really? Never heard about those creatures called “kids”?
              Anyway I second CAT and the others regarding the incredible usefulness of a swivel screen, and don’t understand why they aren’t more popular.
              Don’t get me wrong though: this Oly is still *very* attractive even with “just” tilt screen.

              • Agent00soul

                The problem with swivel screen is that they stick out on the camera’s side and gets tangled in the neck strap.
                With the wide viewing angle of today’s screens there isn’t as much need to fold them out anyway. I haven’t really missed an articulated screen on my E-P1. I think the E-M5’s tilting screen is a good compromise. It’s quicker to fold out than an articulated screen and doesn’t interfere with the neck strap.

                • Gianluca

                  +100…”The problem with swivel screen is that they stick out on the camera’s side “…..!!!

                • Chris

                  True to a point, but:
                  – They can all be folded facing the user, for those situations where you don’t want it sticking out, in which case you’re back to the usual fixed screen use: so no disadvantage, only more flexibility.
                  – I do find it somewhat slower/fiddly to fold out the seemingly fragile tilt screens from EPL3 or Nex, compared to the generally sturdy swivel screens.
                  – Maybe the A77 solution is the best of both worlds?

                  • Vlad

                    +1 and it can protect the screen. Every camera should have a swivel LCD.

            • TheEye

              His subject could be children and pets (and Hobbits). ;-)

  • Ep3zd50_ninja

    lol.. Saw the Headline.. and without looking at the comments.. I predicted that people would say:
    1) Its the G3 Sensor!
    2) Where is the GH2?
    3) NEX still wins!
    4) OM-D RAW sucks. Its only jpeg magic.

    Admin.. maybe you could try switching the samples just so we could see if these people can really be pleased! lol

    OM-D ftw!

    • JF

      Excellent ! you are right ! :D and the test you propose is very intersting…

  • compositor20

    I have downloaded sony nex 5-n, olympus e-p3, panasonic g3 and olympus om-d. Did the following test in Picasa (DCRAW) converter:

    sony 5-n: iso 6400
    olympus om-d iso 6400
    panasonic g3 iso 3200
    olympus e-p3 iso 1600

    best camera not counting detail (for resolution, lens, which 12-50 makes om-d look softer than g3 in raw), or AA filter (which makes sony nex 5-n to be very good in the center of the image because it doesnt have one):

    1st olympus e-p3 it should be because the midtones are better and shadows a little bit.. color noise is equal to the others.

    2nd Panasonic g3 because it has a little bit less grain in the midtones and equal (although with corser but a bit less which makes them equal to om-d) to OM-D in the shadows, but has more color saturation, however it is polluted with green color noise which is intolerable to me in portraits… (remeber its iso3200 on g3 vs 6400 on OM-D)

    3rd Olympus Om-D its close to olympus e-p3 but has a little more coarse grain in the shadows and a little bit more color noise.

    4th Sony nex 5-N its very close to olympus but is has more noise in the midtones and in the shadows but has better color saturation than olympus om-d and as a result a little more color noise… It has moiré too but that doesn´t count for noise.

    Here it is a RAR/zip file with the jpg straight from RAW in DCRAW so that you can see the fantastic performance of Olympus OM-D… usable iso6400

    At iso 100 Nex 5-n was less than a stop better (2/3 maybe) than olympus OM-D at 200.

  • The EM5 is the best m43 camera, IS being i’s strongest asset. However looking at Fuji X pro 1 evaluations at ReidReviews, Fotomagasinet and others, this camera is the digital reincarnation of the film Contax G2, including quality of lenses! This camera is on top of my evaluation. The Nex-7 has 50% more pixels – but the Fuji is the photographer’s camera (as the EM5 is too)

    • SonyFanBoi

      I don’t know how Nex-7 is not a photographer’s camera (probably because it is not “retro” enough). The whole Fuji thing is just laughable. They have aperture ring for the lens but still have to use the clutchy focus-by-wire (half-ass effort to be the photographer’s lens right there). There is no peaking to speak of, even though they openly support Leica M adaptation. The whole gimmick OVF/EVF hybrid is just that, a gimmick. Most X100 owners would eventually settle with EVF since it’s more convenient (but the res is so low-I would prefer the OM-D EVF). The only thing Fuji got it right is their initial lens offer (28, 50, 90 Makro equ.). So each has its own merits.

      The OM-D is such a fine camera as well (class-leading IBIS, class-leading AF). Too bad, if they can do all of those in an APS-C or full frame camera, they would not have to face the current financial crisis.

      • SonyFanBoi: How much do you know about the Fuji? Photography is not all about specs! The Nex-7 is a great camera too, but lacks the lenses to support it.
        Are you better than specialists in RF cameras to judge the Fuji? A camera you never seen?

        • Vlad

          Specialists in RF? What is that? He doesn’t like the camera, end of story.

        • SonyFanBoi

          Kylberg, you got me right there. I have not touched the X-Pro1. Yet, it’s safe to say you have not yourself either. You mention RF as if it’s for the elitists. Been there, done that. I have used many platforms to see the merits of each. But to claim one platform to be more elite (photographer’s camera) than the other is just absurd. Fuji, to me, is just a jack of all trades, master of none. The camera is just a hybrid that can’t excel at any thing (be it AF or MF, OVF or EVF, mechanical control or UI). Again, they got the first 3 lenses right, but nowadays, 3 lenses can’t hardly form an entire system (especially when you think the NEX system is still lacking in lens option). What they should have done is to price the body lower and increase the lens price ($1100 body, $800 lens). Body will come and go with the tech, but the lens would stay for good.

          • I listen more to those who know more – and less to those who knows less.

            • Vlad

              Apparently not.

        • Esa Tuunanen

          > Photography is not all about specs!

          You said it!
          Tried X-Pro 1 (Why did they have to name it like Chinese toy product?) quickly in hand in Saturday and despite of its quite notable bulk oh boy does it suck in ergonomy.
          As comfortable to keep in hand as piece of wooden plank, just like I was expecting basing to design.

      • Brad H.

        I have been waiting since mid last year for the “game-changer” camera. Rumours back then were hot on the NEX-7, of which I was close to getting. The crisis in Thailand happened, and so I tracked the rumours of the X-Pro1 instead. As that was such a let-down, I think my money is on the OM-D because it’s the best compromise (and all these cameras currently are in one way or another a mixture of compromises, be at least system price-points, AF speed/accuracy or the niggles about EVF tech).

        NEX-7: Best in class EVF, novel and only slightly flawed UI with image output that is highly tweakable in post. All of this doesn’t matter when the lens lineup is horrible, is not getting radically better anytime soon and is permanently hampered by design choices when creating the E-Mount. Grips are something I’d use but are pricey.

        X-Pro1: The jury is out with final image output but seems to appease some. Traditional UI. Great initial lens lineup with fruitful roadmap ahead. Pro in name and price but that doesn’t include any weather sealing, professional after-sales service (Fuji has a global network that could be utilised here) or lenses with advanced focus-by-wire or “heritage” lenses that would be metal clad and manual focused. Never fully enjoyed EVF/OVF as I thought I would on the X100 and may be the same here.

        OM-D: Established lens lineup with a multitude of options (with about half a dozen I’d be happy to own). Great AF and IBIS is an area I’m happy they’ve built on and the useage of legacy lenses lends itself well to the system. Weather sealing I’ve found very important for me. For what you get I’m happy with the price. The standard M4/3 compromises of reduced ISO and DR capabilities are still there but the gap is closing (and I had not much of a beef about it before the OM-D). Video capability and EVF are still middling (the latter only because of what the NEX-7 brought to the table).

        • Three great cameras mentioned by Brad H above. Which one is the best? Depends on what your photography is and who you are.
          If you use manual focus only lenses, the Nex-7 is the best.
          If you care for an optical viewfinder that shows what’s outside, then Fuji Xpro1 is the best
          If your hands shake the EM5 is the best
          And many other criteria….. (Personally the three criteria here all fits me, but I cannot have 3 systems!)

      • Braun

        I played around with XPRO1 shortly at a Photofair exhibition in my country. The IQ from 35mm is the best. The IQ from 18mm is a bit disappointing, not sharp in comparison with 35mm. And, the AF capability of 60mm is unacceptable.

        I agree with SonyFanBoi in terms of MF. Providing M-mount adapter is virtually worthless if you don’t provide efficient & convenient MF concept. You have to see thru a viewfinder by your own eyes and then judge by your mind. It doesn’t provide MF features like Canikon’s focus navigator, Canikon’s focus confirmation, or Sony’s peaking.

        just my two cents.

    • Steve

      The X-Pro 1 is definitely NOT the reincarnation of the G2. I am a Contax fanboy and have used the X-Pro 1.

      If I want Zeiss quality optics on my digital I will just put the G-series lenses on my E-M5 (when it’s out), just like I do on my Pen. They adapt great, and manual focus is easier and more precise than the wonky Fuji AF.

  • compositor20

    After comparing those images in Noise Ninja the noise index was equal to my visual impression… first olympus e-p3 which is better than those cameras at their isos I compared, then panasonic g3 at 3200 then olympus om-d at iso 6400 and then sony nex 5-n at iso 6400

    Olympus OM-D is the new king at iso 6400 in m43 land being as good as the best aps-c (except fuji x-pro which I believe uses a similar sensor).

  • BennoB

    Yeah, I’m seeing the same thing in raw as everyone else, with the E-M5 performing quite well. Why would FN want to talk about the quality of the sensors and use JPEGS with NR applied as their reference? Perhaps I am missing something in the poor Google translation.

  • Charlie

    Gotta hand it to the NEX 7.

    • Bob B.

      Not if you want to put a small, sharp, reasonably-priced, autofocusing prime lens on the camera with low depth of field. :-)

      • Vlad

        You take autofocusing out of that and you are set. :)

      • Charlie


        Learn it. Know it. Live it.

        • Bob B.
          • SonyFanBoi

            I’m sure he meant the E-mount, and not A-mount version. And I wouldn’t trust the blur chart from SLRgear. You should check out the VFA target at the end of the page and you might find that the blur chart doesn’t work across platform (i.e. 1 blur unit on m43 might be equivalent to 1.5 blur unit on APS-C). It is even questionable within one platform as well.

    • Braun

      Yeah. This test is encouraging me to turn back to NEX7. Espectially given its ability to support manual-focus lens and its 1.5x crop factor, NEX7 is still an outstanding choice.

  • Swejk

    You are all confused me …

  • al

    do yourself a favour and check the raw images in faststone viewer.
    the e-m5 makes the g3 look like a mobile phone pic

  • 43shot

    Speaking of lenses how does the Panasonic 14-42 compare to the Olympus 12-50 for image quality? If it the same or better I thought I would order a GF3 and keep the 14-42 for my OM-D and order the 14-42 on the EM-5 and give it to my girl friend on the GF3. Any thoughts? Don;t care about water sealing but don’t like the large size of the Oly 12-50. if the Oly 14-42 is comparable for video, etc I would just order that. I have a bunch of lenses outside that range and just need the zoom for some video.

  • Martin

    Looking at the jpegs, I was ready to cancel my order and stick with the G3.

    However, comparing the raw files in RawTherapee, the OM-D looks much better and much different than the G3.

    • Nawaf

      It’s because they set NR to standard instead of low or off. Standard is aggressive from what I’ve seen.

  • Art

    If you look at the ISO 12800 on the cameras, you can clearly see the Canon sensor is less noisy. The E-M5 has a sort of greenish chromatic noise if you look at the blacks. I would label ISO 12800 experimental. For me, a usable ISO 6400 would be a welcome addition on a digital camera. I am planning to purchase the E-M5 after the initial flood of pre-orders sorts itself out. By then there is will be tons of real-world use and examples.

  • JimD

    How many families, when getting professional family photos, look at the photographers sample shots and use that along with local reputation when selecting a photographer? Possibly all!
    Does anyone here know of prospective customers going to a photographer and asking for a technical analysis of the equipment he uses and a lux and balance certification of the studio lighting and another certification of the inks, dyes and chemicals and paper he uses to print. Not the manufactures specifications but real specimen lab analysis in case the components are not OEM.
    When National Geographic uses a set of photos for an article they pick by quality of the submitted image and subject content.
    So why do we require DXo and DPreview and others (inc many dubious analysts, just look at some samples offered here over the past weeks) to tell us what others will judge by simply looking at an image and either liking it or not.

    • + a huge number with lots of zeros.

    • Nikku

      Why? Because “we” are gearheads, not photographers.

  • Mar

    Both processed the same way with Raw Therapee

    ISO 3200



    Granted, Photoshop does a better job with G3 raw (less color noise), but since E-M5 is not supported by RT either (works but color is completely off and desaturated for example) it has much less noise than the G3.

  • Raist3d

    Hardly a surprise, GX1 performance, but that’s not bad. Looks good.

  • DR

    “Note: Also Focus Numerique believes the E-M5 uses the same Panasonic G3/GX1 sensor.”


    If that turns out to be true, I’ll definitely be waiting for the E-M6.

    Conned by Olympus marketing hype-speak again, when will we learn?

    • SonyFanBoi

      But then it would be another re-iteration of a Panasonic. If I am a m43 shooter, I would jump all over this camera. It might have the same sensor, but there are added features that are really enticing.

      • DR

        I don’t care whether it is a re-iteration of a Panasonic.

        The message is, the sensor is not there yet. I’m happy to pay for a better camera, but it needs the basic features sorted. Sensor is the most basic. IMO

        Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the camera is a good effort. Next gen sensor should justify it with a bit of luck. Might pick up a discounted or S/H GX1 while we wait though. Be a year or more, I guess.

        • E-1

          What does “Not there yet” mean, FF noise levels? Dream on.

          • DR

            Next gen means equivalent performance to the market. u43 is in catch up mode. Until they walk with the market they will have to rely on hype, not performance.

            As long as they don’t rest now, we should see results in the next revision.

            @Steve, yes, there will always be further improvements. We can’t wait forever, that is why I will keep my Canon and Panasonic – they are last gen but good enough for now. I don’t need to upgrade to this new OM-D, I can happily skip it until there is something worth the upgrade. If something happens to my Panosonic, I will buy a GX1 to tide me over, it has RAW performance equal to the E-M5 for half the price.

        • Steve

          There’s always a next gen. Wait for the next gen but then the next next gen is right around the corner from that. And then the next next next gen.

          Personally I prefer to get the camera that does what I want and take some pictures. Worrying about “Ooh, this sensor may not be the absolute bleeding edge of technology!” takes too much effort. My E-3 still takes good pictures. I occasionally take pictures I like with the very old tech Canon G9. Film works great, too.

    • you might get disappointed as the e-m6 still could use the same sensor as the e-m5. I would have ordered the e-m5 even if it did use the same 12 mp sensor.
      no human being can distinguish the differences in normal use except for extreme scenarios.I was interpolating old RAW files from my E-1 for 60×90 prints and I can tell you they look as good on the wall as my 12 mp files. But then again, most seem to watch their photos 1:1 on the pc-screen…………

      • DR

        @ulli. “the e-m6 still could use the same sensor as the e-m5”

        Then I wouldn’t buy that either. Lets not waste our money on outdated tech, hey?

        I print. I can see the difference. That’s not to say that an E1 file won’t print well, just that all things being equal the closer you get to sensor resolution the better the print is.

    • Rchard

      They wrote “probably” the same sensor as Panasonic G3/CX1. They doesn´t know anything just like us. Pure speculation from Focus Numerique.

  • NineFace

    for long term NEX is the way to go

    • Gianluca

      …yes I think in 2033 they could have a decent lens number..

    • Dannecus

      APS-C has one advantage it will never loose – shallower DOF. But on the IQ front (dynamic range, noise etc) the gap is closing fast and soon will be completely invisible in real photos without the aid of pixel peeping tech. I’d like shallower DOF, but the other advantages of M43 out weight that need for me. I don’t think IQ is going to be a long term advantage for the Nex or other APS-C systems over slightly smaller sensors. Tech advances will wipe that one out, but the DOF advantage is physics so will always be there.

      • E-1

        You’re right. There will always be 1 stop better performance with APS-C but the 1 stop is more important from 800 to 1600 than from 12000 to 25000.

      • DR

        @Dannecus. “But on the IQ front (dynamic range, noise etc) the gap is closing fast and soon will be completely invisible in real photos”

        Couldn’t agree more. This is what has been holding u43 back. No-one expects FF out of u43, but we have a right to expect equal sensor performance to them.

        I hope you’re right and it will be soon.

  • Hifinut

    If it is a G3 sensor, Olympus must have done a fantastic job of removing the chroma noise.
    @Mar. Thanks for the RAW conversion files. Used photoshop to do a little tweeking to the files and the EM-5 @ iso3200 looks much better that G3 @ iso3200 including better DR, better detail especially at shadowy area and lower chroma noise.

  • Berneck Ramolt

    Hype machine is running beware, a pen in a weathersealed retro dress, not more, not less

  • al

    there is no chroma noise in raw images of the e-m5 upto and including iso 6400
    g3 shows chroma noise from iso 800. e-m5 shows lots of detail at iso6400 in raw.
    this is not reflected in fn’s jpeg’s. their jpeg’s show no detail at all.
    this can’t be a g3 or gh2 panasonic sensor.
    the e-m5 looks as good as the fuji xpro1!

  • All this fuss over what sensor. Do you like the images it makes? Do you think its worth the money? Can you afford it? If you can answer yes to those questions then buy it and forget about who made the sensor, because when you finally know who made it, your photographs will be no better or worse than they were when you didn’t know.

    • DR

      “Do you like the images it makes?”

      Photographers make images, not cameras.

      “Do you think its worth the money?”

      Not without a sensor equivalent or better than the best of the _whole_ industry in performance and DR/ISO.

      “Can you afford it?”


      Good camera, wrong sensor.

      Next Question?

      • Yes, yes, yes photographers make images we know. And if YOU really believe that why are you so obsessed with having a sensor “best or equivalent to the best of the whole industry in performance and DR/ISO”.
        Make your mind up.

        • DR


          I am obsessed. :) Obsessed with not being conned out of my hard earned for an underperforming sensor. I already have decent gear that takes great images. I don’t need a new camera unless it does something better than the old one.

          When the time is right and the right camera comes along, I will upgrade. That camera will have “best or equivalent to the best of the whole industry in performance and DR/ISO”

          Till then, the loot stays in the bank :)

          • @DR where is the con? You look at the results. You make your choice. Unless Olympus was taking photos with a D800 and changing the exif data to read E-M5 how can you possibly be conned into parting with your money? Olympus says this camera is one stop better than an E-P3. Most observers are saying two. I understand your willingness to wait, I just don’t get the underlying tone of hostility.

            • DR

              The con is in the hype.

              We see the reality once the cameras are tested, and in Oly’s case, it’s telling us to expect huge gains which are only seen over their old sensor. When compared to the best current m43 sensors, the improvements are marginal at best. This is not the first time, either.

          • Bart

            “I don’t need a new camera unless it does something better than the old one.”

            Indeed, but it seems that ‘something’ can only mean ‘ISO/DR’ for you.

            I’m pretty sure the OM-D does a few things better then your current equipment, but the real question is if the package as a whole is a relevant improvement over what you currently have.

            If you limit that to ‘ISO/DR’ then you might be ‘conning’ yourself out of a lot of potential improvements :)

            Additionally, if ISO/DR is all that matters, you should be looking for medium format cameras, and definitely not at cameras with smaller then 35mm ‘full frame’ sensors.

            • DR

              “relevant improvement”

              Correct. Everyone makes their own choice. The OMD looks to be a nice camera, but the high price is not worth it for me without a significant sensor improvement. G3/GX1 are around half the price.

              The key for me is the output, not the features. Just about any camera is adequate feature wise for me.

              I’m already shooting FF digital and MF Film. m43 is not my sole system, so I do have perspective. No reason why DR and ISO in m43 shouldn’t be up with FF digital.

  • Anyway, it is possible make make excellent photos with any of cameras mentioned above! Cameras don’t make photos, photographers do…..

  • al

    i had never expected olympus to have made such a huge leap in iq.
    if i had the money i would definetely buy.
    i don’t understand how they did it, but iso 6400 looks much cleaner than iso 200 on my ep-1. olympus will make a killing for shure!
    don’t be fooled by the terrible jpeg’s fn posted.
    i believe it must be a fuji or simmilar quality sensor.

  • DR

    And here is Panasonic admitting their sensors are behind the game:

    “We can improve the sensor a lot – there’s still room for that improvement.”

    “APS-C sensors aren’t “old” sensors as such, but they’ve been around a long time. While improvements are probably still coming, there’s got to be a lifespan – it’s a question of how far you can improve the sensor.”

    They have the usual spin, but they are admitting that APS-C is ahead of them.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

What are Cookies?
A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is stored in a temporary location on your computer to allow our website to distinguish you from other users of the website. If you don't want to accept cookies, you'll still be able to browse the site and use it for research purposes. Most web browsers have cookies enabled, but at the bottom of this page you can see how to disable cookies. Please note that cookies can't harm your computer. We don't store personally identifiable information in the cookies, but we do use encrypted information gathered from them to help provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allow us to improve our site. You can watch a simple video from Google to find more information about cookies.

Cookies used by our Website
The 43rumors website,, uses the following cookies for the collection of website usage statistics and to ensure that we can . These are anonymous and temporary. By using our website, you agree that we may place these types of cookies on your device.
Read how Google uses data when you use our partners' sites or apps:
Google Analytics Cookie Usage on Websites: Addthis cookies:
Disqus cookies:
Vimeo cookies:
Youtube cookies:

Disabling/Enabling Cookies
You have the ability to accept or decline cookies by modifying the settings in your browser. Please note however that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our site. For information about how to disable cookies in your browser please visit the About Cookies website.