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Tuesday, 11 April 2017


You don't need IBIS. You believe you need it.
My belief is to keep things simple. Stick to one system. Declutter your mind and free up that mental space to be creative. The Fuji system is wonderful and all you need.
Now go in peace, make some images, print them, hang them on a wall.

I have to second the motion to use a tripod. I'm a little older than you, and have experienced the challenge of holding my (now heavy to me) Canon and some long lenses. I now drag along a tripod, and as I look around the house, an increasing number of photos that are hanging on the wall were made with a tripod, even those where I was panning for wild horses. It's a thought anyway and you can just move up to the XT-2.

I'd probably rule out the GX8 which starts to feel a bit old. The newer GX80 (GX85 in the US?) seem to offer almost all the features of GX8 in a newer and smaller package.

The problem with E-M1 Mk II is size. It's not large compared to a dSLR, but noticeable bigger than the original E-M1 or E-M5. It you go for a camera with mFT sensor then you lose some of the possible size advantage of mFT with both E-M1 II and GH5.

Pen F or E-M5 II are more "mFT-sized" IMO, but don't offer 4K video. GX80 do and is also a really compact model.

A6500 has basically the same excellent sensor at the XT-2, is small and maybe your best option if Sony makes the lenses you want for it.

Personally I have the E-M1 II, but I'd also like smaller bring everywhere camera like the GX80 or E-M10. I hope for upgraded models with the new 20MP sensor in the not too distant future.

I had a Sony A7 and really liked it, except that the autofocus of my Canon EF lenses using an adaptor was slow. The A72 offered faster autofocus, so I "traded up". The A72 has IBIS, and the IBIS is what failed, causing the sensor to lock up out of poition after only 6000 exposures, out of warranty of course. No amount of resetting the camera or physically (but gently) bumping the camera against the palm of my hand (as illustrated in numerous YouTube videos) was successful in getting the sensor back into proper position. Repair at the authorized Sony repair shop cost $300 for new "cusions" (sic). Since receiving the camera back from repair, the sensor locked up out of position once, but I was able to reset it, and when using sensor clean mode, the camera still makes more noise and vibration than a brand new A72 that I compared it to. A trip back to the authorized Sony repair shop resulted with a message: "Checks OK!...All functions normal at this time."
Personally, I don't need IBIS, and I think that having image stabilization on the lens has at least one advantage: if the stabilization goes bad, you can still use the camera. You might want to query your readers if they have had problems with the IBIS on their cameras. I might be the only one, or maybe its a Sony problem. I love using the A72, but this experience has soured me on Sony. Sometimes, simpler is better.

The Sony....with your 24mm Zeiss.

I've used Oly and didn't like the interface. With my Panny GX7, I really like the interface and makes the camera more of an integral part of my walking around taking pics routine.

If you really need IBIS , then the first thing I would ask is who makes the lenses that you would be excited to own.
You used the GX8, and it has the small sensor you liked, did you like the camera enough to buy it?
People seem to love their OLY's but value wise Oly really pushed the price.
If you go with Sony, I'd opt for the A7 series

Based on how you work and your preference for primes, I think you might like the interface and user experience of the GX8; however, the Em1 II is currently at the top for IBIS. The A6500 is a fine camera, but still limited on really good primes unless you go third party. For the type and size of prints you make I don't believe there would be a significant difference between m43 and APS sensor size. So you have to decide between interface vs. better IBIS.

If you are considering 3 cameras that are generally considered to be equally good, even if they have strengths and weaknesses in various areas relative to each other, and you ask a broad group of people for advice, you will get:

-- People advising you to buy option A
-- People advising you to buy option B
-- People advising you to buy option C
-- People advising you to buy option X

I decided a while ago that cameras had easily reached the point of sufficiency, and therefore I didn't really need to care about camera reviews anymore. The only thing that mattered was how the camera felt in my hand and whether I (for whatever subjective reasons) liked it.

So although I live in northern CT (close to MA), when considering a new camera I try to get into NYC and go to B&H. 10 minutes spent holding the contenders in my hand, and one option always jumps out at me as being the "right" one for me. Given your long-standing relationship with B&H, maybe they would be willing to let you try out loaners? Or else rent them. In any case, it is effort and money well spent.


Turn your shortcomings into pluses. Buy or use a camera without any stabilization and change what you shoot now. Only shoot what you are physically able to do. Now the hard part.. do it a way that is unique and only you.

Unless you NEED the 20mp sensor, the Olympus E-M5 Mk 2 at less than half the price of the E-M1 Mk 2 should do the job nicely. I have one (and everything of mine is the best, most beautiful, superb)- the E-M1 has a few more bells and whistles, but unless you NEED them (lots of comparison pieces on the web), the E-M5 Mk 2 is a solid choice and perhaps best value for money out there.
Olympus has the best IBIS available, others may be close. Fuji has a lot to recommend it, but many of their lenses lack stabilization and the bodies apparently cannot accomodate IBIS because of the flange size.
All of the above is my humble opinion, YMMV

My recommendation is to shift your goal from just IBIS to IBIS + backside illuminated sensor. Next choose a sensor size based on what primes you'd want to have, and where you'd want to carry them. Next, wait for IBIS + BSI to be available in your format of preference. Second hand primes will only get cheaper during the waiting period. Or, if the weight and volume of big primes isn't an issue, start watching for used A7RII's at auction. A few will always turn up for one reason or another.

If all I had were your three choices then the first thing I'd do is drop the Panasonic. I think Panasonic may have had its equivalent Osborne event, not over the announcement of any new product per se but in the very public airing of the reorganization of their camera division. This doesn't fill me with confidence to buy what they're trying to sell. So that just leaves the Sony and the Olympus to consider.

From personal experience I believe the α6500 has, perhaps, the better sensor, while the E-M1 M2 has the better IBIS. And Olympus has executed tremendous engineering integrating the PRO 12-100mm ILIS with the M2's IBIS, producing a remarkable anti-shake platform for both stills and video. The Olympus platform also underscores my personal perception that Olympus has a better first-party lens collection than Sony has for its half-frame sensor cameras. While Sony may arguably have the better sensor, a so-called superior sensor will only take you so far if your supporting lens system is sub-par.

Regardless, going with either is going to cost you, and at this particular point in time I'm personally not too crazy about spending fairly large sums of money on camera gear, nor do I feel I should recommend you should either. If you've got a problem with the 'yips' then perhaps you might consider, as mentioned elsewhere, with buying a good monopod. It's a damn sight cheaper.

Keep your Fuji and get and use a good travel tripod.
A lot less expensive than buying a whole new camera system
just to get IBIS.

Roger: good call suggesting an A7II. The A6500 at $1600 is just too much money if you're not using the video/performance aspects of it. Meanwhile, the A7RII offers you a nice, compact Sonnar 35/2.8 and the 85's (FE or Zeiss) give you their intended FOV (I personally like 85mm on APS-C but know it's not everyone's cup of tea).

Don't pick one, pick two. Eliminating one is easier than eliminating two. Then you will have made progress. don't look back, only compare the remaining two.
I have the sony nex6 - the ability to bounce the built-in flash by pulling it back is ingenious. i find myself using it all the time. would be hard to give it up. not a deal-breaker but a factor to throw in the mix.

There's no question that Oly has the best IBIS these days. But are you prepared to spend nearly $2K on the E-M1 Mark II plus more money on the lenses and accessories you'll need? I have the original E-M1 and already have a good amount of micro four-thirds glass. And I still won't pay the going rate for the Mark II.

On the other hand, you've shot quite a bit with the GX8 and you really liked it. Was shutter shock an issue for you? If not, you may have your solution. I have the GX8 myself and I have no issues with it. But the IBIS isn't nearly as good as Olympus's. I find if one combines the GX8's IBIS with the OIS of the newer Panasonic lenses, it's a draw with Oly.

Of course, IBIS is only really effective out to about 500mm (FF equivalent). If you plan on shooting wildlife at the long end of the Panny 100-400 or even the new version of the 100-300, you'll really need the OIS in the lens.

I'm not sure I'd bother with the Sony. You had the A6000, right? Do you ever miss it?

Joy = E-M1 II. Sadness = finding I'm using the Pixel more.

EM1.2 with 300mm Pro
Who knows?

I got a GX8 and have never looked back. I don't have the f/2.8 lenses but have all of their f/1.7 primes. Great camera.

I've recently made the switch from an X-T1 for roughly the same reason. I decided on the A7ii and Sony/Zeiss 35mm f/2.8. With Sony's recent trade-in bonuses (traded in an F5 and a Pentax-A 28mm; got more than I paid for them after the bonus) it was surprisingly affordable. What tipped the scales toward the A7ii was how good it is with adapted lenses. Stabilized "full frame" and magnified focus assist in the viewfinder have breathed a new life into some of my favorite lenses (CV 40/2, Nikkor 50/1.2, and Pentax 31/1.8). I seem to recall that you're not generally a fan of adapting lenses. I wasn't really either, but my mf lenses feel more at home on the A7ii than they ever have on a DSLR.

The Fuji. You can't fix an internally-generated and basically psychological problem (the yips) by applying an external physical solution (IBIS). It's like trying to cure overeating by buying smaller plates.

Few years ago, i wrote a glowing comment on then recently launched EM5 Mark 1, quoting Sanskrit poetics. That was bullshit because I couldn't fall in love with the camera, an essential thing in my opinion. I wondered if i will ever buy a M43 again.
Today, i am eagerly waiting for EM1.2. Now i am a mature guy and know what I want, the limitations and more importantly, the possibilities. (Mind you, i have been shooting with a camera at ISO 200 for last 3-4 years, never missed ISO 400 really, look at my Merrill album in the Flickr link). The smaller sensor has never affected my photography one bit in the past, and this time i am looking forward to it rather than being in a waiting forever mindset. I hope i like this camera. Worst case scenario, it will be like my iphone with the added convenience of being able to attach different FOVs.

Okay so you can't decide between three cameras and you just got over 100 conflicting comments. You're not making it easy on yourself. ;)

So here's my suggestion: use a tripod.

I think you already love the M4/3 sensor and you've tried the GX8 and like the EVF, it's weather sealed, there are tons of great lenses to choose from and they are affordable and the Panasonic is half the cost of the Olympus and cheaper than the Sony.

Shooting is shooting—makes no difference if it's a camera or a rifle. It's all about bracing. You can use a monopod/tripod for a camera, or a shooting stick for a rifle.

You can also use elbows/knees or a shoulder to turn your body into a shooting brace. I often will lean a shoulder into a wall/tree/pole.


Which one will you pick up and leave the house with instead of just bringing the iPhone? That is the right choice.

On the other choices:
Be sure you like Fuji colors.
GX9 will be it, if Panny is a choice.

I find the concept of IBIS aberrant; like something only Minolta would conceive. Articulating the image sensor to allow movement will materially increase the probability that the sensor-to-lens plane alignment won't stay parallel over time. It's a fussy mechanical implementation that's sure to degrade, and it's going to impact IQ when it gets sloppy.

And I'm devoted to tripod mounting. I just can't achieve the optimal composition (and polarizing) care that a good landscape deserves when working hand-held. A tripod does more than eliminate camera shake; a tripod makes me think.

I even use a tripod for street shooting. I use a compact table-top 'pod, find a seat somewhere that might afford potential, and wait it out. An 85mm or 105mm lens, cable release, and a glass of pinot noir can help.

Bryan Geyer
San Luis Obispo, CA

Don't overlook the GX80 - with its 5-axis stabilzation (although it hasn't got the GX8 sensor)

I have Nikon and 150-600mm. Excellent for me (just me) in almost every aspect. Only ibis is missing. So I bought Panasonic also, with 150-300mm. Two stabilizers! Easy for shaking hands. Nowadays I use Nikon mostly with a heavy tripod.

Nothing tickles the collective mass like camera buying rumination !

Like many here, I'm a brand tourist and have gone through several iterations of all makes and models. The Sony's always take terrific pictures, and I always sell them a few months later. For whatever reason they feel appliance like and we fail to thrive.

The Olympus cameras are jewels, but the files teeter on the knife edge of hyper realism... to my eye anyway.

So that leaves the Panasonic - my experience being with the GX85. Can't say I'm in love with the viewfinder, if I'm not mistaken the GX8 has a slightly better version. The files on the other hand are beautiful. Natural colors and the pictures absolutely sing with either the 20mm 1.7 or 42.5...

You've posted several times about the GX8, you fondly remember your GF1 and the fantastic Panasonic 20mm pancake. And in the scheme of things the Panasonic tariff's quite low. Pull the trigger !

The Panasonic GX'x is going to be perfect for you. :)

What lens? I know that you've said that you're a 35mm-e guy, so that would mean for Micro 4/3 either the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 or the Panasonic "Leica" 15mm f/1.7 and for Sony E-mount, the Zeiss 24mm f/1.8. Micro 4/3 has other options too, but the Sony doesn't.

If it were me, I'd go for a Pen-F.

The Sony A7RII if you prioritize full frame. the Pany GX8 if you prioritize best hand feel (IMHO), wide availability of micro 4/3 lenses, and perhaps if you like the 90 degree rotating viewfinder.

As I already have a couple or three MFT lenses, it would narrow down to the Panny or the Olympus.

However, I don't like the shape/handling of the Olympus (too much hand-grip and shutter-release too far forward), so it would have to be the GX8.

A digitally uninformed comment, yes ... but ...

Lenses aside, for the moment. I remain inclined to buy a camera from a company whose business is cameras. Of course software and chips do the legwork these days, but features aside these boxes are essentially "last generation" when they come off the production line.

Camera people speak a different language than integrated circuit people.

a7ii, same price as the A6500, only slightly bigger but FF sensor, all your old manual lenses will love you for it. And while youre at it buy mine, 3 months old, only used it a few times, I'm very happy with my XT2

Unless your putting a spreadsheet together l am not sure if all of our well intentioned comments have helped you IMHO. 🤔

For you, Oly. For me, the Sony.

Before the why's, let's admit that you won't know which is The One until you have it in your hands for a while, so this is all academic.

IBIS: agree with the others that if the point is IBIS, then why not the best IBIS? Olympus.

Sensor: you've been lusting after those m4/3 sensors.

Lenses: you love Olympus lenses, and it's a good lineup. This is why I'd go with Sony, because I like to adapt legacy lenses and I like APS better for that. I'd also lean toward Sony for video.

Also going for the Olympus is the most robust body of the three.

Service and warranty: Sony and Panasonic camera divisions are notoriously awful at customer service. Last I checked, Olympus even had a nice extended warranty program that included a CLA, for pretty much the cost of just the CLA.

Olympus probably has the most complicated UI, but I think you can handle it.

As with dogs, when you have the itch you need to scratch. Let me suggest one slight caveat to your dilemma. Whatever camera you choose, make a pact with yourself NOW to immediately begin a One Camera/One Lens/One Year project when you get it. You know the drill... make a deal, to reward yourself. We all do it.

I finally began my OC/OL/OY project this year on my birthday. However, I modified the rules to make one photo per week, not per day. I am currently on Week-06 out of 52. The surprise benefit has been how my photography has improved. When the clock is ticking one tends to be vigilant. My weeks run from Sunday to Saturday, and on Wednesdays, like clockwork, I panic. "Oh geez, do I have a keeper in the tank this week?" Today is Wednesday - gotta get back to work!

As a lifelong amateur photographer, one of my recurring dreams (you know, the ones you tell a therapist like running and running but getting nowhere, flying by flapping your arms, etc) is about being in the right spot at the right time to take an amazing photograph but having the "wrong" camera with me. Or, the right camera fitted with the wrong lens, or in the good old days, the right camera with the right lens but the wrong film! Seems like have never found a single camera/lens/imaging apparatus that breaks this gear anxiety conundrum. So, I've learned to deal with the anxiety by psyching myself up for the day's shoot by telling myself to deliberately seek out pictures that day which are perfectly suited to the gear I have with me. I suspect IBIS is just one more feature that would only add to my gear anxiety. Haven't needed IBIS or OIS for the last forty years. I probably don't need it now.

If I were you I'd buy the Panasonic GX8. It has a great selection of lenses and gives you the IBS you want. No camera will be 'perfect', at least I've yet to find one that is. That is especially true when you are ordering online based on the specs and reviews. If at all possible maybe you should go where you can see and handle examples of all the contenders on your list. I find that after satisfying a list of non-negotiable features, the winning camera is the one that'feels right' in my hands as I'm using it.

Everything has been said. If IBIS is important to you, the best is the Oly EM1 II. I have an Epson 24" wide printer and do prints for myself and for friends who have many different cameras, up to 42 mpix. Up to the size my printer allows, the difference in print quality from all this cameras is zilch. I don't have the EM1 II, but I used one from a friend, it is just superb. I have the Pen F which also has 20 mpix.

A slightly cheaper option is to use a Leica tabletop tripod and large (tall) ballhead as a chestpod:


It really is quite remarkable how much shake reduction you get. If you don't want to spring for new Leica items, you can find secondhand tripods and ball heads on eBay, usually old enough to be branded as Leitz.

Drink less coffee.
Or, buy that D800 you sold a while back. The extra mass will help you to keep it steady.

How about a second hand EM1 Mark 1? Do you really need all those new features? I'm asking myself the same question at the moment for a second camera and the Mark 1 has me tempted because I don't need the image quality, but I would like the portability and the in body stabilisation.

Good luck!

Cheers, Pak

What is the longest focal length that you imagine you are gong to use on a regular basis? I am sure I recall you saying more than once that you like something a bit wider than Normal, so I wonder what kind of shooting conditions lean you towards image stabilisation?

GX8, plus the 12-35/2.8 you know you want.

I use both an Olympus system (em1.1’s, em1.2, em5, em5.2 and several epl’s, as well as E1’s and E3) and a Sony system (a7RII and a6000.)

For Ibis, the Oly’s are far better than the Sony’s mentioned above and since that seems to be your main criteria I would highly encourage going with the Olympus – I can sympathize, at 64 and living in the land of coffee, shake can be a real issue!
As for focusing – I also find that the Olympus is far more responsive, with the eye and face recognition in a different league than the Sony’s. Both systems produce lovely files depending on the size you want to print.

I have never used the Panasonic camera bodies so I can’t really add anything to the discussion in that respect, though I have several of their excellent prime lenses.

One thing that I have not noticed anyone else comment on – so maybe it is only an issue for me is that on the Sony a6000 (and I presume on the a6500) the lack of a front wheel for adjustments throws my ease of shooting way off. I enjoy using my a7RII but have never bonded with the a6000 – it usually gets relegated to time-lapse duty and such.

I had preordered both the a6500 and the EM1.II and ended up cancelling the Sony and going with the Oly – for me a wise choice – especially as it has also allowed my 4/3rd lenses to be used more than before, though the wealth of m4/3 offerings really leave nothing to be desired.


Or stop drinking coffee - just like HCB did. Works with all focal lenghts & light availabilities.

The Sony, that way you can take your old 24/1.8 back from me! ;-)

I am amazed by how many people sort of shunt your need of IBIS aside. Being ten years older than you, and probably, ten percent less steady, I can attest to it's importance. I believe you like to handhold almost all of your shots, so monopod or tripod won't do it. The best advice I have seen in the comments are to rent them for a week or so and then choose. All three are going to give you exquisite prints on your Epson.

You haven't mentioned your normal end use. If you're not printing larger than 16x20 sensor size really doesn't matter. Larger than that it will depend on the specific image. For the greatest choice of lenses it's pretty well accepted that m 4/3 has it hands down. Stabilization; I have Parkinson's disease and will argue that if you have tremor issues, the only thing better than good in body stabilization is a tripod which have their own problems. In this regard I think Olympus is the winner.

Fascinating - what fragile creatures we are. I'd never heard of focal dystonia before ("yips??" really???).
Not that it helps I'm sure, but you're in the company of some greats (Liona Boyd for one).
I can see how IBIS might mitigate some effects but I'm not sure how it applies to the underlying root cause. From what I've been reading, recovery mostly involved retraining to the other hand and I wonder if that could apply in your case.

Not that they make cameras for left handed operation but I wonder if wireless triggers(or bulb or cables) might be adaptable. Anything that could get the trigger to your other hand (or mouth or foot).

We can do a lot these days and maybe this is an opportunity to expand the world of photography to others with challenges.

Best wishes

When I went looking for a complement to my Nikon's that would give me a much smaller camera kit I ended up with the Olympus. Besides size there were several other factors that tipped it for me. The Olympus is really quick on the shutter compared to other mirrorless cameras. I feel it is there with me in fast situations. Second was the incredible IBIS, which has grown on me in the meantime. (I really, really get it now; video like a steady cam.) Third were the small, quality lenses. And fourth were the other unique features: the buffer that lets you take pictures before you press the shutter, the live composite that lets you see time exposures "develop" in real time, and absolutely silent mode. Files are good.

Years ago I had a portfolio of Dye Transfer prints made. The process was long, covering several weeks of lab visits. My originals were all Kodachrome 64. On one lab visit the tech who made the matrices came out of a darkroom and asked me how I got such sharp images. I'd never been asked such a question. I never compared my stuff to anyone else. I never printed any work other than my own (mostly b+w). I had to think about an answer as, I really didn't know. Then it came to me. I told him I always used a tripod if at all possible. And I do. Even with a small camera. My two tripods are both old Gitzo Compac Studio, one rapid, one with Crameular .. my French may be bad here.

That question from the Dye lab guy has been my most treasured complement on my technical skill/choices to date. He saw a lot of work from a lot of photographers. Most all pros who could afford Dye printing.

So, 150+ comments later, are you any closer to making a final decision, or are you even more anxious and undecided than you were before?

Sorry I don't understand why someone would want image stabilization? I mean I understand the marketing point but in practical usage what does it mean? A photo in murky light of a static scene taken with the convenience of handholding the camera. Now how many good photos have been made thanks to someone using IBIS, VR, etc.? Because I can't think of very many.

It's not like it would help you photograph your dog, or "active" weather, or human beings any better. It may help with landscapes although only on a casual, tourist basis ~ "Oh dear, I forgot my tripod, let me photograph the Parthenon at 1/4 @ f/4". Whoopie!

I guess if you wanted to do spontaneous night time photographs of quiet non-moving things then it'd be great. City lights from your outdoor dining table. Niagara Falls all lit up. Dark colored roadkill on the blacktop at dusk... great stuff.

Shoot 1000 photos over the next year and examine each one for problems with shaking or focus due to shaking. If there is clear evidence of an issue, buy the best IS camera out there.

I'll bet you find there's not an issue. I have a shaking issue sometimes but it's not affected my photos. I'm 62.

Pen F? Here's what I really like about the EM1 ll though: fast sensor readout. This allows electronic shutter pretty much everywhere except for the fastest of action. Still, I'd be tempted to get the GX8 or Pen F and spend a little more on a lens like the 42.5 1.2.

No opinion on the Sony.

The coffee comment was my favorite!

Well having shot extensively with both Olympus and Panasonic mu4/3 cameras, I think the choice is obvious: the GX8.


First because those Olympus menus are soooo irritating. The Panasonic ones, in recent years, have become much, much more usable, logical and photographically simple - i.e. not getting in the one of one's inner photographer.

Then there's the sensor.

And recent Panasonic/Lumix cameras - the GX7, the GX8 and the GX85 - are just plain more enjoyable to take pictures with. (No offense to the legions of Fuji Fffffans.)

But the real reason is one that no one seems to have mentioned yet. Which is, simply...all those stupidly-wonderful Panasonic-Leica aka PanaLeica lenses that Leica designs and Panasonic keeps churning out. They seem to mate more intuitively and more photographically with Lumix cameras than with Olympuses (or is it Olympii?). You know the ones I'm talking about. The 15mm. The 25mm. The wonderful 42.5mm macro. And, if need be, the large and pricey Nocticron. Granted they all perform very very nicely on Olympus cameras. But (call me crazy) they seem to do better on Panasonic/Lumix bodies.

And, IBIS questions aside, isn't it really all about the glass?

Given how much you like the file quality and ergonomics of the GX8 I think you should get it. I mean, what is it that we want out of a camera? We would like it to handle really well so that it becomes an extension of yourself, and we want it to produce good results. So....the GX8!

I was going to suggest you rent both of them from Lensrentals.com, use them, and decide that way. However, I see that Lensrentals is not presently carrying the GX8.

Save your money for a Sony A7s II and be done with it.

Problem statement: yips are a problem when taking photos.

There is a wide span going from yips to IBIS regarding solving your core problem. Address the yips directly, try improving skills in breathing, smooth hand motion, etc. Basically, good marksmanship skill. Or expert golf technique. Hit the library, Google, or local golfers.

You didn't like the E-M1 when you had it, so I don't think things will turn out differently with the E-M1 MkII. The Panny might work out for you given you've liked them in the past, and I still have that sweet Panny 12-35 f/2.8 that you've been pining for all this time that I could sell you for a great price! ;-)

The less said about the Sony, the better. What a singularly uninspiring camera. Ugh.

But here's what I recommend: Get an X-T2 and when necessary, bump the ISO to get the shutter speed needed to prevent camera shake. This will allow you to use lenses you already own. The image quality from this camera is nothing short of astonishing, and the very small amount of "grain" from shooting it at higher ISO will give you that Tri-X "bite" you've been looking for. It's a win-win! ;-) Plus, when bumping the ISO isn't enough, toto's comment about the excellent IS provided by a Gitzo is spot-on. Cheers!

Mike, although I stand by my coffee comment, I think there's something else you might try, if you haven't already.

Since IBIS only works for handheld shots of static scenes (as opposed to grab shots of changing scenes), the timing of your shutter release isn't really a factor. Like you, I pretty much abhor tripods—in forty five years of shooting, I can probably count on one hand the times when I made a picture that was significant to me with a tripod mounted camera. Yet, I shoot lots of static scenes, sometimes in pretty poor lighting conditions, and I value good technique with regard to focus and exposure.

"Continuous High" shutter release is my friend. If I'm unsure of my ability to pull off a steady shot, I'll knock off three in a row, using CH mode. Almost without fail, if the first exposure is a bit shaky, the second and/or the third will be steady. I began doing this with film when I got my first camera that sported a motor drive (F4s, a camera I haven't used in years but can't bring myself to get rid of). With film, it was an expensive and rarely used solution, but with digital "free" exposures it's a no-brainer.

Before you run out and empty your bank account for another camera that's not going to give you much (if any) IQ improvement over what you're already using, spend some time experimenting with CH mode, or whatever it's called by Fujifilm—and cut back on the coffee.

I've never used the Panasonic or the Fuji, but I know I love IBIS. I carry three cameras with me most of the time, and they all have IBIS. Selling the Nikon FF DSLR to get the Sony FF with IBIS was a major step forward for my high-res imaging.

(I got a Nikon D800E after I had already been using Olympus cameras with IBIS, and I found it nearly unusable in terms of hand-holding it. When I actually got steady shots I very much appreciated the full frame sensor and ability to play with depth of field, but, damn, I was quite often getting better pictures with the Olympus gear than with that big amazing sensor on the Nikon. Now for my full frame I bring home keepers with the Sony body with IBIS. Once you use IBIS, consistently, it's hard to go back. Selling the Nikon for the Sony was one of the best moves I ever made.)

In some of the comments there has been Olympus usability bashing. I agree that the learning curve is steeper than you might like. You'll have to do web searches for some of the setup. Once you set it up though, it is a beautiful, customized, most-usable camera. Now that I'm quite used to the Sony, which also has its share of quirks, I also find it usable, but when I pick up the Olympus I think, "This! This is beautiful!" I wish Olympus made a camera with the sensor of the A7rii. I would buy it in a heartbeat. There are a few quirks to setting up an Olympus, like you will want to do a web search for "Blinkies." Use Blinkies on Olympus (I actually showed you that, in Rollins Chapel in Hanover. I remember blowing out a guy's white hair to the orange blinkies, and then dialing the EV so the shadows turned blue.)

Another plus for the Olympus "pro" level cameras and lenses is that they are amazingly weatherproof. I think you could even say actually pretty much waterproof, based on some of what my EM5ii has been through. I think in the film years Olympus cameras didn't have a reputation for being solid and reliable in the face of abuse (though I own several OM prime lenses, and I don't own any more solid, sturdy, well built lenses). These days I think the Olympus bodies are very tough.

I would agree with the comments that the Olympus IBIS is the best. The Sony is still quite good though.

Knowing your eye and your past history, Mike, I would once again suggest you go for an A7rii. The thing about that is that you can use a wide range of full frame (new and vintage) lenses at their native focal length. As someone else pointed out, you can use a wide angle to get a wide angle, without having to use an ultra-wide to get a wide. You may be past it, but I imagine you would enjoy, as I very much do, trying out different film era lenses -- many of which you might actually have in your closet. Fun to see through good and unique glass.

There is also of course the argument, which has been made in the comments, for the Panasonic. You know it, you like it. On the one hand if you use any camera enough you can get used to it and fluent with it, though some quirks are hard for some people to get past. There is something to be said for just being natural and at ease with the camera without having to bend yourself to its ways (the Olympus has a lot of function buttons and dials you can customize, with work, so you can do a lot of your own imprint upon the camera, with the setup work. But still. You have to remember that setup).

We know as photographers that the best light isn't always the best for hand-holding a camera, but IBIS opens up that world of dawn, dusk, rain, even night.

I don't get why people are suggesting you drink less coffee ... IBIS *IS* the solution ! You can have your coffee and drink it, too !

GX8--nice sensor and "good enough" image stabilization options.

Re the yips thing

Maybe the camera simply isn't heavy enough?
In any case I hear that the earths rotation is the limiting factor.
My problem is getting the subjects to stay still enough, and I'm taking pictures of trees.

The EM5 MKII is a fine camera with a sweet shutter sound and 5 axis IBS. it is smaller than the EM1 so in form factor sort of like the Fuji. I think I recall that you had the original EM5 - I did as well and find the MKII to be a great improvement. It is also more reasonably priced than the EM1 MKII.

All this concern about manufacturer stability would seem more appropriate to a car/yacht/airplane purchase than a camera in These Digital Times.

my 8 week old em1 has had the shutter break after 4000 photos not good. I am going elsewhere .

Mike, I know it wasn't on the list but I do love the Pen F. I know this will sound strange but it's an extremely capable camera that can be everything I love about the iPhone camera, or as serious a camera as I've ever needed. I know a lot of people poked fun of the creative dial, but I shoot raw+JPEG and the dial becomes a viewing filter. Shoot in B&W see in B&W then process the image from raw any way you want. It's easy to carry, great with a prime or short zoom, add the RRS grip and it handles larger lenses well. Plus you could pick it up plus a used EM-1 MK-1 for the weather sealing and still pay less than an MKII new.

If only the GX9 was available! I've just bought a G85 for the IBIS and dual IS. Having used it for a few days, I am in love with the EXCELLENT EVF.

Cheers, Geoff

And I meant to add, I regret not getting the 20 MPX sensor, although the 16 MPX of the G85 is more than I need. The MPX seems to have a little more bite sand punch than the 16, though, and I am currently rather into bite and punch!

But the big no-no of the GX8 for me is the shutter. The latest Panasonic shutter, available in the G85, is far superior. Almost silent in mechanical mode,completely silent in electronic mode, and not the breath of a suspicion of the dreaded shutter shock.

I would expect the GX9 to have this shutter.

Cheers, Geoff

I will let my GX8 with my two favorite primes speak for itself !

Mike, I cannot say about the Olympus model you consider, but based on Pen-F, I would say no to Olympus. The only reason for me is the in-camera noise. If you like the process of taking pictures, and I believe you do, you may be disappointed with camera hiss/humm/noise when shutter button is half-pressed. I must say you will only hear it when you are in a quiet environment. You can set your shutter to be quiet, but not the "half-pressed-shutter" button. The quality of pictures and everything else was excellent for me. You will not find it in the camera reviews though. For me it was a deal breaker. I returned the camera. ...but, it obviously does not bother many other people and may not not be an issue for you. Good luck with your selection.

I have an A7RII for sale, if you need one! ;-)

AND, Pentax K-1 with the three amigos ;-)

As an Olympus digital owner going all the way back to the incredible E-1 DSLR, (and an Olympus D450 1 MP digicam before that!), I would have say if IBIS is the BIG reason you need to switch, then the E-M1 Mk II is the correct choice.

My newest Olympus camera is the Pen E-P5, which I use with the Leica 45mm macro, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, and a few other odds and ends. I have absolutely NO complaints as to what I can get from my camera and these primes. Thanks to the 5-axis IS on the Pen, I can take hand-held MACRO shots with the Leica 45mm, and they come out razor sharp. Most amazing thing I've ever seen.

Many others have mentioned the new Olympus Pen-F. Not as ergonomic as the E-M1 Mk II or GX8, but well worth taking a look at if you like faux-rangefinders. And it's probably one of the most beautiful mirrorless cameras made to date.

I would also recommend taking a good look at the Panasonic/Leica 15mm f/1.7 prime. It's a 30mm equivalent wide-angle that makes a good pairing with the Panasonic 20mm, for those times when you need to go a bit wider. (Yes, I'm one of those people who like using Panasonic lenses on my Olympus Micro43 bodies....)

But honestly, you can't really go wrong with any of the three cameras you mentioned.

Ignore all this digital noise Mike and go back to shooting medium format film with a tripod, and carry a Barnack (or XA or Rollei 35) in your pocket for when you want that gritty look with some fashionable, YIP-induced motion blur.

You can outsource the processing, printing and scanning.

You'll save a fortune in GAS and you'll never have to upgrade your computer again. Problem solved :)

I'm assuming you don't already own a large collection of Olympus or Panasonic MFT lenses. If I'm wrong, then, by all means, focus your choice on the excellent camera body options offered by Olympus and Panasonic, and ignore the entire discussion that follows.

A few years ago, when you stated that you bought a MacBook without a Retina display, just to save a bit of money, I shook my head and thought "that guy is penny-wise, but pound-foolish".
My understanding is that, eventually, you came to regret not having bought the model with the Retina display.

A similar thought occurs to me now.

• Sony A6500: US$1398 at BH.
• Sony A7II: US$1598 at BH.

The difference is just 200 bucks.

The 24MP full-frame sensor of the A7II is good enough today for most practical photographic purposes, and will remain so for several years to come.

I'm also assuming you've got a handful of film-era, manual focus 24x36mm lenses in your cupboard that you could use on a Sony A7II with one of the myriad of inexpensive Sony E mount adapters available on eBay — although you should avoid the really cheap "made in China" ones, as they typically skimp on the quality of the mount adapter's internal barrel antireflection finish, sometimes even using stupidly shiny black paint, which of course results in huge amounts of flare...

The financial savings of being able to reuse / rediscover your old manual focus lenses — in the 24x36mm format they were designed for, and angle of view you are familiar with — and the subsequent optical / photographic / usability observations you derive from it — which might be the subject of a few future blog articles ;-) — is certainly worth the US$200 price difference, IMHO.

5-axis IBIS — be it on Olympus, Panasonic or Sony cameras — consists of three axes (yaw, pitch and roll) of rotational compensation and two axes (left-right and up-down) of translational compensation.

Translational compensation, unlike rotations, require the body to know the on-sensor subject magnification so that the proper magnitude of the compensating sensor shifts can be computed.

Subject magnification can be computed only if the focal length and subject distance — considered equivalent to the focusing distance — is known.

Manual-focus film-era SLR — i.e. non-rangefinder — lenses are unable to communicate the position of their focusing ring — i.e. the subject's distance — to the camera; the camera therefore cannot calculate the subject magnification with such lenses.

Therefore, unlike with native Sony E-mount lenses, the Sony A7II's nominal five-axis IBIS can only perform three-axis rotational shake compensation with these adapted MF SLR lenses.

This, however, doesn't really affect practical IBIS performance that much with distant subjects. Why is this ?

Suppose you put the camera on a tripod to take the picture of a mountain that is several kilometers away.

Suppose you now moved the tripod slightly to the right by, say, 10mm and took a second picture of the same mountain.
The picture of the mountain projected on the sensor would then shift laterally by 10mm divided by the magnification ratio.

The magnification ratio of a huge subject, like a mountain that is several thousand meters high, projected on a 24x36mm sensor, is tiny.
A 2400-meter mountain filling a 24x36mm sensor from top to bottom would have a magnification ratio of 24mm / 2400meters ~= 1/100,000

A 10mm lateral movement of the tripod would result in a lateral shift of the mountain on the sensor by 10mm / 100000 = 0.1 microns.

The 24MP sensor of a SonyA7II maps 4000x6000 pixels on the 24x36mm format. It follows that every pixel has a size of 6x6 microns.

A tripod shift of 10mm, for a distant subject, would thus correspond to an image shift of 0.1 microns on a 6-micron pixel — i.e. it will be so small as to be undetectable on-sensor and will, therefore, be invisible and irrelevant.

Hence, the vertical and horizontal translational shifts offered by 5-axis IBIS are irrelevant for distant subjects even if you were acutely Parkinsonian and managed to move the camera several millimeters laterally during the tiny fraction of a second that a typical exposure takes to complete.

The effect of lateral camera translation would, of course, be very different with macrophotography.

At 1:1 magnification, the size of the subject covered by the lens would of couse be 24x36mm; a 10mm lateral shift of the camera would point to a totally different part of the subject, and the sensor would have to shift a huge distance (10mm) to be able to compensate for the motion.

In short, calculation of the relevant magnification ratios show that, at typical hand-holdable shutter speeds, translational shake correction matters only for quite close subjects, hence the reason why Canon introduced translational shake correction in its IS lenses only in their 100mm macro lens and 24-70/4 almost-macro zoom.

For usual, non-macro subject distances, IBIS will still be quite effective even with old manual focus lenses.

I've gotten really sharp pictures with the internally stabilized, modern Sony FE 70-200mm lens at 200mm and 1/20s — i.e. a shutter time 10 times slower than the usual 1/f rule of thumb would recommend; this corresponds to more than 3 stops of stabilization effectiveness.
For adapted manual focus lenses, I'm routinely getting an equivalent of two stops of stabilization with Sony's IBIS.

Mike, I have the GX8, but since I bought the GX85, I never reach for the GX8. I really do not like the fully articulating screen on the GX8. I love having a Flipping Screen and use it all the time. Plus I use the L-Monochrome picture style and Natural, Standard quite a bit. It is a lighter camera and does not have an anti-alias filter. I never have shutter shock. It is lower priced. I use all my lenses with and without stabilization and it works seamlessly with all of them. I carry it around all the time.

As far as Sony goes, not one of their cameras allow you to process your RAW Files in the Camera. I am very glad to be staying with the M4/3rds system. I have AFFORDABLE Lens Choices! I am very happy with the Panasonic GX85 and not as much with my larger GX8.

You want a Pentax- you just don't realize it yet. You should see the hand-held photos I've made of flowing stream water at 1/10th using a 90mm lens. They're pin-sharp, where I wanted them to be, and smooth where I wanted that. Some were made woth old and laughably cheap lenses, too

The problem with Pentax? It won't support your blogging career. New Pentax lenses come once or twice a year, and there are few third-party lenses introduce. So how can you feed the churn, and chase the thrill of the new?

FWIW, handheld, EM-5II, 25/1.4 Panaleica Summilux:

Orion From The Maui Shore, February 11, 2016

Yeah, I know it's not a forum, but, since I've nothing to contribute that will help you make a decision:

...until I can afford a real camera, I can do nothing about it.

Real cameras don't use batteries. :-)

...I'm devoted to tripod mounting...Bryan Geyer
San Luis Obispo, CA

For those who don't know, Bryan was the founder and original owner of Really Right Stuff. :-)

I'm going to be contrarian here and suggest that you rent the Panny LX100. 24-75mm equiv 1.8 glass sitting in front of a GH4 with lens based IS and a perfectly shaped (for my large hands) body. Just try one. You will be very surprised. I sold off 3 4/3 bodies when I got mine 2 years ago and haven't looked back.

I am older than you, near I as can tell from your posts, and I appreciate your yips concern, I don't have them yet, something I attribute to all the clean living I am going to do some day. But I would like to raise an ancillary topic here: Deliberation. Care. Looking. Tripod.

I'm in the market for different reason, our camera bag was stolen while we're on holiday in Europe. While I can buy another camera, the picture in it is priceless.
I hope the thief get some karma points..

Anyway, my eye is on the Pana G80/85. Its last year release with IBIS capability and shutter shock fix, making it great value for money.

I just read your post on "Yips" for the first time, thanks to your mention of it now. I totally understand the need for IS, though in my case the problem has a known physical cause.

I suffered a stroke in November, 2013. It wasn't a really bad one, but it left the right side of my body weakened. I sometimes drop things held in my right hand because it will suddenly open, and I have fallen from my right leg suddenly losing strength.

Aside from those issues, I am shaky now. I used to be able to handhold a 35mm camera, or a D-SLR without IS down to 1/15 of a second reliably with non-telephoto lenses. I can't anymore. In fact, even at 1/125 I sometimes get shaky photos!

Thank God for IS. I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII and have the 24-105mm f4L-IS lens that came with it. It makes it possible to handhold again!

I also have a Tokina 17-35mm f4 lens for my Canon, and it is not an IS lens. The lens is VERY sharp on a tripod, but I cannot handhold it, not even at the shorter end.

For IBIS just get the Olympus E-M1 mk2. I have the mk1 and absolutely love it. It goes for 1/3 of the price of the Mark ll here in Sweden. I also have the GX8 and the Fuji XT1. They are all great! I use the E-M1 Mark 1 for pinhole and IR photography, the IBIS is fantastic.

Just to clarify a couple of things regarding the PEN-F..

Here's what it looks like in a human hand with the small Panasonic 7-14mm f4 (equivalent to a full-frame 14-28mm) - which is a much smaller and lighter lens than Olympus' own 7-14mm f2.8.

..and here's a photo I shot with those two the other week, late at night, in the dark, at a fireworks party, with the Panny 7-14mm at 9mm (18mm equivalent) at its maximum f4, and with a shutter speed of 1/50th (..even though the IBIS would have allowed me to use, say, 1/5th or slower, but I wanted to freeze any movement..) with its silent shutter, and with the PEN-F setting the ISO - automatically - at 25600. Of course, with a tiny pic like this you can't see - what I think is - the terrific quality at ISO 25600.

The PEN-F, at around half the price of the EM1 MkII, is pretty much the same - but smaller - camera.

Gx8 has the best shutter release og any camera I can remember.

Grab the camera by the screen. With the lcd-hidden. A remarkable throwback in time.

3888 vs 4000 pixels (height), nearly the same resolution.
But a little smaller pixels. Still more than ok.

Many compare size with Gx7. But Gx7 was too small.
Gx8 is like s Leica with a better grip.

I've been thinking about YIPS, and my own personal experience of it, which is kind of funny and very clear. I only notice it under one condition:

I often carry a tripod, and I sometimes use it in spite of my cameras' IBIS. When I use it, I often set the shutter release to a 2 or 5 second timer. And when I do that, I sometimes forget to un-set that.

So then the next time I hand hold the camera, I press the shutter button, and... beep... beep... beep...

My momentary steady-and-click becomes prolonged, and cast in the bright light of waiting. During those two to five seconds, thinking, "OK, I've got to keep holding it steady..." it is anything but steady. There is a low level, prolonged bit of tension there, which messes everything up. I can see how this could also creep into the momentary instant shutter release moment, without the auto timer.

I think you already made up your mind will go for the Sony IMX269 in the Panasonic GX8 !

As at least one other reader has suggested: Tripod. One of the lighter Gitzos would be fine with lenses up to 200mm (in 35mm terms) given you probably don't have traffic thundering by as you shoot? It would improve your photography in all manner of ways and will outlast Mike 1.0 and every camera you'll own from now on. Higher shutter speed for the rest of the time.

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