The E-M1 and the Panasonic GM-5 side by side.

I bought a Panasonic GM-5 camera back in the spring because I wanted a small camera to use alongside my Olympus OM-D E-M1 that could use my pool of micro4/3 lenses. I love it! So much so that I used it exclusively and began forgetting the way I had my E-M1 set up! That made me think, "Maybe I don't need the E-M1. Maybe I need the E-M5 II instead." After owning two Olympus PEN cameras I bought the - then - new E-M10. Loved it! Well, I knew I didn't want to go there. I didn't want to give up the features and "heft" I had gained when I finally decided to sell my Canon 60D back in the fall of 2014 and purchase the Olympus OM-D E-M1. 

The E-M5 II [Olympus Image]

So, I turned my attention to the revised E-M5, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. It is larger than the E-M10 II, yet smaller than the E-M1. The only place close to my home that sells and has display models of Olympus cameras is Crutchfield's and it's 70 miles (116 km) away in Charlottesville, VA. I happen to be going through Charlottesville on my way to Dulles Airport back in early October, so I stopped by. They had an E-M5 II on display outfitted, in fact, with the 12-40mm lens. I took my E-M1 with its mounted 12-40mm into the store and did a comparison. The E-M5 II didn't seem bad but was, as I wanted, smaller. It certainly didn't have the “heft” of my E-M1 but I figured I could live with that. If need be, I would buy the basic grip to add some of that "heft," I decided. Decision made. I wanted the E-M5 II! I was on my way to Germany for two weeks so any action would have to wait until the end of October.

[Olympus Image]

When I returned home I began figuring how I would finance this purchase. A new E-M5 II body retails for $1,099 US. So I would have to sell my E-M1 and maybe a lens to finance such a purchase. I decided I would do that but not until I had the new E-M5 II in my hands for a few days. If I didn't like it, I'd return it. In the meantime I had posted on Facebook about my plans and ask if anyone had a used E-M5 II for sale. In mid-November someone wrote me saying he wanted to sell his.

[Seller's Image]

His deal seemed like a dream come true: not only was he selling an E-M5 II in original packaging with a low shutter count, but he was including an extra battery as well as both the basic HLD-8G grip and the HLD-6P battery and headphone jack grip! All of this for about half the price of just a new Olympus OM-D E-M5 II body! That clinched it! I wouldn't have to sell my E-M1. The seller wanted to wait until he had received confirmation of the shipment of his new, pre-ordered Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. That came this past Monday and he shipped "my" E-M5 II on Tuesday. I expect it to arrive tomorrow.

So, why did I buy this near E-M1 look-alike? That is, besides it's being smaller? The idea of having a second body has become increasingly attractive to me. I tend to use my 12-40mm lens on my E-M1 95% of the time when I travel. Now I can do that and have a prime or a zoom such as the Panasonic 35-100mm, f/4-5.6 on my “new” E-M5 II! Another thought, as I try to reduce the amount of gear I carry and the size of bag I use daily, is that I will take the E-M5 II and the Panasonic GM-5 cameras when I go on short trips or outings. I will have the 12-40mm on the E-M5 II and the 35-100mm on the GM-5. Then I will have two primes in my bag. The E-M5 II’s improved 5-axis IS and video capabilities are also two other draws. Plus, I like to have new “things” to experiment with and learn how to use.

However, right now I am just excited to receive the camera and begin “playing” with it. An early Christmas present to myself that I will put to good use over the holidays.