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Olympus 16.1MP E-M5 Rugged Mirrorless Camera Review by LuminousLandscape

2012-06-12 07:35 | Source
8718 reviews
On February 7 2012, Olympus announced the Olympus OM-D (OM Digital) Series of Micro Four Thirds camera. The dust- and splashproof metal-bodied Olympus OM-D (also called the Olympus E-M5) is a retro styled 16.1 Megapixels compact camera featuring a body-integral 5-axis image stabilizer to compensate for multi-directional camera shake during both still photography and HD moviemaking, 1.44-million-dot 120 fps refresh rate EVF and auto focus with 3D subject tracking at up to 9 fps sequential shooting. It also comes with a tilting 3.0-inch touch screen OLED and new Movie Effects: One Shot Echo, for a semi-transparent frame at your whim and Multi Echo, for a multi-motion trail effect.

In sequential shooting mode, the camera is capable of capturing up to 9 frames per second (4.2fps with AF, when fitted with the M.Zuiko DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens). The OM-D has an eye proximity sensor that allows automatic switching between the EVF and the articulated OLED touchscreen. The camera is capable of recording Full HD videos and can store them in either AVI or MOV format with M.JPEG or MPEG-4 encoding. Along with the OM-D camera, Olympus also announced a number of new accessories including the dust- and splashproof MMF-3 four thirds mount adapter, the HLD-6 power battery holder grip and the FL-600R flash with a guide number of 36 (in metres at ISO 100/21°), improved recharge time as well as a wireless control option. The Olympus E-M5 will be available in April and ships in body-only (black and silver) for $999.99, or $1,299.99 with black M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-50 mm f3.5-6.3 EZ lens, or $1,099.99 with black M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42 mm f3.5-5.6 II R lens. Here's the summary of review by LuminousLandscape:

"The bottom line on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 (other than its convoluted name) is that it's the best Micro Four Thirds cameras yet, and highly competitive with the current mirrorless segment market leader, the Sony NEX-7. Panasonic will undoubtedly have a strong response product later this year, but they'll have to really up their game if they're going to compete with Olympus in terms of features and functions. No doubt the next Pany will have killer video capability (which is not the O-MD's strong suite), but right now when it comes to fit, finish, features, ruggedness, and all-around camera goodness the O-MD will be a tough act to follow. The inevitable question will be - "Which is better, the NEX-7 or the OM-D E-M5"? I used the Sony NEX-7 for five months while I was in Mexico last winter, and shot some 6,000 frames with it, so I'm pretty familiar with both its strengths and weakness. I'm still very much familiarizing myself with the new Oly. But after a few weeks and some hundreds of frames I have a pretty good sense of what it can and can't do well, and the "can't" list is very short indeed. At this point I'd judge there to be little to choose between them in terms of image quality. At 24MP and with an APS-C sized sensor the Sony has an edge in terms of  file size, resolution, and shallow DOF. But unless strong cropping or very large prints are the order of the day this isn't an overwhelming advantage. When it comes to overall image quality the O-MD offers very good dynamic range and highly accurate color. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison (my NEX-7 is in for repairs) but based on experience, when it comes to high ISO noise performance these two cameras are very close. In the end choosing one camera over the other should come down to an individual's personal preferences, and the availability of needed lenses. Right now the MFT camp does have more high quality fast primes than does Sony, something that I value. And, if you add the Olympus Four Thirds lens line, there's no contest in terms of range and quality.

The O-MD is a more traditional design, and offers a very high degree of customizability. The Sony's design is one that eschews the past, sometimes to the good, and sometimes not. This is going to very much be a matter of personal preference, and I would urge you to visit a local retailer and compare the two in-hand. (And while you're there, purchase from that dealer. If you comparison shop locally and then buy on-line all you're doing is hastening the end of the local retail store. Not something to be wished for). When it comes to lenses the Olympus has a clear edge, being able to call upon not only its own range of MFT lenses, but also Panasonic's. And of course there are all those terrific Olympus high grade Four Thirds lenses as well. With third party and legacy lenses the NEX-7 offers focus peaking, but the O-MD has in-body stabilization, which I regard as a trump card for those interested in working with non-Olympus glass. A stabilized Leica 135mm f/4 APO-Telyt M on the O-MD is something to be experienced. The only area where the OM-D (and all MFT cameras for the matter) offer any disappointment is their restricted ability to create shallow DOF images, particularly as compared to full frame. APS-C suffers a one EV disadvantage in this regard and MFT two stops.  Your call as to how important, or not, this may be for the type of shooting that you do. In this respect I don't regard the 1EV disadvantage of MFT over APS-C to be that significant. Against full frame it's another issue. But the penalty that even the smallest full frame camera extracts in terms of body and lenses size and weight is not to be denied either. Simply put, the Olympus O-MD E-M5 is a winner, and has now become my preferred camera for travel and urban walk-around shooting. The Nikon D800/e is still my main squeeze - an awesome camera in almost every respect - but, for its price and size it's hard to top the new O-MD."

Photo Album: Olympus Announces 16.1 Megapixels OM-D Rugged Mirrorless Camera Priced $1000

Olympus E-M5 Sample Photos on Flickr

Olympus E-M5 Camera Reviews Roundup

SansMirror - Jan 29 2013
"Right now, my choice for landscape work would go: E-M5, X-E1, NEX-7, in that order. For travel work, the NEX-7 would be closer to the X-E1 due to the additional lens choices right now, but I think it would probably still be the same order for me. For action work, ugh. I might be tempted to go with the X-Pro1 in optical view and manually or zone focus. For c..." More »
80out of 100
NeoCamera - Nov 08 2012
"The Olympus OM-D E-M5 takes Micro Four-Thirds to the next level by delivering the best image quality for its sensor-size along with a truly fast autofocus system. There are a lot of similarities with the already excellent E-P3 yet the E-M5 adds a sharp 1.4 megapixels EVF with Eye-Start sensor plus 9 FPS continuous shooting in a weather-sealed body of simila..." More »
100out of 100
Fstoppers - Oct 31 2012
"The OM-D E-M5 has a lot going for it. Its 16MP micro-four-thirds sensor is plenty to keep you going and that micro-four-thirds means it's compatible with a slew of lenses floating around out there. It's not your largest format, coming in just under the ASP-C format, but it's not nearly as small as even Nikon's CX sensors, still leaving plenty of room for gr..." More »
Not Rated
ePhotoZine - Oct 18 2012
"I already own and use a Panasonic G2, but it had always left me feeling just a little short changed. Coming from the Olympus E-3 I was really missing the inbody IS and wireless flash control of the Olympus system so the OM-D EM-5 became the natural choice. There is no such thing as the perfect camera but Olympus really have hit the mark with the OM-D EM-5 a..." More »
Not Rated

Olympus E-M5 Reviews Roundup [Total 41 Reviews] »

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