The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is the first camera in what appears to be an entirely new line for the Olympus camera and photography company. It features a 16 Million Pixels, Four Thirds Sensor, which has a retro style body similar to the original OM camera from Olympus’s heritage. It is one of Olympus’s premier offerings for camera and photography enthusiasts. How well does the Olympus OM-D E-M5 do against other cameras in the market in similar price range? Read our full review to find out more.
The first thing that strikes you about the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is its style – and it really is a lovely looking camera. It is available in a black finish version or a two-tone silver finish version.
Since the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a compact system camera, on the rear, it has a built-in electronic viewfinder. Also on the back it has a 3-inch LCD touchscreen that you can use to press focus and even fire the shutter at the same time. The LCD touchscreen is also tilt-able, so you can angle it in a range of positions for a variety of different viewing angles. In addition to this, it has full HD video recording capability along with a new range of art filters.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is small in size without being fiddly. There is also an option to purchase an additional vertical battery grip for the OM-D which that you can attach to the base of the camera which adds considerable bulk to the camera without adding too much extra weight. Naturally, attaching the additional grip does make the camera slightly more heavier, but it does really provide a nice comfortable grip. On this grip, an extra set of buttons scroll dials, and of course a shutter release button are included making it easier to use the camera in portrait orientation.
When compared to the Olympus Pen series of cameras, the OM-D has a greater number of direct access buttons and features two scroll wheels at the top which are used for altering aperture or shutter speed and exposure compensation.
As on the EP-3, the touchscreen on the OM-D E-M5 can be used to change the focus point by simply tapping an area on the screen. Or it can also be used to trigger the shutter release.
The ISO performance is pretty encouraging as well. There is plenty of detail and noise control is very impressive. Even at the high ISO rating of 25,600, colour noise is very well control giving a more natural and grainy look to your results. At the same time, the images are very usable with distinctly bright and vibrant colours and sharp textures.
Tone and exposure is good while the colour from the auto white balance is also very nice – if probably a little warm for some people’s tastes. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 also comes with a variety of art filters to play with which are really fun for both casual as well as slightly professional-level photography.
Like pretty much every button on the OM-D, these can be customized depending on how you prefer to use the camera. Most of the common changes that you will need to make when using the camera can be accessed via the quick menu. However, some of the controls may be hidden from out of the way in the more extensive and detailed full menu such as setting the different art filter functions or changing button usage.
New for the OM-D – the quick menu controls can now also be accessed by the LCD touchscreen but you will still need to use the scroll dials in order to make changes.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5’s in-built viewfinder offers great clarity and can definitely be counted in the best available in the market right now. A sensor fitted in the eye cup of the electronic viewfinder means that you don’t need to press a button to switch between using the LCD and the EVF as it will automatically detect when the camera is properly aligned with your eye.
Olympus has added one completely new art filter and two new variations on the existing art filters on the OM-D bringing the total amount up to 17. Further customization in the way of frames and other enhancements is also available.
A large number of Micro-Four-Thirds Lenses are now available to buy on the market giving the OM-D E-M5 great versatility with different uses. It is likely that this camera will be pitted against other high-end compact system cameras in the market such as the Sony NEX-7 and the Fujifilm X-Pro1, which to some extent; both have larger sensors than the Olympus OM-D E-M5. While each camera has its own set of advantages, we think that the OM-D E-M5 will be an all-round compromise and its users will be very keen to see how Olympus develops this line forward.
Battery Life And Capacity
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 has above average battery life for a CSC, and it can take approximately 360 shots per full battery charge based on CIPA battery life rating. On top of this, you can double the battery life with the optional HLD-6 Power Battery Grip in which a second battery is installed, making the E-M5’s battery performance much better than before.
Price And Availability In Australia
For photography enthusiasts based in Australia who are interested in purchasing the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is available from the online TopBuy Australia Store at a retail price of $1,036.15 at 31% discounted savings.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a very impressive camera that stays true to the original Olympus OM philosophy of a small, high performance and quality camera aimed at enthusiast photographers. And with this, it has to be one of the best compact cameras from Olympus that we have seen to date.