372 of 381 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars E-M5 review from a previous PEN owner
I've been invested in the m43 format since the launch of the E-P1 in summer 2009, successively moving up to the E-PL2, E-P3 and now the OM-D E-M5. Features have been added and the cameras tweaked with each generation, and it's safe to say that Olympus have produced their best m43 camera yet in the E-M5. But there is a lot of competition out there, and the robust E-M5 with...
Published 19 months ago by Michael Gakuran
191 of 223 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Autofocus Issue
There is a lot to like about this camera; small size, enormous amount of settings to adjust the camera to your photo shooting preference; water and dust resistant design, etc. At first I really liked the camera and was impressed with the blazingly fast auto-focus. But then I started to notice that pictures of objects that were 15-20 feet away were not really sharp. I...
Published 17 months ago by Gadget Man
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372 of 381 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars E-M5 review from a previous PEN owner,
This review is from: Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen and 14-42mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)I've been invested in the m43 format since the launch of the E-P1 in summer 2009, successively moving up to the E-PL2, E-P3 and now the OM-D E-M5. Features have been added and the cameras tweaked with each generation, and it's safe to say that Olympus have produced their best m43 camera yet in the E-M5. But there is a lot of competition out there, and the robust E-M5 with built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) may not be the best option for everyone. Let me walk you through my experience using the camera having upgraded from past models. (Note I'm based in Japan, which is why I have the camera early).
[Size and Weight]
My initial reason for choosing the mirrorless m43 (micro four thirds) format was a desire to have a high quality imaging sensor inside a compact camera body. I did not want to carry around the bulk and weight of a DSLR camera, but was tired of the poor performance from point and shoot cameras, especially in low light. The Olympus PEN series met my needs perfectly in this respect, and have retained their small form factor throughout the range, despite consistently improving and adding features.
The E-M5 is no exception - it is the same width as the E-P3, with a little extra height because of the EVF on top of the camera and 50g heavier, weighing in at 425g with battery. In pictures online, it can look rather large, but after holding the camera in my hands, it became clear just how small it really is. The E-M5 is certainly not a pocket camera (although it will fit into large coat pockets), but the form-factor and equally small, lightweight m43 lenses mean it is an excellent choice for hiking and travelling, especially if you value its robust body and weather sealing.
The E-M5 boasts a tough magnesium alloy shell and weather sealing. Videos posted online showing the camera having water poured on it and shooting out in the rain are testament to its high quality construction, although do note that `splash-proof' is not `water-proof'. You probably shouldn't submerge the camera in water, and note too, that you'll need weather-sealed lenses to fully utilise the benefits (as of today, only the 12-50mm kit lens is weather-sealed, with a 60mm weather-sealed macro lens on the way).
The camera has a lovely heft to it when held in the hand and suitably good grip - certainly heavier than most point and shoot cameras, but lighter than most DSLR cameras. In contrast to the PEN cameras, the E-M5 has a slightly protruding thumb `hook' on the back that really aids stability, as well as a nice grip (with the option of an external grip and additional battery holder available separately to help when using larger lenses).
The biggest departure from the previous PEN models is undoubtedly the bult-in EVF and two dials on top of the camera. The EVF is similar to the VF-2 that Olympus sold separately to complement the PEN cameras and provides a bright and useful display. For users who like viewfinders, this is a long-awaited addition and most people will not be disappointed. The 100% field-of-view 1.15x EVF is, as current technology goes, one of the best (although the magnification is not as good as the GH-2 EVF with 1.42x, providing a larger image).
The two dials on top of the camera allow access to various functions, but most people will use them to change the aperture, shutter and exposure compensation. You can also assign functions such as manual mode or focus zoom to one of 3 function buttons on the camera. The rear control pad is also customisable, meaning it is finally possible to access all of the main settings without having to dive into the detailed menu system.
One of the most pleasing things for me was finally being able to use the camera while wearing gloves (something I could not do easily with the previous PEN cameras). Although it can still be difficult to use the rear control pad while wearing gloves, the main settings assigned to the dials and function buttons are easily useable. Another little tweak that I love is the offset tripod mount (to accommodate for the additional grip the E-M5 is able to use). This means that I can now change the battery while the camera is mounted to a tripod plate. Thumbs up!
The 9fps shooting speed mentioned is without AF and IBIS turned on, but it's certainly a welcome addition over previous PEN models. I've used it for bracketing shots when creating HDR photos. You can shoot a maximum of 7 photos in bracketing mode to capture the dynamic range of the scene and then combine them later in software. Using the 9fps speed, this is done in an instant, and it may even make handheld HDR bracketing possible. It's also worth noting that the E-M5 is compatible with 3rd party intervalometers such as the JJC TM-J that support the Olympus RM-UC1 remote to do timelapse shooting.
The m43 cameras have made incredible progress in improving autofocus speed since their initial launch and are far better than the sluggish focus of the original E-P1. Previous Panasonic cameras like the GH-2 held the crown, but in the latest generation of PEN cameras and with the new OM-D line, autofocus speed matches the Panasonic models and even surpasses it in some tests. The bottom line is that the E-M5 can hold its own against consumer DSLRs in autofocus speeds, with perhaps two caveats: 1) that AF slows down in low light and 2) that AF tracking when shooting sports is still not quite as good as DSLR rivals. That said, the E-M5 has some big improvements in this area, and can quite reasonably track moving objects while shooting at a respectable 4fps.
[Sensor and Noise Performance]
One of the bigger criticisms of the E-P3 and other PEN cameras was the ageing 12MP sensor inside the camera. While it was still perfectly good for shooting at lower ISOs, its performance suffered when moving up, especially beyond ISO1600. The Panasonic GH-2 arguably had the best noise performance of a m43 camera up until now, but the E-M5 can be said to claim this crown. A new 16MP sensor inside the camera offers about 1 - 1.5 'stops' of improvement in noise performance. Basically this means that if you thought ISO1600 on the previous PEN cameras was acceptable, you will likely be happy with ISO3200 on the E-M5.
As usual, Olympus offer lovely Jpegs with gorgeous colours straight out of the camera for users who do not like to post-process their images in software. But for users who do, the Raw files offer more flexibility and noticeably increased dynamic range over previous PEN cameras (also about 1 - 1.5 'stops' improvement), allowing highlights and shadows to be pulled back. Practically speaking this means less white skies and richer colours! Noise is also very well controlled and easily reduced in software afterwards.
[In-Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS)]
The image stabilisation built into the camera body is, in my opinion, one of the strongest reasons for considering the PEN line or OM-D line over other mirrorless cameras like the Sony NEX series or Panasonic cameras. The previous IBIS system built into the PEN cameras was already good, but Olympus have found a way to improve it even further. Marketing tells us it's a 5-axis IBIS system that constantly stabilises the sensor, and indeed it does. You can see it kick in as the sensor moves into position when you power on the camera.
The biggest area this offers improvement in is the video mode (although naturally, still shots also benefit). The E-P3 was notorious for its rolling shutter and jellylike wobble when it received even the slightest bump. The E-M5 and its new IBIS system completely removes this wobble and significantly reduces the rolling shutter effect. What this means is that you can take very smooth videos handheld, so much so that you might even have been mistaken for using a steadicam in some cases. It isn't a substitute for a steadicam however, and walking with the camera will still introduce a minor amount of image `shifting' as the sensor compensates for the movement. But handheld panning and careful walking with the camera is as smooth as could be.
One of the most interesting and pleasing features of my E-P3 was the capacitive touchscreen. Perfectly implemented with just 3 `modes' - off, on to focus, or on to focus and take picture. Some might view this feature as a gimmick, but I found it exceptionally useful. Rather than focus and recompose the shot like in traditional cameras, you can simply compose your shot and lightly touch the screen to focus on your desired area and take the shot. I found it very useful for macro work, as well as general shooting when out with friends. The E-M5 continues this feature, and the beautiful OLED screen works like a charm.
Another reason I chose the m43 format (supported by Olympus and Panasonic, as well as other 3rd party makers) over competing cameras such as the Sony NEX series is the large selection of lenses available. This still continues to be the case. Using a bright prime lens such as the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 and coupled with the improved high ISO noise performance, I find the E-M5 to be formidable in low light. (If you are on a budget, consider the equally-excellent Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens or Olympus 45mm f/1.8 portrait lens).
It obviously will not match a full frame sensor's performance, but the difference between the E-M5 sensor and the larger APS-C sized sensors like the one in the Sony NEX series is very small. A larger sensor means better noise performance (cleaner pictures), but a smaller sensor means smaller and lighter-weight lenses can be made for the camera. All things considered, I find the m43 system to provide the best balance between all these factors, with the E-M5 and GH-2 providing the best sensor performance among m43 cameras.
I do not have any serious criticisms of the camera, but rather a few niggling complaints that I will list below.
- The camera makes a low fan-like/humming noise when switched on that is audible in quiet environments. This is normal and a result of the always-on new IBIS system. Most users will not be able to hear it in regular shooting. Also note that the noise is lowered and essentially gone when in video mode, meaning it does not affect video. However, it is worth noting as many will be surprised when first turning the camera on and it may prove annoying for some people who shoot often in quiet environments.
- The position of the viewfinder and small size of the camera mean that for left-eyed shooters, you may find your nose slightly squashed against your thumb when holding the camera. If concerned about this, it would be best to check at a store first. I found using my right eye avoided this problem.
- No built-in flash. Although an extra mini flash unit is provided in the box, users who value having a flash built into the camera body may be disappointed. I used to value this feature until I realised I rarely use the built-in flash at all (and quite often it isn't powerful enough to improve pictures). For those occasions where I need a flash however, I can take the little flash unit with me.
- New battery. The battery used is not the same as previous PEN cameras, meaning you'll need to buy replacement batteries (I take 2 spares on a heavy day's shoot). Olympus are usually good with this though, and I think we can expect the new battery will be used across the OM-D line in future models.
- High cost and lots of customisability. This isn't really a negative so much as a realistic assessment. For many point and shoot upgraders, the E-M5 may be more than you need. Indeed, the camera is larger than other PEN models and offers lots of flexibility to customise controls (meaning the menus are suitably packed with features). Although you can just use the camera in P or iAuto mode, you can find much cheaper PEN cameras that will still offer great image quality in a smaller package. For those who want the best possible image quality and value the EVF and extra controls, the E-M5 will not disappoint.
I've never owned a m43 Panasonic camera myself, so it would be unfair of me to compare the E-M5 to the GH-2 (its nearest competitor), but for the image quality I've seen online, the two cameras are close, with the edge for the E-M5. You may also find the Panasonic G-3 a cheaper alternative that offers competitive image quality. Similarly, the Sony NEX cameras such as the NEX-5N and the Fuji XPro1 will give you better image quality than m43 cameras, but at the expense of a wide-ranging and small lens selection and at the expense of functionality.
There isn't a great deal I'm left wanting from the E-M5. Perhaps faster AF tracking for sports and full speed AF support for older 43 lenses when used with an adapter (there does not seem to have been much improvement here between the E-P3 and E-M5). Also, 1/8000 second max shutter speed and ISO 100 (the range begins at ISO200, like previous PEN models) would be welcome. A mic-out port for monitoring video using external headphones and 24p mode would also be nice.
It will be exciting to see what Olympus can innovate next to improve upon the camera. But for the time being, I feel happy awarding it 5 stars when compared to other cameras within the same class. If you feel the niggling faults are serious however, feel free to subtract one.
181 of 187 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing little wonder,
This review is from: Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen [Body Only] (Black) (Electronics)First, who I am: I'm an avid street photographer who usually has 1-2 gallery showings a year and occaisionally gets my photos picked up by the papers--I've been into photography for alomost 50 years and teach it at the university level. While I bought the camera with the 12-50mm kit lens, most of my shooting has been with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f:1.4 lens, as I just prefer shooting with a fast, standard focal length, prime lens. I'm just telling you this because some of the things that might wow me might be inconsequential to a novice photographer who just wants to point and shoot (although the camera does that as well).
All of that out of the way, this camera is just plain nuts (in a good way). Unless you're really splitting hairs, this tiny little camera can pull in virtually the same shots that a big, bulky, pro DSLR can. Honest. I've been getting stunning images in the most photographically problematic situations ever since I started shooting with this thing--If you don't believe me, go to [...] and do your own side by side comparisons. Did I say it was small? Not only can you carry it with you all day, but when you hold it in your hands you just know that the magesium frame is going to take all the abuse you can throw at it. This camera doesn't just look like the legendary Olympus OM-1 & 2 cameras from the 1970's it's inheritted the very same strong and sveldt spirit which made them so appreciated by both professional photojournalists and enthusiasts.
Aside from the size and image quality, this camera is also blistering fast with its autofocus--as in how can it do it that fast? But as frosting on the cake, the auto zoom-in of the EVF when manually focussing makes going that route a snap, even for somebody with poor eyesight, like me--way beyond what one can do easily on a DSLR. And while a mere 9 frames per second might just be so-so for a pro DSLR, it's plenty fast for more than 99% of the photographers out there. I could go on and on.
The worst part of owning this camera now is that every day I have to look at well over $10,000 in my DSLR gear which I haven't touched since getting this mighy mite.
If you're serious about photography and want a cary-with-you-anywhere-do-anything camera, and you can afford the serious money that Olympus is asking for this camera, just do it.
147 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a Fujifilm X100 Owner: 1 Month Use,
This review is from: Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen and 12-50mm Lens (Silver) (Electronics)SIMPLY A JOY TO USE
I took a leap of faith and sold my precious X100 to buy this camera. I've had the EM-5 for almost a month now and I just love it. To me it's almost the perfect camera. I enjoy using it every time and it makes photography fun for me again.
WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR
A small lightweight camera with great versatility for outdoor hikes, indoor portraits and low light photography. The X100 was charming and produced beautiful OTC jpegs, but it did not have the versatility of an all-in-one camera that I was looking for to replace my DSLR. Focusing was too slow for taking pictures of my nieces or any action photography, focal length was not ideal for portraits or wild life shots, and video recording features were limited. It did excel at street photography but I wanted more.
WHAT I FOUND IN THE EM-5
Since you can change the lens, the possibilities are endless with the EM-5. Especially when paired with an exceptional lens like the Olympus 45mm or Panasonic 25mm, the Olympus can produce some breathtaking results. There are more controls and settings for movie recording. With lenses that feature MSC, zooming and focusing is absolutely silent. You can also add external mic input with an adapter and there are custom settings galore! It is more of an investment than the X100 with all the lenses but that depends on what you want out of it. IBIS let's me slow down the shutter speed to 1/20 of a second hand held so I don't have to stick to 1/60th and crank up the ISO.
Although the EM-5 has a smaller the sensor, the image quality is very high. I would even say that the raw files from the EM-5 are equal or sometimes better than the X100. I still prefer the X100's beautiful jpeg engine but the EM-5 jpegs with noise reduction off and sharpening tone down are also superb. It's amazing how much detail you can get out of the raw files with the small 16MP sensor. I was initially worried that I would be sacrificing some image quality jumping into the EM-5 but my worries are non existent now. I don't hesitate cranking the ISO up to 6400 either, especially if I know it's not for prints. But do yourself a favor and get at least one tack sharp prime lens for the EM-5 (Olympus 12mm, 45mm, or Panasonic's 20mm and 25mm) so you can appreciate this camera.
With an MSC lens, focus is blazing fast and accurate. DSLRs might still have the advantage in extremely low light but the size tradeoff isn't worth it to me. X100 can not compete here at all. 3D Tracking only works with slow moving object but maybe a future firmware will make it more useful.
I wish the EM-5 was made in Japan like the X100 but the build quality is solid. What drove me crazy was dust getting into the viewfinder of the X100, but the EM-5 is dust proof and weather sealed. The paint is not impervious to wear but neither was the X100. They both feel like quality cameras in your hands.
The EM-5 feels more compact to me and has the perception of a more compact camera (unless you stick a giant telephoto lens on it). I like the layout of the X100 better and it feels less cramped. But with the optional hand grip or a half case, the EM-5 would be perfect. Buttons on the X100 feels a bit more responsive and I loved how you can add your own custom shutter button. However, the EM-5 camera setting don't get bumped around in your bag like the X100 since the dials are not notched to specific values. (There were times when I had exp compensation set to +/- 1 without noticing.) You can pretty much customize everything on the EM-5 which was something users complained about on the X100. (Took them a year to update the firmware just so you can set the raw button to something else useful.) Both the EVF and tilting OLED screens display images beautifully, and I'm usually not a fan of EVFs. The touchscreen is great advantage for selective focusing and quickly changing settings. The X100's hybrid viewfinder was extremely cool but the EM-5's EVF and tilting screen combo is much more practical. I do miss the X100's aperture ring on the lens, intuitive controls, and quiet leaf shutter with 1/2000 flash sync, but overall the speed and customization of EM-5 wins over the X100. Both of them have convoluted menus but with the EM-5, once you've customized everything, there's very little need to go back.
LOOKS AND FEATURES
X100 is gorgeous and has a classic look but my silver EM-5 is a close second, especially with a silver lens... stunner. EM-5 has features out the wazoo! More than you'll ever need probably. I especially like the diorama art filter and being able to take 3D photos. X100 is simple and their classic film filters will be missed, but the EM-5's 5-axis IBIS and 9fps shooting is killer.
QUIRKS ON THE EM5
IBIS humming is there and noticeable indoors. The EVF auto switch sensor is very close to the lcd screen so sometimes it switches when you're touching the screen. Left side ports are hard to get to without first tilting the lcd screen out. I don't mind these few quirks since the X100's list of quirks was much longer and annoying.
I do not regret selling my X100 or my Canon DSLR at all. With the right lenses, the EM-5 does everything I want/need it to. Image quality is superb and almost all the settings can be customized. Everything is packaged in a nice compact and weathersealed body that's reasonably priced for what it delivers. It lets you shoot photos without getting frustrated and gives you more creative freedom than most cameras on the market. I did not care for the m4/3 system before but the lens selection is awesome and is still growing. The EM-5 made me a believer that you can have everything you want in a camera without lugging around a 25lb kit. Unless you want to shell out for a Leica or need the quality of a medium format camera, I see no reason to get anything else until Olympus makes and EM-6.
P.S. I don't compare the EM-5 to the original OM series. I think it's irrelevant and snobby. They both great photographic achievements in compact photography during their time. I hate useless reviews like on DigitalRev.com where all they talk about is how it's not like the original OM series... rubbish. The EM-5 is like nothing else in it's market and should be commended for it. Yeah the Nex-7 and X Pro 1 has APS-C sensors but how many lenses are available for those systems? X Pro1 focusing is still slow and it's a clunky camera that's not really compact anymore. The Nex-7's EVF, although crispy, is quite laggy, not as enjoyable to use overall. The Panasonic GX1 might have a 16mp sensor but it's what you do with the sensor that counts. If you're looking at this camera, it's really a no brainer when you get features here that you only find in top of the line DSLRs.
91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny.,
This review is from: Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen and 14-42mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)Size - Smaller than I thought! It just feels so right on my hands. It feels solid. Not too light. Definitely not too heavy. I'm sure the extension of HLD-6 would make it even comfortable to hold... but I don't think it's worth $300 given my satisfaction over its ergonomics.
Buttons - Still getting used to the orientation. I've owned previous PEN series so the menu is not that hard to absorb.
EVF - Nothing great to write home about. It's OK... but not as great as the NEX-7's (drop by at your local camera store & compare). I'm not very picky regarding the feature since I don't use it as much as the 3-inch screen.
New IBIS - Just awesome. I actually have better pictures coming out of my Panny 100-300mm lens, on the long end of the zoom - handheld! (not 100% of the time though, but that's user-error due to handheld test).
Flippity screen - Very very useful. I prefer to take pictures of children at their eye level so this helps A LOT without having to kneel or bend down as much. Also very useful on over-the-head shots. I just wish it was the same articulating screen as Panny's G-series. Oh, well.
Touch screen - Another COOL feature. Great for stolen shots. Not fast enough for active children at play.
14-42mm Lens - Nothing special. But I prefer this over the 12-50mm lens since I don't care for videos & weather seal stuff. Not to mention $200 cheaper at half the size! I'm sure others would disagree.
Humming sound - Yeah, it's there. Only noticeable in a quiet room. I had some friends around our house to drool over the camera & none of them commented on the humming sound. I guess it only matters if someone is looking for it. Not about to consider this an issue.
Lugs - It has grown to be a pain. At such a small footprint for a camera, right hand tends to hit that annoying triangle coil (for the neckstrap). I read some suggestions regarding the matter, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to alter it... Yet.
Images - I'm coming from a previous user of the E-PM1 & E-PL2 & I must say that the images are just STUNNING! I will have to do more test shots with my panny 25mm 1.4 & oly 45mm 1.8 to compare.
I know that this is a brief review of the camera. I will update more about its functions in the future.
---------------------- UPDATE 04/28/2012 -----------------------
I just added some pictures, on Amazon's gallery, with some various lenses. For those in doubt if the silver prime lenses would not look good in the all-black E-M5, you may be surprise by its color-combo (or not).
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yep, OMD makes micro Four Thirds a legit replacement for DSLR,
This review is from: Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen [Body Only] Silver (Electronics)First, I'm old enough to remember the original film OMD's and I truly love the retro styling and look of the Silver OMD EM5. A huge bonus for me in the coolness department was that all my son's 16 year old friends raved about how it looked as well. As I say, bonus points!
So, what makes this a legit replacement for a (much larger) DSLR?
The biggest one is this: for a similar learning investment in the OMD, you can get image quality quite comparable to a DSLR in many circumstances, with a much easier to carry and use kit that also wins you style points.
*Image Quality - incredibly close to APS-C sensors in DSLRs in resolution and low light performance. The bigger difference now is what lenses you use, and how well do you know how to shoot photos vs. sensor size for IQ.
*AF Speed - equal in good light, and once you learn the tricks to a contrast detection AF system, you can make it work well just about anywhere.
*Size - a big win! The best camera is the one you have with you, as the saying goes, and for most folks, the OMD is going to go more places, and be more socially acceptable to use, than a DSLR.
*Lens Selection - Fast primes, fast zooms, super zooms, wide zooms, just about every niche is now filled, AND the rapid growth of micro four thirds camera sales is attracting even more lens development, meaning selection will grow even more rapidly.
Additional OMD delighters
*Best Micro Four Thirds camera for stills
*Build quality and feel
*Great manual controls combined with touch screen
*Micro Four Thirds ecosystem of lenses, backup bodies and accessories
*Learning to shoot really fast moving subjects with CD AF. Can be done, but you have to learn a few tricks.
*Menu complexity - you have to master the menus a bit to get the most out of the OMD, as it is not really a P&S replacement unless you are really ready to step up and learn the basics of photography including aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and Depth of Field relationships plus some translations of these into the digital world and the Olympus menus. Worth the effort, but there is a learning curve.
*Very good video, but NOT the top m43 choice if video is your TOP priority, that would go to Panasonic GH2/GX1 and their lens ecosystem.
*The kit lens is only so so. OK for the price difference in kit vs. body only, but in general if you want this camera, you'll also want one or more additional lenses to get the most out of it depending on what kinds of shooting you do:
Some lens perspective from another post of mine, below, so you can see what I've chosen and why...
I'd like to present an alternative trinity of prime lenses below, with costs new on Amazon US as point of reference and a bit about why I chose them. I own two of these three.
Pany 14mm f2.5 ($280 vs. $799 for 12mm f2) - own it - my fast wide prime for indoor groups
Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5 G Aspherical Lens for Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameras
Sigma 19mm f2.8 ($199 vs. $799 for 25mm f1.4) - own it - my street/night/candid prime and most used lens overall
Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN -Micro 4/3 400963
Sigma 30 mm f2.8 ($199 vs. $399 for 45mm f1.8) - my choice for a candid portrait/more tightly framed street shots
Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN- Micro 4/3 330963
Total cost $678 vs. $1997.
I especially like the Sigma's, they are sharp, very fast to AF on the OMD, high quality and generally underrated, at least by some folks.
Not to say that Jim's original trinity might not be better for your needs, rather, just sharing another option for your consideration, one with high IQ, bit different focal lengths, perhaps less panache' but much lower costs.
Oly 9-18mm - wide landscape/day/crowded street shooting
Olympus M ED 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 micro Four Thirds Lens for Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Third Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
Oly 14-150mm - my casual/travel/daylight walk around zoom, my copy just a bit soft wide open, good from about 20mm on, mounted on my OMD most often other than the Sigma 19mm. Got this as part of an EPL1 kit for less than the cost of the lens alone, which provided me with both the lens I wanted, and a "free" backup camera emoticon - grin.
Olympus ED 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 micro Four Thirds Lens for Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Third Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
Oly 75-300mm - long/super zoom. What a great FUN lens to have in my kit. 600mm equivalent in good light rocks!
Olympus 75-300mm f/4.8 Lens for Olympus Pen Cameras, Micro Four-Thirds Mount Cameras
Oly 12-50mm - first shots with this were unimpressive, but plan to use it more now that I'm more fluent with the OMD and see what the actual quality is. Potential replacement: Pany X 12-35mm f2.8
Oly 14-42mm compact zoom - everyday lens for the EPL1. Potential replacement (to create an even more compact backup kit): Pany X 14-42 pancake zoom, but ONLY when blurriness issues are fully resolved!
Bought and Sold
Pany 20mm f1.7 - great on my original m4/3 kit (Pany GF1 and GH1), but AF speed and reliability in low light were too frustrating on the OMD. Like the Sigma 19mm MUCH better.
Oly 40-150mm - very nice IQ, excellent value for the price, but not flexible enough for me compared to the 14-150.
Oly 14-54 FT + Adapter - great, fairly fast short zoom lens, again, just too slow to AF, and too big and heavy on m4/3 body.
If you get an OMD, have fun selecting your glass, you can create a very high quality, flexible, and portable digital camera kit that is customized to your needs and shooting style.
55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pro photog giving up much DSLR gear for this!,
This review is from: Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen [Body Only] (Black) (Electronics)The Oly OMD has to be one of the best cameras I've ever owned.
I've been a professional photographer for 25+ years traveling the world shooting for magazines and stock.
I own Nikon,Leica and Canon pro gear.In many situations the OLY aces past the Nikon D7000 in focus and image quality.
I mainly use the prime lenses 45mm 1.8,Leica 25mm 1.4,14mm 2.5 and only use zooms when I have no other choice.
By the end of the year,when I am confident the OLY can be used in all photo situations I cover,I will be selling off my massive collection of DSLR gear.
This camera really is that good!
55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this camera,
This review is from: Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen [Body Only] (Black) (Electronics)This is my fifth Micro 4/3 camera, having previously bought the G1, GH1, GH2, and E-P3. Full disclosure: Olympus gave me an E-PM1 as part of their Pen Ready promotion. However, I bought the OM-D E-M5 with my own money and in fact paid almost $150 extra to get one when all the stores were out of stock.
Pros (from my subjective point of view):
-Very fast AF
-Great image quality sensor
-Great available lens choices
-Good looking camera
-Great flip screen (I prefer to fully articulated flip and twist type)
-Great integrated viewfinder
-Best in-body image stabilization I have ever used.
-Subdued, pleasing shutter release sound and feel.
-Heavier than I would have liked.
-Small, mushy-feeling buttons
-Doesn't correct color fringing automatically like Panasonic cameras do
There are other Pros (like weather sealing and terrific in-camera JPEG engine) and Cons (like limited AF tracking ability and limited manual controls during video) which don't matter to me at all but might matter to someone else.
Bottom line is that I love the camera. Sure there are flaws, but it gets 5 stars from me because I prefer it to any other camera in today's market.
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The hype, the wait, the joy,
This review is from: Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen and 14-42mm Lens (Black) (Electronics)I first heard of the Olympus E-M5 through 43rumors.com back in early December of 2011. I was checking the site nearly every day for bits and pieces of new info and rode the rumors/hype/craziness wave. I placed my order for the silver body only as soon as it came up on Amazon and they still haven't delivered. Ended up getting this 14-42mm in black kit instead. All I can say is that after all the hype and the 6 month wait, the camera delivers with performance, quality, style and joy.
There are plenty of reviews out there that covers the camera in detail. Let me tell you why I like it.
1. Makes me want to go out and shoot. Not just because it's a new toy, but because it performs so well. I carry this camera everywhere and take shots of everything.
2. Bells and whistles. I'm all about that. The EVF, touch screen, fast AF, 5-axis IBIS, multiple dials, fun filters, and on and on. All the features make the camera that much more enjoyable.
3. Lots of options. There are so many options this camera can really be customized to fit your own style. For example, when I hit delete to erase a picture, it used to default to NO and then I would hit the up arrow and press ok. I really wished I could simply hit delete and automatically choose YES or simply delete entirely. There's an option for that.
4. It's compact yet heavy duty. I can take this camera anywhere without breaking my shoulder or having my arm wear out. I can carry a small bag (Billingham Hadley Small) with all the gear that I need and it's lighter than my DSLR lens.
5. Less intimidating, better for social life. When I took portraits with my DSLR, people would feel intimidated by its size. In a social setting, friends would hesitate to take the camera to snap a few pics themselves. But the E-M5 makes people more relaxed when I'm taking their picture and gets in the hands of more of my friends (with my permission) so they can take some shots of me as well.
I use this with a Pany 20mm f/1.7 pancake style which is very travel friendly without compromising picture quality. The kit lens hasn't left the box since the day I received the camera but I hear it's a great lens as well.
Overall, I would highly recommend this camera to anybody that wants great, quality shots taken from a day out in the sun to a dim lit restaurant; all in a pocketable(ish) size camera. If you're reading this review and wondering whether or not you should get it, let me help you. Stop debating and buy it. It'll be one of the best investments you'll make (right next to feeding yourself and getting enough sleep at night).
PS. If you're a gear head and want a few accessories, consider the following.
-Hadley-Small (Black/Black) 503301-01 It's $200 but very well made and a perfect size for this camera.
-Giottos AA1900 Rocket Air Blaster Large - Black Best dust blower money can buy
-Vello Wireless ShutterBoss Timer Remote Kit (For Select Olympus & Canon) This can be purchased for $60 on eBay or other sites. Works very well with the E-M5. About 100-150 feet range.
-Olympus HLD-6 Battery Holder Adds lots of comfort and grip when using the camera
-Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 Nokton Manual Focus Lens for Micro 4/3 Mount I don't have this one, but it sure would be nice!
-Eye-Fi Pro X2 8 GB Class 6 SDHC Wireless Flash Memory Card EYE-FI-8PC Share with your phone or tablet much easier so you can post on facebook, instagram, etc.
-Joby GP1-A1EN Gorillapod Flexible Tripod (Grey and Black) There are different sizes, but this is one versatile and flexible tripod!
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome camera!,
This review is from: Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen and 12-50mm Lens (Silver) (Electronics)The prior reviews are already plenty detailed, so I'll make this short. This is my first m4/3 camera and I am very very happy with it.
Coming from a much larger DSLR, it was a bit of an adjustment in terms of ergonomics. I had to learn to be comfortable holding it, but that took a day or two at most. I am happy with the image quality and high ISO images are better than any digital Olympus camera I have seen. Now that Lightroom 4 supports the E-M5 and I can process the RAW files, I think the image quality is excellent. It's not perfect, but then what camera is?
The famous "hum" actually sound more like air from a tiny fan in the camera, or like when you hold a seashell to your ear. Most of the time I don't notice it- in fact I have accidentally left the camera on several times and forgotten about it. I don't hear anything. It might be audible in a completely silent room, but barely.
I am normally a bargain hunter- I rarely pay full price for anything. When the first PEN came out I thought it too expensive and passed on it. I was very nervous about paying over $1000 for a camera combo- I'd didn't even pay that for any of my DSLRs! That said, I have no regrets about paying full price for this camera.
My only complaint is that I really wanted the silver body but they seem to be quite rare right now. Seriously, after handling this camera I forgot all about color preferences.
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets most everything right...,
- As an Olympus camera this thing is ridiculously configurable. You can swap dial functions, directions, many programmable buttons and so forth. This means from an ergonomic perspective you can get it to do nearly anything you want.
- It is most definitely a small camera. Some early adopters are finding that troublesome and prefer to add the optional grip. Personally I don't mind small cameras and so far have been very happy using it.
- The IBIS system does make a whispering noise. It is audible to the photographer in a quiet room. Still audible held at arms length in a very quiet room.
- The shutter is very quiet for a focal plane shutter. Certainly the quietest micro-four-thirds shutter so far.
- The IBIS system is very good, at least at the moderate focal lengths I've tested it at (45mm) it performs exceptionally with an easy 3 stop advantage. A quick test at around 150mm was less satisfactory, maybe two stops at best though is seems to be what the Panasonic OIS systems are doing at such focal lengths as well. More testing needed.
- Image quality is excellent. I'm still waiting for RAW support from Adobe, but interim tests by myself and others show it at least on par with the GH2 and G3 - perhaps a bit better in both high ISO noise and low ISO dynamic range.
- AF is very fast. Early adopters have discovered a rather interesting "feature" - you can make many AF functions perform even better by selecting higher contrast and saturation settings in the camera. It appears the CDAF system uses the JPEG engine output. Counter intuitive to be sure, but users are posting clear improvements in continuous AF mode especially if using high contrast vivid settings.
- One apparent gotcha so far - IBIS does not function in video mode with adapted MF lenses. They work just fine in stills mode, and IBIS works in video mode with native micro-four-thirds lenses just fine, but no luck with adapted lenses in video mode for IBIS. Multiple users confirm and I've tested this as well. So if you've got a bunch of adapted cine lenses you were hoping to use hold off until it is determined that this is a correctable firmware bug or a true limitation of the IBIS system.
- The OLED display on the back (LCD I suppose you could call it) has a fairly pronounced color shift when viewed even slightly off angle. This appears to be a limitation of this type of OLED display. Things go a bit green when viewed even 10 or 15 degrees off axis. A slightly annoying aesthetic issue.
Overall a wonderful camera. Excellent sensor plus great IBIS opens up lots of possibilities for low light shooting with primes that hasn't existed in this system so far. Either you got IBIS and a so-so sensor from Olympus or a good sensor and no IBIS from Panasonic. Best of both worlds with this camera.
Warnings would be that some folks find it "too small" to be comfortable and that it is not an inexpensive camera so consider the value proposition. For instance, the Panasonic G3 is significantly less expensive and has comparable image quality and many comparable features.
That's it for now, but definitely a five star product in my book.
Some further thoughts, some comparing to the GH2.
- There isn't a particularly quick way to change between bracketing and standard shooting on the OM-D (the GH2 has a nice dedicated switch). In theory you could use a "Myset" on the OM-D (the Olympus implementation of custom modes) but I really find the "Myset" implementation to be difficult to use and suspect I'll never use it. The OM-D does support a vast array of bracketing options.
- The GH2 has a "record" button right on the top of the camera that switches you to video mode and is easy to bump, a definite annoyance. On the OM-D you can program its similar button to do something actually useful which is much better.
- There is an excellent live view mode called "highlights and shadows" which displays highlight and shadow clipping areas in real time on the live view (highlights turn orange, shadows blue). You can even set the thresholds for the clipping indicators. This is an excellent feature, and more useful than a live histogram if you are attempting "expose to the right" kinds of techniques. Many cameras (GH2 included) can display clipping in playback, but of course it is most useful in live view. Of course the clipping indicators are based on the JPEG engine so if you would need to tweak the JPEG settings to better match RAW levels if you are a RAW shooter.
One more thought on the camera being small and the grip a bit "crimpy". It seems like from reading user reviews those that typically shoot with two hands (left cradling the body and lens, right controlling the camera) are likely to be happy. Those that often shoot with one hand are probably going to notice the tight grip and controls placement more.
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