Customer Review

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small and capable camera, April 28, 2012
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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'm a long time point & shoot camera user. I've tried DSLRs in the past but found that in practice I don't carry them around because of size and weight. The Canon S95 has the features I wanted (manual controls, relatively fast lens, good sensor, pocketability), but I wanted a more capable camera when hiking and traveling. I briefly tried both the Nikon J1 and Panasonic GH2 before picking the Olympus E-M5.

The E-M5 viewfinder is an EVF similar to the GH2's but feels smoother to me. I love the E-M5's sharp screen, although it does have a slight bluish tint when viewing at an angle. The touch screen might be useful when you want to tell the camera what to focus on. It feels nicer than the GH2's but still too awkward for me to use regularly. The viewfinder adds a bit of bulk to the top. If you don't need a viewfinder, consider the more compact GX1 or PEN cameras.

When it comes to convenience vs. image quality, I highly value convenience. I know a tripod will give me better photos but in practice I don't end up carrying it around. Thus an image stabilizer is a nice feature for me. The E-M5's image stabilization works well on the 14-42 kit lens, and video stabilization is amazing. I've not tried the camera on a longer lens yet. The "maglev" image stabilizer has a hum, about as loud as my computer fan. I could hear it in my quiet house but not when I went hiking. The hum is there all the time, even when you have image stabilization turned off. If the noise may bother you, try this in person before you buy.

The menus offer lots of options, perhaps too many for most people. There are menus that control other menus. There are menus that control other menus that control other menus. There are multiple control systems (main menu, live control, live guide, super control panel, touch screen), and options to allow using multiple systems of these simultaneously, with buttons to cycle among them. There are menu options that are confusingly expressed as double negatives ("XYZ Off: Off" turns it on). The manual isn't great at explaining the menu options; I find that searching the web works better. As confusing as the menus are, I'd rather have too many than too few, and have found lots of options that make the camera work the way I want it to work. If you prefer the camera work out of the box without fiddling, this one may not be the best choice.

I love the two control dials on top. The left dial is meant to be used with the thumb, but it's a little bit of a stretch for me. The right dial is around the shutter button and is easy to turn with the index finger. Both dials are solid and "clicky". Since the right dial is easier to use I swapped the dial functions to put the primary function on the right dial. I love that most buttons are reprogrammable; I've already reconfigured all of them. The buttons are a little mushy (because of weathersealing) and occasionally it registers 0 or 2 times instead of 1. The play and Fn2 buttons are annoying to get to. The button setup is disappointing but the dials make up for it.

Holding the camera feels good but using the top control dials while also holding the camera with the right hand isn't great. I've not yet figured out a way to hold the camera that makes both my thumb and pinky happy. Given the camera's weight, it may be easier to hold with the add-on landscape grip (HLD-6). Removing the triangle pieces on the sides helps quite a bit (the plastic pops off and then the metal ring easily comes off without damaging either).

For details on the features and menu options, browse the manual available on Olympus's site (...). This manual contains many more details than the printed manual that comes with the camera. Load it on your phone or tablet so you can refer to it when you're out shooting something and need to search for the right menu option.

I've not written about image quality in this review. Three reasons: 1- I've only had the camera for a few days; 2 - as a point & shoot upgrader, I don't have good comparisons with similarly sized cameras; and 3 - I only have the kit lens at the moment. I pick cameras based on the most I can get, for my needs, in a given size and weight. The S95 is as good as I can get while fitting in my pocket. The E-M5 looks to be as good as I can get from a non-DSLR.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 29, 2012 10:48:38 AM PDT
Amit Patel says:
Amazon ate the product manual link; here it is again: http://olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_support_manuals.asp?id=1583

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2012 9:40:52 AM PDT
I don't think I'm being overly paranoid when I say it seems quite believable that Amazon did, indeed, "eat" Amit's product manual link. But I wonder WHY. I'd think the easy access to the manual would AID sales. I also wonder HOW Amazon "ate" Amit's link. Is the process somehow AUTOMATED? Or did a live human bean do the censoring? Just wonderin'...

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2012 11:05:28 AM PDT
Amit Patel says:
My guess is that links are removed to avoid problems with spam, but if that were the case, why are they allowed in comments? I don't know :)
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