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Customer Review

190 of 200 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a Fujifilm X100 Owner: 1 Month Use, May 8, 2012
This review is from: Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Mirrorless Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen and 12-50mm Lens (Silver) (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (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.

IMAGE QUALITY
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.

FOCUSING
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.

BUILD QUALITY
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.

HANDLING
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.

CONCLUSION
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.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 12, 2012 9:39:45 PM PDT
Pablo says:
Thanks for this review. I am precisely in the position of trying to decide between the Fuji X100 and the OM-D EM-5. I currently own a Canon EOS 7D with a few good lenses. I really want something more compact and portable for day-to-day use. I have seen sample images of the X100 and they look incredible with such low noise at high ISO. But, I keep reading about focus issues, despite the latest firmware. I'm still on the fence. Just wondering if you have any second thoughts yet about not having the X100?? The thing I like about the X100 is that there no worry at all about having to start another lens collection and the image quality looks stupendous. With the OM-D, I know I'll have to purchase the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, but then I will also be in a fixed focal length scenario albeit with IBIS and perhaps more reliable focus and better video. Any more info you can provide would be much appreciated. Thank you!

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 11:01:16 PM PDT
E. Nguyen says:
The X100 is an amazing camera but only excels in certain situations. If you only use your camera for street, low light still, or flash photography, the X100 is excellent and you will be more than happy with it. If you want a camera that can do everything then the X100 is not for you. The latest firmware did improve focusing tremendously but it's still no OM-D. I was okay with the fixed focal length for about 80% of the time. If i had a choice, I would keep the X100 for a walkabout camera and use the OM-D for everything else. But since they're both pricey, I can only choose one. I mainly switched over to the OM-D to have choices in lens, more video functionality and fast focusing. I was pleasantly surprised by the image quality since all the full res jpegs posted online were kind of mediocre. But like I said in the review, the raw files from the OM-D are spectacular. They just takes a bit more work in post processing. With the image quality I get from the raws, I don't miss the X100 at all. If anything my images look better now that I take more time to fine tune them. To be fair, if you scaled down the 16MP jpegs from the OM-D to 12MP like the X100, the playing field is a bit more leveled. To me the OM-D is like a mini DSLR and that's why I love it so much. Everything I want from a DSLR just shrunken to a more compact form with no compromise. The Panasonic 20mm is a great lens and is a great value @ $360. Paired with the OM-D, it makes a very nice street combo. The X100 really is a beautiful work of art that I admire and it produces great images. But the OM-D is a well-balanced all rounder that's a true photographer's tool and not just for admiring.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 13, 2012 10:15:43 AM PDT
memo90061 says:
Thank you for your review. I had an Olympus E-520 and loved everything about it. I then moved to a Canon T2i because I also wanted video. The video is great on the T2i, but now the size is what bothers me.

Now I'm thinking about selling my T2i with Sigma 10-20mm and 30mm to buy this camera. I'm still undecided though because of ISO. My ideal camera would be the Sony RX1 from what I've read and seen, but it's just too expensive. The weather sealed body of the Olympus is also a plus!
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