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Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Mirrorless Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen [Body Only] (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- 16.1MP CMOS Micro Four Thirds sensor
- 9 frames per second continuous shooting
- 35-area contrast detect AF
- ISO 200-25,600
- 1080 HD video
- Articulated 3.0 inch touchscreen LCD with 610,000 dots
- Electronic viewfinder with 1,440,000 dots
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|Auto Focus Technology|
|Compatible Mountings||Micro Four Thirds|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||9 fps|
|Display Fixture Type||Tilting|
|Display Resolution Maximum||610000|
|Display Size||3 inches|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||25,600|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||200|
|Exposure Control Type|
|External Memory Included||No|
|File Format||JPEG, DCF, DPOF compatible, MPO compatible|
|Flash Memory Type||SD/SDHC/SDXC|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/250 sec|
|Flash Type||via Hot-shoe (FL-50/FL-50R, FL-36/FL-36R, FL-20, FL-14, FL-300R, FL-600R)|
|Focus Description||Contrast Detection with 3D Tracking|
|Focus Type||Includes Manual Focus|
|Form Factor||SLR-style mirrorless|
|HDMI Type||Mini HDMI type-D|
|ISO Range||Auto (200 - 25600), 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600|
|Image Aspect Ratio||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Item Dimensions||3.5 x 1.69 x 4.8 inches|
|Item Weight||0.94 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||12.2 Watt Hours|
|Lithium Battery Voltage||7.6 Volts|
|Lithium Battery Weight||1.6 ounces|
|Manufacturer Warranty Description||Limited 1 year|
|Material Type||Magnesium alloy|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000 of a second|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||4,608|
|Metering||Multi, Center-weighted, Spot|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||60 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||16 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||MOS|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Processor Description||TruePic VI|
|Remote Control Description||Optional (RM-UC1)|
|Sensor Cleaning Method||Supersonic Wave Filter|
|Shipping Weight||2.35 pounds|
|Style Name||Body Only|
|Supported Battery Types||Lithium-Ion BLN-1 rechargeable battery & charger|
|Touch Screen Type||Yes|
|Video Capture Format||h.264;motion_jpeg|
|Video Capture Resolution||1080p_hd|
|Viewfinder Description||1440000 dots|
|Water Resistance Level||Waterproof|
Review summary from DPReview
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is certainly the most capable Micro Four Thirds camera we've reviewed and arguably the most likeable mirrorless model yet. It falls down a little bit on its continuous focusing but we have absolutely no complaints about the image quality. It's small, attractive, and a pleasure to use, and its pictures are equally enjoyable.
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
Sample images from DPReview
Sample images for Olympus OM-D E-M5
A new era in Micro Four Thirds technology is about to begin. The new, revolutionary mirrorless camera, the OM-D E-M5, has an exceptionally light and compact body. Its Electronic View Finder enables photographers to check exposure levels, white balance and preview Art Filter effects in real-time.What’s in the box: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only, Black), FL-LM2 Flash Unit, BLN-1 Lithium-Ion Battery, BCN-1 Battery Charger, Body Cap, USB Cable, A/V Cable, Shoulder Strap, Olympus Viewer 2 CD-ROM and 1-Year Limited Warranty.
Use this comparison chart to compare all of the Olympus OM line.
From the Manufacturer
THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW
A new era in digital SLR technology is about to begin. Up to now, digital SLRs simply replaced film with an electronic imaging device, which did not significantly change the products in terms of size, weight and user interface. The new, revolutionary mirrorless camera, the OM-D E-M5, has an exceptionally light and compact body. Its Electronic View Finder enables photographers to check exposure levels, white balance and preview Art Filter effects in real-time. When shooting, the photographer can instantly "create" a truly unique world and preserve it in exceptional quality. The "world" will be transformed from something you see to something you "take part" in.
The OM-D is a groundbreaking, new digital interchangeable lens camera perfect for people who want to "take part", "create", and "share".
The OM-D's new high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF) features a 100% field-of-view coverage and 1.15x maximum magnification that let you totally immerse yourself in your subject, and actively control image creation. The EVF also enables you to enlarge the focus point for precision focusing in virtually any shooting situation, and can show you the effect of Highlight & Shadow Control, White Balance, Exposure Compensation, Aspect Ratio, and a host of other settings and advanced digital image processing functions right in the viewfinder. With improved precision and responsiveness that make it as easy to use as an optical viewfinder, the OM-D's advanced EVF gives you virtually unlimited creative control.
HIGH IMAGE QUALITY
Three key factors contribute to the OM-D's unprecedented image quality: a wide lineup of M.ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses for sharp, clear subject capture, a new 16-megapixel Live MOS image sensor for rich tonal expression, and an advanced TruePic VI image processor for superb color fidelity. The optimal balance of these factors ensures the high resolution, sensitivity, and color accuracy you need to brilliantly capture the world around you.
The world's fastest* AF system, FAST AF, has been made even faster and more accurate on the OM-D. Improved new 3D Tracking AF assures you won't miss the moment even when subjects move toward or away from you, and the new high-sensitivity image sensor ensures superior AF performance even in dim light. *Among digital cameras with interchangeable lenses available as of February 8, 2012, when using the OLYMPUS M. ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ lens with the E-M5, based on Olympus in-house measurement conditions.
9 FPS HIGH-SPEED SEQUENTIAL SHOOTING
Thanks to the new 16-megapixel Live MOS image sensor's high-speed read-out performance, the OM-D offers maximum sequential shooting at 9 fps, making it easy to capture sports action or fast-moving subjects such as pets and wildlife. In addition, a compact new high-speed shutter mechanism enables the OM-D to offer this performance without compromising the handling advantages of a light and compact body.
5-AXIS IMAGE STABILIZATION
The OM-D is equipped with the world's first 5-axis image stabilization system, and can compensate for vertical, horizontal, and rotational camera shake that conventional 2-axis systems of the past have been unable to handle. Built into the camera body to ensure effective stabilization with all lenses, its unique 5-axis design makes it particularly effective when taking high-magnification telephoto shots, macro close-ups, and long exposures. In addition, it can be activated by pressing the shutter button halfway, so you can also use it to stabilize the viewfinder image and obtain a crisp, clear view of your subject that makes it easy to frame and compose your shots.
DUST-PROOF & SPLASH-PROOF CONSTRUCTION
Trouble-free shooting in all environments is assured by our proven dust-proof and splash-proof technology. Numerous specially constructed seals throughout the body protect the camera from sand, dust, rain, and water spray, making it ideal for all kinds of outdoor shooting. What's more, this protection extends to the M.ZUIKO ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ lens, the bundled detachable flash unit, and the optional HLD-6 grip and power battery holder.
TILTING 3-INCH OLED TOUCHSCREEN
In addition to offering dial and button controls, the OM-D is the first Olympus camera to feature a tilting touchscreen monitor for intuitive fingertip operation. The 3-inch OLED touchscreen delivers high-resolution images of your subject with rich color reproduction. It also responds instantly to your touch with fast operation that makes it easy to focus on subjects, play back images, and adjust settings such as exposure and white balance.
LENSES AND ACCESSORIES
In addition to its new electronic motorized M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ lens with quiet, linear drive AF, the OM-D is supported by an ever-expanding range of wide-angle, macro, portrait, and telephoto Micro Four Thirds M.ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses. System accessories include cases, straps, filters, external flash units, and mount adapters for Four Thirds System lenses and OM System lenses.
Top Customer Reviews
[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.
The not-so-technical review:
The most amazing aspect of this camera, as a photo enthusiast, is that in theory, from what we know about digital photography, it shouldn't be this great. A camera this small should not give a full-frame DSLR a good run for its money. It shouldn't even be a contest between and APS-C and a m3/4 sensor, but it is! Olympus must have found a secret alchemical potion with powerful arcane power because this camera is what I call a true market shaker. A trend-setter. A disruptive technology.
Couple years back you could've suggested me to give up my beloved 5D for a m4/3 and I would have laughed at your face for having such ludicrous ideas. Today, with Olympus leading the way, not only would I say you were 100% correct, but in fact, I would go further and say that DSLRs have their days counted in the-high end hobbyist arena. Looking back, the 5D was mighty expensive, it was heavy and bulky, and for most situations not all that much better than the OM-D E-M5 -- in fact, the difference is marginal at best.
I also considered the NEX6/7, the Fujifilm EX1 and others. They all sounded equally good, with the exception of available variety of lenses, which tilted the balance for me for this camera.
Add to that the fact that there are tons of available premium vintage lenses compatible via converter with the m4/3 format and you get a camera with virtually limitless options for your creativity.
The slightly-more-technical review:
* ISO performance (noise): in my informal tests with some control shots I took with the 5D at different ISOs, then compared with this little camera, up to ISO 800 it's really a wash both perform very, very similarly. Over 800, however, the 5D has slight edge, but not all that pronounced, to be honest. At ISOs 2000+ the 5D wins out, but neither produce acceptable noise levels without heavy post-processing noise reduction.
* Video: I don't record video all that often, but the 5D video settings were archaic even if it produced beautiful 1080p videos. The OMD video is just as gorgeous and the settings are very intuitive.
* Auto-Focus: The OMD is far superior to the 5D MK II in this respect. I cannot fathom why a camera with a sensor 1/2 the size of the 5D's can focus so wickedly fast. No question, at least in my usage.
* Shutter Lag: none to speak of.
* User-friendliness: here is where I took 1/2 star off. In as amazing as this camera is, if you are not well versed in photography or have good tech sense, you would have a hard time figuring out how to customize you camera to make the best of it. It's like a having a Lamborghini stuck in second gear. They packed too many buttons and nobs and wheels together and the menus can be overwhelming if you do not know what you are doing. The 5D was much easier to use and readily intuitive.
* manuals: another 1/2 star loss for this camera. The 5D had two decent manuals, a quick reference and even a pocket reference card. This camera has a "manual" which is just reference and nothing else. Other than that you are on your own. No reason why a $1000 camera shouldn't have a comprehensive manual hard copy.
* EVF vs OVF: In spite of the fact that the EVF is (and likely) will never be as they real thing (OVF), I'm beginning to like it -- a lot. The ability to see exactly what the picture will look like, the ability to see live depth-of-field is so important to me that I'm willing to forgo the beauty and crispiness of a real OVF.
* Battery life: The OMD EM5 has decent battery life, but it just doesn't come even close to the 5D. I could shoot for days, hundreds and hundreds of pictures with the 5D and not have to charge. But this is a completely unfair comparison given that the 5D had lots of electro-mechanical parts, where as the EM5 are purely electronic (thus more battery hungry), in addition of course to the OLED touch screen and the EVF that probably suck quite a bit of juice.
This camera shouldn't exist. If it did it shouldn't be this good. But ... it does exist and, yes, it is that good. Unless you are a professional photographer making a living off your camera(s), there really is no good reason to own a bulky, clunky DSLR anymore. If you are looking or planning to take the jump to the mirrorless camera world, you simply cannot go wrong with this camera.
After more thorough and real world testing, I have couple of caveats to add to this review.
Noise: while at first it seemed as if this camera delivered noise levels on par with the 5DMkII up to ISO 800 (see above), on real usage noise is definitely an issue above ISO 400, specially on low light. I have to run NR software on every other picture I've shot above ISO 400. That used not to be the case for the 5D until ISOs above 1600. So now I can really see the difference.
Navigation/Menu UX: in short a horrible mess. An intricate labyrinthine set of menus with a cornucopia of options and settings for even the most obscure of use cases that will make your head spin and you will not find the setting you are actually looking for. Oh, and heavens forbid you reset your custom settings, you aren't getting those back any time soon. A big, big swing-and-miss on Olympus part.
I considered lowering the rating to 3 from the original 4, but decided against it because all in all the camera is worth its salt and doesn't deserve a low 3-star rating.
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