The Olympus OM-d/ Em-5 – User review
Olympus has produced some of the best cameras and lenses over the years in both film and digital and the brand new Om-d/EM-5 does not disappointment.
The Om designation and the slr look comes from the original Olympus film camera from many years ago. The EM-5 is the first camera in the OM-D line, and comes with old-school looking body with a lot of “world-first” functions. Styled like a classic OM series SLR, the dust- and splash-proof magnesium alloy body holds a new 16.1 million pixel Live MOS sensor.
There are some exceptional technical advances in this camera. Olympus has always been known for thinking out of the box and creating new and innovative ideas for their cameras.
When this camera was first announced and before I was able to get hands on a body I really had the feeling that it was too small and that it was a mistake for Olympus to design a new body that looked like an old slr film camera. They had been so successful with the Pen series (which is still current) that it simply did not make sense to me.
I was wrong.
From the moment I took the body out of the box, put on a 45mm 1.8 Olympus Lens there was no doubt in my mind that this was an incredible tool with a wonderful feel that was going to make itself a part of me. It has.
All of the controls are well placed on this small body so that someone with large hands like mine have no problem with operating everything. As a matter of fact there is an accessory vertical grip and battery pack which also has a great feel and additional controls.
The cameras auto focus is best in class. It is fast. accurate and captures great action on the fly. This is achieved by a development of the FAST AF (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) that’s also found in newer Olympus PEN series.
The electronic view finder is clear,crisp and accurate. This is a photographers camera allowing full use of all the controls that enable you to take full control of your image creation. Aperture control, Speed Control, Iso Control and under and over exposure controls. It is also as automatic as you would like with some very advanced i auto features.
The fact that it is small and light weight is a plus. I have been an advocate of less size and less weight for several years now and this camera provides all of that and more. I can take this system everywhere without the burden of size and weight getting in my way.
The Jpeg files right out of the camera are outstanding and the raw files are nothing short of incredible and process beautifully in Adobe Lightroom 4.1 and Adobe Photoshop 6.0.
The OM-D features the world’s first 5-axis image stabilization (IS) system. In addition for correcting yaw and pitch movement, the new IS mechanism also adjusts for horizontal shift, vertical shift and rolling. This will work for all micro four third lenses as well as adapter lenses like Leica, Nikon, Voigtlander and more. Most people who know me always here my pushing tripods and ball heads as the best image stabilization around. Well, this new Olympus system has been allowing me to shoot hand held at some pretty slow shutter speeds. It can not equal the stability of a tripod, no camera or lens can, but it is the best I have used.
Does it do what big and heavy dSLR cameras can do? Yes for most of the images that people shoot. No for the person who likes to shoot sports and needs to the continuos rapid firing capability that only a dSLR can provide along with very precise focus tracking. The Olympus does a good job for moving targets but not as well as current dSLR cameras.
The specs of this camera are:
- 16.1 million pixel Live MOS sensor
- FAST AF autofocus system plus 3D tracking
- 1.44 million dot EVF with 100% field of view
- TruePic VI image engine
- ISO 200 – 25,600
- 5-axis image stabilisation
- 3-inch tilting 610k-dot OLED touchscreen
- Full HD 1920 x 1080
- Live Bulb feature
- New ‘Key Line’ Art Filter
As of this writing the Om-d both black and chrome are backordered. It is worth waiting for. You may never pick up another camera after you get your hands on this.
OM-D lenses and accessories
New accessories have come out with the camera, including the HDL-6 two-part power battery grip holder. It can be used either as a landscape grip or (with the second part attached) as a portrait grip which accommodates an extra lithium-ion battery and enables the camera to record about 650 images. An MMF-3 Four Thirds mount adapter and FL-600R electronic flash are available.