– Much improved dynamic range over previous Micro 4/3 cameras – on par with most APS-C cameras
– Extremely effective In Body Image Stabilization makes for sharp shots at vastly slower shutter speeds
– Very good high ISO capability for a camera with this sensor size
– Rugged, weathersealed body that’s attractive to boot
– 9 fps burst mode with a quick clearing buffer keeps the camera very responsive
– Very quiet shutter
– Excellent Electronic Viewfinder
– Fast and generally accurate single shot autofocus
– High resolution and responsive capacitive touchscreen that tilts for waist level or above the head shooting
– High quality JPEG engine
– Good quality video
– Good ergonomics with excellent feel on the dials
– Interface is massively customizable
– Menu system is poorly laid out and confusing
– Continuous autofocus is a letdown
– Autofocus, while good, is not quite up to the level of the latest Panasonic bodies in low light
– Rear buttons are a bit squishy and don’t have any tactile feedback to let you know they’ve been pressed
– Some common functions like bracketing are buried in menus
– OLED screen exhibits color shift when viewed off-axis
– Flash exposure underexposes by default, though can be corrected with an extra stop of FEC.
– Video lacks 24p mode
While the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is not quite up to the level of the Panasonic GH2 in the video arena, as a still photography machine it’s really brought Micro 4/3 to a new level.
The E-M5 is not perfect by any means, and there is room for Olympus to make some improvments. It’s a little bit of a quirky body and there is definitely a learning curve when setting up the camera. Luckily, you CAN set up the body to your liking, as huge portions of the interface can be customized. The autofocus precision also isn’t quite up to the crazy good standard the the latest Panasonic bodies can achieve (though still as good or better than most SLRs in single shot mode).
The good news is that despite these flaws, the camera is still extremely enjoyable to use. The negatives don’t ultimately detract from all the things the camera gets right. The IBIS is phenomenal and has enabled shots I just simply couldn’t get with other cameras. The image quality is easily best of the Micro 4/3 cameras, with a much expanded dynamic range and lower noise at higher ISOs bringing overall image quality in line with APS-C mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. The camera feels good in hand and is just a FUN camera to shoot. With quick autofocus, great shot to shot response and a wonderful 9 fps burst mode, the E-M5 has risen to take the crown as the new King of the Micro 4/3 system. My GH2 is off to a new home as the E-M5 takes its place in my bag.
Additional Image Samples
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