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Olympus OM-D E-M5 review

Is this retro-styled Micro Four Thirds camera worth its high price?

Our Verdict

For

  • Excellent viewfinder
  • Tilting touchscreen
  • Customisable dials and buttons
  • High image quality at low ISOs
  • New art filters

Against

  • Plastic unresponsive buttons
  • No in-built flash
  • Odd (sound) emitted

Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample image

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In bright, natural light, the OM-D is capable of producing shots which more than compete with its DLSR rivals.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample image

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A wide variety of Micro Four Thirds lenses are now available, including Sigma third party lenses, which we used to shoot this image (30mm f/2.8). It is when using the different lenses that are available for the system that the true versatility of the camera becomes apparent.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample image

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The macro mode on the supplied 12-50mm kit lens is an impressive addition, allowing fine detail to be captured and a very shallow depth of field effect to be achieved.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample image

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A number of different art filters are available, including the Pinhole effect, which can be customised to emphasise one of three different colours - here yellow tones have been chosen.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample image

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Shot at f/9 to get a feel for the level of detail that can be captured, the OM-D has performed reasonably well, although the reds do appear slightly over vibrant, and there is some examples of over sharpening along the high contrast edges.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample image

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Shot with the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens. Here we increased the exposure compensation by +1EV to bring out the colours in the sky and flowers.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample image

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Here's another shot taken with an art filter - this time the Gentle Sepia. Art filters can be activated when using PASM modes, giving the user creative control over parameters such as aperture. Shooting in raw format means that the filter can be removed (or swapped) in post-production.

Olympus OM-D sample image

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We shot this image with the 12-50mm lens with macro mode engaged - the tip of the lens was just a couple of centimetres away from the bud of the flower, showing how impressively close the lens is able to focus to produce great detail.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample image

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Shot into the sun, flare and ghosting is apparent on this image, which also suffers from a small degree of chromatic aberration. Overall though, this is kept to a minimum.

Olympus OM-D sample image

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You can shoot in different ratios, not just the native 4:3 which is native to the camera. This includes 3:2, which is likely to be popular with those used to shooting with DSLRs, and 1:1, which produces a square crop as seen above.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample image

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Colours are generally captured well, with the whites here appearing particularly bright without losing highlight detail.

Olympus OM-D images

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The OM-D has been able to capture an impressive amount of detail, while also producing great out of focus background effects when coupled with the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens.

Olympus OM-D image

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In this low and mixed lighting, the OM-D has captured the mood well, and the Auto White Balance has done a pretty good job. Again, this shot shows how the background can be defocused for pleasing effects.

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Colours have been captured well, being bright without being overly vibrant.

Olympus OM-D

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The dramatic tone black and white filter is a new filter for the OM-D, which creates a HDR style image. You can choose from either b&w or the original colour filter.

Olympus OM-D

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The OM-D boasts ISO sensitivity shooting at up to 25, 600. Here, in this image shot at ISO 1600, noise has been relatively well controlled, while the highlights have been mostly kept intact.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenYes
Effective Camera Resolution16.1 Megapixel
GPSNo
USBYes
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyOM-D
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourSilver
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameOlympus
FeaturesSelf-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, Face Detection, Live View, External Flash Shoe
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MPEG-4, Motion JPEG (AVI), MOV
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)425 g
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Maximum Frame Rate60 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeOLED
Image Sensor TypeLive MOS
Total Camera Resolution16.9 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Camera AssemblyBody Only
HD Movie ModeYes
Battery Model SupportedBLN-1
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Eye-Fi Card
Height88.9 mm
Width121.9 mm
Depth43.2 mm
Autofocus Points35
Image FormatsRAW, MPO, JPEG
Audio FormatsWAV
Flash ModesAuto Flash, Flash OFF, Flash ON, Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain Sync, Flash Exposure Compensation, X-sync
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelE-M5
Product NameOM-D E-M5 Mirrorless Camera
Product LineOM-D
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberV204040SU000
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing Information

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. 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".

Battery Life330 Shot
Display Resolution610000 Pixel
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker