OM SYSTEM OM-5 Reviews
Well-featured compact camera hampered by design shortcut
Rated 3 out of 5
I bought this camera intending to use it as part of a lightweight backpacking system. It is indeed well-featured; I didn't feel like I was losing much in the way of functionality vs my E-M1MkIII, though it's not quite as nice in the hand as that body. However, it's Achilles heel for my purposes is the tripod mount which is only anchored to the plastic exterior. Similar to the E-M5 Mk III, there are documented instances of the tripod mount cracking or ripping out altogether, meaning it's not usable with a Peak Design Capture Clip for backpacking; other straps and carry systems utilizing the tripod mount are also characterized as unintended uses of the camera, and repairs may not be covered under warranty. Shame, as I really liked the feature set and image quality in this svelte little body. I've actually downgraded all the way to an E-M5 Mark II, which, while a little heavier and slightly outdated, has more robust construction.
Perfect camera to break away from the full frame myth
By Gissur Orri
Rated 5 out of 5
I have been using a Canon full frame camera for years now but I have often questioned it because of how much it weighs and how large it is for doing landscapes while hiking. I've always been told that full frame is the only way to get proper photos and the creamy bokeh and all that. I have to say that after using the OM-5 I can see that what I was told is a total myth. I can get as good or even better results with this smaller mft sensor than with a full frame sensor. When I say better I am talking about its amazing features like 50mp hand held photos which are amazing, the live ND, built in focus bracketing and all in a much much smaller package, even the lenses are a fraction of the size and at an even more affordable price. It feels liberating to switch to micro four thirds and I recommend it for everyone who photographs in the mountains.
Best small adventure camera
Rated 5 out of 5
I have or have had most micro 4/3 cameras and I have to say this is the best of all, even better than the OM-1 and G9, since it is much smaller and the image quality is the same. GH6 is huge and it defeats the purpose of micro 4/3 system. And it is the best weather sealed of all of them, while being the lightest. It is also a pleasure to use.
Perfect small adventure camera
Rated 5 out of 5
It has what I was missing in my beloved Pen F, weather sealing and live ND. It is a thing of beauty. Light as a feather without lenses but so capable that I sold my Sony full frame system, which it was great for image quality, but not cool looking, heavy and bulky. For $1,000, you cannot beat this. The G9, which I also own is a big camera, not so great for traveling, therefore the OM-5 will be in my travel bag way more often than the G9.
Learning curve - PROS and CONS
Rated 4 out of 5
I bought this camera a few months ago to work on a project that involves automatic focus bracketing/stacking. My current pro cameras Sony a9 and Nikon D800E (older models) don't offer this feature. I still shoot professionally on occasion, and have used photography extensively in my 30 year career as a social scientist. I am now retired and teach photography at a university.
My review of the OM-5: I am so used to pro-level gear, I was initially uncomfortable with OM Systems standards. There are many PROS and CONS of shooting with this camera, and as I indicated in my review headline, it has been a learning curve for me with PROS and CONS.
1. Small and lightweight, as promised.
2. Has computational photography features that other brands are just now catching up with in any robust way. In particular, for me, focus bracketing and in-camera focus stacking is what I am after.
3. Less expensive, entry level, camera. Cost is an issue as photography can be expensive. Everybody has a different budget.
4. It does have it's own image processing software (OM Workspace) that does understand it's own color system and does work with the camera's AI features. This is good. I have learned to appreciate it, and I also use Adobe CC and other software processing programs, so I have software to compare it to.
5. It is possible to do handheld focus stacking, in many situations. That is no small point and Olympus/OM Systems is to be commended for that one feature alone. This is truly impressive.
1. Handling and haptics takes getting used to. The flip-out screen doesn't really close properly which was disappointing. The buttons are tiny and impossible to use with gloves. The camera body is too small to fit in more custom buttons onto it. However, I have gotten used to these limitations.
2. I miss the pro-level dynamic range I get with my other cameras. The base level ISO on the OM-5 (ISO 200) has good enough dynamic range. But I don't like pushing it to higher ISOs as dynamic range is reduced.
3. Not convinced that OM SYSTEMS has the proper calibration for it's ISO scale, seems optimistic to me. Like they're fudging the numbers a bit.
4. The camera menu requires rote memorization. If there is a logic, I can't figure it out.
5. Images get noisy fast (digital image noise). Meaning, if I raise the ISO to 800 or 1600, I really don't like how the images look. Above that, I find the images unusable.
6. Their so called industry leading image stabilization is nowhere near what is claimed by it's brand ambassadors. I get about the same results I get on most any camera with image stabilization. The exception to this, is the ability to do handheld focus stacking, if the situation is right for it. Which, as I have said, is impressive.
So, do I recommend this camera - maybe. Depending on specific needs for photography. For general shooting the current generation of the mobile phones (iPhone, Samsung, Google) are pretty amazing. With the addition of imaging apps, you have a pretty powerful photography system in your pocket! Something to keep in mind before buying a consumer level camera.
I'm guessing that I will move onto a Full Frame camera with built-in, automatic focus bracketing when the time comes.
Would I have bought the OM-5 the first time if I knew then what I know now? That's difficult to answer, but perhaps not. Yet, I can certainly understand why the camera does work for many photographers, it does have lot's features to commend it!
Oly EM-1 Mark-iii in a Smaller Package
Rated 5 out of 5
The OM5 is a Swiss Army knife among $1000 class cameras. It does not excel at much, but does a whole lot of things well. Think of it as an EM-1 Mark 3 stuffed into a smaller body. That definitely is not a bad thing, as the Mark 3 is a very competent camera, and the smaller size and weight make the OM5 a more discrete tool. The electronic shutter is highly functional, and silent, since sensor read-out is rather speedy and rolling shutter usually is not an issue.
The menu has been panned as being too complex, obtuse, etc., but I have never met a camera menu that was really straightforward and simple (to me). The camera begs to be customized to the user's preferences. That means that a beginner who uses the camera in green mode will surely miss out on some neat features.
Image quality, of course, lags slightly behind IQ from larger sensors, but most people would never know the difference, since Micro-Four-Thirds sensors deliver better IQ than many people expect.
The lens eco-system has many options for glass and few photographers would be disappointed at the selection. The weather sealing takes the worry out of being outdoors with the camera, assuming the lens in use is also weather sealed.
The OM5 is not a world-beater, but is is a very nice, small, surprisingly capable, camera.
Amazing enthusiast travel camera
Rated 5 out of 5
I upgraded to the OM-5 from a decade old E-M5 and I'm amazed with the camera so far. I bought it for the size/weight and the weather sealing but the improved focusing, bracketing capabilities, live composite mode, pro capture, etc. are going to keep me engaged and producing exciting wilderness and travel images for a long time.
Compact Travel Camera with Pro Features
Rated 4 out of 5
I am an avid photogragher focused mostly on travel and street photograghy - while I do video, most of my work is stills. Used to shoot 35mm in the 1980s - 2000s, then went to DSLRs and as I got older I realized that compact gear with professional features and picture quality was to be had by going to MFT. IMHO Olympus had a system that just worked with me and enbaled me to be creative and really enjoy the process - the camera never got in the way. There are fine compact sensor cameras from other vendors but I gravitated to olympus. I was looking for a second MFT body but was wanting a kit that I could pack when traveling light (1 body + 1 lens)
The OMD EM1 mkiii is a +5 star camera - nothing holding it back. I felt the same way about the EM-5 mkii (I never purchased the mk iii version).
Basically the OM-5 is an OMD EM1 mkiii in a smaller and more compact form factor (similar to EM5 mkii/mkiii).
PROS: Almost all of the power of the fantastic EM1 mkiii in a travel friendly format. Buttons and functions are fully user-customizable so you can tune the camera to work like you want it to - the OM5 allows the same level of flexibility. The raw images are awesome and noise is well controlled until you get to 1600. JPEG color is always pleasing (at least to me). The neutral density filter feature and focus stacking make it easy to get very nice effects in camera with no post or ND filters + tripod. The image stabilization is super smooth for video and allows me to get razor sharp images at 2-4 seconds. Same menus as the OMD EM1 mkiii - for me this is a pro as there is nothing to learn you set everything up the same way.
Why 4 stars and not 5 lke the OMD EM1 mkiii?
Plastic body - compared with my magnesium metal EM5-mkii this camera feels cheap, all plastic body - which is too bad given the cost. I guess as a plus the body is about 5 oz lighter. No USB-C port - for fast charging and file transfer. Now option for having the updated menus of the OM1. For me this was actually good, but for anyone new to teh brand I think the ability to run OM1 menus would have been good. EVF is the same resolution as prior cameras and was already dated. It is fully functional and works well BUT higher res OLED EVF would have really been a nice feature to have. The one common negative with OLY and OM cameras is that the EVF image never does justice to the shots captured - hopefully OM systems will upgrade this in the near future.