Photography / Hands-on Review

Hands-On Review: the Olympus OM-D E-M5


Perhaps Olympus was right when it declared, “A new era in Micro Four Thirds technology is about to begin.” With the combination of mirrorless camera functionality and SLR professional quality, Olympus seems to be aiming to make history repeat itself with the innovative OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera. With the body design similar to that of a certain OM 35mm SLR film camera from the 1970s, the technology beneath this familiar exterior is far newer in the mirrorless digital OM-D E-M5.

Getting the jump on earlier mirrorless cameras such as the Olympus PEN series, it captures much higher 16.1Mp images in JPEG or RAW format, shoots full HD 1920 x 1080 video, and features both an electronic viewfinder and 3.0-inch tilting OLED display. Its construction is literally airtight, keeping dust and moisture out, thanks to the multiple seals around its panels and button openings. Going beyond the expected, it also offers one of the fastest autofocus systems around, and unlike many other mirrorless cameras it has an electronic viewfinder that allows you to view image adjustments in real time.

This video will continue to explain and demonstrate to you the many added benefits and features of the Olympus OM-D E-M5. From the variety of available Micro Four Thirds lenses, to the great low-light performance and ISO sensitivity, you’ll see and hear it all in our hands-on video review.

Memory SD, SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I compatible, Eye-Fi Card compatible (Class 6 is recommended for Movie shooting.)
Screen size 17.3mm (H) x 13.0mm (V)
Sensor type 4/3 Live MOS Sensor
Number of pixels / Aspect ratio Number of effective pixels: 16.1 million pixels
Total number of pixels: Approx. 16.9 million pixels
Aspect ratio: 1.33 (4:3)
Dust reduction Supersonic Wave Filter (dust reduction system for image sensor)
Filter array Primary color filter (RGB)
Recording format DCF, DPOF compatible / Exif, PRINT Image Matching III, MPO compatible
File format RAW (12-bit lossless compression), JPEG, RAW + JPEG, MPO (3D still)
Recording image size RAW: 4608 x 3456 pixels - JPEG: 4608 x 3456, 640 x 480 pixels
File sizes RAW: 4608 (H) x 3456 (V) (approx. 1/1.5 lossless compressed) Approx. 17MB
Set1 (LF): 4608 (H) x 3456 (V)  (1/4 compressed) Approx. 7.5MB
Set2 (LN): 4608 (H) x 3456 (V)  (1/8 compressed) Approx. 3.5MB
Set3 (MN): 2560 (H) x 1920 (V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 1.1MB
Set4 (SN): 1024 (H) x 768 (V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 0.3MB
Type Built-in Image sensor shift type for movie & still, 5-axis image stabilization (yaw/pitch/vertical shift/horizontal shift/rolling)
Modes 3 modes (IS1, IS2, IS3), OFF
Manual Focal Length Setting Input focal length 8, 10, 12, 16, 18, 24, 28, 30, 35, 40, 48, 50, 55, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 100, 105, 120, 135, 150, 180, 200, 210, 250, 300, 350, 400, 500, 600, 800, 1000 
Effective compensation range maximum 5 EV steps 
Shutter speed range 60 - 1/4000 sec. (Not available when Bulb is selected)
Eye-level finder type Eye-level electronic viewfinder,  approx. 1.44M 
Eye point / Finder styles Approx. 100% / Approx. 0.92x*1 - 1.15x*2 (-1 m-1, 50mm lens, Infinity)
*1: at Finder Style 1, 2 (aspect 4:3)
*2: at Finder Style 3 (aspect 4:3)
Diopter adjustment range Approx. 18mm (-1 m-1, Distance from rear lens surface) / -4 ~ +2 m-1
Preview Available with Live Preview function button [custom function]
Level gauge 2-axis level gauge; horizontal /vertical
Finder style Selectable from 3 types
Brightness / Color temperature control ±7 levels 
Eye cup Removable, Optional eye cup EP-11 is available
Live view 100% field of view, Exposure compensation preview, WB adjustment preview,
Gradation auto preview, Face detection preview (up to 8 faces),
Grid line, Histogram, Magnification display (x5/x7/x10/x14)
Grid/ Monitor display types Normal Mode, Grid Line Mode(4 types), Histogram Mode, Magnified View Mode, OFF
Magnification ratio x5, x7, x10 (Default), x14
Monitor information Aperture value, Shutter speed, Auto Bracket, AE Lock, AF mode, IS, Shooting Mode, Battery Check, Myset, Internal Temperature Warning, Face / Eye Detection, Histogram, Number of storable still pictures, Record mode, ISO, Sequential shooting, Self-timer, White Balance, Metering Mode, AF confirmation mark, Exposure Compensation Value, Spot-metering Area, Flash Mode, Flash Status, Flash intensity Control, Super FP, Focusing length, Tone control, Eye-Fi condition
Display of Face Detection Max. 8 frames of face detection can be displayed
Monitor specs 3.0" tilting OLED monitor - Approx. 610k dots
Touch control Touch shutter release, Touch enlargement, Touch Live Guide, AF area selection, AF area enlargement, Frame advance/backward, Enlargement playback, Touch Super Control Panel
Tilting angle Upward tilting angle: up to 80 degrees
Downward tilting angle: up to 50 degrees
Brightness / Color temperature control ±2 levels / ±3 levels
Color tone select Vivid / Natural
AF Type High-speed imager AF
Focus modes Single AF (S-AF) / Continuous AF (C-AF)* / Manual Focus (MF) / S-AF + MF / AF tracking (C-AF + TR) *
Full-time AF Available
Magnified frame AF Selectable from over 800 AF points - Magnification x5, x7, x10 (Default), x14 selectable
Face detection AF / Eye detection AF Eye Detection AF mode: OFF, Nearer-eye priority, Right-eye priority, Left-eye priority
Focusing point / Focusing point selection 35-area multiple AF / All target, Group target area (9-area), Single target
AF illuminator Yes
Manual focus assist  Live view image is magnified when the focus ring is rotated (at S-AF+MF or MF mode)
AF tracking Yes 
TTL Image sensor metering Digital ESP metering (324-area multi pattern metering), Center weighted average metering, Spot metering, Spot metering with highlight control, Spot metering with shadow control
Metering range EV 0 - 20 (at normal temperature, 17mm f/2.8, ISO 100)
Exposure modes i Auto, P: Program AE (Program shift can be performed), A: Aperture priority AE, - S: Shutter priority AE, M: Manual, Bulb, Time, Scene select  AE, Art Filter, - Underwater wide / macro (Selectable from menu as a function on Fn-1/Rec button)
Scene Select AE Modes Portrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Sport, Night, Night + Portrait, Children, High Key, Low Key, DIS mode, Macro, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Documents, Panorama, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Fisheye Conv., Wide Conv., Macro Conv., 3D (Still image only)
ISO sensitivity AUTO: ISO 200 - 25600 (customizable, Default 200-1600) / Manual ISO 200 - 25600, 1/3 or 1 EV steps selectable
Exposure compensation ±3 EV in 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps selectable
AE lock Locked at 1st release of shutter button (can be set to Fn1/REC button)
Metering standard value adjustment 1/6 EV step, +/- 1EV range 
Type Computerized focal-plane shutter
Shutter speed 1/4000 - 60 sec. (1/3, 1/2 or 1EV steps selectable.) - Bulb: default setting 8 min.  (1/2/4/8/15/20/25/30 min. selectable.)
Flash intensity control method TTL Auto, Auto*, Manual, FP-TTL AUTO*, FP-MANUAL* (* Available on the external flash)
Built-in flash No
Bundled flash (FL-LM2) TTL flash, GN=10 (ISO 200・m) / GN=7 (ISO 100・m)
Flash mode Flash Auto, Redeye, Fill-in, Flash Off, Red-eye Slow sync. (1st curtain), Slow sync. (1st curtain), Slow sync. (2nd curtain), Manual(1/1)(FULL~1/64)
Synchronization speed 1/250 sec. or less* (using the bundled flash)
* Depending on flash models or flash mode
 FL-50R: 1/180 sec., Except FL-50R: 1/200 sec., Super FP: 1/125-1/4000 sec.
Flash intensity control Up to ±3 EV in 0.3, 0.5, 1 EV steps selectable
Compatible external flash FL-50/FL-50R, FL-36/FL-36R, FL-30, FL-20, FL-14, FL-300R, FL-600R
Color Temperature  5500 ± 400 K
Control method Triggered and controlled by bundled flash (FL-LM2)    
(Available on FL-LM1/ FL-600R--Olympus Wireless RC Flash system compatible)
Number of channels 4 channels 
Number of groups  4 groups (External flash 3 groups + a bundled flash)
Drive mode Single-frame shooting, Sequential shooting, Self-timer
Sequential shooting maximum speed [Sequential shooting H mode]   9.0 fps
[Sequential shooting L mode]   3.5 fps / 4.2 fps in case of "I.S. OFF"
Max. recordable pictures on sequential shooting

[RAW]   Max. 17 frames (in seq. shooting L), Max. 11 frames (in seq. shooting H)

[JPEG]  Up to full extent of data strage capacity (in seq. shooting L), Max. 17 frames (in seq. shooting H) - (with TOSHIBA SDHC UHS-I card R95-W80 8GB model, under Olympus test standard)

Self-timer Operation time: 12 sec., 2 sec. 
Wireless remote control Not available
Exposure bracketing 2, 3 or 5 frames in 0.3/0.7/1.0EV steps selectable, 7 frames in 0.3/0.7EV steps selectable
White balance bracketing 3 frames in 2, 4, 6 steps selectable in each A-B/G-M axis
Flash bracketing 3 frames in 0.3/0.7/1.0EV step selectable
Art filter bracketing i-Enhance, Vivid, Natural, Muted, Portrait, Monotone, Custom, Art Filters selectable
Mode (Variation / Effect) Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Cross Proscess, Gentle Sepia, Dramatic Tone, Key Line 
Art Effect Soft Focus Effect, Pin-Hole Effect, White Edge Effect, Frame Effect, Star Light Effect
Movie Recording  MOV (MPEG-4AVC/H.264) - Full HD: 1920 (H) x 1080 (V), 20 Mb/s Fine, Approx. 29 min.17 Mb/s Normal Approx. 22 min. -   HD: 1280 (H) x 720 (V), 13 Mb/s Fine, 10 Mb/s Normal, Aspect 16:9, Max 4GB. - AVI (Motion JPEG) HD: 1280 (H) x 720 (V), 30 fps, Approx 29 min. Aspect 16:9. SD: 640 (H) x 480 (V), 30 fps, Approx 29 min. Aspect 4:3, Max 2GB. Motion-JPEG Format: 1/12(HD), 1/8(SD)
Effects Movie Effect: One shot echo / Multi echo - Art Filter Movie, Aperture priority Movie, Shutter Priority Movie, Manual Shooting Movie
IS for Movie Built in (Image sensor shift type image stabilization) - IS1. mode only
AE Lock Available
Exposure control (Movie) P: Program AE, A: Aperture priority AE, S: Shutter speed priority AE, M: Manual, Art Filter - * S mode and M mode: Shutter speed is limited in less than 1/30 sec.
Recording format Wave Format (Stereo linear PCM/16-bit, Sampling frequency 48 kHz)
Micophone/Speaker Stereo/Mono
Microphone function Wind Noise Reduction,  Recording Volume, Audio dubbing possible for still pictures (up to 30 sec.)
Maximum recording time Picture with Sound: 30 sec. - Movie: depend on Movie Recording Time
White balance mode Auto WB, 7 Preset WBs, 2 Capture WBs, Custom WB (Kelvin setting)
White balance compensation ±7 steps in each A-B/G-M axis   * Except for Custom WB
Auto WB system Live MOS sensor 
Preset white balance Sunny (5300K), Shadow (7500K), Cloudy (6000K), Incandescent (3000K), Fluorescent (4000K), Underwater, WB Flash (5500K)
CWB (Kelvin setting) 1 setting can be registered at Kelvin temperature, 2000K to 14000K
Capture white balance 2 custom settings can be registered
Color matrix sRGB, Adobe RGB
Mode i-Enhance, Vivid, Natural, Muted, Portrait, Monotone, Custom, Art Filters
Gradation Auto, Normal, High key, Low key [except fot Art Flters]
Adjustment parameter 4 levels (Auto, Normal, High key, Low key)
Filter effect (B&W filter) Neutral, Yellow, Orange, Red, Green for Monotone
Picture tone Neutral, Sepia, Blue, Purple, Green for Monotone
At high ISO setting Off, Low, Standard, High
At slow shutter speed Off, On, Auto
On: effective when shutter speed is slower than 1 sec.
Auto: effective when shutter speed is slower than 4 sec. (at ISO 200 or higher) or 8 sec. (at lower than ISO200)
Number of pictures / Function 2 frames / Auto gain, Exposing on Recorded picture (RAW)
Aspect Ratio 4:3 (Default) / 3:2 / 16:9 / 1:1 / 3:4
Post Processing RAW: Aspect ratio is recorded as Exif data, JPEG: JPEG image is produced based on the aspect ratio
Detection 2-axis
Magnification x2
Playback mode Single-frame, Information display, Index display (4/9/25/100 frames), Calendar, Enlargement (2x - 14x), Movie (with sound, FF/REW/Pause), Picture rotation (auto), Slideshow* (with BGM/BGM+Sound/Sound) - *Slideshow: Still/Movie/Still+Movie; When a camera is connected to HDTV with HDMI cable, 3 new slideshow effects can be selectable. (Still)
Information display Histogram (independent luminance / RGB available), Highlight/Shadow point warning, AF frame, Photographic information, OFF
Languages 34 languages selectable: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Croat, Slovenian, Hungarian, Greek, Slovakian, Turkish, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Rumanian, Indonesian, Malay, Thai
Reset and custom settings (My mode) 4 settings recordable
Editing function RAW development, Gradation auto, Monochrome, Sepia, Red-eye fix, Saturation, Resize (1280 x 960, 640 x 480, 320 x 240), Trimming, Aspect, e-Portrait, Image Overlay, Post-recording
RAW picture editing RAW development based on settings of the camera (including Art Filter)
JPEG editing Shadow adjustment, Red-eye fix, Cropping, Aspect, Black & White, Sepia, Saturation, Resize, e-portrait
Image Overlay Up to 3 RAW images
Erasing function Single frame, All, Selected frames 
Protect function Single frame, Selected frames, Release protect
Print function Print reservation (DPOF), Direct print (PictBridge compatible)
USB/AV/Remote controller connector Dedicated multi-connector [USB: USB2.0 High Speed, Video: NTSC/PAL selectable, Optional Remote cable RM-UC1 can be used]
HDMI connector Micro HDMI (Type-D)
Flash attachment Hot shoe
Accessory Port 2 Dedicated multi-connector [Available for VF-2/VF-3, SEMA-1, MAL-1 and PP-1]
PC interface USB 2.0 High Speed
TV interface HDMI (HD/Stereo Sound), VIDEO-OUT (SD/Mono Sound)
DC-in [Optional Power Battery Holder HLD-6 has DC-IN jack for AC-3.]
Battery BLN-1 Li-ion battery (included)
Power battery holder (Option)  Power Battery Holder HLD-6
AC adapter (Option)  AC adapter AC-3 *Optional HLD-6 has DC-IN jack for AC-3
Sleep mode Available (1/3/5 min. off selectable)
Dimensions  4.8 inch (W) x 3.5 inch (H) x 1.7 inch (D)
[CIPA guideline compliant, excluding protrusions]
Weight Approx. 15 ounces [CIPA guideline compliant, with BLN-1 battery and Memory card]
Approx. 13 ounces    [body only]
Temperature 32 ~ +104 (operation) / -4 ~ +140 (storage) Fahrenheit
Humidity 30 - 90% (operation) / 10 - 90% (storage)