May 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm #1290363
Of the camera brands present at the Melbourne Digital show , Olympus made the biggest impression on me.
Not accidentally the OM D E-M5 dominated the very large stand so I had a play with it.
A bit smaller than the original OM bodies but between that and the various accessories available for it, including the newly resurrected Zuiko branded ones , I could see a return to what Olympus did best, to put a lot of quality into small packages.
The 3" screen on the OM D is very detailed , after adjusting the viewfinder to my sight it also worked well indeed for me being pretty close to an SLR type image.
The body is weatherised , so if you use one of the weatherised lenses on it , you can shoot in the rain or dusty sandy environments, something that most DSLRs cannot do (well not more than once or twice…)
For backpacking the 14-42 kit lens with the wide converter , giving a 22mm to 84mm equivalent, could be a good high quality low weight solution.
Or add the 40-150mm (80-300mm) tele for another 190g only.
On the stand Olympus had shots comparing its quality to the ones from full size (35 mm sensor) Nikon and Canons; hard to tell the difference.
The other camera I wanted to see, the new TG 1 was not there except as a mock up.
The size is good, slightly on the heavy side but unfortunately that is all I could gather from what I had in my hands.
FrancoMay 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm #1881402
I have been using the OM D E-M5 for a few of weeks now. It definitely has the best image quality of any of the u4/3 cameras I have tried. So I should be delighted it is a big improvement over the first u4/3 I used, the Panasonic GF1, which was already "good enough" image quality when factoring in weight+size / image ratio for me to decide I would ditch my full size DSLR. I do recommend the OM D. That said, I was a bit disappointed… because I was hoping for something unrealistically great. So my caution is don't get too caught up in the over-hype. the OM D is incremental improvement, not revolutionary improvement. There are a number of reviews online which claim it's image quality is in the same league as the better APC size sensors like the Fuji X-Pro1 or full size sensors. Under perfect lighting conditions this might be true, but in the real world, with challenge lighting situations it's shortcomings can become apparent compared to a number of cameras with larger sensors (especially at ISO 1200 or above). Thankfully, a lot of backpacking imagery can be shot at lower ISO, so unless you are doing action shots of animals with long lens or not using a tripod in for the daybreak / sunset shots, this shouldn't be too much of an issue.
One point of reference… a couple of weeks ago I shot an evening concert using the OM D and a Fuji X-Pro1, often with fairly similar quality lens mounted. I had to shoot in avail light, no flash. After the concert I showed the pictures to a number of folks. Even the non photographers consistently preferred the X-Pro1 image quality… this wasn't pixel peeking, but looking at full screen images on an iPad3 and Apple cinema display. There were a couple of shots from the OM D that were remarkable, even at ISO 3200, but most were merely OK after a bit of work in Photoshop.
Just a few years ago I remember a number of my photo buddies longing for a moderately size camera that had good image quality and many of them wondering if anyone would make such a camera. We now have numerous options to choice between. My personal recommendation would be that the OM D is the best compromise (lens choice, image quality, features). If you have to shoot in low light or are looking for maximum detail in a compact camera, and you can live with the limited lens choices, then Fuji X-Pro1 is has the most excellent, just keep it mind that it is kind of unfinished with a quirky UI and mediocre autofocus.
I am using both of these cameras depending on my needs… but I have to admit, my everyday carry camera, and the camera I find myself reaching for the most is the Fuji X100. It's quirky, feels not completely finished, but it hits my sweet spot. I really enjoy using it most of the time. I find the fix lens liberating rather than restrictive… maybe's it's because I spent so many years shooting with either a 35 or 40mm rangefinder.
–MarkMay 26, 2012 at 7:39 pm #1881418
I vacillated back and forth between the OM-D and the X100 recently, but the simplicity and sheer image quality of the Fuji sold me, despite the known fussiness of the menu system and the numerous idiosyncrasies.
I'm excited.May 26, 2012 at 9:07 pm #1881430
I'll be getting the OM-D and possibly the TG-1 when my bonus comes in next month. The OM-D is the camera I've been searching for for a long time, including its weatherized feature. This is the camera that will be going everywhere with me.
I really tried to like the Ricoh GXR system (the image quality and interface are superb), but I could never get the camera units to make sense as a system. The newest 24-85 camera unit works well enough and the image quality really is fantastic, but it's slow, has a noisy motor, is too big, and the autofocusing is frustrating.
So the Olympus cameras are my next step.May 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm #1881440
I don't think you'll be disappointed, it's a spectacular little picture-taking machine. My biggest surprise so far is the touchsceen shutter release. It's very fast and very liberating.
RickMay 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm #1881745
@jacobdLocale: North Bay
From what I've seen of the OM-D, the sensor performance is remarkable.
As with all things, knowing how to process the images properly takes them a lot further; I could hardly believe the recoverable detail (color as well) from areas of blown highlights and blocked shadows. I think in this respect the OM-D files even surpass NEX-7, which is considered by a lot of folks to be one of the best APS-C sensors out there.
My wife will likely be picking up the OM-D kit to replace her Rebel. I'm excited :DMay 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm #1881759
You think the OM-D micro 4/3 sensor outperforms the larger NEX-7? Wow.
How about high ISO performance?
Low light situations?
Ive read some reviews on this camera, all favorable. Like any camera, this one seems to come alive with really good glass, and there is plenty of it in this format.
One thing I do like about the OM-D is the styling, which resembles something of a "real" camera, albeit a bit derivative unlike the NEX system which felt like a tablet with a lens attached to the front in my hands.May 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm #1881787
Panasonic web site has the details of a new 12-35mm / F2.8 lens which should be an excellent unit.May 28, 2012 at 7:49 pm #1881865
> You think the OM-D micro 4/3 sensor outperforms the larger NEX-7? Wow.
There have been a number of reviews that suggest in some conditions that this is the case. But there are other conditions that the NEX-7 was superior. 1001 noisy camera's does a pretty good job of tracking news / reviews.
> How about high ISO performance?
> Low light situations?
My experience is that it's reliably good up to ISO 1200. After that, "it depends". I have had some some shots at ISO 1600 where noise was fairly apparent, but other shots where ISO 3200 was pretty clean. They difference? I am not sure… both where shot using a tripod with similar lighting and lens. With a bit of work using tools in photoshop I have found ISO 3200 to be usable, though not nearly as good as some other cameras.
What you would expect when the sensor is 1/2 the size of 35mm.
I think the best summary of how to view the OM-D was in the blog post in defense of dSLRs… kind of
–MarkMay 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm #1881892
Sony is about to introduce a 16-50mm G PANCAKE lens for Nex! Now, to those who are not familiar with the Minolta/Sony lens designations…"G" is an equivalent of Canon's "L" lenses. Basically it is the best, top of the line glass for the system.
If that is true – all of a sudden Nex 5n/7 or newer models become incredibly appealing due to small size and high quality output.
That said… i'm still waiting for Olympus Tough TG-1 with f2.0 25-100mm lens…May 29, 2012 at 12:04 am #1881916
@jacobdLocale: North Bay
Eugene, let me put it this way which is probably a better description of how I feel about the OM-D. It seems to be on par with the 5N in terms of image quality (maybe even better in terms of recoverable detail), and for me the 5N is about on par with my 5D (old school). So in that respect I think the OM-D sports an impressive sensor. I don't own the OM-D nor the NEX 7, so my opinion on the subject is rather based on photos and feedback from peoples I know who own one or the other (or both).
The NEX-7 has a bit of a quirky sensor too… very demanding, it even takes issue with some of Sony's own glass. So, in the real world for most users it might as well be a 5N with different ergonomics. Lots of resolution for those with quality glass and skills to handle it. In that respect I think the OM-D could be as good, or even a better camera, but I haven't formed a concrete opinion. I seem to recall Roger C. (of LensRentals.com) posting some results that favored the Oly, I might have imagined it… will have to seek that out when I have some time.
I think the Alternate Gear forum over at Fred Miranda (here) is one of the best places to discuss this stuff at length with people who are not fanboys and are just very passionate about anything NOT Canon/Nikon. I haven't been following them all but there are several multi-page discussions about the OM-D with image samples.
I think if high ISO/low light, thin DOF, or fast AF are of high importance… just get a FF SLR. Sort of like Mark mentioned already, for backpacking I don't find I need any of those things.
As far as other systems, I'm also waiting to see what Samsung comes along with this year, and sure if Sony gets off their bottom with more lenses that *might* be interesting, but the OM-D is right up there at the top for me.May 29, 2012 at 6:35 am #1881940
Thanks for the response Jacob.
The cost of the OMD seems rather reasonable considering the image quality, which apparently isn't shabby, if you're comparing it to your older FF Canon. Excellent IQ, compact body, high build quality, and a wealth of lenses- if you're looking at jumping into a full system this one seems like a no brainer.May 29, 2012 at 10:13 am #1882005
In addition to being the first weatherproof mirrorless body, the E-M5 seems to have closed the focus speed and accuracy gap vis a vis slrs.
Having had one a whopping half week I'm not yet inclined to crown it king of anything, but I know enough to advise advanced backpacking photographers that with the right lens, they can accomplish whatever they need to. Also, no matter how many pictures you might see of it, you can't appreciate how tiny it is until holding one.
RickMay 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm #1882112
Just bought mine last night. I haven't had time to do anything but take it out of the box and charge the batteries, but you're right, Rick, it's small.but feels right. I love the manual zoom of the kit lens, and the evf is nice.
For those of you who have one, does yours make that whirring sound from the image stabilizer? Mine's quite loud, though I've read that it is normal. Having seen just how well the image stabilization works, I don't mind so much.May 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm #1882142
Just to fill in…
Having sold cameras for about 30 years it has been obvious to me that often is not the tool itself but the way one likes that tool that makes the difference.
I switched from Canon to Olympus when the OM 1 and OM2 came out and I loved that system (flashguns,motor drives,macro stuff…) for several years .
Now I feel that Olympus has found its way again , the EM5 is just one item, the various new lenses and flashguns as well as some of the smaller accessories make me think that it is about to capture the heart of many amateur and some pros all over again.
BTW, it is meant to have a pretty nifty movie mode too, maybe Rick or Miguel will try that for us..
FrancoMay 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm #1882154
@oystersLocale: South Australia
Rick and Miguel, what do you think about the size of the kit lens? In the pictures, it looks pretty long to me. While the camera body is very compact, having such a long lens would kind of frustrate the packing a bit, and maybe give it a more conspicuous profile in public when you don't want to stand out? Otherwise it would work great for my research trip to India next year (fingers crossed for funding!), with dusty, dirty and then monsoonal conditions.
The body would make a great replacement for my poor tired E-P1, wish I could afford to shell out that much.May 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm #1882159
Congrats on the new camera, I hope you enjoy it! Yes, mine does make the sound–sounds to me like water running in a pipe, others have described it as a fan sound. I do hear it in quiet settings; now that I know what it is I can't say it bothers me, it's just…different.
RickMay 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm #1882162
Because the 12-50 is an internal zoom the size is fixed and yes, it's quite longer than the other kit zoom, the 14-42. Had to return a case I'd planned on using because the camera and lens simply didn't fit. That said, it's much smaller than most of my 4/3 system lenses and balances well on the body, itself. Sans hood it's pretty inconspicuous.
The other kit lens (a whopping hundred bucks) does collapse and there's also perhaps the Panny X-zoom, which is truly tiny when retracted. Unfortunately, those aren't weatherproofed, which may not match well to your anticipated conditions.
The yet-to-be-released Zuiko 60mm macro will be their second weatherproofed system lens but I suspect will be even longer than the 12-50. None of the other primes is, including the new 75, and I don't believe the Panny constant aperture zooms will be either.
It's perplexing coming from 4/3, because all the mid and high-grade lenses are weatherproof.
RickMay 30, 2012 at 4:53 am #1882254
Thanks, Rick. I'm really excited about this purchase and feel that I will finally be able to launch into fully engaging with the camera and forget about constantly wishing for more, as I was with the Ricoh GXR. I want to forget about the camera and spend time concentrating on the images and looking around me. And with the speed of this camera I can finally relax with taking street photos (including keeping the camera inconspicuous with the tilting screen… one of my earliest cameras was a Yashika twin reflex, and I loved taking photos of people with it) and probably get by without using a tripod so much (take a look at these handheld macro videos… that is quite astounding!).
I've been futzing around with the camera between bouts of work, just fondling it and gasping with pleasure; I find the interface is not as elegant or intuitive as that of the Ricoh cameras, but it's functional and not overly cluttered. I'm wondering how long it will take before I can quickly find the buttons and dials, and understand the navigation without having to scroll through and read labels….
The kit lens is somewhat long, it's true. But not overly so. The camera is so small that a lens of this range would normally be a lot bigger on a full sized DSLR, but here just about fits into the palm of my hand. Like Rick said, there are other smaller zooms, but they aren't weatherized, and for me that is a big consideration. I, too, wish they would have made at least a weatherized longer tele-zoom, up to about 150 mm. I asked the Japanese camera store staff what the prospects were for that, and after they conferred with their resident expert, it looks like Olympus has no plans for the foreseeable future.
I'm happy with the kit lens for now (still want to get the 12 mm wide angle and the 50 mm macro, and then, possibly the 150-300mm tele). I'll be using it alone for my upcoming Pyrenees walk in August (unless I decide to take the Oly TG-1 with accessory lenses instead). It should do most of what I need the camera to do. The size definitely won't be as inconspicuous or compact as something smaller, but since it is the only lens I will be carrying, it isn't so bad. Just stick it lens down into my chest pack, or slip the camera lens-down into my Capture camera clip on my hip belt, and I'm all set.
Haven't even stuck a memory card into the beast yet, so don't know what the images or videos are like… will get some examples up as soon as I've had a chance to mess around with them.May 30, 2012 at 10:47 am #1882359
The image stabilization, especially when shooting video is quite good. There was a wonder clip uploaded showing how the IS system stabilized video for a man with essential hand tremors. Very cool. The GH2 is still arguably a better platform for video, but the OM-D is the all around champ.
–markMay 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm #1882472
Yashica, Miguel, Yashica…
Yashica was the original name of the American branch of Yashima Seiki (Yashi Camera…)
FrancoMay 31, 2012 at 3:58 am #1882631
There seem to be several people now with an EM5 here. Can you guys tell me how battery life is performing for your shooting? And did you change anything in the settings to spare battery life like deactivating the ibis and lcd as many times as possible, etc? I know the CIPA-standard has 360 shots per charge but this could change a lot depending on your real life shooting conditions. I'm considering this camera but would like to know a good estimate for myself how many spare batteries I should buy afterwards to be able to cover an extended trip if I take the EM5. Thanks for any response.May 31, 2012 at 11:14 am #1882739
Have not run mine completely down yet so can't give a reasonable frame count. Experience on the camera boards is all over the map, with some folks reporting fewer than three hundred and others getting over six hundred frames.
You have complete user control over most EVF-OLED functions, and can completely disable the rear display, which I suspect will save power. You can also shut off auto-review or minimize the duration. One slight annoyance is the auto-EVF switch sensitivity can't be adjusted so sometimes it's best to switch it off, because it will switch off the rear display when you're using the touch-focus feature.
IS can be "disabled" but the system still runs because of its unique floating design, so I doubt there's a power savings. Because the lenses are quite small, AF likely doesn't draw much current and the some of the power zooms can be operated manually.
Spare batteries are hard to come by and the OEM is extremely expensive. I'll wait for reliable clones, but will want at least two spares for travel because a 32GB card holds a LOT of images.
RickMay 31, 2012 at 12:14 pm #1882761
Sorry, I tried to keep from posting that for days, but my bad sense of humor finally overcame my socialization.May 31, 2012 at 8:12 pm #1882880
heh… a good one :)
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