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Monday, 14 May 2012


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Note on size of SLR-bodies:

I have recently upgraded to the Nikon D700, and took a comparison shot with my Nikon FG.


Both cameras are considered semi-pro for its time, but the D700 is still 120% larger in volume and 140% heavier than the FG (according to dimension-data from Wikipedia). How come cameras are growing in size whilst computers get smaller and smaller? Why can't Nikon et.al. make components that make it possible for a full frame DSLR to fit into the dimensions of, for example, an FG? If they do, put me on the pre-order list!

Duck your head and run for cover. I wrote a few nice things about the OMD EM5 and have been savaged on the forums. The "you'll-pry-my-hands-off-my-fullsized-traditional-DSLR-when-I'm-cold-and-dead crowd" is gunning for anyone who even hints that the old paradigm is changing.

That being said, nice comparison. I can hardly wait for Mike's review.

Oh, that's right, the OM-D-Exyz54321---good lord, haven't we enough letters and numbers there?---has its power switch in a different location than the E-P3. That explains why when I was looking at one at one of the big electronics chain store in Tokyo, I couldn't get it to turn on. Gave up quickly as that shop often has display models with problems.

It did seem to been slightly smaller than an OM1, though I didn't have mine there to compare. It is certainly no bigger. I was a bit surprised at how small it is.

> ...a design less prone to accidental pop-outs.

Otherwise known as Janet Jackson syndrome.

Can you turn the shutter sound down or off in these cameras, do you know?

If you want to get rid of the adapter cord, you can use one of the Apple MagSafe plug adapters instead. It's not quite as compact as a fully integrated design, but it's definitely an improvement.

Thanks Ken!
Can you please tell how useful or effective the eye-detect focus is in OM-D (the feature which can automatically detect and focus on the eyes of the subject)? Being a portrait shooter, this is the only reason I am considering this camera over others.

Well, I'll be looking forward to this camera--once B&H is able to get one for me...(got in on preorder a/o February of this year, but no joy yet...)

That's funny, I always hated the cord only chargers. I was happy when the NEX-7 came with the flip-out household plug.

I have a NEX 7, but count myself as another person intrigued by the EM-5.

One comment that I keep hearing over and over again from reviewers using the NEX at the default settings is that the EVF is too contrasty/blocked up shadows indoors,etc.

For any of you struggling with this issue who are RAW shooters, just go into the jpeg recording settings and set the contrast at -3. Voila, no more too much contrast or blocked up shadows.

Ken, I've had my OMD E-5M for a little over a week now. My primary camera has been the 5DmkII with full compliment of L glass and the OMD is my first foray into the m43's realm. After a few days use, I found the soft feel of the buttons to be a non- issue. The Super Control Panel quickly provides access to most common settings, quickly and easily. I am getting images I could never get with the 5dmkII, in part due to the IBIS and the excellent autofocus of the OMD. This camera is simply a joy to use and the Raw files at native resolution are impressive, with roughly 15x 20 images at 300dpi, having minimal noise.Coupled with the 20mm Panny, a compliment of zoom lenses, and the tilt screen, and I think I've found the perfect street camera for me. Still testing as a landscape camera, but initial results are VERY promising. This one is at least the beginning of m43's maturing into a platform for serious camera work. Brings to mind the days of using my OM1. Welcome back OM, we missed you.

Thanks for the insights, Ken. FWIW, a little tip with the NEX-7's EVF is to set your Creative Style to Neutral or Portrait and set contrast to -3, and it'll open up the EVF's contrast quite a bit. Of course, this will affect your jpeg output, but, assuming you're a raw shooter, this won't matter.

Think you've mentioned this site before showing size comparisons but they don't offer the OM film camera either.


I have the OM-1 and E-3; the OM-D is pretty similar to the OM-1 for size when I eyeball this comparison. Picking up my OM-1 now I miss the finger grip for the right hand, something the OM-D has included which should make it easier to handle than the original OM.

I was already sold on the idea of Micro Four Thirds. The lenses were there, the aspect ratio(s) were there and the size was right. All I was waiting for was a camera with a built in viewfinder I'd be happy with/could tolerate.

So, Olympus didn't sell me on M43 with the E-M5. It did something much more impressive: convince me to spend this sort of money on a camera body. Any camera body.

My name is Karl Gunnarsson and I'm a photo gear cheapskate. This summer it looks like I'll be spending an unthinkable amount of money on a camera body.

'just don't tell my wife.'

I was thinking of buying one for my wife - hopefully I'll be allowed to use it occasionally:) Quite seriously, as she is thinking of giving her LX5 to our 7 year old who shows great enthusiasm for taking pictures.

Ken, thanks for this and (more) for the Irving Penn archive. I enjoyed looking through the pictures and articles and will, no doubt, visit again in the future.


Kirk said:Duck your head and run for cover.......

Kirk, there will always be the non-believers, but you are not alone I your assessment by a long shot? For those that are curious, . Check out Damians post from today:

P.S. to my earlier post - this is also an excellent portrait tool, I've done several natural light tests, still have to try some with lights.

Thanks for summarizing your experiences, Ken. As I wait (and wait and wait) for my order to be filled, it's both comforting to read well-reasoned praise for the camera and absorm more user tips, which will really help me sift through the E-M5's ghoulishly deep user settings and controls.

E-M5 is the µ4/3 body that announced (to me) the format has finally arrived, fulfilling the promises implied when the system was first announced.

It's come far since the G1.

I have a Nikon D800 on order, but I also shoot m43 with a GF1 and the Olympus is really tempting. Small, some great lenses, better image quality than the GF1 has and IBIS really tempt me to get it as my smaller camera. Compare the Olympus 45/1.8 to a Canon/Nikon 85/1.8 and you'll see.

DSLRs are still a great choice if one needs the features of the pro/semipro models, but instead of a lower end DSLR I'd go mirrorless any day.

I want one, too! Anyone know where to find one?

I like what I hear about the OM-D EM-5 (really?), but I don't like what I see. And what I see is an awkward-looking camera.

On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoy the rangefinder-like look and feel of the Olympus EP3, Panasonic GX1 and NEX 7 (at last, no more bell-tower EVF!).

I'm looking forward with great anticipation to a sleek & solid black EP4 with all the EM-5 features including a built-in EVF (the way god intended it to be).


I have been waiting for so long for a small capable camera that I could carry and use with the simplicity of my OM1 (which I still have and use) without all the digital stuff getting in the way. My OMD arrived last week, within an hour I had it set up just the way I like it; aperture priority with easy direct control of the aperture, an excellent viewfinder and a rear screen I can turn off, autofocus set to the funtion button alongside the shutter button (I like to think about focus and exposure separately). It really is well designed, good to hold and that shutter does sound lovely. My Nikons are now on thier way to ebay!

RE: the button feel. Win some and lose some. You got great shutter sound! Seriously though, I think that's because of the weathersealing gaskets beneath them. I'll take the mushy feel if they allow me to shoot in a steady rain.

Too bad the OM-D is like unobtainium. I have a better chance of ripping one off a blue alien walking down a New York street than getting one from a store. The m4/3 prime lenses aren't much more available either.

Fortunately, Sigma has saved the NEX-7 for me as an autofocus camera. The Sigma 19, Sigma 30 and Sony 50 give me an incredibly versatile set of three small primes that only cost $750, and, on the NEX-7, they rival some of the best IQ in the business.

It's almost silly to have such great IQ in such a small package with any of these mirrorless setups. It's like having tiny medium format film cameras. I guess, rather than the Fuji Texas Leica, the NEX-7 is more like a Rhode Island Leica.

I've had an E-M5 since 4/25 and I brought it along on a wedding gig where I was a second shooter. I'll try to add to what's been written above.

The mushy buttons are price paid for a water/splash proof camera. You get used to the feel.

The two control dials on the top of the camera are the thing that makes this operate like a "real" camera instead of a mutant P&S. Av is the mode I use most. In that mode the front dial controls the aperture, the rear exposure compensation, Fn 2 AF zoom, "video" button brings up the ISO setting which is then controlled by the front dial. All the primary camera controls are direct and can be worked while looking through the viewfinder.

Based on shooting a color chart in bright sun, in Natural mode, the E-5M is much more accurate than my E-PL2. It's almost dead on when I check the RGB values with photo editing software. The default AWB setting can be adjusted. Even with adjusting the AWB of the E-PL2 it is less accurate than the E-5M.

For the first few days I changed the Keep Warm Color to OFF. It forced the WB to neutral under warm light to the extent that it looked unnatural. It's now set back to ON and it looks better; not orange, just warm.

Even with the Natural JPG setting, I find the images look a little over processed, so I have Sharpening and Saturation set to -1. You can always add salt, but you can't take it out.

The shutter sound can't be turned off because it has a mechanical shutter. This is not a P&S with an electronic shutter.

Face and eye detect work fine so long as there is only one face and a pair of eyes. More than that and there's no way to control which face wins the prize. If everyone is in the same plane of focus it's all good.

Last comment: It is not a camera for everyone. Some will find it too small and the controls too squished together. People who depend on fast zooms are out of luck, because there are none and the add-on grip would be a must have to balance the rig. Since most of my shooting lends itself to primes, I find it a near perfect camera.

I've had an e-m5 for a week and just came back from my first pro shoot with it - candid pr people shots in a somewhat dimly lit mocked up hospital room. I've been using an e-p1 for three years for my personal work, but it was never fast enough for this kind of shoot (I've been using an e-3 for that). The e-m5 is as fast to work with - with the right lens. It works beautifully with the 45mm f1.8, and the face detection is very accurate and the image quality at higher ISO's is much better than either the e-p1 or e-3. But..... Olympus - please, please, please either make the 4/3 series 14 - 54 zoom focus quickly on the m4/3 bodies, or introduce a m4/3 equivalent! I really need a fast zoom. That said, manual focusing does work pretty well once you get the hang of it thanks to the wonderful viewfinder.

It's a nice looking camera. Sure it takes a nice shot. I just wish they could have transplanted some OM-like simplicity to its menus and controls, rather than simply aping a classic design for the sake of chic retro.

Yes, Ken, you *are* a shutter sound fetishist. You just proved it!

The E-M5 seems perfect.
The megapixel race is apparently over, but the miniaturization war is going on non-stop.
I don't want to use a pro camera with my little finger on the bottom dealing with all the weight.
Some want bigger sensors, some want more DR, some want BW only, all I want is a camera with technology from the future and handling from the past.

The size comparison with the film SLR of yesteryear is a bit flawed. This might be a better comparison, comes with a whopping 250 frames:

I only jumped on the m43 wagon at Christmas. I found a E-PL1 kit for $200 and got it as my first real digital camera and have been very happy with it. I did have to get the VF3 because I don't like composing on the back and couldn't afford a VF2. It hits the "good enough" sweet spot. To go with the kit lens, I have some good legacy glass, mostly Pre-AI Nikkors, the Summitar from my prized Leica IIIf &, most recently, an old FSU I-61. With a lot of luck I'll get myself some native lenses later this year, perhaps the Sigma duo, perhaps the Oly 17/2.8.

All of this is a longwinded way of saying I'm really happy with the m43 system and can see it's going to be my primary digital system for the forseeable future. I love what I see in the E-P3 & the M5. but my budget laughs at the fantasy of getting either anytime soon, alas. But the body I have is less than six months old & I've not run into a whole lot of limitations with it's 12 mp images (monochrome, squares with the VF flipped up are a hoot. Pity I can't flip the image on the screen :LOL: )

But down the road, there will be those looking for a new silver bullet & I'll be there to snatch up their slightly tarnished old one. Now hurry up and get tired of it! :D

Our Olympus rep in Melbourne brought in a couple for us to play with, includung one with the battery grip. It's an almost essential accessory, but not very available yet. I shot some alleyway pix at night with the 12mm f2 at 1600 ISO, and they were breathtakingly good!!!No visible noise and beautifully sharp. Don't overlook the "live time" feature.... WOW this is a stunning camera!! Now, with a tiny tweak to firmware to give focus peaking with my OM 135 2.8 lens....

Seems like Olympus has finally realized its full potential with this one (and perhaps the full potential of M4/3). By full potential I mean, of course, for the moment.

Having said that, there's a funny thing I've noticed with digital cameras: the next one is always better.

The question is has Olympus created something good enough that the next Nex or Panny or whatever isn't better?

After using this camera with the 45/1.8, Panny 25/1.4 and kit zooms for the last three weeks, I'd agree with literally every comment Mr. Tanaka has made. My only nits are the size and spongy feeling of the buttons on the back of the camera, the use of a new battery, and the unavailability of some very important accessories (grip, spare batteries, etc.).

One thing I would add - and this will be no surprise to long-time m43 users - is that the autofocus tracking still leaves quite a bit to be desired. S-AF is blazingly fast, but if you need to track hyperactive children or high school football stars, you're going to end up missing focus on quite a few shots.

Overall, this is without question the best m43 body to date. Highly recommended.

I had a choice between this and an X Pro to compliment the Nikon FF. I went with the X Pro. After trying out an OM-D this weekend, I think I made the right choice for me. I cancelled my OM-D order. The Olympus is a very good camera and probably better than the Fuji except for IQ. The Fuji is just phenomenal especially at high ISO's. Maybe next year on the Olympus.

Can someone point me in the direction of a high ISO comparison for the E-M5? I'm really tired of lugging a DSLR on vacation, and if this performs reasonably well in low light, I'm sold as well.

@ Roger Whitehead: The shutter sound is not artificial; it's mechanical. So, no. But it's already damn quiet.

@ GH: Thanks for the tip on the NEX-7 viewfinder/jpeg setting.

@ Manish: Actually, I'm a bad judge of features such as "eye detect" focus. I just don't use it so if it worked at all it would be magic to me.

After spending more time with the E-M5 this past weekend I can report not encountering any contradictions to my notes. I can accent that the camera's moment-to-moment handling comfort* is excellent, among the best I've ever experienced. The main control wheels on the top right plate, one with edge front one edge back, are excellent for quickly managing aperture/shutter and exposure control. The Super Control Panel, and even just the quick-set menu invoked by the "OK" button, really keep you out of the camera's menu system.

The EVF is outstanding in all light. It's the Gold Standard for such a gadget today. Period. I'd like the LCD to be a bit looser and hinged slightly differently for quicker, easier flip-up but it's also outstanding.

No camera is good for everyone. I'm sure the E-M5 is no exception. But it sure seems designed to quickly become a photo buddy for many enthusiasts and perhaps even some pros. I was reluctant to buy an E-M5 principally because I'm not optimistic about the long-term future for the 4/3rds sensor format. But as Doug Reilly remarked above, this camera really does deliver on the conceptual promise of micro 4/3rds. So let the future take care of itself. The E-M5 makes the present a better place to be as a photographer.

* moment-to-moment handling comfort: A subjective assessment that of (a) how secure a camera feels in use, (b) how well a camera's control points are designed, and (c) how quickly the camera gets out of your way and becomes an prosthetic extension to your eye/mind.

Thanks for the review. I'm waiting to try one this weekend at the local shop. Together with the m4/3 lens reviews here I might have a system to will hopefully work for me.

re. Squidgy control buttons. Since I've not handled an E-M5 I'll extrapolate from my E-5 and speculate the Oly weathersealing approach probably utilizes some sort of membrane between the button and corresponding switch, which affects the tactile feel.

It's a tradeoff I'm not 100% thrilled with but when I'm out shooting with the E-5 in the rain, it suddenly seems complete worthwhile. Then, I go back to grumbling. I suspect/hope with time, they'll figure out how to engineer some "click" back into weatherproof controls. The good news: you get used to it soon enough.


Does the EM-5 support a wireless shutter release?

In other words can the shutter be tripped without touching the camera? I really prefer this when exposure bracketing on a tripod.

Fully agree with your insights, apart from partly the power button. I much prefer a proper power switch that you know is either on or off. Button can be either way. I have often turned a camera off when the screen was blank, only to realise that it was in fact on and just wasting time in the process. Panasonic has good power switches, as does Ricoh GXR. The Olympus switch would be good if it was in a better location. Now it is very awkward to turn the camera on and off and practically impossible to do with one hand. And this is important in an all electronic camera that consumes lot of power.
This battery madness should end. Some higher authority should make it an offence on environmental grounds, if nothing else, to introduce new batteries for every new camera. Surely there could be three or four standard models that all manufacturers must use, like there is AA and AAA for all small clocks, remotes etc. The only positive thing is that they have changed the battery and charger to be grey colour. Makes it easier to find this charger, and the spare battery once they become available, from a drawer with ten different chargers and batteries in it. I have lost count.
Now that they have a 'pro'level body, I hope somebody comes up with a pro level zoom, and a longer lens. Those are the only things missing. And please keep them small and light. I don't want to buy another 2/150. But a 2.8/150 would be nice. Similar in size to the old Zuiko 2.8/135. Surely not impossible for the much smaller coverage needed.

Dear Ken,

A few questions for you, if you don't mind…

First, how does the user interface compare, in your judgment, to that in the E-Pn cameras? One thing that particularly irks me in my E-P1 is that there is no really easy single-button way to flick the histogram on and off. It's my biggest complaint about the interface. And relates to my next question:

Do you have any sense of how the RAW exposure range of this camera compares to that of the E-Pn's? That's my biggest quality complaint in the E-P1; it has a rather skimpy range by today's standards, which means I'm having to fine-tune my exposures to a fare thee well a lot more than I'd like. Which relates to my first complaint, since there's no easy way for me to flip the histogram on and off to check it BEFORE I make an exposure. I spent way too much time making an exposure, switching to preview mode to check the quality, and having to make another exposure.

Of less importance to me but of some interest, how does the RAW image quality at high ISOs compared to that of the E-Pn series? By my professional standards, I can't readily use the EP1 above ISO 800; I wouldn't mind a bit more.

I'm not imagining you can provide quantitative data; just your impression of the relative degree of improvement, if any.


pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 

I ordered an extra battery off Olympus' website and had it within a week even though the site said they weren't available.

Also, for anyone having trouble finding an E-M5, just Google camera stores for any fairly large city and start calling. I did that for Milwaukee and found one at the first store I called, and it had just arrived that day.

There seems to be no escape from this OM-D thing nowadays. The more I try to avoid it, the more I run into it. Must..avoid..internet..for..a..few..days!!

who need the E-M5?

Just received my print from Ctein using his old E-P1, and it's beautiful... and SHARP ;-)

Thanks for the review, Ken. One thing I'd like know if how fast it wakes up from sleep mode (I could mistaken in my assumption that you use sleep mode at all instead of keeping it on all the time, but figure with the one battery you'd be using it). My GF1 will wake up from "monitor off" mode fairly quickly, but waking up from full-on sleep mode has resulted in a fair few missed shots, until my 5DII, which is on instantly at the press of the shutter. How does the E-M5 compare in this respect?


What I found really interesting is the comparison with the diminutive E420. A photo comparing both of them would be nice, though. And that makes me wonder: why is then the E5 THAT much more expensive than the E420?


since you have the 20mm Panasonic on your E-M5: how is the autofocus speed? I was a little disappointed when I put the lens on a GX1 (I own a GF1). Are there any comparisons you can make to these cameras?

I've only had an OMD (my choice of designation) for a few days so my judgement is compromised however a few initial thoughts.

The menu system and control/display design leaves something to be desired. No surprises there. In particular the relationship between the status displayed in the evf and on the rear panel is baffling. For example I can only activate the histogram in the EVF if I first get it to display on the rear panel (after a few irritable stabs at the info and ok buttons whose relationship continues to elude me.)

Similar button-stabbing with the camera to my eye will not switch the histogram on. It's probably me, but I've fiddled with these settings until I'm weary; the camera always seems to present me with some new mode/setting configuration that I don't recall requesting. I guess I'll get used to it.

The 12-50 slow kit zoom is OK. Unfortunately I have too many excellent Nikkors to compare it with. I have ordered the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 as an initial prime. I've also ordered one of the cheapo adaptors which allow use of all Nikon lenses, including "G"s.

I invariably shoot RAW. The supplied Olympus converter is awful. No auto CA elimination and no shadow/highlight recovery tool (I'm used to CNX2). I'm trying RawTherapee, but so far without any usable results.

My camera/lens underexposes badly. I've not done any formal experiments but using matrix metering it's consistently between 0.3 and a full stop under. I notice that there's an additional offset adjustment in the menus. I'll wait until I've tried the Panny lens before I start resorting to solutions.

Both photographers I've handed the camera to have said "wow, it feels really nice". And it does. Early days though...

I haven't heard anyone else mention this, so perhaps it's just me, but I find that the positioning of the strap lug in relation to the shutter button makes the E-M5 slightly less comfortable to handle than it could be.

Sony should honor their heritage and make their next NEX look like a Minolta XD-11. I'd probably quit Canon for that.


I know that you asked Ken for his personal impression, and you may have already seen this text from the DPReview review of the E-M5 anyway, but for the record...

"The E-M5's lower noise levels than the 12MP PENs allow it to use a more gentle tone curve that offers greater dynamic range (because the bottom of the curve isn't so limited by shadow noise). The result is a camera that produces JPEGs with very competitive dynamic range, really making the most of what the sensor can capture. Switching Gradation to 'Auto' lifts detail out of the shadows, making it easy to create an image with a well-balanced tonal response, even in high contrast situations. [...]

The E-M5 is showing around 2/3EV more highlight range in the JPEGs than the PENs, or indeed the Panasonic G3, bringing it into line with the Sony NEX cameras. This is a significant improvement [...]"

@ Ctein: In general the E-M5's user interface, in working terms, is mechanically different but electronically similar to that of the E-P2/E-P3. The E-M5's controls are organized differently, but in a good way. For example, the E-P3 featured that thumb wheel for exposure/etc control. In my opinion it was too easy to accidentally turn while carrying, or just gripping, the camera. The TWO wheels atop the E-M5 now provide, and expand, such functions. (You can cycle through display information presentation on either camera by pressing the Info button.)

But you will find the E-M5's menu structure quite similar to that of the E-Px.

Re: DR, I cannot make an authoritative personal claim of improvement. Honestly, I don't see much difference from the E-P3 but, also honestly, I don't tend to inspect such things as closely as you probably would. But DPreview offers detailed DR comparisons (with E-PLx bodies).

But I am confident that you will at least be able to use ISO 1600 on the E-M5. (1600 is the new 800 on today's cams.)

I heartily recommend that those wishing to study the E-M5 in-depth spend time with DPreview's excellent in-depth review. It leaves few aspects to the imagination.

Am I the only one that would rather shoot the Canon TLb?

I'm having trouble with the digital paradigm shift where a camera is purchased for a expected life of 3~5 years. Other wise yes, Olympus has finally produced the camera I can live with. My OM cameras and lenses are all old, still work fine with minimal service and would, in the usual course of time outlast me.
I am a hobby photographer so there is zero income from any purchase, everything is on the expense side of the budget. Yes, I know some are still using 10 year old digital SLR's but they are a small minority and when the electronics fail (and they will) repair would exceed the price of a new camera on simply not be possible at all. Thus is the price of such rapid progress in photography. While acknowledging that fact it still produces a feeling of disquiet and disorientation in me.

I like Kirk's comments above about the "fullsized DSLR" crowd. I've been watching the debate rage about full-sized vs 4/3 sensors for some time...

All I know is that I've used the E-3 (admittedly full-sized, but with a 4/3 sensor), for some time, and I've been happy with the results. So I'm glad to see Olympus going back to what I call the "Barnack concept"-- a light, compact, easy-to-carry camera. I dunno about these other "fullsized DSLR" users, but a day carrying around one of those things and all its attendant heavy glass can lead to fatigue AND backstrain...

I wonder of the same kind of flakstorm erupted when Barnack came out out with the Leica I....

I have the omd for a few weeks and I like it because of the size. I'm travelling a lot and the camera is always with me. great thing
at the moment I take picutres in Toronto http://www.eike-loge.com/category/blog/

Ken: "It's also worth noting that the E-M5's viewfinder is much easier to use when wearing eyeglasses. The NEX-7's viewfinder disengages unless you keep your eye nearly pressed to the cup."

The flip side is (pun intended) that the E-M5's LCD turns off easily when you tilt it up for waist level shooting. The viewfinder sensor on Oly is too sensitive actually.

Interesting that mechanical SLRs of old were so small but that so many D-SLRs are big(ger). Seems as if they're not spending as much time as they should on shrinking those circuit boards.

Inaki - Take a look at this page for comparison shots of the E-420 and OM-D E-M5 :


As far as the price goes, it's pretty simple in my view. The prices in question between the two cameras aren't driven by size or parts cost (although the sensor in the OM-D is likely more expensive).

Instead it's simply that the demand for the OM-D, and the features for the segment it sits in, means that Olympus can charge a higher price.

Remember that material costs in terms of chips and overall size only set the absolute lowest price the company can charge. The actual price they set is the highest they can in order to maximize profit. (I.e. as high as possible without killing demand.) Given the rate it seems to be selling at, maybe they should have set it even higher!

Um, the Nikon FG was the successor to the EM; it was not in any way, shape, or form a semi-pro body, it was a bottom-of-the-line consumer body.

Here's the E-M5/E-420 comparison:


They're very close in width and height, but the E-420 is much thicker. I think that makes it more comfortable to hold. Very high "moment-to-moment handling comfort" quotient.

Personally, I'm sad that the E-420/E-620 series became a dead end.
They were my favorites, and are still pleasant to use. And I never understood why the E1/E5 cameras needed to be so BIG.

You aren't kidding that SLRs have swollen in the digital age. I saw my first camera, a Pentax K1000 in a used camera shop the other day, and it seemed tiny compared to today's DSLRs. Even the M9 is rather large, yet is still called "compact" even though it's wider and heavier than some entry-level DSLRs.

Hey Ken, could you comment on the wake-up time of the E-M5? Faster than the GF1? As fast as the 5DII? Itchy shutter fingers want to know.

@ Poagao: "One thing I'd like know if how fast it wakes up from sleep mode..."

Funny you should ask that, as I had not actually tried/observed this aspect. The "funny" part derives from what the camera did when I first tried to wake it: it didn't. Nothing short of removing the battery would wake it! That's not good. I am somewhat comforted in not being able to re-create that problem on many successive tries. But I'm now a bit wary of its laziness.

So the answer to your question: The E-M5 is a mite sluggish to wake from sleep - perhaps 1-2 sec - that is if it wakes at all.

@ Jed: "Am I the only one that would rather shoot the Canon TLb?"
Ha. Jed, I doubt that you'd be so inclined for long. The Canon TLb occupies a special spot in my heart, as it was the first slr camera I owned and all I could afford when I had to buy a "real" camera for my college work (1970's). The TLb was a real workhorse for me all through school. I've no recollection what happened to mine...lost in the detritus of life and time. (The one pictured above is a sentimental replacement purchase of a year ago.)

But viewed/used today the TLb is, honestly, a miserable primitive piece of crap. Max shutter speed of 1/500 sec, a shutter/mirror that sounds like a traffic accident, a ttl meter that's becoming quite unreliable (like its owner's eyes), etc. There's no going home, at least for me. I'm spoiled by today's technical luxuries.

But doesn't the TLb look good in that portrait?


My GF1 workflow is:

Do camera specific tricks in SilkyPics (CA, basic color scheme, distortion and vignetting). -> turn into 16 bit Tiff.

Load 16 bit Tiff into RT and do color settings, sharpening etc. -> turn into 16 bit tiff

Load 16 bit Tiff into Gimp to do final retouching and turn into 8 bit JPEG for print.

Greetings, Ed

Ah, I've read of such things happening, but only with the 20mm, which is worrisome, as that's my favorite lens on the GF1. Apparently some do it, and some don't. A slow wake-up time isn't good news either, it sounds about as slow as the GF1, which is too damn slow, aka the "TSATDM (Three Seconds After The Decisive Moment) camera". Oh, well, looks like I'll just be keeping the thing on all the time and having lots of batteries handy, alas.

Dear Ken,

Thanks for the response. Unfortunately what dpreview does VERY badly is report on the exposure range for RAW photographs. They're hot on JPEGs, which tells me zip.

Well, when I see Mike in ten days in Madison, if he's got his OMD by then, 5 minutes of testing will give me my answer. Or I can wait for dXoMark to work it.

pax / Ctein

Isn't the 420 a plastic camera with no image stabilisation? 620 would be a better comparison but that is also plastic. Surely a lot of metal in body and buttons, and the sealing, adds to the cost. So it is not only demand and supply. I agree with the comment above that somehow the straplugs seem a bit in wrong place and I find the finder pokes out a bit too much in the back when camera is carried with a small and light lens so that the body stays upright. This could relate to the straplug position as well, a bit too high maybe, too close to the top?

My E-M5 wakes from sleep instantly from a half press of the shutter button.

The DPR review of the camera is instructive - I'm surprised by how much the image quality exceeds the (generally pleasing) results I have got from a Panasonic G3. They conclude that to do significantly better you would have to go full frame, and they're right.

The mode dial feels spongy. If you press it with your thumb, it will go down a bit. Doesn't have that stiff feeling. Weather sealing?
I loved the mode dial implementation of EP series.

I've had my E-M5 for about two weeks. It's the first new digital camera I've used in some time that doesn't annoy me in some way. It really seems to have been designed by photographers. (Although, as noted, the strap lugs and power switch could be better.)
I was pressed into service last weekend to record a graduation. It was dark in there, and many of the pictures were shot at ISO 8000, 1/60 of a second with a 150mm lens. They ain't ort, but they are in focus, not motion-blurred, and the color is fine. Entirely acceptable for the purpose. That 5-way watchamacallit really works.
(As an old film guy, I have to consider that nothing short of a miracle. I was shooting indoors, in the dark, with the equivalent of a 300mm f5.6 lens, and it worked. Ain't technology grand?)
On the other hand, it takes a loooong time to wake up, once it puts itself to sleep. Maybe 2 or 3 seconds. I suspect there's a way to change this, or just prevent it from falling asleep, but I'm not going to mess with it until I can find a second battery.
Further, in the middle of the ceremony, it did the same thing that Ken describes. Just turned itself off, or crashed, and couldn't be re-started. Removing and replacing the battery got it started, and it hasn't happened again, but apparently it's an issue.

Regarding the face-detect: I'm a very late adopter of this kind of feature, but I tried it this week-end with the Panasonic 20mm and it's amazing. It can be set to "Face Priority," "Face and Eye Priority," "Face and Right Eye Priority," or "Face and Left Eye Priority." There's a sort of internet meme that the 20mm doesn't focus quickly, but I've not found that to be the case. Aim the camera, half-press the button and it's done. Maybe a half second, maybe less, no hunting. And this was in a dark restaurant.
I've played with it a lot since, and every once in a while, rarely, it mistakes a potato or a flower pot for a face. But it's a machine after all. It never makes that mistake if there's a real face in the frame.

Oh, and regarding the Nikon FG: definitely not intended as a "pro" camera, but in olden times I knew several Nikon based pros who owned more than one FG, either for use in dirty/dangerous surroundings, or just because they were so small. They worked fine, and the pictures were paid for as if they had been taken with a real camera.

Damn, I couldn't sleep...now, <> I can b a r e l y stay waaaaa kk zzzzzzzzz

Hello Ken

Re. battery charger: the iPhone/iPpd charger's plugs fit perfectly; if you own these already, one less item to carry.

I am trialling the Ricoh GXR, NEX-7, and this OM-D together; I am in Vancouver right now, and find myself having taken the OM-D and the 20/1.7 only—very compact.

The face detection combined with C-AF works faster than I can (and I'm an ex film MF dancers/theatre available light photog., so can MF lenses).

The OM-D's looking like a keeper, for me.

Lenses: Panny 7–14, Oly 12/2, 20/1.7, 25/1.4, Oly 45/1.8

ex Ken:

"So the answer to your question: The E-M5 is a mite sluggish to wake from sleep - perhaps 1-2 sec - that is if it wakes at all."

Same here (and I have only brought the 20/1.7 with me on this trip, so the wake-from-sleep problem could result from that Oly-Panny interaction). Could be a firmware fix thing; I'll keep an eye here to see who else has this happening.

Strange, on one hand we have Ken and Paris saying the E-M5 takes a looong time, maybe two or three seconds to wake up, while others say it wakes up "instantly". My guess is that the "instantly" isn't from real sleep mode but actually just "LCD off" mode before the camera actually goes into sleep mode. Might be quicker to just turn it off and on again, though that's kind of a pain. Beats me why Panasonic got this as far back as its first m43 cameras, while Olympus is apparently still stumped by it.

I find the 20 focuses a bit slow on the EM-5. I haven't done any comparisons yet but in my EP-1 everything is slow and the 20 felt quite okay, maybe because of its wide aperture. But it seems slow on the EM-5 which otherwise focuses nicely. I was also sceptical of the face focusing when it first started to come, but it is a life saver in darker environments (wide open and less light to see what is in focus) especially on cameras that have no proper viewfinder. It works well on EM-5 too.

There is some good info on EM-5 and its dynamic range on Pekka Potka's site:


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