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Field Review: Olympus E-5 (Day 3)

by Chris Gampat on 01/17/2011

What happens when you take a DSLR marketed to be weatherproof and bury it under snow for a couple of minutes? While doing this, you are recording video on said DSLR. I tested that with the Olympus E-5 as part of the Field Review along with how well it performed during a snowfall.

To catch up you can read my impressions during Day 1 and my thoughts on the raw file versatility during Day 2.

Gear Used

Olympus E-5

Olympus Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Digital ED SWD

B&W 72mm filter

Video Performance

The Olympus E-5 records 720p HD video at 30p. Autofocusing while recording video really isn’t worth the hassel: it can be done though. The LCD screen is very detailed and for the most part you will be able to tell what you’re focusing on. Additionally, like the Micro Four Thirds line of cameras, the LCD screen will digitally englarge the area you have selected to focus on and make manual adjustments to ensure the absolutely sharpest focusing. This is a great feature for most people: especially the visually impaired.

The microphone on the E-5 is also fairly decent. As you can hear in the video above, you can pick my voice up with relatively no problems.

A problem that I do have with the E-5‘s video recording functions is that the exposure cannot be manually set while shooting. Instead, you’ll need to change all your settings before you start recording. This can be a major problem for reportage type shooting where sometime you will need to open up the F-stop or change other settings. To be fair, the camera does auto adjust the settings—so consumers will be happy. Prosumers and professionals: I advise you to stick to the Canon, Nikon or Panasonic line of camera for video.

That said though, I’m sure that no camera from said brands can take the punishment that the E-5 can take.

Stills Performance

This was talked about more during Day 2 and you can see the photo that started it all on our Facebook page. Autofocusing of this camera remained speedy, smart, and accurate in the snow. Focusing in the snow can at times be tough when there are little objects moving in and out of the frame: or at least it used to be when I used the Olympus E-5.

The camera kept snapping away and didn’t become too cold to hold at any one point. Additionally, even when the camera became soaked by the melted snow on it it never became too difficult to hold: this is a testament to the textured ergonomics and design of the grip. Besides the Nikon D3s, the Olympus E-5 is perhaps the best grip I’ve wrapped my fingers around in a long time. I don’t have very big hands, but the camera still feels comfortable in them.

More to come in the Olympus E-5 review. If you’ve got questions about this posting let us know in the comments below.

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