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Olympus Announces EM5 (OMD): We Fondle

by Chris Gampat on 02/07/2012

Yes, the rumors have been true for the most part. Olympus has finally decided to let the cat out of the bag with the new OMD (or OM-D) modernly coined the EM5 (or EM-5). Pitched to me as their new professional Micro Four Thirds camera, the reps stated that the system is now complete with both consumer products and professional products. Additionally, new lenses and accessories were also announced.

We got some fondling time with the camera; and our thoughts aren’t everything you might think they would be.

Update: B&H Photo and Amazon has it available for Pre-Order

Black (body only)

Power Battery Holder

FL-600R flash

EM-5 with kit lens (Amazon is body only in silver and Black with kit lens)

EM-5 in silver with 12-50mm

Weatherproof Four Thirds lens adapter

 

Video Demo

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Tech Specs

Model name OM-D  E-M5
Version/Date Ver. 0.9 / Jan 24, 2012
Product
Product type Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens system camera
Memory SD Memory Card*1  (SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I compatible, Eye-Fi Card compatible*2)
*1: Class 6 is recommended for Movie shooting.
*2: Not compatible with endlessmode. Release time lag may be generated in actual use.
Screen size 17.3 mm (H) x 13.0 mm (V)
Sensor
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 Formats
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 pixels – 640 x 480 pixels
File sizes RAW: 4608(H)x3456(V) (approx. 1/1.5 lossless compressed) Approx. 17MB
Set1(LF): 4608(H)x3456(V)  (1/4 compressed) Approx. 7.5MB
Set2(LN): 4608(H)x3456(V)  (1/8 compressed) Approx. 3.5MB
Set3(MN): 2560(H)x1920(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 1.1MB
Set4(SN): 1024(H)x768(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 0.3MB
IS SYSTEM
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
Focal length setting Available
Manual Function 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
* Based on Olympus in-house measurement conditions.
Shutter speed range 60 – 1/4000 sec. (Not available when Bulb is selected)
ELECTRONIC VIEWFINDER
Eye Level Finder type Eye-level electronic viewfinder,  approx. 1.44M
Eye point / Diopter adjustment range Approx. 100% / Approx. 0.92x*1 – 1.15x*2 (-1m-1, 50mm lens, Infinity)
*1 : at Finder Style 1, 2 (aspect 4:3)     *2 : at Finder Style 3 (aspect 4:3)
Approx. 18mm (-1m-1, Distance from rear lens surface) / -4 ~ +2m-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 / Colour temperature control ±7 levels / ±7 levels
EyeCup Removable, Optional eyecup EP-11 is available.
LCD MONITOR
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)
OFF
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-inch tilting OLED monitor
Approx. 610k dots, Touch control in electrostatic capacitance Type
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 SYSTEM
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
Maginified frame AF Selectable from over 800 AF points
Enlarged view check by magnify button
Magnification x5, x7, x10(Default), x14 selectable
Face detection AF / Eye detection AF Available / Available
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
Metering system
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 f2.8, 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
SHUTTER SYSTEM
Type Computerized focal-plane shutter
Shutter speed 1/4000 – 60 sec. (1/3, 1/2, or 1EV steps selectable.)
Bulb: default setting 8min.  (1/2/4/8/15/20/25/30 min. selectable.)
FLASH SYSTEM
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 (ISO200・m) / GN=7(ISO100・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 1/250sec. or less* (using the bundled flash)
* It depends on flash models or flash mode
FL-50R: 1/180 sec., Exept 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
Colour Temperature 5500±400°K
Compatible external flash FL-50R, FL-36R, FL-300R, FL600R
Control method Triggered and controlled by bundled flash (FL-LM2)     ** Available on FL-LM1/ FL-600R.
(Olympus Wireless RC Flash system compatible)
Channel No. 4 channels
Group Number 4 groups (External flash 3 groups + a bundled flash)
Drive
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 / 4.2fps  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. (cancel available)
Wireless remote control Not Available
BRACKETING
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
ART FILTER
Mode (Variation / Effect) Pop Art (I, II / a.b.c.d.e.)
Soft Focus ( – / c.e.)
Pale & Light Color (I, II / a.b.c.d.)
Light Tone ( – / d.)
Grainy Film (I, II / b.c.d.)
Pin Hole (I, II, III / d.)
Diorama ( – / d.)
Cross Proscess (I, II / b.c.d.)
Gentle Sepia ( – / a.b.c.d.)
Dramatic Tone (I, II / b.c.d.e.)
Key Line (I, II / a.b.c.d.e.)
Art Effect a. Soft Focus Effect
b. Pin-Hole Effect
c. White Edge Effect
d. Frame Effect
e. Star Light Effect
MOVIE
Recording format MOV(MPEG-4AVC/H.264) , AVI(Motion JPEG)
Movie Mode MOV(MPEG-4AVC/H.264 ),AVI(Motion JPEG)
[MOV]
  Full HD: 1920(H)x1080(V),  59.94i Recording *3
20Mbps(Fine) *4 / 17Mbps(Normal) *4 :  Aspect 16:9
  HD: 1280(H)x720(V), 59.94i Recording *3,
13Mbps(Fine) *4 / 10Mbps(Normal) *4 :  Aspect 16:9
          *3 : Sensor output 30fps
*4 : bitrate
[AVI Motion JPEG]
  HD: 1280(H)x720(V), 30fps *4,  Aspect 16:9
  SD: 640(H)x480(V), 30fps *4, Aspect 4:3
          *4 : Except for some of the Art Filters
Maximum Recording Times   Full HD : Approx. 29min(Fine) / Approx. 22min(Normal)
  HD : Approx. 29min(Fine) / Approx. 29min(Normal)
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 Avarable
Exposure control (Movie)
動画露出制御
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.
Compression ratio Motion-JPEG Format : 1/12(HD), 1/8(SD)
File size MOV Format : Max 4GB
Motion-JPEG Format : Max 2GB
Recording format Wave Format (Stereo linear PCM/16-bit, Sampling frequency 48kHz)
Micophone/Speaker Stereo/Mono
Microphone function Wind Noise Reduction,  Recording Volume
Audio dubbing possible for still pictures (up to 30 sec.)
Color matrix sRGB, Adobe RGB
Mode i-Enhance, Vivid, Natural, Muted, Portrait, Monotone, Custom, Art Filters
Gradation Auto, Normal, High Key, LowKey     [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
NOISE REDUCTION
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)
MULTIPLE EXPOSURE
Number of picture / Function 2 frames / Auto gain, Exposing on Recorded picture(RAW)
ASPECT RATIOS
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
LEVEL GAUGE
Detection 2-axis
DIGITAL TELECONVERTER
Magnification x2
PLAYBACK FUNCTIONS
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 effect can be selectable.(Still)
Information display Histogram (independent luminance / RGB available), Highlight/Shadow point warning, AF frame, Photographic information, OFF
MENUS
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
IMAGE EDITING
Editing function RAW development, Gradation auto, Monochrome, Sepia, Red-eye fix, Saturation, Resize (1280×960, 640×480, 320×240), Trimming, Aspect, e-Portrait, Image Ovarlay, Postrecording
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 (from Index)
Protect function Single frame, Selected frames, Release protect (Single/All selected)
PRINTING
Print function Print reservation (DPOF), Direct print (PictBridge compatible)
INPUT/OUTPUT
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.]
POWER REQUIREMENTS
Battery BLN-1 Li-ion battery (included)
Power battery holder (Option)  Power Battery Holder HLD-6
AC adaptor (Option)  AC adapter AC-3     *Optional HLD-6 has DC-IN jack for AC-3.
Sleep mode Available (1/3/5 min. off selectable)
Number of recordable pictures Approx. TBD shots     [IS ON, CIPA test standard]
(with BLN-1 and TOSHIBA super high-speed Class 6 SDHC 4GB card)
WEIGHTS/DIMENSIONS
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) Farhenheit
Humidity 30 – 90% (operation) / 10 – 90% (storage)
Box contents Body, Flash FL-LM2, Li-ion battery BLN-1, Li-ion battery charger BCN-1, USB cable, AV cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Viewer 2 (CD-ROM), Instruction manual, Warranty card

Ergonomics

Before they brought out the EM-5 for me to stare at, the reps put an old OM-10 on the table. And to be honest with you, I firmly believe that that camera was one of the most unsightly the company has produced. The OM-4 was perhaps the sexiest and that’s what I really wanted.

Then when I was finally presented with the new digital OM, I was a bit taken aback. It’s alright looking, but it doesn’t look super sexy to me. Perhaps that could be because I saw it in silver. To be honest, I hate silver cameras and even expressed that if they released a white version with brown leather accents, they’d have my money. I fully expect consumers to spring for the black version of the camera.

Anyway, the camera screams retro with design accents even harkening to the recent Olympus E-5. And believe it or not, this is probably one of the largest mirrorless camera’s I’ve ever seen or held.

The top of the camera will be familiar to Pen users and also familiar to fans of everything vintage. The left features a very simple mode dial. And to be honest once again, I can’t for the life of me understand why the company would put an iAuto mode on the camera if this is targeted to professionals.

The top right is where all the business goes down. The two dials will remain unmarked and will change different settings in various camera modes. In practice, the two dials are placed exactly where your thumb and forefinger might be if you’re a Nikon or Olympus user. If you’re a Canon DSLR user, you’ll have to rebuild your muscle memory and not think about reaching for the dial on the back of the camera.

On the front dial is the shutter release as well.

It’s a fairly thin camera all in all, but to my eyes and in my hands, it is still probably one of the largest mirrorless cameras out there. But in terms of ergonomics, it seems to work out.

The back of the camera features a giant LCD touchscreen and that wonderful EVF. The EVF has the exact same resolution as the VF2 (a little over a megapixel). The right side of that giant screen features a bunch of different buttons. The directional buttons are a bit tough to get used to. I’m much more used to them being labeled, “ISO, Drive, etc.”

That screen flips up just like the one that many Sony NEX users will be familiar with.

If you’re at a concert and need to shoot over your head, here’s your configuration.

Shooting from the hip? Here you go, sort of. It can flip so that you can look directly down at it.

The camera features very few ports overall. It takes SD cards as well.

The bottom of the camera features this interesting port contact area that works with the battery grip.

The battery grip comes in two different parts. It can be used as just a grip on the front of the camera to give the user more to put their fingers around when holding the camera, or it can have the battery expansion with a vertical grip as well. The overall package, feels like one of the older cameras with an automatic advance.

The grip actually also feels very nice overall. However, this is also probably the only mirrorless camera that offers a grip option natively. That’s a bold move for Olympus to make considering that mirrorless cameras are supposed to be smaller.

In the end, it’s still nowhere as big as a Rebel with a grip.

Once the grip is on, the camera actually seemed more visually pleasing in my eyes. However, it could once again be the silver color.

Autofocusing

As seen in the video above, the focusing is super quick. The company states that it is faster than the EP3 and now the fastest in the world. I still have yet to personally see that but I can assure that with the company’s MSC lenses, the camera is indeed quite fast. In fact, it is also even quite fast with the older lenses.

Image Quality

I wasn’t able to stick a card in the camera, so I can’t judge yet. However, they stated the the images are usable up to 12,800. As a Micro Four Thirds user, I’m going to pray that they’re right.

All That Other Stuff

The camera is splashproof and dustproof.

New weatherproof four thirds lens adapter.

New FL-600 flash that also features a front LED light for video. Which will compliment the new camera well since the video codec is now in MOV instead of that dreaded AVCHD codec they used previously.

Here’s the grip separated into its two parts.

Two new lenses are coming: a 75mm f1.8 and 60mm f2.8 Macro lens. The reps told me that the f2.8 will stay at a constant aperture throughout the focusing range and not change the way some of Nikon’s lenses do.

And the top.

And here is the camera in all black.

Am I excited for this one. Yes, but I have to admit that I’m not as sold on it as I was about the EP3 during that briefing. I’m not sure what it is, but something about the back button placement throws me off a bit and that top head of the camera is huge to accommodate the viewfinder.

It could very well be that I’m so disgusted by the silver color. Indeed, that black up top looks tempting. But I’ll need to put the camera through its paces. My experience could very well change during a street photography session.

And I assure you all that I’ll be honest about it and not try to force you guys to click our affiliate links by masking ourselves as a salesmen (as some of our competitors do.)

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