Hands On: Olympus E-5

The Olympus E-5 is the company’s latest DSLR and an update to their much-loved E-3. Besides some ergonomic changes and a few more updates, the E-5 performs and feels much like the company’s sword swinging Spartan in an attempt to take out it’s competitors.

Key features:

– TruePic 5+ (Professionally Tuned)  with Fine Detail Process + Art Filters (10 P/A/M/S)+ S.A.T + Lower Noise

– In-Body Image Stabilizer

– Most effective dust reduction technology (Olympus claims)

– 12.3 Megapixel LiveMOS imager

– Thixmold Magnisium Alloy Body

– Weather Sealed (Dust and Splash Proof) + (Dust and Splash Proof HG/SHG Lenses)

– 100% Accurate Viewfinder /LCD display

– Dual Slot CF/SD

– 150K Shutter life

– World’s first swivel 3″ VGA LCD with 920,000 dot resolution

– Live-View in both Still and Movie Modes

– 11 pt Fully Twin Crossed AF sensor (phase detection)

– 11 Area High Speed Imager AF (contrast detection)

– 1/8000th top shutter speed

– 5 fps burst rate

– UDMA/SDXC compatible

– 10 Art filters including New Dramatic Tone in all modes (P/A/S/M/Movie)

– Multiple Exposure (4 frames)

– Multiple Aspect Ratios

– HD Video (720P-30fps)

– PCM Linear Audio (mono on camera- stereo 3.5m jack)

– Swivel LCD in still and movie

– Wireless Flash control

– New battery for more power, but will still be able to use the E-3′s battery

Ergonomics

The Olympus E-5 feels much like a higher end Nikon DSLR with the front and back dials for shutter speed and aperture manipulation acting much like their competitor’s. However, once you get to the back, it’s a whole different ballgame.

To be fair, this is probably a whole different ballgame for me because of the fact that I used to shoot Olympus and now shoot Canon; and so I need to readjust to a modern update to their cameras.

The back seems a lot less busy than the E-3 does and really tries to put the features that a photographer will utilize the most into quick access buttons. It seems to work well, although at times I did need to take my eye away from the viewfinder to change settings.

The articulating LCD screen is much better than what the company has previously put out and they need to be praised for the great effort. Additionally, the higher resolution screen has been much needed and requested. You really see the difference when looking at the photos: especially with wireless flash control when one arm is holding the flash out and your other is gripping the camera.

The top of the camera contains the hot shoe, LCD panel, mode button and most importantly the ISO button. For me, the ISO button’s placement is a bit awkward but with enough time and use I’m positive that I would get used to it.

One of the best things about the camera is how easy it is to change the mode and the multiple commands available to you with one button. Like Canon, if you press, say, the AF-Drive button on top, the front dial will control the AF and the back dial will control the drive. It makes a shooter like me feel right at home.

Build quality feels extremely solid and that has been proven in many videos. Check this one out.

Autofocus

The center AF point seemed to be the strongest one in my quick test with the camera. From memory, it traditionally was the best to use. This reminds me a bit of the 5D Mk II’s focusing; in which case most users may not feel that it is satisfactory unless equipped with the right accessories like a flash.

To be fair, I once again haven’t given the camera a full test yet.

Ease of Use

The E-3 was said to be a bit of a tough camera to use to begin with. The E-5 is only really tough to master with the menu system. They are all color coded and for an outside user it may be a bit difficult to grasp.

Of course, I’m talking about more in-depth and intricate menus like the Wireless TTL flash system. Everything else that you could absolutely need to change can be done easily and quickly through the info screen.

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