Hands-on with the Olympus OM-D E-M5

Olympus as a company may have had widely-publicized problems recently, with its very future threatened by financial scandal, but this doesn't seem to have adversely affected its camera designers at all. After the classically-styled PEN series, they've again looked to the company's film camera heritage, in the form of one of its most fondly-remembered lines: the OM series of 35mm SLRs. The result is the OM-D E-M5 - a camera that looks like an old-fashioned manual focus SLR but which is as modern as it gets, under-the-skin.

The OM-D is still a Micro Four Thirds camera, but Olympus says the line is distinguished from the existing PEN range by the type of user expected to buy it; being aimed more towards the enthusiast who wishes to engage with manual control. In practice, the E-M5 differs from the E-P3 by having an inbuilt electronic viewfinder and tilting rear screen, plus weatherproof construction, upgraded 5-axis image stabilization and an improved 16MP sensor. The cameras are still built around very similar features and controls, though. Olympus says that the OM-D line is likely to be expanded to multiple models, with higher- or lower-spec (and price) versions equally possible dependent upon the E-M5's market acceptance. Despite its high-end features such as weather-sealing, the company is not calling the E-M5 a pro-level camera.

The E-M5's firmware isn't quite finished, and the camera is still a few months away from being available in the shops, but Olympus invited groups of European journalists to try it out at a series of press events in Amsterdam last week. The cameras we used were essentially finished in terms of hardware, but running non-final firmware (v0.95) and offering not-quite-finalized image quality. Sadly this means we can't bring you a gallery of full-size sample images as we'd have liked, but can only show downsized samples. Instead, I'm going to offer some thoughts in how it handles, and a few subjective thoughts on speed and image quality. 

For our previously published in-depth hands-on preview of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 click here

Design and Handling

The E-M5 is a small camera - probably smaller than you think from looking at pictures. It may look like an OM-4, but it's noticeably smaller, and that camera was one of the most compact manual focus SLRs. Despite this its magnesium alloy shell offers a good heft in your hand and its metal top-plate dials which offer satisfyingly positive click-stops as they rotate. But because the camera is small, its buttons are tiny too. Thankfully they have a long and positive travel, which means they're more usable in practice than they look when you first pick the camera up. Users with large hands might still find them fiddly, though.

The camera is notably well-set up for eye-level shooting, indeed its ergonomics are comparable to high-end DSLRs such as the Pentax K-5. The two overlapping top-plate dials offer quick access to the main exposure controls - shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation - and can be customized to work exactly as you'd like. The four-way buttons on the rear are used directly to move the AF point around the frame - a notably quicker solution than on other mirrorless cameras with EVFs such as the Sony NEX-7 or the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 (at least in its default setup). Notably there's no direct ISO button, but you can customize a button to access this if you wish.

The E-M5 is comfortable to hold even without the accessory grip - the rear thumb 'hook' offering a solid grasp - but you'll want the added security of a wrist strap at least. As a left-eyed shooter I found the rear dial to be a little awkward to reach with my thumb, but sufficiently close to the shutter button to be easily operable with my forefinger. The add-on grip changes things slightly - it certainly provides a much more positive hold, but in doing so moves your hand away from the Fn2 and REC buttons, making them distinctly less-easy to reach.

Olympus's excellent on-screen 'Super Control Panel' is still available, with the added bonus that you can now use the touchscreen to select the parameter you want to change (although you still have to spin a dial to set it). Oddly though it's not enabled by default, which we'd have thought would make sense on a model at this level - you have to delve into Olympus's labyrinthine and not-especially-intuitive menu system to turn it on. This won't faze existing Olympus owners, but new users may well find it bewildering; the E-M5 has one of the longest menus we've ever seen.

Viewfinder and screen

The E-M5's electronic viewfinder has the same spec as the add-on VF-2 for the PEN models, which means it's very good indeed, if perhaps no longer absolutely class-leading. Its central positioning makes for a very SLR-like handling experience, particularly compared to the offset EVF of the Sony NEX-7.

The rear screen is the same excellent bright, highly visible OLED touch-sensitive unit as the E-P3, but now it also tilts up and down for waist-level or overhead shooting. Because it doesn't swivel, it doesn't work so well when you turn the camera to portrait format, but in practice its wide viewing angle makes this less of a problem than you might expect. The touchscreen has the same tricks as the E-P3, most notably the ability to position your focus point by touch. 

In amongst the excitement about the E-M5's 5-axis IS system, one other feature has generally gone unremarked - the ability to activate IS with a half-press of the shutter button, which allows you to see the effect in the viewfinder just like working with a stabilized lens. It's a really helpful feature, and one we hope will be helpful for manually-focusing adapted lenses where magnifying live view exaggerates hand-shake.

Operational speed

With the E-M5, Olympus is reclaiming the title of 'world's fastest autofocus', from the likes of the Panasonic DMC-GX1 and Nikon 1 cameras which surpassed the E-P3. But this is notably only for static subjects - not for tracking moving objects. With fast internal-focus lenses such as the matched M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 kit zoom or the lovely M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm F1.8 portrait lens, the E-M5's autofocus  is impressively quick (although to be honest these cameras have reached a point that it's very difficult to tell a difference any more).

The E-M5 can shoot at an equally impressive 9 frames per second. In this mode focus and metering are fixed, and there's understandably no live view view between frames (although the screen doesn't black out completely, but instead plays back your recently-captured frames to help keep track of what's happening). The rollover below, which covers 1 second of action, illustrates how this can work in practice.

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If you drop the continuous shooting speed to a still-pretty-rapid 4.2fps the camera will attempt to track focus during shooting, and maintains a live view feed between frames in the process: the first Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera to do so. In principle this should help track your subject when panning.

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Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 215
12
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Feb 21, 2012)

E-shutter?

Weather-proof fast pancake lens -- not now but in the future? AF speed with Pana 20mm F1.7?

How many pics with the battery pack?

Typical fine JPEG and Raw sizes?

Should be able to pick up the sweat of the seven Oly board members at sentencing.

1 upvote
Melbourne Park
By Melbourne Park (Feb 21, 2012)

They say 350 without the pack, so 700 with.

0 upvotes
Jonathan McGee
By Jonathan McGee (Feb 21, 2012)

For those of us with a non-micro 4/3'rds investment, I wonder how well the larger 4/3'rds lenses will balance on it. Is the 12-60 simply going to be an unwieldy beast?

0 upvotes
Melbourne Park
By Melbourne Park (Feb 21, 2012)

I think forget the 12-60mm. Maybe with the grip ... but IMO wait for the new Panasonic lenses. They have a 12-35mm coming. Also a 35-100mm coming. They will cost I suspect somewhere around $,1000 to $1,500 (I read $1,300) each. But they'll be at least F/2.8, some claim F/2.0. And they'll focus fast and be video friendly. But importantly, compact and light, especially the 12-35mm, which sounds like an essential lens to me. Although I'd have preferred 11-33.

0 upvotes
Hen3ry
By Hen3ry (Feb 21, 2012)

Looking at pictures I've seen of the 12-60 with adapter mounted on the E-P3, it looks biggish but not unwieldy. In fact, that's that I'm waiting for -- the 12-60 remounted for m43 then I will be into this new cam like a rocket!

I've seen pix taken with this lens on 43, and it's clearly brilliant (you know all about that, of course). I love the range it offers -- it's very close to the zoom range and identical to the aperture range of the Schneider 24-140 equiv on my old P880, which I found to be right for about 95% of what I want to shoot.

Oly should be offering their 43>m43 adapter nice and cheap to assist migration. It would also put value into the 43 lenses it has in inventory and being held by users by opening up the market for them to more m43 users -- and right now, Oly isn't offering m43 native mounts for many great 43 lenses.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
armanius
By armanius (Feb 21, 2012)

The 12-60 is tough to balance on the GH2, which is more or less the size of the OMD. AF speed is attrocious when combined with the GH2 as well.

0 upvotes
sadwitch
By sadwitch (Feb 21, 2012)

12-60mm is not design for cdaf. But the 14-54mk2 is.

0 upvotes
Jonathan McGee
By Jonathan McGee (Feb 21, 2012)

The question isn't "what's the best lens to use?" It's "how well does it handle the thousands of dollars I've already spent?"

4 upvotes
LaFonte
By LaFonte (Feb 21, 2012)

"still few month away from being finished" .. I kind of don't like the sound of that, that would put it to stores in fall 2012.

1 upvote
Hen3ry
By Hen3ry (Feb 21, 2012)

I understood orders being taken now are for April delivery.

1 upvote
David247
By David247 (Feb 22, 2012)

Yes, they indicated a mid April availability date as I recall. Many stores are already taking pre-orders.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 22, 2012)

A full month after my D800 arrives. Wasn't it announce around the same time as the Nikon? Why so long?

2 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (Feb 22, 2012)

Because it probably hasn't been in development as long as the Nikon? Why must everyone compare every camera to the D800? Why is that even remotely relevant?

7 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (Feb 22, 2012)

I'd rather wait for a bug free camera than get one 'hot off the shelf' that has problems. Been a few of those around recently.
Should also add that the D800 was most probably scheduled for release in 2011 but delayed because of the disasters. That makes the D800 delayed by 12 months rather than 2.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Melbourne Park
By Melbourne Park (Feb 21, 2012)

I think your twilight shot is artistically brilliant, on several levels.

Worth the article just for that shot.

By the way, which lens was that taken with?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
armanius
By armanius (Feb 21, 2012)

BH in NY has early April as the estimated release date.

1 upvote
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Feb 22, 2012)

I'd guess the 12-50 from the perspective...
...but then again I'm a noob, so bare with me ;)

0 upvotes
msusic
By msusic (Feb 21, 2012)

Best mirrorless camera by a long shot.

It really makes no sense to buy DSLRs anymore unless one needs professional super tele lenses and continous autofocus (birding enthusiasts, sports shooter etc).

With m43 you can pretty much have 5-10x lighter bag than using a decent semi-pro or a pro dslr.
Not to mention it's generally quite a lot cheaper. :)

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Feb 22, 2012)

Without seeing the images? Wow. I have a GH2 and GX1, both great, but aside from better glass, I'm not such a fanboy to think that they are "better" than a NEX-7 (for still, not video where the GH2 is currently king). But aside from lens choices, etc, the NEX-7 and NEX-5N, and the Fuji X100, for pure IQ are superior to my Panasonic cameras and most likely the OM-D. It's closer than ever, but if you've shot with an X100 for example, you know what I mean. The image quality is stunning. And with APS-C and in turn FF, you get better control of DOF.

So there are many reasons to buy a DSLR. Everyone has different needs, jobs, interests, and not everyone is worried about a few hundred grams of weight get the ultimate quality. My tripod doesn't mind the weight, anyway. But I sometimes wish more people prefaced such proclamations with "Personally, I don't need a DSLR" instead of "There is NO reason to buy a DSLR".

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
gabeb1946
By gabeb1946 (Feb 22, 2012)

"Best mirrorless camera by a long shot" - Really? Have you seen and used it? Have you handled the competition? Used or handled a Nex 7 (for that matter has any reader?) There is huge competition extant and coming in the mirrorless category. "It really makes no sense to buy DSLRs anymore" - Really? - Unless you're a pro and your living depends on your camera's reliability and versatility. I too am an Olympus fan and have been for years - but when I was forced by misssing hardware to shoot a wedding on an Oly "pro-sumer" DSLR the shortcomings were painfully obvious. Compared to a professional class, fast shooting, instant response, remote flash controlling DSLR we felt semi crippled, and were able to present half as many good shots. Horses for courses.

0 upvotes
digifan
By digifan (Feb 22, 2012)

A wedding isn't imo a direct insentive to use 35mm equippement.
An E-5 with accessories will suffice.
I mean if you shot with the E-6xx series there are obvious shortcommings but not with E-5.
One can argue about DoF in some area's or DR, but the photographer calls the shots (pun intended) on those events.
A Pro will know what to do and where to stand, when to use flash or not etc. There's allways a trial so no surprises at all, I'd say pretty much a controlled gig.

Edit: some make it look like a (m)43 isn't able to do weddings or other Pro stuff, which isn't anywhere near the truth ofcourse.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
spidermoon
By spidermoon (Feb 22, 2012)

It's not comparable, with aps-c you have far more choice in lenses, with tamron and sigma. µ4/3 is all about smalliness and quite good IQ in low to mid iso, in a fashsionable package. Cheap ? The canon 1100D is 460euro with is kit lenses. A tamron 17-50 f/2.8 is 400euro.

0 upvotes
Richard Katris
By Richard Katris (Feb 23, 2012)

Well unless they have solved the VF lag issue I have seen on the Pany and Sony models....it will still be too slow for any action work at all. While I love the concept of the EVF, and the quality of the image is good enough to use....so far in my tests, the combined viewfinder lag + shutter lag ends up being too long to capture any moving subject at the "critical moment", and I am doing OK with OVF cameras in that regard. Sure you can use high frame rates with available lighting and hope chance will favor your results......but with studio strobes....you get one shot at a time...so your timing at capturing an image is more critical, and so far all the EVF cameras I have tried fail at doing that.

We have G1, G3 in house, and I also tested an a33 so far. Tested a65 in store, inconclusive as test couldn't be done the way I wanted to do it...but appears it is also too slow. Beautiful EVF on that a65 BTW kudos to Sony on that.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Lan
By Lan (Feb 21, 2012)

I'm sure it should be possible to duplicate the Dramatic Tone II (B&W) effect in TopazAdjust.

I *might* be able to do it myself, but at the very least I'd need some identically shot side-by-side comparison images to see if I can work out what it's doing... No guarantees though.

0 upvotes
Hen3ry
By Hen3ry (Feb 21, 2012)

Good thinking, Lan. I just went and fiddled in Topaz Adjust 5 using the Diorama sample from this collection. Have a look at Stylized > Grunge Me BW. Plain Grunge Me with a little bit of color retained, looks very good too.

0 upvotes
abortabort
By abortabort (Feb 22, 2012)

Sometimes with something like an effect, it is good to do in-camera as you will compose/expose the shot for that effect. It is like playing an instrument and yes you could try a million different effects in post, but you play to the effect, so you play differently to suit the effect rather than try to shoe-horn the effect onto something already captured.

0 upvotes
RoAlmeida
By RoAlmeida (Feb 21, 2012)

Surely looks very promising and it's always good news to see Olympus getting their mojo back again. I can't wait to test (and possibly buy) one as they're my favorite brand (love my E420 and E30). I just concern on AF performance with my FT glass (I guess the new adapter still allows standard CDAF only). Anyway, the pictures & filters are great and the retro design is superb. They did it all great this time, not to mention the model is gorgeous as well. I believe Canikon surely will turnaround and drop their boxy or 'spaceship' design in their future DSLRs bodies to offer similar retro design from their famous film SLRs series. And hopefully bring back part of the glamour we've lost in the digital era... Well done Olympus!

2 upvotes
martygervz
By martygervz (Feb 21, 2012)

I wonder if this camera will be as good as the E-5 when it comes to sports photography. I find that the Pen cameras, like the new E-P3 is just not up to the task when it comes to shooting basketball or any other fast sports.

1 upvote
elotorero
By elotorero (Feb 22, 2012)

my assumption would be that it would be both good and bad at the same time

0 upvotes
Absolutic
By Absolutic (Feb 21, 2012)

Agree with everyone RE: Dramatic Tone II Art filter. I wonder if there is a Lightroom filter that is similar so I can attempt to create similar results from my Nikon and/or Canon DSLRs

0 upvotes
Hen3ry
By Hen3ry (Feb 21, 2012)

Maybe you can apply them in the Viewer software. Did they say that? If so, you can do it on any original file, I should think.

I do like the BW Dramatic Tone II, and also the color Keyline. That looks like 110% fun. :)

I could do without the OM-D's faux hump, but it sure is looking good perforamnce-wise!

Now, Olympus, what about remounting the f2.8~4 12-60 lens for m43 and offering it as an alternative "standard" with this body?

come on! Be nice! :D

0 upvotes
Hen3ry
By Hen3ry (Feb 21, 2012)

Just looked again. They said you could apply the filters to RAW images "in the supplied software". Would that handle your Nikon or Canon files? don't know.

For Dramatic Tone II, try Topaz Adjust v.5 Stylize > Grunge Me BW.

0 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Feb 22, 2012)

I don't think Olympus software handles other RAW formats, only .ORF files.

0 upvotes
kayone
By kayone (Feb 21, 2012)

The look and specs is enough to make me consider trying out MFT cameras again.

0 upvotes
Steven Wandy
By Steven Wandy (Feb 21, 2012)

Already have mine on pre-order to replace my EP3. Can't wait to get my grimy hands on it. The pictures - especially the high ISO shots I have seen posted - look at least 2 stops better than I can get out of the EP3.

0 upvotes
photosen
By photosen (Feb 21, 2012)

Looks really really nice... Would be a sure sale with a pancake lens for about $1,000 USD...

0 upvotes
Digibirder
By Digibirder (Feb 21, 2012)

I've ordered one already with the grip! I had a chance to handle one recently and it felt nice and solid. The camera and 12-50 are smaller than they look in photos. The shutter was impressively quiet.

0 upvotes
SirSeth
By SirSeth (Feb 21, 2012)

While the hot shot board was squandering millions, the engineers were designing a dream camera. Personally I love the features and the feat they seem to have pulled with the IQ. I'm delighted that it's receiving such good press and reception by the community here.

As far as small buttons go. Doesn't anyone use cell phones? They are all small with fiddly buttons and we seem to adjust. It's the design, positive feel, travel, feedback... that makes the difference between bad small buttons and good small buttons. If the E-M5 buttons are designed well, most of us will have no problems.

Bring it on Olympus!

0 upvotes
Optical1
By Optical1 (Feb 21, 2012)

Literally checks every box on my list. Now if only Olympus would make black 12mm and 45mm primes I'd be in 7th heaven!

7 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 21, 2012)

Yeah, black primes would be a nice option.

0 upvotes
SirSeth
By SirSeth (Feb 21, 2012)

That would be my preference too, but I don't mind the silver lens on a black body either.

0 upvotes
Michael J Davis
By Michael J Davis (Feb 22, 2012)

I've put black insulating tape on my 45mm, just as I did with all my old Leica lenses (before they introduced black variants). Not for show, for invisibility!

0 upvotes
BayAreaWZ
By BayAreaWZ (Feb 21, 2012)

Wow dramatic tone II monochrome is killer! Amazing

3 upvotes
Optical1
By Optical1 (Feb 21, 2012)

Agreed!!! I love the B&W filter, but always wanted a way to retain sharpness. With all this positive news, I'll have to purchase a drool pan in addition to my E-M5...

3 upvotes
SirSeth
By SirSeth (Feb 21, 2012)

Ditto on the Dramatic Tone II!

0 upvotes
spidermoon
By spidermoon (Feb 22, 2012)

Yes, it's a cool effects, but you can always do the same with any camera and any photo soft. For me, the most important part is the IQ. You can add grain, ugly colors, contrast, but if the base shot is bad with low contrast and no detail, you can only instagram it to make it art photo :)

0 upvotes
fastprime
By fastprime (Feb 21, 2012)

I vote for the penultimate picture, "'Dramatic Tone II' Art Filter". Trenchcoat, black stockings and film noir shadowing. Oh yea!

3 upvotes
RoccoGalatioto
By RoccoGalatioto (Feb 21, 2012)

I just love the retro look. It's personaL. I know

3 upvotes
Kinematic Digit
By Kinematic Digit (Feb 21, 2012)

With my 40 lb camera bags with the slew of lenses I carry, I look forward to carrying my 4 primes with this camera and using them for all my professional needs. I can have every condition covered with equipment that barely takes up the space of a medium sized camera bag. So looking forward to this camera and a back-up.

4 upvotes
jmmgarza
By jmmgarza (Feb 21, 2012)

A cute, small and retro camera.... not for me.

1 upvote
DioCanon
By DioCanon (Feb 21, 2012)

WHO CARES?!

20 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Feb 22, 2012)

(pssst, l'ho capita la battuta, DioCanon hehehehe) XD

0 upvotes
jmmgarza
By jmmgarza (Apr 20, 2012)

I still don't like it.

0 upvotes
PeterNMIF
By PeterNMIF (Feb 21, 2012)

I'm happy with the button size and body size of the GH2. I doubt I would want anything smaller.

Is the E-M5 smaller body and smaller buttons than the GH2?

0 upvotes
453C
By 453C (Feb 22, 2012)

It's similar in size to the G3 and GH2. Sort of slots between the two:
http://camerasize.com/compact/#185,289,166,ha,f

You can compare two at a time, with multiple views through the main tool:
http://camerasize.com/compare/#185,289

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Holgs
By Holgs (Feb 22, 2012)

Its about the same size, but to me the layout is much more comfortable in the hand, intuitive and better balanced with long lenses. Usually this is a personal preference though.

0 upvotes
M1963
By M1963 (Feb 21, 2012)

Holy c***! If only my beloved E-P1 had an ISO performance at 800 as this one at 8000... This is a magnificent feat indeed! And the Keyline filter must be lots of fun too. Shame about price, though.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Feb 21, 2012)

Yeah, should be higher. :)

1 upvote
caver3d
By caver3d (Feb 22, 2012)

Why are there always people like this who want all the bells and whistles, yet expect Oly to lose money by pricing it as a compact camera? Disgusting.

4 upvotes
Laszlo13
By Laszlo13 (Feb 22, 2012)

I think the price for body only and the original 14-42mm are fair. Not so sure about the 12-50mm, although that's the one I pre-ordered it with. The top range Pens and E-x series cameras tend to keep their pricing for a long time - so it's the first time I went ahead and pre-ordered. I'll shoot myself if there's a promotion throwing in the grip or something shortly after initial delivery.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
M1963
By M1963 (Feb 22, 2012)

Caver3d, your reply is completely stupid and offensive and deserves no further reply.
That said it is known to everyone that the prices asked when a camera is launched tend to drop after some time. Initial prices are tagged in order to absorb investment and R&D costs, thus being higher than what can be found some months later.
I'm glad to see everyone is doing so well here at DPR, but for me €1.500,00 - that's the E-M5's price at amazon.de with the 12-50mm kit lens - is still a bit steep. If I decide to buy this camera, I'll wait till the price drops. And by that time Olympus will have fixed any gremlins that may eventually affect the first production batches. I'm not the kind of fool who rushes to buy the next big thing.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
M1963
By M1963 (Feb 22, 2012)

Just to give you an idea, when I first saw the E-P1 in a shop, I went in and asked for the price. That was €850, including the 17mm Pancake lens and the VF-1 optical viewfinder. I told the man he'd never sell it and walked away. Six months later I bought the very same kit for €366 at Pixmania. I'd call it a good deal, wouldn't you? If I had rushed to buy the camera at that shop, I'd have lost €484. I'm not rich, so €484 is a lot of money to me. It may be insignificant to others, but I have to work hard in order to save that kind of money. Hopefully I'll find another good deal on the E-M5. Patience reaps rewards.

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Feb 22, 2012)

Totally agree.
But I also have to admit that I'm desperately trying to find out if my pockets have false bottoms...
Geez E-M5, see you in 2013... :(

0 upvotes
Optical1
By Optical1 (Feb 22, 2012)

Credit!!!

1 upvote
JoannaK
By JoannaK (Feb 21, 2012)

I wonder how much various filters do slow down video modes? I could see some of those quite usefull on 1080p..

0 upvotes
Linnin
By Linnin (Feb 21, 2012)

This is a fantastic ground breaking/cutting edge camera!

1 upvote
tobias2003
By tobias2003 (Feb 21, 2012)

Wow! Will buy it!

5 upvotes
Linnin
By Linnin (Feb 21, 2012)

Agreed! I Want!

0 upvotes
James A Rinner
By James A Rinner (Feb 21, 2012)

I can't wait to try one out!

1 upvote
Shomari
By Shomari (Feb 21, 2012)

Is it about the same size and heft as the Oly E-Pl2?

0 upvotes
Optical1
By Optical1 (Feb 21, 2012)

Pretty Close...Checkout www.camerasize.com. It's a pretty awesome comparison tool!

1 upvote
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Feb 21, 2012)

As I suspected, the E-M5 may be too small for a prosumer camera with really good ergonomics. Slightly more width should provide, more gripping area, better shaped grip, and better positioned dials and buttons.

3 upvotes
Art Vandelay II
By Art Vandelay II (Feb 21, 2012)

Size is a matter of preference. To me small is a bonus, not a negative. I've been waiting for a small prosumer camera since the dawn of digital. I'm just glad we FINALLY have a few small higher end interchangeable lens cameras to choose from.

I for one don't need a or want a 2+ lb camera, but I do want high end manual controls, weather sealing, build quality, and image quality. It's about time. Well done Olympus.

13 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Feb 21, 2012)

And if you make it bigger with a chunky grip and spread out buttons, you've defeated the purpose of the entire design.

5 upvotes
MAubrey
By MAubrey (Feb 21, 2012)

They have an add-on for that.

3 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 21, 2012)

Let's wait until you get it into your hands before drawing any of those conclusions. Besides, remember that you always have the option of adding the accessory hand grip, as well as the accessory vertical grip.

3 upvotes
DioCanon
By DioCanon (Feb 21, 2012)

Small size
is the main reason most of people buy a mirrorless for!
if you like big grips get a 1Dx!

8 upvotes
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Feb 22, 2012)

You might be right about people buying mirrorless for its small size, but it does not have to be. A mirrorless can be bought for its fps, its data on EVF, and for its ability to be better than an entry or midrange DSLR! This E-M5 is the top mirrorless and many will want to use it as a comfortable to good camera without great compromises. Mirrorless cameras will be replacing DSLRs and become the small but high-end camera of choice on its own merit, you can't accept too many constraints to do that. NEX cameras will not achieve that due to a size that is never going to be very comfortable with its big APS-C lenses. Olympus can, if it continues to improve on that.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
onlooker
By onlooker (Feb 22, 2012)

I fully agree with Sergey. Cutting on width gains little in terms of bulk but seriously compromises ergonomics. If I can't grip the camera comfortably, what use is it to me? That is one reason why I dislike my G11 so much. Ergonomics are horrible because you can't grip the camera without squeezing a bunch of buttons with your palm.

Designers need to look at how photographers hold the camera while operating it, not like their models hold it for publicity shots.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Feb 22, 2012)

@DioCanon - even with the additional portrait grip, the camera is still a heck of a lot more compact than any other camera with a portrait grip. Besides, there's nothing wrong with offering people a modular body that allows them to add or remove pieces as they see fit.

0 upvotes
migus
By migus (Feb 22, 2012)

Small size is critical. Size actually drives the entire wave of ILC/CSC away from dSRLs, which are relegated to studio, drive-in, pro tools. But if you shoot nature, travel, street, war, adventure etc. and need 2 bodies and 3-4 lenses, you'll be glad of the 10+ lbs lighter pack. No more need for knee and hip replacement. I know i appreciate when running w/ a 1lb vs. 3lbs setup.

1 upvote
onlooker
By onlooker (Feb 22, 2012)

@migus et al., you are folks misreading Sergey's and my posts. We are not talking about making the camera heavier. You can make the camera a little wider and reposition the electronics inside. It does not need to be heavier to gain better ergonomics. Using a hyperbole like 1 lb vs. 3 lbs is in no way relevant to this argument.

0 upvotes
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