Kjeld Olesen: Being a user of both a m43 system and a 24x36 mm system, I'd say this is certainly a nice lens and an improvement to the m43 lens array, but surely there will always be reason for m43 users to "envy full frame L glass" - at least until they bring out a 12-35 f/1.4 lens - and if they do, then what will be the point of using m43 anyways? It would likely be larger than a "full frame" 24-70 f/2.8.So lets enjoy what m43 offers in terms of small size and not pretend that it is a replacement for larger apperture lenses.
You'd think FF owners would "envy m43 glass": constant aperture zooms, affordable & available f/0.95 primes, and huge size and weight advantages.
Doesn't apply similarly to the OM-D E-M5. There is no measurable loss at f/2.0, only 0.12 EV at f/1.4 and a minimal 0.26 EV at f/0.95, which can be easily measured with the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95.
This is another area where m43 punches above its weight.
Gully Foyle: This release exposes even more Sony's lack of lenses for its NEXs.
Look at the size of Canon's constant aperture 17-55mm f/2.8 (27-88mm EFL) for APS-C and you'll get an idea of why Sony isn't making such a lens for NEX. Canon's constant aperture zoom is more than twice the size and weight of this lens. APS-C sensors are too large for compact systems, the lenses are too big or too slow.
Great to see it has a metal body, manual zoom ring, and weather sealing.
Spectacle99: Another great review, and all kinds of great responses here. I still have two questions, though. First one in this post, second to follow:
1) Buffer size/continuous performance: how precisely does the camera perform in continuous shooting mode? I understand the details about max 9 fps, and only up to 4 fps for continuous autofocus. But HOW MANY shots can you take in these modes before the camera slows down? And this is crucial: does it just SLOW DOWN, or does it STOP altogether and then you have to wait for all of the photos to save on the card before you can resume shooting?
Shooting raw it just slows down to about 1 fps and continues taking photos at this rate. If you take your finger off the shutter for a couple of seconds while the buffer is draining, then you'll get another few shots at 4 fps, before it goes back to about 1 fps.
Spectacle99: My second question:
2) Bokeh and shallow depth of field: I am considering getting this camera instead of an enthusiast DSLR, given its small size. But the one thing that concerns me is the sensor size here. I've seen all of the details and examples above, and it is clear that the OM-D does just as well as or better than its mirrorless and APS-C rivals all the way up through high ISOs. But what about depth of field? Amongst many other things, I want to be able to shoot nice flower and insect macros with a very shallow DOF, and a smooth, creamy bokeh background. Same thing, but less extreme, with portraits. How possible is this with this camera? And do you have any lens suggestions?
Enthusiast DSLR's (with APS-C sensors) struggle a bit in the lens department, so there's no obvious choice that's going to get you appreciably more bokeh than is available with the OM-D E-M5 (Panasonic 25mm f/1.4, Olympus 45mm f/1.8 and soon to be released Olympus 75mm f/1.7). You'll be able to slightly better the bokeh at some focal lengths with an APS-C camera, but not at others. And you'll end up carrying full-frame lenses (which are unnecessarily heavy and expensive) because of the lack of bright APS-C specific lenses...
ybizzle: Great effort but with less expensive models like the Sony NEX-5N, Samsung NX-20, and Pentax K-01, it will harder to justify this more expensive model from Oly. Not to mention that all these have a 50% larger sensor to boot and great image quality.
APS-C cameras don't offer the range of small, fast primes that work with the E-M5. The lenses for APS-C cameras are generally considerably larger (much larger in the case of NEX) for equally bright primes. But more often than not, APS-C systems provide only slower lenses. In fact, if you look at fast (faster than f/2.8) lenses for APS-C cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony NEX and exclude the heavier and bulkier than needed full-frame lenses, you find: Canon: 0 Nikon: 1 (35mm f/1.8) Sony NEX: 2 (24mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8) E-M5: 6+1 (12mm f/2.0, 17.5mm f0.95, 20mm f/1.7, 25mm f/1.4, 25mm f/0.95, 45mm f/1.8, 75mm f/1.7 announced)
But even more than the availability of fast lenses, is their size; the lenses for the OM-D are mostly very small and many of them of superb optical quality.
steveh0607: How about a set of fast primes?! I'm going to get this camera in due time but Olympus needs to flesh out the m43 lens lineup.
@mister_roboto: Panasonic have shown 12-35mm and 35-100mm f/2.8 X-grade lenses (which will be weather sealed) with an indication they will be available later this year.
PatMann: This looks like an impressive and very usable little camera for the enthusiast, and a big boost in performance for Olympus, which has been stuck in 2007 for their sensor, which is a long time now in digital years.
Lenses are the still key for me. There seems to be a much better range of primes for this system than for Sony NEX with the Olympus 12 and 45 and Panasonic 25mm and 45mm macro, and an ultrawide zoom, but no fast (or even f/4) midrange or short tele zooms to complete the range, so I'd call it almost a system. "With adapter" doesn't count in my book - that's two more very susceptible points of failure.
Once a faster midrange and a faster short tele zoom lens are available for MFT, watch out Nikon and Canon.
Panasonic has displayed 12-35mm and 35-100mm (24-70mm, 70-200mm equiv.) f/2.8 X-grade "concept" lenses, with a suggestion they are to appear later this year. The lenses both used 58mm filters, so promise to be massively smaller than their FF (and APS-C) counterparts.
Note also that panasonic has said all future X-grade lenses will be weather-sealed.
filcon: I must admit, that when I first saw the quality of the jpeg out of this new baby, I was blowen away by the way the noise has been dealt with on this 43 sensor...well done Olympus! However, on closer inspection, the noise fix comes at a price of blurring fine detail. I would feel happy printing a reasonably large print up to 3200 and at 6400 would have to take the print size down.
I see that some are intent on selling their APS-C cameras and going all the way with the E-M5!! That would be a retrograde step of throwing the baby out with the bathwater!! I compared the 3200 jpeg file download from both the E-M5 and the D7000, and the noise was better in the E-M5 than the Nikon, but the detail due to blurring was not up to scratch in the E-M5 file. Note, the D7000 file was not a real issue with noise, it just had a more film like look to it. Be carefull before you make any rash moves and turn a corner you can't retreat from.
Spoken by an old Olympus dog from way back. Love the E-M5
Number of lenses faster than f2.8 for APS-C and M43 cameras*:
Nikon: 1 (52mm equiv. f1.8) NOT Image Stabilized
Sony NEX: 1 (75mm equiv f1.8) Image Stabilized
M4/3: 7 (24mm equiv f2.0, 35mm equiv 0.95, 40mm equiv f1.7, 50mm equiv f1.4, 50mm equiv f0.95, 90mm equiv f1.8, 150mm equiv f1.7) All lenses stabilised using IBIS.
It's not necessary to use as high ISO with fast, image stabilised systems. Cameras are not just sensors.
* excludes use of heavier, bulkier full frame lenses (approx. 4 times the volume (or more) of M43s lenses) Note that even resorting to full frame lenses will not find a 24mm equiv f2.0 or faster for your APS-C camera.
I should add that the faster primes available for this system (particularly at normal and wide-angle) combined with an image stabilisation system that works with these primes, means that in many situations you can use much lower ISO settings than with an APS-C body from Sony or Nikon or Canon. You can't compare ISO 6400 with ISO 6400 when one camera has faster lenses and image stabilisation and draw any sort of conclusion about which is best for "most" situations.
The reason for dropping APS-C cameras in favour of the E-M5 isn't to get the best sensor for the first half of 2012, but to get a camera that has a decent sensor, that's 1/2 the size and weight; a camera with nice fast primes (really unavailable for APS-C), a camera that is weather sealed, and a camera with a good flash system. That is, a much smaller camera with few limitations and huge advantages in portability.
As a complete system, the E-M5 looks amazing. It's not just the sensor.
Just Having Fun: There is a DoF difference betwen M4/3 and FF. Between M4/3 and and APS, it is not really noticable because of the wide APS aspect ratio. My primary camera is a Sony DSLR, and from experince, I can say the slightly smaller sesnor can do just as much with DoF.Now APS lenses will always be larger. M4/3 will never be able to compete with their BIG size.
@SunLyte: Nikon makes only one lens faster than f2.8 that's specifically for APS-C (the 35mm f1.8 you mention). It is a good lens, but it's neither more contrasty nor sharper than the Panasonic Leica 25mm lens for m43, and it's slower.
Besides the fact that Nikon makes only one fast lens for APS-C cameras, their FF lenses are not as fast as the m43rds equivalents. Olympus makes a f2.0 24mm equiv, but try to find such a lens for APS-C for your Nikon -- you won't find anything faster than f2.8 (even if you go to FF). Ditto for the Olympus 150mm f1.8 equiv. You won't find anything near focal lenth that is faster than f2.0 and those apertures are only for heavy, expensive FF lenses, otherwise you're stuck with the 85mm f3.5 (127mm equiv) for APS-C.
Oh and i forgot to mention, because of the way Olympus does IS, these are all IS, something you just won't get with most fast primes for systems without IBIS.
M43 has great lenses (with more on the way!) and now a great body.
There's an increase in DoF going from FF to APS-C and an increase in DoF going from APS-C to M4/3. That would put M4/3 at a disadvantage in terms of DoF control, except that there are a lot of fast lenses for M4/3 that you won't find for APS-C unless you are willing to use even larger FF lenses with your APS-C camera (often with less useful focal lengths). That there are fast (including f0.95) lenses available for M4/3 really makes the DoF issue a non-issue.
What's even more interesting, however, is that the smaller sensor favours low-light -- that is it doesn't penalise very large apertures with paper-thin, almost unusable DoF. This advantages low-light photography, where the smaller sensor would otherwise be at a disadvantage. In my view, M4/3 sensors are simply a better size for balancing DoF with aperture.
To be certain, M4/3 users will not be at a disadvantage with regards to DoF control, the available lenses take care of that potential issue.
NZ Scott: Oly is overstating ISO - that's one reason why the results look so impressive.
The German website digitalkamera (dot) de tested the M5's ISO capabilities and concluded that it does not shoot at ISO 200-25,600, but actually at ISO 120-14,200. In other words, Oly is exaggerating by 2/3 of a stop.
What that means is that if you want to compare an M5 image shot at 3200 with an image from another camera, it is fairer to compare it with a 1600 image, assuming that the manufacturer of the other camera hasn't also told a big fib.
The Germans did find that the M5 has very good dynamic range - around 11 stops at ISO 1600, dropping to 8 stops at 25,600. Presumably the dynamic range is even better at lower ISOs.
bobbarber is correct; the Panasonic Leica Summilux f1.4 is very sharp wide open. Also m43rds offers larger DOF with large apertures, and for most low-light work this is likely to be advantageous -- certainly more will be in focus. There's a potential 2 stop advantage to m43rds in low light work, plus another potential 2 or 3 or more stop advantage with IS. This camera still promises to be outstanding (if not the best solution) for a lot of low-light work.
danieljp: Great tool. Thanks!
Olympus should do well with this camera. It seems to have excellent noise characteristics at higher ISOs. The fact that it has a multitude of lens manufacturers to choose from together with an up to date autofocus system has made me cancel my XPRO-1 pre-order.
I agree. The other thing i like about this camera is the flash system looks good: 4-channel, 3-group wireless remote flash triggering, 1/250s sync (plus faster sync w/reduced flash max output), 2nd curtain sync. etc, etc., etc.
ogo: Why can't people just admit that a 4/3 sensor can be good at high ISO, and instead of that just say that Olympus cheated on high iso ?
Now think about this :- R. Butler clearly stated that you can't use those studio samples to judge ISO scale- for those shots E-M5 exposure times are the same that Panasonic GX1. Did anyone accuse Panasonic to cheat here ? Just look at DXOMark of GX1 (DXOmark being the "reference" for those accusing Oly to cheat). GX1 is right on scale- you can't compare exposure for 4/3 and other sensors because the aspect ratio is not the same (3:2 vs 4:3). 3:2 sensors have more white on the sides to expose, thus making the comparison impossible- you ignore light transmission differences between lenses (T-stops) which can have a big impact- studio samples on another site (focus-numerique.com) show same exposure times for NEX-5N and E-M5, and still the noise results are very comparable with what is shown here.
It is reasonable to expect technological advances to appear in m43rds sensors before they appear in FF sensors. The smaller size (alone) lends itself to achieving the necessary yields with new technologies before they can be effectively applied to FF chips which are 4 times larger. It's entirely reasonable to expect m43rds sensors to punch above their weight for the foreseeable future.
Still this camera has few peers for low light work. The availability of very fast f0.95 primes and IS which works with these primes gives a 3 to 5 stop advantage over high-end FF cameras when the subject isn't moving.
Rubenski: Compared to the already 'old' 7D this performance is only slightly better sometimes but mostly slightly worse. D3s still looks stunning (greatest low light camera still), wonder how the Mark 5D III is going to perform at ISO 6400.
@Pelasdf: that exposure is for about EV-2 (ISO 100) or about the same as a full moonlight night with the moon overhead, plenty bright enough to see. One great thing about this camera is the availability of IS with very fast prime lenses.
It's half the size of the 7D. And as for ISO 6400: i'll be using a 50mm equiv Nokton f0.95 lens on this camera and it will have image stabilisation. That'll give me 5 stops over the equivalent L lens for the 5Dm3. So when i'm shooting at ISO 800, 5Dm3 shooters will be using ISO 25600 because they have no other choice. This is one highly capable camera in low light, unmatched by almost every other camera on the market.