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Viewfinder and screen

Electronic viewfinder

The E-M5 features one of the better electronic viewfinders on the market - it's an 800 x 600 pixel (1.44M dot) LCD that gives a good level of detail. It can't quite compete with the 2.4M dot OLED displays in Sony's recent NEX-7 and high-end SLTs, but it's still a good resolution with a fast refresh rate and none of the rainbow 'tearing' that can be visible in the field-sequential viewfinders used in Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds cameras.

The EM-5's electronic viewfinder features 1.44 million dot resolution. It is crisp and contrasty in normal use but the shallow padding of the removable eyecup isn't quite adequate to shade it completely in very bright light, where the viewfinder image can become hard to see.

The wheel on the left of this image is diopter adjustment, from -4 to +2.

As with all electronic viewfinders, even at its brightest setting, it can't match the ambient light levels on a bright day (a problem that optical viewfinders don't suffer from), which makes stray light from around the edges of your eye much more distracting. The shallow eye-cup of the E-M5 makes this worse (Olympus has developed a deeper on, called the EP-11, but we've not seen it yet) but glasses wearers are likely to find they have to cup one hand around the finder on bright days.

There's a high-speed viewfinder mode (Custom Menu section J, option 5), that doubles the rate of the viewfinder refresh to 120Hz. The result is lower resolution and faster battery drain than the Normal mode, but with a smoother and more frequent update, for if you're trying to shoot very fast-moving subjects. We rarely found the need for this 'Frame Rate: High' mode but it's useful to have the option if your shooting requires it.

Viewfinder size

One figure hidden away in the spec is the size of the viewfinder (often in a format that makes direct comparison between competing models impossible). This a key factor in usability - the bigger the viewfinder, the easier it is to frame and focus your shots, and the more enjoyable and involving process it is.

Because of the way viewfinders are measured (using a fixed lens, rather than a lens of equivalent magnification), you also need to take the sensor size into account, so the numbers in the diagram below are the manufacturer's specified magnifications divided by the respective 'crop factors' and divided by their coverage.

The move to an electronic viewfinder means the E-M5 can offer a display as large as Olympus' top-level E-5 DSLR, without the financial and light-loss costs of providing such a large magnification viewfinder.

The E-M5's viewfinder isn't as large as the Panasonic G3's but its slightly bigger than the optical finder in the comparably-priced Canon EOS 60D.

Rear display screen

The E-M5 follows the lead of Olympus' E-P3 and XZ-1 by offering a rather good VGA-equivalent OLED display screen, rather than an LCD. The E-M5 then makes the screen more useful by making it tiltable and touch-senstive. The touch-sensitivity uses the iPhone-like capacitive technology, rather than the pressure sensitivity embraced by Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds cameras. The result is a screen that's rather more sensitive but that won't work if you're wearing normal gloves (smartphone-friendly gloves with conductive fingertips should work).

The touch-sensitive rear screen tilts 80° upwards and 50° downwards, giving more flexibility for waist-level or overhead shooting. Like all tilt-only screens, though, it adds nothing when shooting stills in portrait format.
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Total comments: 12

Hello, is there anyone who would like to share video-film experiences about Olympus Om-T E M5? how is the possibilities to make short fiction and dokumantaires film and especially with different cinematic lenses in work..?


I have been using the OM-D EM5 for two years now, as a hobbyist, and it has brought the joy back for me in photography. A beautiful, light, strong camera, easy to use and produces great pictures. However, I have had a few niggles - the rubber eye-cup has come off both bodies I own, as well as the dial cap on the right hand side. In one body, the mode dial keeps switching between Auto and SCN. Olympus needs to look into these and some other flaws mentioned by users.


Great camera for travel and I have owned the OM-D E-M5 for already 3 weeks. I love the retro stye of it as it remind me of the OM4 which I still own.

Do note that the Lumix 20mm f:1.7 lens is not 100% comparable with the OM-D E-M5 when you leave the switch ON and the camera goes into sleep mode. It hang, Sometime It cannot wake up when you press the shutter button, you need to reset the camera by removing the battery for it to reset. Even when you OFF and ON back the switch is of no good.

1 upvote
Henry Richardson

That was an early problem with the E-M5 and 20mm, but was fixed in a 2012 firmware update. I had the problem back then until the firmware was fixed and then no more problems.


It is the only one listed in the camera feature search with a viewfinder as waterproof,but it appears to be only weather resistant, ie don't dunk it in water(or clipped to your life jacket while whitewater kayaking).


OLUMPUS OMDE5 appears to be an interesting camera - I am specially attracted to its weathersealed body and lens ( which I think is very essential in a country like I NDIA) - that was the reason why I had purchased PENTAX K10D years ago. One thing which is bothering me is its made in China tag. I am an architect and basically interested in landscape and nature photography - I travel a lot . Can I am have some inputs from those who are using OLYMPUS OMD E5?

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting

As a hobbyist, I have been using OMD EM5 for more than an year now and I love it. Here are some of my clicks. There are mostly landscapes and outdoors sports shots.


I recently got E-M5 and very happy with it. By no means I'm pro photographer but with my new 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens is great combat and have been talking great picture. I use Toshiba Flash Air to use with my iPhone/ipad too. I mostly to landscape photos and it has not let me down.

1 upvote

It is an excellent little shooter.
THe EVF is quite good and KILLS OVFs in low light. THese were taken with one ..


The CaNIKSon shooters told me that they got VERY few 'keeper' pics with their FF sensors. I get a few 'looks' while shooting, but they soon shut up when RESULTS are compared.

Anywhere it's really dark, you'll appreciate being able to SEE.

I also own the EM-1 and have yet to put it through its DIM light paces.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Chad Hogan

I'm on the hunt for a new camera and weighing up my options just now.. I'm fairly new to the game though and a bit naive in all honesty! Is the EM5 much better than the Canon EOS 7D as this comparison...

suggests? What features make this camera great and what one would you go for?

Thanks, Chad

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
1 upvote

Hi, I didn't see any answer yet, so I asume nobody saw your post yet. I'll try to help you (maybe you didn't choose yet). This comparison isn't very good in my opinion (for example, it compares 9 fps vs 8, but you have to take in account that is with fixed focus. With continuous focus is much slower and less accurate...). I had a 60 D (same sensor, and image quality as the 7D with different features) and I have now the EM-5. I can tell you it has some advantages (if you think smaller and cheaper very good lenses are important advantages; for me, it is essential), but you will have to sacrifice some speed and easyness of handling. The best way is to read the full review of both cameras and to determine what are YOUR priorities. Don't forget to look at the sample images, as the two cameras have different outputs and it's important if you don't like to spend time in post processing. You will find very nice and helpfull reviews on this site (in my opinion, one of the best). Good luck!


I sold my 7D and lots of expensive L glass after buying the E-M5. The E-M5 is much smaller, it's images are sharper (no anti-aliasing filter), while the 7D has a very strong anti-aliasing filter (much stronger than any of the other Canon cameras with 18MP sensors) and the E-M5 has more dynamic range. It's also not nearly as prone to banding as the 7D is when pulling details from shadows. The 7D is a bit more ergonomic, but it's much larger, and it's lenses are significantly larger. And the reason i sold it is because it's so heavy. The E-M5 is very fast focusing, but for indoor sports (subjects moving towards or away from the camera) the 7D wins. Both cameras are metal bodied and weather sealed. Both have 4 channel, 3 group remote flash triggering. The E-M5 also has tilt screen and touch screen (touch point to focus and take image.)

Total comments: 12