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Art Filters

Olympus was the first company to offer creative image processing options in a large-sensor camera when it added 'Art Filters' to its E-30 DSLR in 2008. Olympus has made the best of this head-start and continues to offer one of the most comprehensive selections of filters available. The E-M5 adds three options to the already-comprehensive selection - an all-new 'Key Line' filter (apparently inspired by the Japanese manga drawing style), a purple-tinged 'Cross Process II', and a monochrome version of the existing Dramatic Tone filter which can give striking results with an appropriate subject.

In the OM-D there are 11 basic filters, many of them with alternate versions and options to add frames or heavy, pin-hole-style vignetting. In all, there are 19 filters if you include the variants and 78 combinations if you add all the framing options. As you can imagine, this gives a pretty flexible set of options. We're not fans of all the frames or filters (we've yet to get anything attractive out of the new Key Line filter) but the sheer range means there's often an interesting option available to spice-up an otherwise underwhelming image.

The processing demands of providing a live preview of the filters means that the camera's displays can become very laggy with some filters (particularly Diorama). The tenth option in section D of the Custom menu provides the choice of a faster but less accurate preview, if this lag risks interrupting the shooting experience (though we can't notice a huge difference between the two options).

Although there are lots of different filter options, there is no option for configuration once you've selected a filter. For instance, you get no manual control over the size, orientation or positioning of the 'in-focus' region of the Diorama mode. Cleverly, the camera will center the in-focus region around your chosen AF point, so that your chosen subject is in-focus. However, it's not clever enough to change the orientation of the in-focus region if you shoot in the portrait format.

Pop Art
(of 2)
Soft Focus
Pale + Light Color 1 (of 2)
Light Tone
Grainy Film
(of 2)
Pin Hole
(of 3)
Cross Process
(of 2)
Gentle Sepia
Dramatic Tone 2 (of 2)
Key Line
(of 2)

Although we've demonstrated all the principle filters using the same image, you'd usually want to tailor your use of filters and framing to an individual image. This is helped to a massive degree by Olympus' in-camera Raw converter that allows you to go back and apply any of the art filters to any Raw files you've shot. This means it's possible to use the Art Filter mode to preview the effect when shooting but still go back and change your mind if you find you caught the right moment but with the wrong effect.

The Art Filters can be combined with tone curve adjustments, either at the time of shooting or when re-processing Raw files, but there's no option to adjust saturation or sharpening.

Cross Process Filter II, 16:9 aspect ratio with frame effect, processed from Raw

Art Filters can also be applied to movies. The processing lag in live view mode has an effect on the video shooting - it slows the rate that video can be captured at. There are two ways the camera copes with this - most of the filters are played back at reduced frame rates, so that they still match up with the audio they've recorded. However the diorama mode is more processor intensive, so the results would be too slow - instead no audio is recorded and the frames are played back at 30fps, giving a sped-up playback effect.

1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 2 sec, 4.8 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Live Bulb/Live Time

The camera's clever 'Live Bulb/Live Time' modes give a preview of how the image will look during long exposure photography. In these modes, the display on the back of the camera (not the EVF) is updated up to 24 times at pre-decided intervals (the number of available updates is ISO dependent). In Live Bulb mode, the screen will update however often you've specified (every 0.5 sec, for example), and the exposure will continue for as long as you hold down the shutter button. Live Time is much the same but with the exposure starting with one button press and stopping with a second (allowing use without a remote release), again with a preview of how the exposure is coming along.

There's also an option, in Live Time mode, to trigger an update by touching the rear screen or half-pressing the shutter. You'd want to be careful not to jog the camera, of course, but it does mean you have an option equivalent to opening the oven to see how your baking is coming along. For extreme low-light landscapes we found setting a 60 second interval between updates and occasionally pressing the screen gave us a good way of checking exposure progress without being too restricted by the maximum update limits. For photographing fireworks, a shorter, defined interval (such as 0.5 seconds), should be effective.

We'll be adding a video showing this feature in action very soon.

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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