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The biggest video news on the E-M5 is the move away from the occasionally confusing AVCHD arrangement that shuffled video files off into an obscure folder structure. The knowledge that it makes it easier to copy video to Blu-ray discs and allowed longer clips to be recorded came as little consolation to users trying to remember where it would have put their video files. Instead the E-M5 saves its video as H.264 MOV files, which are essentially very similar (as they use the same codec), just a lot easier to work with.

The E-M5 can capture 1080i60 video from 30p sensor output - a process called progressive segmented frame, that means it can be edited as if it were 30p footage. However, there are no options to natively record in 24p or at frame rates that are a multiple of 25 for PAL or SECAM TVs. Two compression options are available - 20Mbps fine quality, which limits individual clips to around 22 minutes, or a 17Mbps normal option that lets the camera record up to its 29 minute limit. Claims of improved processing, plus the newer sensor have encouraged Olympus to promise less jagged video output with substantially reduced rolling shutter effect. You can shoot using all exposure modes, including full manual.

There is also control over the sound recording volume, with three selectable volume levels. There's also a wind-cut function (three levels and off). There's no built-in microphone socket but one can be added using the optional SEMA-1 unit that slots into the accessory port (and occupies the hot shoe).

As part of the video, the E-M5 has two special effects over and above the latest Art Filters. The 'Echo' effects - One Shot Echo and Multi Echo - are creative effects that leave an 'echo' of previous frames in the video. Pressing the right-hand button of the four-way controller causes the current frame to be held and gently faded out as the video progresses. Pressing downwards causes each subsequent frame to be held and faded, progressively.

We find it hard to imagine these getting much use but any new creative tool can provide surprises when combined with imagination, so we'll hold our judgement.

Video quality options

Sizes • MOV (AVC H.264)
1920 x 1080i (60i from 30p capture), 20 Mb/s
1920 x 1080i (60i from 30p capture), 17 Mb/s
1280 x 720p (60p from 30p capture), 13 Mb/s
1280 x 720p (60p from 30p capture), 10 Mb/s
• Motion JPEG
1280 x 720p30
640 x 480 (30fps)
Audio Stereo sound (Linear PCM)
Format H.264 / MOV
Max file size per clip 4.0 GB
Recordable time 29:59 minutes

Handling in Video mode

Movie shooting can be initiated from any mode on the camera by pressing the Red record button (or any button you've set to act as 'REC' from the Custom menu). Depending on how you hold the camera, you may find one of the other buttons (or the shutter button) is a more convenient way of starting video, without accidentally inducing a rolling motion at the start of each clip.

When initiated from stills shooting modes, movies are always shot in Program mode, with the camera setting aperture, shutter speed and ISO with no user input. Focus is also switched to whichever focus mode was last used when shooting in Movie mode. The Fn1 button, and any button you've configured to act as AEL, takes on the role of performing an AF acquisition (regardless of what focus mode you're in or how you've configured the Fn1 button). To take any manual control of the camera's settings you need to be in Movie shooting mode.

If you're likely to be shooting video from stills mode, it's worth adding the 16:9 grid overlay to your preview - it's subtle enough to not interfere with stills shooting but useful for showing the extent of the video crop (approximately, depending on IS mode). If you move to movie mode on the mode dial, the preview simply switches to a 16:9 view.

The movie record button is on the right rear shoulder of the camera. If, as some people in the office did, you find this inconvenient, you can configure several other buttons to initiate movie recording.

There's also a choice in the Custom menu to decide whether the camera should stop shooting movies if you try to grab a photo.

In Movie mode, you gain P,A,S and M control, a choice over focus mode and retention of AEL if you've got it assigned to a button. Frustratingly, while nominally offering a very good level of control over video, the camera doesn't allow you to change any exposure settings when you're shooting. The P,A and S modes will adjust to match the camera's metered value, with whatever exposure compensation you've applied before recording. You can apply AEL during recording to over-ride these exposure shifts, but you can't manually decide to adjust aperture or exposure compensation, mid-take.

Image stabilization for movies

The camera's new image stabilization system really comes into its own during movie shooting. Rather than the often disastrous digital stabilization (which tries to adjust the crop used for each frame so that subjects stay in the same position on the screen, but usually results in a shimmery, wobbly mess), the E-M5 continues to use its mechanical IS system. Olympus claims that it will cope with both the high-frequency, low amplitude movement of hand shake and the low frequency, high amplitude movement of walking.

In this following movies, you can see the effect. Both videos are shot one-handed, while walking slowly towards a distant subject (like all the best cinematographers recommend). The first has IS turned off, and both hand shake and walking motion are very apparent. In the second clip, the IS is all-but eliminating hand shake and doing a pretty good job of correcting the walking motion, despite me having a fairly exaggerated gait. With a bit of concentration, or even the simplest of weighted camera support accessories, it should be possible to get consistently steady footage.

Presumably because the sensor can shift left and right, the camera crops slightly further into the sensor if you shoot with IS turned on. It's not a huge difference but it's worth being aware of before you line your shot up perfectly. Sadly the movie IS doesn't appear to be available with non-native lenses. It works with Micro Four Thirds (and adapted Four Thirds lenses), but not lenses from other systems.

Image Stabilization Off

1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 8 sec, 20.9 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Image Stabilization On

1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 9 sec, 21.4 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

The more expensive 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 kit lens has a mode in which the zoom action is powered by a small motor, to allow smoother and more consistent zooming than most people can achieve my hand. And this, combined with the impressive image stabilization, allows you to continue to get usable footage, even when you're ignoring the usual rules of videography by zooming and walking around.

Beyond the lack of control over exposure during movie shooting, the other minor frustrations we found are that, if 'Movie Effects' are enabled in the Custom menu (i.e. the echo effects described further down this page), they appear over the part of the screen usually given over to showing the shutter speed and aperture. These settings only appear when you change them. The other annoyance is that Super Control Panel isn't available in Movie shooting mode - instead you're stuck with the Live Control interface.

Video image quality

The E-M5's video is pretty good but its limited output options are likely to put off dedicated videographers. There's not too much in the way of rolling shutter and the impressive stabilization system make it easy to capture good chunks of footage, even if you're not primarily a video shooter.

The sound options - with three record levels and three levels of wind noise reduction - are much as you'd expect for this class of camera. The option to add an external mic, via an (optional) adapter extends this capability, albeit in such a way that blocks the hot shoe and prevents the use of a hot-shoe-mounted mic.

The camera can continuously autofocus during movie shooting (from movie mode) but, being based on contrast-detection AF, the result is footage that shimmers and 'breathes' as the camera constantly overshoots and undershoots to confirm that it's still in focus.

Sample video 1

This video shows the effect of panning with the E-M5. Very little rolling shutter is apparent.

1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 11 sec, 22.7 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Sample video 2

This clip shows the exposure automatically shifting as the scene becomes darker. This shift can be avoided in Movie shooting mode but hitting AEL, but is unavoidable if you initiate movie shooting from a stills capture mode.

1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 13 sec, 32.7 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Sample video 3

This video shows both panning and zooming during a single shot, using the 12-50mm powerzoom kit lens. Focus is fixed throughout the clip.

1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 21 sec, 37.6 MB Click here to download original .MOV file
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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