Body & Design
The first thing that will draw attention about the E-M5 is its retro styling but it shouldn't be written-off as a pastiche - it's a pleasantly functional design as well as a reverent one. The hand grip is well-shaped and nicely textured, making it easy to hold comfortably. Just as important are the two control dials on its top plate, which makes it easy to control the camera quickly. Having been buffeted by several waves of mirrorless cameras with fiddly dials around their four-way controllers, its lovely to have a pair of proper dials back.
The other thing to notice is that the E-M5 is small. It's not tiny but it strikes a good balance between being conveniently portable and looking like a 'proper camera' - a not insignificant consideration in a camera of this price.
The most obvious feature of the E-M5 is its pronounced viewfinder hump. This may seem odd, given its use of an electronic viewfinder rather than glass prism. It turns out it's not simply that Olympus wanted the camera to look like its OM series, it's partly because there's an accessory port above the vidfinder and below the flash hotshoe. This allows a host of accessories to be added to the camera, including stereo microphones, macro light LEDs or the PENPal bluetooth transmitter.
The AP2 port can even be used with the VF-2 and VF-3 external viewfinders, if you want to make use of their ability to hinge upwards by 90 degrees. We can't imagine many people will do this but it's nice to see Olympus hasn't prevented its use.