Hands-on with the Olympus OM-D E-M5
2 Image quality - initial impressions
Image quality - initial impressions
We can't show full size images from the E-M5 or make any definitive statements on image quality, but we can share some initial images and impressions. Perhaps most importantly, despite the switch to a new sensor, Olympus's signature color rendition appears to have been retained. This means that the camera outputs attractive images with slightly warm and saturated, but crucially pleasant color, shot after shot. This may not matter so much to committed RAW shooters, but we're always pleased to see it, as it means you don't necessarily have to shoot RAW to get really nice results.
First impressions of the camera's high ISO output are pretty favorable too. It looks like the E-M5 should be quite useable at ISOs where the 12MP PENs would really start to struggle. Obviously though we'll look into this in more detail when we get a production camera to review.
The images below were shot using either the M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 for the various portraits, or the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ (the E-M5's weathersealed kit zoom). For any of these samples, click on the thumbnail to see a down-sampled 1600x1200 px version.
We've long been fans of Olympus's Art Filters, which have been widely imitated but never really bettered. These image effects make far more sense on mirrorless cameras than SLRs, as their effects can be previewed live in the viewfinder and taken into account during image composition. This actively encourages a bit of creativity, and lets you tailor your composition to the desired processing effect rather than vice versa. The E-M5 allows you to record a normal RAW file alongside your Art Filtered JPEG, and you can reconvert this in-camera to other Art Filter effects too (or simply use normal image processing).
As is the Olympus way, the E-M5 offers a few new filters and variants; there's an entirely new 'Key Line' filter which apparently is inspired by the Japanese Manga style of drawing. It's one of those filters that works quite well for the occasional shot, but you probably won't be setting as default. The existing 'Cross Process' filter gets a strongly magenta-toned variant which, equally, is effective at times but overall of less-than-universal utility.
However, there a couple of more positive changes. Dramatic Tone now has a monochrome variant that gives interesting results, offering a rather different high-contrast monochrome 'look' to the familiar Grainy Film filter.
|Dramatic Tone II gives a high contrast black-and-white look that's particularly well-suited to graphic subjects, retaining far more detail then the existing Grainy Film filter.|
Art Filter bracketing - the ability to save a single shot using multiple different effects - can now be accessed much more easily, as the final option in the filter selection menu. It still has to be configured in the main menu, but if you have a few preferred filters you regularly use, then you can set the camera up to process your shots accordingly.
I may only have had my hands on the E-M5 for a relatively limited period of time on a dull day in Amsterdam, but that's still enough to leave a very positive impression. It's the kind of camera that long-term Olympus users will recognize - small, solid, and highly capable - and its high-end spec such as weatherproofing and fast continuous shooting is the icing on the cake.
The only potential banana skins we've identified to consider before placing a pre-order are the tiny buttons and the way that the optional larger grip makes certain controls less-easy to reach - perhaps most notably the movie record button. But in key areas such as speed, access to essential controls, and most importantly image quality, the E-M5 appears very promising. We'll obviously need to wait for a fully-reviewable sample to really get to grips with it, but the omens are looking good.
Oh, and a few more shots...
The highlight of the various events Olympus laid on to showcase the E-M5 was a studio portrait shoot, under the genial direction of photographer Paul Schirnhofer. This gave an opportunity to experiment with different styles and Art Filters, with a professional model and lighting setup. Here are some of the resulting shots.
|'Soft Focus' Art Filter||'Natural' Picture Mode|
|'Sepia' Art Filter with Frame effect||'Grainy Film' Art Filter|
|'Diorama' Art Filter||'Cross Process II' Art Filter|
|'Dramatic Tone II' Art Filter||'Natural' Picture Mode|
For our previously published in-depth hands-on preview of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 click here
May 30, 2014
Feb 19, 2015
Dec 4, 2014
Nov 15, 2014
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.
Photo protection company ImageRights recently released a new service that lets non-subscribers take advantage of their streamlined copyright registration system that checks for errors and fills out all the required forms for you.
What's the difference between a $200 circular polarizing filter and a $100 circular polarizing filter? Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals put six different filters through a few tests to find out.
A flurry of leaks reveal that GoPro's upcoming Hero6 will shoot 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, will cost $500, and is scheduled for announcement/release on September 28th.
Before he became the iconic director whose name we've all heard, a teenage Stanley Kubrick struck up a business relationship with New York’s Look magazine. No surprise: he was an incredibly talented photographer.
WD's new G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series is a portable solid state option for photographers who want the reliability of an SSD in a rugged water and dust-resistant package.
Fast, stabilized and affordable is an appealing combination when it comes to lenses. With its latest 24-70mm F2.8, Tamron aims to upgrade autofocus speed and stabilization. We've got a full gallery from this updated full-frame zoom.
Photographer Clay Cook tells the story of his most ambitious photographic dream and career goal coming true: photographing A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence.
In an interview with a Chinese website, Nikon Japan's Director of Development dropped a bombshell, saying that a Nikon mirrorless camera "must be full-frame."
Here's a side-by-side spec comparison of two flagship devices with particular attention to the things that really matter – at least to people who prioritize photography features.