What can't the Olympus OM-D Em5 do as well as a DSLR/SLT camera?

Started Feb 3, 2013 | Questions thread
TrapperJohn Forum Pro • Posts: 16,483
From an EM5 owner

I have had an EM5 since last April, got one of the first to be shipped. It has performed in a stellar manner. Amazing that so much can be put into such a small package. Some outstanding points:

Size: it is smaller than you might think. It's especially thinner than the typical dslr. Doesn't quite fit in a pocket, but it doesn't make its presence known nearly as much, because it's lighter, smaller, and thinner. It does not intrude on your other activities the way a larger dslr will. People around you just don't seem to notice it the way a dslr will draw attention, which is a nice bonus.

Image stabilization: quite simply, the best I've ever seen. I'm getting handheld telephoto shots that would have been unthinkable with other image stabilization systems: in body or in lens.

General performance: very clean images, up through ISO3200. 6400 is cleanable. Dynamic range is quite good.

AF accuracy is outstanding, better than most dslr's. The later lenses for the EM5 AF extremely fast. Low light AF is also quite good.

The lens selection is the best of any mirrorless platform, from inexpensive kit up through exquisitely sharp fast primes. And, the lenses are quite small, unlike some mirrorless systems that have small bodies but very large (in comparison) lenses. Bonus: if you shoot a lot of static subjects, you can pick up some real deals on the larger Olympus 4/3 lenses right now. They are some of the sharpest fast zooms available at any price, they're going cheap right now, the only caveat is - AF with those lenses is slow, in the 1-2 second range. But, you can't beat the price.


Continuous autofocus does not always work well. If the subject is moving towards or away from you at a fairly constant rate, it does pretty good, but it can't deal well with a subject that changes direction.

AF struggles with targets that don't have a lot of contrast, like a smooth wall. This is contrast detection autofocus, which means there has to be a bit of contrast to detect.

The buttons on the back are small. I got used to them pretty quickly, but if you have particularly large hands or large fingers, you might want to handle one to see how you like it.

Some common misconceptions I keep hearing, from people who probably haven't used an EM5 to any degree:

The EVF. It's very good, and I've been using OVF's for decades. It's so good that I tend to forget it's an EVF. I keep hearing people talk about EVF lag, but I haven't seen it, even when tracking a moving subject. Resolution is very good, not at all grainy, good enough to judge MF, especially if you engage the true DOF preview, you just adjust the in focus band.

Price: It's not cheap, but when you consider that it pretty much matches the high end APS DSLR's from C/N at a slightly lower price, and it's quite a bit more compact, and it's weathersealed, and it has built in image stabilization that's better than what C/N charge extra per lens to get, it's really not that expensive.

Here's a favorite EM5 shot, taken using an old manual focus Nikkor 400 3.5 plus 2x TC:

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