Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced

Started Jan 24, 2013 | User reviews thread
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Lupti Senior Member • Posts: 1,577
Good IQ, but horrible ergonomics and unreliable AF, overpriced

I used the OM-D E-M5 for a time now and decided to send it back. Why? There are several reasons that make the high price-tag questionable.

Yes, the IQ is very good. I was impressed with the high-detailled and vivid coloured photos. And the high-ISO noise performance is impressive for a 4/3 sensor.

However I found AWB horribly unreliable. Shooting under fluorescent light gave me yellowish pictures - I shot RAW but this bothers me with extra work in PP that shouldn´t be necessary. My old GH1 was way more reliable here.

The AF is claimed to be good but under some circumstances it isn´t reliable. Under average light the AF missed some shots - static objects, not moving ones. The AF-C is just pretty unreliable, even with slow-moving objects.

The menu is horrible! Too many unnecessary abbreviations while there would be enough space for the words written out. The order of the menu points doesn´t seem logical - there is no sensible arrangement of them. Finding a menu point is awkward and often it´s necessary to look in the manual - which isn´t supplied in printed form.

The screen has good viewing angles but sharpness could be better. There are higher resolution screens in cheaper cameras, why not here? Sometimes the frame on the screen seems to be in focus but it isn´t.
The tilting mechanism is ok for me.

The buttons feel cheap and are mushy to press, maybe due to weather-sealing. Questionable for this price-tag.

IBIS seems to work good but in some situation it fails - I shot at 1/20 at 14mm and the image was blurred due to shake. I expected better performance here.
There is a loud hissing noise coming from the IBIS which was reduced in loudness with firmware 1.5.

Video mode could have been nice but it´s crippled. It´s not a dedicated video camera but others do better for cheaper prices. While the IBIS provies a nice stable image it also produces a noticeable whirring sound when the camera is moved, even when only slightly. You can use OIS lenses, but only ones with OIS switch.

There is no mic input, I don´t see a reasony why it wasn´t included. You can use the SEMA-1 adaptor but this occupies the hot-shoe and so a microphone can´t be attached, only via a grip with cold-shoe - which increased the size of the cam so it isn´t compact anymore.

Video IQ is okayish but the low bitrate gives a bit muddy image. Moire and aliasing are visible.

AF for video is unusable, AF-C gives worst focus hunting I´ve ever seen. You can switch to AF-S and then focus before starting the recording but this is a poor solution.

The kit-lens is too large because it has an unnecessary motor zoom. You can use manual zoom but this feels a bit stiff.
I don´t see why this camera needs motor zoom with this crippled video mode.

Grip could be better, the cameras form isn´t that ergonomic to use. I rather have a usable design than a retro-styled camera.

Overall this camera is a flawed jewel. The retro design spoils the ergonomics which also have other flaws. It could have been a really good camera but for this keen pricetag I expect better performance.

Olympus OM-D E-M5
16 megapixels • 3 screen • Four Thirds sensor
Announced: Feb 8, 2012
Lupti's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1
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