Olympus OM-D E-M5 Review
Olympus was the first company to offer creative image processing options in a large-sensor camera when it added 'Art Filters' to its E-30 DSLR in 2008. Olympus has made the best of this head-start and continues to offer one of the most comprehensive selections of filters available. The E-M5 adds three options to the already-comprehensive selection - an all-new 'Key Line' filter (apparently inspired by the Japanese manga drawing style), a purple-tinged 'Cross Process II', and a monochrome version of the existing Dramatic Tone filter which can give striking results with an appropriate subject.
In the OM-D there are 11 basic filters, many of them with alternate versions and options to add frames or heavy, pin-hole-style vignetting. In all, there are 19 filters if you include the variants and 78 combinations if you add all the framing options. As you can imagine, this gives a pretty flexible set of options. We're not fans of all the frames or filters (we've yet to get anything attractive out of the new Key Line filter) but the sheer range means there's often an interesting option available to spice-up an otherwise underwhelming image.
The processing demands of providing a live preview of the filters means that the camera's displays can become very laggy with some filters (particularly Diorama). The tenth option in section D of the Custom menu provides the choice of a faster but less accurate preview, if this lag risks interrupting the shooting experience (though we can't notice a huge difference between the two options).
Although there are lots of different filter options, there is no option for configuration once you've selected a filter. For instance, you get no manual control over the size, orientation or positioning of the 'in-focus' region of the Diorama mode. Cleverly, the camera will center the in-focus region around your chosen AF point, so that your chosen subject is in-focus. However, it's not clever enough to change the orientation of the in-focus region if you shoot in the portrait format.
1 (of 2)
Pale + Light Color 1 (of 2)
1 (of 2)
1 (of 3)
1 (of 2)
Dramatic Tone 2 (of 2)
1 (of 2)
Although we've demonstrated all the principle filters using the same image, you'd usually want to tailor your use of filters and framing to an individual image. This is helped to a massive degree by Olympus' in-camera Raw converter that allows you to go back and apply any of the art filters to any Raw files you've shot. This means it's possible to use the Art Filter mode to preview the effect when shooting but still go back and change your mind if you find you caught the right moment but with the wrong effect.
The Art Filters can be combined with tone curve adjustments, either at the time of shooting or when re-processing Raw files, but there's no option to adjust saturation or sharpening.
|Cross Process Filter II, 16:9 aspect ratio with frame effect, processed from Raw|
Art Filters can also be applied to movies. The processing lag in live view mode has an effect on the video shooting - it slows the rate that video can be captured at. There are two ways the camera copes with this - most of the filters are played back at reduced frame rates, so that they still match up with the audio they've recorded. However the diorama mode is more processor intensive, so the results would be too slow - instead no audio is recorded and the frames are played back at 30fps, giving a sped-up playback effect.
|1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 2 sec, 4.8 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|
Live Bulb/Live Time
The camera's clever 'Live Bulb/Live Time' modes give a preview of how the image will look during long exposure photography. In these modes, the display on the back of the camera (not the EVF) is updated up to 24 times at pre-decided intervals (the number of available updates is ISO dependent). In Live Bulb mode, the screen will update however often you've specified (every 0.5 sec, for example), and the exposure will continue for as long as you hold down the shutter button. Live Time is much the same but with the exposure starting with one button press and stopping with a second (allowing use without a remote release), again with a preview of how the exposure is coming along.
There's also an option, in Live Time mode, to trigger an update by touching the rear screen or half-pressing the shutter. You'd want to be careful not to jog the camera, of course, but it does mean you have an option equivalent to opening the oven to see how your baking is coming along. For extreme low-light landscapes we found setting a 60 second interval between updates and occasionally pressing the screen gave us a good way of checking exposure progress without being too restricted by the maximum update limits. For photographing fireworks, a shorter, defined interval (such as 0.5 seconds), should be effective.
We'll be adding a video showing this feature in action very soon.
SmugMug Films has shared its latest film, Streets in Mind, which takes a look at the life and work of London-based street photographer Alan Schaller.
We were in Japan earlier this month for the annual CP+ show in Yokohama, where we sat down with senior executives from several camera and lens manufacturers, among them Nikon.
Sony has released firmware version 5.0 for its flagship mirrorless camera, the a9. The update brings AI-driven autofocus modes, an improved menu structure and other updates.
Night Sight, Portrait Mode and (surprisingly) wide-angle selfie mode are features that we're currently loving about the Pixel 3's camera.
The Auschwitz Museum has asked visitors to be more respectful after an upsurge of pictures posted on social media showing people posing on the train tracks that lead to the main gate.
This week Chris and Jordan take the new Leica Q2 for a spin, and while most of us in the Northern Hemisphere are welcoming spring, they head even farther north than usual to visit ice castles. Because #Canada.
Harvard is facing a lawsuit over profiting from 19th century daguerreotypes that captured the portrait of a slave and his daughter on a South Carolina plantation.
From the detailed textures in rural landscapes to the incredible lighting inside futuristic buildings, the photorealism of Unreal Engine 4 is blurring the lines between fiction and reality...you know...aside from the spaceship.
Facebook has sent out emails to affected users requesting they change their passwords following a discovery that over 20K Facebook employees had access to 600 million passwords.
We've added Panasonic's new Lumix S1 and S1R full-frame mirrorless cameras to three of our buying guides. If you're looking for a quick summary of each model, then have a read.
YouTube channel Photoshop Cafe has shared a video detailing ten tips and tricks you can do to both fix and speed up Photoshop when it's running slow and sluggish.
It's not going to be the banger of the year, but it'll get a few laughs.
DJI has confirmed its drones won't be affected by the GPS 2019 week rollover.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery has teamed up with Kodak to release a beer that's capable of doubling as a film developer.
The Diana Instant Square is a retro-inspired camera with manual controls that's fun to shoot in good light, but largely unpredictable in its operation.
Residents of a Paris street plagued by Instagrammers, selfie takers and music video crews are asking the city government for a weekend and evening ban to give them some peace.
The adapter plugs into the Osmo Pocket's USB Type-C port and features a 3.5mm TRS jack to plug in various external microphones.
Checkout allows Instagram users to select products for purchase and make payments directly in the app.
GauGAN as it's known, can create photorealistic images from basic drawings using the power of artificial intelligence.
The EOS RP is Canon's latest full-frame mirrorless camera, with diminutive dimensions and a diminutive price. Find out how it stacks up and get our thoughts in our early review.
Montana judge Dana L. Christensen has ruled the Republican National Committee did not infringe upon the copyright of photographer Erika Peterman after they took a photo from a Democratic candidate's Facebook page without permission and altered it to use in a derogatory promotional mailer.
Nikon has launched updates for three of its programs to address various bugs and glitches that could cause crashes and unwanted results.
LEE Filters has launched the LEE100, its next-generation filter holder that improves the design and looks in all the right places.
With the arrival of some much-needed sunshine and final production firmware for the Panasonic S1, we've been able to get outside and really start putting the camera through its paces.
Importing, culling and tagging photos is about to get a whole lot faster and look a whole lot better with the impending arrival of Photo Mechanic 6.
On its own, the FTZ adapter retails for $250 and when bundled it dropped the cost to just $150. Now, Nikon is offering it for free with all Z6, Z7 purchases in the United States.
Profoto said it spoke with Godox back at Photokina 2018 and continues to contact Godox in an effort to stop it from marketing its V1 light.
Product renders in Italian publication Notebook Italia show an unusual design that conceals all cameras with the help of a slider mechanism.
Canon says its new EF 400mm F2.8L IS III and EF 600mm F4L IS III lenses can suffer from an intermittent flickering when shooting video in M or Av modes with certain cameras.
Leica recently announced the Q2, a digital rangefinder with a fixed 28mm F1.7 lens. It's a heck of a lot of fun to shoot with, but is it right for you? Based on our time with the camera, and its specifications, we've examined how well-suited it is for common photography use-cases.