Olympus OM-D E-M5 Review
The biggest video news on the E-M5 is the move away from the occasionally confusing AVCHD arrangement that shuffled video files off into an obscure folder structure. The knowledge that it makes it easier to copy video to Blu-ray discs and allowed longer clips to be recorded came as little consolation to users trying to remember where it would have put their video files. Instead the E-M5 saves its video as H.264 MOV files, which are essentially very similar (as they use the same codec), just a lot easier to work with.
The E-M5 can capture 1080i60 video from 30p sensor output - a process called progressive segmented frame, that means it can be edited as if it were 30p footage. However, there are no options to natively record in 24p or at frame rates that are a multiple of 25 for PAL or SECAM TVs. Two compression options are available - 20Mbps fine quality, which limits individual clips to around 22 minutes, or a 17Mbps normal option that lets the camera record up to its 29 minute limit. Claims of improved processing, plus the newer sensor have encouraged Olympus to promise less jagged video output with substantially reduced rolling shutter effect. You can shoot using all exposure modes, including full manual.
There is also control over the sound recording volume, with three selectable volume levels. There's also a wind-cut function (three levels and off). There's no built-in microphone socket but one can be added using the optional SEMA-1 unit that slots into the accessory port (and occupies the hot shoe).
As part of the video, the E-M5 has two special effects over and above the latest Art Filters. The 'Echo' effects - One Shot Echo and Multi Echo - are creative effects that leave an 'echo' of previous frames in the video. Pressing the right-hand button of the four-way controller causes the current frame to be held and gently faded out as the video progresses. Pressing downwards causes each subsequent frame to be held and faded, progressively.
We find it hard to imagine these getting much use but any new creative tool can provide surprises when combined with imagination, so we'll hold our judgement.
Video quality options
|Sizes||• MOV (AVC H.264)
1920 x 1080i (60i from 30p capture), 20 Mb/s
1920 x 1080i (60i from 30p capture), 17 Mb/s
1280 x 720p (60p from 30p capture), 13 Mb/s
1280 x 720p (60p from 30p capture), 10 Mb/s
• Motion JPEG
1280 x 720p30
640 x 480 (30fps)
|Audio||Stereo sound (Linear PCM)|
|Format||H.264 / MOV|
|Max file size per clip||4.0 GB|
|Recordable time||29:59 minutes|
Handling in Video mode
Movie shooting can be initiated from any mode on the camera by pressing the Red record button (or any button you've set to act as 'REC' from the Custom menu). Depending on how you hold the camera, you may find one of the other buttons (or the shutter button) is a more convenient way of starting video, without accidentally inducing a rolling motion at the start of each clip.
When initiated from stills shooting modes, movies are always shot in Program mode, with the camera setting aperture, shutter speed and ISO with no user input. Focus is also switched to whichever focus mode was last used when shooting in Movie mode. The Fn1 button, and any button you've configured to act as AEL, takes on the role of performing an AF acquisition (regardless of what focus mode you're in or how you've configured the Fn1 button). To take any manual control of the camera's settings you need to be in Movie shooting mode.
If you're likely to be shooting video from stills mode, it's worth adding the 16:9 grid overlay to your preview - it's subtle enough to not interfere with stills shooting but useful for showing the extent of the video crop (approximately, depending on IS mode). If you move to movie mode on the mode dial, the preview simply switches to a 16:9 view.
|The movie record button is on the right rear shoulder of the camera. If, as some people in the office did, you find this inconvenient, you can configure several other buttons to initiate movie recording.
There's also a choice in the Custom menu to decide whether the camera should stop shooting movies if you try to grab a photo.
In Movie mode, you gain P,A,S and M control, a choice over focus mode and retention of AEL if you've got it assigned to a button. Frustratingly, while nominally offering a very good level of control over video, the camera doesn't allow you to change any exposure settings when you're shooting. The P,A and S modes will adjust to match the camera's metered value, with whatever exposure compensation you've applied before recording. You can apply AEL during recording to over-ride these exposure shifts, but you can't manually decide to adjust aperture or exposure compensation, mid-take.
The camera's new image stabilization system really comes into its own during movie shooting. Rather than the often disastrous digital stabilization (which tries to adjust the crop used for each frame so that subjects stay in the same position on the screen, but usually results in a shimmery, wobbly mess), the E-M5 continues to use its mechanical IS system. Olympus claims that it will cope with both the high-frequency, low amplitude movement of hand shake and the low frequency, high amplitude movement of walking.
In this following movies, you can see the effect. Both videos are shot one-handed, while walking slowly towards a distant subject (like all the best cinematographers recommend). The first has IS turned off, and both hand shake and walking motion are very apparent. In the second clip, the IS is all-but eliminating hand shake and doing a pretty good job of correcting the walking motion, despite me having a fairly exaggerated gait. With a bit of concentration, or even the simplest of weighted camera support accessories, it should be possible to get consistently steady footage.
Presumably because the sensor can shift left and right, the camera crops slightly further into the sensor if you shoot with IS turned on. It's not a huge difference but it's worth being aware of before you line your shot up perfectly. Sadly the movie IS doesn't appear to be available with non-native lenses. It works with Micro Four Thirds (and adapted Four Thirds lenses), but not lenses from other systems.
Image Stabilization Off
|1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 8 sec, 20.9 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|
Image Stabilization On
|1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 9 sec, 21.4 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|
The more expensive 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 kit lens has a mode in which the zoom action is powered by a small motor, to allow smoother and more consistent zooming than most people can achieve my hand. And this, combined with the impressive image stabilization, allows you to continue to get usable footage, even when you're ignoring the usual rules of videography by zooming and walking around.
Beyond the lack of control over exposure during movie shooting, the other minor frustrations we found are that, if 'Movie Effects' are enabled in the Custom menu (i.e. the echo effects described further down this page), they appear over the part of the screen usually given over to showing the shutter speed and aperture. These settings only appear when you change them. The other annoyance is that Super Control Panel isn't available in Movie shooting mode - instead you're stuck with the Live Control interface.
Video image quality
The E-M5's video is pretty good but its limited output options are likely to put off dedicated videographers. There's not too much in the way of rolling shutter and the impressive stabilization system make it easy to capture good chunks of footage, even if you're not primarily a video shooter.
The sound options - with three record levels and three levels of wind noise reduction - are much as you'd expect for this class of camera. The option to add an external mic, via an (optional) adapter extends this capability, albeit in such a way that blocks the hot shoe and prevents the use of a hot-shoe-mounted mic.
The camera can continuously autofocus during movie shooting (from movie mode) but, being based on contrast-detection AF, the result is footage that shimmers and 'breathes' as the camera constantly overshoots and undershoots to confirm that it's still in focus.
Sample video 1This video shows the effect of panning with the E-M5. Very little rolling shutter is apparent.
|1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 11 sec, 22.7 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|
Sample video 2This clip shows the exposure automatically shifting as the scene becomes darker. This shift can be avoided in Movie shooting mode but hitting AEL, but is unavoidable if you initiate movie shooting from a stills capture mode.
|1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 13 sec, 32.7 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|
Sample video 3This video shows both panning and zooming during a single shot, using the 12-50mm powerzoom kit lens. Focus is fixed throughout the clip.
|1920 x 1080 60i, H.264 .MOV file, 21 sec, 37.6 MB Click here to download original .MOV file|
Dec 4, 2014
Nov 15, 2014
Apr 27, 2015
Apr 22, 2015
|DSC_9643 by NOWHITELENS|
from Best Photo of the Week
|Thailand Sunrise by ozziebadger|
from Ships and Boats
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Drum roll please... the #6 spot belongs to none other than the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art.
Read the story behind this gorgeous wedding photo captured at Trolltunga in Norway by husband and wife duo Priscila Valentina Photography. The 14 hour hike in the rain that preceded this shot was TOTALLY worth it.
Go behind the scenes with filmmaker Nick Arcivos, who recently created a beautiful cinematic short film in Paris using only the iPhone X, a couple of gimbals, and a few lights. The results are very impressive.
A Bay Area startup offering a pay-by-the-photo camera service cleverly addresses the pain points photographers experience when they pick up their first DSLR. But can it survive the smartphone?
It's been a big year for software innovations, dual cameras and huge displays. Take a look at our picks for the top smartphone cameras and why we think they stand out.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #7 spot is the ready-for-any-weather Olympus Tough TG-5.
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.
They say seeing is believing, and that's exactly what happened when one DPR staffer took the Google Pixel 2 out for an afternoon shooting under challenging conditions.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #9 spot we have the Fujifilm GFX 50S, a medium-format camera that took CP+ 2017 by storm.
Instagram is testing a new feature that lets you follow hashtags in addition to people, making it possible to keep track of your favorite #landscapes or #portraits without leaving your home feed.
Despite the gigantic volume of second hand film bodies in existence, it seems there is still a demand for new 35mm SLRs with a retro feel. The latest is a remake of the Ihagee Elbaflex from the 1960s, but with a Nikon F mount.
The Polaroid Insta-Share Moto Mod straps an instant printer directly to your Moto Z smartphone, so you can print your photos as soon as you've captured them.
The Mitakon Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens is being relaunched in 7 different mounts, including: Sony A, Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, Fujifilm G, Pentax K, and Leica L. Got an extra three grand lying around?
In January, Kodak announced it would bring back the beloved slide film Ektachrome. The timeline has been pushed back a bit, but Kodak says you can expect to purchase Ektachrome again in 2018.
Instagram popularity is threatening some of the most beautiful landscapes in the US, as hordes of 'nature lovers' trample over the same spots over and over again in search of the same exact shot.