Olympus OM-D E-M5 Review
The E-M5 doesn't have a built-in flash but does come with a clip-on unit that connects via the hot-shoe and accessory port. This method of keeping body size down, while still offering a flash in the box has become fairly common in the mirrorless sector and your attitude towards it is likely to depend on how often you shoot flash - just the occasional bit of fill-flash and you probably won't mind throwing the clip-on unit in your pocket, but frequent users are likely to get frustrated with having to repeatedly clip it on, or risk it being knocked off. (The Olympus implementation does at least have a small catch mechanism to reduce the chances of the flash being knocked off as you walk around with it).
The clip-on flash can be used as a controller for Olympus' RC-branded infrared remote controlled flashguns, including the relatively small and affordable FL-300R, for more flexible lighting.
With its last generation of cameras, Olympus appeared to have prioritized prints over on-screen viewing, when it came to choosing the default JPEG settings (not an unreasonable decision, since almost nobody makes a monitor capable of showing an entire 12MP image at 100% view). This involved quite a lot of noise reduction and subsequent sharpening, which wasn't the optimal setting for screen viewing.
The E-M5 takes a more moderate approach, with more subtle noise reduction and less exaggerated sharpening, at least at base ISO.
At higher ISOs, the noise reduction (called Noise Filter on Olympus cameras), is more detrimental to image detail. For our tastes, particularly as the ISOs rise, we found we preferred setting the camera's Noise Filter to 'Off' and then dialing back the sharpening to -1, which gives a good level of detail at most settings, without then over-sharpening the additional noise you're leaving in the image.
The E-M5 is the first Olympus to push beyond using the rather dated 12MP Panasonic sensor and it appears to be a considerable step forward. Pushing the exposure in post-processing to see how much latitude there is for pulling detail out of the shadow regions shows there is more detail to be found without revealing excessive noise.
These images are all processed with noise reduction minimized in Adobe Camera Raw, so it's possible to clean these results up better than has been done here. Trying to push-process our dynamic range test shot shows the E-M5 is able to capture a similar range of tones in the shadows as the NEX-5N, suggesting it's not simply giving cleaner shadows by clipping to black sooner than the Sony.
The result is a big improvement - allowing greater flexibility in post-processing. However, for JPEG shooters, it should also mean that the clever Auto Gradation setting (a context-sensitive processing system that attempts to produce balanced images without damaging local contrast) can pull more information out of the shadows without introducing too much additional noise.
Here we've taken a shot where backlighting had confused the camera's meter and the subject was left slight under-exposed. Re-processing the image with Gradation set to 'Auto' attempts to pull detail out of the shadows, to offer a more balanced image. The result is a greatly improved picture, without excessive introduction of noise, as can be seen from the crop taken from the inside of the subject's hood at the lower left of the image.
Both images are based on a single Raw file shot at ISO 800, F2.8, 1/80th seconds using the Sigma 30mm F2.8 DN lens. Roll over the titles to switch between the two images.
|Gradation Normal||Gradation Auto|
Overall image quality
The E-M5's image quality is impressive - whether giving punchy, attractive JPEGs or pretty clean, malleable Raw files. It's certainly a big step forwards for the Olympus's mirrorless cameras. The noise and dynamic range levels are a fraction behind the very latest APS-C sensors, if you analyze the images at a 1:1 level, but in most circumstances you simply won't notice. The Micro Four Thirds system now features a handful of useful and reasonably-priced fast prime lenses, which in concert with the E-M5's in-body IS means you'll often be able to shoot in low light without resorting to the camera's highest ISOs. Frankly, the quality of the camera's JPEGs and color rendition will outweigh any theoretical numeric differences between the E-M5 and its competitors for many people.
The price you pay for the E-M5's small size and small lenses is a a slightly smaller sensor than its APS-C peers. This can result in less light capturing ability at the same aperture and equivalent focal length, meaning a bit more noise in some situations. But, with the high quality of the E-M5's output (not to mention accessible bright lenses), it's not a trade-off with much of an impact in the final image. Even if you have the images printed beyond home-printing sizes, you're still unlikely to notice the compromise that you've theoretically made.
Dec 4, 2014
Nov 15, 2014
Apr 27, 2015
Apr 22, 2015
|Smile by Olymguy|
from Ultra Asian Indian Female Faces
|Space Shuttle Cockpit- by vbuhay|
from Aircraft Control Stick
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.
The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 crowdsourcing event which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library.
Light gives us some insight into the preparations for the launch of the pre-order shipments of its much anticipated L16 multi-lens camera.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed in a tweet that the second lens on the back of the OnePlus 5 uses a 1.6x optical zoom and that digital zoom is used to reach the claimed 2x zoom factor.
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday article, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.
It will enable users to simulate the presence of the sun, moon and Milky Way and see how they interact with an area's topography.
Since its introduction in November last year Instagram's live streaming feature has been used by millions, but videos could not be archived for watching at a later stage. A new update has now added the capability.
CopyTrack's study also found that the second most-stolen image is a woman wearing painted jeans. That's apparently a thing.
Forget expensive lenses with fancy coatings and special lens elements – photographer Robin de Puy took these portraits using just a water drop for a lens.
Adobe reports a record quarterly revenue of $1.77 billion for the second quarter fiscal year 2017 ended June 2, 2017.
Zeiss says its new lens is particularly suited for portrait photography but also a good all-rounder and can be used in video applications.
We present to you the top photos from the Kennel Club's 2017 Dog Photographer of the Year photo contest – take a look at 10 of the award-winning puppers.
In case you were looking for any more inspiration to go fly one.
Following a couple of successful Kickstarter campaigns, Videre 35mm's creator has re-tooled the camera with sturdier components and a simpler user assembly process.