Featured Forum Thread: 'E-P5: The Overlooked Olympus' by Uncle Frank

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Uncle Frank, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    A while back I wrote that my dream camera would be an ep3 with the features of an em5. The ep5 seemed to be all of that, but the price was steep, and it didn't have the option for adding a large grip. So I pouted for 4 months before I finally gave in and hit the buy button. I sold the 17/1.8 that came bundled with the kit for $400, bringing the price of the ep5 + vf4 down to $1,049, and funded it by selling some under-utilized slr lenses.

    After 6 weeks, I have decided the ep5 is everything I had hoped for. The tiny grip isn't the problem I had feared, and the camera's solid build quality, well placed buttons, and dual control dials make using it a treat. The rangefinder styling pleases my eyes, adding to my pride of ownership.


    Not just pretty, it's long on image quality, too. I can get acceptable results at iso3200, and the focus peaking makes working with vintage mf lenses predictable and precise. My first entry into mirrorless was a pl2, and it was my fun camera. But with an ep5, 4 native lenses, and a fl-36r external flash, I feel like I have a complete lightweight system that's fun but also capable of serious work.









    A friend on another forum wrote... "When the EP5 came out I fell in love. This was the Leica I had always lusted after but could never afford." I agree.
    • Like Like x 40
  2. barbosas

    barbosas Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2013
    Great words. I totally agree with you.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    It looks like an awesome camera, and a logical upgrade path for me in the future (I'm currently with an EPL-2 along with the VF2). However, I'm frankly getting tired of having the big boxy viewfiender plugged into the top all the time--and it's driving me to think that the EM5 might be a better option as it's actually probably smaller than my current setup. Of course, I have plenty of time to change my mind over and over, and your images sure make a great case.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Everhandy

    Everhandy Guest

    That surely is one amazingly beautiful camera, especially with that silver 45mm on it. Congrats.
  5. Aegon

    Aegon Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Did you take the photo of the E-P5 up top?

    Great product photo!

    The other photos are also great.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Yes, product photography is one of my hobbies. Here's another, taken of the ep5 kit before I sold the 17/1.8.

    • Like Like x 7
  7. Everhandy

    Everhandy Guest

    I had the E-PL5 for a while, unfortunately, I sold it to buy some other gear. I thought I had to have the EVF and I purchased the VF-4 since my E-PL5 had the firmware upgrade to handle it (couldn't use the eye sensor though).
    Here's my thoughts on cameras without built-in viewfinders. With a camera like the E-PL5, the viewfinder is a must have, but never use item. When I say never, I mean most of the time. With the E-PL2 (which I also owned, with the VF-2), you almost need the VF because you don't have the tilty screen. When you have the tilty screen, you can hold the camera down low, against the body. This shades the screen from direct light and steadies the camera at the same time. I found the tilt screen to be the best invention on a camera since the shutter release button. It is such an awesome feature in my opinion, that I have sold off all my cameras that don't have it, even with viewfinders.

    Viewfinders are so limiting. First, they require you to "peep" through a little hole with one eye closed. Your nose is smashed into the body of the camera so you're getting facial oils all over that pretty camera every time you shoot. This is especially annoying if you love a clean screen like me. I guess smashing the camera up against your face may have a steadying effect although I am skeptical as to how much that really contributes to image quality, especially compared to holding the camera low, with both forearms braced against the torso, a part of the body not swiveling about on a neck. Holding the camera low also provides advantages in perspective and stealth as no one pays attention to someone walking around looking down. I never have felt comfortable shooting people with either the camera in front of my face (without VF) or smashed against me face (with VF). Many of the street shots I've taken with that shooting style has resulted in capturing the person/persons looking at me with some consternation or worry. When taking street shots "from the hip", almost no shots have people looking at me. They don't realize I'm shooting them.

    On the other hand, a good EVF can come in quite handy for manual focusing and extremely bright lighting situations. If you wear reading glasses, like me. You have to take off your glasses to shoot, then put them on to review the shot in the LCD or change camera settings, etc. With the tilt screen, you can leave them on. Besides, you have to love the clean, classic lines of a range-finder style camera, like the E-P5.

    The point I'm trying to make is, that I think a smaller body, with the option to have an EVF attached or not, is an advantage to having a built-in EVF, which makes the body larger and more expensive (sometimes). The E-P5 may be the best Micro 4/3 camera from the perspective that an optional VF is a good thing. You can choose to use it or not. You don't need it on all the time. If you look at the review of the E-PL5 by David Thorpe on YouTube, he states he has the EVF for his E-PL5 but rarely uses it. This in practice, is exactly what I found with my camera. So, if I have the choice between VF or tilt screen, I go with the tilt screen 100% of the time.
  8. timg

    timg Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 13, 2012
    That's nice to hear, that's one of my major concerns for upgrading from the EP3.
  9. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Thank you for the perspective I hadn't really considered. I have never had a tilty-screen so I was probably under-estimating its value.
  10. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Your comment about using the tilt lcd for stealth candids is spot on. Not even the dog noticed I was taking this picture from a few tables over.


    I love the outline of the ep5 in commando mode, but appreciate the vf4, which is essential for some things. I use the vf4 for manual focusing, or when I'm shooting in bright sunlight. Otherwise, I use the tilt LCD.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    I have the flip-out version on my G5, and it is also great for changing your perspective slightly. Instead of shooting at or near eye-level, it is very easy to shoot at hip level and still frame a shot well. Or to shoot with the camera raised above your head. It's only a difference of about 2 feet, but it is nice not to have to crouch or just guess.
  12. pepinto_

    pepinto_ Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 27, 2013
    I'm just an enthusiast photographer, but for me the E-P5 is a dream camera. It is in my wish list, but at the current price i can not affort it. I'm waiting for a price drop.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Everhandy

    Everhandy Guest

    I purchased the Panny G5 just a few days ago. I like the swivel screen quite a bit. One advantage is that when closed with the screen inwards, you have built-in screen protection and this also keeps the facial oils of the screen when using the viewfinder.

    I see your camera inventory includes the G5 and GX-1. I really loved my GX-1. Highly, highly under-rated camera. Most of the shots I took with the Panny 14-45 strapped on were extremely sharp. I've been thinking about repurchasing the one I sold recently and I still might but, the lack of tilt screen is a huge bummer for me right now. That's one of the reasons I haven't jumped on the E-PM2.
  14. snaimpally

    snaimpally Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2012
    I bought an EM5 refurb because of the price. But it is a little bulkier than I would like and I rarely use a viewfinder. I am waiting for the EP5 refurbs to show up and then I'll probably get one and sell my EM5. I love that shot of the EP5 floating in space. Would you care to share some tips on taking product photos?
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Everhandy

    Everhandy Guest

    I'm gonna take a stab, glass table?

    The shallow DOF is a tip off. You can see the slight defocus on the left side of the camera. Of course, for the effect to work, the background has to be some distance from the subject.
    How close am I?
  16. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Pretty close.

    I use a black sweep, and place the camera on a small flexible tripod. Here's the lighting setup.


    Then I edit the shot in photoshop, cloning out all traces of the tripod. Finally, I select the background with the magic wand tool, feather the result, and paint the background jet black.

    Let's keep it our secret.
    • Like Like x 4
  17. daum

    daum Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 26, 2011
    I think people were crying for an integrated EVF in a rangefinder style body. Which I really didn't care for since I've owned the EM-5, and a hand full of DSLRs to know how annoying a protruding EVF is to me. So when they announced the E-P5, I couldn't be happier. EM-5 features in an E-P3 body, exactly what I've been wishing for. I got the E-P5 kit and love it. Even though I never use the VF-4.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    I love tilting EVF designs but not so much LCDs. Unless shooting in low light, I can't see the LCD well enough to compose precisely. No problems with "smashing" my nose against the LCD and making it greasy. However, if you have a tall nose you can tilt the EVF up, allowing more breathing room for ye olde snout. But, yeah, that E-P5 will someday be mine when the price drifts down to earth. I have the EVF and lenses so what the hay. I love the the ranger finder look and the EVF bump reminds me of my old M2 days.
  19. Superstriker#8

    Superstriker#8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 24, 2013
    That first picture is beautiful

    Sent from my iPod touch using Mu-43 mobile app
  20. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Hmm - when I tried the E-P5 in the shop, I found it to be like trying to take photographs with a small brick. I had previously had the E-P3, and had quickly bought the add-on large grip because I found that my hands ached after holding it for a while. With the large grip, the E-P3 was very comfortable. Trying the E-P5 in the shop for just a few minutes, my hands were already beginning to ache holding it.

    When my E-P3 was stolen, I was hoping to replace it with the E-P5, as I prefer the range-finder styling. I am now considering one of the OM-D cameras instead because of the ability to add a (or the built-in) grip.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.