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First Impressions with EM-5

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by steve, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. steve

    steve Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2010
    Havertown, PA

    I was lucky enough to get my EM-5 yesterday and although I haven't spent a considerable amount of time with it, I do have some initial impressions.

    A little backstory - I have been shooting Canon DSLRs for several years but purchased a GF1 about 2 1/2 years ago as a carry around camera. I found the GF1 so enjoyable that I wound up using it much more than my 5DmkII. I don't do much pro stuff anymore and find the DSLR too big and heavy for everyday shooting. But when I do use the Canon, I am reminded of just how good of a camera it is. The image quality is amazing. With the EM-5, I am hoping to bridge the gap between the GF1 and the 5DmkII.

    Since I have no experience with Olympus, my first reaction to the EM-5 was confusion. I didn't know what any of the buttons did, nor how to navigate the menu. However, the menus are laid out pretty well and mostly intuitive. The body is solid and well built and the camera is comfortable in my hand. I especially like the thumb grip on the back of the camera. However, I found the main dial is too close to the viewfinder for my thumb to reach it naturally. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but to me, the main dial is not ergonomic. Another observation; the camera hums, buzzes, whatever. I'm not used to it, but it really isn't a big deal to me. Electronic devices buzz.

    I was disappointed because the battery came with only about 10 minutes of charge in it. So once I figured out the menu and was ready to shoot, I had to stop and charge the battery for a couple of hours.

    As soon as I was up and running, I was shocked by how fast the auto focus operates. Coming from the GF1, this is a huge leap for me. I'm really impressed with the AF speed. I also tried the touchscreen focus and shoot option and that is blazingly fast.

    The viewfinder is much better than the VF-1 that I use with the GF1. I prefer the optical VF on the 5DmkII, but I think the EVF on the EM-5 is perfectly fine. It is bright and focused and tracks well.

    The image quality is excellent. With the 45mm f/1.8 lens, images are super sharp. This has much better dynamic range than the GF1. In some difficult shots, I got a lot of detail in both highlights and shadow areas. I tried all the metering modes and found metering on the EM-5 extremely accurate. I've never used the jpeg engine on the GF1 or 5DmkII, but I shot jpegs and RAW with the EM-5 and find jpegs SOOC to be wonderful. I love the time that I spend Photoshopping RAW images, but I might start shooting alot more jpegs.

    My only complaint about the camera so far is that the flip out touchscreen, when tilted horizontally, so that the screen faces up, cuts out. This option is great for shooting from the hip for street photography. But not so great if it doesn't work. I emailed Olympus about this and was surprised to get a phone call within an hour. The tech told me that he thinks that what is happening is that my body is blocking light to the eye sensor on the viewfinder and the camera is automatically switching from touchscreen to viewfinder. I played with it a bit and found that the Olympus tech is right. So in order to shoot with the touchscreen, I have to hold the camera off my body about 8-12 inches. The tech said that this is the first he has heard of it. Apparently there is no adjustment to the eye sensor. But kudos to Olympus for getting in touch with me right away.

    Otherwise, I am loving this camera. I'm also very impressed with the 12-50 kit lens. I don't own any other m43 zooms and didn't think I would find much use for this one. But I think the IQ is much better than I expected.

    Overall, a great camera and I can't wait to go out and shoot later today. The cat's getting tired of me chasing her with a camera!

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    SOOC; no sharpening! EM-5, 45mm f/1.8 @ f/2.0, 1/40, iso 400

    • Like Like x 18
  2. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    U must wear a belt light, or very clean white shirt for the tilt screen tlr type fun ;D

    - Eliot
  3. toobacat

    toobacat Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 21, 2012
    Do you find the hum loud enough to make people notice you if you're trying to be discreet.
  4. steve

    steve Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2010
    Havertown, PA
    No. The hum is just something you would notice in a quiet room. I don't think it would affect discreet shooting.
  5. lowincash

    lowincash Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 6, 2012
    Los Angeles
    lol the hum isn't THAT loud

    Anyways, same thing happened to me with the NEX-7 screen. When I flip the screen all the way out facing up and tried shooting close to my hip and the screen would turned off. I then hold it slightly away from my body more and no problem.

    Well have fun with the camera =]
  6. asaulo1

    asaulo1 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 21, 2012
    great review..... have you tried video yet? how does it compare to the video of the 5d mk ii? just curious...
  7. steve

    steve Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2010
    Havertown, PA
    I only shot a short video to make sure it worked. It looked pretty good to me. The IS helps camera shake tremendously.
  8. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Hey, Steve! Thanks for sharing. My EM-5 is on its way for delivery tomorrow...can't wait!

    Maybe we could start the Picture a Day thing again?
  9. Aegon

    Aegon Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I use my GH2 with the flip screen pointed up, at my hip, and I had to disable the eye sensor because the screen kept turning off when the EVF came too close to my body.
  10. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Interesting about the horizontal screen issue. I noticed it as well when I got a few minutes with one at the demo here in Toronto. I found though, if you don't got full horizontal and keep it just a slight angle from full tilt it seemed not turn off but I only played with the tilt screen a very minor bit so I could be wrong on that.

    The EM-5/45mm seem like the perfect match from the shots I've seen from real world users.
  11. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Welcome to being an Oly user! Your experience sounds familiar.

    • Menus are overwhelming (MANY options), but a smart person figures them out.
    • Background of shooting RAW, but MAN those Oly jpgs are sweet (you're in for a roller-coaster here -- getting frustrated with misses on your jpgs, then back to RAW, then back to jpgs because it's so easy when you get it right, then back to RAW, etc., lol)
    • Loving the camera, but always, always some niggling little flaws (the eye sensor for instance) that make you ask "Why Oly? Can you please just correct this one thing!)

    Sounds about par for the course! For the record, I was a Canon DSLR shooter, then went through Panny cameras (LX series, before m43), then loved the EP1, so I can understand some of your experience.

    Please keep posting impressions and pics, and thanks for sharing!
  12. bedojo

    bedojo Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2011
    wooowie please post more photos.
    Hated the jpeg engine on my t2i, 7d, 5d2, and gf2. liked it on the ep1.
    This sooc jpeg looks great, I might start shooting jpeg for travel now ::p 
  13. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Make sure you turn on the Super Control Panel.

    And congrats! Can't wait for mine (looks like it'll be awhile for body-only orders...)
  14. steve

    steve Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2010
    Havertown, PA
    I had to run to the bank this afternoon and I grabbed a few shots while I was out. I'm learning to love this camera.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    • Like Like x 7
  15. toobacat

    toobacat Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 21, 2012
    Which lens did you use for these?
  16. steve

    steve Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2010
    Havertown, PA
    All these were with the 45 f/1.8. But I cropped in on the top two.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. asaulo1

    asaulo1 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 21, 2012
    Any shots with maybe a wider lens? 14mm 2.5 maybe if you have it? Also, any lockups like what others are experiencing with some panny lens?
  18. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    Well I went to pick mine up today and it locked up with the stores demo 20, and with my 25. I left it at the store, they said they'll contact me when they can guarantee it'll work with panny lenses. Such a let down, on the bright side I guess I have a budget for glass.
  19. asaulo1

    asaulo1 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 21, 2012
    that is unfortunate..... I only have 1 panny lens which is the 14mm 2.5 but if this is indeed a bug, I'm sure a firmware update on it would be a quick fix....
  20. RussellOlaguer

    RussellOlaguer Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2012
    Paranaque, Philippines
    Russell Olaguer
    This is also what I experience in my e-m5 when the 20mm attached.

    See this thread I started.


    I hope this is just a bug and soon be fixed.
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