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Olympus E-M5 impressions

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by foto2021, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England
    Today I tried an E-M5 body at an Olympus dealer event and was pleased to be allowed to shoot quite a few images with it. I went late in the day in the hope that I would get more time with the camera.

    Olympus UK is asking a high price for the E-M5 body but a kit with the 12-50mm weathersealed zoom costs only a little more - the extra cost is less than half the price of the lens on its own. A battery grip is also included, and a special offer on the day also added an Olympus leather ever ready case.

    I had no intention of pre-ordering the camera. I was just curious to see it and try it. I took my Oly 9-18mm lens with me, mounted on my G3. Before I went to the camera store I shot some images of a building nearby.

    As soon as I saw the E-M5 I was transfixed. The black body reminded me very strongly of a black OM-2 I owned in the 1970s - it replaced my OM-1 and I later added a second OM-2.

    I asked the Olympus rep to remove the battery grip and it looked even more like an OM body. Then I held it and it even felt like an OM body, or a Nikon FE2 or F3, or a Pentax LX or MX - demonstrably made of metal with hard, straight edges, with a substantial quality feel. I asked if I could shoot some images on my own memory card and was surprised to be told yes, as long as they were not published as the camera body is a pre-production sample. A form was produced with words to that effect and was quickly signed.

    I had quite a few minutes with the E-M5 and shot a variety of images with the 12-50mm and 9-18mm zooms. The handling was excellent, once again very much like an OM, and the LCD screen was remarkably sharp. AF was extremely fast - subjectively at least twice as fast as my G3 with the 9-18mm. The EVF looked about the same quality as the G3's.

    When the time came to hand back the camera, I swapped my lens back on to the G3 and noticed something strange - I no longer felt as comfortable with the G3's handling as I had before. I took a few more images with the G3 and noticed the response was not quite as fast as the E-M5.

    So I took a long, hard look at the E-M5 ... and put my money on the counter for a pre-order. I was surprised at how taken I was with this camera.

    After I left the store I shot some more images with the G3 and 9-18mm and found myself wishing I had the E-M5 with the tilting screen - far more practical than the one on the G3 in my opinion - and that very quick response. I have a few weeks to wait, but don't think I will regret my decision. I haven't been quite so impressed with a camera since my first Olympus E-1 (and that lovely OM-2 all those years ago).

    It isn't all about features, it isn't all about performance, it is about a camera that just feels right.
    • Like Like x 11
  2. sohcsleeper

    sohcsleeper Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 4, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    How much discount did you get for posting this? :rofl:
  3. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2010
    You might want to take a look at the buzzing sound people are complaining about on dpreview forums. Then again it might be nothing.
  4. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2011
    I tried it today in Henry's Toronto today, and in a room with a pretty low ambient noise level, I could only hear it by quite literally pressing my ear to the finder hump.
  5. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    "complaining about on dpreview forums."


    "Then again it might be nothing."

    often go together :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 2
  6. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    None. Quite the opposite; my wallet took a substantial hit.

    Thanks for your interest. :wink:
  7. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    Or more accurately....

    BTW... the buzzing sound is probably the built-in gyroscope thinbamabobber that spins around and around and keeps the stabilizer stabilized. Think of it as an in-camera steadycam, perhaps. :eek: 

    Oh..... and don't forget that it's now April 1 on the other side of the International Dateline.
  8. Bill Gordon

    Bill Gordon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I posted my thoughts on another thread on this site.....noisy shutter?? Not at all!!
    Ethan, sorry we didn't meet.....
  9. ftwphoto

    ftwphoto Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 12, 2011
    I shot a few videos with the IS on and when reviewing them at home noticed no such whining or humming sound.

    I feel if it is there, it definitely isn't an issue. Mind you I was using it in an average room setting. If I was recording the dead of night, maybe, but I don't see that being the case.
  10. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2011
    Bill, I was the guy in the hoodie and the stubble sitting on the far right in the front row. I'm sure I saw you, though your display picture isn't big enough for me to figure out which one was you...

    Edit: I clicked on your Zenfolio and your picture suggests that you sat directly behind me. Some coincidence!

    In any case, nice to meet you :) 
  11. lowincash

    lowincash Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 6, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Interesting you said the E-M5's EVF is similar to the G3. It's been a while since I had the G3 and if I remember correctly, I think I didn't like the G3's EVF that much. It was either the G3 or the external EVF I got for the GF1 couple years back that I hated, kind of forgot. After using the NEX7, the EVF was so good compared to the other ones I've used lol
  12. spinyman

    spinyman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2010
    San Diego
    Evf and tilt screen

    I was concerned that the EVF was not as good as my G3s,so this is good news.
    Also I have found the articulating screen to be a bit cumbersome to flip out and it also seems vulnerable to breakage hanging out to the side.The tilt down screen on the EM-5 will be much faster and more secure, as well as being less conspicuous on the street.
  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    I can almost guarantee it was the external EVF for the GF1 that you hated. Because it mostly sucked, at least in comparison to anything that's come since. It was certainly better to have than not in really bright light because the LCDs back in those days (jeez, must have been almost two years ago! :rolleyes: ) were bad in bright sun, but its as bad an EVF as I've ever used. The one in the G3 seemed perfectly fine and MUCH MUCH better than the detachable one that worked with the GF1, GF2, and LX5. Most current EVFs are actually quite good, but I understand the Nex is the class of the bunch - I haven't looked through one in person yet.

  14. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    The EVF on the Nex is of another league, but that doesn't mean the VF2 sucks or the built-in VF of E-M5 sucks also. I think VF-2 and EVF of E-M5 are more or less the same.
  15. foto2021

    foto2021 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2011
    SE England

    The Sony NEX-7 and A77 have the best EVFs around at this time. At 2.4 MP they have about double the number of pixels of the EVFs in the G3 and E-M5. But the G3 and E-M5 EVFs are still better than almost any others on the market, apart from the NEX-7 and A77.

    What struck me very strongly with the E-M5 was the high quality of the LCD screen.

    Now having slept on yesterday's surprise decision, and re-examined it in the cold light of day, I have decided that I will definitely proceed with my order for the E-M5. However, I will be selling the 12-50mm lens, battery grip and leather ever ready case as soon as they arrive. Together with selling my G3 body, the money they raise will take away much of the pain of the very high purchase price of the E-M5.
  16. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    I learned this lesson with the G3 and then the Fuji X10. The G3, while capable of capturing great images, just never felt right to me, and I didn't want to use it. The X10, otoh, screamed to be picked up and used. The E-M5 strikes me the same way, though I've never held one. Not sure if it just the retro look a la the X10 tricking me, but I'm glad to read a comment like this one from the OP.

    It is often said that "the best camera is the one you have with you". No disagreement, but I think another truism along those lines is "the best camera is the one you really enjoy using".
  17. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Thats why I bought and sold many cameras: they just didn't feel right for me.:biggrin:
  18. Bill Gordon

    Bill Gordon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    That is correct..I was behind you....sorry we didn't get to talk to one another, not just you and me,,,,but everybody.
  19. spinyman

    spinyman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 19, 2010
    San Diego
    ugly duckling

    Just getting into this format this year,I started off with the excellent Ep-1.Soon I purchased the even more excellent G3, which addressed nearly all of the shortcomings of the Oly,but is definitely an ugly duckling.This new EM-5 will outperform the G3 in many ways while having a more substantial feel and a fantastic form.Meanwhile, I don't think I will lose more than fifty bucks on the resale of my G3, as it was so cheap to begin with.Win win!
  20. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Olympus pretty much hit the bulls-eye with this body!

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