OMD E-M5 - some impressions

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by dhazeghi, May 3, 2012.

  1. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Finally had a chance to actually try out an E-M5 in the store yesterday (incidentally, the display model was the only one they had at the time - out of stock like everybody else), after months of gawking at samples and spec sheets. Mostly my impressions tally up with what other folks have said: it's a very slick piece of hardware, feels nice and solid in the hand, and seems capable of doing just about everything under the sun. Here are a few things I've not seen mentioned though:

    1. The camera is actually pocketable. The bulge, unlike the VF-2 on the Pens, is almost exclusively vertical, so with a smallish prime the kit should fit easily into a jacket pocket.
    2. The new Live Bulb mode is awesome. No need for a cable release for long-exposure shots now!
    3. Although the RAW buffer is officially 11 shots, I was able to consistently get 15 before the camera slowed down (hi-speed mode) and that was with a generic SD card. Shutter is surprisingly quiet in hi-speed mode.
    4. The horizontal ('landscape') grip option is really nice, and for extended use with non-kit zoom lenses, IMO essential. I like the fact that it's removable, unlike on the GH2 or K-5. Paying $300 for that privilege though is annoying.
    5. Most of the buttons are tiny. This will be fine for the vast majority of users, but if you shoot with gloves on, it will be a problem.
    6. The on/off switch location is in line with the E-5, but not with other Olympus bodies.
    7. The LCD screen looks gorgeous, largely thanks to its highly saturated colors and high contrast. The downside is that the colors aren't all that accurate, i.e. you may be disappointed when you open the images on your computer.
    8. Eye-relief on the EVF is not great. I wear glasses and I had a hard time positioning my eye to block out external light.
    9. The new battery isn't chipped. Or at least, it's not chipped well enough to provide accurate battery life info. I am confused as to why they switched from the BLS-5.
    10. Image review detail is limited. In playback mode, at least with RAW, you can't get a 1:1 view. I checked the RAW files later, and it looks like previews are stored at 3200x2400.

    As to whether I'll get one, I'm still debating. It's an awfully nice camera with just about every feature one can ask for and contrary to my expectations, it's not really any less portable than my Pen. But is it a camera I could commit to shooting exclusively for the next 3+ years? That's the $1300 question...

    DH
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    hrm, the generic battery thread had someone call in and oly said the battery was indeed chipped. What do you mean by accurate battery info? Does it just not tell you anything until it's almost dead? or is it totally off?
     
  3. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    The battery indicator has 3 states: full, less than full, and almost dead. Most chipped batteries give reasonably accurate percentage readings. It wouldn't matter particularly, except that battery life is fairly limited to start with (one of the downsides of mirrorless).

    DH
     
  4. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    that's a little disappointing. Though, its battery life is why I grabbed two spares instead of my usual one. Though, my GF1/G3 has done surprisingly well. I bought spares for them and it's been usually good. But some of the early reports of the e-m5 had me worried.
     
  5. bruniroquai

    bruniroquai New to Mu-43

    5
    Mar 14, 2012
    One question... I Can't switch on the Live View with I Am shooting with A or M mode... Do You know something?

    Bruno
     
  6. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
    But with no lens attached, the camera body is actually nearly twice as wide due to the bulk of the viewfinder. So you can't quite as discretely stash the camera and lens in a separate pant pockets the way you can with the Pens.

    I have a feeling that Ned and other Canadian owners will have a solution for us.

    Probably due to owner complains about how easy it is to accidentally turn on the Pens.
     
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Twice as wide, or twice as tall? The only dimension I felt was significantly different was height.

    Hopefully! I've had pretty good luck using my cameras with ski gloves in the past. Anything through the super control panel should be fine on the E-M5 as those buttons are large and rubbery. It's everything else that's the issue.

    I don't know. If that was really an issue, they could put an interlock in. As it is, they've got a small switch in a less-than-convenient location. As I am obsessive about turning the camera off between shots to extend battery life, I find this choice a bit annoying.

    Thanks,

    DH
     
  8. Brownian

    Brownian Mu-43 Regular

    93
    Apr 28, 2012
    Ireland
    Actually, it is more a case of your computer screen not being accurate.

    It is an OLED screen. As such, it has a wider colour gamut than an LCD, which is what most computers have.

    I wear glasses too and the eye relief seems pretty good to me.
     
  9. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    375
    Apr 20, 2011
    How does the new live bulb mode (which does look fantastic I agree) get rid of the need for a remote? Surely one is still needed to avoid shaking the camera, right?
     
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    The issue isn't the gamut (although I'm pretty sure my IPS monitor has a wider gamut), it's the saturation/contrast. My XZ-1 had the same problem. Images with fairly bland colors/contrast look very bold on the display.

    Interesting. Perception's a funny thing I guess.

    Depends. For long exposures (5+ minutes), short movements (like tapping the shutter) will be essentially invisible.

    DH
     
  11. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
    I havn't had trouble with colors too much on the LCD vs my computer, but I have in regards to white balance since my goal is to be able to shoot OCC jpegs that require no post processing. I've found it tricky to determine the in camera settings that produce images on the computer that have perfect white balance. It's seems like the computer monitor is more sensitive to slight changes in white balance than the camera LCD screen is. But with more practice I should be able to overcome this issue.

    With regard to the EVF, like Jonathan, I find myself not using it it too much, even outdoors, because the LCD screen is so good. This surprized me because on previous cameras and camcorders I found shooting outdoors was difficult most of the time without an EVF (or OVF).

    Overall, the E-M5 is a camera that really grows on you and makes you want to sell off your old "obsolete" gear (including camcorders) except for the E-PL1 body which seems to have a slight edge over the E-M5 and any other Pen body when it comes to the brightest, most crisp, out of the camera jpegs.
     
  12. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    According to Tom (thearne3), sleep mode is really good on the E-M5 (with regards to saving the battery). I would recommend you test this out at least. I'm not sure turning the camera on and off repeatedly saves on the battery - everytime you turn it on, it activates sensor cleaning, so that eats up juice, etc...
     
  13. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    375
    Apr 20, 2011
    The same is true of any camera. From about 2 seconds onwards, the vibration induced becomes less and less of a concern. Perhaps this could be negated entirely using IS, but is it wise to do that when shooting on a tripod? Never owned a camera or lens with IS, so can't really speak to that.
     
  14. G1 User

    G1 User Mu-43 Veteran

    411
    Jul 20, 2010
    The E-M5 also has a "TIME" mode, so you push the Shutter "All the way down" and let go, the shutter stays open until you push the shutter button all the way down again...

    Using the Bulb and Time mode

    A very cool feature.
     
  15. I virtually never turn off my GH1 or any Canon DSLR and just let them sleep instead. My only concern with the E-M5 is the IBIS mechanism. When an E-series DSLR or a Pen is turned off the sensor is "parked" in some default position with a fair bit of noise and fanfare. I'm not sure if the E-M5 will do the same thing by itself when it goes to sleep or indeed if it uses a different philosophy entirely when the camera is inactive.
     
  16. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Since I just got my E-M5 today, I tested the sleep mode, as regards to Nic's concern.

    Well, when the E-M5 goes to sleep, I can hear/feel a distinct "clunk" - so it's probably parking everything. In addition, the infamous HUM OF DOOM is gone as well when sleep is activated.
     
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  17. Thanks Hiep. The manual mentions that the camera will only remain in sleep mode for four hours before turning itself off entirely. I seem to remember the E-series cameras doing the same thing such that they wouldn't sleep indefinitely like a Panasonic or Canon. Has anyone been able to leave their E-M5 alone for more than four hours to confirm this?
     
  18. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    You can change the turn off time from the 4hr default to 1hr, 30min, 5min, and off. (Custom Menu -> D -> Auto Power Off)

    I tested mine by setting it to 5 minutes. Sure enough, it turned off. I had to flick the switch to off (since it was at "on") and back on again to turn the E-M5 on. Pressing the shutter button did nothing when it had turned itself off.
     
  19. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Dara
    Good to know. The only camera I could comfortable shoot from the LCD up to now was the Olympus XZ-1, and that's because the camera weighed half a pound. For anything heavier, I much prefer the stability of eye-level viewfinder.

    That's quite an endorsement!

    Interesting. I guess I'm a bit skeptical though. Even if the camera goes to sleep after 30 seconds of idle time, those 30 second periods will add up. I can upwards of 1200 shots from my DSLR per battery, vs. around 300 from my Pen, so every bit counts!

    DH
     
  20. wolfie

    wolfie Mu-43 Regular

    110
    Apr 15, 2009
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Point 7 - LCD screen colours "problem"

    :mad:
    This is exactly same as on the E-P3 - the default playback mode is "vivid" - you can switch it to "natural" in about 2-3 seconds if you actually look :eek: at the manual. Getting tired of reading "impressions" based on 5 minutes that diss the camera loudly - then hardly anyone ever notices the so called problem is actually user ignorance ... and the "problem" can be easily fixed by reading the instructions.