Olympus E-5 dSLR Review

First Look posted 9/14/2010
Conclusion and Samples posted 10/11/2010

Quick Take

  • Excellent image quality
  • Robust shooting performance
  • Bright and clear OVF
  • Versatile exposure mode options
  • Capable Program AE mode
  • Awesome 3.0-inch LCD
  • Excellent build quality
  • Durable and Weather/Dust resistant body
  • Good high ISO performance up to ISO 3200
  • Captures high-quality HD video
  • ISO 6400 setting not really usable
  • Built-in mic picks up a lot of background noise
  • No mode dial (uses a button in conjunction with the rear control dial or 4-way controller)
Bottom Line
The Olympus E-5 is a welcomed replacement to the E-3 from 2007. This unit offers various improvements, a durable body with weather/dust resistance, excellent image quality and robust performance. It's also competitively priced. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
Olympus' new flagship model, the E-5 dSLR is a professional level camera that is loaded with the latest in Olympus technologies. This unit is built with a rugged magnesium alloy body that is not only tough but dustproof and splashproof as well, ensuring it can stand up to the lifestyle of the most active photographers.

The E-5 replaces the E-3 from 2007, and boasts a 12.3-megapixel Live MOS image sensor (same unit found in the E-PL1), Four Thirds lens mount system, TruePic V+ processor with Fine Detail Processing technology, and an awesome 3.0-inch LCD that offers dual axis swiveling. On top of its robust exposure capabilities and control, Olympus has incorporated some of the creative functions found on their Digital PEN cameras, such as their popular Art Filters.

We got our hands on a pre-production unit for about a week, and were very impressed with the build quality and feature set of this model. This is sure to be a very competitive model against the mid to professional level dSLR offerings from Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Pentax. Update: since out first look, we've had the opportunity to put a full production E-5 through the paces. See our conclusion page for more details.

Olympus E-5 dSLR main features:
  • 12.3-megapixel 4/3 CMOS image sensor
  • Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction system
  • 4/3 lens mount, compatible with more than 20 Four Thirds lenses
  • TruePic V+ processing unit
  • 3.0-inch, 270 degree swiveling LCD screen with 921k pixels
  • Records 720p (1280x720) Motion JPEG HD video at 30fps
  • In-body Mechanical Image Stabilization system provides up to 5 EV compensation
  • 49-point TTL metering system
  • High-speed 11-point phase-detection AF system
  • Broad shutter speed range: 60 - 1/8000 sec (Bulb up to 30 min.)
  • Sensitivity settings from ISO 100 - 6400 in 1/3 or 1 EV steps
  • Slow shutter and High ISO Noise Reduction
  • Burst mode shooting at up to 5fps; unlimited in JPEG, max. 16 frames in RAW
  • In-camera JPEG and RAW photos editing
  • Built-in, pop-up flash unit
  • Powered by a BLM-5 Li-ion battery pack (up to 870 shots using the optical viewfinder)
  • Dual card slot for CF/CF2 and SD/SDHC memory cards
  • Vast array of optional accessories
The Olympus E-5 dSLR body only kit will be available in October (2010) for a suggested retail price of $1699.99 US.

What's in the box?:
  • E-5 dSLR Body
  • Li-ion battery BLM-5
  • Li-ion battery charger BCM-5
  • USB cable
  • Audio&Video cable
  • Shoulder strap
  • Instruction manual
  • Warranty card
Additional Product Views




Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.