Olympus E-M5 Hands On First Look

The OM returns with Olympus' first OM-D model; the E-M5. This sophisticated EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) camera is loaded with various features that we've come to love about their Digital PEN cameras. It utilizes the same Micro Four Thirds mount and sensor combination, and uses the same lenses.

However, Olympus has brought back accents of their popular OM film system from the 1970s (which held a 40 year legacy), and incorporated them with 2012 technologies. One of the biggest differences between the OM-D line and the Digital PEN line is the E-M5's built-in EVF. This unit has the same internal make-up as their VF-2 external EVF that would popular with their PEN cameras, built right into the frame of the camera. On top of this, the E-M5 boasts weatherproof sealing, which can resist a light rain or splashes of water, along with increased dust resistance. They've also incorporated a new 3.0 tilting OLED display, that also boasts touch screen functionality.

The E-M5 also sports a newly designed 16-megapixel Live MOS image sensor, which boasts superb image quality and low light performance, thanks in part to the camera's TruePic VI image processing engine. The AF system has been brought over from the E-P3, which uses their newer FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) Autofocus system. Olympus still claims that this 35-point system offers the World's fastest AF speed among interchangeable-lens digital cameras currently on the market.

To top off some of the new additions, Olympus has implemented the World's first 5-axis image stabilization system, which not only compensates vertical and horizontal movements, but also corrects rotational movement and pitch and yaw. This new system helps with shooting with longer telephoto lenses and at slower shutter speeds, not to mention it also helps tremendously when shooting hand held video. One of my personal favorites about this new OM-D system is the optional vertical grip options (the HLD-6G and HLD-6P). You have the choice of using the vertical grip itself without the extra battery compartment and bulk, or you can strap on both units to get an even beefier grip, and the ability to use two battery packs for double the power.

For those who love Olympus' Art Filters, the E-M5 offers even more flexibility with the available art filters, along with increased "stacking" capabilities. They've even added some new filters to the bunch; like Pin Hole camera and Key Line.

We just got a taste of this new OM-D model for a day over the past few weeks, and we very impressed with the quality thus far. This was a pre-production model with no battery. So, we can only comment on the camera's look and feel at this point.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Key Features Include:
  • Rugged Magnesium Alloy body
  • Removable Grip
  • 16.1-Megapixel Live MOS image sensor
  • Micro Four-Thirds lens mount system
  • TruePic VI Image Processing Engine
  • FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) Autofocus System
  • Olympus System Supersonic Wave Filter Dust Reduction System
  • 5-axis Image Stabilization system
  • Built-in EVF with 100% frame coverage
  • iAuto (intelligent), Program AE, Aperture/Shutter Priority, Full Manual, and Custom exposure control
  • In-Camera Art Filters (applicable to both still and HD video)
  • Art Filter "Stacking"
  • Customizable Aspect Ratios
  • In-camera image editing options
  • 3.0-inch (460K) OLED Touchscreen display that also tilts up and down
  • 1080/60i AVCHD or AVI with Dolby Digital Sound Recording
  • 3D Photo Mode (saved as a .MPO file)
  • Auto ISO sensitivity from 200 - 12800
  • SDHC/SDXC (UHS-1 complaint) card slot
  • Newly designed Graphical User Interface
  • Compatible with MSC (Movie & Still Compatibility) lenses
  • Li-ion battery pack (Battery life TBD)
  • Two Vertical Grip options for enhanced framing and handling versatility
The OM-D E-M5 is scheduled to start shipping in April, 2012. The available kit combinations are as follows:
  • $999.99 (Body only, available in Black and Silver)
  • $1,299.99 (Black or Silver body with black M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-50 mm f3.5-6.3 EZ lens)
  • $1,099.99 (Black body with black M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 14-42 mm f3.5-5.6 II R lens)

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