Olympus E-M5 hands on presentation

I just came back from a presentation of the Olympus E-M5 at Lens & Shutter. This was quite exclusive as the Olympus representative was in Vancouver with the only camera in Canada, showing us, most of the crowd being from the Vancouver Four-Third Flickr group, the new OM-D camera the Olympus E-M5.

I would like to thank Eric for alerting us, Mike from Lens & Shutter, and Yannick from Olympus Americas for giving us the opportunity to see the camera in real life.

The size

This has already been established, and will be repeated: the Olympus E-M5 isn’t much bigger than an E-P2. With the viewfinder, the E-P2 is actually a bit taller. Here is the comparison (unfortunately kinda out of focus :-/), both with the 45mm f1.8:

E-P2 vs E-M5

Handling

The pre-production model passed around. It is hard to say in so little time, but my first impression is good. The camera handles well, the front dial is accessible, the back one less. The EVF is clear and the camera respond well to the autofocus.

Olympus E-M5 (back)

The default grip works fine, better than the E-P1 in my opinion. The optional grip that will come later has the option to remove the extra battery pack if not needed provide a better grip without too much extra volume. In both pictures the external flash was missing. Also another funny thing is that despite being unnecessary, the EVF from the Olympus Pens do indeed work on the E-M5. Proof that the accessory port is exactly identical.

As the camera was a pre-release model, we were not allowed to get images, so I won’t be able to talk about image quality. Fair enough, pixel peepers will tell us in a bit.

The price will be $999 for the body only, available end of March or early April in Canada at first camera store and not in big box stores.

Bottom line

I could be convinced to get one. I don’t really see how the Olympus Pen position themselves now beside a lower price point. Or maybe that’s the differentiator. In both case it seems to be obvious that the m4/3 system will be growing. To be continued.

Olympus OM-D

This is just out, Olympus officially announced the long rumored OM-D (or E-M5), their new high-end m4/3 camera.

Quick hands-on by DPReview:

Longer presentation by Photography Review, with a size comparison with the E-P3:

The short specs (from DPReview):

  • 16Mpix m4/3 sensor
  • EVF 1.44M dot
  • Swivel LCD touch screen
  • 5 axis IS
  • High ISO 25600 – whether it will be good or not is a different question
  • Supposedly fast everything
  • Weather sealed

As the DPReview preview shows, it looks like the same size as a Panasonic G, slightly bigger than the E-P3.
There is also an optional grip.

The price will be $999.

Olympus also announced a 75mm f1.8, a 60mm f2.8 Macro 1:1 and a flash. They are really getting more serious, and it is a prelude to the death of the Four-Third standard as m4/3 is taking over.

Olympus OM-D website.

Update (Feb 9): OM-D is the product line, like Pen Digital, and E-M5 is the camera name. It seems clear that they might have more OM-D cameras.