Thursday, February 9, 2012

The New Olympus OM-D EM-5

Okay, it's time to eat some crow. Before it came out, I guessed that the new Olympus OM-D camera would feature a full-frame, 35mm-sized sensor. Well, I was wrong. As I wrote before, I saw an image of the camera with a 45mm, f/1.8 lens on it, which is nearly a normal lens for the 35mm format, so I thought this indicated it was full-frame. And like I said, I was wrong about that.

The OM-D is, in fact, a Micro 4/3s camera, like the PEN series Olympus is already making. I have to admit, I am a little disappointed, though I understand it. The OM-D cameras will fit nicely into an already established system, using the same lenses, but will appeal to a different kind of customer. Okay, I get it. But even though it looks like an SLR with a pentaprism hump on top, when you are looking through the camera, you are looking at a small electronic screen and no mirror is involved in the viewing. This is the same as the Panasonic GH2 camera.

Looking at the OM-D EM-5, it appears to be a interesting choice. By the way, that's its full name, though what happened to models 1 through 4, I don't know. Maybe it's a reference to the old days of the OM 35mm cameras, when Olympus only made it up to an OM-4 in their line-up. I guess that was an OM-4T. Anyway, here are some of the main features.

  • 16.1 MP High-Speed Live MOS sensor
  • 5-axis image stabilization, in body for stills and movies
  • 1.55 million-dot EVF for the internal viewing screen with 100% viewing
  • Automatic switching between internal EVF and external, tilting OLED touch screen
  • Dust-proof and splash-proof
  • ISO up to 25600
  • Full HD-Movie recording in MPEG4
  • 9 frames per second without AF, 4.2 fps with AF
  • Black and Chrome versions of the body

There's also some new lenses announced for the camera. A 75mm f/1.8 and a 60mm f/2.8 Macro. While this doesn't appear to be as revolutionary a development as the original OM cameras, the OM-D EM-5 is still a welcome addition to the Olympus line-up. The features seem solid and the controls are simple and direct, just like the old days. Seems like a winner.