Cameras Gear Photography Technology

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Quick Hands-on in the Philippines

The Olympus OM-D E-M5
The Olympus OM-D E-M5

OM-D E-M5 seems like a daunting mathematical equation more than a camera name, but Olympus is quite confident that at the sum of it all, this camera would spell the difference in their line of Micro Four Thirds cameras. Announced last November 2011, the excitement surrounding the Olympus OM-D E-M5 hasn’t dampened yet, in fact it seems to heighten as the actual release approaches. Little by little, shedding light by the numerous hands-on and previews who were fortunate enough to play with the camera. To add to the ever increasing previews and pre-release samples, let me share with you samples I took with the OM-D E-M5 during its Philippine Launch earlier at Shangri-la Hotel’s Heat Cafe.

(Update March 11, 2012, I’ve added direct download mirrors to the raw files which will only be available until the end of the month. Many thanks to migeO for hosting the files)

Olympus E-M5 Buddha
Olympus E-M5, Lumix 20mm, f2, 1/80sec, ISO 500, AWB

Just a brief background, the E-M5 is positioned to be a different line from the Olympus PEN. The design, while harkens back to the glory days of the analogue OM System Cameras uses an M43 mount, not OM. This is also the first model from Olympus to have a built-in electronic viewfinder. These are the highlight features:

  • New 16MP MOS Four Thirds Sensor (undisclosed manufacturer)
  • Weather-sealed body (Olympus E-3/5 grade)
  • Front and rear control dials on top
  • New “5-Axis” image stabilization
  • ISO sensitivity up to 25,600
  • 9fps shooting and 4.2fps on C-AF
  • Improved C-AF autofocus with 3D Tracking
  • Latest TruePic VI processor
  • Same 1.44mm dot electronic viewfinder as VF-2 but built-in with tweaked refresh rates
  • 3” OLED touch screen display that tilts up and down
  • Flash Sync Speed up to 1/250th sec
  • Full HD 1080i .MOV format (MPEG-4 ACB/H.264)
  • New and Evolved Art Filters (Key Line, Cross Process II, Dramatic Tone II and Echo Effect for Movies)
Ole-em5 servers
Olympus E-M5, 20mm Lumix, F2, ISO 1000, AWB

Download RAW File

Please note, that while the camera software version is Version 1, the camera is still a pre-production model. I could tell since the menu interface is not as responsive yet. The sample images were taken with the new M.Zuiko 12-50mm 3.5-6.3 EZ lens and my own Lumix 20mm pancake lens. The JPGs are taken as Large Fine, the RAW files are also available. Images were taken indoors in the restaurant, Aperture Priority and are straight out-of-the-camera. Click on the images to access the large and original files.

Olympus E-m5 desserts
Olympus E-M5, 20mm Lumix, f2, 1/60s, ISO 400, AWB

Download RAW File

Initial Impressions

  • The feel is really solid, I like the Silver more
  • Autofocus even indoors was really fast
  • Handling feels good, though as usual, the new controls and dials still needs getting used to. The back buttons are small but bevelled enough.
  • I do like that the compartments for battery and SD Card are separate
  • I was only able to shoot up to 1600 (setting the ISO to Auto) but it is a vast improvement from my E-PL2
  • I still find the new 12-50mm lens big since I’m used to the pancake, but I understand that its weather-sealing made it so. I do like the snap focus ring, similar to the 12mm focus where I pull it back for the zoom focus. And this is indeed very fast
Oly e-m5 interiors
Olympus E-m5, 12-50mm EZ, f3.5, ISO 400, Manual WB

Indeed, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is the most exciting release for Olympus to date and it does deliver. For a pre-production model, the images produced does show vast improvements from the previous line. If it’s any indication from the final release, it’s definitely worth upgrading for, if you held on to your previous E_PL1/E-PL2/E-P2 awaiting a new sensor. I do hope I could have a chance to take out the E-M5 for a real world test on some of my upcoming trips to see how it really performs in the real world.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is expected to be available in the Philippines by mid April with an SRP of Php 59,900 for body only and Php 65,000 with the 12-50mm kit lens.

Note: The RAW files area hosted in If you have suggestions where I could better host them for free, let me know.

Olympus E-M5 buddha 2
Olympus E-M5, 12-50mm EZ, f6, 1/25s, ISO 1600, AWB

Download RAW File

Olympus E-M5 lady
OlympusE-M5, 20mm Lumix, f2, 1/60s, ISO 1000, AWB

Download RAW File

Olympus E-M5 desserts 2
Olympus E-M5, 20mm Lumix, F2, 1/80sec, ISO 250, AWB

Download Raw File

Oly e-m5 lansones
Olympus E-M5, 12-50mm, f4.4, 1/50sec, ISO 1600, Manual WB

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Oly E-M5 Chilli
Olympus E-M5, Lumix 20mm, f3.5, 1/60s, ISO 250, AWB
Olympus E-M5 Desserts
Olympus E-M5, Lumix 20mm, f2, 1/80sec, ISO 320, AWB

More JPG Samples at my SmugMug Gallery

By Ferdz

Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.

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