Olympus OM-D E-M5 review

Is this retro-styled Micro Four Thirds camera worth its high price?

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  • Excellent viewfinder
  • Tilting touchscreen
  • Customisable dials and buttons
  • High image quality at low ISOs
  • New art filters


  • Plastic unresponsive buttons
  • No in-built flash
  • Odd (sound) emitted

Three years after making its first entrance into the compact system camera arena with the PEN E-P1, Olympus has gone back to its roots again to produce the OM-D E-M5, with its retro styling owed to its analogue predecessor.

Inside the camera are an all new 16 million pixel Live MOS Four Thirds sensor and TruePic VI image processor, which Olympus says is designed to give better low light performance and higher dynamic range than previous Micro Four Thirds cameras in its line-up.

As a step-up from the PEN range, this camera is designed to appeal to advanced enthusiasts, however Olympus is keen to point out that the camera isn't necessarily intended for use by pros, which it still believes will be drawn in by the company's range of DSLRs.

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That said, there are a large number of impressive specs crammed into the OM-D's diminutive body. A new image stabilisation system uses a 5 axis system which combats bodyshake for vertical, horizontal, pitch, rolling and yaw.

Olympus OMD

Along with its Micro Four Thirds cohort, Panasonic, Olympus is keen to emphasis the benefits of using the smaller sensor, including edge to edge sharpness.

That retro body has been designed with serious photographers in mind, with the magnesium alloy being dust and splash proof, featuring the same all weather proofing as its top of the range DSLR, the E-5.

This dust and splash proofing has also been carried over to a number of accessories compatible with the OM-D, including the detachable flash which is bundled with the camera, as well as the new 12-50mm zoom lenses and the new battery grip.

As the camera is pitched at higher end users, a new higher price tag has also been attached. At £1000 for the body only, the camera certainly isn't cheap, but it's likely to be pitched against other high-end cameras such as the Fujifilm X Pro1 and Sony NEX-7, which fall into similar, if not more expensive, price brackets.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera Body Only
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Wireless LANNo
Effective Camera Resolution16.1 Megapixel
Product FamilyOM-D
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Eye-Fi Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameOlympus
FeaturesSelf-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, Face Detection, Live View, External Flash Shoe
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MPEG-4, Motion JPEG (AVI), MOV
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)425 g
Image Sensor Size4/3" (18 mm x 13.50 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3456
Display Screen TypeOLED
Height88.9 mm
Width121.9 mm
Depth43.2 mm
Image FormatsRAW, MPO, JPEG
External FlashIncluded
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerOlympus Corporation
Product ModelE-M5
Product NameOM-D E-M5 Mirrorless Camera
Product LineOM-D
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberV204040SU000
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.olympus.co.uk
Marketing Information

A new era in Micro Four Thirds technology is about to begin. The new, revolutionary mirrorless camera, the OM-D E-M5, has an exceptionally light and compact body. Its Electronic View Finder enables photographers to check exposure levels, white balance and preview Art Filter effects in real-time. When shooting, the photographer can instantly "create" a truly unique world and preserve it in exceptional quality. The "world" will be transformed from something you see to something you "take part" in.

The OM-D is a groundbreaking, new digital interchangeable lens camera perfect for people who want to "take part", "create", and "share".