Olympus E-5 review

December 18, 2010

Overall Rating:


Olympus E-5

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Price as Reviewed:


We review the Olympus E-5 DSLR, from build and handling to the viewfinder, and give our final verdict on this enthusiast's play toy.

Olympus E-5 at a glance:

  • 12.3-million-pixel Live MOS sensor
  • TruePic V+ image processor
  • Four Thirds lens mount
  • Splashproof body and lens
  • 3in, 921,000-dot, swivel LCD screen
  • 49-zone, multi-pattern sensing metering
  • New dramatic tone art filter
  • Street price around £1,500 (body only)

Olympus E-5 review – Introduction

When the E-5 was announced in September this year, Olympus stated that this could be the last Four Thirds DSLR from the company as it was focusing its efforts on the new Micro Four Thirds models, such as the Pen E-P1. This might seem a strange announcement to make at the launch of a new flagship model, but Olympus has stated that it would always support the E-system Zuiko lenses with a high-end camera to put them on. We can only speculate what will follow, but it seems there is more to come in the higher end Olympus models – just maybe not in the form we’ve seen in the past.

The E-5 is only the third flagship DSLR from Olympus, following on from the E-1 and E-3, which have been impressive cameras in their own right with some really strong features. The E-5, then, is not so much of a reinvention, but rather a progression from the previous models following feedback from current E-series users. The E-5 incorporates elements from other recent Olympus models, such as the array of art filters and the 12.3-million-pixel Live MOS sensor, while introducing some new elements of its own, such as the new TruePic V+ processor, the 3in free-angle LCD screen and, for the first time on an E-series DSLR, HD video.

As a professional camera the E-5 might not have the big numbers on its specification list to draw studio photographers in, as some of its competitors are able to do, but it does have the durability and handling to withstand heavy use. The latest Olympus compact system cameras (CSCs) are drawing in a new market for the brand and having a camera such as the E-5 positioned above them not only gives users confidence in the brand’s photographic experience, but also gives more creative users something they can aspire to own.

  • Dioptre Adjustment: -3.0 to +1 dioptre
  • Video: 720p HD, 30fps, AVI
  • White Balance: Auto, 7 presets with fine-tuning, 4 custom settings, temp
  • External mic: Yes
  • Built-in Flash: Yes (GN 13m @ ISO 100)
  • Shutter Type: Computerised focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: Dual-slot CF and SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism finder
  • Output Size: 4032x3024
  • Field of View: 100%
  • LCD: 3in, 921,000-dot LCD
  • Sensor: 12.3-million-effective-pixel Live MOS
  • White Balance Bracket: 3 frames
  • AF Points: 11-point system (all cross-type and fully biaxial)
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/250sec or 1/8000sec (high speed)
  • Focal Length Mag: 2x
  • Exposure Modes: Program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual
  • File Format: JPEG, ORF (raw), AVI
  • Power: Rechargeable BLM-5 Li-Ion, DC input
  • Weight: 800g (body only)
  • Drive Mode: 5fps
  • Shutter Speeds: 60-1/8000sec in 1/3, 1/2EV or 1EV steps
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Dimensions: 142.5x116.5x74.5mm
  • Metering System: TTL open aperture 49-segment
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0, mini HDMI, video out, remote, PC-sync
  • Compression: 4-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV
  • Lens Mount: Four Thirds
  • ISO: 100-6400
  • Focusing Modes: Single, continuous, manual
  • DoF Preview: Yes

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