Olympus E-5 review

December 18, 2010

Overall Rating:


Olympus E-5

  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:
  • Build/Handling:
  • Autofocus:
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  • Metering:



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.

Our Verdict

The Olympus E-5 is a pleasant camera to use and is capable of some nice results. The body is solid and feels sturdy in the hand, with a wealth of buttons and functions that, once customised to your own way of working, allow speedy operation. For current Olympus users this camera provides something to aspire to, and thanks to the HD video, art filters and LCD, it may offer enough advantages over the E-3, and even the E-620, for some to consider upgrading.

For users looking to come into the system for the first time the E-5 is up against some very tough competition from Nikon, Pentax and Canon, and without previous attachment it would be a difficult choice to pick the E-5 over them.

What this camera really needed was a new, higher resolution sensor to make it competitive, even if it were just to 18 million pixels. It would be very sad if this were to be the last Olympus DSLR, and hopefully what will follow will be a hybrid of a CSC and DSLR that will maintain an upgrade path for Olympus users. For now at least, though, the E-5 is still a flagship product to be proud of.

Olympus E-5: Focal points

Optical viewfinder
This gives a full 100% field of view with a 1.15x magnification for easy composition

Auto adjustment sensor
The small sensor above the LCD allows the camera to adjust the brightness of the screen depending on the lighting conditions

Function button
This can be customised to suit your requirements and can provide access to a range of menu functions

Four-way selection pad
This remains a simple series of four outer buttons rather than the multi-directional pads that feature on many DSLRs

Video mode
The E-5 can record video in AVI format at 720p HD resolution. The art filters can also be added to the video modes for a more creative effect.

The body is splashproof and dust proof, meaning it is designed to stand up to shooting in some of the toughest conditions.

Dual card slots
There is a choice of CompactFlash and Secure Digital (SD) card options, and you can easily move between these using the camera’s quick menu.

Live View focusing
This is offered by an 11-point contrast-detection autofocus, or manual focusing with up to a 10x magnified view for precise adjustment.

  • 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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