Olympus E-5 review

December 18, 2010

Overall Rating:


Olympus E-5

  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:
  • Build/Handling:
  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • 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.

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Noise, Resolution, and Sensitivity

The 12.3-million-pixel resolution of the E-5 seems slightly on the low side when compared to cameras of a similar price point or level, with most having moved up to around 16 or 18 million pixels.

Realistically, though, a 12.3-million-pixel sensor is more than adequate and it means file sizes remain manageable and data transfer rapid. It also means, though, that when viewed at 100% on a computer monitor, detail isn’t quite as defined, especially when compared to ‘professional’ DSLRs such as the 24.6-million-pixel Sony Alpha 850.

On our resolution chart the E-5 reached the 24 marker with both raw files and JPEGs at ISO 100.

Noise starts to creep in at ISO 1600, but is fairly well controlled to ISO 3200, where the detail starts to drop as the noise reduction really kicks in.

ISO 6400 is heavily affected by colour noise, and while ISO 3200 still managed a 20 on our chart, by ISO 6400 this has dropped to 16. Control over raw processing is a little basic within Olympus’s Viewer 2 software, but with noise reduction and sharpening it was possible to achieve a slightly smoother and more detailed image than from the JPEG.

These images show 72ppi sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using the 12-60mm f/2.8-4 Zuiko lens. We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution is at the specified sensitivity setting.

  • 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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