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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Viewfinder, LCD, Live View, Video

The E5’s viewfinder is a full 100% field of view prism finder and offers a large magnification so the  image dominates the view through the finder.

This really stakes the E-5’s position as an advanced camera and one that can be used for critical composition. Shooting information in the viewfinder sits on two lines underneath the image, and is clear and easy to read.

The rear LCD is an impressive feature of the E-5, and the 3in high-resolution display makes reviewing and composing with Live View a pleasure.

Also, the vari-angle mount on which the LCD sits means you can place the camera in almost any position and still view the screen to compose the shot. This is ideal for high and low-angle shots as much as it is for tripod use, video recording and even self-portraiture.

Live View is an integral part of the camera’s operation thanks to the vari-angle nature of the screen. The display is bright and clear with a good refresh rate. Shooting information can be displayed along the sides of the screen for Live View shooting as in the Micro Four Thirds models, or you can access the super control panel for a full range of options.

Focusing is nowhere near as rapid using the contrast-detection method, but it doesn’t hunt forward and back to the extent that some models used to and it manages to lock on to subjects with relative ease.

The HD video function on the E-5 is the first of its kind on an E-series DSLR. It uses a 720p resolution (1280×720 pixels) and outputs the files in AVI format so they will play directly on most machines. The frame rate is a full 30fps with no option to adjust, with a maximum clip length of seven minutes at HD resolution.

Bit rate is a respectable 32Mb/sec for a 720p recording and the overall image quality is impressive. Audio is recorded via a mono microphone in the body, but there is also the option to plug an external microphone in for more professional sound.

  • 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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