The OM-D E-M5 is Olympus’s most highly specified four thirds camera to date, and its most attractive, but is its performance good enough to provide a lasting legacy?
LCD, viewfinder and video
Unlike any of the Olympus Pen models, the OM-D E-M5 features an electronic viewfinder, which is a real bonus for shooting in very bright conditions when the LCD screen cannot be viewed easily, as well as in the dark. When ambient light is really low, the EVF boosts the signal for a brighter output, and although noisy it gives more visible information than the ‘real’ brightness of anoptical viewfinder. The 10x magnification in manual focus is useful, too.
The EVF has a resolution of 1.44 million dots, which is not quite in the same league as Sony’s 2.359-million-dot OLED EVF, and its contrast is not as strong. However, as in the external Olympus VF-2 EVF unit, the display is clear, bright and crisp. Compared to the EVF in cameras like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, the display in the E-M5 is brighter and beautifully smooth. The refresh rate is equally impressive and not at all restrictive, even when scanning movement.
The 3in LCD screen has a bright, clear display and tilts upwards 80° and downwards 50°. Its touch functionality for shutter release is no quicker than using the shutter release button, but it does speed up controls such as spot AF and metering, determining which part of the frame is the desired subject.
Those interested in video will be pleased to know that the E-M5 features full HD (1080p) recording at 30fps in AVCHD format. The design of the new 12-50mm lens lends itself to video capture because it offers a smooth zoom control, the speed of which is easily brought in slowly without jumping into action.