Overall Rating:


Olympus OM-D E-M5

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Price as Reviewed:


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?


The ‘world’s fastest AF’ is a bold claim, and it’s one we’ve heard before. The clause to this statement from Olympus is that continuous AF must be active.

Certainly, in good light the system is near instant for static and moving subjects. Any one of 35 AF points in the large central portion of the frame can be individually selected, which is handy for precise focusing. In fact, like the metering, it is quicker to select the focus point by touching the relevant area of the frame on the touchscreen rather than using the arrows on the D-pad. This feature, which is also present in the latest Panasonic Lumix G-series models, makes critical focusing instantly achievable and is a real plus point.

Contrast-detection AF systems will always be compromised in low-contrast light, so this was one area where I was keen to test the camera. By and large I am pleased with its performance. A powerful AF assist lamp activates below a certain brightness and aids AF in low light no end. Successful focus is slower in low-contrast light, but in one slow movement rather than hunting back and forth on either side of the focus point. Careful selection of the AF mode helps in low light – spot AF over the subject, for example.

As well as manual focus, single AF and continuous AF, face priority is included.  This ensures that a subject’s face is in focus. Interestingly, there is also face and eye priority, face and right eye priority, and face and left eye priority.

For portraits where the subject is not square on, the latter two modes are indeed useful. It is possible, for example, to ensure that the eye closest to the camera is the area in focus, and not the other eye, or, more commonly, the eyebrow. Focus tracking now works on a 3D basis and can be combined with face priority, which is a greathelp when the tracked subject is a person.

Images: Face and left-eye priority mode ensured that the closest eye is the point of focus 

  • Video: 1080 HD at 30p, 720P at 30p, AVCHD, AVI Motion JPEG
  • Dioptre Adjustment: -4 to +1
  • White Balance: Auto, 6 presets, manual, 2 custom modes
  • External mic: Yes (accessory port 2 only)
  • Shutter Type: Focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I
  • Built-in Flash: No. External unit supplied with GN 10m @ ISO 100 output
  • LCD: 3in, 610,000-dot touchscreen OLED
  • Viewfinder Type: Electronic, with 1.44-million-dots
  • Output Size: 4608x3456 pixels
  • Field of View: 100% (with 1.15x magnification)
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes
  • AF Points: 35-point system, touch focus, face and eye detection
  • Sensor: 16.1-million-effective-pixel Live MOS (17.3x13mm)
  • Exposure Modes: PASM, bulb, iAuto, 24 scene modes, 11 art filters
  • Max Flash Sync: External flash X-sync 1/180sec and 1/4000sec (Super FP mode)
  • Weight: 425g (including battery and card)
  • Power: BLN-1 Rechargeable Li-Ion (330 shots)
  • File Format: JPEG, raw (ORF), JPEG + raw, AVI (motion JPEG)
  • Shutter Speeds: 60-1/4000sec + bulb up to 30 minutes
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Drive Mode: Up to 9fps, or 4.2fps with continuous AF
  • RRP: £1,149 (body only)
  • Lens Mount: Micro four thirds
  • ISO: 200-25,600
  • Focusing Modes: Single, continuous, manual, tracking
  • DoF Preview: No (via test picture)
  • Dimensions: 121.0x89.6x41.9mm
  • Metering System: 324-zone multi-pattern TTL digital ESP, spot, centreweighted, highlight, shadow
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB, HDMI
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV

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