photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Olympus E-5

No, not E-M5

in Olympus E-System , Friday, February 17, 2012

I’ve got a new camera. The last few weeks have seen huge excitement over the Fuji X-Pro, or whatever it’s called, and massive forum troll versus zombies wars about Olympus’ amazing new Digital OM - except that it’s not an OM. It’s a micro Four Thirds camera with a viewfinder bolted on top. Then again the Olympus PENs aren’t PENs either. But what I’ve just bought has no identity crisis. Neither does it invite much gear envy. It’s a 12 megapixel, dreadfully noisy, overpriced dead-end, brick-heavy thing called an Olympus E-5. A minor upgrade to the Olympus E-3 I already own. Or is it?

Well so far, yes and no. From the few real world side by side comparisons I’ve done, the image quality is not a huge leap forward. It seems a bit better, but I doubt a casual viewer would notice. On the other hand, the handling is much better, due to the much larger screen, which makes the widely praised Live View mode of the E-3 much better. Manual focus, on a tripod, with the E-5 in Live View is a very pleasant experience, and this has a potentially major positive influence on the creative process - and hence “image quality” in a less restricted sense.

The E-5 feels a little different to hold due to the modified rear grip, and although as far as I know the shutter is the same, it seems to have a different sound, although still pretty quiet - although not E-1 quiet. One thing I don’t like is the disappearence of the IS button. And really, such a customisable camera could really use two function buttons. If Ricoh can fit 2 on the GRD4, surely room could be found for 2 on the huge E-5 body.

But all this is od news. The camera has been on sale for over a year! I’m probably about the last person to ever buy one new.

I’ll probably post some carefully controlled side by side comparison images at some point - not “tests”, but photos I’d actually consider keeping. Just in case anybody’s still interested…