Impressive! Pekka Potka tests shows the E-M5 high dynamic range and efficient 5 axis IS.


The dynamic range graph posted by Pekka Potka.

Pekka Potka posted a double E-M5 test on his website (Click here). First, he measured the dynamic range and found that the new Olympus E-M5 has a 2 EV advantage over the Olympus E-P3! Soon other websites like DxO or Dpreview will post their reviews and if they can confirm Pekkas results than this is actually an impressive step forward!

And he also tested the  new five axis Image stabilization and he is again impressed by the results.

More I look at the Olympus E-M5 more I think that this time Olympus did it right! After almost three years of product reiteration we finally have something really new :)

Now it’s up to Panasonic to impress us with the future GH3!

Full Preorder list:
1) Black E-M5 body at
Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, Warehouse UK, Redcoon Germany and Amazon Japan.
2) Silver E-M5 body at
Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, Warehouse UK, Redcoon Germany, and Amazon Japan.
3) Black E-M5 body with 14-42mm lens at
Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto and Amazon Japan.
4) Black E-M5 body with 12-50mm lens at
Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, Jessops, Redcoon Deutschland, Amazon UK, Amazon Deutschland and Amazon Japan.
5) Silver E-M5 body with 12-50mm lens at
Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, Jessops, Amazon UK, Amazon Deutschland and Amazon Japan.
6) FL-600R wireless flash at
Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto.
7) MMF-3 Four Thirds adapter at
Amazon and Adorama.
8.) HLD-6 power battery holder at
Amazon, Adorama and Amazon Japan.

  • SF

    Thanks Pekka, really nice homepage and
    informative tests.

    • re: Reuters (relevant to their reporting of Olympus)

      “Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists – from Reuters to the Kiev Post. The list of Stratfor’s “Confederation Partners”, whom Stratfor internally referred to as its “Confed F*ck House” are included in the release. While it is acceptable for journalists to swap information or be paid by other media organisations, because Stratfor is a private intelligence organisation that services governments and private clients these relationships are corrupt or corrupting.”

  • Stu5

    One thing worth mentioning is he is using firmware 1.0.

    • Good catch. TY.

    • Wow, I think he is the first one reporting testing using firmware 1.0

  • Gawker

    Seeing is believing

  • Rewzekk

    Another question would be who is pekka potka and where did he come from?

    • I think the real question today is… how can I get _my_ 1.0 firmware (or any) Olympus E-M5! :-)

      But I like your line of questioning. If the Potka tests disagree with DXO tests (not that DXO is gospel), then what would be the explanations for the perceived and extreme increase in “tonal range” (Potka) versus “dynamic range” (DXO).

    • Alfons

      Pekka Potka is a Finnish commercial photographer and ex-editor-in-chief of the biggest Finnish camera magazine. He’s been doing photography for decades.

      He has good relations to Olympus as they have given him their products for review since E-P1.

    • Yes, that´s always THE question when reading internet reviews. I mean it, the build up of one writer´s credibility takes some time, and can be lost in a second… ;-)

      • PS

        I for one do not doubt either your credibility or for that matter os Oly.

        Enjoyed reading the review!

      • Raist

        I am going to go beyond the author’s credibility- I simply predict we won’t see 2 stop increase in DR vs pen 3 on the Em5. The methodology explained by the author clearly points to the caveat of the Olympus Viewer2 process, which could have improved and using a subjective assessment on artifacts.

        Olympus themselves already has stated 0.3 ev. Not sure how it’s possible then to go from that to 2.

        • nobody

          Read Pekka’s blog, I think he has the answer to your question:

          “You can get more details to work with for some 0.3 steps in highights and 1.7 steps in shadows when compared to similar settings and exposure and in E-P3.”

          • Raist

            Well I don’t think that changes what I said. I am saying the difference between the two could be the JPEG process and Olympus doesn’t retroactively apply it to previous cameras.

            Anyhow, I have to say I am a bit skeptical of the claimed observation, so will wait for DXo and raw files I can see for myself

            • @Raist
              you are skeptical about Olympus everywhere you post, maybe you be better off selling your Oly and shooting Nikon instead?

              • JimD

                They don’t want him either.

              • @youdidnt.

                What I am skeptical is of what some people assessments or expectations are of Olympus – big difference.

                Given my track record with this skepticism is pretty good, I rather stuck to it than indulge in look laid drinking.

                • JimD

                  Expectations! simple they are a camera company that makes cameras that many like to use. They don’t make gold plated “look at me” ego extensions that have features that never get used by the BIG majority of users. They just make cameras that are flexible and take the pictures people want to take.
                  Then there is Zuiko glass!

                  • Raist

                    Hmmm there’s not much I disagree with you there. So I don’t understand where the problem you have is then :-)

            • Keep in mind that there is a significant caveat in DxOmark, in that DxO attempts to back out any in-camera processing of the raw file, and so it doesn’t necessarily reflect the results that a user of the camera might expect. In other words, that aren’t actually interested in real-world results, only in theoretical results.

              I would expect that Pekka’s and dPreview’s results are much more indicative of real-world results.

              • Agent00soul

                Personally, I’m more interested in what differences are visible in actual photographs. To me it seems Pekka Potka’s method is more indicative of that, than DXOmark.

              • Dxo ISP and dr scores have most of the time corresponded to my own testing of a variety of cameras I own. So this to me they are pretty good – they show the sensor potential.

                Yet certainly don’t show everything like for example banding, but their scores is a good ballpark relationship between the cameras- specifically referring to the ISo, sr and color depth scores. They even give you iso and dr scores based on pragmatic printin given a camera resolution.

                Finally I do trust a bit more engineers who work on a commercial raw converter.

            • Jed

              Please ignore Raist he has a negative obsession regarding Olympus and clearly mental health issues.

              • Raist3d

                I am sure your attempt at a personal attack makes a strong case for your point of view.

            • Steve

              So you are going to wait for tests that agree with your prejudices. I understand. Exactly how is DXo any more or less precise in their methodology?

              • Anonymous

                My prejudices – please. Want I want is good honest truth. Look around- some people think that when they said 33% more DR it mean 1/3rd more DR than a Pen. That would put the EM5 on a DXo scale of about 13 stops… more than pretty much any full frame camera and just like 3rd of 4th place to any other Dxo camera measured. You honestly believe that?

                If Dxo scores the camera high that’s great. If it scores like a GH2 fantastic! All I want is the truth and not self delusions. Like I have said for a while- nobody accused me when I wrote that great review of the e-330 and e-420. I haven’t changed-= the problem is when some things aren’t as good as we would expect then I get the boos.

                Anyway that aside – read how DXo does their things. They put a level playing field for the cameras they are comparing. I find their scores correlate rather well with my first hand experience of Olympus, Panasonic and Pentax models I have tried.

                They are not perfect- they don’t show banding. And they are pretty upfront of what and what they don’t measure- if you bother to go and read how they do their stuff.

                Since they work on a commercial battle tested in the real world professional raw converter, yes, I do think they know their stuff better than many websites that all they do is either use their software anyway or do something else.

                For the record, I think the EM5 looks to be a fantastic camera, even if the DR stays at E-5 levels. I think it’s a great package at a good price. I have said this many times now, but most don’t seem to pick on this- talk about bias :-)

              • Raist3d

                No, not “agree on prejudices” -sorry but that’s BS. If Dxo scores the EM5 high that’s great!

                Think about this- some people are taking the 33% as a literal linear 33%. 1/3rd more than the Pen DR. That puts the EM5 in the 13 stop DR score range, which is like greater than virtually almost all Full Frame cameras and like 3rd to 5th place wise from all DXo measured cameras. Do you honestly think that’s a reasonable expectation?

                I like truth and honesty. If the EM5 scores high that’s great. Nobody accused me of these “prejudices” when I did glowing reviews of the e-330/e-420. I haven’t changed.

                For the record I have already said many times the EM5 is looking like a fantastic camera at the right price with the right feature set for many many photographers. I have said this many times. I also think it will sell out for Olympus. What is that about bias in this statement or why is this missed?

                As for DXo more precise read:


                Keep in mind, when it comes to assessing the sensor potential, I sure trust more people who work on a shipping battle tested professional raw converter than many websites. Remember that JPEG engines change by version and manufacturer and some JPEG engines are not showing the sensor potential of a camera very well.

            • Anonymous

              You mentioned few days agon something about the dichotomy of how people will react to Dxo.

              If it comes true how will you solve this dichotomy?

              • Me? That’s not for me to solve ;-). I can’t control people you know?

            • Riley

              it isnt possible to have more DR out of a single jpeg than a RAW file

              • Anonymous

                That is true. We agree on something. What I do say though is because the JPEG processes of older Olympus models stay “baked in time” as they were at time of release, it’s possible the JPEG process of the EM5 is much better than the Pen, giving it a better result.

                When you think about it, the DR he found is pretty much what an extrapolation of the Dxo Pen DR is + 0.3EV. The Pen DR he found is lower, which again, could be explained by a less optimal JPEG process.

              • Raist3d

                Certainly, and I agree. But like I said, the JPEG engine process that Olympus does is “baked in” time with Olympus Viewer (at least traditionally so). They do not retroactively modify the ones from released cameras.

                If we even look at the DR he found, it’s ball park similar to a Pen Dxo score DR + 0.3EV. The Lower Pen DR could be explained simply as a less optimal than EM5 JPEG engine. Not saying this is “certainly the case” but it’s possible.

        • bilgy_no1

          Olympus didn’t say 0.3EV, they said 33%. Whatever they mean by that is not known. They also said 1 stop better ISO, but samples suggest 2 stops improvement.

          The samples we did see so far have very clean shadows, which definitely improves DR.

          • This was explained before here. One third turns put to be 0.3 ev on the ev scale because the scale is not linear. Same reason why fuji exr mode at 400% dr is two stops

    • Michael

      “Another question would be who is pekka potka and where did he come from?”

      This would only be the question if Google is too difficult for you to use.

  • Akseli
  • Agent00soul

    This looks better and better. I’m glad I preordered an E-M5 this friday.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks admin. Cant wait to have it in my hand!!

  • Great work Pekka!
    DR can be defined in different ways and the most important thing is comparing with analyses made with the same definitions. A two step improvement over EP3 is definately more than I can say my G3 has (0,5 – 1 step is my estimate).
    5 degrees of freedom IS: Here it is very individual depending on who uses the camera. As I am a shaky guy and suspects that I move the camera with my finger on doing the exposure. For me the rotation thing may help. So far, the Pana OIS has helped me a lot better than Oly in-camera IS. But that was with the EP1.
    It will be interesting if any reviewer can challenge the different freedoms IS deliver in different (mis)use cases.
    I have not pre-ordered the EM5 yet, but today it has really moved up on my list!


    now, my finger is crossed for the up-coming GH-3, if possible, 2 LEICA branded lens would be nice

  • 43photo

    Looks good. If this is correct. How does the tested DR of E-M5 compare to the avarage DR of APS-C and FF cameras?
    Still far behind or is E-M5 closing the gap?

    • Miroslav

      With two stop advantage over E-P3 ( 10.1 Evs according to DxO ), E-M5 should be better than any m4/3 camera, including GH1 (11.6 Evs) and GX1, Canon APS-C DSLRs (60D 11.5 Evs), on par with Sony’s first generation NEX cameras (NEX-5 12.2 Evs) and a more than stop behind NEX-7 – 13.4 Evs. Nod bad at all, good enough for me, I just hope these tests reflect the real situation…

      • JF

        I hope you are right, that would be awesome !

        • Miroslav

          Those are DxO numbers. I just combined Pekka’s measurements with them.

          • JF

            I mean I hope DxO will find 2 Evs improvement too !

    • Miroslav

      P.S. Dont’t care about FF, but for the record: Nikon D3s has 12 Evs, while Canon EOS 5D Mark II has 11.9 Evs DR. Those are last generation sensors though and their real strength is high ISO…

      • anonymous

        > …and their real strength is high ISO…

        which has already been shown to be much improved with E-M5 over EP3.

      • tmrgrs

        If the E-M5 has approximately the same DR and noise characteristics at ISO 3200 as my 5DII, I’ll be very very happy.

        Looks like it’s going to be asta la vista Canon!

    • I just quick check on many apsc DSLR EV, all are beyond 11EV. A77 hit 13EV. And i looking at the Em5 EV chart, the highest EV at ISO 200 is <11EV if i am read it right. M43 still behind apsc race in EV little bit.

      But +2EV is good enough considering big improvement.

      • nobody

        You cannot compare Pekka Potka’s figures directly with DxO figures because they use different methods of measurements. All you can say is, according to Pekka Potka the E-M5 delivers about 2 EV more of DR, as compared to the EP3.

        So, since the EP3 reaches 10.1 EV at DxO, we can assume the E-M5 may reach around 12 EV at DxO.

        • wow! if real and dxo proof it soon, this is a real kick ass sensor! :D caught up the game

  • nobody

    Now this really looks great! If Pekka’s measurements hold water, the E-M5 has the best m43 sensor for now. Better than the GH2 and more or less on par with Sony’s NEX5n.

  • My feel is that this DR would bring EM5 rather close to current APS-C sensor. On that side there is a new generation of sensors coming and they will probably make a leap in DR as well.
    If m43 are, over generations of sensors, 0,5 – 1 step behind APS-C, it is OK for me. After all an m43 area is 60% of APS-C. Then we have other advantages of m43: size, weight, price and not least the lenses. (Size and weight advantage is lens included.)
    Can the coming “very high end” Pana beat EM5?

    • Brod1er

      This year is going to be all about EM5 vs GH3. I will be upgrading from my GH1 but which one?

      GH3- multi aspect sensor, electronic shutter?
      EM5- mag body, 5IBIS, 3D tracking, mystery sensor?

      Against my expectation, Oly is winning at this early stage!! PS I am not really bothered about video.

      • tmrgrs

        I’m thinking that a first generation electronic shutter is going to be very buggy and the beta testers are going to be all over this site and the other forums wailing about it.

    • pitrak

      Price? If there is one thing I don’t really like about m43 and other mirrorless systems, it is price. I’m considering an m43 setup (E-M5, G3 or GH2 with 7-14mm) but the price is the only factor that makes me lean towards bigger options like sony a65.. But the smaller size and weight is a big plus of course.

      • What other EVIL system has anything like the 7-14?

        • Nikku

          The 7-14mm is an incredible lens. I wanted one since the 4/3rds days, but thought it would just be a gimmick lens. Not so. It’s incredibly useful.

          • pitrak

            That’s why I want m43 with that lens. But it costs a lot more than a a sony a55 with the sigma 8-16 or 600D with 10-22mm. And up to now for lesser IQ.. The E-M5 might be on a par with them.
            I want a system mainly for handheld architecture photography. When traveling with the family there is not always time for a tripod. So the E-M5 with IBIS + the 7-14mm looks tempting, but slightly above my budget. And a55 + sigma will be a lot heavier and bulkier.
            If the E-M5 had a fully articulated screen (I like to shoot from all sorts of angles and positions, it’s a bit like sports :) all my doubts would have vanished.. Anyway, getting off topic!

            • For what it is, the 7-14 is cheap.

              • pitrak

                If the E-M5 is also cheap for what it is, I guess I’ll have a very cheap setup!

                • Vlad

                  Apparently you want the best for cheap. Everyone wants that.

                  • JimD

                    Vlad, Vlad, Vlad! How can you. It must be the most expensive body with the most, absolute most, functions you will never, never use, (in addition to the used ones) + the most expensive lenses (at least 5) that will never be mounted on the camera after the initial “box opening”. How else can one be a REAL enthusiast? Shame on you!

                  • pitrak

                    Well I guess the a55 with sigma 8-16 will give me about the same IQ for a better price. But I want the camera with me in my backpack (along with my heavy laptop and drawing stuff) so size and weight matters.
                    I’m doing my internship as an architect and have a family – so now you can see why budget is limited. But I’ve been shooting architecture for about 15 years now, with film, dlsr, ricoh GX100 with wide angle converter and now samsung EX1. All in different periods with different budgets. FWIW I always try to get the most out of my gear, be it a camera, a computer or a synth. I know every button and menu setting of my EX1 and have tried to get the most of it, it’s time to expand the angle of view and the quality.
                    And once I invest in a system, I’ld like to stay with that system. And the E-M5 gets my enthousiasm, but not in the way JimD means… Anyway, thanks for the feedback, I’ll keep lurking around until we get full reviews I guess.

            • Considering that the Pany 7-14 and Sigma 8-16mm has the same MSRP and the Canon 10-22mm $300 more, the Pany is relatively cheap. Since it is newer than both and the demand is still high, its current price almost $100 and $200 more than the Canon and Sigma, respectively, which is reasonable since the Pany is wider than Canon, brighter than Sigma and has a fixed aperture.

              I was debating between 7-14 and Olympus 9-18 for a long time, but went with the 9-18mm when saw one for a good deal at a local BestBuy (of all places). One can’t go wrong with the 7-14 or 9-18 IMHO.

              • JimD

                I bought a 9-18 4/3 at a good price (Oly refub) I thought it would get occasional use but its become a fixture on my EP2 for movies of the grand children and general use. A bit like the 12-60 on the E30 now welded on, well you know what I mean….

              • pitrak

                Prices are a bit different in Belgium. The 7-14 will set me back about 250euro more than the canon and 300 more than the sigma. Cheapest I can find here is 950 euros, while I’ve seen it bundled for 800$… So it is expensive here.
                The E-M5 will launch for 1100 here.
                I can get the 9-18 for 550.
                Anyway, I’ll take the rest of this discussion to another place. We’re talking about IBIS (impressive) and DR here!

  • For those interested in FT lens PDAFocus performance on E-M5, Potka comments on his own “Hands-on Preview:”

    “[…] I will check how AF with 4/3 lenses works when I get a production camera to test.”

    This camera is his production camera, so I’m hoping Potka comes out with some FT lens autofocus test results soon. That should give us a better idea of how the E-M5 fares with (various?) FT glass.


    • Pekka Potka’s latest (brief) article ( takes a hands-on first look at the situation with 4/3 lens PDAFocus on E-M5 under some conditions.

      Unfortunately, in the testing he did, he saw NO noticeable improvement with E-M5 over the previous Olympus “F.A.S.T.” focusing. Doh.

      Thanks to Pekka Potka for the timely hands-on first look.

      • ange7

        thanks for the link. Me and my 43 lenses were waiting for a word on this. Not surprising news but a shame nonetheless. I read somewhere that this was an issue that olympus have as a priority. Hope there’s a solution ready for the next cam in the omd lineup.

        • JimD

          Yes a priority for me but but I don’t want to buy an em5 and find another camera being presented in a couple on months. I can’t afford a new camera every month, every year, or even every 2 years. If they have such a beast in planning tell us now or they will find sales of em5 drop due to sale of them on ebay if an updated version suddenly pops up.

  • All good news. Great camera, great sensor (I’m now even more convinced it’s not from Panasonic).

    I didn’t read in any interview if they will make a non weather sealed OM-D. Anyone knows? Not that I don’t like weather sealing, it’s a good feature to have. But you have to pay (and quite well) for it. And it’s only useful in few occasions. Even more, it’s only useful with weather sealed lenses, which are none of the interesting ones for m4/3s (native ones, I mean). So I’d rather get a non weather sealed OM-D and pay 200 less for it. Anyone knows if this is an option for the near future?

    If they call it a PEN and include the new sensor, new IS and EVF, then that would work for me too.

    • Miroslav

      “Great camera, great sensor (I’m now even more convinced it’s not from Panasonic).”

      It surpasses all Pana sensors in DR.

      “If they call it a PEN and include the new sensor, new IS and EVF, then that would work for me.”

      For me too.

      • Leu

        you must be kidding, this is an HDR test, so it is merging exposures. I could get 30 stops of DR out of a GH2 with merged exposures.

        • bli

          @Leu — where did you find the statement that this is an HDR test? Can you substanciate your claim, or are you just throwing out a claim with no root in reality?

        • Miroslav

          He measured 2 stops more DR than E-P3. Go to DxO, add 2 to E-P3 DR score and see where is E-M5 compared to Panasonics. Simple math.

          • bli

            Simple math *if* these things can be added as you indicate. But there is no guarantee of that.

            • Miroslav

              Right, his method is different to that of DxO, but I suppose the errors/differences present in absolute values of DR are mostly lost when you subtract and get the difference in DR. E-M5 obviously HAS better DR, approximately by 2 +-0.5 Evs if his measurements were done correctly.

        • Stu5

          It is not a HDR test, it’s a DR test. It clearly stated that… well clearly for most people.

    • Then dynamic range graph is very like on GH2 sensor from ISO 1600 and down to ISO 200, so this is new sensor so many think long time before, but think than is from Panasonic anyway, only Panasonic, have stay be better.

    • The Real Stig

      No chance of a non-weatherseald version, I would reckon. The cost of re-tooling, carrying separate lines of spares, etc, etc, would not lead to any cost saving that could be passed on.

      • tmrgrs


      • Absolute agree, look on Nikon D800 VS D800E, D800E so only not have a AA filter, price is so ca. 500$ more.

      • Vlad

        What re-tooling? Just omit the weather seals and maybe change the body material. No problem at all for them, although I certainly do not see the point.

        • The Real Stig

          Parts would be made with tolerances that allow for the seal dimensions. leave out the seals and many parts would either not fit correctly or not function as designed.

          • Vlad

            Hmm, true that.

  • compositor20

    If you scale the dr performance at high iso it will be better than all aps except fuji x pro 1.

    • compositor20: How do you arrive to that conclusion?

      • compositor20

        Because I think it is the Toshiba sensor in FUji X-pro 1 but with m43 size… they can´t tell because its in a rivals camera and with a bigger sensor… they said that they could´nt tell the sensor manufacturer because they were making a big deal with them and if they announce it could harm their business.

        The pekka comparison has 8.7 +- but dxo says it has 10.1 so there is more measured than the one used. If you have 2 stops difference + the difference in dxo you should have the OM-D with 12 stops… if you apply 1.3 EV at high iso (you would have iso 6400 with 8.5 EV and if this is screen level.. the best aps-c at high iso would have 8 stops (nex 5-n the best at high iso).. with that formula 12800 would have almost 8 EVS which usually is the acceptable/usable IQ when needed (9 EVs being the great and suitable to big prints)

        The Fuji x10 has better efficiency than nikon d3s (just by a little bit) if you apply that formula to a m43 instead of a 2/3 sensor size you would have 800 iso would correspond to 3200 (I have the raw iso files from focus numerique and they show that excellence at iso 3200 and very good blacks till 12800. I just matched what would be a best scenario! it can just be lower than that not higher since Panasonic only does one sensor that is almost as good as fuji x10 (its the one in Panasonic fz150 but its a BSI sensor and OM-D is not)

        I predicted in dpreview forums that if they used that sensor it would have a dxo score of:

        portrait 22.5
        landscape 12 +-
        sports 980 (but since DR will matter most in dark high contrast situations in real life it will be better than sony nex 5-N at high iso but by 1/2 or 1/3 stops only. At low iso, where such differences are hardly noticeable, aps-c would still be a little better but m43 usually has very light AA filters and sharp lenses so it has its tricks too.

        • tmrgrs

          This sensor talk is mostly over my head Compositor so bear with me when asking you a dumb question. Could this Toshiba sensor possibly cause those infamous Fuji X10 style orbs in the E-M5?

          • Esa Tuunanen

            Fuji probably has their completely own sensor designs even if they outsource manufacturing.

            And with the amount of work put to good in-camera photos by Olympus I find it hard to believe they would accept any such defects in sensor performance.

        • bli

          @Compositor20: same sensor as in the X-Pro1 but scaled to m43 size?? Not possible!! This has been discussed *at length* before. The X-Pro1 sensor is APS-C sized. To get 16Mpx in an m43 size, the APS-C sensor would need to have more than 24 Mpx. The X-Pro1 has less than 24 Mpx.
          Speculation is interesting, but it should at least be technically possible! It is not technically possible that it is the same sensor/wafer as in the X-Pro1.
          It could perhaps be the wafer of the X10 which has much higher pixel density (1) if cut in the m43 size, and (2) if one is merging the signals from 3 neighbor pixels into 1 pixel (I seem to recall that the X10 wafer cut in m43 size would give 49Mpx or so).
          Of course, I’m not saying that it is not Toshiba technology — I don’t know.

          • tmrgrs

            If Toshiba can make two different size sensors with different pixel densities for Fuji, why couldn’t they also make a third one for Olympus that has a third set of specs for size and pixel density?

            • bli

              They probably could make a third sensor with a third pixel density for Olympus. I even indicate that that is a possibility. My point was that it can not be the X-Pro1 sensor/pixel density; a higher pixel density is required.

          • JimD

            I thought the sensor was 16.9 mp the usable area being 16.1

            • Rchard

              The sensor is 17.2 mpixels and 16.1 effective atleast if you read the spec. at Olys site.

        • I is very agree by you but, if Olympus say this is a new Panasonic sensor so we have in E-M5?, where many Panasonic user will not wait on a G4 or GX2, so Olympus can not say this of course.

        • Raist

          Not happening but we will see if the “toshiba sensor” theory holds once dxo mark is out. Keep in mind Fuji *designs* the sensors Toshiba manufactures for them, so I can’t even see how even if it was a Toshiba sensor, somehow this will give it “Fuji properties.”

    • Ahem

      I’d wait to see if the Fuji will get white orbs. Look it up.

  • Yun

    Definitely Pana will beat OM5 with it’s latest in that class . If you look closely , OM5 more on improvements over GX rather than new technologies in M4/3 , I mean a breakthrough .
    Pana definitely will come out something innovative to compete with Sony & Fuji
    & I believe this is what Pana means very high end product .

    • Steve

      Unannounced, unknown spec camera P will definitely beat unreleased camera O. That’s what you just said.

      You think it might be juuust a little premature to reach that conclusion??

      • flash

        Sure it will. When the Pan begins shipping then there will be an unknown Olympus camera that will beat it. So is the cycle of life in the mFT world. :)

  • We must be positive about OM-D just to create a push on Panasonic :))))

  • According to DxOMark, E-P3 has higher values in DR, however considering that both those cameras where tested under the same condition it is a good result from Pekka Potka.

    However it cannot be compared to the ones from Panny’s GH2 (and the old GH1) provided by DxO, I would prefer to have E-M5 compared against those 2. Better wait for DxO, but by now all things point to a very nice sensor in the E-M5.

  • Pretty cool how Olympus managed to sway my opinion away from the X-Pro1 to the E-M5. Granted, it’s mainly the high price of the Fuji that makes me consider the E-M5 but I’m more and more convinced by the E-M5. I’m pretty certain I’ll get it this summer, maybe around July.

    Two things irritate me at Olympus currently: all new prime lenses only come in the silver finish. That doesn’t really match the black body of the E-M5. It’s cosmetic, but cosmetics are part of Olympus retro-design strategy so I don’t get that.

    The other thing is the absence of any sealed prime lens in the line-up currently. A fast Zuiko 25mm (f/1.4 or 1.7) that is sealed (and in black please) would make me extremely happy. Currently, I’m thinking about the black E-M5, the sealed kit lens plus the Panasonic Leica 25mm, the grip and the lens converter for Four Thirds.

    Anyway, Olympus did a great job there.

    • tmrgrs

      My silver 45/1.8 looks very nice on my black E-PL3.

      • Vlad

        The e-PL3 has silver parts, while the E-M5 is completely black.

        • Thank goodness for the silver E-M5 body then ;)

          • Vlad

            Yup, but I prefer the black one :)

    • Google translate links

      Retro lenses were usually silver, not black, it is Bly after that lenses got painted n black or became plastic.

  • With the same camera:
    DXO mark way to measure is one thing – it produces a figure.
    DPR measures another way – it produces another figure.
    Pekka Potka measures a third way – it produces a third figure

    Conclusion: You should not compare DXO vs Pekka – it is apples and pears

    It is fair to compare inside DXO, inside DPR, inside Pekka.

    I would say the DXOmark is very theoretical. DPR and Pekka are more based on real life photography, are closer and more relevant to actual photography.
    You can compare within DXO, but the absolute figure they give, at least I do not trust.

    • rrr_hhh

      Plus one !

      There are too many variables in play to draw definitive conclusions from this comparison :

      1) it is jpegs, not raws, you can’t say whether the same EV increase will be seen in the raw;
      2) it is a different method, you can’t be sure that a 1 EV improvement in Pekka’s test will correspond to a 1EV increase in DXo

      • rrr_hhh

        Still,. Those results look pretty good !

      • 1)Test is in RAW, and Pekka have developing RAW file in View(2.?) to Olympus.
        2)Yes absolute, but diffence from E-M5 to E-P3 is maybe like anyway.

        So i understand use DXO only clean red, green and blue, this use not other colours, as also not IR so Olympus use for AF in them two these”teawking sensoere” to these camera here.

        • rrr_hhh

          Yes it is in raw, but Olympus viewer always give the same results as the jpegs.

  • Vivek

    Admin: All three of your blogs are slowed down by a :(

    • admin

      What is that? Have to ask my server tech guys :(

      • bli

        Admin: there is quick response on Safari/iPhone, but the discussion thread doesn’t show up on Safari/iPad.

        • BLI

          IPad is back online.

  • bli

    Three interesting observations from Pekka’s graph:
    1. If we can lift both curves upwards so that Pekka’s E-P3 result matches that of DxO at base ISO, the E-M5 should be very close to the theoretical limit of 12 at base ISO. This confirms Olympus’ statements about reducing the noise. However, I think Pekka warns a little bit against such use of his results :-).
    2. The E-M5 appears to have better DR (or tonality) than the base DR of E-P3 (i.e ISO 200) up to ca ISO 2000. That is impressive.
    3. Many reviewers judge the E-P3 to be usable up to ISO 1600. The E-M5 appears to have just as good DR as the E-P3 (at ISO 1600) up to ISO 11 000 or so. OK — DR is not everything, but still good.

  • WT21

    I like Pekka’s site. Always super informative. But what i really need to see and understand is how workable are the RAW shots. That’s going to be the make or break it for me.

  • Looking great, Olympus! Cant wait to have mine arrived

  • This review could cost me a thousand dollars, because I may have to go run out and by one of these EM-5s as soon as they are available here in the United States.

  • Funny! It has EXACTLY the same DR at base ISO setting as both G3 and GX1 have: 10.6! (DxO Mark)

    Hmmm… who is actually the sensor manufacturer? :D

    • nobody

      You don’t come to any useful conclusions mixing up Pekka Potka’s figures and those of DxO because they are obtained from very different measurement methods.

      • Like I wrote in my blog, my NUMBERS are not absolute anything. They are the product of one process which has variables like Olympus conversion in Viewer 2. What remains is this absolute difference between these two bodies seen in Viewer 2. Like others have written here and I mentioned in my blog, DxO Mark numbers are also products of one process, different from mine.

        • Yes, I agree, but your measurement sill can be considered at least a hint about the similarity of the sensors from E–M5 and GX1, isn’t it?

          • Steve

            Oh, I don’t think so. There’s no control at all unless the same test conditions exactly are used.

          • Steve’s right: no control is no control. The results are not comparable, and can’t even be finagled, because Pekka used Viewer to convert the files, and Viewer can’t handle Panasonic. If you want a comparison in the DxO Alternate Universe, you’ll have to wait.

        • Zoeff

          Would it be possible for you to test the E-M5 against a panny sensor? GH2, G3, GX1…?

          Thanks!! :-)

          • bli

            Pekka has already answered this question on his web page.

        • Stu5

          Hi Pekka

          Your write up was very interesting and helpful. Have you had an opportunity yet to open up the Raw files you took in ‘Raw Photo Processor’ which opens them up in Raw rather than jpeg? I would be curious to see what you think of the results. The Raw files that were available the other week on a website were very impressive regarding DR when opened up in the program.

    • At ISO 200 the G3 and E-P3 have about the same DR (DxO Mark).

      This sensor is almost definitely different from the one on the G3, and most likely not made by Panasonic, but by Toshiba. That’s what I think looking at all results and comments so far.

  • Joe

    Sounds good, but I will not buy this camera as long as there is no compelling replacement for my beloved 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 lens. And guess what: A 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 is no replacement at all!

  • Better than a 4 years old sensor? Wow! Impressive.

    • nobody

      Thanks for your impressive and valuable input!

    • Parci

      nem egy impresszív komment ez.

  • Karl

    To ADMIN:
    Lately your three rumor websites have been extremely slow: it takes 2-3 minutes to load the front page. Sometimes they even time out. Hope you find the culprit :)

    • Miroslav

      Not that much here, but I have to say it’s often frustrating. Too many external websites load some small stuff, so any page jumps couple of times before it’s finally loaded.

    • MGuarini


  • Admin,
    can you work with andrea to shutdown the server a while to maintenance it. it is getting slow :(

  • matt

    “Now it’s up to Panasonic to impress us with the future GH3!”

    Now it´s up to Admin to impress us with the GH3 rumors! :D

  • bananacam

    the graph looks too good to be true:
    3200 ISO is almost as good as 200 ISO for E-P3?

    how do other cameras compare?

    • Stu5

      No it’s not. It’s not as good as 400 iso either. A lot more ‘almost’ than 200iso though. It’s a tiny bit better than 800 iso which is just over 2 stops which is very good.

      • bli

        @Stu5: how do you read the graph? Isn’t it obvious that the graph shows the E-M5 being better than the E-P3 (ISO200) up to ca ISO 2000 — for the quantity that Pekka has measured? Your numbers can not be read from the graph, which is what Bananacam is referring to. Of course, no-one disputes that this graph is not the final verdict.

        • Stu5

          We were comparing ISO 200 to ISO 3200 figures, not 200 to 2000. ISO 2000 was not tested.

  • avds

    Need more measurements, especially in raw.

    This sounds truly impressive at 200-250% of pure relative DR increase but goes against my assumption that Olympus wouldn’t be inclined to downplay DR improvement when they projected it to be just 30% (whatever it means, but most likely it should mean just 0.4 logarithmic EV points).

    Pekka seems to be perplexed with this too :)

    Stabilizer shots look extremely impressive at 1/8. Great!

  • Dave

    Why not Sony can make the new sensor??

  • Raist

    This is going to end up in one of those disappointed expectations. I find hat Pekka did interesting but it goes through an Olympus Viewer 2 process- which mimicks an Olympus JPEG engine conversion. As we know, Olympus JPEG engines often improve model to model and they do not apply the new enhancements re-troactively- hence the EM5 may be looking much better in DR than it really is under the Pen comparison.

    Those thinking this is not a Panasonic sensor and that this is really meaningful 2 stops forward I predict will be in for disappointment. I believe what Olympus had said themselves led to the conclusion it’s only 0.3 EV more.

    i give it < 5% happening.

    • Stu5

      No they did not say 0.3 EV. What they said was DR was improved by a third. Some people have read that as meaning 0.3 EV. That I doubt is the correct meaning of what Olympus meant.

  • Doug

    Given the time they had to develop this, I would expect at least this level of improved performance. I am pleased though not impressed.

  • ihateidiots

    Any test that cannot state any of the parameters behind the test is utterly worthless. More proof that many of the posters here who are jumping for joy are utterly idiotic and utterly desperate to support their favourite company.

    • Reggieandtfe

      You must really hate yourself…

      • nobody

        Good one :)

      • ihateidiots

        I despise rather pathologically morons who cannot separate emotion from logic. Unfortunately, the writer here does not even so much as describe his methodology and as usual a bunch of frothing morons go jumping for joy.

        • Mauro


  • Dee

    Does anyone know what happen when you put for
    Example the panny 100-300 on this Olympus.? Does it recognize the image stablization from the lens as well?

    • BLI

      Normal advice is to turn off one of the stabilizers. If not, the best thing that can happen is that you get a stabilized picture but that both stabilizers work like crazy and drain the battery. The worst is that the stabilizers get into some resonance.

  • Bob B.

    This graph is silliness. Why is it not a comparison to the G3, the GX1 or the GH2? That would be a meaningful comparison related to the whole MFT system. No?

    • karay

      I suppose because the reviewer does own the E-P3, but not the cameras listed by you :)

    • Stu5

      No it’s not. You already know the difference of the EP-3 DR compared to the GH2 so it is not exactly rocket science to work out the difference to the EM-5 for yourself.

    • Vlad

      Because the guy tested what he was interested in. As he mentioned. It’s actually very nice of him to share when you think about it. And, as Stu5 said, it’s easy to guesstimate how it compares to the GH2.

    • bli

      No. Read Pekka’s web site. If he doesn’t have the time to compare the E-M5 against other cameras, that doesn’t make his contribution “silliness”. It makes it an incomplete test, but that is not the same as silliness.

      • Bob B.

        OK…maybe I over reacted…it wasn’t silliness…but it could have been more meaningful. Sorry.

  • @ Admin says “Now it’s up to Panasonic to impress us with the future GH3!” I don’t know that the new E-M5 has anything over the GH2 that I care about, and it lacks many things I care about. None of the comparisons I have seen are EM-5 vs GH2. Duh! the EM-5 better be better than previous Olympus cameras given all the marketing hype Olympus used… Al

    • Bob B.

      +1 I would like to see that, too. (although admin has no control over who posts what on the web…he just gathers what is out there and presents it too us….and he does a great job of that! Even if it is a little Oly heavy….LOL).

      • OM-4ever

        Yes Bob, you’re a Panasonic fanboy and fear and despise Olympus cameras, we get it. I have to say, I do find it re-assuring. ;)

        • Bob B.

          no..not really…I hope that the new OM DOES have two stops better DR than the GX1 etc…!!!! It will be good for all, Oly FANBOY!!!!! LOL!!!

      • E-1

        I’m not sure why all Panasonic users here insist that it needs to be compared to the GH2. Does it tarnish your self image if the E-M5 has a better sensor than the GH2?

        • Bob B.

          If you read my note above…my point is the comparison is between a “new” 16MP sensor and a 2 year old 12MP sensor. Why not compare it to sensors that are the same MP count and current. I hope it is better than the Panasonic sensor…but then again..maybe it is the Panasonic sensor. LOL!

    • Vlad

      I don’t get it. The only thing we don’t know about the camera is how the sensor performs, although apparently there is a noticeable improvement. This camera is better than previous Olympus ones in every way possible.

    • Stu5

      You know what the DR difference is between the EP-3 and the GH2, so you can therefore work out the difference of the GH2 to the EM-5 for yourself from the figures.

  • Charlie

    Say Pekka Potka three times real fast…

    “Pekka Potka, Pekka Potka, Pekka Potka”

  • Oitzsek

    The latest post of pekka for classic FT lens compatibility is a slap in the face of those deeply invested in 43 glass. No improvement over ep3 whatsoever in this regard, didn t i read somewhere that it works blazing fast ob e m 5?? Yes i guess it was pen-and-tell (loooooool)

    • Stu5

      It will depend on which lens you use. Pekka only had a chance to test a few lenses. Depends if those are ones you use. If not you need to test that lens on the camera to find out what it is really like.

    • BLI

      @Oitzsek: Can you read? :-) pen-and-tell did not claim “blazing fast” operation of 43 glass. He wrote that the operation was not as fast as for e.g. the E-5. But that in poor light, it could work just as well as on the E-5, and sometimes better.

  • BLI

    A slight update from Pekka’s blog: E-M5 AF with 43 lenses. He indicates more on AF and image quality, with some publishing permission by the “end of February” — check it out for yourselves. And Robin Wong promises a review “soon” :-).

  • “Now it’s up to Panasonic to impress us with the future GH3!”

    No, thank you.

    This looks like a really, really great camera, but I would much rather Panasonic impressed us with the future GX2.

    Putting SLR-prism-like humps on what could otherwise be compact MFT cameras is kind of like putting rotary dials on cell phones… familiar, but no longer necessary, and not particularly beneficial.

    Panasonic has a promising thing going with their GF1-GX1 rangefinder-like line. I hope they will build on it.

    • krugorg

      Is an overall height increase better than a small DSLR-link hump?

      • Assuming this is, indeed, the trade off, yes, I would prefer a slight uniform increase in height, over a taller hump.




        (sorry about the horrible “graphics,” but you get the idea;).

        Panasonic GX1’s dimensions are significantly smaller than Olympus OMD’s (116x68x39mm vs 122x89x43mm,

        If Panasonic manages to add a [n ideally, hybrid] viewfinder to GX1 (ala Fuji x100), and, without compromising its usability, and while keeping the price reasonable, they would have a very, very solid next offering, in my opinion (a “parity” feature of two [weather proofing? improved dynamic range? would of course be welcome, but probably not yet required].

        As a side note, Panasonic seems to have had a usability breakthrough with GX1 — all of a sudden, it is an amazingly delightful and fun camera to use (and I have spent a lot of time with a lot of PanaOly m43 cameras).

        Most reviewers notice how much fun and how easy GX1 is to use, but it gets even better with time, as you use the camera more. It reminds me of driving a really well-designed car, and feeling “one with the machine,” a “driving is believing” kind of thing.

        Major kudos to GX1’s designers.

        I hope Panasonic’s marketing catches up, and figures out how to market [and capitalize on] this, and I hope Panasonic builds on this going forward.

        • rrr_hhh

          Well what you want is neither in the line of Olympus, nor in the line of Panasonic. Get a Fuji X-Pro or a Nex-7 if that is what you want. Because I don’t think that you can put an E-VF in the GX1, nor in the Pens. Or get a G3, they are quite small and offer the sme IQ as the GX, more or less.

          • +1

          • I don’t have much interest in any of these fine cameras for various reasons (actually I have had a g3 for a while [well, since it came out;], and I am getting rid of it, because I like GX1 much, much, much better… yes, I know they are supposed to be practically the same camera;).

            I actually really like m4/3 size, IQ, and all the choice of lenses.

        • I would too be interested in GX2 with built-in EVF/hybridVF. But that would not be possible without increasing size of the camera. Pana has said they “will show their intentions” with both GH and GX lines – let’s see what they bring to Photokina.

          • If Panasonic come as build-in hybrid VF, is this in new G line (maybe a GM1) where big success is for Fuji X-1pro.

          • Yes, we’ll see! A small increase in size would be fine with me, as long they keep the camera this pleasant to use (but do I think they can shrink the guts of GX1 more, still;).

    • Steve

      It’s still quite compact, I think! Clearly the hump is not just an empty area but is holding electronics. Personally I think it looks nicer than a taller slab-shaped camera would look.

      I guess there’s a lot of chocolate vs vanilla going on here – which is best is a matter of preference. Fortunately for us users there’s plenty of choice for models in the m4/3 world these days!

    • Stu5

      Have you not read where Olympus have stated the I.S. is inside the hump as you call it? This I.S unit is brand new and much larger than the old I.S. Also they said being positioned where it is makes it more effective which makes complete sense when you read about how it works. So it is necessary and particularly beneficial.

      If your going to wear the camera as a piece of jewellery around you neck I can understand why this may concern some. For a lot of people they want a camera for taking photos though.

      • safaridon

        I suggest you take a look over on 43forum on DPR and under a thread entitled “first test of Oly 5 AXIS IBIS system you will find a link to pictures of the relative size between the old and new IBIS systems. Surprisinly inspite of several posts claiming the new is much larger it does not appear to be so. It may be thicker because of a metal case but does not project as wide and is about same height.

        What is taking up most of the room in the OM-D hump is the mechanism for the faster tracking AF and 3D not the IBIS and to provide room for a separate connection port for other devices. Oly could still produce another model with a significantly reduced hump in their future.

        Pany could produce a model similar size and just as small as the NEX7 but would have to use a smaller OLED EVF and smaller rear LCD screen as the NEX7 does. However if there are going to produce a GX2 using most of its parts then more likely a smaller hump in the middle so they can retain the flash and similar construction.

  • Interesting and fingers crossed it holds out in proper bench marking.

    That site does however look like an Oly advertorial unfortunately, so i’ll take this with a grain of salt.

  • E-1

    Reactions to all sensor news on this site:

    Olympus users, hoping it’s not a Panasonic sensor as they fear Olympus has been sold not the best and has been prevented to get the GH2 sensor from Panasonic, claim it’s not a Panasonic sensor, but a Sony, Kodak or Toshiba one. They are sick of hearing the same things from Panasonic users and their sensor ridiculed over the years.

    Panasonic users, hoping it’s just a Panasonic sensor. Then they could go on ridicule the Olympus users and some do take their self-esteem from the superiority of their sensor which would be in jeopardy if the sensor is from e.g. Toshiba and better than the Panasonic ones.

    This happend for every post about the sensor over the past weeks.

    • Robbie

      Yeah it’s kinda strange now. esp at Dpreview we have a renewed appreciation of the capability of the GH2 sensor and why it is so special on its own among the m43…LOL

  • HifiNut

    I believe that Pekka Potka results is right. Just look at the photos from four third user ( ), you can see that DR for EM-5 at iso12800 is equal to epl-3 at iso1600 if we ignore the noises. If you compare the DR and detail at the shadowy (darker) side (especially at the base of the flash) of both EM-5 and EP-3 at iso 800, you can see hugh difference in DR and detail. The dark scene of EP-3 looks crushed. I would says the EM-5 improves on the shodowy end on DR quite a lot.

  • what a great read here and TY PEKA

  • Pekka’s result for dynamic range (for the E-P3) differs a lot from the ones at DxO. Why?
    At base ISO (200)
    Pekka: approximately 8.7
    DxO: 10.1

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Different measuring methods so you can’t compare absolute values directly.

    • E-1

      “DxO Mark gives a dynamic range of 10.1 EV for E-P3. It is measured directly from sensor. Here we have more variables and maybe we should use rather the term tonal range.”

      • Olaf

        How do DXO measure directly from sensor?
        My guess is that they look at the RAW file as we all have to do!

        • Riley

          DxO are basically a black box of numbers. Why would I say this? They test a group of 4/3rds 12Mp sensors anc come up with 10.6 stops DR, yet under IMATEST which ca use either RAW or jpeg shot from step wedge charts they get 11.5 stops DR.

          It should be impossible to exceed DxO’s assigned value yet E5 almost manages that in jpeg, which should be equally impossible.

          • Raist3d

            What you need to check is how this stacks relative to other cameras. Also measuring a JPEG has errors of its own as different JPEG engines and RAW converters will give different performance numbers different from the sensor potential.

            This is particularly true say the older an Olympus camera goes- as the JPEG engine is “baked in” and does not even change in Olympus Viewer or Studio, but RAW processors move forward (light Room 4 for example).

            Thus I find DXo more accurate because it gives a much more better idea of the sensor potential.

            • Riley

              Dxo doesnt give any more DR for Pannys GX1 16Mp sensor that the 12Mp, Actually slightly less than any Oly 12Mp at 10.57 stops. Its showing in DPR was abysmal compared to anything else they showed it with.

              Now you been prancing around here for weeks like the tooth fairy at a dentists convention telling people its a Panasonic sensor, your argument cannot go both ways.

              So does it have more DR, or is it a Panasonic sensor. Choose

        • They in DXO use only three clean colour (red, green and blue) light in difference strength for test DR to sensor.

          • Raist3d

            Which is what all Bayer sensors pretty much have, sans small variants per filter.

        • Raist3d
  • SLO

    Just would like to post, “Thanks Pekka!”

  • CTteg

    I actually went out and used my GX1 this morning. :-)

  • I find funny to see that the Talking Monkey (Raist) is now trying to save his skin after initially declaring a few days ago that the Om-D couldn’t have more than 0.3 EV and an old Panny sensor.

    Now the consensus is that there is a 2 EV stop and that the sensor might indeed be different.

    Quantum mutatus ab illo :)

    Now because P. Potka used Viewer we can’t really be sure that the difference is not entirely due to better denosiing. In other words we don’t know what is the final effect in RAW.

    I couldn’t care less if I am offered less shadow noise and a tiny bit more of highlight range on a JPEG silver plate. I’ll take it gladly.

    But the Talking money is risking his skin at the Barnum Circus in case his prediction fails, and that I find priceless.

    Only a monkey can magically transform 0.3 EV in 2 EV, while it tries to distract the audience with somersaults and winking :D

  • MichaelRpdx

    FWIW – DPReview has their review up now and the DR is great.

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