Olympus E-5 review and Panasonic 14mm vs 20mm bokeh comparison.


Bob Atkins posted the Olympus E-5 review on Photo.net (Click here): “In this price class (under $1700) it goes up against cameras like the Canon EOS 7D, which has a larger sensor, more pixels, 1080HD video, a faster frame rate and ISO setting up to 12800. The E-5 is more expensive then either the EOS 60D or Nikon D7000, both of which also have larger sensors, more pixels and higher ISOsettings (with lower noise), along with a much wider range of available lenses (including extensive 3rd party support). Of course there’s much. much more to a camera than counting pixels or even sensor size, but those cameras would still have to be strong contenders in this price class (perhaps along with the Pentax K-5) for those who are not current Four-Thirds system users.”
Get the E-5 at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

M43photo.blogspot (Click here) compared the Panasonic 14mm and 20mm bokeh performance: “The 20mm pancake lens shows the most non-circular highlights…the 14mm pancake has the most consistent appearance.
Direct links to the 20mm lens at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
Direct links to the 14mm lens at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

  • I think the bokeh on the M43 is good enough. The major snafu when videotaping people with thin bokeh is they tend to move and breath. Wha’!??

  • I don’t know why this guy even bothered reviewing an Olympus camera he seems skeptical from the beginning with “Olympus claims this” and “Olympus claims that”.
    And then he bleats on about sensor size, pixels and ISO 6400 and above (can the guy show us a photo he has every produced in the real world for a client at above ISO 6400 me thinks not).
    If I was in the market for buying a camera this year, I would take the Olympus E-5 over anything that’s out there at the moment from Canon, Nikon, Sony and even the Panasonic GH2…
    Bought a Canon printer recently the ink cartridges now contain 1/2 the ink and half the print resolution on their printers that were out 3-4 years ago …what’s that about???

    • Vlad

      Well, you can’t deny that on the market there are some very good cameras like the D7000, 7D and K-5, some better-featured and at lower prices than the E-5.That’s what he’s pointing out. I am also pretty sure that the APS-C mentioned above will perform better at lower ISO as well. And you forgot all the other points mentioned.

      • well you don’t read canon or nikon reviews saying they haven’t got this or that compared to olympus or any other camera maker, do you? I would argue about better featured!

        • Mr. Reeee

          The E5 costs 50% more than a Nikon D7000!
          Does it deliver 50% MORE camera? 50% more performance?
          The price difference alone justifies every comparison raised.

          It seems priced for a captive audience that already has an investment in native 4/3 lenses.

          • Inge-M

            For example, car so costs 50% more, need not have 50% more speed and acceleration. :-)

          • deniz

            i have to agree with this. although this review has been very very poorly made, comparison to other cameras is justified. i just wished the reviewer had done this comparison in a less biased manner.

          • does the Nikon D3s provide 200% of the performance of the Olympus E5??

          • Boss

            Actually at $1699 versus $1199 the D7000 does not actually cost 50% more…..check your math.

          • E-5 is 40% more, but who cares. unless you think that 50% more actually means half the price, then you check YOUR math

  • Matt

    Testing for bokeh on wide-angle lenses seems rather odd. You get far better bokeh from a longer lens, even if the f value isn’t as low as it is on these wide-angle primes because the DOF on wide-angle lenses is never going to be that shallow no matter how fast the lens is, especially with a (relatively) small sensor. Stand further back and zoom in more if you want that effect. You just have to work with what you’ve got!

    • The Other Chris

      You can have a fast lens with narrow depth of field with awful bokeh. See the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 for example. Stopping down a lens and getting close to the subject will still produce a narrow DoF.

  • The more clueless people tend to bash Oly, the more I like Oly for what they’re doing against mainstream photography thinking. Oly’s doing camera for photographers, not for technical reviewers.

    • Inge-M


    • Well, I was one of the overly skeptics as well when the E5 was announced. Now I own one for a couple of months and I can’t say I’m unhappy. It should have been cheaper though. At 1700EUR it’s too expensive, a price that can be justified would have been something like 1200EUR to be on par with Nikon’s D7000.

  • Ulli

    If I wasn’t fallen in love with m43 i would buy the E-5 in a heartbeat!

  • Nikon D7000
    -useless art filters (especially compared to the E-5’s thoughtful ones)
    -not weather sealed
    -live view poorly implemented
    -no choice of aspect ratios
    – lack of choice in ISO stops
    – no underwater white balance
    – no highlight or shadow spot metering
    -lack of range in exposure bracketing and exposure steps
    -tendency to overexpose in bright sunshine/high contrast situations
    -ISO button is poorly positioned, and cannot be assigned to any other control point.
    -ditto white balance: poorly positioned, cannot be re-assigned
    -exposure mode dial slightly loose, and easily knocked
    -shooting mode dial can be awkward to manipulate
    -AF can be hesitant in poor light
    -Auto ISO function is confusing and poorly implemented (but no worse than any other Nikon DSLR)
    -Aperture not adjustable in manual mode in live view (and won’t stop up/down in any mode until exposure).
    -No live histogram or exposure indicator in live view/movie shooting.
    -No external white balance sensor
    -lack of black and white and duotone filters
    -no tiltable LCD!
    -no multiple exposure

    • i just plunked down a deposit on an E-5.

      can’t wait to get the camera! And eventually more f2, which is twice as fast as 2.8…i believe that makes f2 100% faster than f2.8…last i checked, an oly f2 lens was not 100% more expensive than the equivalent nikon f2.8.

      also, just wanted to point out that it’s not a 50% price difference between the d7000 and the e-5.

      according to b&h prices:
      e-5 = $1700
      d7000 = $1200

      $500/$1200=0.41666= 41.67%

      therefore, the E-5 is 41.67% more expensive than the D7000. if you buy a D7000, take that 41.67% and spend it on IS lenses. i’d say it evens out pretty good, considering the E-5 has IBIS.

      the D7000 supposedly is dust/splash resistant, but i have not heard direct testimonials of people rinsing their D7000 off in the shower, after a long shoot at the beach, like i have with the E-5.

      you can compare and contrast these cameras all day long, like horse trading, but honestly, i think they are both great cameras with options for amazing lenses. the differences really come down to personal preference.

      • Daemonius

        D7000 is quite resistant, but not that much as E-5 or K-5. Its different league anyway. E-5/K-5 are top end, while D7000 is mainstream and features are exactly like that.

        What Olympus and E-5 has are lens that are pretty much one of best, sure Nikon has good ones too, just they have them bigger, not that good and sometimes quite a bit expensive. Though comparing APS-C or FF vs 4/3 is.. well, its not comparable. Even if it doesnt seem like that, those systems are really different.

        And for high ISO, well except for paparazzi and sport shooters, you dont need it. Plus Olympus is actually pretty good system for being paparazzi, given sensor format effectively doubling focal length vs FF (cause, its not problem to have effectively 1000 mm lens with quite fast aperture, which would be near impossible with conventional system).

        Only real downside is sensor inside E-5, camera itself is pretty much perfect piece of equipment. Bit shame that Panasonic isnt capable of producing sensor same quality as Sony (by that I mean 16 mpix APS-C miracle inside D7000/K-5/A580 etc.). It should be possible, cause APS-C really isnt that much bigger, and when I imagine 16 mpix Sony with Olympus lens.. just “wow”.

        • I would not completely agree with “And for high ISO, well except for paparazzi and sport shooters, you dont need it.” I love my Olympus gear, but there’s no question that high-ISO performance is lagging a bit.

          Now, I shoot burlesque performances and sometimes bands and debates, and we’re not talking about nicely-lit places like major arenas or theaters, we’re talking about dingy bars where the owner thinks that one red 60-watt lightbulb counts as “stage lighting”. There’s no question that if anybody could use more high-ISO performance, it’s me. But you know what? I use my Olympus gear and I get the shot. I’m not going to claim I wouldn’t kill to have noiseless ISO 6400, but the good factors outweigh the bad.

          I do agree that the whole issue is overstated, though. High-ISO performance is just one factor, and by no means the most important. The ergonomics, the absolute reliance I have on the weather-sealing, and the optics – those are what seal the deal for me.

  • noon

    The tank like build quality of the e-5 along with all weathersealed lenses makes it very competitive vs the canikons. After enduring rainy weather from my last vacation, a used e-1, e-3 or a new e-5 will definitely on my x-mas wishlist.

    • Daemonius

      Well, you can even submerge E-5 for short time without taking any damage.. I dont think anything else except cameras in underwater suit can do that. :D

  • Daemonius

    And about bokeh.. if you want bokeh, get medium format film camera and scanner. Or if you have loads of money, Leica M9 + some decent bokehlicious lens (either from Leica or Zeiss). Or, best.. buy S2 and any S2 lens.

    Or, if you are smart and wealthy.. A900 + 135 STF and nothing can beat that (ok maybe ZA 135mm f1.8 can :D).

    But possiblities are endless.. I dont think that short focal lenght primes for m4/3 system are exactly best choice…

    • The Other Chris

      I bought a Pentax 67, 105mm f/2.4, 55mm f/4, and a used Polaroid Sprintscan 120 for $1600 total. Two of the sharpest lenses with the creamiest bokeh imaginable, attached to one of the toughest cameras ever made, producing 95 megapixel files.

      I sometimes long for a weathersealed camera that will undoubtably survive a drop in the lake, though. That and being able to get more than a just few inches in focus when I’m forced to shoot at a wide aperture.

      • Ulli

        I have had the pentax67 too, but its not really a handheld camera, as its prone to the heavy vibrations of the mirror mechanism, which will be only more evident with scanned 95 mp files…
        build is absolutely impressive yes, i guess its perfect for tripod based shootings.

        • The Other Chris

          I have had no problems shooting handheld down to 1/125 with the 105mm lens, with good results at 1/60. With the 55mm, MLU and a steady stance I’ve been able to get down to 1/2 sec, at least when viewed under an 8x loupe.

  • I have three Minolta lenses: 50mm f1.7 and f1.4, 58mm f1.4 that I bought for under $40 each that give awesome bokeh for a tenth or maybe even a 100th of the price of the Leica solution… Al

  • Some reviewers have never heard of the term “good enough”. Well, the E-5 is certainly good enough for my needs. Image quality is actually quite good and all the rest is, well, almost perfect. I really like Oly’s low-maintenance philosophy (dust buster, weather sealing, IBIS, pixel mapping, decent JPEGs and so on). It’s a camera I will confidently use for many years.

    • Inge-M


    • +1 It’s a great camera, i don’t regret buying mine.

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