Olympus OM-D EM-5 Review By Scott Bourne (and refurbished E-M5 deal)

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Scott Bourne, who recently sold all of his professional Canon gear and switched to Micro Four Thirds (see what is in his bag now) wrote a long term review of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera (refurbished here for $829). He started using the E-M5 because “[he] wanted a light-weight, low-profile, small, compact camera system that is easy to carry and provides professional-quality images“. What about the image quality? Scott writes:

But what about image quality? Can that small sensor deliver professional images? Absolutely! As long as the camera is operated by someone who knows how to properly use it.

There are obviously also some drwabacks. Mainly…:

I can’t shoot in pre-dawn light and expect the same results I got from a Canon 5D MK III. These smaller sensors suffer when there’s low light. So I simply wait for good light or make my own. The biggest difference for me is in the lack of ability to capture moving subjects. The Canon 1DX has the best autofocus in the world. It can track anything in almost any light, going fast or slow, near or far, coming at you or flying by. The Olympus cannot. The OM-D EM-5 is pretty good at panning subjects. It’s amazing at static objects. The AF on a static object is as fast as there is. Once you try to shoot moving objects the Olympus (and all other MFT cameras I’ve tried) stumbles.

But then…:

One big advantage of the MFT cameras and the Olympus system specifically is the quality of the primes. The very fast, 12mm, 45mm and 75mm Zuiko lenses are spectacular. They are as sharp as anything I’ve used ever. Especially the 75. It may be the sharpest lens I’ve ever tested. With an effective focal length (EFL) of 150mm at f/1.8, it would be an impossible lens to get for a big full-frame DSLR. So here the trade-off is in the plus column. The glass is fast, sharp, contrasty and incredibly reliable.

Scott Bourne sums up the pros and cons of the E-M5 (and the MFT system in general) as follows:

The biggest pros to using the MFT system

1. Stealth
2. Small size
3. Low weight
4. Easy to pack and carry
5. Amazing glass
6. Lower overall cost
7. Options not available to DSLR users

The biggest cons to using the MFT system

1. Low-light performance isn’t as good as DSLR
2. AF on moving subjects is sub-par
3. Can’t tether
4. Short battery life
5. Minimal support system

Read Scott Bourne’s review here, sample images are provided.

More Olympus OM-D E-M5 deals on Amazon clicking here.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 price check: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, J&R, eBay

Shot with the E-M5 – Image credit: Scott Bourne
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