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New Olympus E-M5 korean review, and downloadeable RAW images.


It’s time for a new Olympus E-M5 news roudnup and let’s start with non-english websites:
The korean blog Danawa (Click here) posted the first asian review. Scroll down to see their tests and image samples. An ISO test has been publsihed by the polish website Fotopolis (Click here). Again in Poland you can find high iso and dynamic range tests with downloadable *.orf RAW files:

Let’s go back to native english websites:
Image samples can be found at Whatdigitalcamera (Click here). And Gabrielle Motola (Click here) is particluraly impressed by the “fantastic” dynamic range of the camera. Ayton (Click here) did an imposisble E-M5 versus 5dIII versus D800 specs comparison.

E-M5 preorders (Click on the names of the stores to see the product page):
Black E-M5 body at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, J&R, Warehouse UK, Redcoon Germany and Amazon Japan.
Silver E-M5 body at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, J&R, Warehouse UK, Redcoon Germany, and Amazon Japan.
Black E-M5 body with 14-42mm lens at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto and J&R.
Black E-M5 body with 12-50mm lens at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, J&R, Jessops, Redcoon Deutschland, Amazon UK, Amazon Deutschland and Amazon Japan.
Silver E-M5 body with 12-50mm lens at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, J&R, Jessops, Amazon UK, Amazon Deutschland and Amazon Japan.

  • Gabrielle Motola will be speaking at the Olympus stand at Focus on Imaging at NEC Birmingham , United Kingdom.

    The two O-MD groups on Flickr have more members (and diverse) and more discussion than all the Nikon 1 groups (bar 1) with 218 and 98 members and the E-M5 camera is not even out yet!

  • Ben

    Look like Korean blog but I can see the images ;-)

  • Napilopez

    It seems a lot of people are impressed with the dynamic range. I just wish I knew how it performed in dynamic range with RAW files, although it seems to still be better than the G3. This photo shows the DR well

    • Redkite

      I think the GH2 has better DR than this . . .

      • bilgy_no1

        This sample is probably shot with the Diorama Art Filter that turns the contrast up (the give-away is the blur on top and bottom of the image, as well as the punchy colours and contrast). It is certainly not a representative image of the DR.

        • CRB

          the colors of this shot are awful…cartoon saturation…ugh….thank god the raw colors are probably much better than this.

          • Neonart

            To each their own. I think it’s a nice shot. Love the bright colors with the deep blacks. I hate flat, drab images.

            Aside from that, it looks like a pinhole/diorama art filter, so very difficult to reach occlusions on image quality.

          • Napilopez

            As mentioned, this is clearly done with the diorama filter. That’s why the colors are so punchy, and also why I’m so impressed with the DR, since the contrast is shot up by the filter. I should’ve made that clear though.

        • Will

          Yes, it is, hence why it has bad DR, this photo does not show the DR well, it shows a scene that could show the DR well, but because of the filter, does not.

    • JF

      Come on, how can you judge DR on a single jpg ?? you don’t even know the curve applied on raw data and you don’t have any reference with another camera to compare to…

  • Oh… It’s Korean. Not Japanese. :)

  • PS

    All in all the news continues to stay Positive + Positive

    • Henrik

      Of course the news is positive. That’s because the cam is not yet out. It will be downhell from the first day of sales.

      • Vlad

        For what reason exactly? The only thing that is a bit uncertain at this point is how much the sensor is actually improved.

  • mister_roboto

    Nice! Thanks! Also… isn’t it past your bed time Admin ;)

  • I’m something of a curmudgeon when it comes to Olympus’ products, but these ISO tests appear impressive. I am tentatively hopeful.

  • 43shot

    Seems like scraping for crumbs at the moment.

  • Charlie

    OMD EM5 really is OMG!!! :D

  • C’mon c’mon! I can’t wait any longer!!!

  • Jesper
  • Gabi

    The more I read and see about the camera, the more I want it! Gimme gimme gimme…

  • fgl42

    I’ve got a question about the 5 axis image stabilization and video- will it be able to provide steadicam-like shots. I know it won’t be as smooth as a steadicam but what little footage I’ve seen looks pretty impressive- better than any lens stabilization that I’ve seen. I’m anxious to see how it performs in the real world. And I’m even more anxious to see it in an EPM2!

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Saw yesterday Pekka Potka’s lecture which contained video clips shot while walking calmly with camera kept on hands at waist level.
      In one word difference made by stabilization was impressive.
      Of course you could get still smoother video with good steadicam rigs but I could see this stabilization fully challenging smaller steadicam rigs.

      And don’t expect pickup’s features in some compact car. This IBIS module with movement detection sensors is bigger than that in Pens.

      • fgl42

        Esa, thank you so much for the heads up. I will go check out those clips! But your comment about how we shouldn’t expect it in the Pens is depressing me. :( I can’t afford the E-M5. Maybe they will release a cheaper OM-D camera before too long.

  • fgl42

    Wonder when we will see some of this technology trickle down into other Olympus micro four thirds cameras- by August?

    • Miroslav

      June is the month when Olympus usually announces new products: E-P1, E-P3, E-PL3, E-PM1, various lenses, … I guess we’ll see a new PEN in June. My guess is E-PL5.

  • SF

    Hmm, I don’t see much differences between E-M5 and E-PL3 in the korean
    “Dynamic Range” test…

    • Charlie

      I’m seeing obvious deterioration at 800???

    • Then test is only in high light part, not on dark side, so total is the more DR.

    • CRB

      I have downloaded the other DR test and the separation between greys are from 3 to 31…, so pretty much the same as the GX1 test from dpreview…7 to 35….please anyone correct me if im wrong…thanks.

      • Vlad

        Which test precisely? And I see 8 to 33 at DPreview, unless I am doing something wrong.

        • CRB

          Ops, its from 8 to 34…you are (almost) right…i looked at the numbers but not at the red line…scroll down the page and see the portrait mode…but nevertheless, its a jpeg evaluation…the oly is a a raw (im seeing at raw therapee)

  • Nic Walmsley

    I wasn’t that interested in the E-M5, due to hump and no flash. But the noises around image quality are starting to make me wonder. Saving for the new 12-35mm… But wondering how quickly the E-PM2 will be released.

    • Miroslav

      “I wasn’t that interested in the E-M5, due to hump and no flash.”

      Either give us a camera with hump and flash, or with flat top if there’s no built in flash. Mildly put, E-M5 looks very awkward with addon flash.

      • BLI

        I sort of agree. On the other hand I have perhaps used the built-in flash on the E-P3 — perhaps 5 times in 4-5 months, and I use the EVF all the time. And the E-M5 is considerably smaller/lower than the E-P3 WITH EVF, and will probably require even less use of a flash.

        • Miroslav

          Ever since E-P1, Olympus has been making us choose to use either EVF or flash, which is a false dilemma IMO. They need to give us a body with both. It’s not rocket science, they’ve been around for years, made by all manufacturers, including Olympus. “Not enough space for flash” is a lame excuse.

          • Will

            What’s with all the pop up flash enthusiasts, it’s such a limited way of using flash in the most boring way with low power. It has it’s uses but i’ve never missed it, it’s such a small criticism I feel being blown out of proportion.

            • K. Tran

              I’ll take it one step further: with such good low-light capability even in the PEN range, why the heck do you want a straight-on, underpowered pop up flash?

            • Anonymous

              It doesn’t have to be low powered. It’s the manufacturers that make built in flashes bad.

              Can they make them GN15? Yes they can, E-5 has GN15 flash. And it’s weather sealed. Can they make them bounce? Yes they can, L-1 had bounce flash. Can they make them without high sync speed limit? They probably can. But they won’t.

              It’s way more profitable to make GN7 built in crap that is obscured by larger lenses and makes eyes red, so that they can sell us external units for several hundred dollars / euros. While I don’t object for paying that amount for proper flash, I dislike the size of external flashes and find all larger than FL-300 too large.

              Now, if E-M5 successor had flat top and electronic shutter mode I wouldn’t mind FL-300 being on it all the time, but with the camera as it is that’s just too impractical.

              Additional hassle is the space external flash takes in a bag and the time it takes to find it and put it on camera. A precious moment often cannot wait for that…

              • Miroslav

                Comment made by me. The browser had erased the fields above, so the website registered it as being posted by anonymous reader.

          • I’ll take the new IBIS system over a built in flash and just bring the flash along when I’m likely to need it for fill light.

            • BLI

              On that, I do agree — if it is a necessary choise. However I don’t think it would have been impossible to build in a low power “flash” — even if it just had enough power to remotely control other flashes.

              • I think the issue was the weather sealing. We know it’s not impossible to build a weather-sealed built-in flash, but perhaps in this case, given the new technologies, it might have compromised the design?

      • Stimmer

        Heck no….in this bracket a camera needs a viewfinder and a hotshoe so you can wirelessly trigger flashes. Olympus got it right, and you can buy the ep3 still so your option is there.

      • Carlos

        As far as I know, the OM-D line of cameras (of which the E-M5 is the first model) is a retro look camera line. This means, it must have a hump in order to look anything like the OM film cameras. The hump in the E-M5 contains the EVF and the glass to make it comfortable for people to use the EVF, it’s not empty and is not entirely cosmetic.

        As far as I know, OM film cameras did not have a built in flash, and for film cameras that did, the flash was not located in the hump!

        By using an external flash, it stays true to the OM retro looks.

        If you dislike the retro looks of the OM-D line, there’s the modern DSLR look of the Panasonic G and GH lines.

        • Anonymous

          “If you dislike the retro looks of the OM-D line, there’s the modern DSLR look of the Panasonic G and GH lines.”

          Main drawback of Panasonics for me is no IBIS.

          • pdc

            In-lens IS has been the better way to dampen vibration. The high end DSLRs do not use IBIS. Perhaps for the APS-C, 43 and similarly smaller formats IBIS will eclipse in-lens IS in effectiveness. It would be very interesting to see some controlled tests over a range of focal lengths between the Panasonic G/GH series with Panasonic Mega OIS lenses, and the Olympus E-P and E-M lines with the same Panasonic Lenses, but OIS turned off. A good project for Pekka Potka.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Time to stop complaining about that “ugly hump”.

      While I don’t like small cameras with lacking ergonomy and menu hell controls (+capacitive touch detection doesn’t even work in winter) and didn’t find any reason to change my ergonomy deduction methods E-M5 looks lot better in live than in pictures.
      It’s simply lot smaller than images make it look like and especially that “hump” is lot less obtrusive because of its in reality small size compared to DSLR humps.
      (small size makes also landscape grip more anorectic than I was expecting from photos)

      Also 12-50mm is lot more compact than complained and actually not that much bigger than preceeding 14-42mm.

  • Berneck Ramolt

    Noise reduction kickin in heavy the law of physics i guess, in raw no major improvement but little bit still better than nothing, seems to be a trend to flatten out those jpgs, due to low pixel pitch nikon is also starting with this on d800 ar least, mk/// same thing

  • – “Fantastic dynamic range” – compared to what?
    – 5 degrees of fredom IS – we have not yet seen how efficient that is. The IS in Oly EP1 did not impress me.
    – Comparison EM5 – D800 – MkII – really very different purpose cameras, and a very biased analyse.

    Still, the EM5 seems a great camera! Very interesting to me when you sump up strong and weak sides. (Yes, there are weak sides.) Price is twice the Pana G3…
    (The D800 has the same pixel density as the APS-C 16 mpix like Nex-5n, X-pro1, K-5. Larger size means twice as much light reaches the sensor. Pexel density on EM5 is 65% higher)

    • @Kyleberg
      “a very biased analysis” …yes he was much too nice to Nikon and Canon considering they are suppose to be the leaders and they are replacing models from 4 years ago!

      “Price is twice the Pana G3…” or one third of the price of the D800 and Mk111

      …. am off now to get my hands on an E-M5 :D

      • Anonymous

        D800 has more options. i would gladly pay more if i had the optins. oly brings every year a new option… but i prefer to have it all in one year!

        • Vlad

          D800 has more options. Ha, one would hope so.

    • The Real Stig

      “- 5 degrees of fredom IS – we have not yet seen how efficient that is. The IS in Oly EP1 did not impress me.”

      Yes we have. There have been numerous links to Youtube videos demonstrating the IS very well. It is remarkably effective IMO. Because this blogs anti-spam software does not allow multiple links, you will have to go to Youtube and paste the following links into the youtube search bar:

      Demonstration of effectiveness in video with the camera person walking: SimZkKidsHE

      The mechanics of the IS in action: GT2XVHccqfo

      Very Impressive – look to the real world scene to the left of the viewfinder: Tr-wfkpDut4

      600mm wildlife shooting – video and still: ukpUZPk-NTc

      Severe shaking: 8gFJsfin35g

      The IS is nothing short of Amazing, IMO

      This camera is destined to be a classic, a milestone that will be referred to many times in the future.

    • Vlad

      – Compared to other Olympus bodies, obviously.
      – Come on, as the Real Stig already mentioned, we have plenty of information already on IS.
      – Biased in what way? He commented on numbers from DXO and did so quite objectively. And while those cameras are surely meant for very different purposes, it is still fun to see that something a lot cheaper and lighter can perform as well in some situations.

  • Jb
    • Jb

      Sorry 2ºphoto is 5DMarkIII not II

    • bilgy_no1

      Did Canon really put that ISO25600 sample on their own website? It looks horrible!

      • Stu5

        It’s quite amazing isn’t it. Why would they think this was a good idea. Lots of noise reduction causing smearing and yet you can still see the noise it is trying to cover up. This photo has not gone down well at all with lots of Canon users. Samples so far from the D800 seems to be better at the same ISO. What were Canon marketing department thinking of and why have they not pulled the photo from the website yet.

  • [reviewer] are translated into English review. Written using Google translator came to pass, jagged points will be forewarned.

  • ala
  • Miroslav

    As others have said, we have to read between the lines of these tests trying to find some new info while eagerly awaiting for reviews from more established sites. But so far, E-M5 is looking good. Every new review confirms there is significant progress on previous generation of Olympus m4/3 cameras. To me, ISO 3200 looks very usable, with ISO 6400 OK for some situations.

    • I too see 3200 very usable looking att test shots. My experience is that in practical photo, one/two step slower is usable. That would mean that the EM5 is about one step better than G3 in the high ISO department.

      • Miroslav

        “My experience is that in practical photo, one/two step slower is usable.”

        That’s true unfortunately.

        • Will

          Yes because high ISO only rears its ugly head in actual low light photos, where it’s straining for light, you can’t be sure of the real conditions of a lot of these test shots, my guess is ISO 800 will be usable and 1600 will sometimes be usable but often not.

          In daylight ISO 6400 would be usable but you don’t need it then.

  • Miroslav
    • bilgy_no1

      The interesting thing is to compare the E-M5 to the NEX-7 on that site… Less noise and more detail than the NEX. It even compares well to the NEX-5N.

      • Charlie

        Compare the NEX 7 with the 5D Mark III on DPReview…

  • ala
    • Strong showing for Nex-7

      • ala

        It would be great to make test with good lens like PL25mm. Olympus 12-50 do not uncover full om-d resolution potential.

  • Jb
  • compositor20

    In the link to the photopolis page below you can see ibis working in video mode with someone walking to me that is like steadycam (if you buy a pistol like grip to be fair).

    Here you can download a high DR image to lift shadows since they have an ORF raw file there… open it and compare the results..I can lift one stop without problems and 2 with a little grain but almost invisible color noise… this doesnt look like panasonc g3 sensor.

  • Compared to the E-P3, I think my predictions were correct: 1 stop better in shot noise (better sensor), another one in read noise – Jpeg IC processing.

    Unfortunately, according to the Korean tests, there doesn’t seem to be much difference at base ISO, where for some of us is all that matters.

    Therefore I’ll keep the E-P2, which has ISO 100, and no danger of denoising artefacts.

    • Riley

      it happens to all cameras that their ISO separation goes up more as ISO goes higher. And don’t let anyone try to tell you that cameras like 5D/5DII don’t ever have noisy skies, it simply isn’t true. Like us it doesn’t happen all of the time, but it happens. The fact is there are fewer gains to be made at low ISO.

      However if you are interested in noise parallels between EP3 and EM5 this chart seems like a good place to start

      There is that stop in it for RAW as you say, but there is another story going on now with black point clipping too. The jpegs are more like 2 stops apart.

      • Thanks for it web side, is very nice. ;-)

    • Esa Tuunanen

      Amalric, none of 12MP sensor Olys has ISO100.
      It’s just ISO200 with one stop overexposed image (>more blown highlights) which is then adjusted in processing to make ISO100 RGB picture.

      • Yes of course and ISO 400 is ISO 800 overexposed, and so forth.

        Now if I have less noise with the lower ISO, should I care? And If I don’t have to get an ND filter this Summer, should I?


        • Esa Tuunanen

          Overexposing from sensor’s base ISO costs dynamic range just like amplifying weaker signal more does.
          DR loss just happens in highlights so referring ISO100 as real setting is bad advice.
          Base ISO and careful exposing to the right using live view/histogram is better approach unless dynamic range of the scene is clearly limited.

  • lerta

    sluggy camera … canon is way way over this, i think in the next year the new 5D will sink all markets!

    • Vlad

      Absolutely! Even the vegetable market.

  • More great ISO samples. I’m really excited about the extra 1-2 stops improvement over the E-P3 :D.

  • Oh lordy. People complaining about a sans pop-up flash…

    Buy a point-n-shoot compact!!

    But I would like to say the this new 5-axis maretking is a bit of a cop out. I mean, it’s brilliant that it compensates for roll now but it’s counting one movement as two. I said it before here:

    The PENs were marketed as a 3-axis when it was only 2, and this is marketed at 5, when it’s only 3.

    You will never be able to fully compensate for Pitch or Yaw.

    • The Real Stig

      Olympus claims they can.

      I will agree in the video of the mechanism in action one only sees correction via three axes, but they claim it can do another two.

      • I guess because it’s much of a muchness when it comes to Rotational/Translational X and Y movements.

        The PEN should have been marketed as a 4 axis stabliser then.

        This has the same movements as the PEN and some E models, except that it can now twist (compensating for Roll. Which again, is great).

        I’ll put it simply that the CCD/gyro will move the exact same way whether the camera moves horizontally/pitch or vertically/yaw.

        It’s pretty much counting 1 movement as 2, that’s all.

        EDIT: After scrolling down in your link, I can tell you that the PEN also compensated for X/Y Translational movements.

        Sorry, did you mean this: GT2XVHccqfo for “the video of the mechanism in action one only sees correction via three axes”? I’ll look at that later. :)

        • You need understand it sensor tilt up to down and sideways, not only shift but tilt also. :-P

      • Olympus did not market the previous IS as 3 axis IS.

        Previous IS system has 3 OPTIONS: IS 1 compensates both axis movements, IS 2 compensates Y axis movements only (use this for panning in horisontal format) and IS 3 compensates X axis movements (use this for panning in vertical format).

  • Mchammertime

    Just played with the EM-5 at focus on imaging in Birmingham. Very snappy performance but I found the playback and Fn buttons awful. Weird shaped and squishy. Had to press them several times to register a press. The four directional buttons on the back were bad also. Hard to press and had to press a few times for a press to register. Bad enough to put me off pre-ordering even though they were offering the grip & battery plus a leather case plus a side strap plus another battery for £999 for body only or £1150 with the weatherproof lense. Liked everything about the EM5 except the buttons which seemed cheap to me and way worst than my GF1 buttons to press. Strange not heard any reviewers mention bad buttons yet. Possibly the samples I tried were knackered from excessive use. One thing I made up my own mind up I prefer the black. Just the buttons putting me off now. Also tried the Fuji X1 pro. Better build quality to me but slowww to focus compared to the EM5 & expensive. Not that the EM5 has poor build quality. It is very solid but with crappy buttons. Not sure I can live with buttons I have to press 3 times to register a press.

  • Mchammertime

    What haven’t my comments been published. I’ve got quite a few raw files I took today I was going to link to but why bother after taking the time to type out a long post on my iPhone and it doesn’t even appear. I won’t be wasting my time posting again

    • Steve

      Well, OK.

      But your post appeared just fine. I can see it right above this one. Perhaps it’s because iOS is not so good?

  • Stimmer

    Buttons are mushier on a weatherproof body. My e5 is like that. I’m sure they will work with one press though on the final body.

  • Tried the demo unit in an exhibition. Without comparing to other brands, I’d say I’m satisfied with what E-M5 has to offer.

    IS works incredibly way much better than previous Olympus cameras. I’d have to say it is impressive really.

    High ISO noise and DR, for sure beats down any previous Olympus’ model.

    Just can’t wait to have mine arrive.

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