Olympus E-M5 news and tests roundup…(ships in US on April 10th, in Japan on March 30th)


For those of you that are waiting for the E-M5: BHphoto (Click here) says the E-M5 will be available on April 10th. And Amazon Japan (Click here) reports that the camera will ship on March 30th. Don’t know yet how many E-M5 cameras will be produced per month and how many preorders Olympus got. So you may will not get the camera on those days. At least on Amazon the E-M5 preorder hype looks like to be over and the E-PL1 is the king of the mirrorless ranking again :)  -> Click here to see the ranking. Also the Panasonic GF2 is selling well and probably super interesting after the recent hack release!

But there are (again) many new E-m5 news and previews today:
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Preview at Photographyblog (Click here). And image samples (again at Photographyblog) and at Tomshardware (italian). Extreme ART filter image sample on Flickr (Click here). The swedish magazine Fotosidan (Click here) posted a camera preview. A hands-on at AP (Click here), Techradar (Click here) and a spanish hands-on on youtube (Click here). Test shots and video-illustrations (stabilization, AF, live bulb) at Onfoto Russia (Click here and Click here). A video shot with the E-M5 on vimeo (Click here). The english E-M5 manual (Click here to download the pdf).

E-M5 preorder search (Click on names): Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Olympus US store, FocusCamera, eBay.





  • Just heard if you order an E-M5 at Focus you get a case and strap as well as the battery grip.

    • @thevoiceoverman
      I figured there would be goodies there :D

    • Nikku

      Link pls

      • @Nikku
        prob OK to just turn up or pre-book at the Focus on Imaging show at NEC Birmingham UK 4-7th March http://www.focus-on-imaging.co.uk/

        • Nikku

          DOH I’m in the US. Still looking for similar promos over here, though I suspect our low release price will be all we get.

          • You will probably have to wait for an online cashback deal as Oly and Panny understandably aren’t too keen on bricks and mortar stores in the USA having had their fingers burnt by Wolf stores, Ritz cameras and Circuit city in the recent past and Best Buy currently struggling…

  • Any idea of when it will ship in Hong Kong? Please say 25th march.

    • Japan is set for Mar 30th, so I reckon it’s unlikely HK will see the camera earlier than that.

  • The 5 axis stablisation on the E-M5 looks incredible if I was a steadycam maker I would be worried!

    Flickr O-MD user group here http://www.flickr.com/groups/om-d_user/ (so more image samples)

    • I agree. I want to see footage taken while walking normally though. When I looked through the viewfinder with IBIS on, there was the faintest shimmer-like wobbling at times. I hope that isn’t present in the video when when on the move. Either way though, it’s a huge improvement over the E-P3.

      • jim

        I think what you saw was the perspective shift – in which case it will be in video – it is because the image is being centered form pointing up and down, hence the pespective shifts! – If only they used the lens distortion correction to account for this too!

    • Leu

      Unfortunately the photos look like they came from an iphone 4s. Not that that is bad, just that it is way over processed and has a seriously kitsch look to it. I for one will not be buying this camera.

      • be aware that a lot of the sample photos out there seem to have been taken using the Art Filters

        I’m not sure why people would do that, isn’t that what Photoshop’s for?! :)

        • @Anentropic
          1. maybe because they have been really well thought out and implemented by Olympus compared to any other art filters from other camera companies (100 times better)
          2. maybe because it’s better to compose on camera instead of at the computer…
          3. maybe because it’s fun…
          4. maybe it’s addictive…
          5. photoshop is dying

          • jim

            photoshop is dying….

            only from laughter!

            The only place photoshop will go is when it becomes just “Adobe”, when all their applications become 1 mega app that does eveything from video editing to book design in 1 program! – At which point I hope they also buy out and intergrate 3D studio max :)

            • Eyeem, instagram and the like, facebook apps, browser editors like avairy and sumo paint as well as better in camera processing and art filters are slowly killing photoshop for many people…

              Maybe that’s why they are introducing a pay as you go monthly option with creative suite 5.5

              • Vlad

                I really doubt the people you are talking about were using PS in the first place.

                • @Vlad
                  you are right but they many would of been adobe’s future customers who will now never progress/bother with photoshop…

              • jim

                I know what your saying – but photoshop was never intended for these people anyway – it just happens that eveyone and their dog has photoshop now – and probably only uses 1% of its power! (£5 worth of the £500 cost)!

                If you need phtoshop, you need photoshop! If you need to make images brighter or more contrasty you don’t need photoshop – its just photoshop can do that as well!

                I think the pay as you go pricing was for freelancers and small companys not wanting to layout for a huge £2k and then find work not going so good… for the smaller buisness it makes sense… could also be making a start on a 100% subscription based system (like 3D studio Max has) this will help massivly to cut down on piracy! (Watch the number of photoshop users drop to 1% of its current user base)!

            • Anonymous

              Photoshop is dying, albeit slowly. Better in camera processing and specialized “apps” are all one truely needs save for some pros. The future is cameras with a built in OS that allows downloadable apps like instgram – mark my words.

          • oh yeah! like graphic card is dying :D nowadays everyone put cache, high memory and higher and higher graphic chip embedded in CPU and able to play moderate 3D game w/o issue lol…

      • Fan

        It’s a matter of settings.

  • meCk

    any idea what lens was used in that video?

  • Yes, but wouldn’t it be smarter to wait for the E-M7 pro camera? #beingevil

  • Andy Taylor

    I’m most impressed by the Continuous AF demo on the Russian site, where they helpfully provide a video of the back of the camera while it does its work. The viewfinder blackout looks no more disturbing than that of a mid-range DSLR, and the focus lock looked pretty reliable!

  • mahler

    The fact that the underpriced EPL-1 is still the number one of Olympus’ mirrorless cameras, should be a shock for that company, because it means that the advantages of the newer models are not attractive enough to warrant the higher price point.

    It seems that the EPL-1 was totally overproduced.

    • @mahler
      The EPL-1 WAS NOT OVER PRODUCED and “no fire sale” it may still even be in production (you’ve been reading bias articles on the wrong website), word has it that Nikon will continue to produce the D700 even after the D800 release, so go figure…

      Olympus are just been competitive with their pricing and if you actually read and dissected what is said on forums and flickr you would realise that many DSLR owners have and are purchasing the EPL-1 to “test the waters” and then upgrading or will upgrade or they are buying for their girlfriends, wives, partners etc and then having a play with it themselves (I see this story countless times on the web).

      Also Olympus has single handily created a new market in camera joshi (who are price sensitive) and successfully saturated/penetrated it (except in the USA) to the detriment of the Nikon 1 target market.

      SO NO SHOCK to Olympus, just successful strategy.

      • ckb

        And you are the balanced reporter for all. Most of all your argument makes no sense.

        The only reason for any company to produce the previous generation goods is that they bought too many parts and they can build out the product and sell it to break even or to write off the inventory of parts. The more lines of product you are producing at one time the higher the cost due to multiple sets of tooling, inspection and management being used at one time. Simple production lines using the latest state of the art parts are critical to making profit. Parts obsolescence occurs in a heartbeat in electronics and will shut you down for a product cycle if you do not buy enough. Obviously Nikon has D700 parts inventory to continue production at a reduced rate until all parts are exhausted. It also means they did not sell/build as many as they had set out to by this time.

        Based on Olympus camera division financial results over the last year I doubt they have a really good plan for making or selling cameras because they are not making money at it.

        • @ckb
          Olympus like other companies produce in many different plants so your argument goes out the window.
          The average target market of the PEN is not hung up what generation the camera is and I see the EP1’s more likely to be sold where the target market shop, where as the E-P3’s are more likely to sell online where people are more likely to care…
          The EP1 by it’s name is perceived as new by many of it’s consumers you are not aware there is EP2’s and EP3’s.

          Olympus strategy has given consumers perceived choice at varying price points giving them massive market share in Asia and fast increasing growth in the rest of the world.

          As for Olympus making money in the camera division they are doing well in a difficult market and have better prospects than Nikon or Canon.

          “And you are the balanced reporter for all. Most of all your argument makes no sense.” I’ve been a lot more balanced than you have ever been. You just regurgitate crud from Hogan and Nikon.

          • ckb

            You obviously have not worked on a production company. The simpler, the better. The more complicated you make things, the easier to screw things up. I assume Olympus is actually very good at producing cameras and they will try to keep everything simple and up to date as possible. Having three current similar models in production plus a two generation old model is a recipe for screwing up. I doubt a CFO would allow money to be spent on old products.

            Olympus strategy is losing money had over fist and money is tight. Nikon and Canon strategy is making money now they are flush with cash (Nikon less so due to the earthquake/flood damage). I hope that Olympus figures out how to make money because I like their product however I am not going to put on a cheerleader outfit and pom poms to cheer for their dubious decisions.

            I like the OM-D line/concept however by getting bigger it is going counter to size of the PENs which I like. I like they are trying to cover more of the market. With the price drop of $75 for the EPM1 to $425 in the US they should be able to sell however they are now eating ~$20 to 35 dollars per camera. Does not add to the bottom line unless they can sell a ton. (should have done this before Christmas).

            I am even considering your theory of buying my wife one and she can share lenses with me however my daughter says I am stupid because my wifes technical knowledge is zero. I would like to know if anyone has tried your theory. I read a lot of crap but your stuff reaks of someone fighting windmills.

            • @ckb
              I know how to make a profit and gain market share (against bigger established competitors) and have done so in a variety of businesses.
              I have used the tactics Olympus have used myself.

              eg wedding photography I started off with a low prices and lots in the packages with lots of advertising that I subsidized out of one of my other businesses, I was also able to generate effective word of mouth in a unique way.
              I was up against established competitors who often give a cut to venues with cosy relationships at wedding fayres, parents who wanted their daughters to use the same photographers as tey did 20 years earlier.
              Now I’m established I’ve raised my prices by 30%, cut my advertising by 90% and that business is doing well…..

            • Olympus isn’t losing money hand over fist, they are doing relatively well with growing turnover and market share (Amazon lost money for 7 years straight and has recently returned to a loss).
              Nokia and Canon might be flush with cash but sometimes it’s not a good thing as it makes you complacent and conservative, Nokia and Microsoft are sitting on piles of cash but it’s not doing them any favours.

              The O-MD isn’t much bigger than the PENs and is probably more comfortable in male hands or those that change controls often.

              As you produce more cameras or product you getting economies of scale, the longer you your product is the market the profitable it becomes because you have already re-couped early development, marketing and distribution costs (as long as the product is selling well).

            • @ckb
              “I am even considering your theory of buying my wife one and she can share lenses with me however my daughter says I am stupid because my wifes technical knowledge is zero. I would like to know if anyone has tried your theory”

              @admin has done it a few times over @MGuarani has bought his sister a camera in this very post, it’s all over the web in forums.
              …it would take you or your daughter 10-20 mins to show your wife how to use an PEN and have fun with it, they also have an iauto mode as a fall back, I’m sorry you have a low opinion of your wife but if she can use a mobile phone she can use a PEN.

      • Vlad

        Well, I have no idea what their margins are, but I doubt they are that big. So it does sound more like a fire sale than anything else. I also wouldn’t build my opinion of the target market on Flickr discussions and would be interested to know how do you support this claim:

        “Also Olympus has single handily created a new market in camera joshi (who are price sensitive) and successfully saturated/penetrated it (except in the USA) to the detriment of the Nikon 1 target market.”

        The only successful thing I see in their strategy is the OM-D, where they finally created a real gap between their models. Up until now it felt like they had the same body at 3 different price points. I guess the NEX-7 woke them up with the realization that a system is not necessarily built from the bottom up, i.e. consumers to pros.

        • @vlad
          Olympus launched the PEN when the market was ready
          Olympus are launching the O-MD when the market is more ready (with 3 years in development) and will be a bigger success than the nex.
          Olympus will launch the E7 target professional Canon and Nikon users when the market is ready.

          You can learn a lot from Flickr just from people’s photos – what cameras they currently used and what ones they used in the past, whether they shot on auto jpeg, raw or like to take control on camera, whether they use an ovf/evf or the lcd, how many lenses they have and what order they purchased them, whether they are using artfilters and also what people like to photograph

          …this doesn’t even include discussions and forums and looking at demographics via their profiles

          • Vlad

            As I see it, Olympus launched the Pen when the technology was ready. They are also launching the OM-D after the NEX-7 and X-100, where obviously Sony and Fuji saw the potential market. I have no idea what you mean by saying that OM-D will be a bigger success, how do you figure?

            You can sure learn a lot from Flickr users, but I doubt you’ve actually did a real research. I might be wrong, bit I doubt it. Also, not everyone is on Flickr. I’ve seen countless stories of people buying a NEX to test it out. For those shooting old manual lenses, I see most people going for NEX. But all of this is hardly representative of what is going on in the real world.

            • @ Vlad
              they could of stuck the PEN technology in an o-md type body 3 years ago but they didn’t because they were smart.
              Sony has screwed up the nex and have had limited success with a lack of a system in place, Fuji have done as well as they expected (but they didn’t set their bar very high).

              O-MD is the real deal with a system in place and lots of useful innovations as well as being brought to market at the right time – after they have established the pen, after canon and nikon have shown their hand in the dSLR and mirrorless market (nikon 1 a fail outside of the USA and the d800 and d4 being lacklustre with canon doing similar), after samsung has shown it’s not serious, pentax too extreme, sony too confused, fuji too niche and panny too unexciting….

              talknex.com 450 members 24 users online
              mu-43.com 9000 + members 248 users online

              • Vlad

                Yet again I do not see you backing up your statements. I don’t see how it is smart not doing an OM-D body 3 years ago? I also have no idea what do you mean by Sony screwing up the NEX. From 2010 to 2011 Sony’s ILC market share grew from 10 to 15% roughly. What do you think this is due to? NEX. In Japan they have the same share as Panasonic or Olympus. Not so bad for not having a system in place. How do you know that Fuji didn’t set their bar very high? You have read their estimates? From what they are saying the demand “exceeded their expectations”. Of the X100 they sold 100 000 in less than a year if I remember correctly. That’s an expensive camera with fixed lens.
                So, yes, the OM-D is great imho, but hardly some amazing innovation that will rock our world. People were waiting for a model like this for some time now. Fuji is a niche, but a big niche, Pentax is doing what they do best – cameras, Sony was confused, but seems to be stepping up its game very seriously with the NEX and SLTs, and Canikon are big enough that they can allow themselves to be late to the game, although they might be a bit late now. And Panasonic might be unexciting to you, but they are selling quite ok. I certainly do not see the OM-D as some kind of revelation, but rather Olympus doing what they should have done long time ago.


                • @Vlad
                  Olympus judged that the market was not ready for the O-MD 3 years ago.

                  The Nex has “sold in” well in Japan but I don’t believe it has created enough good word of mouth and customer satisfaction.

                  100,000 isn’t very high on the worldwide stage for Fuji, Panasonic sold about 200,000 in the United Kingdom alone in 2011.

                  For canikon it is too late and they are not providing the right solutions.

                  I shoot most with Panny , check my flickr and yes their sales haeve been very good, but they are not being bold enough…

        • NEX-7 did no waking up. Product cycles from concept-to-user take 1-3 years even in digital photography.

          • Vlad

            The NEX was leaked pretty much a year ago. Maybe it did wake up someone, maybe it didn’t. It doesn’t matter anyway. The point still stands – a system is not necessarily built from the bottom up, i.e. consumers to pros.

      • MichaelKJ

        I think Nikon probably ordered a fixed quantity of parts for the D700 before the flooding in Thailand, and possibly also before the tsunami. Once these parts have been assembled, I doubt they will produce any more D700s. Nikon’s strategy has always been to discontinue a model shortly after releasing a new model.

        Canon, on the other hand, has been very successful making both the T2i and T3i.

    • I think not Olympus is in shock of the, but the is many so will have new gear AF on FT lens by CDAF, and i think the is to hight price. ;-)

    • MGuarini

      A few months ago, my sister, who is a very casual shooter, ask me to recommend her a camera, better than a point and shoot but low cost enough. I told her the EPL1. She is very, very happy with the camera. I think it is a very good camera for the price.

    • Anonymous

      I think the E-PL1 was alwys designed to be a price fighting model. At release it was already quite cheap, even though it featured a lot stuff that the E-P1 and E-P2 lacked. By the time the competition arrived in the market, the E-PL1 was perfectly positioned to undercut their prices. And it still is…

      Also, Even with Canon and Nikon, the biggest sellers (in units) are the models from the previous generation. At least those models that have been around for some time.

    • Perhaps it’s because it’s a damn good camera? I have E-PL1 and love it. I’m seriously considering getting E-M5, but would still keep it as a backup and pocketable camera.

  • Steve

    Amazon Japan says 30 March but when I was in Map Camera this weekend they said it’s still not confirmed. They guaranteed it would be in March but they had no more details.

    I notice the other Japanese sites are all still saying “Within March” and not being any more specific. Amazon may be correct but I am leaning towards the crowd and saying it’s not confirmed yet…

    • hlbt

      I’ll add that March 31 marks the last day of the fiscal year for Olympus. I’d guess that the March announcement is taken very seriously :-)

  • Charlie

    That’s just ridiculously good,

    Does the EP3 discriminate focus point that precisely?

    • @Charlie
      yes I think if you go into the settings and change the focus parameters, would be good if they had cross hairs or an actually spot instead of that box…

  • is the e-m5 made in japan or china?

    • Pjotr

      What does it matter? I have had Olympuses manufactured in both countries and I have never noticed any difference. In global multinational economy the physical place of actual production plays a smaller and smaller role every year. I am not saying whether it is good or not, but the manufacturer sets the criteria and standards for pructs – not the country.

      • jim


        Country has little to do with ability to perchace equipment!

    • I think China, like E-3 and E-5 for example.

  • MGuarini
    • @MGuarini
      funny to see Kirk Tuck and some of the commenter’s saying they were or had sold their Nikon 1 system lol

  • bitmatt

    I really got a good sense of how small the EM-5 is in the Spanish YouTube video. Well worth watching even though I don’t understand much of what they are saying. Very comprehensive.

  • About the preview in Swedish Fotosidan: Positive regarding handling and in general. They noticed the aggressive noice reduction at high ISO – this was a pre-production camera….
    Both Fotosidan and Kamera&Bild got information from Oly that they are already developing a higher end “pro” OM-D version. No word about when nor the hot m43/43 issue.

    • Stimmer

      On off switch available for noise reduction.

    • Few hope, will have global shutter anyway.

      • TheEye

        I hope it will have a global shutter. Theoretically, removing a mechanical component may result in greater reliability. I really don’t trust anything that runs on a battery. My most reliable camera is my 1979 Nikon F2, which I bought used in 1992.

        I have noticed your are unsure about the proper use of “the” and “it.” This may help:

        it = pronoun, which is a substitute for a noun. Pronouns are: I, you, he, she, it, they, we, me, you, him, her, us, them

        the = definite article, which is never used alone but always together with a noun (the camera, the lens, the photo)


        TheEye: Do you like the lens?
        Inqo-M: Yes, it is very good (Or: Yes, the lens is very good).

        the lens (the = definitive article)
        it (it= pronoun = substitute for “the lens”)

  • @Admin Today I received a message, that delivery in Switzerland will be at the end of May, is this possible? I need a E-M5 for holidays in June…

    By the way: Thank you for your work on this site :-)

  • Bob B.

    Ya know….at $999 for the E-M5 body…(compared to what else is available in MFT) ….this camera is great. I guess the price will drop some too after the initial rush. I think this should force a price drop on the GX1/LVF2 combo, approx. $938 street price (great camera too)…as I believe you are getting quite a bit more camera from Olympus.
    The exciting part is that we are going to be seeing 2 new Panasonic bodies soon and one more Oly body in the near future….so MFT is definitely revving up to an incredible small camera system!!!!!!!

  • ala

    I like this cam for more and more. I can`t judge the resolution from this small samples, but the skin tones are great for me, and 5d stabilization is great to. It will be great to see full samples with 25mm f1.4 or 12mm f2. I will buy it anyway.

  • “Photographyblog.com:
    One of our stops was at a photography studio where we got the chance to take a few pictures of some models. Despite the large amount of light, we had to switch to auto ISO because the ISO 200 setting couldn’t cope and neither could the sensor shift system.”

    What are they talking about?
    If there was plenty of light, why should they need Auto ISO, and still go beyond what the new IBIS could tolerate/stabilize? Were they shooting at F22 or what?
    Sounds incompetent. Beats me…

    • jim

      yes sounds odd to me – they state there is loads of light and still needs more ISO and IS??? oh they must mean at 50mm on the kit @ F6.3 ???

      Still F6.3 is plenty in GOOD light? well I just tested – my room at night all lights on (I have good bright lights) at ISO 200 and F6.5ish I get 1/8th sec shutter! at 50mm thats a bit slow 1/50 would be 1 stop too slow, 1/25 2 stop, 1/12 3 stops, 1/6 4 stops from ideal shutter speed…. mind you I should expect the IS to make up 3 of those stops, it does looks very good…

      So I guess the ISO might have had to move to 400 or 800 to get good shots!

      I bet this is what they ment by large amounts of light… not as in outside in the daytime light – which would be more than fine at 200ISO and F6.5!

    • neeming

      Well, just some lose use of language (particularly the phrases “large amount of light” and “sensor shift system”), but hardly bad enough to deserve an “incompetence” rating. What they’re saying is that even though the studio had many lights and did not really seem particularly dim, the base ISO wasn’t enough even after they switched on the IBIS. So they had to switch on the auto ISO to utilize some higher ISO settings.

  • Richard

    Over at Four thirds user Ian (i think he is the owner of that site) says that he now knows that the sensor in the EM-5 is NOT made by Panasonic, if he says so, it’s true.

    • TheEye

      Three days ago Ian said, “I’m pretty confident that the E-M5 has a Panasonic sensor.”


      Got a link to where he says otherwise?

      • http://fourthirds-user.com/forum/showpost.php?p=80119&postcount=8

        “And I was wrong – it is not made by Panasonic, but I can’t say why I am so certain about this; I have a source to protect.” — Ian

        • TheEye

          Thanks for the link!

          As for everyone who’s claiming to be in the know also claiming to have to protect his source, it’s hysterical. How many sources are there? The source may be a double agent. Oly may have to terminate with extreme prejudice all potential sources, or maybe they are even planting the sources. Slaughter them anyway! Oh what tangled web we weave. :-P

  • Yes. I sold the Nikon V1 so I could buy more cool m4:3’s stuff. It just makes sense. They’re dropping so many great lenses and bodies on us. It’s an embarrassment of riches. I just picked up a G3 and I’m having fun with that too. LIfe is to short to dig in and refuse to change positions…

    • TheEye

      Maybe you should look into leasing cameras… ;-)

  • Agree on the sensor. But that’s what I reported in my article announcing the OM-D. DPreivew doesn’t always get it exactly right….

  • That AF speed pawned Sony PDAF + Panasonic too :D lol…

    • james70094

      That’s pwnd. Pawn is what you do at a pawn shop. As with Sony gear.

  • nxp3

    I’ve done preorders of electronic equipment before, but not a camera. If I were to pre-order one from BH yesterday, what’s the likelihood of me getting what I order? Should I also preorder at several other places? I am tempted to put in an order on amazon, but the last time I order from them they pissed me off by canceling my order.

  • safaridon

    Admin noted the success of the GF2 at #2 in sales but should have also included the GF3 at #6 & $9 with multiple other models. This is ahead of the #10-14 rankings of the OM-G. The rise of the GF3 in popularity matches a similar rise in Japan several months ago. The OM-G does seem to have taken sales from the GX1 series based on these Amazon spot figures.

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