Olympus OM-D E-M5 Review

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is positioned in the middle of the company’s OM-D range, including the user-friendly E-M1X for professionals, the soon-to-be-replaced E-M1 Mark II, and the entry-level E-M10 Mark III. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a mirrorless interchangeable-lens digital single-lens reflex camera.

It is designed for novice photographers searching for a camera that they can eventually develop into and for more seasoned photographers who want sophisticated shooting capabilities from a more compact camera than its APS-C competitors.

See: Best Lenses for Olympus OM-D E-M5 | Best Memory Cards for Olympus OM-D E-M5

E-M5 iterations have been launched at a relative snail’s pace, once every four years (2011, 2015, and 2019), when compared to the standards of the highly competitive camera market; however, slow and steady is not a bad thing, and this third version, unsurprisingly, represents a comprehensive upgrade over the E-M5 Mark II.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Features

After four years, the 16-megapixel sensor of the E-M5 Mark II appears to be a little behind the times. It was anticipated that the most recent version would include a higher resolution; sure enough, this sensor has a resolution of 20.4 megapixels. However, it is the same sensor found in the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, representing a significant improvement.

With the addition of this additional sensor, the E-M5 Mark III is now on par with the Panasonic G90, its primary competitor. However, one may argue that the image quality of both cameras is inferior to that of their competitors.

Alternative cameras are available at this price point that uses APS-C sensors, such as the Fujifilm X-T30. These cameras perform better in low-contrast environments, providing a higher resolution and a more comprehensive dynamic range.

Olympus does provide options for overcoming the constraints placed on the sensor size by the E-M5 Mark III. For instance, its High Res Shot mode utilizes sensor-shift technology to combine numerous photos into a single picture with a far greater resolution than the original. Of course, you may only use High Res Shot on things that are not moving, and you will need a tripod; nevertheless, the resulting photograph will be 50 megapixels in resolution.

When shooting handheld in low light, you may use Olympus’ industry-leading image stabilization feature, which allows you to utilize slower shutter speeds while still capturing more explicit images than possible without it.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Build Quality

There is no getting around the fact that the E-M5 Mark III is an appealing camera. This is the kind of camera that you want to have in your hand as soon as you take it out of the box, and once you do, you’ll find that it handles well indeed.

This is the lightest E-M5 camera, weighing only 414 grams, with the battery and memory card included. It is 50 grams lighter than the E-M5 Mark II, and when combined with a relatively tiny lens, you won’t feel like you’re carrying the camera.

Compared to larger-format competitors, the OM-D system’s camera bodies and lenses weigh only a fraction of what they do. This DNA is where the OM-D system shines.

Because it is now made of polycarbonate rather than aluminum, that weight has been reduced by 50 grams. However, this could be considered a step backward compared to the E-M5 Mark II, which features a metal body. Because of this, we wouldn’t want to put the E-M5 Mark III through too much strain in harsh environments, even though it is still weather-sealed and has a sufficient amount of heft.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Performance

How does the Olympus E-M5 Mark III perform regarding the speed with which it may be operated? To put it simply, it is speedy in practically every respect. The time it takes to start up is relatively quick, and each control is responsive.

The mechanical shutter allows for high-speed burst shooting of up to ten frames per second, making it highly competitive in the market. However, the buffer’s capacity to store many photographs is the most striking aspect of this setup.

Several factors contribute to burst shooting performance; however, we could shoot an unlimited number of JPEGs at ten frames per second and even more raw images than the quoted number, which was 150. Furthermore, these results were achieved using favorable camera settings, such as a low ISO and recording to a UHS-II SD card.

Following the completion of a sequence, the camera can resume regular operation with minimal lag time. This responsive performance is enormously outstanding, and it is far superior to that of a great many other cameras aimed at enthusiasts.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Image and Video Quality

The 20.4-megapixel sensor of the Olympus E-M5 Mark III, also included in the professional-grade E-M1 Mark II, allows for maximum file sizes of 5184 by 3888 pixels. Without interpolation, this corresponds to a print size of around 14.8 by 11.1 inches (roughly the size of an A3).

When it comes to the sensor format, there is very little that can be said that it is novel. At this price point, several cameras can produce more excellent-quality images. These cameras feature a higher resolution, a more extensive dynamic range, and better performance in low-contrast lighting. However, a sensor with a Four-Thirds format can only reasonably contain a certain number of individual pixels.

The High Res Shot mode enables you to create a final image that is 50MP; the class-leading image stabilization allows handheld shooters use slower shutter speeds and maximize the light intake for improved image quality, and HDR is available for those who want to stretch the dynamic range of their photos. While none are perfect answers, we should nevertheless be grateful to have them.

Another difficulty is that the shallow depth of field control becomes increasingly difficult to manipulate as the format gets smaller. However, Olympus does have a great assortment of lenses, some of which are professional lenses with an aperture of f/1.2. So if you desire a shallow focus, it is feasible to achieve.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Max resolution4608 x 3456
Other resolutions4608 x 3072, 4608 x 2592, 3456 x 3456, 2592 x 3456, 3200 x 2400, 3200 x 1800, 3216 x 2144, 2400 x 2400, 1824 x 2432, 2560 x1920, 2560 x 1440, 2544 x 1696, 1920 x 1920, 1440 x 1920, 1920 x 1440, 1920 x 1080, 1920 x 1280, 1440 x 1440, 1104 x 1472, 1600 x 1200, 1536 x 864, 1584 x 1056, 1216 x 1216, 864 x 1152, 1280 x 960, 1280 x 720, 1296 x 864, 960 x 960, 720 x 960, 1024 x 768, 1024 x 576, 1008 x 672, 768 x 768, 576 x 768, 640 x 480, 640 x 360, 624 x 416, 480 x 480, 384 x 512
Image ratio w h4:3, 16:9, 3:2, 1:1, 3:4
Effective pixels16.1 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors16.9 megapixels
Sensor sizeFour Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorTruePic VI
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto (200 – 25600), 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600
White balance presets12
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notes5-axis IS
Uncompressed formatRAW
File format• JPEG
• DPOF compatible
• MPO compatible
Optics & Focus
Autofocus• Contrast Detect (sensor)
• Multi-area
• Selective single-point
• Tracking
• Single
• Continuous
• Face Detection
• Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes (Live view image is magnified when the focus ring is rotated. (at S-AF+MF or MF mode))
Number of focus points35
Lens mountMicro 4/3 Lens Mount
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots610,000 (VGA equivalent)
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTouch control in electrostatic capacitance type OLED monitor
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100 %
Viewfinder magnification1.15x (0.92x with settings bar switched on)
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modes• I Auto
• Program AE
• Aperture-priority AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Manual
• Bulb
• Time
• Scene select
• Art Filter
Scene modes• Portrait
• e-Portrait
• Landscape
• Landscape + Portrait
• Sport
• Night
• Night + Portrait
• Children
• High Key
• Low Key
• DIS mode
• Macro
• Nature Macro
• Candle
• Sunset
• Documents
• Panorama
• Fireworks
• Beach & Snow
• Fisheye Conv
• Wide Conv
• Macro Conv
• 3D
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via Hot-shoe (FL-50/FL-50R, FL-36/FL-36R, FL-30, FL-20, FL-14, FL-300R, FL-600R))
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Red-Eye, Fill-in, Slow Sync (2), Manual (3 levels)
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modes• Single
• Continuous
• Self-timer
Continuous driveYes (9 fps)
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 sec)
Metering modes• Multi
• Center-weighted
• Spot
Exposure compensation±3 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing(2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (3 frames in 2, 4, and 6 steps selectable in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Videography features
Format• AVCHD
• H.264
• Motion JPEG
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60i from 30p output), 1280 x 720 (60, 30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
USBUSB 2.0 (480Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (Mini HDMI type-D)
Remote controlYes (Optional (RM-UC1))
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion BLN-1 rechargeable battery & charger
Weight (inc. batteries)425 g (0.94 lb / 14.99 oz)
Dimensions122 x 89 x 43 mm (4.8 x 3.5 x 1.69″)
Other features
Timelapse recordingNo

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Verdict

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III may look like a camera designed for purists, but it is a brilliant piece of machinery inside. This is the OM-D series’ defining characteristic: appealing cameras that are both compact and lightweight, with a wide variety of lenses that are also both compact and lightweight, and a technical powerhouse within each one.

The E-M5 Mark II was released in 2010, and the E-M5 Mark III was released in 2014. Thus, it should be no surprise that this most recent edition delivers improvements to practically every aspect. The most significant improvements include a new sensor that offers excellent resolution, on-chip phase detection autofocus, and enhanced video capability.

Importantly, these features are all perfectly balanced by the newest CPU and the compatibility with UHS-II card formats; this is not a camera that you have to push beyond its limits to get good results.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Pros & Cons

Good For
  • A vast number of different shooting modes
  • A competent image processor
  • Unbelievably high-quality image stabilization
  • Much better overall video specifications
  • Stylish looks
  • Excellent maneuverability despite the tiny body
Need Improvements
  • A larger handgrip would be very much appreciated.
  • A little costly
  •  It does not have a metallic exterior anymore

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