For Me … It’s the Olympus OM-D E-M5

Okay, the votes are all in (okay – “the” vote is in – mine) and I’ve decided on the Olympus E-M5.


I’ve read and studied and pixel-peeped every online source I could find and the E-M5 will be my next camera. The reasons are several and varied and no indication of which camera might be better for you or someone else. The perfect camera has yet to be built, so every camera includes a series of compromises in one area or another.


Here are some of the main reasons I’ve decided to go with Olympus:

  • Size: The size of these newer ILC (Interchangeable Lens Cameras) appeals to my sense of carry-ability. With a smaller lens, the camera will literally fit in my coat pocket.
  • Resolution: At 16 Megapixels, it’s no where near the top that is available, today, but still produces images that can be printed very large.
  • Image Quality: This has yet to be completely tested, but DPReview.com released their “Studio Scene” images which allow you to compare various ISO images against other cameras. In the DPReview tests, the E-M5 appears to compete very favorably with the Sony NEX-5N and Fuji X100 – two cameras that we know produce excellent images. Plus, it looks like it just edges out the NEX-7 at higher ISOs.
  • IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization): As I’ve grown older, I find that my hands just aren’t as steady as they used to be, thus the need for a little help from my camera. With IBIS, “every” lens can be stabilized if needed.
  • Lens Selection: Between Olympus, Panasonic, and now even Sigma, there is a substantial and growing selection  of Micro Four Thirds lenses available. Plus, a small adapter, the MMF-3, allows Four Thirds lenses to be used.
  • Weather/Dust Sealing: I don’t shoot in the rain much, however, a sealed camera is still a good thing – you never know when that next great shot may require you to get wet!
  • Customization: The E-M5’s menu system looks like it is very extensive, allowing the operator to set many camera functions the way they desire, not how the manufacturer thought it should be. Also, it has 4 User Memories for storing frequently or preferred settings.
  • Price: I’d love to have a Nikon D800, Canon 1DX, and the Fujifilm X-Pro1 (and others) but, like many, I have a budget. 😦 And while this camera is NOT cheap, it does work for me … after I sell a few things! 🙂
Of course, there are so many features and they’ve been discussed in depth across the internet, so I won’t go into all of them. My list includes just the “Biggies” that affected my decision process and, frankly, the IBIS stabilization system is probably one of the bigger factors … for me.
As always, I invite you to share your thoughts, pro or con, and let me know which way you’re going and why.
Be sure and check out my page Olympus E-M5 Info – it’s loaded with links to many reviews and other websites with pertinent information about this camera.
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UPDATE – Olympus E-M5 or Sony NEX-7 ?

I’ve been out of town for a few days and a lot has been happening with regard to the E-M5.


The biggest development has been the release of “Studio Scene” images on DPReview.com. There, we can finally compare the E-M5 head-to-head with all of the other cameras that DPReview has tested.
I compared it to the NEX-7, Fujifilm X100, and Sony NEX-5N … three cameras that I have also used personally. What surprised, and pleased, me was the fact that (to my eye) the E-M5 beat the NEX-7 and compared very favorably to the other two. So, go look for yourself, compare it to your favorite cameras, and let me know how you see it.
On another note, I’ve added a page to my blog where I am trying to put together an up-to-date list of links to other websites with good information and reviews about the Olympus OM-D E-M5. You can see that here at Thru Mikes Viewfinder.
——————— Original Post Below ———————
*Images from manufacturers websites are not to scale
So, what do you think – the Sony NEX-7 or the Olympus E-M5.
One problem is the lack of images from a production E-M5 camera, making it hard to directly compare image quality, especially at higher ISOs. That means, most of my information will be based on specs and available reviews of the E-M5 and my hands on experience with the NEX-7.
COST [+ E-M5]
For the camera bodies, the price is similar with the NEX-7 being slightly higher at $1200 compared to $1000 for the E-M5.
SIZE [same]
They are almost identical in size except, of course, for the “viewfinder hump” on the E-M5.
LENS AVAILABILITY [E-M5]
As close as I can tell, the Olympus has 13 “native” lenses available while Sony only has 9, so far. Of course, they both can use a much wider range with the use of various adapters. Still, any adapter adds a bit of bulk so I’m going with the E-M5, here.
RESOLUTION [NEX-7]
The NEX-7 wins this one, hands down, with 24 Mp compared to only 16 Mp for the E-M5. A true test of image quality should wait until the production E-M5 is out and there are more images for us to view. However, that being said, I’m expecting the Sony to be slightly better – we’ll see.
FRAME RATE [same]
This is so close as to not be a factor with Olympus claiming 9 fps versus Sony’s 10 fps. One review I read, actually clocked the E-M5 at 10 fps, so they are very close.
IMAGE STABILIZATION [E-M5]
For me, this is important. As I’ve aged, I’ve found I have a slight tremor in my “shooting” hand, so I will take all the help I can get. Sony does have some IS lenses for the NEX-7, but with the E-M5, every lens is stabilized.
MENU OPTIONS AND CUSTOMIZABILITY [E-M5]
It appears to me that the Olympus has significantly more options to customize various settings. Of course, by necessity, this probably means their menu system may be a bit more complicated but I like being able to decide how I want certain things to work.

WEATHER SEALING [E-M5]
NEX-7 doesn’t have it … E-M5 does.
VIEWFINDER [? E-M5 ?]
While I’ve found the NEX-7 viewfinder to be excellent, there is one thing that bothers me about it … high noise levels in very low light levels, like shooting stars, for instance. There is almost too much noise to even bother looking through the EVF. What makes me think the E-M5 EVF could be better is its lower resolution. The reason I think this, is that has been my experience using the Fujifilm X100.
COMPLAINTS [E-M5 – maybe]
The Tri-Navi control system on the NEX-7 is wonderful … except … the top knobs are just too easy to turn accidentally, especially the right one. I find I am often shooting with some “unintended” exposure compensation. The “click stops” just need to be a little bit stiffer.
My other BIG complaint is with the position of the Video button on the NEX-7. I probably average at least one unintentional movie a day, sometimes more. I try to turn the camera off when I’m not getting ready to take a shot, but that is not an optimal solution. These complaints have been loud and numerous around the internet and should be easily fixable with a firmware update, but so far … Sony has not responded.
There may be some serious design flaws in the E-M5, but I haven’t read about them, yet.


CONCLUSION
In this completely biased and unscientific examination, the Olympus E-M5 is the clear winner, even if the unknowns happen to fall to Sony, later.
There are, of course, many other areas of comparison, but these are the ones that caught my interest. I’m sure you all have different needs and wants in a camera, so please feel free to chime in … I suspect I’ll learn something if you do. 🙂