Review Price £1,150.00
Olympus OM-D E-M5 - Handling, Accessories and Verdict
Controls are well spaced and, for the most part, easy to reach too. We really like how Olympus has implemented two control wheels on the top of the camera as this makes for intuitive handling when the camera is being used in Manual mode, with one wheel assigned to aperture and the other to shutter speed. The positioning of the main on/off switch at the base of the camera is a bit of a departure from previous Olympus cameras, although it’s nothing we couldn’t get used to. One thing that might be a bit more problematic however is the Fn1 and Playback buttons on the back of the right shoulder; with the tiltable LCD folded flush against the body these become a little fiddly to press.
Speaking of the LCD monitor, it’s a 3inch OLED screen with a resolution of 610k-dots. The picture is bright and sharp and the 3:2 aspect means there is plenty of space for shooting information to be displayed without intruding too much on the 4:3 image. Better still, the monitor attaches to the camera via a hinge on the bottom of the camera with a further hinge allowing the screen to be tilted upwards by about 90 degrees and downwards by about 45-degrees. This will help to make light work of overhead and low-level shooting, and also to encourage the use of creative angles. We still wish they'd used a filly articulated screen, though.
Befitting its status as a premium new model the OM-D is to be bundled with the recently launched M. Zuiko 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 power zoom lens. It’s an interesting choice, not least because the lens is a little on the long side which does somewhat compromise the diminutive proportions of the OM-D. That said, it’s a nice lens to use with the option of extending the focal length manually using the zoom ring or switching (or rather clicking the lens back) into a power zoom mode whereby the merest rotation of the zoom ring triggers the power zoom to extend or retract. In case you forget, a little window on the lens barrel tells you which mode you are presently in.
Not content to simply launch the OM-D on its own, Olympus are launching an interesting battery grip extension package alongside the OM-D. Set to retail for £229, the HLD-6 Battery Grip comes in two interchangeable parts: a landscape-orientated grip that essentially deepens the regular handgrip, and a more portrait-orientated grip that encompasses a shutter release button, two control dials and two Fn buttons. The portrait grip also contains space for an additional battery to prolong overall shooting time. The two units can be used independently of each other or even combined together to give the O-MD a miniaturised professional look.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is an interesting addition to the Micro Four Thirds stable of interchangeable-lens compact system digital cameras. There’s little doubt that it offers bags of retro appeal and combines this with some cutting-edge digital cameras technology, including what is claimed to be the world’s fast AF system and a very usable electronic viewfinder. Whether this will be enough convince hard-up consumers to part with the best part of £1200 remains to be seen though.
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