Olympus E-5


The latest SLR for Olympus ?

The latest SLR model launched by Olympus is called E-5. It has good features and optics but the quality of the sensor destroys all the positive points we initially brought to its defense.

The expectations

Olympus claims that it is going to make a pause in the SLR production activity, because the company prefers to produce just traditional digital cameras and compact models with interchangeable optics. However, apparently this producer seems to be a looser in the war between the giants of the industry: Canon and Nikon. The war seems to be lost by the Olympus company little by little.
Unofficial rumors said that this model is the latest SLR of the Olympus. We had to see what this E-5model was able to do and if it was a comeback or a good bye model for Olympus.

The reality

olympus-e-5The first sensation when you touch the E-5 camera is that the product is very solid, compared with other reviewed models ! This model seems to have a very durable and well-done body. It was dropped by mistake and it didn’t sustain damage. It was used in the rain, which had absolutely no effect on its characteristics. However, the rain was not very heavy. So we can’t be sure whether or not it would resist a veritable downpour. Compared with Nikon’s D300 and the Pentax K-5, this model is very capable.
A weak point compared with these two models is its weight. This is another con, because otherwise you can consider this model a good acquisition. The case is hiding a small 4 / 3 sensor produced by Olympus, but it doesn’t show signs of being very capable to take photos in all conditions.

Good optical elements

Because we’ve considered this model, the latest SLR of Olympus, we’ve decided to use a lot of optical elements, in different configurations. We’ve used for that a 5 optical high-end telephoto zoom 50-200 mm F2.8-3.5, a very wide-angled zoom 11 – 22 mm F2.8-3.5 zoom, an ultra-wide angle 8 mm F3.5 (eq. 16 mm) and a 12-60 mm F2.8-4.

Almost all results were very good. Olympus seemed to be able to work fine with all those optical elements. The optical aberrations are not present and the sharpness of the images is excellent. However, at this point, the zoom ring is not so perfect and has to be improved. The competition is much better at this chapter, especially the cameras with long lenses. The images taken in daylight are excellent and the optical elements work fine. The only weak point is the high price you must pay for all these features.

Sensor not impressive in low light

The sensor of the E-5 is not very pleasant! Compared to the APS-C, this 4 / 3 sensor is far away in terms of performance. Sensitivity is relatively good, but just in good light conditions. If the ISO is higher than 800, the digital noise makes a presence. At a value of ISO 1600, the image is still usable, but at ISO 3200 the image becomes almost embarrassing. If you use the ISO 6400, the results are very bad and the image is weak and very degraded. This model is not able to win against the competition, with other models being able to take good images at ISO 6400, too.

Another weak point, compared with the competition, is the resolution of the sensor. The E-5 sensor is able to take 12 Mpix photos. If you are a professional user, you know that it’s indicated to have a better resolution because you can crop some images without obtaining a low resolution image in the end. In this case, the Canon EOS 7D has 18Mpix and a lower price, compared to the Olympus model.

Good autofocus performance

In the case of the autofocus, E-5 seems to be very good. The performance of this feature is very similar with two professional models launched by rivals. The D3s released by Nikon and Canon’s EOS 1D Mark IV are two of these competitors. The E-5 seems to be very attractive because is not a high end model. The viewfinder speed is not so impressive and you must try to take pictures without using it. Anyway, this model has a good overall autofocus and could be a good choice if you are interested in something like that.

720p video mode

The video from its Pen mode was implemented on the Olympus E-5. The technology is able to take videos and to encode files up to 720p MJPEG. Movies are encapsulated in an AVI file. This element is not very impressive if you decide to compare with a professional solution like a Canon SLR, for example (which is capable to take 1080p movies). Even if this is not a professional solution, the movie mode can be a good option to use.

Review conclusion

We tested this product and we will now give you our review’s conclusions. If you have an E3, the new Olympus E-5 can be a good choice for you. We say this because these models seem to be similar in some areas, even if the E-5 is better than the older brother. You will appreciate the autofocus of this model for sure.
Compared with its competitors, the E-5 is still far away from being spectacular, because it is handicapped by the resolution, capacity to take images in low light and the low surface of the sensor. This can be a good choice for Olympus fans. For the other ones, they can find a better model at the same price.

Technical specifications

Maximum resolution12 MP
Resolution Height in Pixel3024
Resolution Width in Pixel4032
Screen Size3
Battery typeOlympus BLM-5