Olympus took inspiration from its film camera past to create the brilliant and original digital PEN E-P1 a few years ago. It’s at it again, harnessing the hearty rep of the OM camera line to create the OM-D system with the E-M5 its first model.
The E-M5 hits most of the right notes: 16 megapixel sensor with ISO maxing at 25,600, magnesium alloy body with weatherproof sealing (Olympus compares it to its impressive E-5 SLR), built-in electronic viewfinder, improved in-body image stabilization, faster AF performance and 3D focus tracking, and burst mode of up to nine frames per second at full resolution.
It uses a three-inch touch enabled OLED screen that can be tilted up and down, much like the one on the E-PL3. The EVF refreshes at 120 cycles per second, which creates steadier images, especially when movement is involved.
Olympus claims that the E-M5 incorporates the world’s first five-axis image stabilization system, which presumably controls camera shake in all dimensions. Olympus identifies them as horizontal shift, vertical shift, rotary motion, yaw and pitch.
Everyone is improving the movie mode on their cameras, so not surprisingly, the E-M5 will record 1920x1080i Full HD video in MOV format (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264).
Given the prominent faux pentaprism dome, it is surprising that the E-M5 does not have a built-in pop-up flash, but ships with a small external unit called the FL-LM2.
Olympus Canada says the E-M5 will be available in April, with black or silver body. Suggested retail prices are $999.99 (black or silver body only), $1,099.99 (black body with black M.Zuiko Digital 14-42 mm f3.5-5.6 II R lens) or $1,299.99 (black or silver body with black M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50 mm f3.5-6.3 EZ lens).