Olympus OM-D E-M5 with 12-50mm kit zoom lens
RELEASED in 2012, the E- M5 was the first camera to grace Olympus’ all-new OM- D range. Whereas existing PEN models at the time borrowed heavily from 1960’s Olympus PEN half-frame rangefinder cameras, the OM- D E- M5 took its inspiration from the company’s ‘OM’ range of 35mm SLRs from the same era. Back in 2012, a brand-new OM- D E- M5 and M. Zuiko ED 12-50mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ kit zoom would have set you back in the region of £1,150. These days, however, MPB.com has second-hand examples in ‘like new’ condition for just £219. Add an M. Zuiko 12-50mm kit zoom lens for £124, and the whole package could be yours for less than £350.
For the money, you get a great camera. The E- M5 is built around a 16.1MP Live MOS sensor – a modified version of which is still in use today – and the Olympus TruePic VI image processor. Native sensitivity ranges from ISO 200-25,600 while shutter speeds range from 1min to 1/4000sec. The maximum continuous shooting speed is a healthy 9fps. Being an older model there is no support for 4K capture, but video capabilities do extend to 1080p Full HD capture at 30fps. The back of the camera is equipped with a 3in, 610k- dot tiltable LCD display with limited touchscreen functionality, above which sits a 1.44m- dot EVF. Admittedly, both the display and EVF are a bit dated compared to the 1.04-million- dot displays and 2.36-million- dot EVFs found on more recent Olympus cameras, but they both remain perfectly usable.
5-axis image stabilisation
One of the biggest innovations the E- M5 brought to the table on its launch was built-in 5-axis image stabilisation. In our review we found it to work exceptionally well shooting handheld at slower shutter speeds. Another benefit of having the image stabilisation technology built-in to the camera is that there’s no need to pay a premium for optically stabilised lenses. In addition to Olympus MFT lenses, the E- M5 is also fully compatible with Panasonic and other third-party MFT lenses – you won’t be lacking for glass options.
Autofocus is taken care of by a 35-point contrast- detect system that at the time of the E- M5’s launch was billed by Olympus as the ‘world’s fastest’ contrast- detect system. Of course, things have moved on a bit since then, but for the vast majority of situations the E- M5’s overall AF performance remains impressive and is highly unlikely to disappoint.
Build quality is another area where the OM- D E- M5 shines, with its magnesium alloy body giving it an undoubtedly premium feel in the hand. Better still, the camera is also fully weather-sealed, meaning it can be used in the kind of conditions that would require many other cameras to be tucked safely away in a dry camera bag. In addition to being solidly built the E- M5 is impressively small and light.