Olympus OM-D review


Olympus OM-D review - Performance

In Single AF, the OM-D E-M5 is fast and accurate at acquiring focus - we only experienced hunting in very low-contrast scenes.

The OM-D E-M5 offers a broad 35-area selectable AF coverage, though this does not stretch all the way to the edge of the frame. The desired AF area is selected via the 4-way button layout on the rear of the camera, though thanks to the touchscreen technology on offer, it's also possible to tap the area of the frame on the rear screen where you want to focus. There's also a touch shutter release as well, so you can focus and fire the shutter just by touching an area on the rear screen, though if this doesn't appeal, its possible to deactivate both these settings.

If you're going to be taking a lot of portraits, then the Face Priority feature will come in handy, with four options on offer: On, Face & Eye Priority, Face & Right Eye Priority and finally Face & Left Eye Priority. So depending which way your subject is angled towards you, focus priority can be given to the eye closest to you.

Switch to Continuous AF, and compared to the E-P3, there's a noticeable jump in performance - the AF reacts quicker to changes in the scene, while the subject tracking is much more successful than on the E-P3 and it has to be one of, if not the best AF system in a Compact System Camera.

Raise the camera up to your eye and the feed automatically swaps from the rear screen to the electronic viewfinder (EVF) - while there's only a minimal delay while it does this - a refreshing change compared to a lot of EVFs where there's a noticeable delay. As well as this, the display feels far from tunnel like, offering a large display when raised to the eye, while there's a dioptre adjustment positioned just to the left of the EVF.

While most people would have had a preference for an optical viewfinder over an EVF, this is just not possible with the removal of the mirror. Its absence also means that the OM-D E-M5 has been kept relatively compact, especially when compared to traditional DSLRs, so it does have it's benefits. In use, and the EVF is one of the best examples about, though it can't quite match the clarity of the EVF found in the Sony NEX-7.

The OLED screen at the rear is lovely - bright and crisp, with rich blacks and whites. The touchscreen is responsive, and while one of the best seen on a camera to date, still doesn't provide the same level of control as many smart phone devices.

The menu and interface isn't a million miles away from the one found on the E-P3. While the exterior controls are kept to a minimum, the two function buttons can be set-up for frequently used controls, such as ISO, AF area selection and White Balance. To get to the rest of the main setting, simply hit OK and then toggle through the array of settings displayed - most are covered here, so you shouldn't have to dip into the main menu that much.

The image stabilisation system in the OM-D E-M5 has three modes - Auto, vertical IS or horizontal IS. In Auto mode and even shooting as slow as 1/2.5th sec handheld, the OM-D's IS system delivered sharp shots, allowing you to shoot with confidence in low-light conditions.

At 9fps, the OM-D E-M5 is capable of capturing 15 Raw files in succession before the buffer slows, while it's a similar story for JPEG files, again shooting a maximum of 15 files before the buffer slows. Switch to Speed L and at 4.2fps, the OM-D is capable of 25 JPEG frames and 20 Raw frames. This all compares well with the competition, making it one of the fastest CSCs out there.

Compact System Camera Reviews

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Price as reviewed

with 12-50mm kit lens


Features 18/20
Design 19/20
Image Quality 18/20
Performance 18/20
Value 17/20
Overall Score 90%

User Score