Friday, May 10, 2013

The Olympus EP-5 Announcement

So, you've already heard about the new pen from Olympus, here's what I think about it as a 6 months old OMD user.

I won't go into details about the camera, you can read Ming Thein and Robin Wong's posts about it here (MT) and here (RW), they are an enjoyable read. Here's what I really like about the new EP-5:

- The looks, that retro "Olympus Pen" logo with the old font looks really cool, and I agree with Ming that the black version is superb looking.

- Improved shutter, up to 1/8000, finally, is it that hard really?

- Lower ISO 100 limit, although it's not native and will be a pull down, but this and the improved shutter speed will finally help me shoot my lenses wide open in daylight, it was/is a pain, I usually had to move my subjects in shadowed places to shoot wide open (where applicable).

- Higher resolution LCD and larger size, it was a downgrade for me to go from the superb 1.1 million pixel LCD on my 5D3 to the 0.6 million pixel unit on the OMD.

- Higher resolution VF-4, a 2 million pixel EVF, the 1 million pixel EVF in the OMD could use the upgrade, it is ok but the text looks a little coarse. It also quite large, larger than the OVF of most full frame cameras.

- Wi-Fi, sometimes I wished to shoot tethered to an iPad or a large screen, but I didn't want to pay money in a wireless SD card with a limited capacity and speed, since I already have 45 and 90 MB/s cards, this will be a good feature to have.

That's about it, I am not excited about the 5 fps continuous focusing speed (CD-AF totally sucks at tracking moving subjects), nor the focus peaking, since I don't use manual focusing lenses on the OMD, and Ming Thein reported it is not very well implemented yet, I have it in my Sony RX100 and used it once or twice just for the novelty of it.

I am not sure the EP-5 has a touch screen, but I'd rather see an improved video mode with focus peaking, touch focus and 14x magnification similar to the stills mode.

So, is it an upgrade from the OMD? If you're buying a new m4/3 body, you have to consider it if the price of the body plus the optional VF-4 is similar to the OMD, or if you're not going to use the EVF at all, at the end of the day, it has the same OMD sensor, same class leading IBIS, and improved everything else, except for the built in EVF and the weather sealing (still not sure about the touch screen though).

On the other hand, if you already have the OMD like me, then there is no pressing reason to switch, on the contrary, this makes me more confident that I will buy the updated OMD whenever it is released, it will feature at least the same updates in the EP-5, plus others, I just hope we see a better movie mode, and better focus tracking.

As a side note, I have ordered the 75mm 1.8 (the silver one, not the newly released black one), I received a nice monetary gift, and it goes towards that lens.

P.S. Excuse any typos, this post is written on my phone through Google's official Blogger app. I got a new Galaxy S4 (the S3 went to the wife), there will be another post about that later, I like what it's camera does in good light.