First Impressions With the Olympus OMD EM-5.

Yesterday afternoon, after 3 months of waiting my Olympus OMD EM-5 arrived at the office. Later on, after I have actually had a chance to put the camera through it’s paces I’ll write a more thorough review. Although there are so many out there already you really don’t need one from me. What I’m going to post here and now are a couple of test images and some first impressions.

My rig is the silver and black OMD with the battery grip, and the powered zoom kit lens. Fortunately for me, I have a number of lenses for my EP2 so I’m ready to roll. I’m not knocking the kit lens in any way. It’s actually a really nice piece of hardware. I just like having options, and the 45mm f1.8 Zuiko is a go to lens for a lot of shooting.

So what do I think?

After just a couple hours of use I think this is one of the best micro 4/3 systems available today. The camera is small. Very small. Almost smaller than my EP when the grip is detached. It’s light, quick, and so far a blast to shoot with.

The autofocus is one of the quickest I’ve seen on any camera including my friend and colleagues Canon 5D.

The tiltable HD screen on the back of the camera is bright and crisp, the EVF system, while not as good as optical, is still very nice lending itself to a solid shooting experience.

The camera feels great in my hands. It’s well weighted and balanced. The OMD feels like a solid DSLR, without feeling huge and obtrusive like a DSLR.

Image stabilization is pretty remarkable, keeping shots taken at shutter speeds as low as 1/8 of second useable.

Noise at high ISO settings so far seems better than average, although I haven’t had enough time with the camera to have any real conclusive data.

The touch screen, and in camera adjustment features are really nice, although somewhat difficult to use when shooting on the fly. They’re a nice feature, I probably won’t use on a daily basis. I say that now, but you never know. Give me a month and that could all change.

Will this be my primary camera?

Yes.

Is it worth the price?

I think so. The OMD has a great sensor, it’s small, light, and fast. I personally love the retro styling of the body. Some might not,

My only gripe is the somewhat cryptic menu system. While there are tons of programmable features on the camera, crawling through the menu system can be painful. I know part of my bias here comes from learning a new piece of gear, but Olympus and pretty much every other camera maker need to go to the Apple school of UI design.

So at the end of 4 full hours with the OMD EM-5, I’m sold. I really believe this camera represents a game changer for Micro 4/3 camera systems. Hopefully in a week or so, I can post a bit more thorough review.

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