ReviewGist Report for Olympus E-5
The Olympus E-5 was released in October 2010 and is touted as the flagship model of the E system series.In this report we take a deeper look at the newer features that Olympus has launched with the E-5.
We further analyze around 23 expert reviews, including some of the best reviews from sites like Imaging Resource, Cnet, PC Mag and Steves Digicam, and look at their findings as they put the E-5 through its paces. Finally we present you some buying advice on the Olympus E-5.
What the Manufacturer Says
According to the company, the E-5 is the first Olympus professional camera to offer 720p HD video. The camera's main features listed by the manufacturer include a 12.3-megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor that phenomenally improves the superior imaging potential of Zuiko digital lenses together with the "TruePic V+" image processing engine with new "Fine-Detail Processing" technology. The second highlighted feature is high reliability offered by a robust magnesium-alloy body with built-in dust and splash resistance, and high-power Dust Reduction System. The third most important inclusion is the 3-inch VGA HyperCrystal LCD monitor with the dual-axis swivelling system that allows free-angle shooting of both still images and movies.
The 12.3-megapixel High- Speed Live MOS sensor, claims Olympus, renders pictures with unbelievably exact detail, good resolution, right gradations and reproduction of natural colour. Also, the images get enhanced by special optical filters and the new "TruePic V+" image processing engine. Its new "Fine-Detail Processing" technology is the secret that makes resolution better than previous versions. Olympus says that the image processing engine greatly complements the very popular Zuiko lenses.
As with the E-3, the E-5 has a rugged body that is extra strong, durable, and lightweight, says Olympus. Additionally the manufacturer points out that all major parts like flash, LCD monitor, and switches are well-sealed to keep out sand, dust, rain and splashes. Since the lenses also come with similar sealing, users can shoot in the most adverse ambient conditions. A unique Dust Reduction System uses award-winning supersonic wave technology to shake off dirt or dust that ingests anywhere into the camera Ã?Â¢Ã?Â?Ã?Â? even the friction-generated powder while the shutter moves.
Olympus proudly highlights the 3-inch high-definition VGA HyperCrystal LCD monitor that has about 920,000 pixels. A dual-axis swivelling system lets the monitor move freely up and down as well as to and fro, so that the user can shoot still pictures and video from any and every angle. This feature is designed to help during any shooting mode, especially portrait shooting.
Olympus E-5 also comes out with some other interesting features. Notable among them are the following:
- world's fastest autofocus with 11 Point-Full-Twin Cross AF Sensors
- Responsive Live View shooting
- Picture modes, including "i-`FINISH" mode and control Art Filters
- Large optical viewfinder with 100% field of view and 1.15x magnification
- Durable high-speed shutter tested to 150,000 releases
What the Reviews Say
Almost all review experts have uniformly welcomed the dependable image stabilization and decent ISO performance of the E-5. This Olympus representative quite deservedly ranks amongst the very best SLRs on the issue of image quality that is vibrant, rich and blur-free whatever the situation. One lone review from PCWorld is unhappy with the poor high ISO performance. The PC Magazine certifies the ISO sensitivity as the cleanest. Quite a few reviewers are satisfied that the Fine Detail Processing feature does indeed capture detail in any kind of ambient light.
Of the reviewers who have commented on the video capability, one half comments that the video E-5 looks great and contributes to happy filming since the user can employ the in-camera filters to vary the shooting style. The other half notes that video capture is limited to 720p30, that is, full HD video capability is notably absent. There are positive comments from InfoSync about the Digital Level Sensor which ensures that camera remains level during shooting.
Happily for Olympus, most reviewers find that the E-5 does indeed have the world's fastest autofocus module. While the AF is found to be responsive enough in daylight conditions, it really lives up to the manufacturers claim in low-light situations, says Cnet. Several reviewers have certified the 12.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor and lens combo do produce stunning results. PCMag notes audible lens noise in video mode. MacWorld and PCWorld have noted the absence of a mode dial that is usually expected.
Users will like the fast burst mode, useful Live View mode and articulating screen, just as the reviewers do. Though somewhat bulky and heavy, the camera's design is found to aid speedy shooting. InfoSync and MacWorld are quite happy with the agile, 270-degree swivel LCD. Reviewers have rather liked the rugged feel, look and handling features, as well as the weather-resistant, dust-proof design.
Olympus's proudly claimed "fine-detail processing" system delivers on its promise according to experts. Combining excellent image quality, decent video, well-combined optics and superior ruggedness, the E-5 is certainly a great DSLR that is sure to satisfy not only the crowd that favors Olympus models, but also those who prefer rugged, all-weather photography companions. The only hard-to-digest facts are Ã?Â¢Ã?Â?Ã?Â? missing full HD video mode and perhaps the Li-ion battery that will need a dedicated charger and power source if you run out of juice.
If you are already a Olympus user, the E-5 will certainly make you happier by providing higher resolution, higher ISO shooting, and HD video capture. However, the DSLR market is highly competitive, and the E-5, despite being a great tool, may not motivate a new buyer sufficiently. Users unfamiliar with Olympus gadgets are sure to redirect their vision on pro-grade DSLRs like Canon 60D and Nikon D7000. It would appear that the E-5's marketability is actually a matter of familiarity with Olympus's most specialised employment of the E-system lenses that are said to be the jewel in the company's crown.