Using the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Camera

I’m looking for a new camera system, something for family vacations or road trips. I want something smaller and lighter than my Nikon D5100 but I also want interchangeable lenses. To me, that means one of the compact system (CSC aka mirror-less) cameras such as the Sony NEX system, the Fuji X system, or the micro-four-thirds system. I tend to hang on to my tech longer than most of my friends. I bought a Nikon D40 in 2006 and didn’t upgrade until 2013 when I bought a used D5100 on eBay. I want a compact system that will suffice for just as long. I could buy a point-n-shoot but I would miss being able to choose lenses and having control over aperture and shutter speed etc. I think in the back of my mind I’m not committed to the DSLR format. In five years I’ve bought only three lenses and none are so expensive that I couldn’t dump the system and start over.

Using the Olympus OM D E M5 Camera E M5 20131020  2 uau4b9  E-M5  @ 50mm  , ISO 1250  , 1/125s  , ƒ/8  by Khürt Williams 

Over the summer I rented the Fuji X-E1 and last week I borrowed my friend’s Olympus PEN EP-3. I like both cameras but the each had faults. The Fuji X-E1 had a slow (electronic viewfinder) and auto-focus (AF) and the Olympus PEN EP-3 had no EVF. The Fuji X-E1, however, convinced me that the CSC format could produce excellent results. I also loved the retro film camera look and feel of some of the cameras.

Using the Olympus OM D E M5 Camera E M5 20131020  npsryf  E-M5  @ 50mm  , ISO 1600  , 1/125s  , ƒ/8  by Khürt Williams 

Before my friend offered to loan me his EP-3 I had ordered a rental, the OM-D EM-5, from Lensrentals along with the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 lens. I had the weekend to try what is considered the high-end of Olympus line. Of course, Olympus announced an update to the EM-5, the EM-1, so I was testing out the deprecated technology.

This article isn’t a review1. It’s more my thought and impressions on the EM-5. The camera is about the same size as the EP-3. The EVF worked better than I expected. The EVF in the Fuji X-E1 felt quite slow and couldn’t keep up with the fast movement of the camera for tracking running kids, flying birds etc. The EM-5 tracked well. I didn’t notice any lag. Setting the camera up was quite easy. It’s quite light. Battery life isn’t quite up to the level I expected. It’s a lot worse than the Nikon. After just one day of shooting, about 100 images, the battery was exhausted. I can easily get three to four full days of shooting out of my Nikon D5100’s battery. Perhaps the EM-1 is better.

The images below give you a decent idea what to expect from the EM-5. Since the D5100 has an APS-C sensor with a 1.5 crop factor and the EM-5 has a micro four-thirds sensor with a crop factor of 2.0 I used my AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G lens and the set the 12-50 mm lens to 26mm. This means that both cameras were shooting at the 35mm equivalent of 52mm. Both cameras were set to ISO 200 and f/8 in aperture priority mode. I couldn’t see much of a difference between these two images (other than the slightly different crop). The EM-5 images seem to have more contrast and the colours are more vivid but this may be some setting that I overlooked or the slightly different aperture. The EM-5 felt tiny in my hand. In fact, I missed having a grip to hold the camera one-handed.

Using the Olympus OM D E M5 Camera E M5 20131019 190007 fyupx5  E-M5  @ 26mm  , ISO 200  , 1/100s  , ƒ/5.6  by Khürt Williams  on 19 October, 2013 

The Nikon with the AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G at f/6.3.

Using the Olympus OM D E M5 Camera NIKON D5100 20131020 5455 ssqsxl  NIKON D5100  @ 35mm  , ISO 200  , 1/60s  , ƒ/6.3  by Khürt Williams  on 20 October, 2013 

The Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 is a macro lens. I shot the spider at f/10 to provide enough DOF to capture the spider in focus. Once turned on the lens locks in at 43mm. It’s very easy to use and I love the results.

Given that Sony, Fuji and Olympus announced new cameras and lenses this month I have a lot of choices. PhotoPlus Expo is coming up and I may have an opportunity to try out the new Sony A7, the Olympus OM-D EM-1 and the Fuji X-E2. I am very excited about the X-E2. Early reports are that Fuji has fixed the problems exhibited by the X-E1. If so then my decision will be even harder. The results from these CSC cameras makes me wonder if I can just replace my DSLR altogether.

Using the Olympus OM D E M5 Camera E M5 20131019  2 ip5jze  E-M5  @ 43mm  , ISO 200  , 1/160s  , ƒ/10  by Khürt Williams  on 19 October, 2013 

Using the Olympus OM D E M5 Camera E M5 20131018  v99i2i  E-M5  @ 50mm  , ISO 1600  , 1/125s  , ƒ/6.3  by Khürt Williams  on 18 October, 2013 

Using the Olympus OM D E M5 Camera E M5 20131018  3 z96rja  E-M5  @ 50mm  , ISO 250  , 1/125s  , ƒ/6.3  by Khürt Williams  on 18 October, 2013 

Using the Olympus OM D E M5 Camera E M5 20131018  4 tsi772  E-M5  @ 50mm  , ISO 3200  , 1/60s  , ƒ/8  by Khürt Williams  on 18 October, 2013 


  1. Robin Wong has written about the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3. 

Liked this post? Follow this blog to get more. 

1 response on “Using the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Camera”

Got some feedback? Please leave a comment below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

To respond on your own website, enter the URL of your response which should contain a link to this post's permalink URL. Your response will then appear (possibly after moderation) on this page. Want to update or remove your response? Update or delete your post and re-enter your post's URL again. (Learn More)