Olympus E-M5 Comparison Review
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was revealed to the public in February 2012 and is equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. It offers a resolution of 15.9 megapixel.
Is the Olympus E-M5 a good camera? The E-M5 has a Camera Elo of 1694. This rating puts the E-M5 below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (Four Thirds cameras), the E-M5 also ranks below average. – Well, the Olympus E-M5 is more than 9 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2012.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|15.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|ISO 200 - 25 600|
|Electronic viewfinder (1440k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 610k dots|
|9 shutter flaps per second|
|360 shots per battery charge|
|122 x 89 x 43 mm, 425 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The physical dimensions of the Olympus E-M5 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Olympus E-M5 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Olympus E-M5||122 mm||89 mm||43 mm||425 g||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299|
|2.||Olympus PEN-F||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199|
|3.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|4.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|5.||Olympus E-M1||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|6.||Olympus E-P5||122 mm||69 mm||37 mm||420 g||330||n||May 2013||999|
|7.||Olympus E-PL5||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||Sep 2012||599|
|8.||Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|9.||Panasonic GX8||133 mm||78 mm||63 mm||487 g||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199|
|10.||Panasonic GX7||123 mm||71 mm||55 mm||402 g||350||n||Aug 2013||999|
|11.||Panasonic GH3||133 mm||93 mm||82 mm||550 g||540||Y||Sep 2012||1,299|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Olympus E-M5 was launched in the US market at a price of $1,299. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Olympus E-M5 features a Four Thirds sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Olympus E-M5 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|2.||Olympus PEN-F||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|3.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|4.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|5.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|6.||Olympus E-P5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.4||895||72|
|7.||Olympus E-PL5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||889||72|
|8.||Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|9.||Panasonic GX8||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|10.||Panasonic GX7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|11.||Panasonic GH3||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||22.7||12.4||812||71|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The E-M5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the E-M5 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-M5 has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 1440k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.58x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Olympus E-M5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus E-M5||1440||n||3.0 / 610||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||n||Y|
|2.||Olympus PEN-F||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|3.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-M1||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-P5||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-PL5||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|8.||Olympus E-PM2||optional||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|9.||Panasonic GX8||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|10.||Panasonic GX7||2760||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Panasonic GH3||1746||n||3.0 / 614||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
The LCD screen on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD can be tilted vertically to facilitate odd-angle shots in landscape orientation. This tilting design is often preferred, for example, by street photographers to a fully articulated, swivel type of LCD attachment, as it is more unobtrusive during shooting than a screen that flips out to the side.
One feature that differentiates the E-M5 from many older cameras is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-M5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while cameras without IBIS have to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-M5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus PEN-F||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-M1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Olympus E-P5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Olympus E-PL5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Olympus E-PM2||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Panasonic GX8||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Panasonic GX7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Panasonic GH3||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-M5 handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Olympus E-M5||4/5||+ +||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299|
|2.||Olympus PEN-F||..||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199|
|3.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||4.5/5||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|4.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|5.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|6.||Olympus E-P5||5/5||+ +||..||78/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2013||999|
|7.||Olympus E-PL5||3/5||+ +||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|8.||Olympus E-PM2||3/5||..||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|9.||Panasonic GX8||5/5||+||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199|
|10.||Panasonic GX7||4/5||+||..||79/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999|
|11.||Panasonic GH3||5/5||+ +||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Olympus E-M5 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the E-M5.
What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the E-M5?
The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Olympus equipped the E-M5 with the TruePic VI image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the E-M5?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Olympus OM-D E-M5?
Olympus mentions a shutter rating of 100 000 actuations for the E-M5. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the E-M5 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my E-M5?
Olympus embeds the number of shutter actuations in hidden menus. You can check the number of shots that your E-M5 has taken up to now by carefully following the steps described on the Olympus E-M5 shutter count page.
Does the Olympus E-M5 feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The E-M5's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.
Does the Olympus E-M5 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).
Which battery does the E-M5 use?
Is there a vertical grip available for the E-M5?
Yes, Olympus offers the HLD-6 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 350D vs Olympus E-M5
- Canon T3 vs Olympus E-M5
- Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Olympus E-M5
- Fujifilm X100F vs Olympus E-M5
- Nikon 1 V3 vs Olympus E-M5
- Nikon A1000 vs Olympus E-M5
- Olympus E-M5 vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Olympus E-M5 vs Olympus E-PM1
- Olympus E-M5 vs Pentax K-70
- Olympus E-M5 vs Sony A850
- Olympus E-M5 vs Sony RX0 II
- Olympus E-M5 vs Sony RX10 II
|Camera Model||Olympus E-M5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 1 299|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||225 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4 608 x 3 456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25 600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||71|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||826|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||610k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|V-logging Friendliness||No front-flip|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||BLN-1 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||360 shots per charge|
122 x 89 x 43 mm
(4.8 x 3.5 x 1.7 in)
|Camera Weight||425 g (15.0 oz)|
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