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Olympus E-5 hands-on preview

 

 

Evolution, rather than revolution, is what the new Olympus E-5 is all about

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The long wait is over and the successor to the three year old Olympus Four Thirds DSLR flagship, the E-3, can now be revealed and there are no prizes for guessing that it's called the E-5, with the number '4' being considered unlucky and so skipped.

The E-5 has European guide price for the body-only of Ä1699, or around UK£1,500, but best check for street prices, which are likely to be lower.

If you are expecting a revolutionary new model, sorry. The E-5 is an evolution of the E-3. Indeed, from some angles it's quite difficult to see any obvious body design differences, especially from the front. But at the back there are many changes, most of which centre around the replacement of the E-3's old 2.5 inch 230,000 dot articulating LCD screen with a shiny new 921,000 high resolution 3 inch articulating screen.

The larger screen has necessitated the relocation of the row of buttons that live under the screen on the E-3, while the IS (Image Stabilisation) button has disappeared altogether; you now have to set it view the super control panel on the LCD.

Here are the key new features:

  • TruePic V+ image processor designed to extract more detail from the sensor image data.
  • Modified sensor anti-aliasing - this is a development beyond the reduced power of the anti-aliasing filter introduced with the Olympus Pen Micro Four Thirds range.
  • 3 inch 921,000 dot articulating LCD screen.
  • 720HD 30p (Motion JPEG/AVI) video recording capability with integrated mono microphone plus 3.5 inch port for external stereo mics.
  • Sensitivity range extended to ISO 6400
  • Four custom reset memories instead of two previously, now called Myset modes.
  • Revised menus
  • Ten Art Filters including Dramatic Tone Art Filter that generates a virtual HDR image with just one shot
  • Dual memory card slots retained now with SD card support replacing xD slot alongside UDMA class Compact Flash support.
  • Up to 7 auto bracketing steps instead of 5.
  • Digital level (three dimensional) from E-30.

Bear in mind that you get the familiarity of the E-3 design, complete with large 100% optical finder, dust and moisture sealing, 11-point biaxial AF system, SSWF sensor dust protection, 1/8000th top shutter speed and 150,000 cycle heavy duty shutter mechanism, Olympus will be hoping that existing E-3 and even E-30 and E-620 users, etc., will be tempted to upgrade.

Whether the E-5 will serve to tempt more people to switch to the E-System is more debatable. The 12.3MP sensor and image processor is a step up from existing Micro Four Thirds Olympus Pens, but some will be disappointed that we don't have a proper next-generation sensor from Panasonic. The unchanged 5fps fastest shooting rate is bound to disappoint some, too.

Undoubtedly, there will be a furious debate among Olympus fans and others about the E-5 and what it means for the future of Four Thirds. In the mean time, don't miss our E-5 pictorial tour gallery below, and a feature comparison of the E-5 next to the E-3 and E-30 on page 2.

 

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Olympus E-5 hands-on preview

Four Thirds User editorial team Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
The long-awaited successor to the Olympus E-3 flagship DSLR, the E-5, is revealed today. We've spent... (more)

AdrianF Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Thanks for the review Ian, A conservative upgrade, I wonder if this will be offered as a package wi... (more)

StephenL Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Just a warm-up of the E-3. Evolution not revolution. Disappointing but frankly not unexpected. Obvio... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Hi Adrian, Sorry for technical glitch with the product photos gallery - working to fix that a... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
The E-5 basically kills off the E-30 in the product range. I really like using the E-30, so for me t... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
The problem for Olympus is that the Pen range is now a success, perhaps more of a success than th... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Incidentally, the E-5 will be available from towards the end of October. Guide price in the UK is £1... (more)

Barr1e Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Hi Ian - Just back from a long weekend break and need to catch up with comments from here etc. ... (more)

Paul Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Problem is Ian this brings back a dejavu moment when Olympus ditched the OM DSLR system in favour o... (more)

Woofmix Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
It has all I'd want from a DSLR as long as the image quality lives up to it. It seems to be an impro... (more)

Shaw Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Hi Barr1e According to the Olympus UK website, the box contents do not include the battery pac... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
This is different, Paul. Olympus know that they need to continue supporting E-System users and th... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
There is always the possibility of promotions in the future of course. Ian... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I undestand that the BLM-5 has an extra contact for safety reasons. But I used BLM-1s in the E-5 ... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Olympus has promised me some E-5s to add to the e-group.uk.net hire stock :) Ian... (more)

AndyElliott Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
That'd be nice! BTW, I'm hoping to be spending more time back on the forums now my divorce is ... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Sorry to hear that. But nice to see you back! As I said earlier, my example was an early en... (more)

alsoly Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Many thanks for the poised and apparent objective comments. Five questions: 1.Where is the micr... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Unfortunately, I was on holiday abroad last month when Toshi Terada san visited the UK to brief m... (more)

alsoly Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Thank you. Oh yes I see the small slotted vent on the card bay door. So it's either there or on the ... (more)

Barr1e Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Thanks so much. Regards. Barr1e... (more)

f22 Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Is that the lot for Photokina? A warmed over E3 that could have been launched over a year ago....... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Olympus did announce two new Micro Four Thirds lenses last month, plus a new E-P2 bundle. [url... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
We can certainly try to meet up at Photokina, but I do have a hectic schedule! I will PM you a... (more)

f22 Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I was thinking of something a bit more interesting than two slow consumer zooms and an exisiting ... (more)

Shenstone Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Hi Ian I don't see why this kills off the E-30 range. I waited for the E-3 in anticipation, but w... (more)

diane margetts Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Dang! this doesn't sound too promising for Olympus. I have an e-510 and I'm due for an upgrade . . .... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Hi Diane, What else was you expecting to see/would have liked to have seen in the new E-5? :)... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Well, I haven't posted on here in quite a long time, but the E-5 has drawn me back. My L1 has bitte... (more)

Life of Brian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I cant say I am overly surprised at the spec levels of the E-5 but left somewhat deflated. I bought ... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Sorry to hear it doesn't cut it for you, Reggie, but in some respects the E-System is never going... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Thanks, John. Honestly, I would just as soon they dropped the resolution from the e-3, take the ... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Hmmm, I see that this lack of innovation is really bothering some people. Until quite recently DS... (more)

Life of Brian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
John, In truth I cant list what I wanted to see, I had not really set any particular objectives, the... (more)

Woofmix Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
The low light performance will be much better on the E5 than the E3, why don't you wait and see what... (more)

Woofmix Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I'm with you John. When you consider all the changes incorporated in the E5 it does actually represe... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
It's not just the E-System that is reaching maturity, all manufacturers are now at that point and... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I'm afraid my sources confirm the E-30 is now discontinued. So if you want one, start looking for... (more)

daphoto Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I think this is true although the two big ones are pushing it a bit. I mean, Nikons bodies are qu... (more)

Woofmix Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Why are more Mpixels so important? What are you going to do with them all? The 10 Mp of the E3 has ... (more)

Kiki Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I've been waiting for this camera for some time now, having used the E-3 for more than 2 years and l... (more)

daphoto Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Hey Paul, Kiki above this post listed the most important "outdated" features, so to recap and ... (more)

Kiki Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
If I weren't so heavily invested in Olympus gear, I would definitely be thinking hard about whether ... (more)

JBC Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
The 'lack of innovation' that folks are whining about seems to me to be more a sing of the maturatio... (more)

Kiki Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
That's easier said than done. I can think of about 11,000 reasons why it might not be so easy to mov... (more)

Life of Brian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Daphoto/Kiki I agree with both of you on your points. Woofmix, I accept you right to put up a st... (more)

Wilhelm Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Itís because I like Olympus, and have always done that Iím a bit disappointed with the E-5, so far. ... (more)

StephenL Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I think my lack of excitement at this new model stems from selfishness. For my needs, emphasis on "m... (more)

daphoto Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I agree with you pretty much on everything, but it's actually about 120kg of he, not she *LOL Do ... (more)

yalcrab Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I can't see the point in comparing the E5 against the E3 which is 3 years older, after all the impor... (more)

diane margetts Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I'm hoping for good reviews too . . . four thirds works for me because of the smaller, lighter lense... (more)

Life of Brian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
LOL, apologies Daphoto, dont know where that came from :o, glad we are in agreement though. Thank... (more)

Life of Brian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Daphoto, Nice though they are (god I love that 50mm Macro) Images shot at ISO 200 & 400 are not... (more)

daphoto Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Hey, I just noticed that they have removed the large picture with E-5 and E-3 compared. The ra... (more)

Life of Brian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I did see those images and they looked quite good but its low light images I want to see. Anyway,... (more)

Life of Brian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I saw those images earlier Daphoto, they are shot in good light and its low light I want to see t... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
So it's still going to cost you more in the long run than waiting a comparitively short while for... (more)

daphoto Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
If the D7000 isn't out soon enough for him, I doubt the price will drop for the E-5 in that time eit... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I'm afraid I don't understand this "message." What should Olympus have done that they haven't tha... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Of course the point is to inform E-3 owners about any improvement that they can expect if they wo... (more)

Life of Brian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
John, Interesting stuff, no doubt all manufacturers including Olympus as we know are looking a... (more)

Richard-43 Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
It's too soon to lose heart in the 4/3 format. I own other dslrs but my simple E420 and lenses help ... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I think that from now on upgrades from all manufacturers are going to be modest, the technology f... (more)

Ians Tata Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I really do think that serious judgement has to be reserved for the time when we can actually see th... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Absolutely Jeff. Let's hope so. :)... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I would say that it says more about Canon drinking their own megapixel kool aid. I think they al... (more)

alienchow Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
If the RAW performance of the E-5 has improved, and not just the jpeg, it might be a worthwhile upgr... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
For all the complaining I have done about the E-5 spec, I will fully admit that I plan to fix my ... (more)

lizziebea Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I was hoping that a new E? would have produced faster shutter speed when shooting C-AF - it is nowhe... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I agree. :)... (more)

yalcrab Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Hi Ian I stand corrected you are right. But I had an E3 and I liked it very much, but we all kno... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I'm not sure about the GH1 sensor. Either Panasonic won't let Olympus have it, Olympus don't want... (more)

JBC Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I think with the weaker AA filter that the improvement in RAW files should be significant, and am... (more)

JBC Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
C-AF speed is one of the listed improvments, so hopefully they will actually achieve the 5fps mar... (more)

Ross Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Hi Ian, This is a question with a comment that was on Four Thirds Photo forum. Will the E-5 auto... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
First, 1080p for the sake of 1080p is pretty meaningless. 720p at a higher bit-rate is going to ... (more)

AndyElliott Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Very few people with 1080p-capable DSLRs shoot in 1080p mode after trying 720p as well. The file ... (more)

msf Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I have to say that after moving to the D700 last year ,I was interested to see how the new E5 was re... (more)

Ross Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Apart from the D700 being a full frame camera, it of course will be different there, but I can't ... (more)

Robert Watcher Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Although Robert, I love that picture of the drenched E-3, mine spent a day in a blizzard in GA (... (more)

Ross Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Goodonya Robert, That message needs to be part of the up front marketing of the E5. I bet you ... (more)

Robert Watcher Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
h - there is always someone who can outdo ya - - - I`m fine with that. :D BTW - I hope to wasn`t m... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
certainly not, you are clearly no troll. I was referring to the guy who came in just to say that... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I don't think that MSF is a troll as such, just a very unhappy previous E-System user who migrate... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Well, seemed Trolly to me. I would like to say that I was originally very disappointed in this... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I like your Troll poster by the way, Reggie. *LOL... (more)

Paul Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Some may find these E-5 images interesting as a taster.:) [url]http://www.flickr.com/photos/olddo/s... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Links not working, I wonder if they've been pulled? :\... (more)

Bear Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Attacking the build quality of the E3 (and presumably the E5 as they appear to be pretty much the sa... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Bear! How are you enjoying that D3s? I would like to get a D3/D700. I will still do a lot of sh... (more)

Paul Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Try this John. ... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
The good news is that there are production spec. E-5s here at Photokina and I'm collecting mine tomo... (more)

Barr1e Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Is that the one I have ordered from SRS Watford - do you have my address? *LOL Looking forward... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I am really excited to see some shots, Ian. I think I should write a blog post about how I slowly c... (more)

Ross Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Sounds like a nice lens & I did the same & bought a Sigma 150 macro & shouldn't have. Boy, have I... (more)

Ross Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
The fun of picking up a new toy is something we are born with & stays with us all our life, but t... (more)

John Perriment Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
No, no, Barrie - surely it's the one [B]Santa[/B] has earmarked for [B]me![/B] Santa gets awfu... (more)

Ross Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
I wish Santa could deliver me one as well, but I'll have to be content with all the prechristmas ... (more)

ReggieB Re: Olympus E-5 hands-on preview
Ian, any idea when you will be able to put up some comparison shots? Otherwise, starting tomorrow m... (more)

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