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Olympus E-5 Review Summary

12 Megapixels12 MegapixelsSingle Lens ReflexSingle Lens ReflexHigh ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.High ISO: ISO 6400 or more is available at full-resolution.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Stabilization: Compensates for tiny involuntary movements of the camera.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Level: Measures camera tilt and helps to keep the horizon level.Continuous DriveContinuous Drive720p HD Video: 1280 x 720 resolution or more but less than 1920 x 1080.720p HD Video: 1280 x 720 resolution or more but less than 1920 x 1080.Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Manual Controls: Both fully-manual (M) and semi-automatic modes (T and V).Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Custom White-Balance: Specifies exactly what should be white to the camera.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Action Photography: Shutter speeds of 1/1500 or more.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Night Photography: Reaches shutter-speeds longer than 4 seconds.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Hotshoe: Allows external flash units to be attached.Spot MeteringSpot MeteringDepth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Depth-Of-Field Preview: Improve perception of DOF before shooting.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Weatherproof - Seals protect from dust, humidity and light splashing.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), SDHC and SD memory.Accepts Compact Flash memory.Accepts Compact Flash memory.Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed reviewDiscontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.Discontinued: No longer produced by the manufacturer. May still be in stock or found used.

Olympus Evolt E-5 Assessment

The Olympus E-5 is an incremental update to the E-3
Olympus E-3
. Externally, little has changed except for the new rotating 3" LCD which adds convenience at the expense of some durability due to a weak hinge. Internally though, much has been improved. The new 12 megapixels sensor with an apparently weaker anti-alias sensor and improved image processing noticeably improves image quality, showing good results and low image noise until ISO 1600. Metering and white-balance are top-notch, while colors can be rendered fairly naturally. An aggressive noise-reduction system can be turned off or at least lowered to reveal the E-5's respectable sharpness and retention of details.

An 11-point double-cross focusing system provides the most impressive performance of the E-5. While Olympus' claim of the fastest autofocus system cannot be verified it is believable. The AF system is quick, very sensitive and quite accurate, even down to relatively low light-levels. The same cannot be said of the contrast-detection system used in live-view which can take over 4 seconds to lock focus and makes quite a racket will doing so. The remainder of the camera's performance is generally fast except for the delay to review images which stands around 1½ seconds. Shot-to-shot speeds are below average for a high-end DSLR.

Ergonomically the Olympus E-5 is designed with some thought, putting all important controls on external buttons to avoid going through what must be one of the most twisted menu system among modern cameras. With gloves on, certain buttons, particularly EC, are a bit too flush and close together for comfort. In general though, after prolonged familiarity, using this DSLR should become fairly smooth. Our detailed review mentions other user-interface niggles but the only seriously problematic aspect is related to video shooting which borders on the unusable.

The Olympus E-5 is so feature rich that its only direct competitors are the Pentax K-5
Pentax K-5
and its older sibling the K-7
Pentax K-7
. Those cameras are physically smaller and lighter while being more durable and even resistant to freezing temperatures. They also have the unique ability to prevent tilted photographs by rotating their sensors to compensate. Excluding image stabilization, the Canon EOS 7D
Canon EOS 7D
and Nikon D300S
Nikon D300S
can be added to the list of competitors. These cameras, like the K-5, have faster continuous drives with top speeds of 7 or 8 FPS. The Nikon D300S is particularly notable for its 51-point autofocus system which can precisely tracking moving subjects.

Neocamera detailed reviewNeocamera detailed review Read the full Olympus E-5 review here.

PROS CONS
Great image sharpness Image review delay
Good control over image noise Continuous drive speed drop at high ISO
Excellent metering accuracy Pitch not visible in viewfinder
Superb automatic white-balance Status screen does not turn off automatically
Sensitive focusing system Live-view not always exposure-priority
Ultra-quick autofocus EC button too recessed
Generally quite responsive Difficult to use while wearing gloves
Very effective stabilization for all lenses Noisy and very slow contrast-detect autofocus
Adjustable LCD color temperature Overly complicated menu system
Plenty of external controls Impossible to set up video framing
Highly customizable Unusable capture during video recording
Generally excellent build quality LCD hinge feels weak
Protruding viewfinder
Built-in viewfinder shutter
ExcellentExcellent Excellent

Related Information

Sister Models
Olympus E-3
Olympus E-3
- 10 Megapixels, ISO 3200 Max, 5 FPS, 2.5" LCD 230K Pixels, No video
Olympus E-5
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By on 2010/12/10
3

Olympus E-5 Facts

SLR digital camera
12 Megapixels DSLRISO 100-6400
Four-Thirds Mount
2X FLM

Sensor-Size: 17 x 13mm

Four-Thirds Sensor

Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI

Shutter 1/8000-60s
2-Axis Built-in StabilizationFull manual controls, including Manual Focus
100% Coverage
Medium Viewfinder
Custom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning
2 Axis Digital LevelSpot-Metering
WeatherproofHot-Shoe
Built-in Dust ReductionStereo audio input
5 FPS Drive, Unlimited ImagesLithium-Ion Battery
1280x720 @ 30 FPS Video RecordingSecure Digital Extended Capacity
3" LCD 920K PixelsCompact Flash
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