Olympus E-5 Review

December 22, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | |

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#1 Norway Photos

This would be the perfect camera for me when I’m photographing in Northern Norway.

The Olympus E-500 has been a sturdy camera, but I find the Micro Four Thirds-system to be more usable nowadays. Maybe Olympus will release a weatherproof MFT camera?

1:07 pm - Wednesday, December 22, 2010

#2 kelsci


The link above was the only video I liked from the E-5 of which the camera was obviously in a underwater housing.  In 720P it is nothing short of fabulous IMHO. One could not ask for better color quality and detail that this video has.

I was impressed with the still photos which showed great detail and color balance.  When I enlarged the picture of the barren trees it was clear to discern all the detail in this picture. The bricks on the house showed great linear detail.  Whether it be still photography,video or a tv sets picture, on occassion I have seen what I call lifelike detail above and beyond the average.  Objects in the distance take on a sharpness,clarity and realism as good as objects close-up. I call this “image liveliness” and is a bonus to those who have any type of equipment etc that gives you this.  This camera is one of the very few that has it. The camera however is expensive and I could not determine if it renders stero sound at this moment.

2:47 pm - Wednesday, December 22, 2010

#3 kelsci

This camera has an external jack for a stereo microphone. Its built in microphone is mono.

2:52 pm - Wednesday, December 22, 2010

#4 Mikey

In your “Main Rivals” section the street price of all APS-C cameras listed is $100 - $700 less than the E-5.  The IQ from these cameras is better.  The Full-Frame a850 has vastly better IQ and Sony’s Zeiss glass is competitive with the top Olympus glass.  The Pentax K-5 is smaller, lighter, better ergonomically, and has the same level of build and weather sealing. The original promise of 4/3’s – smaller, lighter, better – has not been met; obviously.  It will be interesting to see what 2011 brings for Olympus and m43.  Great potential for m43 and Olympus that really needs to be met in 2011; especially considering what Sony(a33/a55/a77&NEX;) and Panasonic(GH2) are doing.

The reason that the E-5 is a good choice for owners of high quality Olympus glass is because it is the only choice.  A feasible, usable, and robust m43 solution is required for Olympus SHG , HG & Standard 4/3’s glass.

Just my opinion :-)

7:21 pm - Wednesday, December 22, 2010

#5 mark lohnes

The E-5 has a quality to the camera as a system that belies the specs. Reviews can be very biased towards brands and particular specs. 4/3rds was never gonna wow us with high iso images, that was never the goal, but it seems that is the one criticism that every customer of 4/3rds face in this age of wanting your cake and eating it too. Photography is more than high iso.

The 4/3rds system does promise smaller size, but it is clear that the size benefits comes from the lens, not the body. This is a plus as the body is not so small as to be a hindrance from a usability standpoint. Hang some SHG glass and the balance is very nice when the HLD grip is used. Something many bloggers and reviews often do not print in their reviews. Try that even with FF cameras from Canikon! The beauty of 4/3rds is the glass…no where do you find f/2.0 - f/2.8 glass as small and exuding of quality like the Zuiko SHG glass. My Zeiss is not much better and in a few areas not as good while being a prime, not a zoom. The bodies come and go, but the investment is in the glass and this glass has resolution to go far beyond what the foreseeable future holds for 4/3rds.

The spec sheet is modest in most cases and behind the state of the art to the competition, however, I disagree that the E-5 in any way lags behind taken as a whole looking beyond the stats. The sensor is tuned very well to the intended use for the camera and the processing for jpegs is the state of the art. Olympus has wisely chosen to stay out of the meagpixel wars and focus their attention to fine tuning an all ready good camera. They have address most of the criticism of the E-3. There will always be a camera that will best Oly in particular areas, but taken as a whole, there are few cameras that combine acuity, color balance and resolution with form and function like the E-5.

My E-3 still takes great images and the E-5 takes even sharper, clearer images. The proof is in the prints hanging on the wall, not the monitor. We enjoy a time in which the hobbyist can take far better images with a modest home digital lab, than pros did in the film era. Today, we have forgotten this and bench-race cameras.

If you are interested in a fine imaging tool, then stop reading and listening to the “experts” and “fan boys,” go to a camera shop and see for yourself. If the ergo’s suit you, then I think you’ll be impressed. As for the price, lieca and other brands stumps Oly and no one seems to mind.. In reality, I believe that Oly charges a fair price. Canikon charges similar prices for their 7D and D300s, though street prices are lower in most cases. Must everything come down to price…you get what you pay for.

3:03 am - Thursday, December 23, 2010

#6 fabio

i think this video, taken in iceland, is very interesting about e5


10:44 am - Thursday, December 23, 2010

#7 kmasters

For most of our requirements, this E-5 plus the Zukio glass will give outstanding prints. The more MP, the more noise.

Olympus gives you value and quality for your money.

Used E- cameras are hard to find.

8:47 pm - Friday, December 24, 2010

#8 Jacob

I haven’t played with E-5 yet, but this particular aspect of the camera seems not to have been changed from E-3.

E-3 is one of the speediest and most easy cameras to adjust on the fly if you remember one simple mnemonic: “ADJUST the Front but CHANGE the Back”.

For example, to ADJUST the focus point, you press the rightmost thumb button and use Front scroll(*), while to CHANGE the way focus behaves (switch between “dynamic focus”, “single point” and “all points active” modes) you press the same button and use Back scroll.

On the other hand, the more frequently used function, the easier it is to get, which makes some button mapping seem “illogical”. “Bracket” function seems to be the edge case here, with “change” (that is, turning on/off and selecting the frame number/EV distance combo) requiring you to press TWO left shoulder buttons at the same time but “adjusting” it uses.. the dedicated EV adjustment button on the front.

This camera has perhaps the best haptic interface of all I have had a chance to try. With a little training required to remember where buttons are, you can adjust (and change) about 90% of all settings that you may want to modify during a photo session without taking your eye away from the viewfinder.

(*)Once you START adjusting the focus point, the scroll wheel on the back MAY be also used but that depends on your personal preferences set deep in the bowels of the camera’s menu.

10:26 am - Tuesday, December 28, 2010

#9 Mark

The Olympus E-series provides something no other system can offer and that is pro-level ruggedness with a third of the bulk and mass.

I shoot sports and a wide range of other commercial and social assignments. I have an effective 100-400mm 2.8 lens on the E-3 which is portable and usable hand-held whereas my colleagues have to stick to monopods and many more kilograms of glass in the corner of the field. I am mobile and get shots they miss.

Focus is as fast as is needed and the 1600 ISO results are great when printed in the magazines and newspapers. The e-5 promises better results overall and so is a must-have purchase to do justice to the lenses on hand.

As for the apparent “illogical buttons” it is simple. If you regard the main wheel (back) as being to the left of the main screen (look from the top of the camera and you will get what I am saying) and the front one to the right thereof, then the functions of the 3 buttons on the left of the prism are easy to use and remember.

If you press a button then the function on the left (i.e. on the actaual button) is set with the “left” (rear) wheel and the function on the right (on the prism) is set with the right (front) wheel. Easy.

It is evident to see, once used all day - every day - that the guys who designed the E-series (particularly the E-3) actually use them to take photographs and not to satisfy reviewers.

It is a great, logically thought-out and reliable working tool and capable of anything one asks of it. The fact that they changed so little in the way of controls and shape is indicative of how happy most of us who use it to make a living are with the layout.

Well done in the path of small, incremental improvements - it ensures consistency in one’s work as you do not have to re-learn the tool.

And let us not foget who actualy gave us all the features most other SLRs use today - TTL flash control, spot highlight and shadow biasing, dust reduction (which some eminent reviewers called a gimmick in 2003!), live view and a few other common features (true multi-pattern metering with 49 zones).

In my view, Olympus (who are, let us not forget, only 2 years “younger” than Nikon - 1919 as opposed to 1917) make the best professional tools most people have never heard of.

7:25 am - Thursday, December 30, 2010

#10 Blake

Wow this camera is incredible! I just wish it was a little less expensive….

7:30 am - Thursday, December 30, 2010

#11 MadHungarian

a $1600 camera made in China? Keep it.

2:33 am - Sunday, January 2, 2011

#12 Peter

The E-5 remains as the only DSLR still being made by Olympus. Why? All other DSLR models are now discontinued. Rumour has it that Olympus are teaming up with another manufacturer [possibly Panasonic] to convert over the a micro 4/3 system.
This my be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your survivability. I would love to see another entry level and middle level DSLR from Olympus to replace the 520 and 620 as there are too many great lenses from Olympus that should not go to waste.

1:05 pm - Wednesday, January 5, 2011

#13 Matt

Come on! I’ve been waiting over a year to upgrade my E-500 to something with HD video capabilities and CF storage, and this is all Olympus can come up with. I guess I’ll just have to keep saving until I can afford the Canon 5D-MkII and a bunch of new lenses. Maybe I’ll just dump all the CF with the E-500 and go for the Canon 7D or one of the Nikons.

3:13 pm - Thursday, January 13, 2011

#14 nakamura


hi. i have a digital camera samsung st 500( LiKE PL-100)


sometimes when i take pics and upload to pc and zoom it i see 1 tiny green dot somewhere in pic and 1 blue dot somewhere else in same pic . it also happened in different photos and sometimes not.  i checked the objective and lens look clean. what is the reason ? is it malfunction? shall i take it back to service?


12:46 am - Friday, January 14, 2011

#15 John

As one of the very first owners of an OM series (which I still use at times) I have been waiting for a DSLR from Olympus. I invested in a great PEN system making the choice to use “full” lenses with adapters rather than micro so they would be usable on a DSLR that could tempt me from the Nikon 70/200/300s units I have. But the low light performace as well as “Made in China” may mean I will be waiting a bit longer.

7:25 am - Saturday, January 15, 2011

#16 Jacob

@all who seems to have a problem with this camera being made in China.

Have you ever *held* it in your hands? Or any other Oly dslr, especially the top of the range ones? Or those hybrids that came before them? *All* of them, including the cheapest beginner DSLR line (3x0/4xx) are solidly built and feel very, very well made.

5:54 pm - Saturday, January 15, 2011

#17 Andreas Jell

In Germany there is a good magazin, since 1946: The FOTO MAGAZIN. And in the list of the best cameras the E-5 ist at the 3rd place - after the high-prizing Top-Models from Canikon.

I think the E-5 ist the best buy today. And the lenses are very very good. Compare the prices:

Canon 300mm/2,8 - 6000€
Olympus 150mm/f2 - 2300€

Sigma 200-500/f2,8 - 19.000€
Olympus 90-250/f2,8 - 5.900€

The Quality of this two examples from Olympus are outstandig - and they are not so heavy than the Sigma/Canons.

2:13 pm - Wednesday, January 19, 2011

#18 Brooklyn

I find it funny how the $600 PEN E-PL2 has better ISO sensitivity than the E-5

6:06 am - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#19 John E

Some of the commentators of this blog apparently have never used the E-5 .  I would not be critical of this camera until you owned it and used it will some of great olympus glass such as the 35-100, 50mm macro and 12-60 lenes ect.  I have had mine since xmas and would never trade mine in for any other system.  The portrait , landscape, wedding, sports photograghy is absolutely outstanding!!!

3:03 pm - Friday, May 27, 2011

#20 Arnoud de Vries

I think the writer of this review isn’t as good in shooting photo’s as a writing journalist.
read this: http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2012/10/01/user-report-the-olympus-e-5-user-review-43-is-alive-and-well-by-craig-litten/

4:40 am - Thursday, February 28, 2013

Entry Tags

hd video, review, hd, 3 inch LCD, test, 720p, hdmi, 12 megapixel, video, olympus, DSLR, digital SLR, weather-proof, e5, e-5, Olympus E-5, Olympus E-5 Review, olympus e5

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