Olympus E-P5 Review

July 8, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 16 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

During the review, the Olympus E-P5 produced images of excellent quality. In the Natural picture mode, colours are vibrant without being garish or over-saturated, while dynamic range is very good. From ISO 100 through to ISO 1600, noise is virtually undetectable, not becoming an issue until ISO 3200, which is an excellent result for a Micro Four Thirds sensor camera. ISO 3200 and 6400 are still eminently usable, with only the two fastest settings of 12800 and 25600 really suffering.The corresponding raw files are inevitably more noisy at lower ISOs.

The supplied flash unit is more than powerful enough for fill-in use, while long exposures are easily achieved. The new image stabilisation system works very well indeed, even when hand-holding the camera at slow shutter speeds. The Art Filters produce special effects that would otherwise require you to spend a lot of time in the digital darkroom.

Noise

There are 9 ISO settings available on the Olympus E-P5. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and the RAW equivalent on the right:

JPEG RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg
   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

File Quality

The Olympus E-P5 offers two JPEG quality settings - Fine and Normal. Naturally, you may opt to save your photographs in the camera's raw file format (ORF). Raw+JPEG shooting is available.

16M Fine (100% Crop) 16M Normal (100% Crop)
quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg
   
16M RAW (100% Crop)  
quality_raw.jpg  

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes by changing the Picture Modes.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Flash

The Olympus E-P5 features a pop-up flash that has multiple modes including Forced On, Forced Off, Auto, Slow Sync, Rear-Curtain Sync and almost any of these combined with red-eye reduction. The pictures below were taken of a white wall from a distance of 1.5m, with and without the built-in flash.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (84mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (84mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And now for some portraits. The pop-up flash of the Olympus E-P5 did not cause any red-eye effect.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Olympus E-P5 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 60 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times as long as 30 minutes, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 100. We've included a 100% crop to show what the quality is like.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Image Stabilisation

The Olympus E-P5 comes with a sensor-shift image stabilisation (IS) system, which allows you to take sharp hand-held photos at slower shutter speeds than with cameras that lack this feature.

Focal Length / Shutter Speed

Off (100% Crop)

On (100% Crop)

28mm / 1/10th Second antishake1.jpg antishake1a.jpg
     
 

Off (100% Crop)

On (100% Crop)

84mm / 1/10th Second antishake2.jpg antishake2a.jpg

Art Filters

The Olympus E-P5 offers 12 different Art Filters, which allow you to quickly apply an artistic effect to a photo before taking it (JPEG images only). Note that applying the Art Filters slows the camera down somewhat as the camera takes several seconds to process and save the image.

Pop Art

Soft Focus

art_filters_01.jpg art_filters_02.jpg
   

Pale&Light Color

Light Tone

art_filters_03.jpg art_filters_04.jpg
   

Grainy Film

Pin Hole

art_filters_05.jpg art_filters_06.jpg
   
Diorama Cross Process
art_filters_07.jpg art_filters_08.jpg
   
Gentle Sepia Dramatic Tone
art_filters_09.jpg art_filters_10.jpg
   
Key Line Watercolor
art_filters_11.jpg art_filters_12.jpg

Picture Modes

Olympus' Picture Modes are essentially pre-set combinations of saturation, contrast and sharpness, except for the new i-Enhance mode that aims to optimise each photo individually. You can tailor each Picture Mode to your needs. The following examples demonstrate the differences across the available Picture Modes.

i-Enhance

Vivid

picture_modes_01.jpg picture_modes_02.jpg
   

Natural

Muted

picture_modes_03.jpg picture_modes_04.jpg
   

Portrait

Monotone

picture_modes_05.jpg picture_modes_06.jpg