Saturday, February 18, 2012

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Hands On Preview at Olympus User Gathering, Malaysia

Olympus Malaysia was kind enough to organize a free public event targeted mostly at loyal Olympus users locally, a gathering to promote the newly launched Olympus OM-D E-M5. On this glorious Saturday, two sessions were created to cater for 50 people each, one slot in the morning, and another in the afternoon. The gathering was held at Full House, Sunway Giza Mall, and prior RSVP must be made to Olympus Malaysia. During the gathering, the Olympus staff had the chance to interact with the end-users, feeding them with useful information regarding the E-M5, highlighting some features by live demonstrations, and of course, allowing the attendees to “touch and feel” the camera. Since I was working on Saturday, I attended the later session of the day.

All images in this entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital lenses 25mm F2.8 pancake and 50mm F2 macro

Michael Wong, oh such joy looking through the Electronic Viewfinder of E-M5 !!

Olympus OM-D E-M5

Black or Silver?

Magnesium Alloy body. Only mirrorless camera with such robust construction up to date.

The new Olympus FL600R external flash.

You can see the oddly shaped bundled flash unit, which is also fully weather sealed, to make up for the lack of built in flash.

It was great seeing so many familiar faces coming together to this gathering. In fact, I would have known more people who actually went for the morning session. The event started with presentation to introduce the Olympus E-M5, and subsequently what it can do. It was a very helpful presentation to the crowd, mainly because it incorporates live demonstration, showcasing many new features on the E-M5. Some of the highlights of the live demonstration include the live preview of the Image Stabilization through live view/EVF, live bulb mode (live view preview while shooting in bulb mode), the improvements made to minimize the jello effect and roller shutter effect while shooting video in comparison to the older PEN E-P3, how to control the “Tone Adjustment” of highlight and shadow independently while being live previewed, the ability to access the controls in Super Control Panel (SCP) via the touch screen, and many more. I believe that those live demonstrations can really elaborate the processes and improvements made in the E-M5 better, than just reading the descriptions off from a website on the internet. Better still, you can ask questions on the spot, and on top of that, you can try the camera out for yourself after the presentation!!

Olympus Staff members, John and Tang, setting up the cameras for live demonstrations.

Kee Nyap, the main speaker of the day.

Tang, elaborating on the advantages of using the 12-50mm lens.

A live demonstration showing the improved video shooting performance with the OM-D, and I took this opportunity to shoot myself and the crowd through the screen. The guy with the black DSLR was me of course.

Eat all you can. Buffet style afternoon snack.

The main highlight of the event was surely the hands-on preview on the Olympus OM-D E-M5, where everyone who attended the gathering can grab the camera in their hands, and shoot. There were four working units for the crowd to try, but no SD card was allowed to be slotted into the cameras. I myself have had my own brief preview with the camera before, hence I allowed others chance to try it out and not hog on to the camera selfishly. Nonetheless, seeing the expressions and reactions on those who tried the camera was indeed interesting and amusing at the same time. Even after so many previews and initial impressions posted online, many still thought the camera was larger than it actually was, and when they first held it, they were all shocked on how small the size really was. Not surprisingly, everyone thought that the camera is appealingly sexy, converging retro-classic design with sophisticated modern edgy look. In addition, most people are pleased with the electronic viewfinder, because the refresh rate of the EVF has been doubled up to 120Hz, in comparison to the 60Hz in their previous incarnations. Display lag time has been reduced to mere 21ms, which allows for almost instantaneous display: basically what you see is what you get on the screen and the 21ms delay is almost negligible in most shooting conditions. When half-pressing the shutter button, the immediate AF confirmation lock was another positive remark that many have voiced. The PEN E-P3 was already very fast, but the AF in OM-D E-M5 was noticeably faster.

In the previous two gatherings, I was asked to give a presentation/speech on my experience and encounter with the E-5, and subsequently E-P3. This time, it was really nice to be sitting back, not to have anything to worry about, and just enjoy myself throughout the session, catching up and chatting with some familiar faces, and of course, allowing myself the opportunity to work my camera and snap some photographs away. Not to forget, I was there to stuff in as much food as I can. Free food, I was doing my duty as a Malaysian to eat, right?

The camera is ready to be "molested".

Look, how small it is in William's hands !!

I think silver is sexy. What say you?

Checking out the black one instead.

Chung Ka, giving it a go. Electronic Viewfinder. It will REPLACE optical viewfinder. One day.

12-50mm lens. One of the mostly debated issues in Olympus related photography forums.

the door gift.

Look, it is a miniature OM-1 !!! And the lens can be interchanged too.

I am sure everyone who attended have appreciated this kind effort Olympus Malaysia has put into ensuring their loyal customers to have the priority to preview and have first hands-on experience with their newly launched product, though the availability of the camera is still about a month or two away. Also, this is the place for the Olympus users to come together and get to know each other, and to reaffirm each other that though we are not the majority (well, we know who the big boys are but who cares about them right?), we still love our equipments and more importantly, we enjoy making beautiful photographs with them.

I cannot wait to get my hands on Olympus OM-D E-M5 for review !!


  1. great preview Robin!

    ouh u make me want to have this for sight-seeing camera! with the performance and lightweight body.. this is sooooo much attractive!

    2012 is going to be interesting! yippie!

  2. oh yeah..the silver is waaaayyy more sexy compare to the black one..and remind me of my late father old nikon film SLR..

  3. Oyama,
    Bila nak pergi shooting???
    Lets plan something ahhaha.

  4. Very good pre-review, makes me feel good that Olympus is still coming up with new and better cameras. I am looking for an upgrade of E-5 hopefully. BTW, what kind of film or chip in mini camera anyway? Good to see your hair is back!

  5. Very nice read! Thanks for sharing.
    The silver one looks good, but I prefer it in black. Although most of the lenses that interest me are in silver too.
    In any cas, beautiful camera and very promising.

  6. Hello Carl,
    Thanks !! I was hoping that this camera would deliver in terms of performance and image quality and if it does, I will replace my E-5 with it.
    That miniature camera is non-functional plastic only. Its a keychain i think.

    hello Vladimir,
    Thanks !! You like silver lenses? Interesting.
    Yes, the camera looks very promising, I hope it is as good as it says on paper.

  7. i've been eyeing this for quite some time so it's good to see a real life one in the hands of real people!


  8. Feli,
    I will be reviewing it next month. Stay tuned !!

  9. Robin, what I meant is that the 12mm and the 45mm zuikos are silver, so they won't fit very well with an all black OM-D.
    I just hope for a better dynamic range and I am sold.

  10. Thanks for the entertaining report.
    have pre-ordered mine, today - in black.
    I think the silver one is a real beauty but looks strange with the grip I will neeed for my FT lenses.

    Looking forward to your review



  11. Hello Vladimir,
    True, indeed most newer lenses come in silver only.

    Hello Nicolaus,
    Wow, pre-ordered already!! We can't pre-order in Malaysia yet, unless we do it on other US websites.

  12. Yep, I just couldn't resist after I signed a new deal that will bring me some extra money, this year. The past two weeks I tried to convince myself that I'm perfectly equipped, with my E-5 and the PL3 but it seems as if I failed.
    But who knows - maybe the E-5 will be looking for a new owner soon...

  13. Hello Nicolaus,
    Amazing !! Not many official reviews yet, and I now know at least a dozen of my readers who have pre-prordered E-M5, and some of them (a few others beside you) also sold off their E-5.

  14. You know, Robin, usually after the launch of a new Olympus camera, the Oly universe is filled with whining and doom saying. This time, however, evrerybody who had the chance of touching the camera is delighted and enthusiastic.
    Seems as if Olympus succeed in creating a camera that really meets our hopes and demands. So why spend more tine waiting with my order. Particularly as I read today - no idea if this is true - that the preorders alrready have exceeded the first production batch by 100 percent. And I don't want to wait until 2013.

    Nonetheless, I won't sell my E-5 before I will have found out if the E-m5 will offer me the chance of shooting dog-action pics like these:

  15. Strange - my last comment seems to have disappeared - possibly due to the links I included?

  16. super! super! i can't wait either. i don't think i've ever been so excited about a camera. this is IT for me. finally.

  17. Good preview there buddy.

    Maybe I'll consider this since it's smaller =)

  18. Hello Nicolaus,

    I apologize for your comment was detected as a spam automatically, but I have pulled it out again.

    Wow, if what you mentioned about pre-order exceeding the production volume, indeed that was a good news for Olympus, after all the financial scandal and other issues they faced last year. Sure hope they bounce back and produce more amazing things for us !!!

    Hello Valerie,
    Lets hope this is THE camera that we all hope it would be !!!

    I am sure you will treasure the small size and light-weight, and the professional level image output and camera performance !!

  19. Hello Robin,

    I again enjoyed reading your article, thanks!
    This camera is such a beauty.. Unfortunately for me Olympus hasn't launched the macro lenses yet (except the f6.3, which is a bit too slow for me) and don't have a 'good enough' telezoom (300mm f6.7) for micro 4/3s (I mostly shoot nature). If they had it would be difficult for me not to switch from all my four thirds gear. It just seems this is the future now.. I know Olympus is working on a E-7, but I believe they will put way more time and energy to get the best out of the micro four thirds system. What are your thoughts of this?

  20. Hi Eugene,
    Thanks for the compliments.
    If wildlife and nature are your main photography genre, you should be staying with the 4/3 DSLR system, mainly because of the lenses it has. We have all been told that the E-7 is in progress now, and I see no reason for Olympus to abandon the development for the 4/3 line. Obviously they are emphasizing on their micro 4/3 system at the moment, because micro 4/3 can sell and make money. Nonetheless, that does not mean 4/3 system is at the end of the road, with a good enough camera body, people will still be willing to come back to 4/3 system, and its wonderful, legendary lenses.

  21. Thanks for your opinion Robin! It made my mind calm down a bit. The lenses are indeed truly amazing. I'll just keep my faith in the 4/3s system for now, and keep enjoying it and ofcourse, the pictures I make with it.
    Take care!

  22. Hello Eugene,
    You are not alone. I am keeping it too. Enjoy shooting !!

  23. The pictures of real people using the camera really helps to show how small the camera really is. I will place a preorder once the reviews start coming in, but I am having the hardest time choosing between black or silver. The kit lens is also a good value bundled with the camera for 1300 (the 12-50 normally costs $500 in the US).

  24. Tony,
    I think nothing beats holding the camera in your own hands to gauge the actual size, but I believe waiting for that to happen itself is enough to kill most people.
    Black or Silver? I have friends who would buy BOTH. Talking about indecisiveness.

  25. Robin,

    The camera looks nice, but I think for a system camera they have made it a bit too small. The OM was about 15mm wider and gave a bit more space for hands and controls. The optional grip just adds height, not width and moves your index finger away from the top plate.

    I wish they had made it the same size as an OM4

  26. Hello OM Olympus,
    Most people are worried that the camera would be large. Keeping it small is a smart move, and so far initial impressions from the crowd have been very positive about the actual size of the camera.

  27. Hello Robin

    I will have to try it out in the metal first and see how it handles, but just looking at the photos of people with probably average size hands it all looks a bit cramped.

    My thinking is once a camera goes above jean pocket size, like an IXUS you are going to have it over your shoulder anyway, so it might as well be big enough to handle well.
    I think the original OM or Contax G were about the best compromise between being not too small so the camera is fiddle, but not too big either.

  28. Hi Robin, great article. Buying a new camera in April and now I really don't know whether it will be the E-5 or E-M5, depends on peoples reviews with the 8FE, 50-200SWD or 14-54 which I already own I guess. Can't wait for you to get one on test!

  29. Hi Robin, great article. Buying a new camera in April and now I really don't know whether it will be the E-5 or E-M5, depends on peoples reviews with the 8FE, 50-200SWD or 14-54 which I already own I guess. Can't wait for you to get one on test!

  30. Hello Bryan,
    Thanks !! I will do my best when I get the unit for review.

  31. i am salivating over the E-M5.
    And i want that door gift !! :)

  32. I think the silver one is sexy, too!

  33. Hello Calex,
    The miniature OM-1 is not for sale. Only for promotional use !!

    hello Ryo,
    I love the silver one too !

  34. Thanks Robin for your insightful preview. You mentioned we can't preorder in Malaysia but what about the Shashinki online camera shop?

  35. Thanks for your review, Robin. I hope my order for an E-M5 here in Toronto can be filled from Henry's first shipment in April. Your photos and comments make me even more anxious to get mine. And I'm looking forward to reading your full review.

    I know Rebecca Saw was at one or more of the Maylasian gatherings. Was she there when you were?

    Best wishes,

    Fred (frelwa)

  36. Nice one Robin. Been catching up your site since i got myself an EP3 and this is my first time leave comment here.

    Any idea when E-M5 wills tart on sales in Malaysia? Oh and also the FL 600R flash :)

  37. Hello Samerize,
    Thanks! I am not sure about Shashinki. they start taking pre-orders already?

    Hello Fred,
    No I did not meet anyone by the name of rebecca. Perhaps she went in the morning session? I was in the afternoon session.

    Hello Jackie,
    Thanks for your constant support and visit to this site.
    I was told that the E-M5 should hit the stores in April. not sure about the FL600R though.

  38. Hi Robin,
    Yes! They started to take pre-orders for quite some time already. Deposit is RM1,000.

  39. foof.... I want one BADLY. my Pen ep2 focuses really slow.

  40. Hello Sammerize,
    The pre-order is not from Malaysia then. You can also pre-order from other international websites directly.

    Hello rcferraris,
    It should be available soon !! Patience.

  41. Hi Robin, if I place my pre-order for EM-5 on other international website. Will the Malaysian custom charge me duty tax when they deliver the camera to me?

  42. Sammerize,
    I honestly have no idea. I normally just buy from local shops.

  43. Robin- thanks for this post, as well as the rest of your lovely blog. I've recently stumbled onto it in my research into Micro 4/3, which I think I will be trading all my Canon 5D mkII gear in for. The OM-D has sealed that deal. My first DSLR was the E-500, but for job reasons I switched to Canon. After all that, I most miss the fun I had with my old Oly C-2100 UZ, which had the fastest telephoto lens I've ever seen in a point & shoot, as well as a very effective electronic viewfinder (ahead of its time!). I feel like I can recapture some of that magic with the EM-5.

    A question for you- in all the publicity stills of the camera the various sites are using, including the large retailers, the silver model is pictured with the black kit lens. But in your preview here it is coupled with a silver lens, which looks MUCH better. As far as you know, will that be the lens that ships with the silver kit? I hope so!

    Thanks again.

  44. Robin,
    it's hard to wait, Oly just made my dream camera plus even better- newer features. something I wanted the Pro mft should be. weatherproof like your e-5, fast AF, usable high ISO, compact, bigger front and back dial, and more.
    when is it coming out?

  45. Hello Matt,
    Are your serious about switching your Full Frame gear to micro 4/3? that is one bold move that I do not think many people would take. Nonetheless, I would still advise to at least wait for more professional reviews, such as from DPreview and DXOmark. At least they would be able to deliver some technical justifications on whether the E-M5 can deliver or not in terms of image quality.

    About the kit lens whether it is black or silver, I am not too sure. I might have to ask the Olympus Malaysia people, and at this moment, nothing has been announced yet (what kit or pricing) here locally.

    Hello rcferraris,
    The E-M5 should be available in local stores some time in April. Official date is not released yet.

  46. Robin- I am very serious about changing from my Canon gear to the smaller M4/3 setup; but I am not quite foolish enough to get rid of everything just yet. Hanging on to the MkII body & a few lenses that I regularly use for work, but everything that I use as travel & personal shooting gear is going. It is so cumbersome that I rarely take it out anyway, and the biggest sensor in the world is no good if you don't have it with you.

    I suspect that the MkII may follow someday, as (at least on paper) the new OM-D will fit my needs both for work and play. For the moment it stays in the bag.

    Thanks for your response- you do nice things here.

  47. hello Matt,
    Glad to hear that you are keeping the 5dmk2 !!! You were right, for travel and personal shooting (when we don't have to please the clients), the micro 4/3 system makes more sense due to its smaller size and lighter weight.
    Thanks for your kind support. I shall be getting the E-M5 really soon for review. Stay tuned !!

  48. oh too bad..i am looking forward to purchase the new flash. few months later maybe EM5 X)

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