Sunday, March 11, 2012

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Review: Butterfly Park, KL

Update (11 March 2012): For the first time in history my blog is experiencing problems loading the photographs, as reported by some readers from the US. I usually host my images on Google's Picasa Web Online, which I would not expect to have issues handling massive bandwidth. Nonetheless, I have re-hosted the images on Imageshack. Hope that solves the problem for the time being. If you have difficulties loading the images do let me know. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Update (9 March 2012): Olympus Malaysia has unveiled their official pricing for the OM-D E-M5 and they are starting to take local pre-order (9 to 31 March 2012). There are promotions with FREE gifts too, choice of MMF-3 adapter or 32Gb Sandisk EXTREME card. Do check out their official promotional page here (Click).


Important Notes:
1. This is a user experience based review.
2. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG Large SF (super fine) via Olympus Viewer 2 version 1.3 (provided by Olympus Malaysia).
3. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
4. No post-processing applied to the images. All images were as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

This entry is the Part 3 installment of my Olympus OM-D E-M5 review series, if you have not read the previous entries; please go to Part 1 (here) and Part 2 (here). In the previous entries, I have discussed about Dynamic Range, Resolution/Sharpness and also High ISO shooting of the E-M5.

In this Part 3, I have brought the Olympus E-M5 to the Butterfly Park, KL and did some serious macro shooting there. You can see me in action with the following video:


Check out me shooting macro in Butterfly Park with Olympus OM-D E-M5. Also the video was fully recorded by another E-M5 unit by Sanjit, hand-held at all times. For the video recording, the 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 lens was used. Thanks Sanjit, you rock !!


Video by FULLCIRCLEPIX
Awesome music by SILENT SCENERY
Audio Track: Sky Falling from their album These Still Moments.

MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY

I personally love macro photography, because it gives you a glimpse preview into the tiny world of insects and nature, which normally our naked eye cannot see.
The reason why I chose macro photography to test the E-M5 is because shooting macro is very challenging for any cameras. For extreme magnification (1:1x) the camera has to handle manual focusing well, as even if the autofocus was fast, you will not get in focus image with extremely shallow depth of field issues, due to the slightest movement. Lighting control is another problem, as most of the chosen macro subjects (insects, spiders, etc) do not pose nicely for the camera, and they are usually found hiding underneath a leaf, or inside a narrow opening of bushes. Ambient light is very limited in shades where we find most of the macro subjects and flash photography comes in play to fill in the much needed boost of light. Tripod was not allowed into the Butterfly Park, hence I had to shoot hand-held all the way.

Here I shall explore the strengths of using Olympus E-M5 and how it has helped me in shooting macro in the butterfly park:
1) New 5-Axis Image Stabilization system
2) Built in Electronic View-Finder for manual focusing
3) Handling of the camera
4) Image Quality

45mm F1.8 lens: 1/4000sec, F/1.8, ISO200, Autofocus

50mm F2 macro: 1/100sec, F/11, ISO200, Manual Focus

50mm F2 macro: 1/60sec, F7.1, ISO200, Autofocus

50mm F2 macro: 1/80sec, F/5.6, ISO200, Autofocus

MACRO GEAR SETUP

Before we go on further, allow me to explain the techniques on how I shot some of the extreme magnification images. For general shooting where extreme magnification is not required, I used standard AutoFocus to lock my subjects. Do bear in mind that the following technique is only employed for high magnification images such as full 0.5x magnification on the Olympus 50mm F2 macro lens.

Gear Setup

Body: Olympus OM-D E-M5, with the bundled flash attached, and switched ON all the time

Lens: Olympus Zuiko 50mm F2 macro, attached to body via the new MMF-3 (4/3 lens to micro 4/3 body adapter)

Flash: Olympus FL-36R flash (unfortunately the FL-600R flash is not ready for review at the moment)

The reason why I chose the Olympus 4/3 lens 50mm F2 is mainly due to its amazing sharpness, even when used for challenging macro shooting. We all know how slow this lens is when it comes to AF, hence I have shot mostly with manual focus instead. This is also the perfect opportunity to test how good the E-M5 is when it comes to manual focusing.

If you have watched the above video of me shooting macro in action, you would have known how I executed most of my macro shots in this entry. Nonetheless, the detailed description is as follows:

1) Olympus E-M5 with 50mm macro lens was held single-handedly by my right hand

2) External flash, FL-36R was held by my left hand, with wireless TTL mode activated and ready to fire. I have al-cheapo omnibounce flash diffuser cap on the flash head all the time. The flash was aimed at the subject mostly from the side, slightly above their head level.
3) General camera settings: Shutter Speed from 1/60sec to 1/125 sec (to capture a little bit of ambient light, if possible for a more natural look), Aperture from F8-F/16 (to control and maximize depth of field required), ISO200.

4) Manual Focus, with the lens set to the amount of magnification required, mostly full 0.5x magnification. I rocked myself back and forth until the zone of focus-interest was seen clear/sharp on my viewfinder, and I fired the shutter button.


50mm F2 macro: 1/60sec, F/9, ISO200, Manual Focus
IMAGE SAMPLE 1

100% Crop of Image Sample 1

50mm F2 macro: 1/60sec, F6.2, ISO200, Manual Focus

50mm F2 macro: 1/100sec, F/8, ISO200, Autofocus

50mm F2 macro: 1/80sec, F/14, ISO200, Manual Focus

50mm F2 macro: 1/80sec, F/8, ISO200

50mm F2 macro: 1/80sec, F/9, ISO200


NEW 5-AXIS IMAGE STABILIZATION
The best thing that has ever happened to this camera, when it comes to macro shooting experience, would have been the live, real time preview of the Image Stabilization while shooting was in action. For the first time in camera history, the effect of the in body-based Image stabilization can be seen through the viewfinder or the camera live view screen. This has improved my comfort of shooting by a great deal. For those shooting with 50mm F2 macro lens at full magnification (0.5x, but 1x on 35mm equivalent) you would know how shaky the view through the viewfinder or live view would be in older Olympus bodies where the effect of the IS cannot be seen while shooting. I am very impressed, and certainly the effect of the IS has helped me to be more assured when I shoot in manual focus and also composition in general. The “smooth and steady” view while shooting at high magnification (and I suspect this would help greatly for tele-photo lens as well) is a huge plus in comparison to older Olympus camera’s “jumpy and shaky” view. Being comfortable while composing through the Electronic Viewfinder also means having more motivation to shoot more and more !!

I also find the IS to be very effective, and I did not encounter any shots which were blur due to hand-shake. The slowest shutter speed I have dragged was 1/60 sec, but if you have been shooting at very high magnification factor, and using only one hand to hold the camera and the lens (that 50mm F2 lens is not exactly so light), then add to that an awkward standing position that may even be challenging for most Yoga masters while you shoot, I must say that getting away with almost all sharp images show that the IS was doing its job. The reason why I used 1/60 sec (or slightly faster) was to gather as much ambient light to maintain the background color, instead of washing them out into the sea of blackness. Although I use flash prominently throughout my macro shooting, I still emphasize on the “natural” look and feel of the photograph, and being outdoor during the day time, it is important to have a natural looking background with tones of pleasing green.


50mm F2 macro: 1/100sec, F/10, ISO200, Manual Focus
IMAGE SAMPLE 2

100% Crop from Image Sample 2

50mm F2 macro: 1/60sec, F7.1, ISO200 Manual Focus

50mm F2 macro: 1/80sec, F/9, ISO200, Manual Focus

50mm F2 macro: 1/60sec, F/9, ISO200, Manual Focus
IMAGE SAMPLE 3

100% Crop from Image Sample 3

50mm F2 macro: 1/125sec, F4.5, ISO200, Autofocus


ELECTRONIC VIEWFINDER FOR MANUAL FOCUSING

The Electronic Viewfinder was very bright, and has more than enough resolution which helps a lot in my composition. I prefer to shoot through a viewfinder than using the camera backscreen (live view). When steadying the camera is the priority, placing the camera near to your face is the simplest and easiest technique to stabilize your shots physically, and shooting through the viewfinder surely helped a lot in this regard. I also found that the improved refresh rate (120Hz vs older VF2’s 60Hz) has produced very smooth movements as seen through the viewfinder. I also like that the Electronic Viewfinder is as large as the E-5 and has 100% coverage (with 1.2x default magnification), which was crucial for my composition as I do minimal cropping in my post-processing.

I have no problem at all confirming my manual focus through the Electronic Viewfinder. I have very high hit-rates, and the misses, not many, were mainly my own fault. However, I still think that an optical viewfinder is better for extreme macro shooting, mainly due to the fact that what you see is exactly what you get through the optical viewfinder. Nothing beats that experience of “real view”, at least for now. Nonetheless, having a built in Electronic Viewfinder adds a lot more function-ability and makes a huge world of difference to the camera as it surely improves the shooting experience of the photographer when he does macro a lot.
I also understand how some people have wished they have focus-peaking (as introduced by Sony) in Olympus cameras. I have tried the focus peaking, and to be honest I was not too impressed by it so far (perhaps it could be improved further). For general manual focusing, it works, but for macro photography where high magnification is prioritized, the focus peaking does not really deliver. Those who shoot REAL extreme in manual focusing, such as full magnification in macro, would know that the focus peaking is actually useless, and will NOT work accurately at all. You still need to trust your eye to confirm the focus, and having a bright, clear, real-life viewfinder is unbeatable in this regard. If you have shot extreme macro, you will surely relate to this.


50mm F2 macro: 1/80sec, F/4.5, ISO200, Manual Focus

50mm F2 macro: 1/80sec, F/10, ISO200, Manual Focus

45mm F1.8 lens: 1/2000sec, F/1.8, ISO200, Autofocus
IMAGE SAMPLE 4

100% Crop from Image Sample 4

50mm F2 macro: 1/100sec, F/5.6, ISO200, Autofocus


HANDLING OF THE CAMERA

Olympus E-M5 body by itself is actually very small and light, and is not very well balanced when coupled with the 50mm F2 lens mounted via the MMF-3 adapter. The feeling is awkward and it actually felt like the lens was dragging the camera down all the time. However, this problem was instantaneously solved when I attach the landscape grip of the HLD-6. The overall handing with the extra beefed up hand grip was very good, and I immediately felt the comfort of shooting especially with the larger grip from a DSLR, which is actually a good thing for single handed shooting. The extra portrait portion of the HLD-6 grip would have been too huge to be used with one hand; hence I stayed with just the horizontal grip.

For some unexplained reason the current trend is begging for smaller and lighter cameras, which is not necessarily a good thing. Yes, we want a camera that can be easily stored in a carry bag, or even fit into a jean’s pockets, but there is a trade-off between size and usability. I honestly think that the E-PM1 and E-PL3 are too small for serious shooting. E-P3 was alright, but I have also mentioned that a beefier grip would have improved the shooting comfort by far. Therefore, the added battery grip HLD-6 is a smart move by Olympus to please the two very different crowds. Those who want it small and light, can stick to the original camera body only without any add-ons, and the E-M5 is only slightly larger than E-P3, which is considered very small by today’s camera standards. Alternatively, for those who treasure solid handling and comfort for shooting in challenging situations when steady grip is needed, then the HLD-6 will fulfill such needs.
The camera feels very solid in hand. Even with the landscape grip attached, the whole combination felt like a single unit with no creaking or loose part feeling. The Olympus E-M5 is probably the tankiest camera body in mirrorless (compact camera system) world at this moment. I do feel that some of the buttons were too small, and preferred them to be larger, but this just needs some getting used to. Apart from that, I like the rubbery, springy feel of the buttons (much similar to E-5) where you need to press harder to use the buttons, due to the possibly rubber padding used underneath the buttons for weather-sealing purposes. This may cause some discomfort for first time users, which should not be an issue after getting used to it.

50mm F2 macro: 1/80sec, F/10, ISO200, Manual Focus

50mm F2 macro: 1/60sec, F/7.1, ISO200, Manual Focus
IMAGE SAMPLE 5

100% crop from Image Sample 5

50mm F2 macro: 1/80sec, F/11, ISO200, Manual Focus

50mm F2 macro: 1/500sec, F/2, ISO200, Autofocus
Meet my friend: Jason Lioh.

IMAGE QUALITY

From the images captured in this macro shooting session, I observed that the colour output is much more similar to the E-5. We all know that E-P3 has different color rendering which may appear very vivid and rather punchy. The color from E-M5 is very neutral, less saturated, and it seemed as if it is trying to imitate as close to real life colors as possible. I am not sure how accurate the colors are, but I am very pleased with it. The signature Olympus color is still well maintained, despite the slight variations over the past few camera body models.

As I have mentioned in Part 1, the dynamic range of the image has significant improvement, and this is evidently seen in my macro shooting. Though I use the external flash, I rarely find any highlight blown outs, and the flash output has blended very well with the ambient light. The overall image is very balanced. This is very important to me, as I am trying to shoot the macro subjects as naturally as they are, by gathering in as much ambient light as possible to prevent the background to be lost into ugly patches of black. The flash is important to evoke the 3-dimensional depth to the subject, as most of the light from the flash was directional, and positioned from the side. Most people may have neglected the importance of shooting with wireless flash, but having it as a built in feature inside the camera sure comes in very handy, as I have demonstrated in this macro shooting session. Taking the flash off the camera can open up a world of possibilities.
I think by now everyone should have no question when it comes to sharpness of Olympus produced images, with the condition that the right lens was used together with the camera. Huge amount of details were able to be captured by the 16MP sensor and the fine details as revealed in the 100% crops are simply amazing.

45mm F1.8 lens: 1/4000sec, F1.8, ISO200, Autofocus


I strongly believe that the Olympus OM-D E-M5 fares very well as a macro shooting machine. Having effective in body new 5-Axis Image Stabilization with its effect able to be seen while shooting, comfortable and functional Electronic Viewfinder, very good handling especially with the add-on battery grip HLD-6 and with advanced features such as built in wireless TTL flash control and much improved image quality, the Olympus E-M5 really is well suited for macro photography.

For your further scrutiny of the fine details in the macro shots, I have inserted full size images (straight out of the camera RAW converted directly to JPEG via Olympus Viewer 2), the download link is as follows: 

MACRO SHOOTING  TEST:

The only thing lacking from Olympus is a dedicated M.Zuiko macro lens. Give us that 60mm F2.8 macro already !!

Coming up in my final part of this Olympus OM-D E-M5 review series, I shall be discussing about how the E-M5 performs as a street photography machine.

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to say something in the comment section on this blog entry, or email me directly at hamish7ian@gmail.com

210 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for your detailed reviews.

    Please include some shots made with the 12-50mm since it is the lens many of us are buying, for macro, street and travel shots.

    Dan

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  2. Hello Dan,
    I did not use the 12-50mm much, because if I do, people will question what if other lenses were used, would the image quality be better? So I decided to just use the BEST lenses, and there will be no argument on image quality, because that is currently the best that Olympus has to offer.
    I am sure many other review sites have done so, or will do reviews with the 12-50mm lens.

    On another hand, the video shot by my friend Sanjit was fully done with 12-50mm handheld. do check it out at www.fullcirclepix.com/blog

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  3. Each review section makes me feel even more at ease with my E-M5 pre-order. So confident that I've purchased several M43 lenses too, which I currently have no camera for! Thanks again, this has been a terrific series.

    PS- almost bought the 12mm on Ebay today, but even at around $100 USD off retail it was too much. Soon though- your night shots in the previous entry make me want that lens very badly.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Hello Matt,
    Thanks so much for the kind comments !!
    I do think that the E-M5 is a huge jump from whatever Olympus has previously, and is definitely not going to be a regret.
    12mm is expensive !!! I have to admit that too. I wish it was cheaper, i personally can't afford that lens.

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  6. First, thank you for this wonderful review (as usual).
    Second, I hate you!

    I was already DREAMING about this camera (seriously), and this was even before you showing what the OM-D can do and help while shooting macro!!

    Now, not only do I NEED this camera badly, but I will also need the grip. But 30% of the body price looks way overpriced right now.

    I wish we had something like the Butterfly Park around here, it looks like the macro shooting heaven.

    Awaiting for the last part of the review, but we already know how badly we all want this camera.

    Thank you again Robin.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hello dothraki,
    Don't hate me, hate the camera !! LOL
    Thanks for the kind words. I can't believe you actually dreamed of the camera, my goodness !

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for your hard work on the review!! But you had me even before Part 3 -- went to put in my order. I think it's a huge jump from my EPL2 with slower AF and also no EVF IBIS for manual focus (especially using focus enlarge).

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. hello G,
    Thanks, it was my pleasure to share !!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Note: Comment deleted due to multiple posting (same comments).

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  13. Well, that's a problem I have from time to time. I probably should see a shrink, but can't afford it before buying this camera! hehehehe

    Also, I forgot to ask about the video review: will it be in your blog as a guest post, or will it be on Sanjit's blog?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dothraki,
    We actually have no worked that out. I was thinking of having him to guest blog, but then again, it would be better if he wrote it on his blog, I feature snippets of that review, and direct you all to his blog. Nonetheless, he has done a superb job.

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  15. Stunning shots!! Best macro shots and Best Review!! Hats off Robin :) Regards - CY

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  16. Stunning shots!! Best macro shots and Best Review!! Hats off Robin :) Regards - CY

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello CY,
    Thanks !! But not the best though, I believe others are doing much better job than me. My style is more casual and personal.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Google

    Hi Robin

    I've enjoyed and appreciated your previous articles about this camera - but it seems you are getting just too popular.

    Currently I cannot see any images, clicking on the placeholder gives:

    403. That’s an error.

    Your client does not have permission to get URL /-ewQW6adHYy8/Tvmni3bn-iI/AAAAAAAAO7A/8SxoKuPzaiM/s1024/PC279944-2.jpg from this server. (Client IP address: 60.234.135.56)

    Rate-limit exceeded That’s all we know.


    I suspect one of your other commenters alluded to this.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hello rjh,
    which one were you refering to? Everything seems fine here though.
    Is it the full size image download page? Or any of the image were missing?

    ReplyDelete
  20. More a brilliant test .... Thanks Robin ... the 03 parts are great ... I hope you have more!!

    One of the things that impressed me most in this last test ... were the tones and colors .. excellent.

    Robin did not see anyone ask you something ... the back of the eye viewfinder is comfortable and good ergonomics or is half hard (plastic) and awkward ... what is your opinion about that?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello Andre,
    Thanks !! I have one more part to finish up my part of review, then there is the video part.
    The viewfinder was comfortable, I had no issues with that. The grip was also feeling very solid, no problem with that, at least for me.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Again thx Robin for you nicely review,
    I am glad that I made the right decision to Pre- order this camera and your review plus other real world review such as Pekka polka and Gabriel motola is really give me a breeze feeling ,..

    I have a question ,.besides the 50 macro Oly ,did you try other 43 SLr lens coz I believe You have a lot 43 gears in your arsenal,.coz [maaf Pak Cik] I am thinking to give it a try to buy 43 lens but I had no clue which one ,..14-54mk II or 12-60,.maybe you can give me an advice base of your experience,experiment and knowledge,?
    thank you [ makasih Pak Cik]

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  23. Hello Jevfp,
    Thanks for the kind compliments.

    I did not use any of my 4/3 DSLR lenses, mainly because there is no improvement in terms of AF speed when in comparison to older camera bodies such as E-P3. I would not encourage using 4/3 lenses on micro 4/3 bodies such as E-M5 for now, because the AF will be very slow and at times, struggling. It is best to stay with native micro 4/3 M.Zuiko lenses, which are optimized to work perfectly with E-M5 with no hiccups.

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  24. Hi Robin,

    Superb macro photography as always. I'm always very impressed how sharp your images can be whatever camera you use especially with the new Olympus OMD EM5. It's a pity that the new Macro lens for Olympus hasn't come out yet. For some unknown reason I still prefer the sharpness of the E5 when it comes to this type of photography. Looking forward to your next series and hoping you'll be able to compare this new camera against the E5. Job well done!

    Eric V from Edmonton Alberta

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hello Eric,
    Thanks for the kind compliments.
    Somehow I do feel that the images look quite different, if compared directly E-5 and E-M5. Nonetheless, when it comes to overall amount of fine details captured, the E-M5 wins, most probably due to the higher MegaPixel count, which really makes much difference.

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  26. Hi Robin,

    thanks for the review, as usual you did a very good and convincing job here.

    Would you order the E-M5 with or without the 12-50?
    I'm waiting for my local dealer in Munich to accept preorders and for Oly to offer a bundle including the grips.

    :-) acahaya

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello acahaya,
    Thanks for the kind words.
    Yes I would go for the 12-50mm, as it is the ONLY weather sealed lens for micro 4/3 system.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Robin,

    First of all I would like to thank you for your excellent work on the reviews of the new Olympus.

    I used to own a Panasonic GF1 and exchanged this for the Oly E-PL2. And then Fuji came along with the X100.
    At that time I sold of all my mft gear to buy the Fuji. This was no mistake by all means, but occasionally I do miss the ability to change the lens.

    My question would be. How do you think the E-M5 competes with the Fuji X100 which I will definitely be keeping as this is just one awesome camera.

    Thanks again for your great effort on sharing your thoughts about this camera. I do know how much hard work it is to keep a blog running (I am not managing well at all at the moment)

    Greetings from Germany

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  29. hello stockografie,

    Thanks for your kind words. It is my pleasure to share what I can with the photography community.

    I have never used an X-100 extensively to comment on it with anything meaningful.

    However, you have one very strong reason to upgrade: autofocus. I am not sure what kind of photography you do, for most of the things I am doing, a fast and reliable autofocus is of extreme importance. That is the main reason I shy away from Fuji X-100, and its newer brother, X-Pro 1. I do not want the camera to hinder me from capturing important moments. Photography is about capturing moments !!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hello Robin,

    Thank you for your fast reply. I must say since the 1.11 update of the Fuji the AF has never been a problem and I do not really miss any shots.
    But that is a different matter. You can see my shots on my blog

    www.stockografie.blogspot.com

    I hope you don´t mind me posting the URL.

    ReplyDelete
  31. hello stockografie,
    no worries, it is good to share.
    I have tried the X-pro 1's AF. Not too happy with it.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Best is to wait until the E-M5 hits the shops in Germany and take a look at it.
    I am though truly amazed by the noise output of the Olympus. I could mean that this is nearly on par with my X100 (and this has some great noise handling)

    Well thanks again and to a good week.
    I will enjoy reading more from you on the Oly.

    Greetings

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  33. No problem Stockografie.
    Stay cheerful and go out make great photography happen !

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  34. Wonderful takes again with a looot of impressive details captured. Thanks for sharing !

    Also thanks for your thoughts about the usability of the grip - having it in two parts was a smart guy's idea.

    Also thanks for the information about the promo action on Malaysia. Great deal !
    Seems to be that more and more countries join in what UK did begin

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks Mige0 for the kind words.

    I think people here will be frustrated if the similar offer was not provided as the ones found in UK. Glad to have the MMF-3 option free in the pre-order.

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  36. Robin, I love your user reviews. Spendid. The stabilized view of the image sounds like a great improvement for all the reasons you mentioned. Is this automatically enabled when you half-press the shutter?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Peter F,
    First, you have to enable it view a looooon winded Olympus menu.

    And yes, it is only enabled after you half-press the shutter button.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Robin, Does the landscape grip provide enough extra height to the camera to allow the pinky finger to grip the body? (On the E520, E620 and GH2 my pinky inconviently curls up under the body trying to give some added support that way, though awkwardly).

    Peter F.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm looking foward to trying your flash technique. Until now I have hated to use a flash for macros (for me that's flowers and butterflies). I have instead used Manual mode (such as 1/125th and F8 with butterflies) plus AutoISO. Unfortunately my GH2 does not allow autoISO in manual mode, but the E520 and E620 did. My E-M5 is on pre-order with the full grip!!

    Peter F.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hello Peter F,
    I have the standard smaller size asian hands, so it is actually good enough for me. I think you might need the extra portrait battery pack to have yoor whole hands to grip it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Peter F,
    the wireless flash technique is not an easy thing to master, can be quite frustrating when you are getting used to it, but once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are incredible. as you can see in my blog a lot of insects hide underneath the leaves and branches, where ordinary flash position would not be able to reach.

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  42. Once again, thank you for taking your time writing this review.

    Looking through the pictures you have taken with the E-M5 I'm feeling more and more comfortable about having pre-ordered the E-M5. Can't wait for it to arrive.

    As I have recently learned to like manual focusing, I have picked up an adapter and some old OM Zuiko lenses: 35mm f2, 50mm f1,4, and 135mm f2,8. After seeing those nice macro shots you did there I think I might also go for an OM 50mm 3,5 Auto-Macro, or perhaps save up for the OM 90mm f2 Auto-Macro. Do you have any experiences or opinions on any of those?

    Greetings for Norway,
    - Eirik S

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hello Eirik
    Thanks for the kind comments !!
    However, I have not encountered any of the lenses you have just mentioned. Nonetheless, you should get them and try it on your coming E-M5 !! I am sure there is no reason why those lenses wont deliver.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Robin, You're probably right (re hand grip for larger hands), though my fingers are long they are thin. Anyway, both pieces of the grip come as a kit... the fun will be in the experimenting!!!

    I'm drooling over this camera and preordering completely goes against my grain. But I did it anyway!! I useually wait 12-18 months after announcement so I can get 30%-40% off. But this time I can't wait.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hello Peter F,
    I understand your excitement !!! The whole world is hyped up on this camera, I must say Olympus has not had such attention for quite a while. Good on them !

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi Robin, first of all thx for the great job done in these reviews. I'm a DSLR + GX-1 user (and very ennamored with the latter) and besides the loss of DOF control inherent to the m4/3 sensor, the one frustrating thing with mirrorless is the AF system in continuous mode. Could you comment a bit on the claimed improvement in these regard ? I have watched the dog video but am still unsure of how that would translate in higher keeper rate for stills ? Thx !
    Claire.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hello Claire,
    Thanks for the compliments.
    I may not be the right person to comment on continuous focusing, because I NEVER used any continuous focusing. I rely on single AF all the time, which worked fine for me. Perhaps you can find this information in other review sites? Sorry I could not be helpful, since most of my subjects do not have that much of erratic movement, or faster than my finger and the camera's AF as I press the shutter button.

    ReplyDelete
  48. thanks Robin for the review, best review and detail I had read so far, I'm in Canada and a I was out stooting
    during the snow with GF2 got all wet, just wish the E-m5 I order would have arrived in that situation.

    Great micro shots, simple and natural

    ReplyDelete
  49. Hello kchen88,
    Thanks for the kind compliments.
    You wish you have E-M5, I wish Malaysia has snow !!!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thanks for review Robin.

    Could you tell how good this camera for the long exposure time from 5 to 60 minutes for exmaple.
    Another question, does this camera is free from micro 4/3 issue with focus area enlargment. When you see overexposed image instead of like it looked on the screen without enlargement.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hello Nikita,
    Thanks for the kind comment.
    I wish I could help you but I have returned the camera to Olympus Malaysia. I did not do any long exposure shots, and I did not use live view magnification. I trusted my eye when I do manual focusing.
    If I get the camera from Olympus again (miracles do happen right?) I will surely answer your questions.

    ReplyDelete
  52. I know the camera has two dials to adjust settings. When you're in aperture or shutter priority, obviously one wheel will adjust the aperture or shutter speed, but can you set the second wheel to adjust the ISO setting?

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hello Anonymous,
    I don't think so, but I am not 100% sure about this. I have set the front Fn button to ISO tho, so I can just press the Fn button, and the dial adjusts ISO while I was at that.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Is it possible to post an image of the E-M5 with only the landscape grip attached (so without the portrait grip?) It's impossible to find a photo of that combination, and I would like to see the added bulk...

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hello Marc,
    Did you see the youtube video? There is one part where I showed the camera on the table, with the horizontal grip only.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Robin, thx for your lightning prompt answer, I don't know if you've ever used a last generation Panasonic body such as GX-1 or G3, if you're familiar with their AF speed even in single AF mode, how would you compare the EM-5 compared ?

    ReplyDelete
  57. "For the first time in camera history, the effect of the in body-based Image stabilization can be seen through the viewfinder or the camera live view screen"
    I'm sorry but my E-3 is able to do this. I don't understand why you claim its a first time seen feature.
    I have no opportunity to check if my EP1 does it too right now, but I guess yes. Olympus IS can be shown in real time by just holding IS button during liveview... or am I missing something real new?

    ReplyDelete
  58. Will the E-M5 replace your E-5 anytime soon? I've read your posts shooting with the Sigma 30/1.4 with the E-5 and it seems to me pairing the E-M5 with the Panasonic/Leica 25/1.4 would offer superior IQ results as well as gaining faster AF and much smaller size. I'm sure Olympus would not be offended if you sold the E-5 to fund an E-M5 purchase.

    ReplyDelete
  59. pm.parkes@tiscali.co.uk3/12/2012 03:02:00 AM

    Robin;

    Gorgeous photos - given that I'm not a great lover of critters with more than six legs...

    That 50mm f:2 is a bit long in the tooth now - hopefully the new M Zuiko 60mm f:2.8 will outmatch it; let's hope.

    Great work Robin, very well presented sir.

    Kind regards

    ReplyDelete
  60. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on the OM-D E-M5

    ReplyDelete
  61. Nice review, thanks.

    Have you used the m4/3 Leica macro (the 45 mm)? Is the 60mm for 4/3better? Just wanted to get your thoughts on this.

    Thanks,
    Rishi

    ReplyDelete
  62. Hello Claire,
    E-M5 is waaaaay faster !!

    Poilete,
    How about when you autofocus? Is the effect seen?

    Hello Wataru,
    why not wait for E-7? that would be even sweeter !

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hello pmparkes,
    thanks for the compliments !! Yes, we all have high hopes for the 60mm macro lens.

    Hello Sbutler,
    Thanks.

    Hello Rishi,
    The 60mm is not out yet, no one knows how good it is. It should be out later this year.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Great work as always Robin, thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  65. Remarkable work Robin. Thanks for all your time and effort to present these reviews. They are greatly appreciated.

    Your enthusiasm for your reviews is refreshing. While I can't see myself affording this camera any time soon, it is a pleasure to see what you and others are able to do with it. It is definitely a step forward for m4/3 and with a few good primes, delivers excellent results.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Thanks TM and David R for the kind compliments !

    ReplyDelete
  67. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Hi Robin,
    I have only just started to explore photography rather than just take 'snaps' and so have very limited knowledge.
    I have a question please - underneath all your amazing photos you detail the lenses and how the camera is set up for that particular shot- can you tell me please if the lenses are all ones which are the same brand as the camera? And if not would it be obvious who makes them by the way you reference them? I hope you understand what I mean, its a bit rambling!
    Angie

    ReplyDelete
  69. hello Angie,
    I alrready did many a sort of "global reference" in the Gear Setup section, on which brand I was referring to.
    Nonetheless for the general photography crowd, they would know and understand which lenses.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Thanks for reply Robin, sorry I have had a look but cannot find where exactly can I find the 'Gear Setup' section?
    Thankyou for your help.
    Angie

    ReplyDelete
  71. Hello Angie

    Once you have loaded the post, press "Ctrl + F", then type in gear setup. That should bring you directly to the paragraph.

    ReplyDelete
  72. > For the first time in camera history, the effect of the in body-based Image stabilization can be seen through the viewfinder or the camera live view screen.

    I don't know if I understand your statements correctly, but I can see in-body IS in live view on my Olympus 43 cameras when shutter is half depressed. So nothing revolutionary here.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Hi,Robin,thx for the test, it's so amazing!!!!

    sry for bothering then but I'd like to ask that if the AF on 50.2 through E-M5 is HELL slow like it's on the old bodies? (E-520 sth...)

    coz it crosses several generation btw two, if it's faster on E-M5 than on old ones, that would be so great!

    thx anyway~

    Maximus

    ReplyDelete
  74. Anonymous,
    I am sorry but that is NOT correct. The effect of the IS can be briefly seen when you press the IS button while the live view is ON. WHen you half press the shutter button to autofocus, or when you capture the image, this effect CANNOT be seen. Only in the E-M5 can you see the effect when shooting, NOT just PREVIEWING.
    And please leave a name next time.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Hello Maximus,
    The 50mm F2 macro is actually faster on E-520, because E-520 works natively on phase detect AF which is fully compatible with the 50mm F2, designed for the original DSLR 4/3 mount.
    However, the E-M5 works best with contrast detect AF, and if the lens does not have contrast detect AF support, such as the 50mm F2, it will be very, very slow if used together.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Thanks for the great macro pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  77. Thanks anonymous, but please leave a name next time.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Hi Robin,

    Fantastic photographs :) and a lovely set of reviews on the om-d e-m5!

    I wanted to ask you for advice on lenses for the same body - which 2 lenses would you recommend? I'm ordering the body, but am not sure I want the kit lens as it is rather slow.

    Also, is there any particular lens you recommend for shooting Wildlife/ birds? I have a DSLR setup, and want to get a M4/3 as a backup.

    thanks
    Karan

    ReplyDelete
  79. Hi Robin,

    Fantastic photographs :) and a lovely set of reviews on the om-d e-m5!

    I wanted to ask you for advice on lenses for the same body - which 2 lenses would you recommend? I'm ordering the body, but am not sure I want the kit lens as it is rather slow.

    Also, is there any particular lens you recommend for shooting Wildlife/ birds? I have a DSLR setup, and want to get a M4/3 as a backup.

    thanks
    Karan

    ReplyDelete
  80. Hi Robin,

    Fantastic photographs :) and a lovely set of reviews on the om-d e-m5!

    I wanted to ask you for advice on lenses for the same body - which 2 lenses would you recommend? I'm ordering the body, but am not sure I want the kit lens as it is rather slow.

    Also, is there any particular lens you recommend for shooting Wildlife/ birds? I have a DSLR setup, and want to get a M4/3 as a backup.

    thanks
    Karan

    ReplyDelete
  81. Hello Karan,
    Thanks for the kind compliments.
    If wildlife is your main shooting, then you should consider longer lenses like the M.Zuiko 75-300mm lens. Unfortunately micro 4/3 does not have higher grade tele zoom lenses at the moment. Perhaps they would release something in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  82. thanks for the reply Robin..
    I saw online that Panasonic offers a 100-300 lens too.. Have you used the same? Any views?

    For street & landscapes I'm thinking between the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, and the Olympus 17mm f/2.8

    Would appreciate it if you could help me choose?

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  83. Hello Karan,
    For landscape I would recommend 9-18mm F4-5.6 or 12mm F2.
    I have not used the 100-300mm before, sorry I cannot comment on that.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Thanks again Robin..

    And your best recommendation for street?

    ReplyDelete
  85. Thanks again Robin..

    And your best recommendation for street?

    ReplyDelete
  86. Hi Robin.
    I really like your blog and im using it for research for my next camera.
    If you had to choose between the OMD-E M5 and E-5 which one would you choose? I think i will aim for the E-5

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  87. Hello Karan,
    Street photography styles and preferences vary from one person to another. I personally prefer to use longer lenses such as the 45mm F1.8, however many other famous street photographers will recommend using wider lenses such as the 17mm or 20mm. Since you are asking this question it is clear that you are unsure what techniques and style to apply. I suggest you shoot more before purchasing. Try different focal lengths with the kit lens, experiment with that and then evaluate your photographs. From there you would know your own preferences, what you want and then you can decide which lens is best suited for you.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Hello Ketil,
    E-M5 beats E-5 in every single aspect when it comes to image quality and performance. E-5 is after all more than a year old by now. NOnetheless, if you look at the camera system as a whole, including professional grade lenses, E-5 has a range of very high quality optics to go along with. Unfortunately E-M5's lens selection is still quite limited at the moment.
    What do you intend to use the camera for? Both camera are designed for very different purposes.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Hi Robin,
    Excellant content, and awesome! This is very exciting. I really enjoy your work and reviews. Thank you, Brent A. Olsen

    ReplyDelete
  90. Hi Robin,

    Those are awesome macros!

    Out of curiousity, did you happen to notice where the e-m5 was made? Was it noted on the camera body?

    MRchu

    ReplyDelete
  91. Thanks MrChu.
    Unfortunately those are just review units, there is no such indication on where it was made.

    ReplyDelete
  92. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Hi Robin,
    firstly I don’t know if I should thank you for such a great review and posting such appealing photos. Or curse you for putting such temptation on my already stressed wallet lol. As a side note I am curious about the EVF does it have a 240FPS refresh rate or is it 120FPS there seems to be some confusion , mainly mine no doubt. Again thank you so much for a real life user report.
    Peter

    ReplyDelete
  94. Thanks Bigpete !
    The EVF runs on 120fps on default. To have the 240fps, you need to enable it inside the long winded menu. I choose to stay with 120fps, because it is good enough, and I am sure the 240fps refresh rate will drain the battery faster !

    ReplyDelete
  95. Dear Bro Robin, This is real fantastic review! Tq for your hard work! Bring back my memory of OM1, OM2. i am currently having Lumix GF1, Oly EP3, and i am sold on EM5!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Hello JE Ng,
    Thanks for the compliments. Yes, E-M5 is a great camera, you should be adding it to your collection !

    ReplyDelete
  97. Robin,

    Your images are incredible, I am in complete awe of your talent and presentation skills.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Robin,

    Followed you link from Olympus UK forum, and just wanted to say that having watched your review, and viewed your images, that I am in complete awe of your talent, and presentation skills.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  99. I really really enjoyed your review. So much better than the technical reviews you find on the internet these days!
    You actually succeeded in making a Nikon D700 user wonder if all the weight advantage wouldn't make me switch over (or at least use it aside)!!
    Would love to see it perform with the 12-50mm however (although I do understand you wanted to show the capabilities of the camera; however, most of us don't have all these nice lenses and will have to do with the kit lens for starters).

    Regards,

    B.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Hi Robin,

    May i know the 5-Axis IS will works on other lens like Canon or Nikon with adapter?

    ReplyDelete
  101. Hello Kidslateinlife,
    Thanks so much for the kind compliments !!

    Hello Baretsu,
    Thanks for the kind words, I have reviewed the E-M5 with the 12-50mm at much later parts. Do check the side bar for newer updates.

    hello Jason,
    Yes, the New 5-Axis IS works with any lenses mounted on the E-M5, but for manual focus lenses you must set the focal length manually.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Hi Robin
    I found your blog from a casual google search for Olympus camera a week ago and I have been visiting your site everyday and read as many of your blogs a possible. Your photographic talent is awe inspiring, your em5 reviews have managed to lighten my wallet by USD1400. Thank you for your hard work.

    PS-you're obviously Asian and base in Malaysia where English is not an official language yet your English written skill is respectfully impeccable. I know many people, including myself, live and schooled in the US, read and write English everyday yet writing just a short paragraph above is torturous let alone creating a very presentable web blog. I am impressed. Alex.

    ReplyDelete
  103. Robin,

    Very professional - clearly you take your work (or hobby?) very serious, and that is the only way to get on in life!

    I have been thinking about replacing my Oly E410, because the AF is so slow and high ISO shooting is not very satisfactory. Also has some start-up problems. I have kept it beyond its shelf life because it is so small and light. But not only have you shown that - as a camera - the E-M5 is two leagues above the "small" E-series, from the video clip it is also apparent that this camera is truly (physically) SMALL. I presume it is light as well?

    Keep up the good work!

    PS: good to see pictures and video clips of KL - we have lived there many years, and only recently moved to the US.

    ReplyDelete
  104. A thought - with the battery grip mounted the camera has three wheels, though one of them will be a bit awkward to reach. The buttons you can configure individually on the battery grip and the camera as I have understod it, but will you be able to configure the third wheel individually? That way you could, in theory at least, have the awkward middle wheel set to ISO.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Dear Robin
    I am a new reader, having stumbled across your blog while searching for info on the Olympus OM-D. Thanks for all your great info!
    I use a camera strap that screws into the base plate of the camera (where the tripod would normally go), and I'm interested in knowing whether I would be able to use it on the OM-D with the landscape portion of the HLD-6 in place.
    Thanks
    Jim C
    USA

    ReplyDelete
  106. Robin,
    Thank you for all the information and time you have taken to test. This is helpful. I appreciate all your time. You have produced some amazing images.
    Happy shooting!
    Dolores

    ReplyDelete
  107. Hi All,

    I just wanted to underline a point that can be important for not only macro but also street and candid photography that OM-D has a shutter lag of almost 1/10 th of a possible DSLR competitor such as Nikon D7000. It can be quite important for some moments. Thanks alot for a very detailed discussion on a camera that I am seriously considering to buy.

    Regards,
    Hakan

    ReplyDelete
  108. Hi Robin.... I.m loving my OMD and wish there was a better source for instruction.... the manual really is incomplete especially when it comes to AF and as well wireless flash.... anty sources that you might share for better info? Great work on the macro.....

    ReplyDelete
  109. I would love to have one, not that i don´t like my GF1, but the OMD whauuu..!

    ReplyDelete
  110. Thanks for putting the pressure on with the beautiful macro shots.I just got a D e m-5 +12-50 lens.Being fairly non-creative but technically ok operation wise I recently surmised that macro shots of my wife's beautiful flowering plants are the way tom get some striking photos.Now you have taken it to a new level.Thanks(I think)well thanks really.

    ReplyDelete
  111. hi Wong, I have one question. I own a Olympus EP3 and would like to get a good macro lens (to shoot very close up flower and insects). Should i get the Olympus 50mm or 35mm or 12-50mm lens? I heard that 50mm lens will scare away the insects. So, people are advising to get 100m macro lens instead. Pls help.... from travis.

    ReplyDelete
  112. forgot to add, I am now using 45mm 1.8 (not macro lens) with macro converter MCON PO 1 to shoot macro pics. While the result is acceptable but I prefer the focus point can be MORE closer.... example, instead of shooting 1 flower, I prefer to shoot the inner part of the flower only. from travis

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  115. This are the best shot I ever saw with the OM-D!!! You should really get a lot of money from Olympus for that! LOL.

    I am very glad you mentioned the colors of the new OM-D because I think the PENs (and others) had much better colors than this new one. Is it possible to have this great Olympus colors also in the OM-D by adjustments or is it already a "new line" of colors that Olympus is getting to??
    Another question, I understand that you don't quite like Fuji and that is no review of the X-Pro1 or the X-E1 but, don't you think that exactly in this question of colors is Fuji doing a better job than Olympus with the OM-D???
    And sorry for the criticism but you say you are against this "run" that exists now for "pixel count" and "high iso" between the cameras and that is not so relevant. I totally agree with you but I would ad to this "nonsense run" the run for "auto-focus speed" that I see you are into but I don't think has any relevance for making "good shots"! I've making street photography for years with manual focus, and a lot of very good people before me without any problems, so, that is, for me, also only a "nonsense run". But I like your photos very much and I am glad that someone like you takes the time and work to do a so helpfull blog like this. THANK YOU!!!

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