Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Olympus E-5: The Journey Begins

Before you guys dived into what I have written here, may I direct your attention to fellow Olympus photography-enthusiasts from Singapore who have done splendid job in reviewing the Olympus E-5. They have taken many impressive shots with the E-5. Please visit their site here. Great job guys !!

Some time ago, while I was reviewing the Olympus E-5 loaned initial production unit from Olympus Malaysia, I have promised one final entry to conclude the multiple part series of my user-review write-up. Yes, due to some work commitment and procrastination, that final entry has yet to materialize. I know I know, I must finish what I have started, so here is the final piece to wrap things up.

Complimentary Olympus E-5 from Olympus Malaysia

There is another reason why I have postponed this entry until now. One fine evening, as I got home from a dreadful long day of work at construction site, I found an email from Olympus Malaysia. Knowing it would have something to do with the "small token of appreciation" they have mentioned to me earlier for my effort and time spent in reviewing the Olympus E-5, I merrily opened the email. As my eyes ran along the words, it came by a total surprise when I read the lines "we feel that because of the global reach, we are pleased to inform you that we have decided to present you with an E-5 Body".

For a moment there, I thought I was dreaming. Really.

I think I must have screamed "YESSSS" out quite loud. Because my housemate knocked on my door to check if I was ok.

The overwhelming sense of joy overpowered me, and somehow, for the first time in my life, I truly felt that all my time and effort spent in blogging and photography are not completely wasted. It is a great sensation to watch all the random pieces of puzzles are slowly, but very surely falling nicely together into a bigger, wonderful picture. This, is a taste of greater things to come. I am very, very overjoyed, and thrilled to say the least.

Straight out of the box.

I held my E-5 for the first time. It feels goooooood on my hands.

Olympus, a Lonely Choice

Since the moment I picked up an Olympus DSLR more than two years ago, I have noticed that Olympus is not exactly the popular choice amongst general DSLR crowd. There have been many instances where Olympus equipments, along with their respective users being looked down, and scoffed by other "bigger" brand users. It was not exactly an easy thing to shoot in a community where people have already formed a mentality that bigger and more expensive cameras are better. Brand worshipers have run rampage on brand-bashing, and certainly belonging to the minority group, it was not a very pleasant experience.

Seeing what Olympus can offer, the unsurpassed image quality it produced, and most importantly, how much I have really enjoyed photography through Olympus gear, it was indeed a sad fact that not many people appreciate and understand how beautiful and remarkable Olympus DSLR System is. I have this immense desire to share my thoughts and feelings on photography, as well as my passion for Olympus. Therefore, this blog which I have started many years ago underwent a gradual transformation from a random daily direction less journal of a twenty-something Malaysian male, into a photography-enthusiast's platform to share and record the journey of photography. I posted up photographs taken with my Olympus gear every single week, without fail, even through some extremely difficult times. The photography sessions slowly evolve into "shutter therapy" sessions.

The four-thirds sensor lies inside that mount.

First lens mounted on my E-5, the 50mm F2 Macro, my current favourite lens.

High ISO Performance to Determine a Good Camera/Photography, Seriously?

I believe the capabilities of Olympus system have been restricted by the general mentality of measurebators, claiming the fact that smaller sensors are inferior, and the larger the sensor in the camera is, the better the camera will be. They worship noise-free high ISO images, they worship high megapixels and ridiculously expensive camera bodies. I on the other hand, do NOT prioritize high-ISO performance in a camera. This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but there are so many other elements that construct a good camera system. True-to-life color renditions, reliability and usability, sharp and high-quality optics are the strong characteristics of Olympus that many have come to respect. Sadly, many people overlook such important advantages in camera systems, and just focus on high-ISO performance alone to justify a camera ranking. Those are the same people who define a good photograph by solely pixel-peeping the noise at pixel levels.

What is a Good Photograph?

So you think a photograph with no noise at all, is a good photograph? How do you truly define a good photograph? Does that have anything to do with noise characteristics, at all? Is it not the artistic sense of the photographer that matters? Is it not the message and idea that the photographer planted in the image that speak out to you? Could it be the strong emotion the photographer conveyed through the photography work that added drama and impact? Or, is it the vision that the photographer was trying to share by painting with the light?

Since when did noise-free high ISO-performance become the ultimate guideline in determining good photography?

Why do you have to "measure" a photograph in the first place?

Me and E-5 !!!

What is a Good Camera?

If you ask me what camera works best for me, I would say, it is the camera that encourages me to take better photographs, allows me to capture my vision and express myself artistically. It is a camera that understands what I want to do in my photograph, and responds to my vision. It does not necessarily have to be the fastest, most powerful, or most expensive one out there. It just has to work, and work well with me. I have to say Olympus works.

When Olympus Malaysia approached me and asked me if I would review an Olympus E-5, I immediately jumped on the chance. The chance to share what I think about Olympus as a camera system that suits my photography style. A chance to tell the world that, hey, come on, stop looking at high-ISO performance or any other technical short-comings of a camera all the time, and start focusing on the core of photography.

I have taken so many photographs in such short span of time provided to me with the Olympus E-5, I purposely decided to set aside all technical tests and comparisons. I focused solely on making more and more photographs happen. They may not be professional photographs, or anything awe-worthy, but those are the photographs that I have enjoyed taking, and I truly loved them whole-heartedly. My point is, you can make GREAT photographs, if for ONCE, start to love the (whichever) system that you use, and start focusing on photography (taking photographs), instead of being a technical freak. There is so much you can do with a camera, why limit yourself?

The joy of receiving a new camera, thanks to Olympus Malaysia !!

Tell the World about Olympus

Unexpectedly I have had amazingly positive response from many Olympus users all over the world. Again, I am urging all of you to take pride in Olympus, as a great camera system, which I am sure a lot of you have enjoyed using through all these years (some even decades !! My goodness). Olympus may not be the fastest camera out there with highest FPS, it may not produce ISO 1000000 noise-free image, and it may also not win the Megapixels race which is starting to look more and more ridiculous, but surely, never underestimate what Olympus system can do. More importantly, never underestimate what Olympus users can do. Together, now with the even further improved new Olympus E-5, we can show the world why we love Olympus, and stayed faithful all this time. What is there not to love about Olympus?

I must thank all of you, beautiful readers, for making my journey on writing the Olympus E-5 review such a wonderful and fulfilling one. It has been a great pleasure reading the comments and emails I have received from everyone. Special appreciation to forumers from everywhere, for your overwhelming response. Thanks to all of you, Olympus Malaysia has decided to present me an E-5.

Last but not least thanks to Jasonmumbles, a great friend who took the trouble to drive me all the way to Olympus Malaysia at Mont Kiara, which was not exactly near to where I stay. All photographs in this entry were taken with Jason's Canon 40D (a camera that I have always admired).

That's Jason Lioh, thanks dude for helping me out. Darn, E-5 suddenly looks so small in his hands. Scary.

The Journey with Olympus E-5 Begins

This may be last part of my write-up on Olympus E-5. I know, I did not mention much about Olympus E-5 in this entry. Why? Because, I will be shooting, all the time, with E-5 from now onwards. The journey has just begun, and I am excited to make more and more photographs happen with E-5. I am glad I picked up Olympus, and grow in photography with Olympus. I will surely write more about E-5, in many blog entries to come after all my future shutter therapy sessions.

Thank you all again for your overflowing generous support. Stay tuned, for more photographs taken with Olympus E-5 !!


  1. Congratulations man...way to go...you deserved it....

  2. Thanks so much KoonYik !!
    Lets have more TT sessions !! Don't worry, E-5 and Pen are friends aahahah same family.

  3. wow.. what an honour and your certainly deserve it. in all honesty i stumbled on your web through david chua's link and realise i kept coming back. your photos are amazing ..way back to the time of the 520 and i am sure great things will come now that you have an E5. congrats and you deserve it

  4. Hi Andrew,
    I remember you have emailed me before right? You are the same Andrew I believe.
    Thanks so much for your words or encouragement. I am still new to photography, but most importantly, we all grow and learn. There is still so much more to explore.
    Thanks a lot for your support, Andrew !!

  5. CONGRATULATION ! enjoy your new camera Robin & have a wonderful day.

  6. Hi Awang,
    Thanks a lot mate !!

  7. Yup , same Andrew. Was hunting for a Oly then and ended up with a 2nd hand 40D as a start ... still shooting it like a P&S and probably only tapping 1% of what the 40D can actually do ... haha. But I'll get there somehow.

  8. Hi Andrew,
    I have always respected and admired Canon 40D, it is a very powerful camera, even on today's standards. Super fast, responsive, and generally all image qualities are superb.
    You should find David Chua, one teh tarik session with him, I was all inspired to pick up the camera and shoot non-stop !!

  9. Allen,
    Thanks !! I miss Kolo Mee dammit

  10. Congrats, Robin!
    Hey, Oly, send me one, too!!

  11. Hi Svenreinhold,
    Thanks !! I am sure they are listening !!

  12. Congrats, man...

    Olympus do give out cameras to deserving customers. I know... ;)

  13. But they don't give out lenses....


  14. Hi Fahrur,
    Thanks mate. Nah, I do not expect anything in return in the first place. A camera body is more than good enough for a poor hotographer like myself.

  15. I'm alpha user and I followed your blog all the while. You really deserve it from the beginning. Please produce more photos! ^^

    By the way, I think the noise grain produced by digital camera can be very artistic sometime.

  16. Did Jason grew larger or what?

    E5 really looks sooooo small in his hands @@

  17. Hi JS Chong,
    Sony Alpha is a great system. I have a few friends who make great art with those cameras.
    Grainy B&W is an effect only noise can produce. I do agree, noise can be art, if applied appropriately.

    Hey akiraceo,
    I know, right? Scary !!!

  18. By an amazing coincidence I was just reading your opinion on Facebook less than an hour before I saw this blog. Prior to today I had never heard of you as you as I read what you had to say about the E5. You had no problem with expressing your disappointment for it in your Facebook entry. Now you're all happy with it. Amazing!

    Hey Olympus, I think the E5 is an overpriced, under-performing piece of cow dung too! May I please have a free E5 as well?

  19. congrats Robin for the E-5.. i`m new here. and i`m a happy man with my E-3 :)

  20. Congratulations Robin. You really do deserve it!

  21. Anonymous,
    Please state your name, and please add in your email address. I have never expressed anything on FB. People who know me know that I am not that active in FB anyway.

    Hey Daniel,
    Thanks mate. E-3 is a beast itself, a great camera indeed !! I am sure you love it to bits.

    Hey Phil,
    Thanks very much !!

  22. Congratulations Robin, it's well deserved. No keep doing your excellent reporting and picture taking!

  23. hi JMK,
    thanks mate !! I will surely make more and more photographs with E-5 from now onwards.

  24. Robin, congratulation! Happy shooting with your new E-5. I'm looking forward to see more good photos from you!

  25. Hi Dennis,
    Thanks mate !! There will surely be more photographs coming. Soon, very soon.

  26. Congrats on the camera man! I only recently discovered your site here and I love what you're doing. Keep it up, brotha!

  27. Félicitation Robin!

    J'ais suivis tes premiers rapport sur l'E-5 et les photos présentées sont vraiment très belles!
    Comme je suis nul en anglais, j'ais utilisé un traducteur pour lire le Blog!
    Mais les images valent plus que les mots!

    Thank you for your great review Robin !!! ;-)))))

  28. Hi Robin,

    I stumbled across your blog just recently and I have throughly enjoyed reading your material. Keep up the good work!

    Roel from Canada

  29. Hi again Robin,

    well lucky day for you eh mate? But judging from what you are able to do with a P&S, and of course with your E-520, you well deserve it.

    Me? I'm happy with my E-520 - and my wife now is with her E-PL1.

    cheers, and greetings from Germany,

  30. Congrats bro! I am proud that you are part of the Sarawak Bloggers, and now people are noticing your talent.

    Looking forward to your photos with the new camera.

  31. Hi Robin.
    Congrats on the Camera, I for one ordered the E-5 after seeing your blog entries about it, and not least your awesome pictures.
    And I think I was far from the only one so I think Olympus got some really cheap advertising so ask them to provide more lenses as well!

  32. Robin,

    congratulations, you deserved this, and it's great to see that Olympus appreciates sincere and capable followers.

    May I offer another point of view on this sentence of yours: "belonging to the minority group, it was not a very pleasant experience." How about: "not belonging to 90% makes for a pleasant feeling of not being indistinguishable part of the crowd?"


  33. Hi Robin,

    Congratulations to your new E-5. The Olympus Malaysia marketing department has surely done a nice job by recognizing the good press from you. I wish you many nice "shutter therapy" sessions with your new toy. I am sure we will see the results here. Because of you, I have slowly started the process to buy the E-5 (despite the rather high price).

    Regards from Staffan from Sweden.

  34. Looking forward to see the images you produce with the new camera. You well deserve the recognition and I hope this is the beginning of even better things to come.

  35. Congratulations!!! for a well deserved "small token of gratitude" I'm sure you are enjoying it a lot.
    Keep the good work on your blog!!!

  36. Have fun with your E-5!

    I've enjoyed reading your reports, bravo for the good job. I'm glad to hear Olympus recognized your work on their behalf.

  37. Bartosz Dawidowski11/17/2010 05:30:00 AM

    WOW! Robin, I'm so happy with you! This is really great news! :)

  38. If anybody deserved this it was you! You really showed off the capability of the E5.

    I just wish the E5 was cheaper so I could get one too!


  39. Congratulations Robin, I must admit it's not a great surprise Olympus did this because you did an excellent job reviewing the E-5 from a users perspective backed up with very impressive results/examples.

    Enjoy your new E-5, I hope to be enjoying mine very soon too and I have to say that is partly down to you, so a big thanks from me.

    Cheers Huw
    AKA Greytop.

  40. Hi Justin S,
    Thanks so so much mate.

    Hey Torrent,
    wow, it is a great honor to have a French reader !! Thanks a lot for your support mate !! I appreciate it.

    Hi Roel,
    Thanks a lot mate. Thanks for the support.

    Hey Wolfgang,
    Thanks very much for such kind words ! I still think E-520 and PEN are great cameras. I have always loved E-520, and it will always, always have a special place in my heart.

  41. Hey Cyril,
    No no no, it is I, who should be proud, to be a part of the Sarawak Blogger's community. I am glad I can contribute in whatever small way that I can.
    Thanks a lot for your support man. We must have Laksa again when I return to Kuching.

    Hi Rasmus,
    I am sure you will love your Olympus E-5 !! Thanks for your generous support. I think having the body alone is already very, very good. I am not expecting much though.

    Hey Pris,
    Thanks so much for your kind words. I agree with your senetence, and you sure know how to see it from such a different perspective !! Yes, being different does have its advantage, we stand out from the rest !!

    Hello Staffan again !!
    Nice to hear from you again. Thanks so much for your kind words. I can relate, if Olympus malaysia did not provide me with an E-5, I am not sure when will I ever own one due to its high pricing. Nonetheless, I think it will be very worth your time and patience !!

  42. Hello Ibarionex,
    Thanks so so much !! There will surely be more images to come.

    Hey Franz
    Thanks mate. I will have more and more shutter therapy sessions coming soon.

    Hey Anonymous,
    Thanks mate !!

    Hi Bartosz,
    Thank you so, so much Bartosz, you have been a great support all this time !! Indeed, it is a great news. I only have all of you to thank.

  43. Hi Andre,
    Thanks mate. I am sure the price of the E-5 will drop, due to serious competition.

    Hey Greytop,
    Thanks so much man, I did the reviews without expecting anything in return. The response from the crowd everyone itself is a good enough reward for me.
    I am sure you will love your Olympus E-5. Do share with the world what you think of it, and of course, the images you will be taking with it.

  44. Olympus owes you a commission...I bought an E-5 based on your results!

  45. Robin,

    good for you mate!! Completely worth your time!!

    Its also hilarious watching comments on the www.dpreview.com forum

  46. Hi Robin,
    congratulations to your E-5. You have well deserved it for what you have done for Oly's reputation. Got my own E-5 last Friday and hope that I will be able to shoot half as good pictures as you with it, somewhen in the future.

    Still planning to do this E-5 users' platform? If yes, I'd love to contribute.
    Enjoy your new cam and give us more of your fantastic pictures.

  47. Congratulations, Robin and well deserved. I said a few weeks ago that Olympus should give you an E-5 and I'm delighted that now they have. I look forward to following your photo adventures with your E-5 on your blog.

    Best wishes,

    John Perriment

  48. Congratulations Robin. It's good to see Olympus giving out an E-5 to somebody who I believe surely helped influence many users decision to purchase the camera. I contacted Olympus USA to see if I can test the E-5 out for my blog but sadly my request was never answered. I'm excited to see what new photos you take with the E-5!

  49. Hi Anonymous,
    I should not be asking for anything, but having presented the Olympus E-5 is already more than good enough reward !! Thanks.

    Hey Marq,
    Yes, I am following the discussion thread there too. From an innocent blog entry it has turned out to be a philosophical debate. Scary if you ask me !!

    Hey Donparrot,
    Thanks for your support !! I am sure you will do wonders with your Olympus E-5, it is after all, a great camera.
    I am still very keen in the website/platform for Olympus users, but I am afraid I would not be the right person to do it. Someone else must take initiative, and I will be more than glad to help in any way I can.

    Hi John,
    Thank you so much for your support and kind words all this time.

    Hey Ian,
    Thank you so much for your generous comments. I appreciate it.
    I am sad that Olympus USA did not respond to your request. They should have recognized Olympus talents such as yourself.

  50. Congtatulation Robin,
    That is a wonderful thing for Olympus Malaysia to do - yours was a thoughtful, creative rompt with the E5; and I have enjoyed your series of blogs and photos ever since I came across it, only recently. I love the enthusiastic writing style and pictures you produce, using even lesser gear than most and I will continue to follow your blog. Olympus has some faithful followers, and so do you.
    Thanks for giving us the opportunity.

  51. Hey Geoy,
    Thank you so much for such kind words !!
    I have always been a strong believer of simplicity, and less being more. I only use what I need, and maximize the potential of my current gear before upgrading.
    Thank you so much for your support.

  52. Hi Robin,
    you don't know me at all but I read everything about the E5 on your blog and love your images. I am so happy for you that you got a new camera from Olympus- you certainly have been a great brand ambassador for them. I think your reviews/images have inspired me to get into Oly SLRs instead of canikon (that and my old Oly u720SW that is still fab after about 7 years of service!)


    brenton (canada/australia)

  53. hi Brenton,
    Thank you so so much for such kind words, and your generous support !! Wow, seven years and still working, that is one reliable, quality camera you have there. You will not be disappointed with Olympus, I am sure.
    Thanks again !!

  54. Hello,

    you have made impressive pictures. I am using Olympus only, too. Have many fun with your new camera :-)


  55. Hi andreas,
    Thanks so much for the compliments !! I will surely love the camera.

  56. Congratulations - you certainely deserved that.

    Having read your blog, convinced me to stay faithful to Olympus, and even upgrade from E-3 to E-5.

    I'm really happy with that.

  57. Hi Mogens,
    Thanks so much !! Wow, you have got an E-5? Congratulations to you too !! I am sure you are in love with it.

  58. Well done Robin, you deserve it.

  59. Hi Robin.

    I was very happy to read your blog entry yesterday. Way to go, kudos, and congratulations! Before reading your blog I knew I was ready to upgrade to something, but your words and especially your photos sealed the deal. I can't think of anyone I'd rather see in possession of a brand new E-5....except me of course! And what a coincidence... the same day I read found you'd got one, the postman handed me mine. I can't wait for this weekend so I can take it out for a serious test drive.

    Cheers mate. Let's see what we can do!


    Toronto Canada

  60. Hi Robin.I am delighted to hear that Olympus did the right thing,giving you an E5,was small payment for the great work you have done for them.
    I am waiting for mine.Looking for ward to more great shots from you.Best regards.John

  61. Hey Steelback,
    Thank you very much !!

    Hey Paul,
    Thank you so much for such kind words !! I appreciate them.
    wow, your E-5 arrived already, what a coincidence indeed. You must be very, very excited. I am sure you will truly enjoy the E-5 this weekend when you take it out for a test drive !! Do not forget to share it with the world !!

    Hi John,
    Thank you for your compliments. I have already taken a few shots with the E-5, will be sharing the photos here soon.

  62. Eric from Edmonton Alberta11/18/2010 01:44:00 PM

    Congratulations!!! Your finally have the camera...you have the lenses... Best of all you have the TALENT to elevate you to the next level. Keep up the goodwork!

  63. congrats robin.. you were able to express what i wanted to say a long time ago when i chose olympus as my dslr few years back...!

  64. Hey Eric,
    thank you so much !!!

    Hey capin,
    Thanks !! I think at some levels, we all (Olympups users) have similar thoughts when we made our choice.

  65. Congratulation..bro..!!
    aarrr...? pimjam E-5..boleh..?

  66. Hi Brighteyes !!
    Long time no see. how are you?
    Can, no problem. TT anytime soon?

  67. WoW! Oly is great! I've been using the 510/520 for weddings and am saving up for the E5. Can't wait to see some wedding shots with the new body. : D

  68. Hi Anonymous,
    I cannot wait to do wedding shots with the E-5 too !!


  70. I am a Pen e-p2 user. I was searching about the E-P3 and found this blog. Ended up reading your E-5 review. it's nice to see non technical reviews. i really enjoyed the part where your friend accidentally dunked his lens on a pond. hope they make a pro pen that is weatherproof.

    congratulations. you deserve the E-5

    Raphael Ferraris