Olympus OM-D E-M5: KL Bird Park

Olympus Malaysia takes local pre-orders now (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 blog is written from a user-experience perspective.
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.

Thanks to all the overwhelming response from you beautiful readers, Olympus Malaysia approached me again, loaned me the OM-D E-M5 (initial production unit) for another weekend and asked me to “extend” my blog reviews. I was delighted of course and have no objections shooting with the E-M5 again (who would complain, right?) but I do not intend to “continue” my review write-ups, mainly because I have said everything I intended to say in my four part reviews. I believe if I keep on rambling here, my blog entries might be dreadful and redundant in many ways.

Therefore, lets NOT call this a review.

I decided to just shoot, present the photographs from the shooting session, and then cover on the aspects of the E-M5 which I did not manage to cover in my previous brief encounter with it.

If you guys have not seen this video yet (it has been uploaded about 2 weeks ago), Eric Kim was kind enough to feature me in his Youtube hands-on review with the E-M5. Eric had a workshop in Kuala Lumpur 2 weeks ago, on the same weekend which I spent fully on shooting with the E-M5 and review works. I managed to catch Eric up after his workshop, at the Leica Cocktail Party.

Special thanks to wonderful Eric for having me with him. It was indeed an honor.

The location of shooting was Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, world’s largest free-flight walk-in aviary (what a mouthful of description as advertised officially), which was situated in Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana), not too far from the National Monument (Tugu Negara).

In this shooting session, I shall be discussing about the following items on the E-M5:
1) Handling with larger lens, eg M.Zuiko 75-300mm F4.8-6.7
2) Effectiveness of the 5-Axis IS on the long tele-photo end of the lens
3) Using the Continuous AutoFocus with 3D tracking on good lighting condition

The gear setup for this session was rather simple. I mounted the 75-300mm super tele lens onto the E-M5, and I added on the full HLD-6 grip, including both parts of the horizontal grip and portrait battery pack. I needed the extra bulk and weight on the camera to counter balance the size and heft of the long lens. Originally I wanted to use my amazing Zuiko 50-200mm F2.8-3.5 (mk1, non-SWD version) on the E-M5, mainly because of the superior optics (in terms of sharpness) and also the wider aperture opening. However, after trying the 50-200mm on E-M5 and did some test shoots, it was obviously not a very wise decision due to the very sluggish and unreliable Autofocus. I will NOT use any 4/3 DSLR lens on the E-M5 because of this reason: the AF is not optimized for use with the micro 4/3 system, and I do not want to create false hope that you can comfortably use the 4/3 lenses on E-M5. Olympus has already stated that there is no improvement in terms of AF speed when using the 4/3 lenses on E-M5, in comparison to E-P3.

200mm: 1/200s, F/6.1, ISO640

300mm: 1/320sec, F/6.7, ISO1000

164mm: 1/100sec, F/5.8, ISO1600

Handling with Larger Lens

The battery pack HLD-6 made a huge difference when it comes to balancing the camera against the long lens, 75-300mm. It felt comfortable, and I had sufficient grip on the camera with the added bulk. I can steady my shots much better, and surely it was more reassuring for longer shooting hours. Without the battery pack/grip added on the camera, I would have struggled to hold my shots steady, or use the lens and camera combination comfortably.

I remember when I was reviewing the E-P3 last year, I brought the E-P3 with 75-300mm to shoot at various locations: 1) Zoo Negara and 2) Traditional Malay Cultural Dance. In both scenarios, I strained my left wrist and came home with stiff right elbow, handling the 75-300mm on E-P3. The lens was obviously too long, and heavy to be used on such a small body like E-P3, which did not provide sufficient counter weight and balance. The strain was actually worse than shooting with my DSLR E-5 and larger lenses such as the 50-200mm. Although the DSLR E-5 and 50-200mm were heavier, the E-5 has very good handling, and it works with larger lenses very well. Thank goodness Olympus thought of this issue on the micro 4/3 line, and released the battery pack just for the OM-D series. It shows that the OM-D series is not just a carry-around camera, it can be serious when you need it to be.

228mm: 1/100sec, F/6.3, ISO1000

85mm: 1/125sec, F/6.3, ISO1000

228mm: 1/200sec, F/6.3, ISO800

150mm: 1/200sec, F/5.6, ISO800

156mm: 1/100sec, F/5.7, ISO800

281mm: 1/160sec, F/6.7, ISO640

12-50mm lens: 3.2sec, F/22, ISO200

5-Axis Image Stabilization on Long Lens

I was doing the impossible of achieving very sharp images shooting as slow as half a second shutter speed when I used the 12mm F2 lens in my previous reviews. It was a surprise that the IS worked so well, and obviously this added a lot of advantage in certain difficult shooting conditions. In this Bird Park shooting, I wanted to see how well the IS works with the 75-300mm, especially on the longer end.

As I have anticipated, shooting experience with the “IS live preview” through the Electronic Viewfinder (I shot all images through the EVF this time) was God-sent. After half-pressing the shutter button, the effect of the image being stabilized is seen, and the IS worked so well to minimize, if not completely mitigated any “shaking or jumping” I have reported this when I was shooting extreme magnification with my 50mm F2 macro lens. I am very happy to find that the IS works just as well on the long lenses, even at 300mm end (600mm equivalent focal length on 35mm format). This surely improved composition flexibility as well, as your image will not accidentally “jumped away” from where you intended it to be due to extreme shaking at longest tele-photo end of zoom.

So how did it improve the images? After much testing, I dare say I can only confidently shoot at shutter speed 1/160sec at 300mm end, and 1/80sec at 150mm end. Based on my personal usage (my own hands may not be as steady as most birders out there) those numbers were the furthest I would push, after much testing with the camera. That means the new IS benefited me at least one stop EV advantage, in comparison to my previous Olympus E-5. However, this result surely varies from an individual to another, and it all comes down to how well you handle your camera and lens. Yes, I did manage to shoot as slow as 1/40sec on 300mm end and got away with reasonably sharp image (the peacock headshot), but I admit that was purely luck.

For most of my shooting, I applied the general rule of thumb of minimum shutter speed not being slower than 1/focal length. I may go slightly slower than that formula, but not too stretching too far from that, just to be safe.

264mm: 1/320sec, F/6.7, ISO250

100% Crop from Image Sample 1

100mm: 1/320sec, F/5.1, ISO500

100% Crop from Image Sample 2

124mm: 1/640sec, F/5.4, ISO500

100% Crop from Image Sample 3

164mm: 1/320sec, F/5.8, ISO400

300mm: 1/40sec, F/6.7, ISO640

Continuous Focusing with 3D tracking

I have mentioned I was not too impressed with the Continuous AF with 3D tracking in my conclusion (Part 4 review). However, I also stated that while I was testing the continuous AF, it was in unfavourably dim lighting condition, and perhaps, the camera would have fared better in brighter lighting. In this shooting session, there was plenty of natural sunlight as most of the shots were taken outdoors (some of the birds were inside cages). There was good contrast in the subjects and there should not be any excuse for the camera not to handle the continuous focusing well.

I have tried my best to make the continuous focusing with 3D tracking, and believe me I tried and tried and I shot over 300 images in total (probably half of the shots were done with the continuous 3D autofocus, shot in burst mode). I did not manage to get any good image at all, honestly, none of them come out usable.

I admit, I seldom shoot with continuous AF. I am a single-AF shooter. Perhaps, I am not the best person to verify the capabilities of the continuous AF with 3D tracking.

194mm: 1/500sec, F/6.1, ISO640

252mm: 1/640sec, F/6.5, ISO640

286mm: 1/160sec, F/6.7, ISO1600

300mm: 1/125sec, F6.7, ISO1000

100% Crop from Image Sample 4
Note: at 300mm, the image seems soft.

171mm: 1/50sec, F/5.9, ISO1600

100% Crop from Image Sample 5

As we know it, the 75-300mm lens is not very bright, with maximum varying aperture of F4.8 to F6.7. I started shooting just after 2pm, when the weather was bright and sunny, but it gradually turned cloudy towards the later afternoon. Under heavy shade, shooting at longer end of the tele lens (more than 150mm), there was no choice but to bump up the ISO to at least more than 1600 to achieve adequate shutter speed to minimize shake. Yes, the Image Stabilization has aided significantly to reduce hand-shake, which was much appreciated, but what makes the OM-D stand out from the previous micro 4/3 offerings from Olympus, is the improved high ISO shooting. Even at ISO1600, noise level was very minimal, with no significant loss of detail or colour fidelity. Dynamic range was reasonably good, maintaining much detail in the shadow region (I see more significant improvement in the shadow areas in this shooting session). The 75-300mm lens may have struggled when used on E-P3 and older iterations of Olympus micro 4/3 cameras, but new life has been breathed into the long lens, as Olympus made that high jump in high ISO performance and dynamic range advancement in E-M5.

Nonetheless, there is no excuse for Olympus not to come up with better, brighter, and sharper zoom lenses. Both standard wide zoom and also the tele-photo zooms. Olympus has been known to make nothing short of great zoom lenses, considering their legendary line-up of Super High Grade and High Grade Zuiko Digital lenses, such as the 14-35mm F2 and 35-100mm F2 lenses (and many more). I see no reason why Olympus cannot create similarly great zoom lenses for the micro 4/3 system.

194mm: 1/200sec, F/6.1, ISO800

208mm: 1/320sec, F/6.2, ISO25,600
As I was about to leave the Bird Park, I found this bird, which I have shot earlier. However, due to change to weather, it was very dark, and I could no longer shoot with ISO1600 to achieve enough shutter speed. Hence I naughtily pushed the ISO up to 25,600. I think we can all agree that ISO25,600 should best be avoided.

179mm: 1/80sec, F/5.8, ISO6400
At reduced resolution for web display, ISO6400 looks incredibly clean, with good colour tones. Amazing.

179mm: 1/20sec, F5.9, ISO1600

Yes, the IS works, but I think this was purely luck. Because I shot another few trials and they all come out blurry at 1/20sec shutter speed.

On a separate note, DPreview has updated their image comparometer with E-M5 sample image. After spending much shameful time pixel-peeping, it is clear that my reported “jump in image quality” was not exaggerated at all. What say you?

I understand there are many requests for me to use the 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 lens on the E-M5. I shall create one more entry just for that.


  1. Well now you're just showing off. :) More!

    Perhaps I too will give you a long list of things to try with the camera. Then you can do them all and I won't have to buy one! - kidding- totally buying one.

  2. Hello Matt,
    LOL !! Some more will come.
    I am sure you cant wait for your coming E-M5 !! April is just weeks away.

  3. Great pictures, the reds are more then beautiful, super update !!

  4. Thanks Rick !!
    The red was handled very well, less clipping this time.

  5. Hi Robin,
    I wished this blog never ended.
    Stunning pictures, really wonderful "job"!!!!


  6. Thanks Gianluca,
    I need to go back to my normal life !!

  7. beautiful shots, thanks again for sharing, Robin !

    Might be, I'm getting old - but to me colors differ from what I've seen until now.

    The entry in EXIF "Software" is "Photoshop CS5" if I look it up - no firmware version as far as I can see, or did I miss it ?

    For the relative cheap lens used the details you were able to capture are impressive

  8. Hello Mige0,
    Thanks for the compliments. It was CS4, I used it to add the dark borders and watermark, thats all.

  9. Great report. Allow me a couple of questions (or more...:-)).

    * What distance were the birds shot at? (Mostly shot at 150-300 mm)
    * If shooting birds outside of a park/zoo, is 300mm sufficient?
    * If Oly makes a new "bird" lens (which should be weather sealed!):
    -- zoom, or fixed focus length?
    -- range? 300 ok? need of tele converter?
    -- max aperture (and at the same time "reasonable")?
    -- should it have tripod support, or is this not needed with new IS?
    * The 14-54 ii lens is said to give decent AF on m43 cameras... any experience?
    * A Polish test site recently claimed that the *black* E-M5 has a texture that gives it a somewhat slippery grip compared to the "silver" one -- experience?
    * A recent test of the 12-50 mm indicates that it works much better on the E-M5 than on the E-P3. You tested it on the E-P3, I guess. Any comments?

    (Sorry for being anonymous -- I don't have any of the alternative identities, and don't bother to create one... BLI)

  10. Hi Robin,

    Stunning pics mate! Never doubted you at all. Congratulations in proving them wrong! You pics tells everything. Proud of you!

    Eric V
    Edmonton Alberta Canada

  11. Hello BLI,


    The birds were shot at varying distance, and I moved myself as close as I can to the birds. As close as 1.5 meter, to as far as few meters away.

    Shooting birds for park/zoo, 300mm should be sufficient. The birds here are comfortable with human presence, so they wont fly off too far.

    I have no idea what is Oly planning. I would love a xoom lens with fixed aperture.

    14-54mm, with any other 4/3 lenses, show no improvement in AF used on E-M5, in comparison to E-P3. Official statement from Olympus.

    I am using the black E-M5. I used the horizontal grip most of the time, and the full battery pack for this shooting condition. For best handling, its recommended to purchase the HLD-6 grip.

    I will blog about the 12-50mm soon. Check back in a day or two.

    1. Hi Mr. Robin...:)
      I've been using 14-54mm II...autofocus better than the old 14-54mm on m4/3 bodies...I use it on my EPL-1...and the result was superb with 14-54mm II comparing with any 14-42 m4/3...:)

  12. Thanks Eric V !!!
    Appreciate your support mate.

  13. "It was CS4, I used it to add the dark borders and watermark, thats all."

    Ok - but what is the firmware version of this camera ?

  14. hello Mige0,
    Its the same as last time, version 1.0 body.

  15. "Its the same as last time, version 1.0 body."

    too bad - I'm really getting old

    Thanx !

  16. No worries Mige0. The E-M5 I was using was an initial production unit. Very close to final production already, with firmware ready for official review purposes.

  17. Enjoyed your reports very much. Would be great if you would indeed post a report on the zoom lens (12-50) soon.
    Am almost sold on the camera!
    Kuala Lumpur now is also on my list of cities to visit!

  18. Thanks Anonymous, kindly leave a name the next time you comment.
    Yes, you should come to Malaysia !

  19. Marcelo Guarini3/18/2012 01:28:00 AM

    After seeing the Dpreview comparometer I see very good resolution from the E-M5, even compared to Canon 7D, and Leica M9, and not only at base ISO. Somehow, I had that feeling after reading your full review. Now with this collection of bird pictures you show how well the E-M5 handle colors. Thanks very much.

  20. Hello Robin.... :)

    Once again thank you for doing this. I recently got to try a demo model of the E-M5 at my local photo store in Oslo, Norway and I now feel very good about being #3 on the pre-order list in Norway. It was really nice to use with all my mFT lenses (Samyang 7,5mm f3,5 Fisheye, Panasonic 20mm f1,7, and OM Zuiko 35mm f2, 50mm f1,4 and 135mm f2,8) With the panasonic pancake it was almost pocketable. Also got to try on a Canon FD 500mm f4,5L with adapter, had no problems manual focusing that lens (hand held) inside a relatively badly lit store thanks to the IS and steady VF image...

    I also tried on the 75-300mm, but I found that to suffer extensively from "zoom creep", if the camera pointed down it would simply slide down to it's longest focal length. Did you experience that with your test example?

    Greetings from Norway,
    Eirik S

  21. Wow, great shots! Are these straight ooc jpegs?

  22. Great pictures robin! Do you have a 150mmf2 ? I would like to see a picture with this combo!!

  23. Robin, another terrific review with the Oly 75-300. As you said, not a bright lens but your results are outstanding. Thanks!

  24. Fantastic pictures! Thanks Robin.

    No need to explain to the doubters; just show them your wonderful pictures :)

    Can't wait to see your 12-50mm pictures taken with the E-M5.


  25. Hi Robin,

    You say "after trying the 50-200mm on E-M5 and did some test shoots, it was obviously not a very wise decision due to the very sluggish and unreliable Autofocus."
    Is it also true for manual autofocus ?

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Hello Marcelo,
    Indeed, the E-M5 handles color very well, and yes, looking at DPreview comparameter, it does seem that it performs very well even against the best APS-C DSLR !! Amazing, is it not?

    hello Erik S,
    I am glad you have tested the real E-M5 on hand, and found it very practical and effective in many shooting conditions, even with the 500mm manual Canon lens.
    The 75-300mm I was using was also loaned from Olympus, and it did not suffer zoom creep at all, because it probably was quite new. AFter pro-longed usage with constant zooming in and out, I am sure it will suffer zoom-creep.

    Anonymous commentors, PLEASE leave a name, thanks !
    The images were almost as good as straight out of camera JPEG, I shot RAW and converted directly into JPEG via Olympus Viewer without any tweaking.
    As I have mentioned several times I wont use 4/3 lenses on E-M5.

  28. Hello Kirk,
    Thanks for the compliments !! The shots come out usable thanks to the IS and high ISO handling.

    Hello Dan,
    Thanks for the kind comments. Will be shooting with the 12-50mm lens today !!

    Hello Anonymous,
    Please leave a name when you comment next time.
    I did not intend to use manual focus for my Bird Park shooting session, hence when I found out the Autofocus of the 50-200mm was not good as I expected, I decided to give it a pass.

  29. Hi Robin,

    Have you tried panning while shooting moving objects with this mighty 75-300mm lens?
    If so, what were the results like?
    In your opinion, would this lens/camera combo be suitable for shooting pics. at the racetrack? Fast moving cars at a distance of 8 to 30 meters (+/- 9 to 35 yards)

    Perhaps, just adding one more thing to the list Matt here above is preparing for you to try out. LOL:)

    Your blog is awesome, keep it up!

    Best regards,

  30. Hello Luke,
    The birds were very lazy in the late afternoon after feeding, hence they were not active with little movements. I tried to PAN but I got tired of waiting.
    I dare not give you any firm answer, I believe we need to bring the E-M5 and 75-300mm to a real motorsports event to verify if it can perform in that shooting condition.

  31. Lorenzo Valenzuela3/18/2012 09:11:00 AM

    great job Robin. I really appreciate all of your efforts on our behalf!

  32. Thanks again Robin. I was just looking for reviews on the 75-300, when I saw on DPReview that you had just posted this.

    As always it is a pleasure to read your opinions and see actual photography from the lens.

  33. Very nice pictures Robin!

    I also spent some time on dpreview, and I agree that it can compete with a Canon 7D and all APS-C DLSR. It really looks like a game changer for the m43 format.

    I see many key improvements over my E-PL2: better DR, high ISO quality, resolution, EVF (I don't have one) and handling. With all these improvements I really want the OM-D with a battery grip (I'm still not comfortable with it's price), and I'm looking for someone traveling abroad to bring me one!

    Anyone coming to Brazil? I'm happy to pay up to 20% commission (not so happy but will consider 25%) LOL

  34. Hi Robin,

    Looking at your response-times to our comments,
    you are not the productive sleeper that you call yourself in the 'about me' , (i.e. you)-section.
    Perhaps you do need to go back to your normal life, like you said earlier. ;)
    Not that any one of us would encourage you to do so because we are all ears and eyes towards your blog and we are hungry for more.
    On topic:
    Can you actually see bokeh in the EVF when composing with the 75-300mm lens?
    I really love the shot with the yellow bird hanging from a twig in front of that ripe piece of (I guess) papaya.
    Masterpiece. Two levels of bokeh in one shot.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog and take care,
    Best regards,

  35. Hi Robin,

    I am interested in seeing the 3D Autofocus fotos that you feel are sub standard in quality....also, what is the best way to use this type of focus? What shooting conditions? Great blog!

  36. hello Lorenzo,
    It was my pleasure doing the reviews !!

    hey David R,
    Thanks for the kind compliments. Glad that you find the blog entry useful.

    Hello dothraki,
    Thanks for the kind comments ! and I am glad that what we are seeing in the comparator or DPreview sample images actually agrees with my own findings in my review.
    Wow.. 20% thats very generous !! Brazil is a lovely country, would love to visit it one day.

    Hello Luke,
    Thanks for the kind comments !! I love to sleep, but with all the hype of new cameras (not only E-M5), I think we all have sacrificed a bit of sleep time just to keep up with the happenings !! I surely will return to my normal routine soon.
    When I was using the 75-300mm, seeing through the EVF I believe the bokeh was not as produced in the final image. I could not be 100% sure, but I do think that the EVF shows only a preview, not the actual F-number.

    Hello Soulohio,
    The continuous focusing with 3D tracking photos were so bad, I rather not show them.
    I am not a continuous focus shooting kind of photographer. I hope you can find your answer from someone more experienced.

  37. Robin, you really do a great job, regards from Beijing, China.

  38. Robin, you really do a great job, regards from Beijing, China.

  39. Robin, you really do a great job, regards from Beijing, China.

  40. Robin, can you set the focal length in the camera for lenses without electronic contacts? This camera's IBIS would be totally complete with that feature.

  41. I've been poisoned...More $ flying out my wallet. Thanks for the review.

  42. Wonderful images!

    In 4/3 format, does the 1/focal length rule use the actual focal length or do you convert to full frame equivalent first? That is, 1/(focal length x 2).

    I think you would plug in the FF equivalent focal lengh.

  43. Thanks Joly !! Would love to visit China one day.

    Hello Zoeff,
    Since the older Olympus cameras such as E-520, you can set the focal length of manual focus lens without electronic contact, so that the IS can effectively work with any lenses. Olympus continued this feature in all their cameras.

    Hello House of Lim,
    Good poison indeed !!

    Hello Willy,
    I apply 1/focal length, just as a general rule of thumb which I stick by for my usual practise. I believe there is no right or wrong, just your own confidence on shooting and how well you can handle the body + lens combination.

  44. Oh please Olympus, don't waste precious resources on anymore zooms. Focus on good quality, fast primes. Redo the 17mm, making it around 1.8, and create your own 25mm 1.4- just make it more affordable than the Panny Leica. Actually those two lenses and the two other primes you have coming out and I guess you'll have it made in terms of lenses. But thanks for your review Robin. I just really want to see a new 17mm before anymore zooms. :)

  45. Anonymous,
    Kindly leave a name next time you comment.
    Thanks for the kind compliments.
    As much as we all love primes (I love primes too) but we cannot deny the importance of good zoom lenses, and there is a high demand for that. I just feel that micro 4/3 is lacking good fast aperture zoom lenses at the moment. Would have been a much more versatile system with fast zoom lenses.

  46. " As much as we all love primes (I love primes too) but we cannot deny the importance of good zoom lenses, and there is a high demand for that. I just feel that micro 4/3 is lacking good fast aperture zoom lenses at the moment. Would have been a much more versatile system with fast zoom lenses. "

    exactly my opinion too - I really did appreciate your call towards Olympus in this respect.

    From what I see as realistic possibilities, even an active adapter solution like the LE-EA2 would be better to have than to have nothing to adequate adapt fast Olympus FT HQ zoom lenses.


  47. Hello Mige0,
    Lets hope Olympus or Panasonic will come up with constant aperture zoom lenses soon !!

  48. "hence when I found out the Autofocus of the 50-200mm was not good as I expected"

    as for AF *reliability* the 50-200 SWD version does not have any (!) issues with contrast AF on my E-PL1 - its each and every time spot on - not really quick though.

    The non-SWD version fo the 50-200 was may times reported to not work reliable on contrast AF cameras - people seem to suspect a difference in motor design regarding the minimal step difference.

  49. Hello Mige0,
    Of course, the non-SWD version has entirely different motor altogether. Lets hope Olympus releases some sort of back-compatible adapter that allows full PDAF.

  50. Robin, Pana already has announced very interesting zooms - though for now using the genial 12-60 and 50-200 combo on the E-PL1 I certainly would have preferred to not being pushed into another lens buy - guess this is be same situation for many E-5 lovers

  51. Robin, saw your review on Kim's youtube channel, great great, thanks! and of course I've already pre-ordered my E-M5. I've been a loyal Oly user (I had the E420, E3, E5). I do have a quick question..

    Will you sell your E-5? You probably never sell your cameras so maybe you will just say no but if you're on a budget (like I do) will you sell it? I've not invested in any mirrorless cameras in the past two years as I knew that the tech is not mature and they could not replace my trusty E-5 (in terms of slow lenses, bad EVF, no weather sealing, low fps..etc), but after all the wait, finally there is the E-M5 that can seemingly replace the E-5 with all the goodness of the E-5 (weather sealed, 9fps, great high ISO perf...etc). I no longer see a reason to own the E-5 body (if I still want to use the great 50-200SWD or 8mm fish for example, I could just pop them onto the E-M5, albeit slower focusing). What do you think Robin? I'm just thinking there is a very small chance actually taking the bulky E-5 out shooting once I get used to the E-M5. Thanks in advance!!

  52. Hi Robin, Thank you so much for all your hard work and wonderful photos.

    Thanks also for your comment to Oly re zooms, my thoughts exactly. As much as I loved the E-1 back in the day it was the killer HG zooms at a moderate price that made "the system". I'm real hesitant to jump on the m43 bandwagon without the basic HG zoom set in place.

    I've seem dozens of posts on dpreview and elsewhere with photos from the 75-300 and Panny 100-300. I must say all of the photos are pretty marginal. Yours are the first photos I've seen from either lens that make think it can come close to the quality of the 50-200. Care to share your secret of success? Given your comments, I sense you weren't too happy with the lens, can you share any more about its weaknesses?

    Also, have you used the Panny 100-300? can you compare the two lenses at all? Many prefer the 100-300.

    Thanks again!!

  53. Hello Mige0,
    Cant wait for the panasonic lenses !

    Hello Herman,
    Thanks for the compliments.
    I will keep my E-5 at the moment. The reason is simple: Lenses. I already have a set of very capable and sharp lenses: 11-22mm, 50mm macro, 50-200mm, and the micro 4/3 world still lacks the fast and bright zoom.
    I understand that the E-M5 is a very compelling choice. Nonetheless, I am also very happy with what the E-5 can do for me at the moment. I am more interested in the coming "E-7". It is my assumption that if Olympus is doing well now, surely they will keep the original DSLR 4/3 line alive.

    Hey Mark,
    Thanks for the kind comments !!
    I have not used the Panasonic 100-300mm, so I cannot comment on that. Would be curious and love to give it a try if I can.
    The 75-300 is nowhere near the sharpness of 50-200mm. I do not really have much to complain, because both lenses are rated differently: 75-300 being more of just a regular "Standard" lens (it was not marketed as premium of high grade) while the 50-200mm is indeed categorized under High Grade.
    I was not too keen to work with F4.8-6.7 !!! It is a world of difference, since I have been spoilt with F2.8-3.5 on 50-200mm all this time. Even at 100mm zoomed in from the 50-200mm, I can still get F2.9, which is quite impressive.
    There really is no secret I am afraid, and those shots in this entry could have been much better if 50-200mm was used.

  54. Great added review...and Thanks for checking out the 4/3 tele zoom as well .ile my e-mail requested...I will still buy the OMD and hope that Olympus comes out with a low light 150 or big zoom...Anway I can still mount me legendary Nikon 180m f2.8 on it and shoot manual for now...I already use my Nikon 105 f2.5 on the ep1 and epl-1 with great success... Cheers
    George M.

  55. Thanks Snakephoto,
    Indeed one of the main advantages of micro 4/3 system is being able to use many different lenses via available adapters, thus opening up a whole new world of possibilities. Thanks for the kind words !

  56. Great pictures Robin, and your comments about the 50-200 lens on the E-M5 convinced me, I placed my order for an E-5 from B&H today, it should be a great companion for my E-1. No disrespect meant for the m4/3rders, my needs are different, with a son keen on sports with a doting father capturing the moments.

    Once again your real life experience blogged for our benefit is worth far more than pixel peeping..


  57. Thanks Bryan for the kind compliments.

    You ordered an E-5 !! It will surely work marvelously on the 50-200mm.

  58. Great work as usual Robin. I think having technical and studio reviews such as the one from dpreview are surely helpful, but I really appreciate the other end of the review from a real world perspective.

    Should it ever (not that it would) come to an extreme where we could only have one type of review, I would easily pick your style over a studio test.

    Thanks for all the pics and info again

  59. An excellent series of Blogs Robin, thank you! I agree with your comments re the potential of an E7, I really hope Olympus realise the potential - even if it is as they did for the E5, an upgrade of the E3 innards!
    I agree at the moment the EM-5 lacks a competent fast zoom as you say. It has the potential to be much more than a 'street camera' Olympus needs to release a better quality zoom than the kit and a roadmap might be useful ...but then we are still waiting for the 100mm macro in 4/3rds! I also hope the lens options are black as well!
    Worrying about the EVF fogging, did this just happen when you drenched it in the butterfly park or also in the rain?
    I am still going to get one! Thanks again Jerry (UK)

  60. Sorry, this is a Google translation, my English is very bad.
    In the photos shot in AF-C, is the stabilizer was activated?
    If yes, this could be the reason for the photos to depart wrong.
    If you are shaking the camera trying to follow the subject, the stabilizer produces the opposite effect, obtaining blur even at very high speeds.
    This happens with any stabilizer, not only with the Olympus.

    Congratulations for your work and thank you very much.

  61. Hello Nathan,
    Thanks for such kind words !! However I do think studio tests are important. Having controlled technical tests goes side by side with the user-experience review.

    Hello Jerry,
    Thanks for the compliments. The 100mm macro for 4/3, my goodness, you are still waiting !! Lets hope they have not forgetten about that lens.
    THe fogging happened both in the rain and in butterfly park.

    Thanks for the kind words. To answer your questions:
    I turned off the IS.

  62. awesome. love the picture quality. Really want this camera

  63. wow... excellent.. what the price omd em5 in malaysia??

  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. Hey Robin,

    Missed that part of the review (shame on me!!) and it does indeed give a good idea of the 12-50mm performance (quite nice I must say but indeed no prime). Suppose (and I do say 'suppose' here) I would buy this camera anyway, knowing the price here is 1.099€ for just the body and 1.299€ for body + kit 12-50mm, what would you suggest (knowing I could not spend much over 1.650€) for starters?
    Would body + kit 12-50mm + 40-150mm = 1.568€ be a good start (as it covers a most practical range)? Or would you rather go for the body + 14-150mm + 45mm f1.8 = 1.727€(bit over my budget, less range wide and most probably less overall quality but the beautiful 45mm prime included as a nice start towards great lenses!) or would you suggest even other possible combinations around that price?

    Thx already for your much appreciated advice!



  66. Hello Robin,

    @first: Your work within this blog is awesome and really helpfull for the people who are waiting for the new stuff and trying to find what fits the best for them.
    I would like to ask on usage of the 4/3 SWD lenses on the EM-5, is AF really that slow? I am asking as I am looking for speed and light zoom lens with the standard range and I see (as said before) a big gap here.
    Thank you in advance for your feedback

    Jaroslav from Slovakia

  67. Thank you for taking the time and effort for another great entry, Robin. I share your dismay with using 4/3 glass - the autofocus is truly abysmal - in fact, I retuned my 4/3-m.4/3 adapter.
    I also concur that the C-AF and C-AF/Tracking is not viable. The OM-D will have to stay home when the job is to capture birds in flight. Any camera has it's limitations, I can live with these shortcomings. For me, an unexpected plus is that Legacy OM Mount Zuiko manual focus lenses are a joy to use - thanks to Live View EVF and IBIS!
    So, another wonderful set of images - you certainly demonstrate what the OM-D and 75-300 are capable of!

    Happy Shooting!

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

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