Review: The OIympus PEN E-P5 (updated)

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Not so long ago, Olympus updated both the E-PL series (E-PL5 reviewed here) and the E-PM series with the OM-D’s sensor and other trickle-down technology. Thus it only made sense that it was also about high time for the E-P3 to be refreshed, too. They’ve taken a bit longer over this one; in fact, the new E-P5 has so much of the OM-D’s technology (and a few other things) that picking one over the other is no longer such an easy decision.

Updated 18 June: I’ve had the chance to shoot with a final production E-P5 and VF-4, and have added conclusions on image quality below. The camera looks and feels physically identical to the earlier prototype I tested. In the intervening time, an update to Adobe Camera Raw has also been released that natively supports the E-P5, so I’ve had the ability to evaluate RAW file quality on a comparable basis to the OM-D.

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I’ve had a prototype to evaluate for a few days now, thanks to the folks at Olympus Malaysia. The usual caveats apply: this is a preproduction but near-final unit. Due to lack of raw support, and because I was curious to see what the output would be like, and to address past criticisms that my processing masks the camera’s capabilities, these are almost entirely out-of-camera JPEGs. There are some minor corrections on a few images (some straightening, local dodging etc.); most have nothing done to them at all other than resizing and adding watermarks. B&W images were converted from color. I believe it is a first for me, actually. Images were shot with a mix of the 75/1.8 and 14-42 X Pancake.

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Aside from the refreshed design, which really recalls the PENs of old – especially in the very fetching chrome/black – one thing that Olympus did get very right with this iteration is the build-feel. Frequent readers will know that haptics and tactility are a very important consideration in picking a cameras now; especially given that image quality sufficiency is pretty much there, irrespective of what you buy. It’s a handsome camera that doesn’t let you down when you pick it up; it’s solid, almost all metal, and interestingly, there aren’t any screws on the top, front, back or sides. Even the buttons have a good amount of travel and a solid click point; this is something very noticeably lacking from the top two buttons on the OM-D (play and Fn). The command dials have moved to a much more sensible position, too – they mirror the OM-D’s position, being under the shutter and on the back. There’s also a two-position switch on the back that lets you use the command dials to quickly set ISO and WB – somewhat reminiscent of the Sony nav system – unfortunately you don’t get a lot of choices as to the functions of those dials; full customization would have been nice. There’s one exception, though – the mode dial should be a LOT stiffer. It’s far too easy to move by accident.

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The E-P5 inherits the OM-D’s 16MP Sony CMOS sensor, again with no anti-aliasing filter, and now a low-ISO 100-equivalent option, too. Coupled with the new 1/8000s, 9fps shutter unit, we’ve now got a lot more flexibility to shoot wide open – given the relatively little depth of field control M4/3 affords compared to full frame, this is noteworthy. I personally have come up against exposure limits at 1/4000s and ISO 200 (base) many times with the OM-D while trying to shoot wide open for a cinematic look. More interestingly, Olympus have also managed to stuff the OM-D’s 5-axis gyro stabilizer system into the E-P5, which now also incorporates automatic panning detection. Readers of my previous reviews of the E-PL5 and E-PM1 will know that I was not a fan of their IBIS systems, which just as often caused double images as much as preventing them. I’m pleased to report that the E-P5′s system is every bit as effective as the one in my OM-D, which is to say, the best in the business. Unlike with the previous cameras, I’ll be leaving IBIS on.

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What you’ll all be waiting to hear is that Olympus finally has focus peaking. However, it seems that the view is applied as an art filter preview, which means that the frame rate of the display drops a bit, and I haven’t been able to make it work in conjunction with magnification and IBIS – I’m not sure it can, actually. But the good news is that with the new 1.2m-dot LCD or 2.4m-dot EVF (new VF-4), it works well enough and the pixels are fine enough that you don’t really need magnification; it also switches a lot faster than the OM-D and gains an eye-sensor over the previous add-on EVFs. A smoother frame rate for peaking would definitely be nice, though. As for the new EVF, the view is pretty darned huge; it delivers a magnification equivalent to 0.74x for a full frame 35mm camera. It’s roughly as big as the viewfinder of my D800E, for comparison. The difference is especially obvious when you go back to using the OM-D, which has the older EVF and LCD – both appear just a little small and coarse by comparison. I was told that the new EVF will be back-compatible with earlier cameras with a firmware upgrade, and replaces the VF-2; perhaps M 240 users might want to give it a try.

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Aside from that, there are the now almost-obligatory software improvements. The E-P5 also has a 5fps C-AF tracking rate (though honestly, I still don’t think any CDAF camera’s tracking system is anywhere close to a PDAF one for reliability) as opposed to 4fps on the OM-D, bulb mode with live preview and live histogram, and a timelapse movie mode. There’s also integrated wifi – it’s aimed primarily at the social media types (requires an app to work) – it’s responsive, fast, and offers live view, too. Personally, not my cup of tea; I’m still waiting for tethered shooting to a PC and transfer of RAW files, not just JPEGs. Hopefully, this is firmware-update material. Finally, there are also black versions of the 17mm, 45mm and 75mm lenses – this time, without the same premium the 12mm version attracted. They’ll be regular production runs and the same price as the silver versions. I’m also pleased to report that the 75mm (finally) has a new center-pinch lens cap that can be used hood on, or off – similar to the Nikon types.

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The actual shooting experience was a rather pleasant one – the E-P5 feels somewhere in between the OM-D and smaller PENs in terms of controls, and if you used the VF-4, then the experience is really not that different at all to the OM-D. The rear (touch) screen even tilts, though this is very well hidden via a thin bezel and recessed hinge – it will do the same movements as the OM-D. Unlike the OM-D, however, if the LCD is not in its recessed position, the EVF’s eye sensor is deactivated – which is fantastic news as it means you don’t have to hold it far away from your body to shoot at waist level. The power switch also falls much more conveniently to hand – it’s easy to activate with your shutter finger.

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Personally, I thought build quality and tactile feel were both better than the OM-D, but curiously weather sealing was omitted. And like every other Olympus including the OM-D, those darn strap lugs are still in a silly position – I can only come to the conclusion that it’s a deliberately masochistic design, or there’s somebody at HQ who really, really likes them; given the attention to detail paid to every other aspect of the camera, it’s inexplicable. Aside from that: I liked the way it felt enough that I’d seriously have a tough time deciding between this and the OM-D on that basis alone, seeing as (aside from the built-in EVF) – the E-P5 is actually of higher spec, and it’s a little smaller, too. They both use the same batteries, and in my use, delivered comparable battery life with wifi off – I consistently managed north of 500 shots per charge with wifi off, and a full battery gauge remaining.

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It would be unfair to form any firm conclusions on image quality for the moment – partly because I’m told what I have is not quite final and there will be some tweaks to sensor output, and partly because there’s no RAW support yet, so all I can see are the JPEGs. However, what I can see suggests that everything will be in line with the (high) expectations we have for that sensor, given the excellent output of the OM-D, E-PL5 and E-PM2. I have no reason to believe otherwise from the JPEG output I’ve been evaluating, which is excellent; for the curious, I used a modified Natural setting for these images, with +1 sharpening, -2 contrast, -1 saturation and auto gradation. In fact, considering the extreme dynamic range the camera had to deal with under our tropical midday sun, I’m very, very impressed with the Olympus JPEG engine – I’ll have to do more testing on this with my OM-D in future…

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Update (18 June 2013): I’ve now had the opportunity to shoot with a final production E-P5 for the last week; there doesn’t appear to be much of a difference between the E-P5, E-PL5 and OM-D – at least as far as raw files via ACR go – colour rendition, dynamic range and noise properties all appear to be nearly identical. For those of you not familiar with the output of these cameras, we’re basically dealing with very crisp (at the pixel level) output, weak-anti-aliasing filters, and very pleasing color; usable dynamic range at base ISO is on the order of 11-12 stops, perhaps a little more with careful exposure and manipulation of the raw file. (Note that the E-P5 has a ‘pull’ ISO 100 mode; this has slightly less – about half a stop – dynamic range than ISO 200, because it’s not a native ISO.) The camera delivers clean output up to ISO 1600 or thereabouts; there’s some fine noise, but it’s mostly high frequency, luminance-0nly and quite filmic. ISO 3200 is usable with a little noise reduction, and I’m okay with ISO 6400 under certain lighting conditions and some post processing. This is excellent performance for a sensor of this size.

The E-P5 and E-PL5 appear to have a very slightly weaker anti-aliasing filter than the OM-D, but the difference is so minor (and not always apparent) that I suspect the exact distance of the focusing plane may make a difference, especially with very three-dimensional subjects. The good news is that the E-P5 delivers the same excellent image quality as its siblings, and my initial conclusions don’t change. On the JPEG front, I don’t see any difference between the test images from the earlier final prototype and this final production camera; I still think they’re still a hair better than the OM-D in terms of color and tonality, and possibly the best I’ve straight-from-camera output I’ve seen. If you don’t want to postprocess at all, I highly recommend taking a look at the E-P5 over the OM-D (or any other camera, for that matter).

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I think the way street prices will shake out will mean that the OM-D body will be slightly more expensive than the E-P5 body, but slightly cheaper than the E-P5 plus VF-4. It’s a tricky choice, because unless you really need the EVF all the time, or weather sealing, or the grip, then I think the E-P5 may well be the better buy. It’s both a little more compact and feels nicer in the hand (I personally also think the all-black is a very stealthily handsome camera, but that of course shouldn’t enter into a real photographer’s purchasing decisions), and has additional technology (wifi, peaking, higher resolution LCD) over the OM-D. Actually, paying a little more for the VF-4 isn’t a bad thing either, because the view it presents is noticeably better than the OM-D’s built in EVF. I’m personally very glad that I’m not entering the mirrorless market now, or upgrading from one of the 12MP bodies – all I can say is good luck choosing! MT

A full set with additional sample images is available here on my Flickr stream. Before anybody complains about oversharpening haloes again, it’s Flickr’s downsizing algorithm. The ‘original’ size is NOT oversharpened.

The Olympus E-P5 is available to preorder via Olympus Malaysia, for Malaysian residents. Various kits and bodies are available from Amazon here. Bodies are also available for preorder from B&H in black, silver and white, and the VF-4 is here. The new black lenses are also available to preorder here (you may have to scroll down a little.)

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved

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Comments

  1. Gary Breyssem says:

    With the OMD, RAW-photos shot in different aspect the 4:3 can’t be reset to 4:3 aspect in Lightroom. Other cameras as the Canon or Nikon gives this opportunity in Lightroom. Did they change this for the RAWs of the E-P5?

    • No, it appears that it was originally an ACR thing – even though the whole file area is recorded (you can see it during playback). The latest version of ACR fixes this – you get the whole file area, regardless of the crop. Note: I’m using the latest version of DNG converter and CS5.5.

      • Really? I have the latest ACR 8.1 but still don’t see a way to restore the whole file area on the 16:9 cropped OMD RAWs. I have tried converted them to DNG but only the cropped area remains. Maybe I’ve missed a setting somewhere.

        • There doesn’t appear to be any options/ settings – I just shot in 16:9, converted the ORF in DNG converter, and when I opened it in ACR/CS5.5 it came up as a 4:3 file with the whole image.

          • I did some testing on my PL5 and found that LR and ACR respect the original native ratio even if in-camera crops are made. Then I did some digging and found that only camera models released after ACR 7.2 can be corrected directly within LR and ACR. So, for earlier cameras like E-M5, the only option is to convert to DNG and additionally use a plugin called Recover Edge if you’re working with LR. Why doesn’t Adobe extends support to older cameras is beyond me.

  2. Peter F says:

    I have enjoyed following this review and updates. I’m an OMD user and like reading about the EP5 enhancements as they will likely be included in the next OMD. When you used the final version of the EP5, did you find that the same JPEG adjustments used on the preproduction version were indeed the “right” ones? ( i.e. Natural, sharp +1, Contrast -2, Saturation -1, auto grad)

  3. Nice viewfinder :-) Did you make it in the kitchen?

    But seriously… Price-wise, between the kit w/lens and the finder on B&H, would you pick the Oly over the Fuji X100s for a simple carry-around? Same money…

  4. Jae Yoon says:

    Something I noticed from doing pixel level comparisons on the popular review sites is that the OM-D produces slightly sharper files than the E-PL5 and E-PM2. I hope the E-P5 produces the same level of files as the OM-D.

    You can see the discussion here
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1218920/

    • I feel the same way, I have OMD and EPM2, I see EPM2′s file is less sharper than the OMD.

      • Wow, this is a shocker. I’ve always assumed since they share the same sensor, the IQ would be the same. Besides, DXOlabs seems to publish reports confirming same “sensor quality” but someone on fredmiranda does mention they only look at noise and not per-pixel performance? I’ve been looking for reasons to trade my PL5 in for the EP5, but since I don’t pixel peep, this doesn’t qualify as legit justification to my financial advisor :)

  5. Ming,

    On your review of the EPL5 you mentioned the shutter was not optimal, hard to press with too short a distance between half press and full.
    How is it with this EP5 ?
    Something else, have you thried this cam with M lenses ? Would be nice to get some pictures with a Summicron 35 or 50 for example.
    Thanks

    • It’s a bit better and definitely less prone to accidental presses, but travel is still not as ‘deep’ as the OM-D.

      M lenses wider than 50mm do not work well on M4/3. I’ve used the OM-D with the 50/1.4 ASPH here.

  6. Any improvements on shutter sound/noise?

  7. Michael Matthews says:

    Thanks, Ming. Assuming the improved qualities of the VF-4 this looks like the one. Unless Olympus blows it out of the water with the next iteration of the OM-D later this year. Suffering from Last Camera Syndrome here.

    • Haha, there’s no such thing as last camera – but I admire your determination :)

      The OM-D replacement is nothing but speculation at the moment. Think of pictures now vs. waiting vs. not quite getting what you want in the end. In any case, I’d base that decision on whether you need a built in EVF or better JPEG output more…

  8. Great write up (as always!) and very interesting product from Olympus, my only negative point about the new E-P5 is the fact that you can not use EVF and a remote radio flash trigger (for example my Skyport for Elinchrom) at the same time. This is sad IMHO, or is there any solution to that? (No, triggering my studio flash with the onboard camera would be not a solution, since I want to use the Elinchrom Quadras outdoors and remote triggering via Flashs might not be reliable in full sun light…).
    I know there is the OM-D for these kinds of scenarios, but I have the fear that Oly at some point in the future only offers cameras like the E-P5…
    Any advice? I really would like to replace my existing DSLR gear and move over to Oly for the “studio jobs” and use the Leica for pleasure, street, whatever…
    Any ideas? Recommendations?
    Thanks in advance, all the best and I hope you will be able to keep up the great work!

    • I’d use the OM-D for studio work if you need a flash trigger, but a bigger question is might you not be better served by a DSLR? Then again if you’re operating on a tripod, the EVF is not really required anyway since live view yields more accurate focusing and easier framing anyway.

      • You are certainly right for pure “Studio” indoor work, but I am trying (learning) to do more and more portraits outdoors with flash/ strobist style, and I prefer to use the camera “free” not bound to a tripod when working/ communicating with the subjects (i.e. humans).

        • That makes sense. If its outdoor semi-controlled work you’re after, maybe one of the leaf shutter cameras like the Sigma DPs might work better – the higher sync speed would be incredibly useful, I think. Of course no EVF there either…

  9. “What you’ll all be waiting to hear is that Olympus finally has focus peaking. However, it seems that the view is applied as an art filter preview, which means that the frame rate of the display drops a bit, and I haven’t been able to make it work in conjunction with magnification and IBIS – I’m not sure it can, actually.”

    Sounds like they blew it again. Is focus peaking available in video mode, too? I’ve read in one source that it is not, but didn’t find any more information on that. It sounds absurd, but considering it’s Olympus we’re talking about here, I wouldn’t put it out of the question. I still *love* my OMD, but the firmware is so horrible that my next camera is probably going to be a Panasonic. Unless Olympus includes Android in the meantime; then we’d be able to freely use Olympus hardware without being tortured by their software.

    Another thing – you’re writing the new EVF is so sharp focus peaking wouldn’t be that necessary anymore. On my OMD I need focus peaking (read: that comic look art filter) or the magnification to really focus precisely. But when in video mode, I’m forced to focus “nakedly”. And without being able to magnify and without the visual aid of focus peaking, I have to squint my eyes badly to be able to make out where the focus lies exactly. After some time that really hurts my eyes. Even if the image was sharper, I’m skeptical of being able to focus precisely at that size. So do you think the slightly bigger EVF for the EP5 really makes all the difference (I think it’s 0.74x versus 0.7x in 35mm)? Like you, I’m wearing glasses; do you keep them on when looking thru the EVF?

    • Not sure, it wasn’t something I looked for. I suspect not as it would affect the frame rate too much – refresh rate seems to drop a bit when you enable peaking. Honestly I found that I preferred to skip peaking, turn the sharpening up, and just look for the ‘shimmer’ that happens when you transit the focus point.

      As for the new EVF, it’s not the size – though that helps – it’s the large increase in resolution. Yes, I keep my glasses on; not a problem.

      • Hi,

        Just to note that focus peaking does indeed work in magnified view, as can be seen in part 7 of dpr’s e-p5 review (and I’ve recently confirmed on my own just-bought e-p5.) The impact to the frame rate is noticeable, as you say.

        But hey! While I’m here, it’s worth congratulating you on your remarkable industry and generosity in making the wealth of informed opinion and objective fact constituting this website available to all, and in such nicely designed and usable form! It should also be mentioned that few, if any, online camera reviews are graced with such consistently great sample shots, certainly none that I’m aware of. Thanks for all the work!

  10. I heard the E-P5 is delayed due to the 5-axis stabilization. On one the dpreivew forums they mentioned you had an issue with it? is this true?

    • If I had an issue I’d have noted it in the review. DPR forums are full of bad information :)

      Short answer: no, I found it to be as good as the OM-D.

  11. rparmar says:

    Your photos simply out-do other reviewers. They get mediocre shots from every camera. You produce excellence that encourages me to purchase the camera.

  12. rwestcott says:

    Ming, you wished us luck making a mirrorless choice. Can I ask then why you chose the GR over the EP5? Was it even better IQ or another reason such as compactness. Does seem that you rate the Oly IQ very highly. Hard to understand whether the qualifier is “for MFT sensor size” or in absolute terms. An EP5 and pancake would be larger than the GR of course (most cameras are!) but still pocketable, in return for multiple lens choices and high grade EVF add-ons. Choices, choices!

  13. Daniel Mercier says:

    Hi, Master Ming (that sounds pretty cinematic, doesn’t it?)

    Thanks a lot for this excellent review, as well as for all others including one pertaining to the intriguing albeit costly “Ultimate Travel Camera” namely the Leica X Vario!

    I am pretty much decided now, bull charge towards the E-P5! One little hurdle before committing myself to purchasing, though… I already own a silver m.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 AND a somewhat decent “VF-2″; would you then, in spite of this, still recommand the whole awesome trio (including said VF-4) or the sexy naked E-P5 body only?

    Daniel

    • Not sure I deserve the master bit, but no problem! If you’re going to get the E-P5 with EVF, I’d look at the OM-D – it’s smaller and cheaper than E-P5 with VF4 attached. Whether you need the EVF or not is down to the way you shoot – are you a waist level, arms’ length or eye level shooter?

      • Daniel Mercier says:

        In French, lawyers are often unduly called “Master”; it wears off quickly, so let me tell you to simply enjoy it to the fullest while it lasts!

        I’m an eye-level shooter, mostly. Or dare I say, a pentaprism OVF lover (second major reason for getting an E-5 from FT Land, the first being the exclusivity of the almighty Zuiko 12-60mm superhero & its faithful 50mm Macro sidekick!) In this regard, could perhaps the VF-4 at last turn out to be a truly more-than-decent (more-than-”VF-2″) substitute or not quite yet?

        As for my biggest everlasting photomania/photophobia – color accuracy obtained from OOC JPEGs taken under various lighting conditions (you know.. what Olympus is rather quite famous for, and therefore my third major reason for getting into that system), would you according to the very privileged experience that you’ve amassed so far be able to really place the E-P5 in a category of its own versus the rest of the Olympus family?

        Thank you so much in advance, Ming, for sharing your personal feelings about these two quandaries of mine!

        • Haha, we have a similar name for lawyers…but I’m pretty sure it isn’t meant in a complimentary way.

          The VF4 is much better than the VF2 in magnification, detail and eye relief; you can judge manual focus accurately with the VF4, but with the VF2 you must use magnification. The E-P5′s jpegs are better but not leagues ahead of the OM-D/E-PL5/E-PM2. How you set up the camera will make more of a difference.

      • Paul Thor says:

        Ah yes, but if you get the kit (Olympus EP-5, 17mm 1.8, and the VF-4 viewfinder), the viewfinder nets out as free!

        • That’s true – I’m personally not a huge fan of the 17/1.8 though. Fast to focus but the corners suffer from CA and aren’t as sharp as the 20/1.7.

  14. Daniel Mercier says:

    Ming, that was very helpful!

    Again, my sincere gratitude,

    Daniel (aka ‘Marathonianbull’)

  15. Ming – the richness and depth of your previous set of 50Lux + OMD Chinatown images were enough to convert me to make a switch to the m43 system (along with your 75mm 1.8 review). I will be waiting a month or two before the E-P5 shows up locally and would like to know how what you think about the balance and ergonomics of the 50Lux + E-P5 + VF4.

    • It’s not so different to the OM-D and 50 Lux. I just prefer to have my EVF built in – one less thing to lose and it doesn’t block the hotshoe. Hope you can use my referral links for your order! :)

  16. Michael Matthews says:

    A little more, if you will, on the phenomenon of “shimmer” when changing focus — versus use of focus peaking.

    I had not noticed anything of this sort until making the plunge to acquire the ZD 60mm macro (yes, dutifully using your B&H link).
    When fiddling about with the new lens in 1:1 or 1:2 and manually changing focus along the angled surface of some fabric I saw what may be that effect — a sort of highlighting in the center of the very narrow field of critical focus.

    Having only an E-PL1 there was no focus peaking possible, of course.

    Does this happen only with subjects offering high contrast edges? Is harshness or angle of light a factor? Is it limited to the latest lenses with a specific coating? I’ve never encountered it with other lenses or on soft, evenly-lit subjects.

    Thank you again for content which makes it worth returning to read comments months after the topic’s first appearance.

    • Thanks for your support :)

      You need to turn sharpening up to maximum to see the ‘shimmer’ – it’s basically a sharpening halo around in-focus edges. This will NOT affect the raw file but it WILL affect the JPEG. If you use focus peaking, for whatever reason, the frame rate drops (even on the E-P5). It’s definitely better with high contrast edges and strongly directional light, but to some extent will be visible on all edges.

      • Michael Matthews says:

        Thank you, Ming.

        Perhaps I can program one of the many configurable buttons on the camera to serve as a maximum sharpness toggle. If the shimmer turns out to be of any value, having it available briefly on-demand could be helpful.

        • I think you can do a shortcut to picture styles (or whatever they’re called) but not to adjust sharpness specifically. You could just have one of them toggle point magnification – I have that as a backup.

  17. rwestcott says:

    The EP5 is very impressive. Yet when you look at the form factor of the Leica M and the size of the lenses, you realise what an astonishing achievement that system is, to give FF capability in a comparable size.

  18. rwestcott says:

    I am trying to make a choice for small automatic camera and struggling to understand the following: ignoring for a moment EFOV and price, would an EP5+17/1.8 deliver equivalent IQ to the APS-C Ricoh GR, or does the sensor size make a difference? Thanks

  19. Hi, can i know the difference between the olympus ep5 and epl5? i’m newbie at photography and am wanting to get my first camera so i am not too sure what the differences are. can you tell me please? and which one would you recommend for me? i am a fashion student so i will mainly be using it for school, shooting street style, fashion shows/events etc. thanks! please get back to me!

    • Price, stabilizer, number of external controls. If you’re going to buy the E-P5, I’d go for the OM-D instead; price is about the same and you get an EVF built in.

      • How bout between the epl5 and ep5? Which would you recommend? I think there is a pretty big price difference as ep5 is still full retail price if I am not wrong. I prefer the design or the ep5 though :/ thanks again for the help!

        • They’re not that different feature-wise, at least not that you’ll be able to tell at your level of experience. Buy the cheaper one and spend the difference on better lenses.

  20. I have both the E-P3 (with the large optional grip) and the E-P5. In comparison, the grip on the E-P5 is small and uncomfortable. Your experience?

  21. Heather says:

    I recently was given the E-PL-5 (twin lens kit) as the E-P-5 was not available. The seller is willing to change it to the E-P-5 17mm/f1.8 V4 EVF when it arrives. I am finding the E-PL-5 IQ quite disappointing (possibly the kit lenses?) and so was going to upgrade but the seller says there will be no difference in IQ, whereas Oly say there will be a considerable difference. As someone who has reviewed both cameras, do you have an opinion please?

    • The E-P5 and E-PL5 use the same sensor. The kit lenses aren’t fantastic at all; big difference to the primes – and even then the 17/1.8 isn’t the best of them, either. You need to determine if it’s the sensor performance (noise, dynamic range, color) or the lens performance (sharpness, CA, microcontrast etc) you’re not happy with…

      • Heather says:

        Thank you. Your reviews are extremely helpful and your photos are fabulous. Funny that Olympus AU told me that the sensor was superior in the E-P5…I’d probably have to point the finger at the lenses then.

  22. PAUL TIRAJOH says:

    Ming,
    Very excellent review and beautiful pictures.

    I have OMD and 4 prime lenses, shoot in RAW, convert to JPEG using DXO Optics raw converter, and just beginning with B+W. I don’t have Photoshop, and have still difficulties to achieve a good B+W using iPhoto (Apple computer), usually +Yellow and +Magenta.

    What kind of postprocessing would you advice me to get a good B+W ?

    kind regards,
    paul

    • None of the above methods. PS is unfortunately still the only good way because it’s the only software that gives you full control over dodging and burning. As for the how – there’s no simple answer to that either. I cover it in the Intro to PS workflow video though, and in several articles on the site…

    • If I may butt in here for a moment … Ming is right when he says below that PS is the way to do dodge and burn, especially because you can overlay multiple layers for truly subtle and precise adjustments. But if you watch his PP videos (either intro to PS or the B&W stuff on his iPad app), the adjustments he makes are pretty mild and only serves to enhance what is there already. From what I’ve seen, there’s really no heavy handed PP going on.

      This is all to say that what you capture, especially the quality of light and its relation to the shadows in the frame, will affect your B&W quality more than anything else: workflow, camera, lens, etc. What the PP does is just to bring out (subtly) the qualities and relationships you captured in the first place. I have PS, but I’m lazy and often just use the single-layer dodge&burn in Lightroom to finish my B&W pics.

      Anyway, I wanted to offer that as someone who’s in a similar position, and learned how to do digital B&W via Ming’s teaching materials. Hope it helps, and good luck!

      • It looks relatively easy because I only usually make a couple of passes – experience tells you just how much you need :)

        • PAUL TIRAJOH says:

          Ming and Andre,

          Thanks for the explanations.
          In the past I have quite a lot experience with analog B & W, Ilford Delta 400, 30×40 cm print on Ilford paper, but truely no experince in the digital B&W.

          Is there any digital gradual ND filter, or we should perform dodging & burning ?

          paul

  23. Thanks for the very detailed review. I am a fan of this blog since about a year.
    I own the E-P5 and some Oly primes since a few weeks now and came a cross the recent review on DPR where the shutter shock issue was pointed out. I am not overly fussed about this shutter issue but a bit concerned. I mean I bought a camera in a premium price segment and paid a fair bit on good lenses to find out that exposures between 1/60 and 1/200 can easily get blurred due to the shutter mechanism.
    This is actually the typical shutter speed used in low light situations and to be honest, I would expect no flaw like this in such an expensive camera. I mean even any low end DSLR without IBIS would produce tack sharp images with e.g. a normal focal length and let’s say 1/100 shutter speed. No camera would fail here but the E-P5 does?? I am a bit disappointed if this is really true… I am about to give up most of my FF gear to move towards a lighter and smaller kit and now this? Would you be able to comment on this hot debate and shed some light on the issue if it is existent? Many thanks.

    • I didn’t find any issues in the camera I tested, and I used 45, 50, 60 and 75mm lenses a lot. This is not to say the issue doesn’t exist, only I didn’t encounter it…

      • Thanks for the quick reply Ming.
        Since this is such a hot topic would you not be interested to investigate this a bit? I mean you are invested in this system as well and might want to know how much is about the issue?

  24. calm sea raging undertow says:

    I own an OMD-EM5 or at least did. I would like to get the new Ep5.
    Do you have any opinion or experience with the tales of shutter shock issue or double images created by some with this camera.

    Mucho thanks mate
    Cheers

  25. Nigel Blumenthal says:

    Ming, I’m a very recent convert to M4/3, from a Sony Alpha 500 DSLR. I borrowed an E-PL5 for a day to compare, and it simply knocked the Sony into a cocked hat, so I went out and found a E-PL5. I really wanted the E-P5, but that was too expensive, but there’s one for sale, body only, at a good price and I could afford to swap. The question is, is it worth doing, for the $250-300 that it would cost? (I’d keep the lenses and the VF2 that I have bought for the E-PL5, and use them on the E-P5)

    I also echo others’ sentiments here – the photo samples on this blog are incredible. Makes me feel quite inadequate!

    • It’s worth it for the 5-axis stabilizer. The E-P5 shares the same hardware as the E-M5 and E-M1, and that portion alone is quite a notch up on the E-PL5. But if you’re going to pay that much to upgrade, I’d look a used E-M5 and gain the EVF, too…

      • Nigel Blumenthal says:

        Thanks for the input, Ming. I was really looking at the EP5 for the focus peaking indicator, and because it’s a little smaller; like that form factor (and it has a high WAF too!) If I wanted to go back to the DSLR-type body shape, I’d save hard and probably go for an EM-1.

        Any comments on the VF2 with the EP5? If I hadn’t already bought it, I would think about the VF4, but since I already have it, it seems sensible to use what I’ve got.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Not so long ago, Olympus updated both the E-PL series (E-PL5 reviewed here) and the E-PM series with the OM-D’s sensor and other trickle-down technology. Thus it only made sense that it was also about high time for the E-P3 to be refreshed, too. They’ve taken a bit longer over this one; in fact, the new E-P5 has so much of the OM-D’s technology (and a few other things) that picking one over the other is no longer such an easy decision.  […]

  2. […] E-M5 camera body comparison at ePhotozine + 8-page preview at dpreview + ePhotozine + Pocket Lint + Ming Thein + Dkamera.de + ThePhoblographer + CNet Australia + Pop Photo + Tech Radar + Imaging Resource + DSLR […]

  3. […] Additional hands-&#959n coverage available &#1072t Thephoblographer, Ming Thein &#1072n&#1281Dpreview. […]

  4. […] Olympus launches PEN E-P5 Thanks David This is Ming Thein's take on it At first I was unimpressed, but the extra small focus point and the 1/8000th together with the new […]

  5. […] Not so long ago, Olympus updated both the E-PL series (E-PL5 reviewed here) and the E-PM series with the OM-D’s sensor and other trickle-down technology. Thus it only made sense that it was also about high time for the E-P3 to be refreshed, too. They’ve taken a bit longer over this one; in fact, the new E-P5 has so much of the OM-D’s technology (and a few other things) that picking one over the other is no longer such an easy decision.  […]

  6. […] I’m not going to go through all the specifications here, you can read them from other websites (Ming Thein’s blog, for example) and press releases, but I’ll point out a few interesting […]

  7. […] Source: http://blog.mingthein.com/2013/05/10/oiympus-pen-e-p5/ […]

  8. […] Working preview: The OIympus PEN E-P5 (mingthein.com) […]

  9. […] Added on 5/10/2013: http://blog.mingthein.com/2013/05/10/oiympus-pen-e-p5/ […]

  10. […] image quality section of the review. You can find the whole thing (including the update, of course) here. […]

  11. […] Not so long ago, Olympus updated both the E-PL series (E-PL5 reviewed here) and the E-PM series with the OM-D’s sensor and other trickle-down technology. Thus it only made sense that it was also about high time for the E-P3 to be refreshed, too. They’ve taken a bit longer over this one; in fact, the new E-P5 has so much of the OM-D’s technology (and a few other things) that picking one over the other is no longer such an easy decision.  […]

  12. […] Not so long ago, Olympus updated both the E-PL series (E-PL5 reviewed here) and the E-PM series with the OM-D's sensor and other trickle-down technology. Thus it only made sense that it was also ab…  […]

  13. […] Hands-on dengan contoh foto oleh Ming Thein […]

  14. […] go into details about the camera, you can read Ming Thein and Robin Wong’s posts about it here (MT) and here (RW), they are an enjoyable read. Here’s what I really like about the new […]

  15. […] better still, develop it. Not long ago, my desk had three cameras for review/ testing on it (the Olympus E-P5, Leica X Vario and Sigma DP3M – none of them were DSLRs. I now routinely travel without one; […]

  16. […] grip, which houses the wifi antenna – the camera acquires the remote abilities of the E-P5 (reviewed here) with extended control capabilities. We have a good old-fashioned PC sync port for use with studio […]

  17. […] better still, develop it. Not long ago, my desk had three cameras for review/ testing on it (the Olympus E-P5, Leica X Vario andSigma DP3M – none of them were DSLRs. I now routinely travel without one; in […]

  18. […] Working preview: The OIympus PEN E-P5 Ming Thein | Photographer […]

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