Olympus E-P5 vs OM-D E-M5 and some thoughts on E-PL6/E-M6

So, this new camera. It’s coming out and is available for pre-order!

I wanted to summarize the differences between the new E-P5 and OM-D E-M5.

E-P5

OM-D E-M5

16MP Image Sensor

Same

Same

5-Axis Image Stabilization

Improved

Yes

Max Shutter Speed

1/8000sec

1/4000sec

Lowest ISO Setting

100

200

Electronic ViewFinder

Add-on

On-unit

Weather Sealed Body

No

Yes

Design (Subjective)

Good

Great

Cost (Body only)

$1000

$1000

As you can see, this camera is nothing like the E-PL5 (or the new E-PL6 – to be discussed later). It’s a full featured PEN camera that really represents Olympus’ PEN camera line. It almost puts the OM-D’s role as flagship camera to shame. OR!! It really raises expectations on what the next generation OM-D E-M6 (?) will look like (some notes on rumors later).

The new E-P5 has pretty much every feature that the OM-D E-M5 has, except a built-in EVF (Electronic ViewFinder) and weather sealing. On top of all the OM-D’s features, it also has a double max shutter speed of 1/8000sec and a LOW ISO setting equivalent to ISO 100. What does that mean? Well usually not much, but 2 stops of light are going to allow use of f/1.4 lens is bright daylight without needing a ND filter to reduce light. This can be very advantageous for me because my PanaLeica 25mm f/1.4 lens is on my camera 80% of the time. With ISO 200 and 1/4000 sec, I frequently have to tighten the aperture so the camera doesn’t overexpose. ISO 100 and 1/8000 sec should be enough to let me shoot wide open during the day (if you’re not very familiar with camera settings, shooting at a wider aperture allows greater background separation – subject in focus and background blurred).

Design.

E-P5

The E-P5 is modeled after the old Olympus PEN F. Honestly, I haven’t heard of the PEN F until the E-P5 came out. The F is older than me. But I saw several pictures of the F recently and it’s a nice antique looking machine. I like how the new E-P5 is designed too. It smells like a Fuji though, but I like it. In my humble opinion however, the OM-D E-M5 looks much better. I think the OM-D is one of the best designed cameras lately. Can you name another camera that has as much class, sophistication, and history while being so freaking beautiful? It’s manly AND feminine at the same time, all depends on what you want it to be.

P1090103

I think the logical final discussion is cost. It’s the same cost as the OM-D. If you add the EVF (which is supposed to be an improvement over the EM-5’s built-in EVF), it costs more than an OM-D. This, to me, means two things.

1. The pricing kind of makes sense, it beats the OM-D in terms of some features and loses in others. It should cost comparably. However, it is now beyond my price range for a second camera.

2. How much is the next OM-D going to cost?? $1300 range to match the GH3 perhaps? This worries me…

So at the end of the day, they’re both really nice cameras and it is REALLY hard to make a decision. Need EVF – well OM-D has built-in EVF but E-P5 has a newer model EVF but E-P5 costs more with EVF… you see? It’s not easy. For pure image quality alone, the E-P5 will probably best the OM-D by a sliight margin. They share the same sensor but the E-P5 has a year of improvements on it. You also get the faster SS, lower ISO, and improved AF (although the OM-D’s AF is so fast, it wouldn’t matter). So what do you do? I dunno, it’s up to you! What would I do? I think the OM-D looks like it’s worth $1000. The E-P5 is a beauty, but it doesn’t quite have that luxury feel to its look. If you see an E-P5 on the street and didn’t know better, you’d think it’s in the $500~800 range. So my vote goes to the OM-D E-M5!

Now to talk about some other cameras.

The E-PL6 looks like it may only be released in specific markets. It looks almost exactly like the E-PL5 and only has slight firmware improvements. The intervalometer and such are very nice additions, but I don’t think they justify an upgrade.

The E-M6? E-M7? The E-P5 specs really make you wonder what the next flagship OM-D is going to look like. Rumors suggest a PDAF (phase detect auto focus) compatible system, which would solve Micro Four Thirds’ biggest weakness: effective continuous AF for sports. Also improved compatibility with older Zuiko lenses for Four Thirds SLRs. While I haven’t had the opportunity to use any of them, reviews suggest they are quite legendary in sharpness and would solve many of the holes in the M43 lens line up. What does scare me though, is the expected cost of this new machine. $1,300? $1,500? It’s definitely going to storm out the gates with a price tag much higher than the E-P5. It’s scheduled to come out later this year.

We’ll just have to see!

Please comment:  Which would you buy? Which are you going to buy? And why? (You don’t need to be a wordpress member to comment)

You can buy the E-P5 here or the OM-D E-M5 here. Please support my site by buying through these links if you can,

Thank you!

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2 thoughts on “Olympus E-P5 vs OM-D E-M5 and some thoughts on E-PL6/E-M6

  1. Well, I originally had the Pen E-P2. But I sold it about two or three months later, as I realised how much I “needed” a viewfinder (in addition, noise control was aweful). When doing little jobs with my cam, I always take my DSLR with me. I could just not get used to take pictures with live-view. So I sold my Pen and looked for another cam to take on holidays, walks etc…
    At first, I was opting for the Fuji X100. It is surely a decent cam, but you cannot change lenses. In addition to that, I had some lenses left from Olympus. So I decided to go with an Oly, again. The OM-D had it all. Good specs for holiday and spontaneous photography, a beautiful design (love the retro look), a built-in electronic viewfinder and it is small and not to heavy. I bought it and I am really happy with it. Without comparing the specs of the OM-D and my old Canon EOS 450D, I would say that they work in the same range, at least in terms of noise control. I can push the ISO to 1600, even 2000 without problems on the OM-D. I could not do so with my Pen E-P2. The noise got really bad at about ISO 800…
    Long story short, I am happy with my OM-D and I always have it with me in my bag.
    Cheers,
    Charlie

    • Glad you love your OM-D! I know I love mine. The E-P5 is interesting because it promises a lot of the same features/specs of the OM-D and even improves on several points. To show for that, it’s being sold at the same price as the OM-D. Makes you wonder what the new OM-D scheduled for this Fall is going to look like! I’m very excited, although I probably won’t make the upgrade to the newer model…

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