-speed of AF and operations in general
-fantastic build quality, splash and dust proof
-The operation with two dials is intuitive.
Cons - The menu system is not very intuitive. I've owned the Olympus E-PL1 also and Olympus hasn't really put much effort into this.
Summary There is a reason this camera is such a big hit - it is a fantastic camera.
Pros in more detail:
-size: much smaller than even the smallest canon/nikon DSLRs. Don't underestimate the importance of smaller size; I carry the camera more often and take more photos simply because its smaller.
-image quality: as good as Nikon D7000, which is the standard for APS size sensors. I think the CNET review has it wrong when it comes to JPEG image quality as olympus JPEG conversion is among the best. Sometimes I've taken a picture as RAW + JPEG, and have had a hard time to process the RAW to look better than the JPEG.
-speed of AF and operations in general. Click on touch screen to click is fun, especially because it is almost instantaneous.
-fantastic build quality, splash and dust proof. It makes you worry a lot less and keep on taking photos. (take care that the lens needs to be weather sealed as well - the system is not splash proof with every lens)
- The operation with two dials is intuitive.
- Very good value, when you compare with Nikon D7000 which is $1200 body only. Unless you really need the optical viewfinder, olympus E-M5 is overall a better camera.
Pros Excellent image quality--in the same class as APS-C DSLRs; very responsive; sturdy build; excellent two-dial control system; weather-sealed; great lens lineup; superb in-body image stabilization.
Cons Mushy buttons; poorly worded menus; oversensitive evf/lcd eye sensor; built-in grip not very grippy.
Summary This is by far the most enjoyable digital camera I've ever had--and I've had many, going back to the first Canon PowerShot in the late nineties.
It's a beautiful piece of technology: from the superb build to the excellent images to the responsive, intuitive controls, this is one great piece of kit.
I'm writing mostly to counter Lori Grunin's skimpy review, which does a huge disservice to Olympus's effort.
While some of her ergonomic and interface-related criticisms are perfectly valid, she's just plain wrong about the most important part of this (or any) camera: its image quality.
It's true that the default JPEG sharpening and noise-reduction settings are too aggressive, but it's a trivial procedure to reconfigure these options and make the problem go away.
Anyway, most people spending $1k on a camera will be shooting RAW--and this is where the OM-D's image quality is in full evidence.
Other, more technical reviewers have measured the camera's image quality, low-light capabilities and dynamic range as equal to or better than many current APS-C (larger sensor) cameras, including the NEX system and DSLRs. This is a stunning achievement for a Micro Four Thirds camera considering its smaller sensor size.
For example, dpreview.com says of the OM-D that "you'd have to move up to full-frame [35mm] to gain an appreciable increase in image quality".
Yet Grunin concludes "you don't get best-in-class photo quality"! ... in fact, you do, if your class includes other Micro Four Thirds cameras, the NEX system, and enthusiast APS-C DSLRs.
Anyway, don't take my word for it: spend some time reading other reviews, particularly on photography sites. The OM-D isn't a perfect camera by any means, but Grunin's lack of enthusiasm for this superb ILC is unquestionably an anomaly on the web.
Pros Superb imagery, excellent build quality, stunning viewfinder, great controls, comprehensive menus, wonderful range of lenses, fast focusing, low size and weight, fantastic image stabilisation and an extremely satisfying 'clunk' of the shutter.
Cons Some of the default menu settings are a bit odd, though easily changed, wish the zoom ring could be locked into manual as it's too easily moved into electric assistance which isn't ideal for stills.
Summary I'm a big Canon DSLR user and their L series lenses, I also have the Fuji X100. The Olympus OM-D excels as being my carry around camera of choice. It's image quality is remarkably good and the 45mm prime results have to be seen to be believed, particularly at f1.8. Just stunningly sharp, with fabulous quality. The ability to correct highlights and shadows, independently, with the bush of a button and twiddle of a dial, whilst looking at a live image in the viewfinder, is simply incredible, as indeed the ability to make instant exposure compensation in bright light using the viewfinder, is just something you can't do at all with any current DSLR viewfinder. WOW! Quite simply my favourite little camera ever.
Pros The image quality is awesome even compared to dslr's. When compared to the t3i rebel it is equal in some and better in others. It really is a do all camera with exceptional image quality. Check out some samples at the photolisticlife website.
Cons Not a lot of information out there about this camera because it is so new. Usually there is a companion book that is helpful for those looking to get the most out of their camera.
Summary If your looking for a great camera to replace your older large dslr then don't hesitate. This is the future of camera's (mirror-less). There are plenty of stories on the net of photographers who traded in their bulky dslr systems for this great camera and I have done the same with no regrets
Pros Size. Weight. Build. Features. Appearance. Weather sealed. Flexibility. Customizability. Adapters. Fantastic pictures. Small with great viewfinder. Art filters. Good software. Solid construction. Included flash.
Cons no built in flash.
Complex if you want to do more than just use Auto.
Summary 57 year old enthusiast. Have owned a massive 6 lb SLR with a 35-105 Zoom that was so heavy it took the fun out of photography. Moved to 35mm point and shoots and loved it. Got into digital with the original Sony Mavica (media was small 1.4mb floppies - good for 20 pics!). Since then i've had a dozen digital cameras including a Nikon D40, a Lumix superzoom, a half dozen amazing Fuji's, finally pretty happy with a Canon G10 and S95. But a few years ago I bought a micro 4/3 - the Olympus EPL-1. I loved the idea of a larger sensor and interchangeable lenses and mirrorless just made sense. Why introduce an archaic principle (a mirror that has to bounce out of the way every shot) when a direct to sensor approach exists?
And the pictures were superb. But the EPL-1 didn't have a viewfinder and the flash was anemic; good for fill in; when I started seeing the uniform 5 star ratings for the OM-d I was intrigued. It is actually smaller than the EPL-1 except for the "pentaprism" on top with the viewfinder and the body is actually smaller than my G10. I put it next to my old massive 35mm Slr and it is amazing how much is packed in.
The 14-42 lens is terrific but I like a longer zoom range so I switched to the 14-150 Olympus zoom I had on my EPL-1. Everything works on this; the menus, which people love to slam, aren't as confusing as you would think. Frankly, what is confusing is the vast flexibilty and customizable options. That just comes with complexity. 3D, 11 art filters, multiple exposure, panorama mode, real time monitoring of bulb and night shots, the super control panel; this ain't a point and shoot. If you just want to put it together and use it on auto you are probably just as well off with a PEN but if you want an SLR quality experience this is the way to go. And BTW, the consensus of EVERY review I have read is that you'd have to go full blown high end SLR to improve on the picture quality, and from what I have seen I believe it. Remarkable camera in a terrific small ergonomic package.
Wish list? more places to put customizable buttons, ability to toggle pre-set (Mysets) parameters, some way to figure out what your pre-sets are. hard copy owner's manual. Longer warranty (and that goes in general....honestly; anything you spend $1000 on should be guaranteed for longer than a year...).
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