The design of the Olympus E-P5 is geared like the classic Olympus PEN F, but the camera is a modern digital system with a lot of interesting features. It offers a very fast AF system, an integrated image stabilizer (5-axis system) and a touch screen.
Comments on Image Quality
Colour: The Olympus E-P5 performed very well in our colour tests. The colour errors are on a extremely low level. Skin tones are reproduced nearly perfectly, and only some red colours are boosted by a higher yellow rate. The saturation is a little higher than in images taken with previous Olympus cameras but still on a very good level.
Sharpness: The sharpness and resolution results are excellent. The Olympus E-P5 reproduced the ISO12233 chart with 3125 of 3456 lines per picture height and, therefore, the nominal resolution of the image sensor. Nevertheless, the camera uses a very intense sharpness filtering that even causes a clipping of 2.19 percent and, as a result, a kind of double contours in the black and white contrast lines. The differentiation of colours is very good. You will notice that in the coloured spools in the standard test box shot, for example.
Noise: The camera performed well in the noise tests. Luminance noise is on a good level up to ISO 1600. Using higher ISO speed settings will cause clearly noticeable noise artifacts but still acceptable up to ISO 12800, thanks to its anti-noise filtering system. At ISO 25600, however, it gets really annoying.
Comments on Handling
The Olympus E-P5 has a classic viewfinder design but doesn’t offer an optical or electronic viewfinder. It has a swivel monitor that can be folded up- and downward and offers a very high resolution (1.037.000 RGB dots). Its 3:2 aspect ratio allows the showing of additional information on both sides of the viewfinder image, which has an aspect ration of 4:3 when taking images in highest image resolution. By pressing the “OK” button in the center of the control field, additional parameters are shown as overlays on the right-hand side of the live view image.
The LCD screen is touch-sensitive and allows the set-up of image parameters. Not all menu items react to finger-tip commands; the touch sensitivity is an additional feature for only a few functions (focus area selection, for example).
Olympus offers an additional EVF. The VF-4 offers an extreme image resolution of 2.36 million RGB dots and creates a very crisp-looking electronic viewfinder image. It can be flipped upward (90 degrees), which helps with macro shots taken near the ground, for example. It is recommended, but also very expensive (ca. 300 Euro in Germany), and attaches to the hot shoe of the E-P5. On its back, the camera has an additional digital interface right below of this accessory shoe that provides the EVF with energy and the digital viewfinder image. The accessory shoe and this interface can also be used for an external microphone for better sound quality when recording video. And, of course, it can be used for additional and external flash systems. Nevertheless, the camera is equipped with an internal flash system that uses a mechanical pop-up mechanism. The built-in flash system is located a little left of and high above the optical axis, which reduces the red-eye effect.
The camera offers all standard exposure modes (P, S, A and M) and 25 scene modes. It also has additional effect modes, which create “miniature” effects, “cross processing” effects or “dramatic tone” effects. You can even use some effects simultaneously like “dramatic tone” combined with an effect that adds a frame to the image (or “dramatic tone” + “pinhole” effect). Many effects can also be used in video recording mode, but will cause a stuttering movie recording. In standard mode, the camera is able to record Full HD video with 30 frames per second. It offers manual exposure control when recording videos in M mode.
The new Olympus has two set-up dials—just like a professional SLR system. One dial is located near the shutter-release button; the second is located on the back and can be easily reached by the right-hand thumb. With both dials, it is very easy to change all parameters very quickly. The photographer can set up aperture size and shutter speed simultaneously in M mode, or change white balance with the back dial and the ISO speed setting with the front dial in P mode, for example. The user-defined FN button on the top also helps to set up important image parameters fast and efficiently.
The E-P5 has a lot of individual settings in its basic set-up menu and allows the defining of dial functions, picture-mode settings, histogram settings, strength of the anti-noise filter, additional parameters for the automatic white balance (“keep warm lighting colours,” for example), and many more. Even the definition of copyright information (name of the photographer, etc.) is possible.
+ very nice colour reproduction (a little over saturated)
+ high results in our resolution tests
+ a lot of individual image settings and parameters
+ very fast AF system
+ comfortable handling (two set-up dials, a touch screen, etc.)
+ massive body with a very robust-looking finish
+ Wi-Fi function
– no optical viewfinder
– high quality EVF offered as optional, very expensive accessory
– expensive for a compact-system camera (list price is 999 Euro for the body and 1099 Euro with 14-42 mm kit lens in Germany)
This review is based on precise lab tests conducted by BetterNet GmbH and provided by the Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA). TIPA is the largest family of independent photo and imaging magazines worldwide. Photo Life is an active member of TIPA.
|SPEC SHEET: Olympus E-P5|
|BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:|
|Resolution||4608 x 3456|
|Color depth (in bits)||36|
|Size of sensor (in Inches)||0/0.00|
|Size of sensor (in mm)||17.3 x 13.0|
|Focal length (wide angle; 35 mm equivalent; in mm)||28|
|Focal length (tele; 35 mm equivalent; KB in mm)||84|
|Focal length (wide angle; real; in mm)||14.0|
|Focal length (tele; real; KB in mm)||42.0|
|Speed||3.5 – 5.6|
|Macro||25 – 100|
|Manual focus, controlled by function elements||no|
|Manual focus, controlled with lens ring||yes|
|Startup time (in sec)||0.50|
|Shutter delay (in sec) without pre-focusing||0.20|
|Shutter delay (in sec) with pre-focusing||0.01|
|Continuous shooting speed (frames per second)||9.0|
|Max. burst during continuous shooting speed||18.0|
|Fastest shutter speed in sec||1/8000|
|Long time exposure/shutter speed in sec||60|
|Aperture pre-setting, shutter speed pre-setting, manual exposure settings,|
|automatic bracketing, time-lapse photography|
|White balance settings||7|
|Individual white balance||yes|
|Manual ISO control||yes|
|On, off, automatic flash, slow sync, anti-red-eye, rear curtain sync|
|Standard file formats||JPEG, RAW, DCF|
|JPEG compression grades||2|
|LCD AND PREVIEW:|
|Size (in inches)||3.0|
|Resolution of LCD (in pixels)||1037|
|Zoom mode during preview||yes|
|Index during preview||yes|
|Slideshow during preview||yes|
|Battery charger included||yes|
|Power supply unit||no|
|Supported memory cards||SD card, SDHC card, SDXC card|
|PC connection||USB, HDMI|
|TV out||PAL/NTSC + HDMI|
|Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm)||122 x 68 x 37|
|Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g)||378|
|Manual on CD||yes|