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HarjTT Feb 15, 2012 6:04 PM

First thoughts on the EM5 - Biofos and the OnlinePhotographer
Some interesting thoughts on the EM5 over at the onlinephotographer and

My first question to Olympus UK when I was given the pre-announcement images and specification was 'Can this new camera operate 4/3rds lenses any quicker than existing m4/3 machines (does it have a PDAF sensor on the chip?) Unfortunately the answer came back "No AF improvement on 4/3 lenses I am afraid".
I was disappointed with this news; it seems that Olympus' promise of 'One beautiful system' is not here yet, and I suspect may never arrive as the engineers have already dropped a pretty big hint that this ambition might be more difficult to achieve than they first thought. So where does this leave the 4/3rds faithful? To me it looks like Olympus may have to continue producing a top-spec 4/3 camera such as an E-6 or E-7 if they are to abide by their previous promise that there will always be a body on which 4/3rds lenses can be used to full advantage. So, in that sense, the OM-D, as well as offering a top-spec m4/3 machine (weatherproof), also guarantees the continuation of the 4/3rds line, albeit with one camera only!"

The AF performance of the OMD and the FT lenses is further confirmed at the onlinephotographer

1st look of the EM-5 over at the onlinephotographger:
"I asked about AF performance with the standard 4/3 E-system lenses, and Olympus said there was nothing special to highlight on that front, implying it was roughly the same as the E-P3."
I'm not surprised by his statement re: AF of 4/3 lenses.... will have to be patient and wait for the E7 to show.
Another interesting tid-bit:
"Some other random notes: Olympus says the E-M5's ability to follow-focus moving subjects is "dramatically" improved, able to track a subject while maintaining a 4.2 frames-per-second burst rate. If that turns out to be reliably true across a modestly wide range of real-world (as opposed to test lab) conditions, and the percentage of sharp pictures is reasonably high, that would be a significant breakthrough for contrast-detect autofocus. I'm skeptical for the time being but hoping to be pleasantly surprised."

The EM-5's looking like a pretty sweet cam, esp in black - might possibly get one esp for street shooting but only with one or two primes,the Pana 20mm f1.7 and the 45 F1.8 would be more than enough. I've been surprised with the reviews of the 12-50Zd's and how poor its optical quality, so primes would be my setup. However, that new Fuji ProX range finder looks mighty pretty as well!

I'm looking forward to seeing what Oly does with the E7 .. we know its in the works, so fingers crossed we get to see something later on this year!

Greg Chappell Feb 15, 2012 10:04 PM

If you've ever tried the E-P3 with the MSC-designated Micro Zuikos, it would be really hard to complain much about AF speed, so I'm not too surprised about the comment from the Olympus rep about that. I personally think the AF speed of the E-P3 with the internal focusing MSC Zuikos, like the 12mm f2, 45mm f1.8, 75-300, 14-42II and others is just as fast as my 12-60 SWD was on the E-5, and certainly much faster than any of the slower micro motored Zuikos. AF speed is no longer an issue with Micro Four-Thirds.

With the now twice as fast refreshing EVF compared to the VF-2 on an E-P3, Olympus are now obviously working out the primary weak-link for fast-paced shooting, and that's keeping the finder live and as real-time as much as possible. I hear the E-M5 has individual processors that control the live view and file processing at the same time, which makes the whole system much more responsive and the finder live pretty much continuously.

I too am plenty skeptical about any claims regarding tracking, which has not even been very well done in Olympus DSLR's. What IS exciting is the 9 frame per second burst, even if AF is not active. When I shot action with the E5 or E30 I would focus then do short 3-4 image bursts and re-focus. The E-M5 will probably blast off 7-8 frames in the same micro time frame the E5 or E30 does 3 or 4. That's twice the chance of getting a keeper.

Now that Olympus is introducing lenses like the 45/1.8, 75/1.8 and 60mm f2.8 1:1 macro WITH A FOCUS LIMITER(!), in addition to the 12mm f2, they are starting to introduce high-quality optics with the matching small size of the bodies. Neither focus speed or ergonomics is a good reason for wanting to use the four-thirds lenses. My 50-200 SWD was over-the-top for the Pen. I can only imagine how a 35-100 f2, 150mm f2 or 300mm f2.8 works on the Pen. The E-M5 with the grip attached might be a different story, but that AF-thing is still the problem.

It certainly sounds like the E7 is just a matter of time from being introduced. I've probably seen the same comments you did that were pretty much saying the techs had given up trying to make contrast detection-geared Zuikos work optimally on the phase detection bodies.

Steven R Feb 16, 2012 8:35 AM

FYI - From
In a nod to the 40th anniversary of the original OM, Olympus are offering customers who pre-order the chance to claim the ingenious two part grip and battery pack free! Talk to your local Olympus Pen Elite Centre, Warehouse Express, Amazon, Dixons Black Stores and selected Jessops. Pre-order the camera and Olympus will ship the grip to you on delivery of the camera."

Steven R Feb 16, 2012 8:36 AM

Also on
Mark Thackara, Olympus UK Marketing Manager has sent me this statement in an effort to clarify the position regarding 4/3rds lenses on m4/3rds bodies and the future of 4/3rds in general -
"No one has ruled out improvements in performance of 4/3 lenses on MFT, we are just not there yet. Add to that, the already stated commitment to support the 4/3 system and it is fair to say that we are fully behind everyone as far as we can be. Personally, I think it is right to prioritise getting the MFT system as strong as it can be since there is no doubt that it is one future for many people. It ticks an awful lot of boxes. It is easy to nitpick around the OM-D but I think we have addressed most of the requests made by Olympus enthusiasts. It is lovely to hold! So what next - well we will continue to try and do the best for everyone whilst striving to break the hegemony that exists in the market by coming up with genuinely innovative products. Can't say fairer than that"

Rriley Feb 20, 2012 2:05 PM

heres another one to lubricate your wallets :)

zig-123 Feb 20, 2012 9:39 PM

I think more people should read John Foster's fine article regarding the release of the O-MD E-m5 -especially the marketing and sales division of Olympus.

He expressed his frustrations with Olympus' attitude towards the 43 faithful and the "dumping" of a good camera system that never was fully or properly developed by Olympus, in favor of m43 far better than I ever could.

Many people invested a lot of money into that system (including myself) both in bodies as well as HG lenses only to find out that those lenses really can't be fully utilized in the PEN systems.

And, to this point, nothing has changed, in that area, with respect to the E-M5.

As many of you know, I've moved on. I was thinking long and hard at the possibility of getting my hands on an E-M5. But, the more I think about it, the angrier I get with Olympus' attitude towards their existing user base.

I really don't care to give them anymore more of my money.

Greg Chappell Feb 20, 2012 11:34 PM


Originally Posted by Rriley (Post 1285940)
heres another one to lubricate your wallets :)

Oh, man.......that 75mm f1.8.....

tkurkowski Feb 21, 2012 7:06 AM


Originally Posted by zig-123 (Post 1286018)
As many of you know, I've moved on. I was thinking long and hard at the possibility of getting my hands on an E-M5. But, the more I think about it, the angrier I get with Olympus' attitude towards their existing user base.

I really don't care to give them anymore more of my money.

Zig, I thought you were using the 43 system. Did you sell it and just use the Nikon gear?


zig-123 Feb 21, 2012 7:42 AM


Originally Posted by tkurkowski (Post 1286049)
Zig, I thought you were using the 43 system. Did you sell it and just use the Nikon gear?



I still have and use the E-P2 camera along with the VF2, 14-42mm and a 43 35mm 3.5 macro lens. Additionally, I have a number of legacy lenses and adapters that I continue to use because I find them fun to use and I can get interesting results with them. The E-P2 is a competent camera (aside from Olympus' confusing menu system) and one that I enjoy using when traveling light.

I was tired and last night's post was an unfortunate rant as the article really hit a nerve with respect to Foster's frustrations.

At some point, after the E-M5 is fully released and there is some tangible evidence with which to base an informed opinion on this camera, I'll begin to think about it again.

tkurkowski Feb 21, 2012 7:50 AM

Zig, I understand why E-XX owners might feel abandoned. For E-X owners it's a little different. Oly has said they're developing an E-7 and we don't have any reason to believe they won't put it in production, despite the prognosticators of doom over at DPR. We also know that's very likely to be the last 4/3 so young owners of SHG glass may well feel abandoned but us older farts will be OK - we're not likely to outlive an E7 especially if we get 2 of them.


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