OM-D E-M5 greater Dynamic Range than the X-Pro 1? Plus 1st quick snaps…

OM-D E-M5 greater Dynamic Range than the X-Pro 1? Plus 1st quick snaps…

You guys know I do not do “technical” tests with charts but some enjoy this scientific look into cameras and sensors. I have been shooting with the OM-D E-M5 for a few days now and absolutely love it. Without a doubt it is my top mirrorless choice right now. Above the Fuji, Sony and others. Why is this? Well, not only for its design, build, size, color, sharpness, high ISO performance and speed and responsiveness but also due to the lenses available. It also doesn’t hurt that tech just tested it and showed that using RAW, it outclasses the NEX-7 and Fuji X-Pro in Dynamic Range. IN fact, they say it measures better than any compact to date.

This test is from and their OM-D review

Yes, Micro 4/3 has matured. I have been seeing great results in every area just shooting JPEG with the E-M5 and even the video is spectacular. So with the E-M5 I have been able to shoot JPEG in good light, low light, high ISO, bright light and low ISO and get superb results, great detail and sharpness and that Olympus color signature. Love it.

My early thoughts? It is fast, accurate, highly capable, and doesn’t really give up much of anything to the NEX or Fuji besides if you shoot at super high ISO’s like 6400 or 12,800 (then the Fuji beats it no question). Shallow DOF is attainable with the 45 1.8 and the soon to come 75 1.8 should be even better but you will still get a more creamy shallow look from cameras with larger sensors. So far the low light performance has exceeded my expectations as has the 5 Axis IS (which is sooo good for video..and no more “jello” effect). I would use this in pro situations due to the speed, accuracy, IQ and ISO performance. DR seems great as well, and is confirmed by the techradar report. More to come.

My review will be here soon, but do take a look at the results from tech   on this little jewel of a camera. Below are just a few fun snaps that I took this weekend while around town, nothing special but it does show that this camera is a big step up from previous PEN cameras in regards to low light and IQ. Clicking an image will make it larger and the EXIF is embedded in each photo. Again, this is NOT my review – I will be posting that soon-ish and it will be very detailed. I have a couple of trips planned where I will be taking the E-M5 with  me so I plan on giving it a real workout.

remember to click the images for larger view!

12mm at f/2 – OOC JPEG

12mm at f.2 – ISO 1600 – OOC JPEG – sharp, detailed and noise is NOT offensive at all

45 1.8 at 1.8 – ISO 400 – OOC JPEG

45 1.8 at 1.8 – ISO 1000

45 1.8 at ISO 1600 – OOC JPEG

My beautiful fiancé with the 12 at f/2 – ISO 1600 – Was walking with low shutter speed so there is motion blur, this is not mis-focus (which has yet to happen with this camera)

12mm f/2 – iso 200 – the color and detail of OOC JPEGS is great. Can’t wait for RAW support from Adobe.

and something that was not attainable before…usable ISO 6400 – The X-Pro 1 does even better at 6400 but the OM-D is not too far behind. 

Remember, these were just quick snaps and all are JPEGS from the camera. I have yet to prices any RAW files.


  1. I bought an EM5 a couple of months ago and I absolutely love it. Just today I was wondering about the dynamic range issue so this article is very helpful. I was doing a visual test shooting a group of backlit trees. Admittedly it was a near impossible scenerio but I could not really get what I hoped as far as blue sky and color and definition of the forground (in the same shot). My Sony A57 (APC-S sensor) was able to beat it……….. but only because it has features that let me boost the dynamic range which the Olympus does not have.
    My conclusion was for jpegs, the the excellent Sony with larger sensor could only clearly beat the EM5’s dynamic range by heavily applying the in camera HDR feature. I did not check Raw files, but considering the amount of boost I used in the Sony, I am guessing the EM5 would at least be as good as the Sony and probably kick its butt.

  2. Halo Steve,

    I am sorry if my post sounded like an attack, I did not mean to be harsh, but just air my point of view.
    Thanks for your very detailed explanations, which is one of the nice things and popularity of this site. You allow criticisms to be posted and you answer them, I like that.:)

    Back to the debating point,….. I understand where you are coming from in terms of X-Pro1 low light AF issues. However, I would still think that this is not a proper High ISO tests. A few more test conditions would have been able to give better comparisons.
    I would have preferred if the test is carried in a way to show the optimum performance of each camera in high ISO test, so that the readers can understand what the camera is actually capable of.
    You can always still add a strong and important note that XPro-1 has huge AF issues in the dark, thus highly comprising its usability in quick shootings.
    That way, readers could be made to judge for themselves if they really want an XPro-1.

    For your info, I am not XPro-1 owner, I am using a M43 camera, a Panny GX1, and I love M43. I preferred Oly to Panny, but ended up with Panny due to lower price.
    Any good progress on M43 will be good news for me, as this will mean that in my future body upgrades, I can still keep the lense. And I do hope that in the next couple of years when I upgrade, I do see a huge improvements in image sensor quality of M43.

    Secondly, I still strongly disagree with using Techradar test chart results in your review. Thanks for your reply, cheers!!

  3. Steve,

    Interesting though and entertaining your site is,….but this is one of the few occassions that I find you are having a certain type of agenda or carefully architechtured your “moves” to influence some viewers in your reviews.
    1. I mean, you are always strongly against and condemning scientific and lab tests, in which you are always championing real world tests and situations. Yet you are putting Techradar results here,….why?
    I can only guess because it shows favorable result to OMD.

    OK, you did well by just posting the result here, but refrain from further comments about the test so that you would not be accussed of sounding hypocrite.

    2. And the earlier high ISO test of OMD EM5 vs NEX7 vs X-Pro1.
    I found that this test is totally badly done,.. X-Pro1 loses out because you could not get it to focus properly?
    This is not a real world test in my opinion, it is totally unfair.
    A camera man is supposed to learn how to use the tool properly to maximize the potential of the camera.

    Your approach is alittle bit like saying for example “NEX 7 loses out to GF1 because the user menu sucks, and while fiddling around the LCD screen to perform the setting, I lost out opportunity to shoot some moments. So in real world test, GF1 beats NEX 7.”

    I just find that this article, and the earlier High ISO comparison is architured to prematurely create awareness of readers, before the real test, hyping up OMD E5…before the real test…

    I already know what your conclusion is going to be like before your complete review.

    • Hey Chow,

      It is incredible to me that when I say it like it is, for example, that the Fuji has slow AF, and other quirks that I get attacked. I am not the only one saying this BTW. When I point out how REALLY good the OM-D is I also now get attacked? Why wouldn’t I post that report? It’s impressive to me that a little M4/3 camera is doing so well, it has actually exceeded my expectations. When something is awesome, I write about it. When something is good, I write about it. When something is hyped to no end but falls short, I write about it.

      The ISO test was exactly that. Me taking each camera, on a tripod to see what would happen – all same ISO, all same aperture. The Sony focused, the Olympusfocused. The Fuji COULDN’T focus. FACT. So I should have manually focused it? Why? That would not be reality when testing low light AF and high ISO. It showed me that the camera could snot perform in darker situations, in this case, street light only kind of light. The other two didn’t have issues. The Sony hunted but locked. The Fuji hunted, hunted, hunted and said it locked. What you see is the result of the “locked AF” shot.

      Of course my conclusion is going to be good on the OM-D, I have already stated how much I like it. I give credit where it is due, and Olympus came through on this one, and at $999 it is sort of a steal for what it is and what it does. I have no agenda, in fact, I was so excited about the Fuji. If you read my very 1st look you would have seen that. After real use it started to disappoint me, and it continued to do so. This was in comparison to other cameras I have shot with – V1, OM-D, NEX-7, and even the X100.

      Again, I have zero agenda. Fuji sent me the review sample and Olympus wouldn’t even send me one after three requests. Doesn’t matter though as I am always honest and write what I feel. X-Pro users may not like that I did not manually focus the ISO test but even if I did, the camera would have overexposed like it did anyway. And again, wouldn’t be fair to manually focus. I wanted to show exactly what the camera gave me in that situation, and that it what it gave me, and I did many attempts with it. All the same.

      I am guessing you are a Fuji owner as it is quite normal to defend your brand and choice. Me, I have so many cameras come through here on a regular basis and if the OM-D was crap, I would have said so. The fact is, it could be camera of the year for mirrorless (from what has come out in 2012 so far). Did I find issues with it? Well, yes…two of them. They will be pointed out in my review in 1-2 weeks. Probably 2 weeks.

      Thanks for reading and the comment, even though it was way off.

  4. Steve,
    Love the pics, love your reviews – think they are completely unbiased and honest BTW.
    The thing that keeps nagging at me when I look at all this stuff is there is no “soul” to the E-M5.
    I want to love this camera, the features, IR etc etc all blow me away. I am a 1D user with a sore
    back from lugging all that metal and glass around for years, so I truly WANT this little thing to work.
    But I have to say none of the images have the depth and richness of my 1D (and its 10 years old!).
    A few days ago I went to B&H here in NYC to look at the thing and it feels so small and flimsy it reminded me of a toy. I just can see it replacing my 1D for anything but saving my back. Help?! Please, so me some pics with SOUL if you can. Make me need this camera, not just want it!!!

    And congrats on the engagement!

    • If you want “Soul” look to Leica or Fuji. Those seem to be the two with the most soul 🙂 Also, the E-M5…the grip is almost mandatory IMO. Not the full on battery part of the grip, just the grip part of the grip. With that attchaed it gives the camera a great feel. Doesn’t feel flimsy at all, but then again, coming from a tank like the 1d, anything will feel flimsy. I feel a 5D feels like a toy when compared to the 1D. Take a look at the X-Pro just do not think it will focus as fast as your 1D!

      • Cool man – thanks for the heads up and I totally agree on the grip. I it amazing the fit so much camera in to so small a package though. The Fiji had my interest for just that reason until I saw your video demo. Wow, queue the Price Is Right you lost music. I need video for the family and that was truly abysmal. (and I wish upon a star I could afford the Leica)

        Funny story on Leica you will love. My dad was a lawyer in the 70’s here in NYC. Not a photog at all, but one day out of the blue the partner he worked for plunked down 3 small duffle bags of ALL Leica lenses, body ertc. Tons of stuff! The guy says he just has lost interest in the hobby. I mean – WOW. So my pop takes them home in the car (with baby me in tow) and has to make a decision out side of the apartment. Does he take me up or the bags of camera stuff. Well, thankfully he picks me. When he goes back down 5 minutes later the car has been broken into and the bags are GONZO. That would have been the mother load of all Leica stuff for me – or just paid my way through grad school. Whichever, I wish to this day……grrrr

        Thanks again, Steve. Keep up the great work.

  5. I haven’t graduated to micro 4/3rds yet. I have been using Four thirds though since the Olympus E1 was first released. I have also used a Panasonic L10. I had my first play with an OM D which promises to be the next step up from my Four thirds set up.

    Four thirds is not as good in many areas as full frame in the area of bokeh. Yet a four thirds lens is one of the sharpest lens of its kind that is perfectly mated to the sensor. Never had a dud four thirds lens yet. All the OM glass is good and sharp. I use fourth thirds for sport photography. I get a different colour palette and a different image over full frame. The E1 back then was pretty good for dynamic range at low ISO.

    Gents, I understand the versatility of having High ISO performance. What about super low ISO performance like at ISO 50 or ISO 25? Does the OM D perform at low ISO’s?

  6. If only it had a FF sensor!! I would be interested but micro four thirds just kills it dead for me

  7. I can see the appeal of the OM-D and it sure does look like a nice camera, its a little over priced IMO but given its only just been released it will like most m4/3rd cameras drop in price over the next 6 months.

    as far as the image quality goes I’m not really impressed, not just with the ones that Steve has taken because most look like there were taken in low-ish light and maybe high iso but with those on flickr, the images seem flat and overly sharp, they just seem to be lacking in something.

    I don’t really see any point in comparing it to the XPro as there two very different cameras, the OM-D offers the use of zoom lenses and faster focusing but the image quality is lower.

    for casual shooting (walks etc) the OM-D looks to be perfect

    • Link explains a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo that says more about how geeks wish to explain process, rather than experience effect. Bit like an astro-physicist explaining how he evaluated a glorious sunset!

      I’m reminded too of classic Alfa Romeo engines (now sanitised/legislated out of existence) whose specification – on paper – gave no clue to their character. Anyone who has owned an old Alfa can relate the sheer pleasure of their howl, combined with a sound like tearing silk, on accelerating … followed by pop,pop,pop the delightful afterburn ignition of unburnt gases in the exhaust on lifting the throttle and overun into a corner.

      You drove older Alfas in a specific way – simply to hear/experience those sounds. Until emissions legislation killed them ….

      Explaining and analysing isn’t always understanding!

      • As the the astro-physicist often misses the sunset the pixel peepers are often missing the photo.
        Your second paragraph brought some great flashbacks (I’m in my sixties and remember such things well). Yes, the world is, in some regards a poorer place.

  8. Hey Steve, apparently that weird humming noise is the I.S system whirring away.. 🙂 !?

  9. We had quite some discussions about the TechRadar graphs. One thing that makes them a bit fishy is that the NEX-7 result on that graph is considerably higher than the one from DxOmark. That’s strange because TechRadar uses DxO measuring tools.

    Comparing RAW files from both the GH2 and E-M5 at base ISO implies that the E-M5 offers more like 0.5 – 1 EV higher DR than the GH2.

  10. The good thing is that anyone buying the OM-d or the NEX-7 or the X-Pro1 would be happy. They all look like capable cameras. The lens choice is what would decide the body.

  11. I think the most interesting thing about the graph is the difference between the OMD and the E-P3. A three to four stop improvement!

    Suggests that Olympus has been working hard on improving the sensor and internal software.

  12. Ha, I do love all you guys worrying about graphs and sensors and this and that, it does really bring a smile to my face. I just stick a roll of Ekar 100 into the old Hexaf AF and of I go, still produces images better than any digital compact and way better than my abilities most of the time 🙂
    Mind I’m on the waiting list at SRS Microsystems for my OMD but still won’t give a toss about tests and graphs, shoot and be merry. Cheers Paul

    • I often feel exactly the same way Paul. It was soooo easy when Kodak/Fujifilm etc. did all the hard work.

      Love the convenience of digital but I really miss the simplicity of film use – no menus, few options, just load ‘n go.

      Wonder if digital camera makers will ever give us the cheap n cheerful choices we freely enjoyed a few years ago – cameras that retailed for under 20$ but could still deliver great results on the best films of the day.

    • I had two Nikon FE’s for about twenty years, and never even thought about replacing them until I went digital. Now, we’re supposed to buy a new camera every twenty months.

    • I see some of the posts from pixel peepers and diehard stats bods.
      I imagine their house, full of A4 size charts and graphs, all in vivid colour of course. A few small small prints of diagrams of COC and DOF here and there.
      Taking pride of place the row of 3 x A3 prints of DOX results for the best sensor they never purchased.
      Photographs are to look at. Looking uses the eye. I therefore deduce that the eye is the ultimate way of assessing a camera output.

    • Actually, that’s a very valid point. I’ve had various Nikon dSLRs, a Fuji X10 and X100, and was also waiting for the X-Pro1/OM-D, constantly looking for better handling, speed, focus or whatever. Now I’m more and more realizing that none of these aspects makes me a better photographer, they merely compensate my flaws somewhat so instead I went on ebay and got me a 1979 Canon A-1 with a complete set of lenses and flashes for $300 and a Nikon F5 to use with all my Nikon lenses. No fiddling with menus pondering which focus mode is the best, no being caught up in watching taken photos, just shooting (and scanning, a lot of scanning unfortunately). This has nothing to do with me being against digital or wanting to be retro, it’s just that in my view cameras are tools and sometimes I feel like I make them into the trade. It’s a bit like buying hammers and thinking I will end up with a beautiful house without actually building something.

      With that said, I most likely will buy something like a OM-D in the future, simply because there is a convenience to digital and then there also is the video part of it but for now, the X10 will suffice for that.

      • If it’s what makes you happy its the right move. Just don’t take any notice of the ‘yes, but’ brigade.
        Enjoy life, enjoy your photography. Do it your way and when, if, you want to move, don’t be afraid to. Because things can change.

  13. You guys are right, sooner or later the GAS syndrome may overcome the CF syndrome, (cold feet). Of course, being Canadian, the rest of me is often cold, too. Also, my wife and I are housesitters, and travel around North America and Europe regularly, (as many as five places per year, right now we’re in South Carolina for 3 months), and I already have too much stuff to pack and carry. If I add something, something else has to go. I love my old DSLR, and bokeh, and it’s going to have to be love at first sight to make me get rid of her. Someday.
    But for now, it’s back to the shoulder exercises.

  14. This is my opinion. Buying a mirror less camera is because, it small size is easy to carry around but we do sacrificed a lot of dslr function/ speed because of this. Some people bought it because of it look ( Xpro1 ) . It is difficult for me to find reason why should I buy OM-D. The design look like SLR , only a little bit smaller. For me it is better to buy DSLR then OM-D. See below the size comparison:

    NIKON D3200 :125mm x 96mm x 76.5mm………. 455g USD 699

    OM-D. .122mm x 89mm x 43mm………425 grams USD 999

    Not much difference. DSLR, lens also is cheaper and easy to find.

    • What about lenses?
      There’s no comparison, m43 is easily 1/3rd the weight and bulk of APS-C.

      APS DSLRs are a dying breed, manufacturers make very few APS lenses and there are no primes wider than 50mm EFL.

      Also, “portrait prime” on APS is a kludge – 50mm FF lens instead of a fast native 60-65mm lens etc…

      • I do prefer the 50mm lens for APS camera. It is more a general type lens for every day used. What I mean cheaper is refer to 50mm which I use a lot. And the total weight and size is not 1/3nd. This is for my usage that why I mention it is my opinion.

        OLY 45mm f 1.8
        Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 46 x 56 mm
        Weight 116 g USD399.99

        Nikon 50mm f/1.8D: 154 g $146.24 64 x 38 mm

        • That’s just one lens, and 1.8D won’t work on lower end Nikon bodies (lower than D90/7000).

          Take for instance a normal setup:

          Body with similar specs as E-M5 (speed, AF, viewfinder size, build….)

          UWA lens

          Wide angle prime

          35mm EFL prime

          50mm EFL prime

          At the end, with 3-4 lenses in a system, m43 is much smaller and lighter combo than a DSLR and allows for certain lens types only available on full frame cameras.

          • My bad example. Below is better.
            AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
            72.1×52.4mm (Diameter x Length)
            Weight (185g)
            I do use mirrorless camera. ( Nex C3 with SEL50f1.8 ) and only carry with this one lens. I don’t like to carry big DSLR camera that is the reason I bought the NEX. At that time it give the best picture compare to it price and small compare to DSLR. Lens is same size as DSLR because of APS-C sensor but it is okay because it is where I hold it.
            For someone buying X pro 1, I can understand it is because of the classic range finder design and good quality picture. For EP1 to EP3 and also NEX , people buy it for small size but good quality picture. The camera I use now, I do sacrificed the AF speed and without the EVF ( OVF for DSLR ) for wanting difference design and small size. My problem with OM-D is that it look like SLR that I want to forget. The size is near the Nikon D3200 ( I haven’t check Canon camera smallest DSLR size yet ). Also there is no build in flash inside OM-D. If it look like Fuji X-Pro1 but with this new performance, I will surely bought it right away.

        • Personally, I don’t give a rats ass about the XPro1’s looks – I prefer the Sony Nex7 stylistically speaking, but have issues with it’s output. The XPro1’s main selling point is it’s viewfinder technology (which no-one equals) – not it’s retro looks.

          • for me it’s mostly, the same as with X100, controls – everything exposure related is directly accessible without even turning camera on – shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation – that’s all I care about 🙂

  15. Waiting for you review Steve!!

    Now, I must decide between buy the amazing Olympus 12mm or the amazing OM-D. I have the E-P2, the m.ZD 17mm f/2.8, the PL 25mm f/1.4 and the OM 50mm f/1.8.
    The OM-D seems to be a step up to the E-P2, but add the 12mm to my equipment would be great!

    What would you do?

    – Love the dog photo!

    • I say lenses before bodies!

      Also, pretty good chance that same IQ will be in a new E-P4/5 later this year. =D

  16. The only thing I do not understand is the comparison of RAW files. To do that they had to use Silky (or whatever is its name) to extract pictures in xp1. But as already mentioned many times, this soft is crap and creates worst picture quality than jpegs look like. Then I am not surprised for such results of fuji…

  17. Good colour – check.
    Good sharpness – check.
    Fast Focus – check.
    So-so bokeh – check.
    Nothing my EOS 40D won’t do – check.
    Save $1000+ – check.
    Back to the exercise machines.

    • Be careful Harry. Camera buying is gonna get ya sooner or later ….always reminds me of the famous Godfather line of Michael Corleone’s:

      Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in …!

    • Harry, you are letting down the world economy here. How does it feel to be responsible for world monetary crisis? Go on buy a new camera, please. Fuji, Olympus, NEX. If it come down to it, even another Canon, Gasp.

    • Harry you are absolutely right. I’m sticking to d700 and my little camera is fuji x10 which I love so small with awesome iq

  18. Hi Steve,
    Can you tell me what your experience is with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ kitlens?
    I am going to buy the OM-D EM-5 but I am in doubt about which lens I should buy.

    Thanks and greetings from The Netherlands 🙂


    • I haven’t even seen one yet but will not buy one. I am not a zoom fan and the lens is huge! I much prefer the 12 and 45 as well as the Panasonic 20 or 25.

  19. Nice Pictures but nothing special. But otherwise it´s the new Olympus, it must be the best Pictures in the World.

  20. Seems to be a bit too much scrutiny and “negativity” on this site towards the X-Pro 1. Had a hands on the other day and the thing blew my mind (and eyes). Different strokes for different folks I guess…

    • Amen to that – visiting here recently feels like walking into a branch of the Olympus marketing department.

      • Simply human nature (which seems to get condensed or turned up to 11 on photo forums) explains a lot of it. Typically either people want something that is out of their reach so they say how its really not that great etc. A guy seeing an exotic sports car and commenting on how it has no cup holder so its not for him, or seeing a supermodel and commenting on how she has a mole he doesn’t like. Darn well he’d love to drive the car or date the model if he could. Same with many who do like the idea, and files from the Xpro, only its a very steeply priced bit of kit, so many have to remind themselves why they aren’t buying it.

        For others, its because they own a different system and feel a need to reaffirm their choices. Strange behavior again, but to enjoy ones own choice, they must put down others. If your a Chevy fan you need to but a sticker with a non-licenses Calvin cartoon urinating on a Ford logo. Makes the owner feel better about driving Chevy somehow. Same with cameras for many To make m4/3 a “better” choice, and reaffirm ones own choices, they need to put down the options.

        Not everyone does this here of course, but its simply human nature and camera forums just bring it out more than anything else.

        Political or religious forums certainly are polarizing as well, but man, compared to gear based camera websites, they are nothing! lol

  21. Jeez, the more real world tests we get the worse the X-Pro 1 looks. Having had the pleasure of using a friend’s for a few days, I can safely say I’m not planning to trade up from the X100. About the only thing the X-Pro has going for it against the competition is the OVF/EVF ; otherwise the IQ is just lame and the “feel” of the thing isn’t anything great. The X100 beats it on IQ and actually rates better on tactile in my view. Slightly better ergonomics on the X-Pro but that doesn’t justify the price. The Fuji system lenses are also pretty underwhelming in my opinion, if anything the 18mm/2.0 is the best of the lot.

    Having used my CZ Biogon 35 and Summicron & Summilux 50s on the X-Pro, I wasn’t too excited.

    The X-Pro 1 is defnitely not going to be the final word in the X-Pro system. For sure, an M9 “beater” or “digital Contax G2” it isn’t. The Ricoh GR and Sony NEX-7 are still the main players in this segment.

    The OM-D on the other hand is looking VERY interesting. The fact that I can use my MF Zuiko lenses on something even smaller than my OM-4 just sounds too good to be true. And it the retro looks that is probably the only saving grace of the Fujifilm over rivals like the Ricoh and Sony NEX.

    Fujifilm need to work hard to keep up!

    • I think your comment reflects more on the original stellar performance of the X100 in the first place!

      I don’t think the images appearing on the wider web would support your claims that XPro1 image quality is lame – go view and follow some of the work being produced by pro users rather than quick review shots.

      No-one expects the XPro1 to be 4 or 5 times quantum leap – it is an X100 with interchangeable lenses. Most pundits expected it to be an X100 body with internal shutter and a mount grafted on – not a whole new camera body/sensor unit.

      The Xpro1 is to the X100 as is M9/M8 to X1 – merely an interchangeable lens camera v fixed lens compact.

      On that basis, I think many will feel no strong, urgent, need to trade up from the X100 …. although the inevitable ‘softening’ of XP1 retail prices in a year or so may alter that view …. as will the eventual release of the classic focal length – the 35mm f2 equivalent lens – in a year or so.

    • IQ is just lame? Lol! I guess those top notch photographers shooting with the x pro and posting great pix must be sprinkling pixie dust or some sort to make them look outstanding.

      • Hi Robert – I’ve got a comment stuck in ‘moderation limbo’ making exactly the same point.

        Funny how pros are taking to the XPro1 – but not a lot jumping into the Olympus OMD camp!

        • Guys, I don’t know about stuff being pasted onto the web. But the real world shots I took on the X-Pro 1 with the 18mm and the 35mm came out muddy and lacklustre. Both in terms of colour and resolution. I just hope they improve it with firmware updates to get it up to the excellent standards of the X100.

          I also think the lenses are still in beta stage and they will have to sharpen them up a bit. No way do they compare with the best of the Fujifilm lenses we know and love. And man, do they feel flimsy!

          Having waiting almost a year to buy the Fujifilm “big brother” I think I’ll now pass and wait for the next X-Pro II . As for the OM-D, its impressive considering what it is: a MFT camera outperforming an APS-C with a very advanced (on paper) sensor.

          Rather than scanning other people’s uploads, I would suggest you get to the store and try out the X-Pro 1 before deciding.

          • Whilst I can’t comment on the handling of the Fuji via the internet, (so I haven’t done so) I don’t think the ability of other users to post their original files on the internet means they are not in any way ‘real world’ images.

            If I post original sizes files from any camera, they are not subject to either enhancement or degradation – they are what they are – original digital images. Worryingly, the opposite scenario is true, and often played out in these pages – far too many cite Flikr thumbnails as evidence of certain qualities. Like 5×4″ prints, small, resized, low res images tell us nothing.

            I’m talking about working pros, posting OOC images at full (downloadable) size – how is that not seeing ‘real world’ images?

    • According to Mike Kobal, Fuji isn’t taking the steps necessary to work with Adobe and Apple in order to deal with the X-Pro1’s proprietary color filter. It may be a while.

  22. Nice shots Steve. Looking forward to the review.
    And that is a weird motion blur.. artefact of the 5 axis IBIS? You are right in assuming it can be mistaken for focus issue.

  23. I was able to handle my local dealer’s demo camera this past Saturday. It was equipped with the accessory grip and battery. Which I felt was a nice addition since the camera body is on the smallish size for my hand. Without the extra length the controls at the lower right side of the back would have been under the ball of my hand and possibly activated unintentionally. The rear display is a nice size, very clear, and the overall weight is nice and light. I had mixed feelings about the viewfinder, but I really did not try to use it much so any additional comments would not be a true assessment of it.

    One thing I did notice is how the shape of the camera with grip feels in the hand. In the normal orientation it feels okay with a rather angular shape to the edges. In portrait orientation there is plenty of meat to get a grip of, though the angular feel is a little chunky without being a distraction or in the way.


  24. If the OM-D E5 is giving us better dynamic range than its APS-C counterparts – that only mean that we should be soon getting even better dynamic range in APS-C 😉

    Maybe I am a fool, but the only think I would with the OM-D would NOT have is the AA filter (I really like the clarity that can be had with cameras like GXR or M8/M9).

  25. I have just looked up the samples available on – the OM-D E-M5 delivers AMAZING, OUTSTANDING results. It took me quite some time to understand that Olympus’ 4/3 technology has got two very strong unique selling points: i) stellar colors, ii) excellent detail and very differentiated contrast in dark areas (the latter being very Leica-like).

  26. Stuff like the Tech Radar test is just fuel for the fanboy fights on message boards. In reality, all the OM-D E5 needed to do to compete with the NEX-7 and the Fuji is to get in the same ballpark and not get blown away in image quality comparisons, and I think every indication is that they have done that. Pretty impressive considering those cameras were threatening the mainstream semi-pro FF camera IQ marks not too long ago.

    On a side note, man we are spoiled with how many great new cameras are coming out, now Samsung has a new batch of cameras to consider, too. Steve, does it help being a camera reviewer that you get to try them out without buying them or does that make it that much more tempting to buy them all?

  27. I don’t have much faith in those techradar results. About a gaziliion DPR posts on this subject and I thought it was funny that it tested that well for them and they only gave it 4/5 stars.

    That said, I like the images you are getting out of the E-M5 and look forward to reading your full review (unless I go off the grid to help me stick with my plan of waiting for the E-P4/5)!

  28. Wow this actually looks promising shot 1 and 4 nice and your fiancé of course your a lucky guy Steve

    • Go and sit in the corner. Face the wall. Do not talk to anyone and stay there until you are excused, or die, which ever comes first.

    • You are seeing a generation gap in sensors here. And the Leica look is not just the numbers, it is the lens, color signature etc. I get a similar shock when I use the Panasonic LC1. It is good only at ISO 100, but while at it, it is great! I always want to keep looking at the JPEGS it spits out. From all the hundred thousand images in my library I can spot the LC1 files from a distance. The M9 is a similar beast.

      • I agree but that was not my point. I don’t ever rely on graphs produced by DXO mark or any other sites (especially not techradar) but it is just amusing to see how people uncritically accept any information just to rationalize their attitudes, in the case of this article using clearly flawed lab test from the site that is not specialized in photography and how on the other hand people don’t believe the credible photographic site when it doesn’t back-up what they think

        • I agree. I find it almost comical that so many internet pundits have so happily embraced the findings from the Tech Radar website. My impression when I saw this, a few weeks ago, was that their test had clearly been flawed, as it seemed most unlikely that a modest sized sensor would achieve the results they published.

          Since then, I have read a very fair and in depth review in the UKs “Amateur Photographer” magazine (for those who don’t know, a very long standing magazine with a mostly very fair and unbiassed review process). Interestingly, they found that the noise performance at higher ISO was broadly the same as other m43rds cameras, and that the dynamic range was also similar, and below that of APS-C sensor rivals. This was largely exactly what I would expect, since clearly Olympus have not developed (by magic!) a new type of sensor that could deliver the results that Tech Radar are claiming.

          • As a UK resident I too can concur upon both AP’s reputation and findings. In fact, AP staff usually have a warm regard for Olympus products.

            As you say, Olympus have not developed a new type of (small) sensor that could deliver the results that Tech Radar are claiming.

            If anyone had – much less Olympus – the advancement in new technology would not have gone un-noticed!

      • You can spot them from a distance because there are no handheld, low light pictures in the bunch with that M9 😉

      • N.B. Need to cut and paste the complete URL – Steve’s submission process chopped the end off!

      • In time to come even point-and-shoots and phone cameras will surpass the M9. It is progress. We got leave out the M9 as conveniently as we do the M8. The M8 and M9 might even end up cheaper than the M3 in the long run. I wish Leica had a sensor upgrade option where they change the complete guts of the M9 – electronics, sensor and the LCD. That would be cool.

        • Probably be possible (at a price) if and when the M9 series is superceded.

          There is a video of the M9 assembly process online – the sensor is part of a self contained, pre-assembled, unit that just gets slotted into the shell – as I recall.

          Replacing it with a similar unit could well be part of Leica’s ‘evolve rather than change entirely’ business model.

  29. I’m sure Steve will bring this up in his full review, but as someone who has had some (albeit limited) hands on time will all three cameras (Fuji, Sony, Olympus), the Olympus was the one that felt the most right to me. I was set on purchasing NEX-7, but when I got there, the Olympus had the best feel in my hand. The NEX-7, in my opinion, is too small. I also was less pleased with the viewfinder. Despite everyone saying Sony has the better viewfinder, I thought it seemed noisier in low-light, and if the angle of my eye was off, I got a blurry image.

    Most importantly, the lack of IBIS in the NEX-7 was a bigger factor than I thought it would be. I guess I’ve been spoiled with my Sony a850 and E-P1, but I think it’s become an essential factor for me.

    Add in the fact that the Olympus is cheaper with a much more complete lens lineup, and I’ve switched my order to the E-M5.

    • Correct Kyle – buy the camera you feel comfortable with – not what others tell you is the ‘best’ choice.

  30. Inspite of the mumb-jumbo, the images look sweet. I can’t wait till Amazon finally ships…sheeze.

  31. This is a noob question (Apologize in advance)….When is it more appropriate to use the 12mm and 45mm lens? I know the 45mm is good for portraits, but it also looks good shooting other things. If I was out and about in the city, would the 12mm be a good overall lens to use?

    • The 12 is good for just about anything. It is a 24mm equiv so it is a bit wider than something like a 28 so may take some getting used to. I find the 12 is good for street, buildings, interiors, etc. The 45 is good for portraits or if you want shallow DOF.

    • tyler…throw in a fast 20mm or a 25mm and you have most situations covered with quality and some bokeh…

      • I have the Panasonic 14mm pancake lens. It’s a great replacement for the Olympus 12 mm if you don’t want to pay the $800. I have no doubt that the 12mm is better, and some day I might get one, but the 14mm can be had on ebay for under $200. The only really annoying problem is that it has a soft plastic coating over the lens that catches glare reflections from streetlights if you do night shooting. I get the same problem from UV filters, which is why I don’t use them any more, only lens hoods.

  32. Steve,

    Are you going to test the OM-D with the Panasonic 25 1.4 lens? I saw a poll that said this lens is the number one lens people are purchasing to use with the OM-D.

  33. Nice shots but I see nothing special about them in terms of rendering of DR, your XPro1 samples looked better, better rendering, better colours

        • I think you understand what he’s saying. Why be coy? Because his English was not correct? He’s saying that your Fuji shots look better. I have to agree. The Fuji shots have more of a 3D look to them. That’s what I get with my x100, and was never able to achieve with any M43 cam/lens.

          • To ad my 2 cents: The output looks as we have just another capable bayer sensor camera as there are quite many available in the market place these days. And then there are a few cameras with sensors which, at times, produce output which has something special. The Fuji X Pro 1 (and maybe the X100 to a lesser extent), Sigmas, Leica M9/M8 fall into this group.

          • @ Frank,

            Dude, be cool. Like music, photographic results are personal preference in many instances. Some people like 100% accuracy, some people like colors a bit more vibrant.

            Saying Steve is being coy or cute only makes you come across in a negative light and unnecessarily so.

            Be nice.

          • Agreed retow, I was considering purchasing the OM-D at one point as am avid film OM enthusiast user but what extra would it offer me over my M8 & Leica glass for what I use digital for? Nowt I could justify frankly. I just sold my EP-2 for the very same reasoning, nice little & capable camera but the output has nothing that separates it’s images in any special way whatsoever from the rest of the pack and the sensors these cameras use.

            I’m sure the OM-D is a great camera but will the images be significantly different than those produced by a Pentax K-5 or the new Nikon D3200 for instance? No, not really if we are being honest.

        • I am sorry for English. Really, photos from Fuji X Pro 1 look volume and have beautiful tone transitions. These are the present realistic pictures. They were removed by you, Steve. Certainly, efficiency of shooting is already other history. Yours faithfully.

  34. I’d take TechRadar with a good sized grain of salt.They aren’t so much an in depth photography website as they are a consumer electronics website that also reviews phones, tv’s, computers and other gadgets.

  35. Those are truly amazing OMD stats.
    Can’t wait to see more of the shots Steve, especially with the Oly 45mm f/1.8.


  36. The first snaps look good! You said the auto focus has yet to miss, are you using a center focus point and recomposing, or multi point focus?

    • I always use center point for all cameras. I test multi focus point but no matter what camera, they never focus on what I want it to and when you use shallow DOF, that can be a problem.

  37. If you look carefully at the techradar results you’ll see, that this chart is only part of the complete picture. JPGs directly out of cam give a different impression. I actually guess they used different RAW converters and what we are seing here is more a software comparison than anything else.

  38. How good is their methodology can be seen from the graph that shows that nex7 and fuji x-pro have higher DR in jpegs at iso 1600 than at base iso which is simply not possible.

    • Why not. Maybe the sensors get an electronic tweak at certain points or the algorithms change at certain points. Maybe they are not as linear as you thought.

      • I’m not going to go into why it wasn’t possible to make that “electronic tweak” but for the sake of argument-what would be the point of that? to have more DR at iso 1600 in 24mpx camera that is designed to be used at low iso? An also if there was “electronic tweak” or whatever you would surely see it on graph presented in this article…

        The point is, like someone already mentioned that they are not specialized photographic site. if someone likes those kinds of tests I guess DXO mark is the way to go but I guess their results wouldn’t support claim made so they wouldn’t be used

        • Go on, explain why the electronic tweak is not possible. Also why a change in algorithms cannot be excluded. I can see a very good reason for it. Like optimising output for a start.
          However, I think the ultimate test of any camera is determined by using the eye. Tests that measure things such as DR do not apply to real life. People carry a camera, not 2 trucks of analysers to tell them the best exposure and settings for the camera. ‘Stop the play,- I want to measure’, just does not happen. Pictures are for looking at.
          Is any photographer a specialised photographic site? Or, do they have a grading of some sort.
          Don’t forget the explanation of the impossibility of tweaking or changing a sensor on the fly.

    • Wouldn’t get too hung up on it Mika – the Sony sensor range is well documented as having a max. ‘physical’ sensitivity of around ISO 1000 or thereabouts. Software handles all of the processing of higher ranges – in a test environment like this, it could record the different phases as an artificial spike.

      Lab testing v Real World …. and how/who interprets the results is never gonna be a 100% given fact.

      I’m for looking at sensible, well exposed, real life shots and making my own mind up regardless!

  39. Techradar’s XPro-1 test also said that the XP1 beat the D700 and 5DII in DR… which sounds reasonable, except that they put the 5DII at roughly 1.5 stops greater DR than the D700. Which contradicts my experience with the two cameras, and every other test I’ve seen, so I don’t really understand their DR testing.

    • I agree. I need to see some kind of visual proof/comparison instead of a graph. I think we all have to take these “tests” with a grain of salt.

  40. Am I missing something here – tech radar tested the X Pro 1, claiming it: “…. produces JPEG files that have a better tonal range than the Canon EOS 5D MK II, Nikon D700 and Leica M9 at all sensitivities.”

    Does it not therefore put the OMD in top spot – until D4/MkIII/D800 are tested and factored in. Olympus Marketing must be loving this publicity ….

    One second, ‘real world testing’ is the way to go/show – next second, it’s Lab results all the way … wow!

    • Hi Photozopia

      I’m with you with this. This is all inconclusive until a reliable software like lightroom can process the new pattern that fuji uses in their sensor. So the dynamic range based on TIFF files can only be considered as pending or true for the moment but not entirely accurate.

  41. Just an FYI, the techradar’s numbers are very suspect. A lot of their numbers make no sense and a lot of us in the FM Alt Gear forum suspect TR has no idea what they’re doing.

  42. OK, hopefully I’m not too off topic, but I’m looking for advice. I’m eagerly awaiting my OM-D order to come through, my retailer keeps pushing back the ETA. Anyway, I’m looking to get the right flash at a good price. I had an FL-36 and wasn’t super crazy about it. Long recharge time and I hated the push button on/off switch. I’m looking at the Bower SFD926O and the 44 AF-1. The Bower has great reviews, a proper sliding on/off switch, and a slave mode, but without TTL. I can’t find reviews for the Metz (maybe it’s too new?) and it has remote TTL, but it’s significantly more expensive and has the off-putting push button power switch. Any suggestions? I think I’ve read the the OM-D has enhanced remote flash capability, it that correct? How does it work? Does the little flash it comes with need to be on to activate the Metz remotely? I know it does for the Bower. I don’t think I’m willing to pay $300 for the FL-600 especially since I don’t do much video, but I’d consider it if there were a compelling enough reason. Very glad to hear about the dynamic rage. Makes me feel better about the order, but also increases the anticipation anxiety!

    • The OM-D from BH Photovideo has a free coupon that can be exchanged for a Flash! I guess all resellers will bundle it as it is provided by Olympus.

      • Oh man! I have it on order somewhere else to avoid sales tax (I live in New York) but this will probably change that. I’ll have to see if the other place has a similar offer. Thanks!

    • Hi danduranduran- it so happens I have a Metz on the way & will have it tomorrow. I’ve read it has full compatibility with the Olympus wireless system, and may actually outperform the FL-50R for less than half the price ($215 at BH and Amazon). I’m just getting into the wireless TTL system Olympus has built into their cameras myself and have been very impressed so far. I posted a thread about it at MU-43 if you’re interested-

      • Wow Matt, those shots are great! Thanks Mo Han for the info, but it looks like the free flash is the FL 300 R, which I’m not that interested in, or I can get an OM or 4/3 (not micro) lens adapter, which I really wouldn’t use either as the M43 lens line up is pretty comprehensive and has auto focus. It’s nice that you can get fl 300 for free, but I’d have to pay up frond and wait 8-10 weeks for the rebate and what would I do with it? Sell it maybe? Use it instead of the clip on flash for every day use? Maybe, but at least the rebate offer is through Olympus and is good at any authorized Olympus dealer so one can still buy out of state with no tax and choose to get the rebate. Still have the original dilemma, so I’m looking forward to hearing more of Matt’s thoughts as I’m leaning heavily toward the Metz.

        • So it seem like the only outstanding feature of the FL-600 is the additional LED light for video, which looks pretty dinky. The Metz 44 has a modeling light that you can just turn on continuously. Isn’t that just as good, or probably even better since it would be emanating from the flash lamp itself and would therefor be more diffused and can be aimed same as the flash unit? Maybe even more powerful? The Bower still seem like a great value, but the Metz might be worth the upgrade cost. Unless I’m missing something, the FL-600 just seems out of the running. It even has a lower guide number.

  43. Hi Steve,

    sounds you really fall in love again 😉

    You say “even the video is spectacular”. Can you maybe post some little samples? The video quality is the only thing why I’m just decided to buy a Sony NEX5N. But maybe I’m wrong…

    Tanks a lot!

    • Keep in mind Nex5n/7 have more framerate options than all the mirrorless competition including 1080p/24/25/30/50/60 fps. The EM-5 is “limited” to 1080p/30, but it does have that delicious IBIS, which is why I bought one to shoot alongside my Nex5n. Early samples of the EM-5 look nice, but I wouldn’t sell the Nex just yet, the 5n with 1080/60 is well worth keeping for slo-mo and smoother action. Shooting something like a kid unwrapping a present and capturing their expressions is priceless, and it looks so much better when shot at 60p and slowed down instead of the standard 24.

      Just my opinion….

      • thanks.

        hm, actually the only thing I’m gonna film is action in the water (surf) with the 10bar housing and fashion – maybe the nex5n with it’s 1080p60 is the better partner. But I like to have the IBIS and also the c-af should work best in the e-m5…

  44. More dynamic range in a m4/3 sensor! That’s quite a surprise. Looking forward to seeing it put into actual use. Now, if Oly could just increase the availability. I guess they are pulling a Panasonic when Pany released the GH2. Scarcity … makes people want it more!

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