Olympus OM-D E-M5

I don’t know if it will come as a big surprise to anyone that I sold off my Fuji X-Pro1 over the weekend.  I loved the look and feel of the camera.  I loved the controls.  But my frustration with it grew on an almost daily basis.  Despite all of the firmware updates to the camera body and lenses, I came to the conclusion that it’s good for shooting stationary objects.  The slow contrast detection auto focus, even slower in low light situations, became a deal breaker for me.  The ads went up, the offers came in, and when I went to meet someone to hand off the camera on Saturday, it was with a twinge of regret, tempered with the fact that I’d bought it used, used it for six months, and got a price that wasn’t too far off from what I paid for it.

The next task was getting a good deal on a used Olympus OM-D E-M5 (ugh! what a ridiculous name!).  Then I found a woman who only used it in church on Sundays bought one, used it lightly, then decided to replace it with a Nikon D600.  I bought it from her with the kit lens, the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3.  I’d read that as kit lenses go, this one doesn’t suck, though there is that F6.3 on the tele end.

I didn’t have time to look at the manual.  I just went for a walk, everything in full automatic mode.

Everything is from JPEG here, with some retouching in Lightroom.



After walking around for awhile, it was time for me to meet the man selling me his used Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 lens.  This in no small part was one of the reasons that I opted for this camera – there’s a relatively large selection of lenses available for the Micro Four Thirds format (far more than for the Sony NEX series or the Fuji X mount).  I’ve got my eye on several other lenses including the Olympus 12mm F2 or 17mm F1.8, the Olympus 14-150 zoom, and then the Olympus 45mm F1.8 or 60mm F2.8 macro or 75mm F1.8.  But these will have to wait.

(The guy who sold me the lens was interesting.  He’s not a professional photographer, he said he just loved to buy every new camera, play around with it for a month or two, then sell it off and get something else.  He told me he currently has the Nikon D800, which he wants to swap for a D800E, as well as the Sony NEX-7, the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Olympus OM-D.  I gave him my card and asked him to contact me when he’s selling off more stuff.  )

Anyway, I didn’t have much time to shoot with the Pana/Leica lens, but enough that I know I’m going to like it.  (You thought I’d say, “I’m going to Leica it,” but even I won’t stoop that low. Well, not always, anyway.)

Here’s a crop from the above photo.


I discovered two things when dealing with the JPEGs in Lightroom.  The first was that I had to make adjustments to the white balance on almost every photo.  The second was that even though it was set to auto ISO and even though the camera is capable of going to 25,600, the auto seemed to max out at 1600 –  I need to figure out if and how to change that.

This is the first Olympus digital camera I’ve ever owned.  The menus are completely unfamiliar to me.  It will take some time to get used to them.

I love that the camera has a feature similar to the Fuji’s Q menu.  It’s slightly annoying that I have to press one button to bring up the menu and then another button to activate.

The electronic viewfinder is great – perhaps not as good as Sony’s but beyond my expectations.  The articulating touch screen is great.

The camera is just slightly small for my hands.  The only Olympus grip you can get comes in a set with the battery grip and I may have to get that if I can’t find a suitable third party option.  Some of the buttons are also a bit on the small side for my fat fingers.

But most important, the auto focus is fast.  Not as lightning fast as my D800 but noticeably faster than the Fuji, without any of that annoying hunting that the Fuji is so prone to do.

I’ve been reading through the manual today.  Tomorrow night I’ll be out with the camera shooting RAW in manual mode.



  1. Buck November 14, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    I’ll be following your M43 adventures closely – I have a first generation Panasonic M43 which I’m pleasantly surprised with. That 1.4 looks great. I bought an adapter and put an old Minolta MD 50mm f1.4 on mine and what a difference! Of course, that makes the camera fully manual, but that’s not a real issue.

    • spike November 14, 2012 at 12:37 am #

      Manual focus is a problem for me though I noted a nice feature on the Olympus. Aside from being able to use the touch screen to select focus, you can also tap a little icon to get that area instantly magnified to check critical focus. For me, this isn’t as good as Sony NEX-7’s focus peaking feature but it’s something at least.

  2. davethevet November 14, 2012 at 3:18 am #

    Gariz half case is nice, makes it a lot easier to handle and looks less plastic.

  3. UII November 15, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    I really don’t get M4/3.

    The 25mm 1.4 has the same FOV and DOF as a 50mm 2.8 on full frame. Not exactly spectacular.

    It is the same story at other focal lengths. You pay big bucks for fast 4/3 glass that replicates cheap FF glass.

    I’ve tried to be tempted, but I cannot get it to make any sense. Sorry to be debbie downer. Enjoy your new camera.

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