OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 - Part 20 - Review continued - including The Grip kit - Dynamic Range

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens
OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

You may have been wondering why I chose to re-publish my Small Camera Syndrome piece yesterday. http://soundimageplus.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/small-camera-syndrome.html
After this post that may become clear.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens
OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

GET A GRIP(S)

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12mm f/2 lens

In a somewhat unusual bonus for us early adopters, Olympus UK had a promotion that entitled you to a free grip set if you bought or pre-ordered the camera before April 30th. Mine arrived a couple of days ago.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12mm f/2 lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12mm f/2 lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12mm f/2 lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 45mm f/1.8 lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12mm f/2 lens Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens

This does literally give you three cameras. A small camera, which if fitted with a pancake lens is actually pretty small. Adding the handgrip section, gives a slightly larger and easier to handle camera, and the final extra battery section + vertical shutter gives me my dream machine. A digital version of cameras like the Nikon FM2/3 + handgrip and Pentax MZ-5 + handgrip.

I was beginning to doubt that I would ever see a modern version of the small SLR + grip. Its what I've always wanted and is my favourite camera design bar none. 10 years ago when I was moving from chemical to digital, my last 35mm film outfit was a Pentax MZ-5 and MZ-50, both fitted with grips and a set of silver limited lenses. 31mm, 43mm and 77mm. Perfect. Unfortunately Pentax haven't seen fit to reproduce that, but fortunately Olympus have.

For me this two grip set is a masterpiece of design and functionality. It gives the camera three distinct feels. Its early days yet, but I haven't got over the feel of the full set yet, and thats what I've been using. Finally, this is what I always fantasised about m4/3 turning into.

With the rest of this OM-D E-M5 review. I've tried to be even handed and as objective as I can be, but now with the arrival of the grips, the shackles are off, and this is about to become a fanboy lovefest for what has already become my favourite ever camera.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

I've tried really hard to think of something I don't like about the OM-D and the best I've come up with is the battery life is a bit short and like most m4/3 cameras I think the metering overexposes a bit. Apart from that, it looks great, feels great and takes wonderful pictures.

OUT AND ABOUT

I was out shooting yesterday afternoon with it + the 12-50mm zoom, which incidentally performs a lot better with the OM-D and Photoshop Camera Raw vers.7.1, and some strange things happened. Firstly, virtually everybody else who was carrying a camera looked fairly intently at it and Secondly, three different people came up to me to talk about photography (not cameras). The last time the latter happened was when I was shooting MF film with a Pentax 645 on a tripod. This may of course have been a complete coincidence but I suspect not.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

I've gone into a lot of detail on the camera in the previous posts in this review so I won't go over them again. However there are a few things I should mention.

AF SPEED AND ACCURACY

Implementing some of the Dpreview menu changes detailed here:- http://www.dpreview.com/articles/9115179666/user-guide-getting-the-most-out-of-the-olympus-e-m5 the AF is now lightning fast. 

I tried a few grab shots and they worked very well. I thought I had missed a couple but no, the camera had it covered.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

I tried out the 9fps burst mode, which worked perfectly.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens


There is, I suspect, very little that you can throw at this camera that it can't handle. Add in the picture quality, which is easily the best m4/3 can offer, the substantial lens range and the versatility and customisation that the OM-D offers, and this is surely the best Mirrorless / E.V.I.L / CSC camera on the market. The useability / quality equation is heavily in its favour. There is a much improved high ISO performance, if you take care with the processing and / or camera settings, and restricted dynamic range just doesn't seem to be an issue anymore. I certainly get better results in terms of DR than I'm currently getting with the X-Pro 1 (particularly with the jpgs.) and dare I say it, better than the Leica M9.

DYNAMIC RANGE

Have a look at these below. On the right is the out of camera jpg. On the left is what I've been able to get from the raw file, using Photoshop CS6 and Camera raw 7.1. And no I haven't cheated, shot an HDR, used different files or combined two pictures together. This is the amount of highlight and shadow recovery that you can get from the OM-D.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

Not a lot to complain about there.

BETTER AND BETTER

So my adventures with this camera continue and it just gets better and better as far as I'm concerned. A long while ago I wrote a piece about wanting to to see how m4/3 worked as a "Pro" system for me.  soundimageplus.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/pro-kit.html
Ultimately, I decided that it didn't. There were just too many things that it didn't do well, the performance was limited and being honest about it, I just didn't feel that it looked the part. With the OM-D all that changes.

There are a couple of Kirk Tuck pieces on the OM-D that are well worth a read.

http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.it/2012/05/why-i-think-olympus-om-d-em-5-is-making.html

http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.it/2012/05/invitation-to-coffee-that-will-almost.html

Olympus have got this camera seriously right. Amazing considering whats been going on with them recently. It will, I'm sure, sell by the truckload and scoop up every award going. I absolutely love it, and I am so pleased that it performs so well. I'm predisposed to Olympus cameras anyway, and will happily admit that this is not the most objective review ever written about the OM-D. My knee-jerk reaction is to dump everything else onto ebay and buy two (or three) of these. However I am waiting to see what the Fuji X-Pro 1 files look like with some decent Photoshop processing, so I'll delay my final decision on that camera.

In the meantime, expect lots more OM-D posts. I just can't wait to get out and use it again.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 PANASONIC 20mm f/1.7

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M5 12-50mm Zoom lens


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