Olympus refreshes its top-of-the-line DSLR series today with the E-5. Higher sensor resolution and HD video bring it up to speed with the current competition. We've had some hands-on time with a pre-production model, so take a look at some photos and video of the new E-5.
The E-5 will feature a 12.3 megapixel Live MOS sensor coupled with a new TruePic V+ image processor, boasting additional "Fine Detail Processing" capabilities. The new chip will also provide a wider ISO range of 100-6400. Like other E-series DSLRs, it features a Four Thirds mount for compatibility with all Four Thirds lenses.
Not only does the sensor get a boost in resolution, the E-5 has a larger 3.0-inch swiveling LCD with a higher 920k-dot resolution. It's a good thing too, the E-3's 2.5-inch 230k-dot swiveling monitor was looking dated. The E-5 also offers a 100% optical viewfinder. Like the E-3, the E-5 makes use of 11 cross-type AF points.
The E-3's lack of a video recording mode was also being outpaced by the competition. Olympus answers with 720p HD video (1280x720), output as 30 fps AVI motion JPEG files. With HD video comes HDMI, and E-5 appropriately supplies an HDMI port for connection to an HDTV.
The E-5 also adds the creative art filters currently available in Olympus's Digital Pen cameras. Run-of-the-mill processing modes like Vivid, Natural and Portrait are accompanied by modes like Pop Art, Pin Hole and Cross Process with a total of ten modes. Art filters can be used in combination with movie mode for in-camera video effects.
A Dramatic Tone filter has been added to mimic the effect of HDR photography. It doesn't superimpose multiple images together; instead of expanding the dynamic range it applies an effect to the image that resembles an HDR shot. HDR enthusiasts may be skeptical, though Olympus argues in its favor that it's suited to photographing a moving subject in a way true HDR can't be used.
Alternatively, the E-5 does allow for multiple exposure shooting. Two images can be recorded and combined on the spot in-camera, or two to four images can be combined in-camera later. Burst shooting can be achieved at a maximum of 5 fps, and the camera's top shutter speed is 1/8000 of a second. The E-5 is able to wirelessly command up to three compatible flash groups independently.
Predictable upgrades include the transition from CF/XD card slots to CF and SD card slots, as Olympus has phased out the xD format since the E-3's launch.
The E-3 was well regarded for its weather-sealing and durability. Olympus hasn't strayed from that model, calling the E-5 splashproof and dustproof. It's also equipped with a Supersonice Wave Filter Dust Reduction System in an effort to keep dust off of the image sensor.
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