Olympus Revives OM with E-M5

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Olympus reveals a new generation of OM digital Micro Four Thirds cameras with the OM-D E-M5. It offers a built-in EVF, splashproof and dustproof design, new 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor and a retro styling that’s unlike anything we’ve seen in digital before.

Olympus E-M5

For hands-on photos, analysis and video with a pre-production E-M5 unit, skip on over to our OM-D E-M5 First Look. If it’s raw specs you’re after, stay right here.

At the heart of the E-M5 is a new 16.1 megapixel Live MOS sensor. ISO range stretches up to a high 25600 starting at ISO 200, and burst shooting is possible with continuous autofocus at 4.2 fps (with IS off). Switch into single-point AF and you’ll be able to shoot at up to 9 fps. Full 1080 HD video is available at 60i. The improved Fast AF system we saw in the E-P3 has been fine-tuned for the E-M5. AF modes include a 35-area multi AF, 9-area target and single-point AF.

Olympus E-M5

Unlike its Digital PEN predecessors, the E-M5 sports a built-in electronic viewfinder. It offers a healthy 1.44 million-dot resolution with a 120 fps refresh rate and a horizontal/vertical level gauge. An articulated 3.0-inch, 610k-dot OLED monitor offers touch interface. Functions like touch shutter and touch AF area selection will be available to the E-M5 shooter. Variations on Olympus’ Art Filters have been added to the E-M5, including new Dramatic Tone and Cross Process in-camera filters.

Image stabilization has been given a boost, now covering 5 axis of movement: horizontal, vertical, rolling, yaw and pitch. In theory, this will translate to clearer images with long exposures. The current IS system, Olympus engineers claim, is adept at keeping the center of an image clear. These improvements to IS should help keep details at the edges of an image sharper with the addition of pitch, yaw and roll stabilization.

Olympus E-M5

The OM-D E-M5 will ship with an FL-M2 flash unit, also dust and splashproof. The camera will use a BLN-1 lithium-ion battery. SD, SDHC and SDXC cards will all be accepted via a single card slot. A new HLD-6 battery grip has been developed especially for the new OM camera, similarly splash and dustproof and offering both vertical and horizontal shutter releases. And for that stash of Four Thirds lenses, a new water and dust-sealed MMF-3 Four Thirds adapter will be available.

Pricing and availability
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 will be available body-only for $999.99. Bundled with a 12-50mm zoom lens it will cost $1299.99, and with a standard 14-42mm kit lens it will sell for $1099.99. It’s expected to be available in April.

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