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News: A Classic Film Camera, Gone Digital – The Olympus OM-D DSLR Series – CameraTalk w/ Matthew Saville

By Matthew Saville on February 8th 2012

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Finally, someone has the guts to do it.To create a high-end DSLR with the classic look and feel of all those oldschool manual 35mm film cameras.Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Olympus OM-D series, modeled after the classic Olympus OM-1.Finally.


• Electronic Viewfinder, (EVF) …with a 120 FPS refresh rate.

• 16 megapixel, 2.0X crop sensor.Surprisingly, even though Olympus uses a 2.0X crop sensor, they have great image quality even up to ISO 1600 or 3200.I know that’s not the most amazing thing for a high-end pro shooter who is looking to push to ISO 6400 and beyond, but for any type of casual photography, in my opinion the 2.0x crop sensor is actually VERY versatile.

• ISO 200-25,600 (Probably great up to ISO 1600 / 3200, like I said, but don’t get your hopes up for much more than that…)

• 5-Axis sensor stabilization.Yes, I said 5-axis.I have a hard time just counting how there could possibly be five different axis, but they are:Horizontal, Vertical, Yaw, Pitch, and Rotation.That’s pretty awesome, and I think it is great to see Olympus putting so much effort into combating the one most significant drawback of a 2.0X crop sensor, which is low-light ISO performance.With such incredible things like f/2.0 zooms and f/0.95 primes, …I think Olympus is building one of the most formidable “micro SLR” systems on the market.An f/0.95 lens with in-camera stabilization?Yes, please!

• Olympus’s legendary weather sealing.Honestly, this is one thing where I think Olympus has Canon and Nikon beat.When it comes to weather sealing, Olympus has maintained the reputation as the champion of, well, people doing crazy things with their cameras and having them survive.I’ve seen photos of Olympus E-series cameras that are completely covered in rain, frost, dust, and in one case, the infamous “E-1 under a faucet” photo.OM-G! (pun intended?)

• What Olympus claims to be the WORLDS FASTEST AF SYSTEM.Yes, I know that’s a big claim considering the amazing speed that Canon and Nikon users can get out of their DSLR’s with flagship camera bodies and utrasonic etc. lens autofocus. But have you ever tried one of the new Olympus cameras, since they started bragging about it’s AF system back when the E-3 was first announced?I tried that camera, and it’s FAST.I didn’t get out a stopwatch and test it against a comparable Canon / Nikon camera, but suffice it to say I was very, very impressed by the AF speed.

• Up to 9 FPS, when using single focus mode.(Again, not exactly a D4 / 1DX killer, but PERFECT for hobbyist parents who at least want great action shots of their kids in gymnastics / karate, etc!)

• HD video, at “1080i60” …Um, did I see an “i” in there?Hmm.For those of you who don’t know, “i” stands for “Interlaced”, which means its not a true 1080p size.Or maybe the 1080p is the right size, and the framerate (60p) is interlaced.It isn’t very clear yet, but I’m sure this spec will be clarified as news spreads.HOWEVER, the exciting thing for me is that it can record at 60 FPS even at 1080!”i” or not, 60 FPS at 1080 is something that the Canon 1DX, Nikon D4, and Nikon D800 (all announced recently) can NOT do.So again, maybe not professionally acceptable for some, but among hobbyists (Or for pros looking to play around) this could be one of the BEST cameras ever!


Happy shooting,

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Matthew Saville is a full-time wedding photographer at Lin & Jirsa Photography, and a senior editor & writer at SLR Lounge.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. mohammad sj

    tnanks for this article. i shared it in linkedin دانلود

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  2. Ray

    Looks like a great camera! I just don’t understand why everybody’s connecting the term “pro” always and only to the fastest focus, the highest ISO or the most Mega Pixels… I don’t do sports, I don’t need to shoot in a darkroom and none of my clients ever complained about the 10 MP files of my Olympus E 3 when there was an agreement about the file size before the shooting! Of course, this OM D 5 can be used as a professional camera. Why the hell not? It got some features other much more expensive cameras don’t have. This 5 axis stabilisation is a kick if it works as announced, any camera man in the world will be glad to have it. Soon, Nikon and Canon and all the others will copy this desperatly, like they always do. I am very pleased that Olympus came out with this little smart thing called OM D 5, especially the battery grip suits me a lot.  I just hope, that this camera will be successful, because to me it’s the best idea Olympus had for a long time.

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  4. Joe Gunawan

    And here are some low to high ISO samples with 100% crops, using the Olympus 45mm f1.8 prime lens! 

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  5. Joe Gunawan

    Awesome camera! I’ll see how this will turn up in reviews. I do have the GH2 as my main camera, so I’d have to see how the GH3 will turn out, too.

    By the way, speaking of water pouring on a weather-sealed Olympus camera, check out this demonstration with the OM-D and a bottle of water! 

    Joe Gunawan |

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