Sunday, August 26, 2012

First Impressions: Olympus OM-D E-M5 w/ 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 lens

I recently purchased a new camera.  I was in Inkley's Camera a few weeks ago and the sales rep showed me his Sony Nex-5.  I liked the mirrorless technology but I wasn't ready to plunk down the money for one.  Then I heard Olympus had a new OM model that used an electronic view finder (EVF). I was intrigued because I have an OM-1 and an OM-2 from my film days.  I read several reviews on the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 and was very impressed.  I went to Inkley's to check one out but they didn't have any.  I like Inkleys because they match any Internet price. I wanted to get a really good lens with the camera and the reviews I read on the E-M5's kit lenses were so-so.  I did find that the reviews for the Olympus 12-60mm F/2.8-4.0 lens were stellar.  The problem with that lens was it has a regular four/thirds mount and the E-M5 uses a micro four/thirds mount. It requires an MMF-3 (or MMF-2) adapter (shown in the photo below).

Well, long story short is I bought the E-M5 silver body (because it looked like the original OM's) from Adorama and the 12-60 lens on e-bay. Although I looked at specs and read reviews on the lens I was still surprised at how big it was when I received it..  The lens is a thing of beauty, but it is a handful and makes it look like the camera at the end of it is a little toy.  It has lots of glass so consequently it is heavy by micro four/thirds standards. Here is a picture of my new Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the adapter and 12-60mm F/2.8-4.0 lens.

I love the looks of the camera body.  The dials, buttons and controls seem well laid out with the exception of the on-off switch. It would have been nice if Olympus could have put a switch on it like the OM-1 switch -- just not enough real estate for something so large.

I am replacing a Canon EOS Rebel T1i with a Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens.  Here are some comparison photos of the two cameras (taken with my old Fuji FinePix E9000).

The lenses seem similar in size, but the Olympus is larger in diameter. I took some comparison photos with the cameras each mounted on a tripod.  The Olympus glass is definitely sharper than the Canon lens.

The flip-out screen on the Olympus is very functional and is a little larger than the Cannon's screen.
Here are some interesting specs from my digital scale:

Olympus OM-D E-M5 body (incl. strap):  16.2 ounces (460 grams)
Olympus 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 lens: 22.4 ounces (634 grams)
Combined: 38.6 ounces (1094 grams)

Canon EOS Rebel T1i body (incl. strap): 20.3 ounces (20.3 grams)
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens: 16.3 ounces (462 grams)
Combined: 36.6 ounzes (1039 grams)

One of the reasons I bought the Olympus was its small size and weight.  Then I added the monster lens and ended up with a camera 2 ounces heaver than my Canon.

So is the lens worth it (in terms of both cost and weight)?  Based on my initial test photos the answer is yes. I'll be posting photos here which will answer that question more definitively.

I purchased an adapter so I could mount my OM lenses on the camera.  I've got a 28mm f/2.8, a 50mm f/1.4, a 100mm f/2.8 and a 200mm f/4.0.  Here is a photo of the E-M5 with the 28 (56 equivalent). It reminded me so much of my old OM's.
I thought I'd put in a couple of photos comparing the E-M5 with my OM-1.

You can see the resemblance, but there are notable differences as well.  

Just for fun I weighed the two cameras as configured in this photo.
OM-1: 27.1 ounces (769 grams)
OM-D E-M5: 24.9 ounces (707 grams)


Mathilda Castle said...

Hi there, can't wait to see the photo cos I was thinking whether to go for this combination as well. I am already using 12-50mm but was thinking whether to sell it n get a 12-60mm which takes faster picture.. Or I should pay more for the new Panny 12-35mm... Mmmm struggling... hope ur review helps :)

Buddy said...

Two weeks later I can give a little more feedback. The 12-60 has superb image quality. It is slow to auto-focus. If you need to take pictures quickly it is going to hold you back. Most of what I do does not require a quick focusing lens, but when taking pictures of children it is a hindrance. Also, when using the tiny little FL-LM2 flash that comes with the E-M5 you'll get a shadow from the lens if your shooting below about 30mm.

mahasiswa teladan said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)