There's a pattern to technology updates. If you introduce a groundbreaking high-end product like the Olympus OM-D E-M5, you'll usually follow up a few months later with a cheaper, lower-powered model. But not so with Olympus, which seems to be breaking all the rules.
First, they put the same, high quality 16MP sensor from the E-M5 into the entry-level Pen E-PL5. Now, they're taking the best from the flagship E-M5 and putting that into the new Olympus Pen E-P5. Not everything to be sure, it doesn't have the E-M5's weather-sealing, or a built-in electronic viewfinder. But it does have the same 16MP image sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, and in some ways is even better than Olympus' mirrorless flagship, throwing new features like Wi-Fi, focus peaking into the mix.
As a bonus, the E-P5 is also drop-dead gorgeous. Seriously, if you can't appreciate how great the E-P5 looks, you're probably dead inside.
The E-P5 is a Significant Reboot
The E-P5 represents a significant upgrade to 2011's E-P3 (yup, they skipped unlucky number 4), so much so that it's easier to think of it as a reboot than an update. There are now two control dials instead of one, and when you flip a back Function lever the two dials change functions - in effect, you get double the controls via a switch of the lever. Very clever.
The E-P5 can also shoot up to 1/8000th of a second, and ISO can be expanded to ISO 100, which helps when you want to shoot wide open with fast glass in bright light. The built-in Wi-Fi pairs the E-P5 with an iOS or Android smartphone via the Olympus OI.Share app; you can shoot using your smartphone as a remote, transmit photos over, as well as tag them with GPS co-ordinates using the phone.
The E-M5's auto-focus is supposed to be even faster in the E-P5, and manual focusing will be even easier now thanks to the additional of focus peaking. The 3" touch-screen tilting LCD isn't OLED like the E-M5, but it's actually higher resolution with 1.04 million dots compared to 610k dots. Flash synchronization speed is higher at 1/320th of a second to the E-M5's 1/250th, even battery life is higher; the E-P5 can shoot up to 400 shots per charge compared to the E-M5's 360 shots.
Not Without Some Cost
All those goodies don't come without some costs. The E-P5 is nearly S$100 more expensive than the E-P3 at its launch, and that's just the E-P5's body alone price with no lens. During our meeting with Olympus, they said that enthusiasts aren't usually enthused with kit lenses, with which we have to agree. That's why they're selling the E-P5 at either body alone, or with the delicious 17mm f/1.8 prime lens and new VF4 electronic viewfinder...which actually costs S$100 more than the E-M5's pricier kit.
The E-P5 also gains a bit of weight, at 420g it's heavier than the E-P3 and just 5g shy of the E-M5. Check out more impressions of the E-P5's redesign and handling on the next page.
|Image Engine||TruePic VI||TruePic VI||TruePic VI|
|Electronic Viewfinder||Optional||Optional||Approx. 1.44m dots|
|Monitor||3" OLED with touch control, approx. 614k dots||3" tilt with touch control, approx. 1037k dots||3" tilt OLED with touch control, approx. 610k dots|
|Shutter Speeds||1/4000-60 sec., Bulb (up to 30 min.)||1/8000-60 sec., Bulb (1-30 min. selectable)||1/4000-60 sec., Bulb (1-30 min. selectable)|
|Flash||Built-in, 1/180 sync speed||Built-in, 1/320 sec. sync speed, 1/250 sec. (external flash)||External flash (bundled), 1/250 sec. sync speed (depending on flash models)|
|Fastest Shooting Speed||3fps||9fps||9fps|
|Highest Movie Resolutions||1920 x 1080/60i, 20Mbps (Fine)||1920 x 1080/30p, 20Mbps (Fine)||1920 x 1080/30p, 20Mbps (Fine)|
|Battery Life||Approx. 330 shots||Approx. 400 shots||Approx. 360 shots|
|Dimensions||122.0 x 69.1 x 34.3mm||122.3 x 68.9 x 37.2mm||121 x 89.6 x 41.9mm|
|Weight (with Battery & Memory Card)||Approx. 369g||Approx. 420g||Approx. 425g|