by Shawn Barnett, Mike Tomkins, and Zig Weidelich
Almost three years since the announcement of the professional E-3 digital SLR comes the Olympus E-5, a Four Thirds digital SLR camera that has fewer physical changes than its predecessor, but some noticeable improvements nonetheless, including a higher-resolution sensor, a much larger swiveling LCD, a new low pass filter and processor arrangement, and of course the addition of 720p HD video at 30 frames per second.
Olympus E-5 Hands-On Preview
by Mike Tomkins and Shawn Barnett
While the E-3 was a long awaited upgrade to the original flagship E-1, the Olympus E-5 is more of an incremental upgrade of an already capable Four Thirds digital SLR camera. Most of the upgrades bring the Olympus E-5 up to speed with the current digital camera market, with a 12.3-megapixel sensor and a 3-inch, 920K-dot LCD, but there’s some tuning under the skin as well, with a tweak to the low-pass filter and the processing engine in the E-5. If the E-5’s images at least equal the excellent quality we’ve seen from the Olympus PEN Micro Four Thirds cameras, we’ll be satisfied; if they exceed them, so much the better.
Look and feel. While its predecessor had the Nikon D300 and Canon 40D to tangle with, the Olympus E-5 now faces a wider field of competent digital SLR cameras: The Nikon D300S, Canon 7D, Pentax K-7, and even the Panasonic GH-1 come up as competitors in terms of price and features. Like I said of the E-3, the Olympus E-5 feels very tight, solid, hefty, and seems well-thought-out. Its grip is burly and though it’s a fairly heavy chunk of camera, it doesn’t feel like a burden for some reason. Weight between the E-3 and E-5 has increased only a small amount, only 0.1 ounce (3g) to 31.5 ounces, (1.96 pounds, 892g).
Every inch has a purpose, and there’s lots of room for the extensive controls needed on a professional-grade digital SLR camera. It’s a great match for the hearty, burly lenses made for the Four Thirds system, including the refined 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens that’s equivalent to a 24-120mm lens.