For Saturday I have one more image taken on Thursday. I know, this is very contrary to what I regard as the definition of a daily photo blog
Anyway. Let’s shortly look at a remarkable new camera that has just been announced, the all new Olympus Pen E-P5. For me this is without any doubt the most beautiful camera on the market, very much on par with Fuji’s offerings in terms of design, at least competitive in any other conceivable way, leading in some important regards.
Basically this is a more beautiful OM-D without weather sealing and with the electronic viewfinder as an accessory. I wouldn’t mind both things. I’ve used accessory viewfinders on the LX5 and on the E-P2, and while I’ve hated to switch between EVF and back LCD, the new Olympus VF-4 has the same eye sensor as the OM-D, and its size and quality are even better.
It’s pretty hard to say what I would buy today, the E-P5 or the OM-D, but I guess I’d slightly lean towards the bigger viewfinder image. Of course already having the OM-D makes the question academic. Neither is the E-P5 a substantial upgrade from the OM-D (although from any of the old 12 megapixel PENs it certainly is), nor is it a clever choice for a second body, nor do I need a second body at all. There are still a few things that I’d like to have though.
Olympus is an interesting company. Sometimes you’d think they are very much behind the competition. The early PENs were cute cameras, pretty nice looking, the E-P2 and E-P3 were solid and oozed build quality, but in terms of image quality they were modest only. Of course the OM-D fixed that, but it also showed Olympus in the lead with image stabilization. The 5-axis stabilization in the OM-D (and now also the E-P5) is ahead of everything else in the market, and in stabilizing the sensor instead of the lenses, Olympus does the absolutely best thing. Every lens is stabilized, even manual focus lenses, regardless of manufacturer.
I see the same kind of genius at work when I look at the E-P5′s WiFi implementation. The camera can be set up as a server, allowing remote control from a phone or tablet running either Android or iOS. Images can be sent to the controlling device, but they can also be selectively shared with other people’s devices. Additionally the phone’s GPS can be used to geo-tag images on the camera. There are many other cameras capable of WiFi, but no camera so far has implemented it in such an ideal way. It’s more than anybody has wished for, and it also provides the frequently requested tethering solution. This is nothing but cool.
If I were to buy an E-P5 (which I’m not), what would my configuration be? For sure I would buy the electronic viewfinder. I have learned to like composing with the back LCD and for some applications it is advantageous, but in bright sunlight or when I need a higher degree of stability, using a viewfinder is mandatory.
I also have big hands, the normal grip of the OM-D was too small for me, I bought the 2-part battery grip and use the OM-D with the “landscape” grip. There is no battery grip for the E-P5 though, nor would it be possible to add one without completely spoiling the elegant design. A leather half-case could probably be the solution and I’d certainly try it.
As for colors, well, I’ve bought the OM-D in black, but I have no doubt that I would take the E-P5 in silver/black. Not only would it be perfectly matched to my lenses, no, it’s also closest to the design of the original PEN, and that’s what the E-P5 was made to look like.
And if I didn’t already have silver lenses? If I were to start from scratch, would I choose the new black lenses? No way. In fact, contrary to so many other photographers I absolutely love the silver look and would buy the same lenses again.
There are a few other things that I’d like. ISO 100 and the maximum shutter speed of 1/8000s are the most notable, focus peeking, the probably most requested feature, is less interesting for me though. I have stopped using manual focus Nikon lenses and sold almost all of them, but who knows, maybe an f0.95 Voigtlaender lens may find its way in my bag one day
The Song of the Day is still “Count The Days” by Marcia Ball. Hear it on Moskva.fm.