I'll start with the typical disclaimer: I am not an Olympus employee. I have never been an Olympus employee. I have never received free or discounted equipment from Olympus. I have never written a review of an Olympus product in exchange for money or equipment. I currently own two Olympus OMD EM-5.2 cameras and a smattering of lenses, all of which were purchased at Precision Camera for the same retail prices everyone else pays. If I link any of the products I review to Amazon.com, and you click through and buy, it a small amount of money, based on the item and pricing, will be paid to me from Amazon.com. It's not enough money to cover the cost of a review or to make a dent in the ever declining college fund for the boy. Don't worry, I can guarantee you that your purchases are not making me wealthy. But it's nice to get enough in affiliate fees from my writing to be able to buy premium coffee instead of the older, surplus stuff we were getting from the ship channel salvage company in Houston....
My Review of the Olympus EM-5.2 cameras.
Chrome EM5.2 sitting on the Manfrotto Hybrid Fluid Head.
A bit of history. The first Olympus product I owned was a used, black Olympus Pen FT, half frame film camera. I still have it along with four other copies, one black and three chrome, that I collected over the years; usually for less than $100 per body. I also have an almost complete set of the jewel-like half frame lenses that were made specifically for that system. The lenses, with the right adapters, work remarkably well with the current micro four thirds systems and this makes me very happy. It's wonderful when a new product can bring renewed usefulness to an older product line.
The original Olympus Pen FT. This is the one that started it all for me.
Smaller and lighter than the full frame cameras of the day it featured an
optical view finder, a vertical film frame and a titanium rotary shutter
that sync'd at all speeds from 1 second to 1/500th of sec.
72 half frame images on a roll...
At any rate I bought my first Olympus micro four thirds format camera, an Olympus Pen EP-2, in 2010 specifically with the intention of using with the older Pen FT lenses. That experience started my off again, on again relationship with the Olympus mirror-free system.
Apples and tangerines. One thing you need to know if you are on the fence about buying an interchangeable lens camera in 2015 is that they are all good enough for most of what most people do but there are reasons; good reasons, for such a wide range of cameras to be offered on the market. While the Olympus EM5.2 is a very, very good camera there are some things that bigger, more expensive cameras can do better. Conversely, most of the time people will be much happier with the smaller, lighter and more entertaining OMD system than they will be toting around a big, full frame camera like the Nikon D810 and the assorted lenses that allow it to shine.
Trying to compare the OMDs and a camera like the D810 is just a bit odd in that they have totally different strengths and weaknesses. One is the ultimate resolution machine (at the moment) while the other is the ultimate, take everywhere, shoot everything and don't break a sweat over the amount of freight you are toting camera. Any comparison that doesn't take the photographer's use and goals for the camera into consideration is like car nut trying to tell a mother of five that she should buy a Porsche 911 or telling a needy, divorced industrialist that he could really do well driving a nice Chrysler mini-van while hitting the dating scene.
I think we'll do this review in a straightforward way and just make comparisons with cameras in a similar niche rather than making sweeping comparisons. If we do make comparisons with full frame cameras we'll also note the disadvantages of the bigger cameras. While I may be spoiled by having two different systems I think it does help me write, objectively, about valid differences between them, and in a way that also looks at the strengths of each camera type.
One of the improvements on the new version of the EM5 is the inclusion
of nicely machined, big fat dials that move well.
What's it all about? The OMD EM5-2 is the fifth generation of interchangeable lens, micro four thirds, mirror-free cameras from Olympus. The first being the EP-1 launched back in 2009. That first camera was a disaster for me and I never would buy one. The issue? It didn't have an eye level viewfinder or even the option to add one via a camera port and accessory finder. No matter how good the camera might have been at the time that lack of usability made it the ultimate non-starter for me. If you have to hold your picture taking machine out in front of you, grab for your reading glasses and use one hand to shield a rear mounted screen image from the sun ( and any manner of intruding light )you might as well use your iPhone to take your shots. The EP-1 set the first body style (based on the original half frame Pen) and introduced a decent, but not great, 12 megapixel sensor that stayed in the Olympus camera line-up for three generations.