Olympus OM-D E-M5 Digital Camera Review
Ease of Use
- Automatic Features
- Buttons & Dials
- Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
- Instruction Manual
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 includes mostly automatic modes, with a physical mode dial offering options for program auto, intelligent auto, as well as scene and "art" modes. While each of these modes let the camera automatically determine proper exposure settings, the intelligent auto mode will switch to a specific scene mode when it feels that's appropriate. The program automatic will merely try to balance brightness according the metering modes set, while art and scene modes have specific effects that the user can select.
Buttons & Dials
The buttons on the E-M5 are designed to be highly water-resistant, which has clearly resulted in an increased travel length, likely due to the rubber seals where the buttons attach to the body. Pressing any of the buttons requires a little more concerted pressure, and some of the buttons become difficult to engage as a result. The playback and Fn1 buttons on the back, for example, are very difficult to push because of the rear thumb rest. Even when you do get ahold of the buttons, the lack of a haptic or audible response means you're not always sure when you've actually pushed the button in yet or not.
Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes
The E-M5 features scene modes, art filters, and color modes, all of which can be applied to either subtly or dramatically alter your images.
As we stated above, the menu design on the E-M5 is the same as on the PEN series of cameras, which is among the more confusing that we've seen on the market. For absolute beginners who just want to point-and-shoot, it's not so bad because the custom options they want nothing to do with are inside of the custom menu. Unfortunately, there are also some very commonly used options in this same menu, and it's possible to hide it altogether.
Even if you want to flip through the custom menu, there are literally dozens of options organized only into a loose association of pages. It's a bit of a nightmare if you're looking for specific menu options. Eventually you'll figure out where everything is, but we can only imagine a beginner trying to find his or her way in this menu and getting hopelessly confused.
The E-M5 comes with a paper basic manual that goes over the basics of getting started with the camera, recording images, changing settings, and recording videos. The camera also comes with a more advanced manual, but it's located on the included CD-ROM along with Olympus' VIEWER 2 software. The manual covers just about everything you' need to get started shooting with the camera, with clearly labeled diagrams and step-by-step instructions for accessing features.