Olympus OM-D E-M5 Digital Camera Review
We tested the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with its 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ motorized kit lens. While this isn't the sharpest lens in the Micro Four Thirds stable, it still produced some great results at all but the most extreme settings. Our test images produced some MTF50 results of over 2000 at the maximum aperture, though the minimum aperture and longer focal lengths struggled relative to the lens' performance in other areas.
The Olympus E-M5 did apply some level of edge enhancement to its images, with a slight halo effect around our slanted edge targets coupled with a darker ring beside it. This artificially amplifies the subjective appearance of fine details on test charts, but in more complicated scenes (such as a person's hair in a portrait), this can actually create worse images. In actual real-world shots, this edge enhancement only worked where strong contrast was already present, though in certain modes it gets dialed up a little higher than you may like. Shooting in RAW eliminates this, while we found the portrait color mode also had little of this effect applied to images. More on how we test sharpness.
The new 5-axis stabilization on the Olympus E-M5 was not that effective at increasing sharpness under our test conditions. When put under a repeated, specific level of horizontal shake (similar to the shake seen when shooting the camera handheld) at 1/30th of a second shutter speeds, the stabilization improved sharpness by only 2.99%. Margin of error aside, that's not a particularly strong result, but it didn't overcorrect or make shots worse.
While you may have better results with the stabilization system anecdotally or in more naturalistic environments, we didn't find that any of the stabilization modes were effective at this test, with all modes (including turning it off entirely) returning an MTF50 of around 320 LW/PH. That's not incredibly sharp, but it's approaching acceptable levels if you just need a quick snap for the web without any fine detail. Again, with a new stabilization system it may be a matter of fine-tuning the performance of some new hardware, and it may work better in the randomness of real life shooting, but our test conditions do not recognize any improvement from the system over simply leaving it off at these particular conditions.