First Look: OM System OM-5

      In summary

      The OM-5 is a great little camera with a lot of features that will appeal to its target market of outdoor photographers.

      It’s also a surprisingly good performer and, although we weren’t able to conduct a full Imatest analysis, subjective assessments suggest it delivers superior resolution, lower noise at high ISO settings, better stabilisation and faster transfer speeds that the E-M5 III it replaces.


      Full review

      The just-announced OM-5 camera from OM Digital Solutions brings the IP53-rated weather resistance of the flagship OM-1 model to a lighter, more compact and more affordable camera model that is targeted at outdoor photographers. Photo Review was fortunate to be provided with a pre-release sample to enable us to produce this ‘First Look’ review. (See updated test results here.) The camera is scheduled for release from mid-November at an RRP of AU$1899 for the body alone or $2399 for the body plus 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 II kit lens. It will be offered in silver and black body styles.

      Angled view of the new OM-5 camera, silver edition, with the 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 II kit lens. (Source: OM Digital Solutions.)

      Interestingly, it appears to be the first ILC to carry the ‘OM SYSTEM’ brand logo on the front of the EVF housing, unlike the OM-1, which was Olympus branded. The company has confirmed the OM-1 will be the last camera with the Olympus brand logo but provided no additional information on branding of up-coming lenses.

      This diagram shows the weather resistant sealing in the IP53 rated OM-5 camera and 12-45mm f/4.0 PRO lens (which is IPX1 rated). (Source: OM Digital Solutions.)

      The shift from fairly basic IPX1 to IP53 rated weatherproofing gives it superior resistance to ingress of direct moisture spray and dust and makes it the second camera on the market with such a high level of protection. Readers should note that a similarly-specified lens, such as the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO lens, is required for full IP53 protection when you’re on location. We used that lens with the camera body for this review.

      Aside from the branding labels, the body of the OM-5 is effectively identical to that of the OM-D E-M5 III, as shown in the illustrations below. Like the E-M5 III, it will be offered in Silver and Black editions.

      Front view of the OM-5 camera, black edition, with no lens fitted. (
      Source: OM Digital Solutions.)

      Top view of the OM-5 camera, silver edition, with no lens fitted. (Source: OM Digital Solutions.)

      Rear view of the OM-5 camera, black edition, with the monitor screen closed. (Source: OM Digital Solutions.)

      The table below shows the improvements provided in the OM-5 over the OM-D E-M5 III.

      Feature OM-5 E-M5 III
      Image processor TruePic IX TruePic VIII
      Weather-resistance rating IP53 IX1
      Basic stabilisation (body only) 6.5 stops 5.5 stops
      Synch IS  stabilisation 7.5 stops 6.5 stops
      High Res Shot Hand-held – 50 megapixels Tripod – 50 megapixels
      Live ND 4 settings to ND16 n.a.
      Interval mode (exposure smoothing) Yes n.a.
      Starry Sky AF Yes n.a.
      Face/Eye detection AF Improved
      Custom AF Target mode Yes n.a.
      Individual AF settings for vertical/horizontal positions Yes n.a.
      MF Assist (Focus indicator) Yes n.a.
      Custom modes Up to 4 settings registrable Up to 3 settings registrable
      My Menu Yes n.a.
      Video recording time limit None 29 minutes
      OM-Log Picture Mode Yes n.a.
      Red frame during movie recording Yes n.a.
      Vertical video recording Yes n.a.
      WebCam use (UVC / UAC) Yes n.a.
      Wireless Remote Control RM-WR1 n.a.

      Improvements to the menu system are similar (although not identical) to those in the OM-1. Instead of eight, there are seven sections with the focusing pages, which are separated out in the OM-1, incorporated into the Custom menu – which is quite long.

      Otherwise, the basic and ‘computational’ functions have separate page tags, as do the video, playback, Custom (‘detailed camera options’) and setup functions. There’s also a programmable ‘My Menu’ page for registering frequently-used combinations of settings.

      Other features carried across from the E-M5 III include the 121-point all cross-type on-chip phase detection AF system and the 5-axis image stabilisation module, which is also used for the SSWF (Supersonic Wave Filter) dust reduction mechanism. Sadly, the OM-5’s AF system isn’t as good as the OM-1’s, which uses more focus sensors and includes sophisticated subject-recognition capabilities. But even the 121 point cross-type PD/CD AF system, seems to manage faster, more accurate human face and eye detection and faster overall focusing than the E-M5 III due to the OM-5’s faster, more up-to-date TruePic IX processor.

      Regular features like focus stacking, keystone and fisheye compensation, interval shooting for time-lapse movies (with exposure equalisation to adjust for lighting changes), HDR recording, Colour Creator and Art Filters are largely unchanged from the E-M5 III. The single memory card slot accepts all types of regular-sized SD cards and the camera accepts a range of optional accessories, including microphones, flashguns, the ECG-5 External Grip and the RM-WR1 Wireless Remote Control.

      The compact BLS-50 battery is used in both cameras with the same CIPA rating of approximately 310 shots/charge, rather than the larger and heavier BLH-1 battery used in the E-M1 III or the OM-1’s BGLX-1 battery, which have rated capacities of 420 shots/charge and 520 shots/charge, respectively. Like the OM-1, the OM-5 supports USB charging.

      Who’s it for?
      OM Digital Solutions makes it clear that the target market for the OM-5 is outdoor photographers – specifically those who ‘enjoy photography as a part of their journeys and use it to share their daily experiences with their people, as a tool to tell their story’. The compact size, light weight and weather-sealing allow it to be taken anywhere and used in most weather conditions.

      Many of the features listed below will appeal to photographers involved in bushwalking, travelling, sports and wildlife photography and videography and birding. Some are unique to the OM System brand, while others are only found in larger, heavier cameras.

      What’s New?
      In addition to the IP53 weatherproofing and improved stabilisation, there are a number of new  or improved features that will appeal to the target market including the following:

      • Vertical video recording at up to 4K / 30p for easy sharing on social media and mobile platforms;
      • Full HD recording at up to 120 fps;
      • OM-Log400 picture profile support in movie mode for capturing the maximum dynamic range in video that will be edited;
      • The ability to use the camera as a WebCam without requiring additional software by simply plugging it into a USB 2 port. Use of a UVC (USB Video Class)/UAC (USB Audio Class) interface will provide a high-quality interface;
      • The popular computational photography functions of Live Composite and High Res Shot are joined by a new LiveND function that enables users to apply up to four steps (ND16) of neutral density filters in-camera, eliminating the need for extra filters;
      • ProCapture recording at up to 30 fps for 14 frames, conditional on the card speed, lens used, camera settings and ambient lighting;
      • A 50-megapixel Handheld High Res Shot mode – an extension of the Tripod High-Res Shot provided on the E-M5 III;
      • Starry Sky AF, a dedicated night sky focusing mode.

      The B-mode on the mode dial makes it easy to access the long exposure shooting modes of Live Composite for creative long exposure shooting and LiveBulb, which displays the exposure level at designated intervals during long exposure shots. This lets you monitor shooting conditions in case of changes in ambient lighting.

      Silent sequential shooting is possible with the electronic shutter, with a maximum frame rate of 30 fps and a buffer memory capacity of up to 20 JPEGs or 18 raw files. With the mechanical shutter, the maximum frame rate drops to 10 fps but the buffer memory capacity is expanded to accept JPEG files to the capacity of the memory card in use at the time or approximately 149 ORF-RAW files. This is better than even the OM-1 where the capacity is 169 JPEGs and 134 raw files.

      Sensor and Image Processing
      It seems highly likely the sensor in the OM-5 is the IMX272AQK, which is the same chip as was used in the E-M5 III and was made by Sony. It’s different from the sensor in the OM-1, which is probably Sony’s IMX472-AAJK chip, which is the first stacked, BSI sensor to be produced in the M4/3 format and accounts for the OM-1’s faster overall performance.

      Interestingly, the sensor resolution for all three cameras remains at around 20.4 megapixels (effective) and both sensors have 3.3 micron pixels. They differ in data transmission speeds, with the IMX272 supporting a maximum output speed of 60 fps, while the IMX472 chip supports 120 fps. Otherwise, native image sizes and compression ratios are identical in the three cameras.

      There are five JPEG resolution settings (L, M1, M2, S1 and S2) and three compression levels (SF, F and N) plus a raw file option. There’s no option for saving uncompressed raw files but ORF.RAW files are saved with 12-bit lossless compression. The High Res Shot modes still record composited images with a maximum of 80 megapixels (10368 x 7776) in Tripod mode or 50 megapixels (8160 x 61200) with Handheld mode. A 25-megapixel (5760 x 4320 pixels) is also available for JPEGs but raw files are always recorded with the highest resolution.

      The OM-5 uses the same TruePic IX processor as the E-M1 III, which is a more recent model than the TruePic VIII chips used in the E-M5 III and also the former ‘flagship’ E-M1X model but different from the newer TruePic X processor used in the OM-1. The native ISO range is ISO 200 to 6400 with expansion to ISO 64 and ISO 100 as well as ISO 25600 available. This is unchanged from the E-M5 III.

      Basic movie recording specifications are also the same as in the E-M5 III, although the OM-5 adds a Log recording mode that is accessed by engaging the Picture Mode setting when the Movie mode is selected on the mode dial. It’s not specifically labelled as a Log setting, although the menu warns it is designed for use when footage will be edited.

      The ability to record vertical video for social media sharing is another new feature in the OM-5. You don’t have to do anything special beyond selecting movie mode on the mode dial, and setting the resolution and frame rate parameters. All that’s required is to turn the camera round to portrait orientation and press the movie record button and your clips will be recorded.

      Playback and software
      Playback functions are much the same as in previous Olympus cameras with offering single-frame, index and calendar displays as well as playback zoom (up to 14x magnification) and support for touch controls, including during movie playback. Selected images can be rotated, protected, copied and deleted, individually or globally (which affects all images on the defined card).

      You can select images to transfer to a smartphone or compile a DPOF order for off-site printing. You can also playback images on the memory card as a slideshow with (or without) background music and selectable shot-to-shot intervals. In-camera retouching is available, with the ability to add Art Filters to images post-capture as well as in-camera raw file conversion into JPEG format.

      As is usual, the software bundle has to be downloaded from the OM Digital Solutions website, where you can find the new OI.Share smartphone app, OM Workspace (a workflow manager that includes a rating tool) and OM Capture, the tethering application for connecting the camera to a computer. The user manual in PDF format can be downloaded from this site as well as firmware updates.


      See updated test results

      We tested the OM-5 with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO lens, a tried-and-proven high-performer, which we reviewed back in November 2016. Because the camera we received was a pre-release sample – and also because the weather conditions were sub-optimal in the lead-up to the camera being announced, we are unable to publish the results of any Imatest tests.  (Interestingly, we found the ORF.RAW files from the camera were easy to open and convert into editable formats with the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw, our preferred raw file converter.)

      Out of interest, we carried out our regular tests of ISO sensitivity and white balance. We also evaluated autofocusing and video performance. These assessments will be updated when we receive a production standard camera.

      Long exposures were effectively noise-free up to ISO 12800 but only minor softening could be seen at ISO 25600, which is a significant improvement on the previous model.  We’ve provided two ISO 25600 samples in the Samples section to show the advantages of capturing raw files in low light levels and to demonstrate the extended dynamic range in the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw.

      White balance performance in the sample camera was similar to that of the OM-1, although the default setting is to favour keeping whites as white as possible. You can switch over to Keep Warm Colour in any of the pre-set modes.

      We found the default setting came close to producing neutral colours under the three lighting types we were able to test: incandescent, fluorescent and warm-toned LED lighting. As expected, a slight warm cast remained in shots taken under incandescent lighting and when the ‘Keep warm colour’ setting was used.

      There’s no pre-set for LED lighting so we could only test the tungsten and fluorescent pre-sets, the former of which added a slight greenish cast and the latter a tint between magenta and purple. Fortunately, there are plenty of adjustments available including four Capture modes for measuring colour balance as well as Kelvin adjustments between 2000K and 14000K.

      The stabilisation system worked very well for hand-held shooting, including while recording video clips. We were able to consistently obtain sharp hand-held shots at shutter speeds slower than 1/10 second, even with the lens at the 100mm focal length.

      Autofocusing for stills capture was difficult to fault as we encountered no instances of hunting or even detectable lag in locking onto subjects. Even though the shooting conditions were less than ideal at times, our video clips also provided a good test for the camera’s focusing system.

      Although focus occasionally slipped off the subject’s head when we were recording video in poor lighting (late afternoon and overcast), it recovered quite quickly and the camera was able to track the main subject as it moved and while the lens was zoomed in. Built-in stabilisation in the camera and lens played an important role in keeping the lens focused.

      Video quality was similar to the clips we obtained from the OM-1, which is to be expected since both cameras offer the same basic frame rates and recording functions. Auto exposure adjustments were quite fast when zooming and/or panning, once focus was acquired. Audio quality was good for the internal microphones and the ability to add external microphones would be useful if better quality was desired.

      See updated test results

      The OM-5 is a great little camera with a lot of features that will appeal to its target market of outdoor photographers. It’s also a surprisingly good performer and, although we weren’t able to conduct a full Imatest analysis, subjective assessments suggest it delivers superior resolution, lower noise at high ISO settings, better stabilisation and faster transfer speeds that the E-M5 III it replaces. (That camera appears to have been discontinued in Japan.)

      The local RRP of AU$1899 for the body sits between the current price for the E-M5 III, which is selling for around AU$1299 and the E-M1 III, at AU$2599. It’s significantly less than the OM-1, which sells for AU$2999 and shares many features with the OM-5, including the best weatherproofing available outside of a completely waterproof camera.

      The only faults we find are the reduced size of the hand grip (although the rear panel thumb pad is generous and comfortable) and the provision of only one memory card slot. Both help to keep with OM-5’s body small and light and there has to be some differentiation between different product levels to justify charging more for higher-features equipment.


      Image sensor: 17.4 x 13.0 mm 4/3 Live MOS sensor with 21.77 million photosites (20.37 megapixels effective)
      Image processor:  TruePic IX
      Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
      Focal length crop factor:  2x
      Image formats: Stills: Stills: JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.31), ORF.RAW (12-bit lossless compression), RAW+JPEG; Movies: MOV (MPEG-4AVC / H.264) with PCM/16-bit stereo audio
      Audio: Built-in stereo microphones; (Stereo linear PCM/24-bit, Sampling frequency 96kHz)
      Image Sizes: Stills – 5184 x 3888 to 1024 x 768 pixels; High-Res mode – 10368 x 7776 / 8160 x 6120 / 5760 x 4320; Movies: C4K (4096 x 2160 pixels, 24p, IPB), 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels, 30p, 25p, 24p, IPB), FHD 1080 and HD 720 (50p, 60p, 30p, 25p, 24p, ALL-I & IPB compression available), Flat & OM-Log400 picture modes
      Aspect ratios: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1, 3:4
      Image Stabilisation: Built-in 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilisation for movie and still photos; up to 6.5 stops of shake correction, depending on lens (7.5EV correction with Synch IS); 4 modes –  S-IS Auto, S-IS1, S-IS2, S-IS3, off
      Dust removal: Supersonic Wave Filter
      Shutter (speed range): Computerised focal plane shutter (Mechanical shutter: 60-1/8000 seconds plus B & T; Electronic shutter: 60 to 1/32,000 second; flash synch at 1/250 sec.
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 5EV in 1, 1/2 or 1/3EV steps
      Exposure bracketing:  2 / 3 / 5 frames ( +/- 1/3, 2/3, 1 EV steps ); 7 frames ( +/- 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 EV steps )
      Other bracketing options: Focus (10 levels, up to 999 shots), ISO, WB, Flash, Art Filter (3 frames for each), HDR
      Multiple exposures: 2 frames (shooting); 3 frames (editing)
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay plus Custom (wait time: 1-30sec., shot interval: 0.5 / 1 / 2 / 3sec.
      Interval recording: Yes, Max 9999 frames, 1 sec. – 24 hours intervals for time-lapse recording
      Focus system: TTL 121-point all cross-type On-chip Phase Detection sensor plus 121-point contrast detection (works as MF assist with slower AF compatible lenses)
      AF  selection: All target, single target (normal / small), group target (5-area / 9-area / 25-area), custom target 1-4 (AF area and steps selectable); Eye Detect AF: Off, Left side priority, Near side priority, Right side priority; Predictive AF
      Focus modes: Manual focus, Single AF*, Continuous AF*, Preset MF (AF lenses only), AF* Tracking, Stacking, Starry Sky AF (* – with manual over-ride)
      Exposure metering: 324-zone TTL open aperture metering with Multi-pattern ESP, Centre-weighted average and spot metering patterns plus Highlight / Shadow metering
      Shooting modes: Program AE, Aperture Priority AE, Shutter Priority AE, Manual Exposure
      In-camera processing modes: Live Composite, Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation adjustments (5 levels), B&W filter (Yellow, Orange, Red, Green), B&W toning (Sepia, Blue, Purple or Green), Fisheye compensation
      Art Filter modes: Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale & Light Colour, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Cross Process, Dramatic Tone, Gentle Sepia, Key Line, Water colour, Vintage, Partial Colour (18 colours available), Bleach Bypass, Instant Film
      Colour space options: sRGB and Adobe RGB
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 200 – 6400; plus expansion to ISO 25600
      White balance: AWB, Keep warm colour ON/Off, Tungsten, Fluorescent 1, Sunlight, Flash, Overcast, Shade, Underwater, Custom (x 4), Colour temperature setting (x 1)
      Flash: Detachable flash with bounce capability (bundled); G.N. 12.9 (ISO 200)
      Flash modes: AUTO, Manual, Manual (Full, 1/4, 1/16, 1/64), Red-eye reduction, Slow synchronisation with red-eye reduction, Slow synchronisation, Slow synchronisation 2nd curtain, Fill-in, Off, TTL-Auto
      Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 3EV in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps
      Sequence shooting: Max. 10 frames/sec.
      Buffer capacity: JPEGs to card capacity; Max. 149 RAW files
      Storage Media: Single slot for SD, SDHC, SDXC cards (UHS-I / UHS-II UHS Speed Class 3 standard compatible)
      Viewfinder: 2,360,000-dot OLED EVF with 100% frame coverage, +/- 7 levels of colour temperature adjustment, 27mm eyepoint, 1.37x magnification with 50mm lens, -4 to +2 dpt adjustment, 3 styles selectable
      LCD monitor: 3-inch Vari-angle touch-screen TFT LCD with 1,037,000 dots, +/- 7 levels of brightness and colour balance adjustment
      Interface terminals: USB 2.0 Micro-B, Micro HDMI (type D), 3.5 mm mini jack (plug-in power on/off)
      Wi-Fi function: Built-in Wi-Fi; Bluetooth v4.2 (Bluetooth Low Energy)
      Power supply: BLS-50 rechargeable Li-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 310 shots/charge or 60 minutes of movie recording; supports USB charging
      Weather resistance: IEC Standard publication 60529 IP53 with splash-proof with IP53 lens, (when used with an IPX1 lens, performance becomes IPX1.)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 125.3 x 85.2 x 49.7 mm
      Weight: Approx. 414 grams with battery and card

      RRP: AU$1899 (body only); $2399 (with 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 II kit lens)
      Distributor: OM Digital Solutions Australia Pty Ltd, 1300 659 678



      (Recorded with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO lens.)

      ISO 64, 60 second exposure at f/4, 12mm focal length.

      ISO 200, 25 second exposure at f/5, 12mm focal length.

      ISO 1600, 10 second exposure at f/9, 12mm focal length.

      ISO 3200, 6 second exposure at f/10, 12mm focal length.

      ISO 6400, 4 second exposure at f/11, 12mm focal length.

      ISO 12800, 2.5 second exposure at f/13, 12mm focal length.

      ISO 25600, 2 second exposure at f/16, 12mm focal length.

      The same exposure but from a raw files instead of a JPEG showing the wider dynamic range possible with raw files from the camera.

      AWB Tungsten lighting, default Keep White setting; 25mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/50 second at f/4.

      AWB Tungsten lighting, Keep Warm Colour setting; 25mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/40 second at f/4.

      AWB Fluorescent lighting, 25mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/5 second at f/8.

      AWB warm-toned LED lighting, default Keep White setting; 25mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/15 second at f/4.

      Close-up, 100mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/320 second at f/5.

      Close-up; 80mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/1000 second at f/6.3.

      50mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/1000 second at f/8.

      80mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/400 second at f/5.6.

      100mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/500 second at f/6.3.

      100mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/320 second at f/4.5.

      100mm focal length, ISO 320, 1/200 second at f/7.1.

      57mm focal length, ISO 250, 1/100 second at f/8.

      12mm focal length, ISO 1000, 1/60 second at f/7.1.

      21mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/5 second at f/5.

      41mm focal length, ISO 800, 1/10 second at f/6.3.

      12mm focal length, ISO 800, 0.77second at f/6.3.

      23mm focal length, ISO 1000, 1/2 second at f/6.3.

      34mm focal length, ISO 800, 1/4 second at f/5.6.

      15mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/5 second at f/6.3.

      16mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/500 second at f/9.

      29mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/250 second at f/10.

      16mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/250 second at f/11.

      16mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/80 second at f/8.

      12mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/50 second at f/6.3.

      100mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/320 second at f/5.

      100mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/640 second at f/7.1.

      100mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/640 second at f/7.1.

      Still frame from C4K video clip recorded at 24 fps.

      Still frame from UHD 4K video clip recorded at 25 fps.

      Three frames from a UHD 4K video clip recorded at 25 fps with the camera held vertically.