Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Olympus E-5 – First Impressions

Finally – I got my E-5 and how!

As many of you know, my E-30 is out of commission since my trip to Mauritius. The reason for that being I dropped during one of the boat rides (well, not in the water but inside the boat). I sent it to Olympus America (thank God I had taken 2 year extended warranty!) and they have repaired it. But the trouble is, its still with one of my friends who is going to get it for me. It should be with me sometime next week.

In the meantime, I leaned that another friend of mine is coming down to India. So I ordered E-5 and asked him to get it for me. Last Thursday, on my official trip to Hyderabad, I collected the camera from him :-)

Boy! was I glad to hold it! It was like holding my girl friend for the first time, that first touch, the first caress, the first…ok ok I know I am getting carried away.. ;-)

My first thought when I un-wrapped E-5– Man! this is a TANK! – I got the same absolutely SOLID and Rugged feeling that you get when you hold a ROCK. Just amazing build quality.

I had taken my charged spare BLM-1 battery and the trusty 12-60 with me. I slowly took it out of the wraps and inserted the battery and put the lens on. In the first few shots I could see that the performance was better than E-30 especially in low light. Blazingly fast and accurate AF.

I was doing all this in my office cubicle so didn’t have time to take any serious pics. But that 10 minute test was enough to make me realize that its a totally different beast I am dealing with, not E-30, not E-P2 something totally different and I was loving it!

I couldn’t wait to go back to my room and do a few test shots. In the evening I when I went back to the room, I did just that…

PC160062 A self shot. Very fast and accurate AF. Good Auto WB and a fantastic metering! Absolutely Lovely. I think the IS has also improved by a huge measure.
PC160076 The Dramatic filter
PC160084 Dramatic tone – I think I am in love with it! :-)
PC170109 Hyderabad Campus in the morning
PC170212 …and @ night!
PC170180 Amazing metering ! Just about blown me away…

Here are a few things I absolutely Love about E-5

  1. Metering - A huge improvement over E-30. Metering was one of things I thought E-30 did not do best. As a result I had to a lot of adjustment to exposure and contrast in Photoshop. E-5 has solved this issue. Its amazingly accurate and also very true. Some people say there is highlight clipping., well I don't care if there is one. I would rather have my highlight clipped than a badly exposed pic, thank you!
  2. Auto WB - A definite improvement over E-30 and E-P2. A very accurate colour temperature with auto WB. I used to adjust WB a lot in PP, now I don't think I need to.
  3. IS - Just seems a little better than the E-30, but need to do a more thorough comparison as i could take sharp pics with upto 1/5s using 14-54 and 12-60.
  4. The Screen - big improvement over E-30 and E-P2
  5. ISO 1600 performance - Much better than E-P2 and huge improvement over E-30
  6. ISO 3200 - Much more usable than E-P2
  7. Low light AF acquisition - Much Much better than E-30 and very accurate even with slow lenses like 70-300.
  8. Straight Out of Camera (SOOC) JPGs - Amazing SOOC image quality, I could never get one from E-30. E-P2 did do a better job, but E-5 absolutely takes the cake.
  9. Color Fidelity - In low light, both E-30 and E-P2 messed up with colors, especially reds. E-5 has amazing color fidelity. In good light its even better,
  10. Art Filters - Ability to apply filter in A/S/M modes. I never use art filters in E-30 or E-P2 as I don't like camera controlling the whole picture taking process. This for me a big improvement.
  11. Live View - Much better LV and faster CDAF (Contrast Detection Auto Focus). LV in E-30 is barely usable. This is cool. You can also do PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus) in LV.

Lastly, the dramatic tone filter - I think I am in love with it :-)

Few tests below– I hope you will enjoy!