OM System OM-5 Overview


Having a first look at this camera and reading "Olympus" rather than "OM SYSTEM" is a simple yet super weird fact. Despite their efforts for detaching the renowned and classic name, our minds are still reluctant to the new name. Whether we like it or not, the OM-5 camera is the first piece of equipment built entirely by the new OM SYSTEM brand without anything to do with the former Olympus brand. And as you might already have guessed by now, we are going to take a deep dive into everything this camera has to offer to us.

The first thing we notice is that this is a subtle restyling of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Mirrorless Camera released back in 2019. Designed for adventures and weekend escapades, the OM SYSTEM OM-5 is a compact yet sturdy Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless Camera. Which happens to be quite suitable for a mixture of stills and video demands. It features a 20.4MP Live MOS sensor and an updated TruePic IX image processor, it supplies quick continuous shooting up to 30 fps, as well as DCI and UHD 4K video recording.

The sensor and processor also come with a sensitivity range of up to ISO 25,600 and a refined 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization system which compensates for up to 6.5 stops of camera shake for sharper handheld shooting. Beyond imaging, the sensor contains 121 phase-detection points, all of which are cross-type, along with 121 contrast-detection areas for fast and precise focusing and subject-tracking performance.

Created for your imaging freedom and creativity, this is a carry-on versatile camera for your next journey to begin.

Quick Overview

In a nutshell, the OM SYSTEM OM-5 is a mid-range 20MP Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera with a precise goal in mind, stills. Nevertheless, it features some decent set of video features as well. Despite the notorious similarity with the aforementioned Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, its processing has been boosted to unlock computational photography traits which were previously booked for more expensive cameras.

Key Specs

  • 1/8000 sec mechanical shutter speed
  • 10 fps burst shooting with AF-C, 30 fps with electronic shutter
  • 121-point hybrid autofocus system
  • 36M-dot OLED viewfinder with 60 fps refresh rate
  • 20MP Four Thirds sensor
  • 50MP handheld high-res shot mode
  • Cinema (DCI) and UHD 4K video with no time limitation
  • Extensive direct controls and an articulating touchscreen
  • In-camera USB charging (micro-USB)
  • IP53-rated weather-sealed body
  • Up to 7.5 EV of image stabilization (CIPA-rating) with supported lenses
  • UVC/UAC USB-standard video for use as a webcam

And since the exterior is pretty much the same as the E-M5 Mark III, we can perfectly fit some nice past accessories like the ECG-5 grip, perfect for handling larger lenses for just $169.99. The OM-5 will be available for $1,199.99 body-only or as a $1,599.99 kit with the 12-45mm f/4 PRO lens.

Main Features

At its core, a high-res 20.4MP Live MOS sensor and an updated TruePic IX image processor. These two work together to deliver fast shooting performance, a modest sensitivity range of up to ISO 25,600, and rich 4K video recording capabilities. Additionally, the sensor and processor combination provides an outstanding straight burst rate of up 30 fps when shooting in the camera's new Pro Capture mode, allowing us to capture fast-moving subjects when needed the most.

Beyond the chips, an advanced autofocus system merges both 121 phase-detection autofocus points with 121 contrast-detection autofocus points for sharpening performance that is both fast and precise. All 121 phase-detection points are cross-type for improved precision in mixed lighting conditions, providing enhanced subject tracking capabilities.

Diverse focusing modes are available to suit working in various shooting conditions, including Group Target 25-point mode for moving subjects such as birds and wildlife. Face Detection and Eye Detection AF were also upgraded, and the camera now features a newly designed Starry Sky autofocus mode, as well as individual autofocus area settings for vertical and horizontal shooting modes.

The OM SYSTEM OM-5 also supports recording both DCI (4096 x 2160) and UHD (3840 x 2160) 4K movies. When recording DCI, a true 24p frame rate is used, while UHD 4K is available in frame rates up to 30p. Audio recording is possible using the built-in stereo microphone, and an external mic jack is available for improved audio recording quality. Furthermore, a Time-lapse Movie mode is also available for recording up to 4K UHD resolution.

In-body, sensor-shift image stabilization aids in minimizing the emergence of camera shake by up to 6.5 stops. This applies to any lens mounted and compensates for camera movements that get noticeable when working with telephoto shots, macro imagery, and long exposures. Similarly, this unique image stabilization system works across five axes to compensate for vertical angle rotation, horizontal angle rotation, horizontal shift, vertical shift, and rolling camera shake movement (hence the 5-axis). This range of caught movements benefits traditional still image shooting and motion footage when working with moving subjects on the field. Also, when paired with those lenses featuring optical image stabilization (OIS), up to 7.5 stops of shake compensation is possible.

Beyond the Familiar Look

Maybe the folks at OM SYSTEM felt that if something works, it should stay; but they did little effort in updating their current user interface, which is a shame indeed. Not many hardware changes are required for building a nicer menu, so this is something where OM SYSTEM could have made some innovation so the OM-5 would feel like a fresher camera for sure.

Despite the strong reminiscence on the past, the new OM SYSTEM, the OM-5 is the first mirrorless camera to embrace the new brand in its full glory. On paper, the OM-5 reminds us of the former Olympus E-M1 Mark III pro camera; in a nutshell, we find that model's exact photographic technology inside this new release. At its core, the more capable TruePic IX processor is behind some goodies like the LiveND filter simulation mode, face detection AF improvements, and for the first time in a mid-tier OM digital model, Starry Sky AF.

This computational support of OM SYSTEM's claim that this camera has been designed for those wanting to capture the greatness of nature across all their images. The  Starry Sky AF feature reliably locks onto the stars in just a few seconds after pressing the AEL/AFL button, so no manual focus is required. Former Olympus models had tripod-based high-resolution shooting, and now this capability has trickled down to the friendlier OM-5, conveying 50MP shots while handholding and 80MP when using a tripod. The baking time behind these shots still takes around 16 seconds to combine the multiple images into one. Something nice for landscape shots of course, just hope the wind isn't blowing trees in the scene too much because, while the camera copes with handheld shakiness, there's almost no correction of moving objects.

Videographers who like shooting in the wild might consider this camera for its interesting filming capabilities. Although there is no headphone socket, OM SYSTEM removed the 29-minute capacity of their previous cameras, making longer shots possible to be made. Also, it natively shoots vertical video at our chosen resolution just by flipping the camera's orientation. So we won't get that annoying reshuffled onscreen interface while in vertical video mode. A nice feature for those willing to share directly to social media from the camera, saving some precious time along the way. Last, the OM-Log400 color profile is available on the OM-5, which is nice if we remember this Log profile was only available on higher-end cameras before.

How Does the OM-SYSTEM OM-5 Behaves

And if you want some creative looks, the OM SYSTEM OM-5 comes with some nice built-in features. For simulating the effects of a neutral density filter, Live ND 16 mode allows blurred subject movement by merging exposures into a single image. The result is a true replication of a frame shot under a slow shutter speed; notably right for photographing moving water and clouds. The Focus Stacking Mode records multiple sequential frames and then compiles all the frames into a single image exhibiting a rich depth of field.

The built-in High-Res Shot mode gives us the equivalent output of a 50MP image, and the Live Composite mode gradually builds up an exposure over time without blowing key elements in the frame; ideal for long exposures, nighttime shooting, and light painting applications. And the New Vertical Video mode gives a 9:16 aspect ratio for easily integrating videos on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and beyond.

There have been improvements on the previous model and various great features are making this camera behave like an extension of our body on the field. So if you are into small and lightweight cameras which you can take everywhere with you without making your everyday tedious, then you'll find this camera's behavior to be quite friendly. And as mentioned in this overview, that includes outdoorsy treks as well thanks to the very much improved weatherproofing on its lightweight body. Such proofing means to splash, dust and freeze down to -10°C.

Little side-note here, OM SYSTEM takes the extra mile and IP rate their products, so you can be confident that this camera will resist getting dusty and wet. How much dust and wet? Well, as much as the "IP5-3 rating" allows, meaning this camera is protected against dust entering so it’s not 100% dustproof, and the 3 means protection against direct sprays of water up to 60° from the vertical, so it will remain protected even under the harshest rains.

About the 5-axis image stabilization, it offers some neat improvements over previous versions like up to 6.5 stops in-camera or 7.5 stops with compatible sync-IS lenses. Telling how this works is better experienced when using the camera for both stills and video, making the use of slow shutter speeds and longer lenses certainly easy. This means we can avoid cranking up the ISO in low-light situations just to compensate for working with underexposed shutter speeds.

How Does the OM-System OM-5 Feels

Alright, so no more about how this camera looks just like the former Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III. This new camera features a great deal of customization, allowing its users to virtually reassign every button to their liking, even the power switch! Although not to anything we like, it can be shifted to the 2-mode toggle to the right of the viewfinder which is very easy to reach with our right hand. The articulating screen is now logo free, making it a bit more discrete, and features the same 3" 1.04M-dot LCD touch layout. The OLED viewfinder is crisp and has a decent refreshing rate at a 2.36M-dots (1024 x 768 pixels) resolution.

At the midrange from the OM SYSTEM lineup, this camera draws a fine line between being lightweight and still offering a nice grip on the hand. The front bump and rear flare make this camera handle better than we expected at first glance. Although our little friend has some trouble accommodating the biggest lenses with ease, we recommend coping the body with smaller zooms and compact primes for a better shooting experience for sure.

A Final Thought

Despite the OM-5's lightweight, it feels like a decent quality device when holding it with our hands. If you want to start from scratch with Olympus' legacy, then you can pick the f/4 PRO bundle mentioned before. Yeah, the non-PRO lenses from Olympus or OM SYSTEM aren't top-notch, but they all serve the purpose of delivering reasonably good images. Furthermore, the PRO lens range is built with great quality in mind and would be the next step for your OM SYSTEM game. Wrapping it up, this camera feels perfect for those on the look for an everyday reliable camera capable of elevating their vision to a whole new level of creativity.

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