Olympus PEN E-P5 vs OM-D EM-5 – What’s the Difference?

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After weeks of leaks and rumors, Olympus are finally poised to release their new flagship micro 4/3 camera, the PEN E-P5.  The new camera brings an impressive spec list to the table and the E-P5 inherits a lot of tech from Olympus’ former flagship, the OM-D E-M5, including it’s superb sensor and image processor, lightning quick autofocus and breakthrough 5 point IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization).  But does the E-P5 represent an upgrade over the O-MD and just what are the main differences between these two camera systems?

Two photography websites, ePhotozine and thePhoblographer, have posted side by side comparisons of the E-P5 and OM-D.  While it’s important to note that the E-P5 has not yet been released (see video preview above from Blunty3000) and the final production model has yet to be put through it’s paces, it borrows enough tech from familiar models (most notably, the OM-D) that we can make a reasonably educated comparison of the two cameras.

image courtesy of ePhotozine

image courtesy of ePhotozine

Olympus PEN E-P5 vs OM-D E-M5, Features Comparison

(via ePhotozine)

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-P5
16.1 megapixel sensor 16.1 megapixel sensor
5-axis image stabilisation (up to 5EV compensation) 5-axis image stabilisation (up to 5EV compensation)
3 inch OLED 610k dot tilting touch-screen 3 inch 1037k dot tilting touch-screen
9fps shooting, 4.2fps continuous shooting with AF 9fps, 5fps with continuous AF
1/4000s mechanical shutter 1/8000s mechanical shutter
1/180s x-sync external flash, 1/250s attached 1/250s x-sync external flash, 1/320s internal
Full HD, MPEG4 MOV, 720p MJPEG Full HD, MPEG4 MOV, 720p MJPEG
Stereo mics, accessory port for microphone etc Stereo mics, accessory port for microphone etc
ISO range 200-25600 (Lowest ISO200) ISO range 100-25600 (extends to LOW 100)
N/A Focus peaking
2 axis electronic spirit level 2 axis electronic spirit level
2 Function buttons (dedicated) 1 dedicated function button
1.44 million dot EVF Optional
N/A Wi-Fi built in
External flash included (Guide 10, ISO200) Built in pop-up flash (Guide 10, ISO200)
Weather sealed body, battery grip available N/A
330 shot battery life 400 shot battery life
Weight: 373g Weight: 378g
Size: 121 x 89.6 x 41.9mm Size: 122 x 68.9 x 37.2mm
Body only: $949 USD Body only: $999 USD

ePhotozine’s Initial Conclusions

Olympus PEN E-P5 vs OM-D E-M5 Performance

We expect the performance of the E-P5 to be very similar if not identical to the OM-D E-M5, although there could have been further improvements to image quality implemented, and we will be testing the E-P5 fully when it is available. Where there could be advantages in image quality are due to the additional versatility provided by the faster shutter speed and lower ISO setting, allowing a wider aperture setting for a shallower depth of focus in bright conditions

Olympus PEN E-P5 vs OM-D E-M5 Verdict

The Olympus PEN E-P5 is now one of the highest specification Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras available. The major differences between the two cameras, the internal electronic viewfinder, weather sealing and optional battery grip, on the OM-D E-M5 suiting the outdoor photographer more, while the small size of the Olympus PEN E-P5 would suit those looking to travel light without a compromise in image quality between the two.  (Read full article on ePhotozine)

thePhoblographer’s Initial Conclusions

We’ve spent an hour with the EP5 as of writing this article and close to a year with the OMD. However, in our rundown it has been split down evenly to a complete tie between the two cameras. In the end, it will just mean whether or not you plan on taking your camera out into the toughest of weather situations and if you want to shoot like a pro with PocketWizards in the hot shoe and the viewfinder up to your eye.

Alternatively, you can shoot in ideal situations and upload your images via WiFi to a mobile device and share them with the world.

Which one are you best suited for? (Read full article on thePhoblographer)

My 2 Cents

The initial appearance is that these two camera are very closely matched in a head to head comparison, although this may change when the final version of the E-P5 gets into heavy use situations.  The E-P5 is based largely on OM-D tech, but it gets a performance edge with it’s mechanical shutter, focus peaking, built in flash, wifi and battery life.  The OM-D on the other hand is weather sealed, has a built in EVF, 2 function buttons (vs 1 on the E-P5), an optional battery grip and most importantly, it’s a proven commodity.  Price wise, it’s pretty much a push when you just get the body ($999 USD for the E-P5 vs $949 for the O-MD), but if you go for the optional Electronic Viewfinder on the PEN E-P5, then you’ll be paying $1,449 USD (although that kit also comes with the M.Zuiko 17mm 1.8 lens, which is excellent) vs $1,199 USD for the OM-D E-M5 kit with the 12-50mm zoom lens.

My analysis here is that the PEN E-P5 has more of the features (i.e., wifi and focus peaking) that users were hoping for while the OM-D brings professional build quality.  For the price, I wish the E-P5 had a built in viewfinder and it may have a difficult time competing with the likes of Fuji’s X-E1 and other cameras in the same price range, but it’s still an impressive piece of equipment that will no doubt appeal to pro and enthusiast shooters alike.

Buy the Olympus PEN E-P5 or the Olympus OM-D E-M5 on Amazon Here

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