Olympus E-P5 Camera Review

April 26, 2018

A couple of years ago now, I did the ever so intelligent thing of accidentally leaving my bag in a taxi. That bag was never retrieved and in it had a laptop and my cherished Olympus OMD EM5 with Panasonic 20mm f1.7 attached. I was obviously somewhat upset by this and tried to pretend it never happened for a few years and went back to only using my Nikon Df.

Whilst I love that camera, it has it’s place and it’s bulkiness often left me leaving it behind. I also just love the images my little Olympus produced. They may not have been the most “detailed” and they weren’t as flexible when it came to high iso and what you could do with the images in Lightroom afterwards but there was something wonderfully simple and rewarding about the pictures that I got from that camera.

Fast forward a couple of years and I finally decided I needed a small camera I could use for travel and had about $500 to spend (inc. one decent lens). I could have simply bought a replacement EM5 but I wanted something different. I considered the likes of the Ricoh GR or something from Fuji as I have always liked the look but I always liked the feel of the Olympus from trying it in a shop in Cambridge a couple of years previous. I liked the weight of it and I liked that the quality of the separate EVF. At the time I felt it was way overpriced (I think it was over $1k at the time). But in the couple of years since it’s been released, it has suffered from bad timing in it’s arrival in the market. You can now pick one up for just a couple of hundred $ on eBay.

As a result, I spent months trying to find the perfect one on Ebay. Not perfect from a condition standpoint but from an overall package. I got lucky and for $550 I bought a pristine condition E-P5, Olympus 17mm f1.8, VF4 EVF, SEMA-1 Microphone, FL 300R Flash and another couple of bits and pieces. Not too shabby for $550.

Since receiving it, I have taken it on a couple of trips to Scotland, Steamboat CO and Miami and I have overall been very impressed with it. Combined with the little 17mm makes a potent little travel combination. Interestingly the EVF is great but most of the time I leave it off and just use the screen. The image quality is identical to the EM5 so no surprises there and the build quality is solid. I know there are some complaints about dials falling off and such, but I have not seen anything like that so far. It has the same threshold on ISO where anything above 1600 starts to get a little bit noisy. Otherwise all good. The camera is responsive, solid, lovely image quality and I like having it with me. So overall I would thoroughly recommend. I know technically the latest and greatest from Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic are objectively “better” but in reality, does anyone really notice? I feel Micro Four Thirds has reached somewhat of a plateau in terms of image quality of late and the price difference just isn’t justified to spend over $1k on these types of cameras. If nothing else, just get a body from a few years back and invest as much as you can in some of the wonderful prime lenses (and high end PRO zooms) and most people will be more than satisfied with what they get. I look back at images from 4-5 years ago and still really love the look of them.

This illustrates the limitations of the E-P5 in extreme low light. Good considering but its at the limit of what it can do.


So all in all, give it a go!

Miami South Beach with Olympus E-P5