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It’s here! And wow, what a stunning camera! For my eyes it looks superb in the silver finish with the faux leather black grip. The black model has a different style of finish on the grip area that I’m not as keen on personally.
This has to be a must-buy for anyone who is seriously into micro four thirds, especially if you have the fantastic Olympus 12 or 45mm prime lenses, they will match up with the silver version of this camera beautifully.
A new 16Mpx sensor coupled with a new TruePic VI processing engine is billed to have better dynamic range, and significantly better high ISO performance than the PEN range, and should prove to be a winner if it lives up to the hype. It is certainly something that Olympus needed to do as the sensor in the PEN range hasn’t changed since it first appeared in the E-P1/PL1, and was starting to show its age compared to the competition.
I’m not convinced by the kit 12-50mm lens, but assume that is will give a better image quality than the 14-42mm lens that comes with the PEN range, plus it is dust and weather sealed like the body, making this camera and lens combination a serious go anywhere tool.
A new 5-axis image stabilisation systems is a first, which as always for Olympus is in-camera, meaning even if you add third party lenses you still benefit from the IS system.
It seems there is no ‘peaking’ style MF as per the NEX and Ricoh systems, which would have been a nice addition, but with the super fast and accurate AF I’m not sure people will feel the need to manual focus as much as they have in the past, unless using third party lenses, and even they are starting to look outdated now that the M43 manufacturers are bringing out decent top-spec glass for the M43 system, with other lens manufacturers starting to produce native M43 lenses, it appears as though this is the system to go for if you’re a serious enthusiast who realises that it is as much (if not more so) about the lens than the camera behind it.
In camera curves adjustment is a useful tool for jpeg shooters and should prove popular – this isn’t a new feature in a camera, you’ve been able to adjust the highlights and shadows before, but presented as curves will perhaps make it more familiar to photographers who regularly adjust curves using Lightroom or Photoshop.
The optional grip was a big surprise, I don’t recall anyone predicting that. The grip comes in two parts, the first part you can attach if you just want a beefy grip with an extra shutter release and control dial, and the second part contains the battery, which should at least double the battery life of the camera whilst out and about. Personally I’m not sure I will buy the grip as it moves the camera more towards dSLR size, and the point of M43 is that it is small, but no doubt there will be many people who like the extra bulk and battery life.
EU: € 1099 (Body only)
UK: £1149.99 EU: € 1299 (with M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3)
Read the Press Release from Olympus here about this camera