Olympus launch new SLR style MILC

February 8th, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Last night Olympus launched a new range of digital cameras; the OM-D range (although right now, it’s only one model, in Black or Silver). The Olympus E-M5 is a Micro Four Thirds MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) which harks back to the styling of the OM film range of twenty odd years ago. That slightly large hump above the camera doesn’t contain a prism (like an SLR would), but instead features an EVF (Electronic ViewFinder), and the same accessory mount Olympus use on their PEN range allowing a range of devices to be attached (Macro lights, Microphones, Bluetooth Transfer device).  Fuji has had success with it’s retro styling digital cameras, and I think this particular model comes with a high enough specification to be able to carry it off.

This is a semi-professional camera, with dust and splash proof seals, and also like many professional cameras, comes with the option of a vertical grip (also weather sealed). Actually it’s a two part grip, firstly providing an additional landscape shutter button and grip (making the small camera easier to hold for those with big hands), and then the vertical grip element, with shutter button, two customisable buttons, a main control dial and storage for a second battery.

One downside to the camera is that it does not feature a built in flash, but Olympus are shipping the camera with a small external flash (also weather sealed), so at least it’s not an additional expense, which used to be true of many film SLRs until built in flashes became common. Although not fully articulated, the rear touchscreen will tilt up or down allowing you some freedom in taking pictures above your head or at waist height; you can’t tell from the pictures, but at 121 x 90 x 42mm (without the grip or lens attached), this is quite a small device and could be popular for street photography.

This is a camera I like. With the 12-50mm weather sealed lens kit, it’s going to retail in the UK for around £1150, but with the added bonus that if you pre-order the camera (it’s due to be released in April), official UK dealers will be offering the HLD-6 grip for free as part of the deal (between the lens and the grip and all key components being weather sealed, this makes the package well worthy of consideration when compared to the price of other MILC devices).

If you want to read the full technical specifications, then Olympus has created a special microsite at olympusomd.com where you can see more pictures and the full specs.


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