From the archives, vol. 39: Brain Thaw Week

From the archives, vol. 39: Brain Thaw Week“Flying Saucers”
Nikon D80
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 VR

Another new camera, this one from Olympus. The E-M10 becomes the entry level OMD camera, slotted below both the E-M1 and the E-M5. A close look at the spec sheet shows us that the E-M10 lacks the weather sealing and 5-axis image stabilization of the E-M5, and… that’s about it. The E-M10 makes due with a 3-axis stabilization system, but also adds many new features and performance upgrades not available on the E-M5, such as focus peaking, a built-in flash, and an improved rear screen. Also present on the E-M10 are the imaging engine from the E-M1, and “adaptive brightness” viewfinder technology. Which to get, the E-M5 or E-M10? If you can do without weather sealing, and the 3-axis system works reasonably well and is free of quirks, the E-M10 looks to be the better deal at $699 body only. For $799, you can get the E-M10 with the new collapsible 14-42mm power zoom lens. That’s looking like a pretty sweet deal, and a potential threat to entry-level DSLRs from Canon and Nikon. Exciting times for camera nerds everywhere.

Olympus has also introduced a new 25mm f/1.8, a new fish-eye lens cap… um… lens, a grip for the E-M10, and a new E-M5/12-40mm f/2.8 kit. The E-M5 is this new kit has a different texture, and revised control wheels, giving it a “high-end” look similar to the E-M1. Other upgrades include a LOW ISO setting(ISO 100 equivalent), and the ability to choose smaller AF points. These last two upgrades are available to current E-M5 owners via a firmware upgrade. Thank you Olympus, the smaller AF points are something I’ve been asking for, and are greatly appreciated. From the samples I’ve seen, the LOW ISO setting will also be useful, as there’s a clear increase in details rendered, albeit at the expense of dynamic range. This option is best reserved for moderate contrast scenes, where it should bring a small but noticeable improvement in image quality.

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