OM Digital Solutions Announces the OM-5

bythom omds om5

Take an Olympus E-M5 Mark III body, put some of the E-M1 Mark III features inside, and you have the new OM-5. Literally. The new camera is ostensibly the same physical body as its predecessor, just with new markings.

Most people will consider the OM-5 a “minor” upgrade, and to a large degree they’d be right. On the other hand, is it arguably better than the E-M5 Mark III it replaces? Yes, in modest ways. We have built-in ND filters available, the image processor is newer and faster, IBIS got an extra stop of capability, Starry Sky autofocus, and there's a 50mp handheld pixel shift resolution mode. But the OM-5 doesn't get subject recognition or the OM-1 phase detect system, and it uses the same E-M5 menu organization. Likewise, we don't get a USB-C connection, as the body is still using the old E-M5 microUSB port. You can trickle charge the camera, but not get USB Power Delivery capability. The new camera is US$1200 for the body only, US$1600 with the 12-45mm f/4 PRO lens.

In the m4/3 community, it appears that the initial reaction is mostly one of disappointment. Many seemed to think that the OM-5 would get the OM-1 image sensor and autofocus system at a minimum, but the feature changes seem much more like E-M1 Mark III internal ones that migrated to the lower body. 

I’ve written for some time that any current interchangeable lens camera is capable of producing excellent photos when used properly. If there was a market for the E-M5 Mark III, then there’s still a market for the OM-5. Moreover, the new camera is now fully under the wing of OM Digital Solutions, and not just a camera they inherited from Olympus. That it isn't something particularly exciting with lots that's new isn't much of a surprise. The OM-1 series is where the new engineering really is occurring at OM Digital Solutions. I suspect we'll next get an OM-10 that takes a similar path (e.g. getting a few features from a former higher model).

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