Excellent Camera Overall
My introduction to Olympus began with the E-520. That camera is a feature packed monster. From then I moved to the Olympus E-3, then the E-30 and now, the E-5.
This camera is an absolute beast. Let's get that out of the way from the beginning. The images it produces are very clear and detailed (especially in combination with SHG Zuiko lenses). It can provide excellent quality, and images are great for resizing when extremely large print work is needed.
At lower ISO settings is where this camera truly shines. When shooting at ISO 200 you get the most dynamic range from it and much better range in the highlights. There is some shadow noise that I have noticed, but this is something that doesn't appear in my prints. When underexposing an image to preserve highlights however, noise can become a problem when increasing the exposure in post production.
When you're not in an extremely contrasty scene, the camera provides excellent metering (I mainly shoot in Aperture Priority mode, Manual mode when I'm using strobes).
I would love to have more frames per second, but 5 is plenty enough for the work that I do.
The build quality? The same as the E-3. Which equals almost "everything-proof". I've shot in extremely heavy rain, dusty conditions, etc. The camera never missed a step and worked excellent.
It's a bulkier camera, being in relatively the same size as the E-3.
The battery life has varied. With BLM-5's the camera has seen exceptional life. Using older BLM-1 batteries from my previous cameras, they die quicker.
The image stabilization is excellent. I've actually managed to get a handheld 2 second exposure! This isn't a normal occurrence though and I was lucky to be as still as I could while holding this camera with the 12-60mm lens.
I don't use the art filters, however, I feel they are an excellent addition for those who don't have time to edit their photos in post production.
The HD movie implementation could be better. I notice that when I shoot video in manual mode, it seems that I don't get full manual control as the exposure changes as I pan through a scene with varying dynamic range. I believe this could be improved with a firmware update however (as well as adding 25p, 24p, 50p, 60p recording). I feel the Zuiko lens are excellent and with these additions would help make the E-5 an even more attractive camera.
The menu system of the camera and screen are beautiful. There are a lot of buttons on the body (similar to the E-3) which will take some getting used to. I would love to see a button layout to the E-520 (which I feel has beautiful ergonomics).
The viewfinder is beautiful and the digital spirit level inside has helped tremendously in getting straight photos.
Great Camera, Great Value!
I wasn't going to upgrade from my E3, but decided it would be a nice, early Christmas gift from my wife. :) I have no complaints about the E3, it's also a great camera, but the quality and clarity of the photographs were noticably better with the E5. The fact that it's compatable with all my lenses, batteries and the HLD-4 battery holder makes upgrading from the E3 a painless process. Olympus glass is also some of the best made, so you'll never have to worry about lens quality - and some after market companies make some decent lenses too if you're on a budget (but Oly is still the best way to go). I like the fact that you can do video, but, since I've been doing photography for over 20 years, I have a hard time using live view. You can only shoot video in live view and I'l not use to that at all (I always look thru the view finder). Now this is MY problem, not necessarily the camera's. If you look at the video I've taken you'd probably get motion sickness, but I'm confident I'll get the hang of it with some practice. I'm including two basic photos. One of my dog and one of the ferry we went on across the Tennessee River. Although it was quite cloudy that day, I think the photos came out well. There was no learning curve for me to use this since I upgraded from the E3. Only a few buttons have been moved to make room for the large, much clearer LCD screen. And if you never used a E series camera, it's really not that hard to figure out. I really love this camera and plan on having it for many years. Rock solid construction make it a bit heavy, especially with the HLD-4 battery holder (which I highly recommend), but it's shock and water resistant. Besides, personally, I like a camera with a bit of heft to it. You can't go wrong with this camera - I love it!!
excellent tough camera
great feel in hand, this camera can take some punishiment. performence is excellent. prints up to 17x11 look great with no upscale there size
super high grade lens with this camera. fast focus and great color and sharpness
Have had the camera for over a year and taken over 4000 photos during some travel adventures and it performs superbly
IT IS A Great Camera! Just a little bit bulky for everyday use, but that shadows over the quality of shots variety of options it delivers