The OM System OM-5 is the continuation of one of Olympus’ best cameras, the 2019 OM-D E-M5 Mark III. And that makes the new mid-ranger a strong contender for the title of best travel camera and best camera. for starters.
A compact and lightweight Micro Four Thirds camera, the OM-5 takes its predecessor’s winning formula and enhances it in several areas. This includes more powerful in-body image stabilization, IP53-rated weather resistance, and a host of computational photography features previously only found on the high-end E-M1 series.
OM System OM-5 Specifications
Sensor: 20.4 MP Micro Four Thirds Sensor
Processor: Truepic IX
Auto focus: 121-point phase detection AF
Blast shot: 10fps with AF tracking (electronic 30fps)
Stabilization in the body: Yes (up to 7.5 stops)
Waterproofing: IP53 rating
Video: 4K/30p, Full HD/120p
Weight: 366g (body only)
The OM-5 is also the first camera to bear the name ‘OM System’. This new brand was born after the sale of Olympus’ imaging division in 2020 – and while we’ve already seen the flagship OM System OM-1 arrive earlier this year, that camera last sported the classic Olympus name.
So, does the new OM-5 improve enough on its older predecessor to make it a strong rival to newer cameras like the Canon EOS R10 and Fujifilm X-S10? Or could the inclusion of an older 20.4MP Four Thirds sensor prevent greatness? Here’s everything you need to know, including exactly how it compares to the E-M5 Mark III it’s based on.
OM System OM-5 release date and price
- Available for purchase from the end of November
- The price for the body only is $1,199 / £1,199 (about AU$2,115)
- Slightly more expensive than Canon EOS R10 and Fujifilm X-S10
The OM System OM-5 will be available for purchase at the end of November in a few different packages.
You’ll be able to buy the OM-5 body just for $1,199 / £1,199 (about AU$2,115) or with a 12-45mm f/4.0 Pro kit lens for $1,599 / £1,499. In the UK and Europe, travel fans will also be able to purchase the OM-5 with the 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 II lens for the same price as the 12-45mm kit.
That price puts the OM System OM-5 on a similar footing to the Canon EOS R10 ($979 / £899 / AU$1,499, body only), which we feel is the best entry-level camera you can buy. Another close rival is the Fujifilm X-S10 ($999 / £949 / AU$1,699), which also has in-body image stabilization.
OM System OM-5 design and features
- Same 20.4 MP four-thirds sensor as the E-M5 Mark III
- Improved in-body image stabilization (up to 7.5 stops)
- IP53-rated weather protection and new compute modes
The OM System OM-5 is heavily based on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, which has the same design and 20.4MP Four Thirds sensor. But there are many small improvements that collectively make the OM-5 a more modern mid-range camera for everyday travel and filming.
Like the OM System OM-1, the OM-5 features official IP53 rated weather protection. What does that mean? The ‘5’ in the rating means that any dust that enters the camera will not damage it, while the ‘3’ means that it is protected from splashing water. It’s not fully waterproof, but it should handle just about any weather you play in, including extreme cold, thanks to its frost resistance.
Two other improvements on the OM-5’s predecessor are a new Truepic IX processor, taken from the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, and improved in-body image stabilization. The latter will apparently give you an extra stop of stabilization compared to the E-M5, taking up to 6.5 stops of compensation (or 7.5 with compatible lenses). The real-world benefit is slower handheld shutter speeds, which reduces the need to use a tripod.
While that processor can’t manage the AI autofocus tricks seen in the OM System OM-1 that help it recognize and track animals and vehicles, it does unlock some useful computational photography modes that were previously reserved for the flagship. Olympus, E-M1 line.
This includes LiveND, which slows shutter speed by up to four stops to help you create long exposure effects without the need for complicated filters, and Starry Sky AF to automatically lock focus on the stars. You also get a Handheld High Res Shot mode for taking 50MP stills when shooting still scenes, and handy ProCapture, which gives you raw before and after frames of pressing the shutter during critical moments.
This is great for photo photographers, but what about video? The E-M5 Mark III’s improvements are minor. The OM-5 still maxes out at 4K/30p video (or Full HD at 120p), but adds a new vertical video option, unlimited recording times, and a flat OM-Log400 profile for those looking to increase color gradation. and maximize dynamic range.
OM System OM-5 vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III: What’s New?
If you own an OM-D E-M5 Mark III, or are thinking it might be a bargain now that the OM-5 is on the scene, here’s how the two cameras compare (see table below).
The overall image quality will be identical because both cameras have the same 20.4 MP Four Thirds sensor. But the OM-5 brings some quality-of-life upgrades that were inherited from the E-M1 series.
Chief among them are useful computational photography modes such as LiveND (which only offers up to ND16 instead of ND32) and Starry Skye AF. You also get a seemingly improved autofocus for face/eye detection, and this has increased IP53 weather protection.
With an extra stop of in-body image stabilization compared to the E-M5, the OM-5 is also an even more powerful companion for handheld filming. That said, its video capabilities are very similar and it might be worth looking for price drops on the E-M5 Mark III during Black Friday camera deals.
|OM OM-5 System||Olympus E-M5 Mark III|
|Processor||Truepic IX||Truepic VIII|
|IBIS||Up to 7.5 stops||Up to 6.5 stops|
|auto focus||121-point phase-detection AF (enhanced face/eye detection)||121-point phase detection AF|
|computational modes||Portable high resolution photo (50MP), LiveND, Starry Sky AF||High resolution photo (50MP)|
|Video||4K/30p (vertical video mode, OM-Log400)||4K/30p|
|Video recording times||Unlimited||up to 29 minutes|
OM System OM-5 early verdict
While not a radical improvement on the Olympus E-M5 Mark III, the OM System OM-5 brings enough new features to make it one of the best travel cameras on the market and also a potentially great first camera for a beginner.
The OM-5 is essentially an E-M5 crossed with an E-M1 series camera, thanks to that new Truepic IX processor. Considering the camera’s compact size, 366g weight (no lens) and IP53 weather protection, this should make for a lot of fun shooting during travel adventures and an upgrade on your smartphone.
You’ll naturally have to budget for a lens or two, but that’s another strong point of the Micro Four Thirds system, which offers plenty of well-matched options like the f/4 Pro lineup or pancake primes for those wanting super-compact setups.
We suspect the Canon EOS R10’s powerful autofocus system will outperform the OM-5, which lacks the AI autofocus powers of the OM-1. And the Fujifilm X-S10 also offers in-body image stabilization and a larger sensor for less money than the OM System’s new mid-ranger. But on paper, the OM-5 still offers a unique set of features – and we’ll be putting it in our backpack for a full review very soon.