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A Bow to Heritage, With a Hot Rod Under the Hood

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 micro four-thirds camera is available as a body only, or with a kit (shown) that includes a 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 lens and a flash. Photo by Jackson Lynch/Wired The latest micro four-thirds camera from Olympus is clearly designed to appeal to all those hoary, wizened photographers who long for the good ol’ days. Olympus’ new digital OM series is modeled after the company’s original, beloved OM film cameras from the 1970s. But the new OM-D line is not just some tossed-off homage — the first camera in the line, the E-M5 , is a fantastic picture-making tool. Olympus’ new digital OM series is modeled after the company’s original, beloved OM film cameras from the 1970s. It makes excellent RAW and JPEG images, and it is certainly the most customizable compact today. And the thoroughly modern design — a magnesium-clad, weather-sealed body — is so masterfully executed that I bet a lot of the “if it’s not curvy, it’s crap” cognoscenti will be wooed by it. At the heart of the E-M5 is a collection of core features that makes it quite possibly the best-performing micro four-thirds camera on the market today: a new 16-megapixel TruPic VI image sensor, a speedy processor, the five-axis mechanical image stabilization system, an articulated OLED touchscreen and a high-speed lens drive control. Both RAW and JPEG images can fly into the E-M5 at a 9fps burst rate with awfully impressive results up to ISO 6,400. Olympus’ default algorithms tend to over-sharpen JPEGs (this can be dialed down in-camera), but they are still on par with the tops in the mirrorless realm. RAW images are equally pleasing, with lots of highlight and shadow latitude for creative control once they’re downloaded. Using the E-M5′s controls and dialing in custom settings is deceptively easy.

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A Bow to Heritage, With a Hot Rod Under the Hood

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