The launch of the OM-D E-M5 doesn't really come as a surprise with hints coming directly from Olympus through their recent less than subtle advertising campaign.
The first of the OM-D range of cameras is now here and brings with it a new product range for Olympus, sitting between the PEN and E series DSLR cameras.
First in a new range, the E-M5 is part of the new OM-D line-up which takes its design directly from the traditional OM camera. The design is a reflection of Olympus cameras past, and unlike the retro-esque styling of the PEN (such as the most recent Olympus PEN E-P3) and many other compact system cameras, mixing traditional with modern, the E-M5 is a straightforward kickback to the 70s.
At its heart is the new 16 million pixel Live MOS Sensor and TruePic VI image processor, which Olympus claims will give better low light performance and a higher dynamic range.
With the camera being a step-up from the PEN range you'd expect to see features that will appeal to more serious photographers, and in this respect Olympus does seem to have crammed a good amount of impressive specs into the compact frame.
A number of features have been reworked for the E-M5, including the image stabilization system, which now has a 5 axis system that combats body shake for vertical, horizontal, pitch, rolling and yaw.
This new system is said to help keep the image sharp across the frame rather than just in the centre as many IS systems are capable of at the moment. We'll have to wait for the review samples to test this new system fully.
A feature that will appeal to serious photographer is the new dust and splash proof magnesium alloy body that Olympus has built to have the same all weather proofing as its top of the range E-5. This dust and splash proofing is also carried over to the detachable flash that is bundled with the camera as well as the new 12-50mm (announced in 2011), 75mm and 60mm lenses and the new battery grip.
At launch there will also be a few additional accessories. First up, the power battery holder HLD-6 that fits to the bottom of the camera creates a larger grip and includes a shutter button and dials. Next, a clip on Flash FL-600R with a guide number of 50@ISO 200 and includes a wireless control function, and finally a Four Thirds adapter called the MMF-3.