First walk with the Olympus OM-D E-M5

worm on a turkey tail fungus

As I mentioned in the article on choosing a mirrorless camera, I bought the Olympus OM-D E-M5. I recommend also getting the Wasabi charger that is more compact than the one from Olympus.

I went for a walk in the woods to get a feel for the camera. I wasn’t familiar with the controls, so results will certainly improve over time. For example, you can see in these photos that the default auto white balance is warm. Since then I turned off that setting. There is a terrific guide to the E-M5 controls at by R. Butler and Timur Born. I’m starting to like the user interface, especially the touch screen, electronic viewfinder, and tilting screen.

I have three lenses: M. Zuiko 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 kit lens, Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 pancake, and Panasonic 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6. On this walk I used the M. Zuiko 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3. It is weather sealed, like the camera body, which is great for rainy forests. I already got a little water on the camera a few times. So far so good! This lens is handy for a variety of situations. It has a macro mode, which was engaged for most of the photos in this article.

On some of these photos I used the Exposure preset Fuji Velvia 100F from the Color Films – Slide folder. On the Color tab, I turned down Overall Intensity to keep the effect subtle. Grain was off, so any texture you see is from sensor noise.

dacrymyces orange jelly fungus

ISO 1600, Dacrymyces jelly fungus

These next four images can be seen at full resolution in case you want to see noise at various ISO settings. Two of the photos are cropped, but they have not been resized. Click a photo to see the larger size.

macro photo of decayed leaf

ISO 200, Leaf

turkey tail fungus

ISO 800, Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail)

galerina marginata mushroom on the side of a log

ISO 1250, Galerina marginata

underside view of the gills of a galerina marginata mushroom

ISO 1600, Galerina marginata

I need more time to develop firm opinions, but so far I’m happy with my E-M5!

P.S. Here is a shot after I turned off the warm white balance.

small waterfall long exposure photo

About the Author:

Jeff Butterworth is the founder of Alien Skin Software. He used to create the products, but now he does marketing and gets coffee for the programmers.


  1. Ian February 4, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Lovely images 🙂

    I have been mirrorless for a few years now and love the EM5/OMD

    Now I have to have a go with AlienSkin 🙂

  2. jayne carlburg February 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I have had the EM5/OMD since it first appeared. I have 6 of the lenses; one of my favorite is
    the 14-150 4-56 which I carry in my purse. I also have all the other Olympus Pen cameras
    but have given all of them to my family. They are good cameras. I consider Olympus the finest.

    I have had both Canon and Nikon in the past but they are so heavy they can’t be carried everywhere.

    I have Alien Skin Image Doctor2, Bokeh2, and Blow-up3 to use with Photoshop 6. Most of my
    friends send me their SD cards and I improve on their pictures with your software and send
    back to them to be printed. I do love your software.

    • Jeff February 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

      I’m glad to get more confirmation that I made a good choice with the Olympus EM5. I’m still getting to know my collection of four lenses. The Panasonic 45-200 has worked well for my recent bird photos (more to appear here in the blog on Monday). The Olympus 60mm macro is excellent and I can’t wait to use it on bugs and mushrooms in the spring.

      Thanks for the compliments on our products. It feels good to hear that they are helping people.

  3. Ed April 28, 2013 at 5:10 am


    Nice critique on the OM-D EM-5…..have the same camera now (coming from a GF1 as early micro 4/3 adopter). I personally have to colorgrade all the photo’s I take using a grey reference point or by hand. Mostly the magenta content is a bit to high to my liking (running firmware version 1.2 by the way). And yes warm is turned of as well.

    Guess you know your way around color correcting (impressive stuff here), so any of the same experiences or is it me (or my systems) but my monitors are callibrated.

    And a tip…..pick up a copy of the Panasonic 14-45 as well. About the same quality as the 12-35 at a fraction of the cost (okay you have to stop down more but I need DOF). Check these links and make up your own mind.

    Greets, Ed.

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