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Olympus E-M5

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Olympus E-M5 Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally good to excellent speed for a compact system camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~1.1 seconds
Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~0.2 second
How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.
Buffer Clearing
Card speed rating
45MB/s
95MB/s
Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC cards
Buffer clearing time
19 seconds after 15 LSF JPEGs
5 seconds after 17 LSF JPEGs
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
21 seconds after 15 RAW files
7 seconds after 16 RAW files
22 seconds after 14 RAW+ LSF JPEG files
13 seconds after 15 RAW+ LSF JPEG files
Note: Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup time was slower than most SLRs, but good for a compact system camera. Shutdown was very fast. Buffer clearing times were on the slow side with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/s UHS-I SDHC card, but pretty fast with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s card, so we recommend getting the fastest UHS-I card you can afford.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.7 second
Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~0.9 second
Time to display a Large Super Fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.5 second
Time to display a Large Super Fine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching was reasonably fast.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Full Autofocus,
Center AF mode

12-50mm kit lens
0.277 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, at medium focal length.
Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode

12-50mm kit lens
0.175 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, at medium focal length.
Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode

14-42mm II R kit lens
0.246 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, at medium focal length.
Full Autofocus,
Center AF mode

Auto Flash Enabled
12-50mm kit lens
0.438 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, Auto flash enabled.
Continuous AF
12-50mm kit lens
0.158 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
12-50mm kit lens
0.102 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused
12-50mm kit lens

0.056 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Prefocused
Auto Flash Enabled
12-50mm kit lens

0.190 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button, Auto flash enabled.

The Olympus E-M5's full-autofocus shutter lag in single-area AF mode (center AF position) was 0.277 second with the 12-50mm kit lens. In 35-point "All Targets" AF mode, lag decreased to only 0.175 second which is faster than most SLRs and very swift for a contrast-detection system indeed. We also tested with a 14-42mm II R kit lens, and got 0.246 second in All Targets mode, a little faster than the E-P3's 0.267 second with the same lens. Enabling the flash increased shutter lag to 0.438 second, still reasonably fast. Continuous AF mode resulted in a shutter lag of 0.158 second. Release Priority is enabled by default in Continuous AF mode though, so the camera may not have achieved focus for each iteration. When manually focused, the E-M5's shutter lag time was a fast 0.102 second, though we've seen faster. The E-M5's prefocused lag time of 0.056 second was however very quick, faster than most SLRs. Enabling the flash increased prefocused lag to 0.190 second, but that's expected (preflash metering) and still quite fast.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
LSF JPEG

0.52 second
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 11 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.51 second
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 11 seconds to clear*.
Single Shot mode
RAW + LSF JPEG
0.56 second
Time per shot, averaged over 19 shots, 15 seconds to clear*.

Early shutter
penalty?

No
Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous H Mode
LSF JPEG

45MB/s card:
0.11 second (9.09 frames per second);
15 frames total;
19 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 15 shots, then slows to an average of about 0.75s or 1.33 fps when buffer is full.
95MB/s card:
0.11 second (8.94 frames per second);
17 frames total;
5 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over 17 shots, then slows to an average of about 0.40s or 2.53 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H Mode
RAW

45MB/s card:
0.11 second (9.09 frames per second);
15 frames total;
21 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 15 frames, then slows to an average of about 0.83s or 1.20 fps when buffer is full.
95MB/s card:
0.11 second (8.98 frames per second);
16 frames total;
7 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 16 frames, then slows to an average of about 0.52s or 1.94 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H Mode
RAW + LSF JPEG

45MB/s card:
0.11 second (9.09 frames per second);
14 frames total;
22 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 14 frames, then slows to 1.57s or 0.64 fps when buffer is full.
95MB/s card:
0.11 second (8.97 frames per second);
15 frames total;
13 seconds to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 15 frames, then slows to 0.89s or 1.13 fps when buffer is full.

Flash Recycling

4.3 second
Flash at maximum output.
* Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec 8GB UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were very good for a CSC, ranging from 0.51 second for RAW to 0.56 second for RAW+LSF JPEG files. Continuous high ("Sequential H") mode was quite fast, at about 9 frames/second no matter the file type, though the camera locks focus, exposure and white balance at the first frame of a burst, and Live View is disabled. A slower "Sequential L" mode is available with tracking AF and Live View, with up to 4 fps performance according to Olympus.

Buffer depths were good though not exceptional, at 15 frames for Large Super Fine JPEGs, 15 for RAW and 14 for RAW + LSF JPEGs with our 45MB/s card. Note that our test target for this was designed to be difficult to compress, so JPEG burst lengths may be longer with typical subjects. With a 95MB/s card, buffer clearing improved significantly, though buffer depths only increased slightly. With the faster card, buffer clearing improved to 5 seconds after 17 LSF JPEG images, 7 seconds after 16 RAW and 13 seconds after 15 RAW + LSF JPEGs.

Flash recycling after full power discharge averaged 4.3 seconds with the bundled FL-LM2 flash. That's a bit slow by SLR standards but not too bad, however it's a pretty weak flash.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

8,786 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

USB 2.0 download speeds were reasonably fast. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec 8GB UHS-I SDHC card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Olympus E-M5's performance was very good for its class. Autofocus and shot-to-shot performance was competitive with SLRs, while burst speed was faster than most SLRs. Buffer clearing was a little sluggish with our 45MB/s card as mentioned, but pretty fast with our new 95MB/s card.

Battery

Battery Life
Above average battery life for a CSC, but much less than most SLRs.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still Capture, IS On, EVF or OLED
(CIPA standard)
Approx. 360

The Olympus E-M5 uses a custom BLN-1 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. The CIPA battery life rating of 360 shots on a charge (with Image Stabilization active) is above average for a CSC, however the E-M5 doesn't have a built-in flash which is normally enabled for 50% of shots during CIPA testing, and we don't know if the bundled flash was used to arrive at that number.

Battery life isn't nearly as good as most SLRs when using their optical viewfinders, but you can presumably double battery life with the optional HLD-6 Power Battery Grip with a second battery is installed, making the E-M5's battery performance more competitive with SLRs. In any case, we recommend getting a second battery for your E-M5 if you plan any extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))