Fittingly for the camera that will be the last to bear the ‘Olympus’ badge, the OM System OM-1 is one of the best mirrorless cameras we’ve seen this year – and rumors suggest it could soon become a smaller, more affordable sibling called OM System OM-5.
Seasoned fans of Olympus cameras, which were sold to an investment firm last year and reborn as the OM System, will notice a familiar pattern in the naming of this alleged camera. Once upon a time, Olympus cameras were driven by the flagship E-M1 and the E-M5 series offered some of that power in a smaller body for travelers and hobby shooters.
Despite this, rumors of the OM System OM-5 indicate something slightly different. Speculation so far points to the “mini OM-1”, including key features that made the OM-1 ahead of all previous Olympus cameras when it comes to autofocus, continuous shooting and video performance: a new 20-megapixel sensor.
Similar OM-5 specification of the OM system
– 20MP BSI Live MOS Four Thirds sensor
– Continuous shooting 15 fps
– AI autofocus tracking on the subject
– 3.6MP electronic viewfinder
– one card slot
– the same battery as the OM System OM-1
– announcement at the end of September
– apparently shipping will start in October
Of course, it’s all just speculation at the moment. But if the supposedly OM-5 is actually as close to the OM-1 as rumors suggest, it has the potential to be one of the best travel cameras out there. The OM-1 is already at the top of our guide to the best speed cameras you can buy, so if the OM-5 packs some of its speed, compute modes and stabilization into a smaller body, we’ll be very eager to take it for a spin on our journeys.
Here’s everything we know about the OM OM-5 system so far, sprinkled with our rumor analysis, as well as a wish list of what we hope to see from the first “Olympus” camera without that legendary name.
OM System OM-5 release date and price
We don’t have an official release date for the OM System OM-5 yet, but it’s pretty reliable 43 Gossip (opens in a new tab) he said in June that he “is 99.9% sure that OM Digital will announce the new OM-5 at the end of September.” The website added that “it has been announced that the camera will begin shipping in October.”
Of course, delays are always possible, and supply chain problems and chip shortages are out of sync with many of the launch schedules this year. However, that would be six months after the OM-1 came out and would not be an unusual window for an “Olympus” camera. Both the original Olympus E-M1 and E-M5 Mark III were launched between September and November.
There have been no leaks yet about the possible price of the OM System OM-5. The OM-1 was launched for $ 2,199 / £ 1,999 / AU $ 3,299 (body only), which is quite a steep price tag for a Micro Four Thirds camera. Of course, the OM-5 is expected to be cheaper than that, but how much depends on whether or not it has an OM-1 20MP stack sensor.
If so, then the OM-5 is unlikely to be significantly cheaper than the OM-1 given that stacked sensors are an expensive component. That said, we expect the OM-5 to be the OM system’s answer to the Canon EOS R7 ($ 1,499 / £ 1,349 / AU $ 2,349) and the Fujifilm X-T4 ($ 1,699 / £ 1,549 / AU $ 2,999). While not a direct indicator of the possible price of the OM-5, they do give us an idea of the type of golf course it would have to play.
Specifications and rumors of the OM System OM-5
So far, there have only been a few rumors about the specifications of the OM-5 system, but they are quite big.
June 30 43 Gossip (opens in a new tab) stated quite firmly that “the new OM-5 will use the same OM-1 sensor.” If so, it would mean the camera would get the same 20MP BSI (backlit) chip that impressed the OM-1 and would open up impressive shooting power.
The stacked sensor is only one part of the image capturing equation, and another important factor is the camera processor. There haven’t been any rumors of the OM-5 on that front yet, but we doubt it will manage to pack the same TruePix X processor as the OM-1.
This processor is, according to OM System, up to three times faster than the one in the E-M1 Mark III. Our factory? The OM-5 will have a refined version of the TruePix IX processor seen in the latter.
This brings us to one of the more interesting rumors about the OM-5 – that it will have the ability to shoot continuously at 15 frames per second. This suggestion, again from 43 Gossip (opens in a new tab) in July it was not specific whether it could be a mechanical shutter or an electronic shutter, or whether it would include autofocus and automatic exposure.
But looking at the specs of the E-M1 Mark III – which shoots at a maximum speed of 10fps with a mechanical shutter – we suspect that this means the OM-5 will get a speed of 15fps in that mode, with the faster speeds available thanks to the electronic shutter .
Some newer rumors (opens in a new tab) claimed that the OM-5 would support this with AI object tracking, which we liked on the OM-1. Our review of the OM OM-1 system made some criticisms, stating that “AF tracking is far from perfect” in-camera and “not as sticky as some other systems when line of sight is disturbed.” Even so, we found the object acquisition to be a big improvement over the earlier Olympus cameras, so it would be a very welcome addition to the more affordable body.
Speaking of the body, what kind of construction can we expect from the OM System OM-5? This remains one of the big question marks regarding the camera. Tradition suggests that, as a simple and cheaper alternative to the OM-1, it would have a smaller and more travel-friendly body. The fact that it is expected to only have one card slot and not two in the OM-1 supports this.
On the other hand, the OM-5 is expected to have the same OM-1 BLX-1 battery as the flagship OM System camera, and the OM-1 is already quite small and light. In fact, the design of the OM-1 is one of our favorite things about the camera, and our review states that “you’ll have a hard time finding another camera that is better built or more comfortable in the hand than the OM-1.”
The most likely scenario is that the OM System will follow tradition and make the OM-5 a slightly smaller, retro version of the OM-1 with a bit more polycarbonate to keep the price and weight down. But we can’t wait to see what he does here.
Overall, then, it seems that the OM-5 will not be a replacement for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, but rather a more premium alternative – and possibly a follow-up to the E-M1 Mark III instead. considering how far the OM-1 has come. It’s a pretty good paper-based travel camera recipe, but we’ll update this guide as we hear more specific rumors. In the meantime, here are a few things we’d love to make it work.
OM System OM-5: what we want to see
1. OM-1 Calculation Modes
Apart from their compact size, one of the biggest advantages of OM System (and Olympus) cameras is their computational photography modes. It’s a bit like portrait mode on your phone, just a little more engaged and designed for avid photographers. Think “Live ND” to create the effect of a long exposure or focus stacking in a macro camera.
There is no reason to expect them to be dumped on the OM-5. But despite the supposedly arranged sensor, it is possible that their effects will take longer to process if it is for an older processor. This is something we would certainly accept if all five of them were available on a cheaper body with a stacked Four Thirds sensor.
2. Weather sealing
Another traditional feature of Olympus cameras and the OM OM-1 system is their impressive weather resistance. Unusually for a mirrorless camera, the OM-1 even has an IP53 rating – not that it’s fully waterproof, but we were happy to take it out during the London rainstorms.
Will the OM-5 receive the same rating? We hope so, because we were impressed with the durability of the E-M5 Mark III before. This may also help it compete with rivals such as the Canon EOS R7 and Fujifilm X-T4, which are weatherproof but not as weatherproof as the OM-1.
3. Image stabilization in the body
Another of our favorite features of the OM-1 system is its In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS), which provides an impressive eight degrees of compensation. What does this mean in the real world? You can take handheld shots such as the one below with shutter speeds of about 1/4 second without the need for a tripod.
Realistically speaking, we couldn’t expect the OM OM-5 to provide the same level of stabilization, especially if it has a smaller body. The E-M1 Mark III also offered two additional compensation stops compared to the E-M5 Mark III (seven stops versus five).
But we would certainly like to see an IBIS system that can give us at least six degrees of compensation given that it is possible on the Fujifilm X-S10. The latter has a larger APS-C sensor than those found in OM System cameras, and is also impressively affordable ($ 999 / £ 949 / AU $ 1,699).