When Olympus sold its camera division and turned into OM System, enthusiastic a push towards computational photography with its new mirrorless cameras – this isn’t that camera. Today, OM System is announcing the new OM-5, a $1,199.99 mirrorless camera that launches late next month and looks like a zombified shell from Olympus. I’m sure it will be a great camera, but I can’t help but feel depressed looking at it.
Sure, the OM-1 was technically the first camera release from OM System, but it was still called Olympus. Now, with the OM-5, it proudly wears the OM System name on its forehead, something that is sure to please only a handful of people at a marketing meeting somewhere.
Except, well, this still just seems like a remnant of Olympus development. Let’s run through a little checklist.
It’s not that this camera has nothing, though the list of new features is so sparse that one of the biggest additions is support for vertical video – so you don’t have to manually change the file orientation later on. The new OM-5 also has an IP53 weather rating to match the OM-1, and it’s the first OM System/Olympus camera to natively use as a webcam with just a USB cable. But besides all that, I’m looking for more reasons to find the OM-5 appealing to anyone other than the Olympus faithful who already own a number of compatible Zuiko lenses and are late for an affordable upgrade. .
There’s nothing wrong with some of Olympus’ solid features trickling down to a lower price point, but at a time when much of the excitement around cameras centers around systems with larger sensors, this camera feels like a slightly uneasy inflection point.
The micro four-thirds system jointly developed by Olympus and Panasonic is a camera line that looks like it could be fading slowly, especially with Panasonic’s focus seemingly more on niche box cameras and its full-frame offering in dire need of a refresh. .
I hope we’re running out of these old Olympus development cycle scraps, and we’ll be seeing some really interesting stuff from OM System soon. We need something cool to distract ourselves from that chilling wordmark on top of the camera, because at this point I’m afraid I’m just mourning the legacy of Olympus cameras at risk of slipping.