Fittingly for a 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 get a smaller, more affordable sibling called of OM System OM-5.
Seasoned fans of the Olympus cameras, which were sold last year to an investment firm and reborn as OM System, will notice a familiar pattern in the naming of this alleged camera. Olympus cameras used to be led by a flagship E-M1, with the E-M5 range offering some of that power in a smaller body for travelers and amateur photographers.
Despite that, the OM System OM-5 rumors point to something a little different. Speculation so far is pointing to a ‘mini OM-1’, including key features that saw the OM-1 leap ahead of all previous Olympus cameras when it comes to autofocus, continuous shooting and video performance: a new 20MP stacked sensor.
OM System OM-5 spec rumors
– 20MP Four Thirds stacked BSI Live MOS sensor
– 15fps burst shooting
– AI subject autofocus tracking
– 3.6 MP electronic viewfinder
– single card slot
– same battery as OM System OM-1
– announcement at the end of September
– rumor has it that shipping will start in October
Of course, this is all just speculation now. But if the OM-5 rumor is indeed as close to the OM-1 as the rumors suggest, it has the potential to be one of the best travel cameras on the market. The OM-1 is already at the top of our guide to the best wildlife cameras you can buy, so if the OM-5 packs some of its speed, computational modes, and stabilization into a smaller body, we’d be very interested. in taking you for a spin on our travels.
Here’s everything we know about the OM System OM-5 so far, sprinkled with our analysis of the rumors, plus a wish list of what we expect to see from the first ‘Olympus’ camera without that legendary name.
OM System OM-5 release date and price
We still don’t have an official release date for OM System OM-5, but it’s pretty reliable. 43 rumors (opens in new tab) said in June that it was “99.9% certain that OM Digital would announce the new OM-5 at the end of September”. The website added that “we have been informed that the camera shipment will begin in October”.
Of course, delays are always possible, with supply chain issues and chip shortages leaving many launch schedules out of sync this year. But that would be six months after the OM-1 arrived, and it wouldn’t be an unusual window for an ‘Olympus’ camera. Both the Olympus E-M1 and E-M5 Mark III were released in the period from September to November.
There have been no leaks yet about the possible price of the OM System OM-5. The OM-1 launched for $2,199 / £1,999 / AU$3,299 (body only), which is pretty premium for a Micro Four Thirds camera. The OM-5 is naturally expected to be cheaper than that, but how much depends on whether or not it has the OM-1’s 20MP stacked sensor.
If that happens, the OM-5 is unlikely to be significantly cheaper than the OM-1, as 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 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 stadium it would need to play in.
OM System OM-5 specs and rumors
So far, there have only been a handful of specs for the OM System OM-5, but they’re pretty big.
On June 30th, 43 rumors (opens in new tab) definitively stated that “the new OM-5 will use the same OM-1 sensor”. In that case, that would mean the camera would get the same stacked 20MP BSI chip (backlit) that impressed in the OM-1 and unlocked impressive shooting power.
A stacked sensor is only one part of the image capture equation, with another important factor being the camera’s processor. There have been no rumors of the OM-5 on that front yet, but we doubt it will manage to include the same TruePix X processor as the OM-1.
This processor is, according to OM System, up to three times faster than the E-M1 Mark III. Our bet? 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 curious rumors about the OM-5 – that it will have 15fps continuous shooting. This suggestion, again from 43 rumors (opens in new tab) in July, did not specify whether this could be for the mechanical or electronic shutter, or whether it includes autofocus and autoexposure.
But looking at the specs of the E-M1 Mark III – which shoots at a maximum of 10 fps with its mechanical shutter – we suspect this means the OM-5 will get speeds of 15 fps in this mode, with faster speeds available with its shutter. electronic .
Any latest rumors (opens in new tab) stated that the OM-5 will support this with AI subject tracking, which we enjoyed in the OM-1. Our review of the OM System OM-1 had some criticism, stating that “AF tracking is far from perfect” in-camera and “not as sticky as some other systems when line-of-sight is interrupted”. Still, we found the subject acquisition to be a huge upgrade from previous Olympus cameras, so it would be a very welcome addition to a more affordable body.
Speaking of the body, what kind of design can we expect from the OM System OM-5? This remains one of the big question marks about the camera. Tradition suggests that, as a simpler, more affordable alternative to the OM-1, it would have a smaller body and easier travel. The fact that it is expected to have only one card slot, instead of the OM-1’s two, would support this.
On the other hand, the OM-5 is also expected to have the same OM-1 BLX-1 battery as the OM System’s main camera, and the OM-1 is already quite small and light. In fact, the OM-1’s design is one of our favorite things about the camera, with our review stating that “you’ll be hard pressed to find another camera that’s better built or feels more comfortable in the hand than the OM-1” .
The most likely scenario is that the OM System will follow the tradition and make the OM-5 a slightly smaller retro touch on the OM-1 with a little more polycarbonate plastic to keep the price and weight down. But we’re looking forward to seeing what he does here.
Overall, it looks like 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 continuation of the E-M1 Mark III, given how much the OM-1 advanced. That’s a pretty good formula for a travel camera on paper, but we’ll update this guide when we hear more concrete rumors. In the meantime, here are some things we’d like him to deliver.
OM System OM-5: what we want to see
1. The OM-1’s computational modes
Aside from their small form factors, one of the great appeals of the OM System (and Olympus) cameras is their computational photography modes. They’re a bit like your phone’s portrait mode, just a little more immersive and designed for keen photographers. Think ‘Live ND’ to create the effect of a long exposure or Focus Stacking in-camera for macro photography.
There’s no reason to expect them to be dropped in an OM-5. But despite the supposed stacked sensor, it’s possible that the effects will simply take longer to process if going to an older processor. This is something we would certainly accept if all five were available in a cheaper four-thirds sensor stacked body.
Another hallmark of Olympus cameras, and the OM System OM-1, is their impressive weather seal. Unusually for a mirrorless camera, the OM-1 still has an IP53 rating – that doesn’t mean it’s fully waterproof, but we were happy to pull it out during some London rains.
Will the OM-5 have the same rating? We hope so, as we were previously impressed by the endurance of the E-M5 Mark III. This can also help it compete with rivals like the Canon EOS R7 and Fujifilm X-T4, which are weatherproof but not to the same degree as the OM-1.
3. Body image stabilization
Another of our favorite features on the OM System OM-1 is In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS), which offers an impressive eight stops of compensation. What does this mean in the real world? You can hold shots like the one below at shutter speeds of about 1/4s, without needing a tripod.
Realistically, we couldn’t expect an OM System OM-5 to offer the same level of stabilization, particularly if it has a smaller body. The E-M1 Mark III also offered two extra stops of trim compared to the E-M5 Mark III (seven stops versus five).
But we would certainly like to see an IBIS system that could give us at least six stops of compensation, as this is possible on the Fujifilm X-S10. The latter has a larger APS-C sensor than the OM System cameras and is also impressively affordable ($999 / £949 / AU$1,699).