Running back home from the city, I stopped at the camera shop to pick up some film (!) and saw that the Olympus rep was at the counter.
So I meandered over and asked him if he had an E-P5 on hand. "Not for sale, but for show," he replied. That's fine by me. It was outfitted with the new EVF and the 17mm f/1.8 lens.
My quickie impressions:
- They've done a nice job of damping noise and such from the shutter. It has a slicker, smoother sound to it than previous Pens did, to my ear anyway.
- The controls are better in my hands than the previous Pens and E-M5. Still a little cramped but, heck, it is a small camera.
- The VF-4 is delightfully clear, large, and crisp. I noted it has a mount lock release button ... a peg falls into a hole in the hot shoe so it cannot slide out accidentally. Yay! It's not so much more or less bulky than the VF-2. The new eye sensor made me laugh ... I've gotten so used to turning the EVF on and off with the button on its back, on both the E-PL1 and X2, that it's disconcerting now that it switches over from one to the other automatically.
- I tried a zoom from the FourThirds SLR line on it with the mount adapter to see how the AF worked with non-CDAF lenses. It's a noticeable bit faster and surer than the E-PL1 fitted with the 11-22. A nice plus.
- The MF focus peaking is somewhat disappointing compared to what the Ricoh GXR focus peaking offers. It's mostly useless unless you're using a longish lens and have magnification turned on. (as context, the Ricoh GXR's focus peaking is the best implementation I've seen, and most others are poor to ok once you work with that one.)
- The M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 lens is delightfully small and precise feeling. I like the manual focus switchover with a real focusing scale. It's not quite up to the standard of a manual helicoid in feel, but it's far better than some servo-focus lenses. The FoV is very nice ... I wish there'd been a nice compact lens of this focal length and speed for the SLRs.
Overall a nice camera in most ways I experimented. Menus are typically Olympus ... a bit complicated ... but the controls seem well laid out and the body balances nicely with the 17mm and the 45mm. The big question to me is how well my M-bayonet lenses will pair with the new sensor ... I might buy one or two native mount lenses if I buy this body, but most of my use would be with my M-bayonet lenses through adaptation. The IBIS would be a nice plus, the form factor and EVF are very good.
The rep told me they should be shipping out of the Olympus distribution warehouses in a week and a half, or thereabouts. Limited supply at first, I'm sure.