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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Ken McMahon & Gordon Laing, June 2012
 
 

Olympus E-M5 vs Sony NEX-7 vs Nikon D3200 quality

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To compare real-life quality, I shot this scene with the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Sony NEX-7 and the Nikon D3200 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

Each camera was fitted with its respective kit zoom and adjusted to deliver the same vertical field of view.

All three cameras were set to f5.6 in Aperture priority mode, stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and tone enhancement features were left on the default settings

The ISO was manually set to their respective base sensitivities: 200 ISO on the E-M5 and 100 ISO on the NEX-7 and D3200.

  Olympus OM-D E-M5 results
1 Olympus E-M5 Quality
2 Olympus E-M5 RAW vs JPEG
3 Olympus E-M5 Noise
4 Olympus E-M5 Noise (RAW)
5 Olympus E-M5 vs Panasonic GX1 Noise
6 Olympus E-M5 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the M.Zuiko 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 lens. The camera was set to f5.6 in Aperture priority and the sensitivity was set to 200 ISO. The OM-D E-M5 metered an exposure of 1/1250 at f5.6. The NEX-7 was adjusted by +0.3 EV to produce the same exposure.

The first thing to note is that the OM-D EM-5's 16 Megapixel sensor produces crops that show a larger area with smaller details than those from the 24 Megapixel NEX-7 and D3200, but what difference can you expect in practice? After a bit of a lacklustre start with the first crop the OM-D E-M5 does a much better job with the detail in the lighthouse and the foreground windows and rooftops in the second crop. The lighthouse is reasonably distinct and the edges of the window frames are clean.

Moving onto the third crop from the edge of the frame, the detail here is marginally softer and there's also a little bit of red fringing on the window frame and drainpipe, indicating a degree of chromatic aberration on the 12-50mm kit lens. The OM-D E-M5 has no in-camera lens correction options but this could easily be fixed in the RAW file.

The last crop from close to the centre of the frame is the best one with clearly defined fine detail and nice crisp edges. The variation in sharpness from the edge to the centre of the frame obviously has more to do with the lens than the sensor but overall the results from the OM-D E-M5 with the 12-50mm kit lens are very good.

Compared with the crops from the NEX-7 there's variation from crop to crop, but overall no decisive factor that would swing it in favour of one or the other. The first crop from the NEX-7 is sharper and shows more detail. The NEX-7 detail is larger in the lighthouse crop, as with all of them, but it's also a little softer and less well defined and that difference is ever more evident in the third crop from the frame edge. In the final crop there's very little to tell them apart, which effectively means that the Olympus EM-5's 16 megapixel sensor produces resutls on a par with those from the NEX-7, at least when both are equipped with their kit lenses.

Compared with the Nikon D3200 which has the same 24 Megapixel sensor as the NEX-7, as you'd expect, there are similar differences. The one thing that sets the D3200 apart from the NEX-7 is its processing, which produces slighty softer, less contrasty results. That aside, while the OM-D EM-5's sensor gives a pretty good account of itself here, these results make for interesting viewing for anyone discounting the OM-D E-M5 over the NEX-7 on quality grounds.

Check out my Olympus E-M5 RAW vs JPEG results on the next page or see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Olympus E-M5 Noise results.

 


Olympus OM-D E-M5
 
Sony NEX-7
 
Nikon D3200
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 200 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO


Olympus OM-D E-M5
results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise


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