I'm one of those fanatics who is debating what sensor is in the new Olympus E-M5. Up until now, everything that I have seen indicates that it is the same sensor as in the Panasonic G3 and GX1. That fact that Olympus is being cagey about who manufacturers the sensor all but confirmed to me that it was, indeed, the G3 sensor and Olympus was hoping to keep this fact hidden for as long as possible.
But now we have this, a review by TechRadar over in the UK that shows the RAW dynamic range to be absolutely spectacular. So spectacular, in fact, that I don't believe it. Their SNR charts don't line up at all with test photos from places like Focus Numerique, where the E-M5 doesn't even seem to do any better than the Canon G1X.
I don't yet know what to make of this, but if those dynamic range numbers hold up, than this is the Micro 4/3 camera that I have been longing for. That seems like a big if to me, though. I never expected this camera to hold up vis-a-vis ISO performance since that is simply a matter of physics. A smaller sensor receives less light. The ISO performance of APS-C will always be better than 4/3.
It makes me wonder what the actual shutter speed and aperture settings for the Olympus were. As we saw, the ISO accuracy of the test camera at DigitalKamera was the most inaccurate of any digital camera in quite some time, with all ISO settings being 2/3 of a stop off. I suspected that Olympus was doing this to game tests, but I can never know that for sure.
But that still doesn't explain the dynamic range. How can those results be so wildly ahead of even the NEX-7? Something doesn't line up, here. I hope it does line up, though, since this would be enough to keep me in the 4/3 system for the time being. That's pretty big.
So basically, real-world photos seem to indicate the G3's sensor with better pipes, but the few lab tests all make the camera shine. WTF? All I can wait for, I suppose, is the DxOMark results and DPReviews take on the camera.