Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wacky Data About The Oly E-PL5 (And Something Amazing About The E-M5)

The time directly after Photokina always seems so dry. No new details jumping out every other minute. No new cameras. All we can do is wait for the various reviews that actually tell us something. These reviews stand in contrast to the millions of blogger reviews, that always come out first, that tell us damn-near nothing about the camera. They do tests with different lenses and at different exposures. They never upload full-res images. It is the equivalent of reading about some other person's afternoon.

We finally got a smidgen of data about the Oly E-PL5 of all things. The data is incredibly interesting though. Basically, the new baby brother of the E-M5 has over a stop of extra dynamic range. A stop! Where the hell did they find that? I always said that the E-M5 was the camera that Oly should have made three years ago, and because they are so far behind schedule, I was going to wait for the next version of the E-M5 before really considering a purchase. Even if the test turns out to faulty, Olympus would have a huge victory with merely a half-stop improvement. After years of the same damned sensor, we appear to be getting some actual development. Depending on the price, this might finally be the replacement for my trusty GF1.

The E-M5 isn't left in the cold, though. A rumor cropped on that website of rumors, 43rumors.com; to wit, the E-M5 can be hacked. First off, Olympus is still just as fucking stupid as it always was. I'm glad to see that some things never change. Why such vitriol? Basically, a major problem with hacking the camera is that hackers do not have direct access to the firmware files. Olympus sends you a program that then connects to servers to deliver the firmware. Considering that the only reason why anyone ever bought the GH2 was because it was hackable, one has to wonder WHAT THE HELL OLYMPUS IS THINKING.

But that's neither here nor there for the purposes of this post. What is here and there is what can be done with hacking. If the tipster is to be believed, the E-M5 is an amazing little powerhouse of a camera. It has clean 4:2:2 HDMI output, can handle 120fps 1080p, and already has focus peaking in the firmware. If this is true, the E-M5's status has just skyrocketed.

I want the GH3 because it is a hybrid camera. I want extensive video and photographic functionality. The E-M5's biggest problem was that the video functionality was crap. The sensor was good. The IBIS was good. The codec and overall implementation of the software was awful.

If these features are implemented by hackers, it could all but kill any interest in the GH3. I don't consider that an overstatement. The only consideration that comes to mind is heat. The E-M5 is small, and 1080p is hot. Here's hoping some experiments come out soon, because inquiring minds want to know.

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