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On The Way: Olympus OM-D EM-5 and Leica X2

On the way for testing.

No promises on how in-depth I’ll go, depends on whether the cameras pan out for my uses, but I’ll be showing examples and talking about ergonomics and usability as cameras.

Which camera is better? I want to find out by using them to make images.

Leica X2 — 16.1 megapixels on APS-C sensor

About $1995 + $599 for “optional” EVF.

Leica has done some thing really right and some things poorly:

  • outstanding (and rare): Manual mode and aperture priority mode (only). Kudos for eliminating “P”, “Art” and scene modes.
  • good: DNG (RAW) option.
  • good: built-in flash.
  • grumpy: f/2.8 lens. Not f/2, not f/1.8. f/2.8. Bummer.
  • bad: low-res rear LCD as found on $129 point and shoot cameras.
  • BAD !!!!!!: no built-in viewfinder of any kind (low-res rear LCD only).
  • bad: fixed lens. What a shame, given the APS-C sensor. But if the lens is really good, this can be forgiven.
  • bad: $1995 + $599 for an EVF = $2600. That red dot is dear. However, I’m told that the $249 Olympus VF-2 EVF works with the Leica X2.
  • good: sleek.
Leica X2
Leica X2
Leica X2

Olympus OM-D E-M5 — 16.1 megapixes in micro 4/3 format

On paper, the OM-D E-M5 blows away the Leica X2. But how will it shoot?

You do have to choose a lens or lenses for the E-M5. But you have $1600 to play with, compared to the Leica X2, which will buy you two lenses with some money left over: the 12mm f/2, the 45mm f/1.8 and the 75mm f/1.8. Or $2100 for all three. On paper, that looks damn good compared to one 35mm f/2.8 (24mm f/2.8).

  • not good: how the heck do you pronounce the damned name after two glasses of wine?
  • good: 4/3 aspect ratio ideal for all around photography.
  • really good: tilting 1.4 million pixel rear OLED LCD with 100% view.
  • outstanding: built-in image stabilization for ALL LENSES.
  • really good: 1080p video. The wave of the future in micro 4/3.
  • really good: extensive lens selection including 45/1.8 and 85/1.8 and 12/2.
  • good: dust and splash proof.
  • not good: idiot modes (scene mode, “P”, Art, etc).
  • good: half the price of the Leica X2 (1/3 the price of the X2 with the optional EVF).
  • not good: obnoxious bulge at top; bad for pockets.
  • bad: no red Leica dot. That costs $1000.
Olympus OM-D E-M5
Olympus OM-D E-M5
Olympus OM-D E-M5
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