It was only a matter of time before I would find that the more than capable micro-four thirds sensor of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 would give the APS-C sensor in my Sony NEX-7 a real run for the money.
Even with the NEX-7’s additional sensor size and 24 MP resolution, the smaller sensor OM-D and 16 MP resolution beat the Sony in terms of image quality, speed, and low-light performance for my purposes. The number of available lenses without the need for an adapter are also a win for the OM-D. The OM-D is a stealthy street camera with outstanding 5-axis stabilization in the camera that yields sharp pictures and an almost silent shutter. The touch screen and touch-focus-capture functionality ensures that you snap a clear picture, quickly with your focus point almost guaranteed.
What will I miss about the Sony? The grip is better and provides for greater peace of mind because the camera is less likely to slip or be bumped from your hand. Olympus sells a battery pack that offers a better grip but is not cheap at $300. The video is also better on the Sony at 24p along with the option to attach and external microphone. In-camera panoramic shots are also better executed on the Sony without the need for stitching via post-processing software.
This was a touch decision. I like the build quality of both cameras and the NEX-7 has a unique design that makes it stand apart from a number of the mirror-less cameras currently on the market and is among the smallest with such a large sensor. The OM-D E-M5 features a retro look with a respectful nod back to the famous OM-1; if you like retro-styled pentaprism cameras, you’ll love the OM-D but some think it’s a trendy knock-off that isn’t executed well. I decided on the all black model and added a braided Barton 1972 camera strap–I love it.
Combine the weather-resistent kit lens with a quick 45mm f/1,8 and the M.Zuiko 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 along with a Domke F-803 Camera Satchel and I’ve got the perfect take anywhere system that’s ready for anything.