The well-regarded Olympus OM-D E-M5 just got ranked by DxOMark, This the top-of-the-line Olympus Micro Four-Thirds SLD and the first time they use a Sony made sensor in a Micro Four-Thirds digital camera. With a resolution of 16 megapixels and a crop-factor of 2X, the OM-D E-M5 has relatively small pixels compared to modern DSLRs, although obviously much bigger than most fixed-lens cameras.
Overall, DxOMark gave the E-M5 a score of 71 based on a weighed average of 22.8 bits of color, 12.3 EVs of dynamic-range and 826 high-ISO points. This exceeds by far all Micro-Four Thirds cameras, of which the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 falls into second place with a DxOMark of 61. Between the G5 and E-M5 are mostly DSLRs and SLDs with APS-C sized sensor.
In a stunning achievement for Olympus, cameras which also score 71 on the DxOMark scale include the Canon EOS 1D Mark III with its APS-H 1.3X crop sensor and the original full-frame Canon EOS 5D. This is a clear demonstration of how refined sensor technology has become but also shows an impossible to win battle. No matter how much Four-Thirds sensors improve, so do APS-C and full-frame ones with top scores of 82 for the APS-C Pentax K-5 reviewed here and 96 for the Nikon D800E.
Breaking down the score into its components, the OM-D E-M5 has en even higher-ranking in terms of dynamic-range, placing it six places above its overall placement but oddly beaten by the Sony Cybershot RX100 which is an ultra-compact with a smaller 1″ sensor. Bit-depth is more or less inline with the overall rating. However, low-light performance is what drags the E-M5 down, which is frankly no surprise due to its smaller sensor area. Still, it is comparable to the previous generation of DSLRs, between the Sony Alpha A560 and Canon EOS 60D.
The performance of a camera is obviously not solely characterized by a few numbers, yet this demonstrates great progress and that digital camera buyers can expect to face the dilemma of size versus image quality for the foreseeable future.