The long-awaited return of affordable mirrorless cameras will continue this year, with the rumored OM System OM-5 getting a possible release date for its potential battle with the Canon EOS R7.

The OM-5 should be the cheaper sibling to the OM System OM-1, which is one of the best mirrorless cameras we've seen in 2022. And the generally reliable 43Rumors (opens in a new tab), claims the new camera "will be announced at the end of September and will begin shipping in October."

The site backed up his claims by saying that he is "now 99,9% sure that OM Digital will announce the new OM-5 at the end of September", so it's not a far-fetched rumour. The release would also make sense as the company's second new camera since it officially bought the Olympus camera division in January 2021.

Although the OM-5 is not intended to be the direct successor to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, it is likely to serve a similar role as that camera in the OM System line, namely being a mid-range option. for those who can't stretch to the flagship model. If so, that would put it on a collision course with the Canon EOS R7, which is the new mid-range model in Canon's EOS R range.

At this time, we don't have any rumors on the OM System OM-5 specs, but we can make some educated guesses as to what we can expect in September. It seems likely that the camera will inherit the OM-20's new 1 MP stacked Micro Four Thirds sensor, which we reckon offers much better AF performance than previous Olympus cameras.

This sensor also drives fast burst mode shooting speeds of up to 50fps in silent electronic mode, or 120fps with fixed focus. It's unclear where exactly the OM-5 will cut corners to get that lower price point, but in the past the E-M5 series has done so in areas like EVF (electronic viewfinder), video performance, and the inclusion of a single card slot.

Still, if OM Digital manages to squeeze the OM-1's similar computational photography and autofocus capabilities into a smaller, more affordable package, then it could have another Micro Four Thirds winner on its hands. .

Analysis: The fight for the middle ground

The OM system OM-1 (above) brought updated calculation modes that could trickle down to the rumored OM-5. (Image credit: Future)

In early 2022, we feared there could be a permanent hole in the middle of the mirrorless camera market as manufacturers focused on full-frame flagships and smartphones continued to evolve into amateur cameras. But this year we have been pleasantly surprised by the arrival of new mid-range models, and the OM System OM-5 could be one of the most powerful.

During our review of the OM System OM-1, we became convinced that camera phone-style calculation tricks like Live ND, Focus Stacking, and High Res Shot are the future of mirrorless cameras. The OM-1 still has its flaws, like its average subject-tracking autofocus, but if the rumored OM-5 can inherit its many good aspects, then it could be a new option for travel or wildlife photographers. .

That said, the cheaper Canon EOS R7 and EOS R10 are also shaping up to be new options in this space. We haven't been able to fully test either camera yet, but in our hands-on review of the Canon EOS R7, we were very impressed with its autofocus performance, not to mention the potential value its $1,499 / £1,349 / AU$2,349 offers. . body price tag only.

With other rivals like the Fujifilm X-H2 due to launch in September, it looks like this price point will be the main battleground for mirrorless cameras this year. And if it understandably remains too expensive in these tough economic times, buying a used DSLR or mirrorless camera is always a good option to consider.

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