The Olympus OM-D E-M5, upon its release a year and a half ago, was a groundbreaking camera. It was the first to use Olympus’ renowned 5-axis stabilisation, reducing the need for higher ISO levels in dark shooting conditions. It also has one of the fastest autofocus and continuous shooting mechanisms on a mirrorless camera. Finally, it was also one of the first modern digital cameras to feature a functional yet stylish retro look, making it desirable not only for its advanced technology but for its aesthetic appeal as well.
While it is the perfect photographic companion on its own, there are a handful of accessories which may make your shooting experience even better with the E-M5. Below I have listed a series of useful OM-D E-M5 accessories that were either suggested to us by other E-M5 users, or that we use ourselves.
Ethics statement: The following are accessories we have used and enjoyed on our Olympus OM-D E-M5. We were not asked to write anything about these accessories, nor were we provided any other compensation of any kind. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you decided to buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. Don’t worry – prices remain the same for you. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!
If you have any accessories to add to this list, please do not hesitate to include them in the comments section of this article!
1. Olympus HLD-6 Battery Holder
Although the OM-D E-M5 is a very well-constructed little camera, the grip may prove too small for those with large hands. Mathieu for one found that the grip was fine for casual photography but was too small for intensive work sessions. This is why we immediately bought the additional HLD-6 battery grip/holder after purchasing the E-M5. Not only did it improve the battery life for full days of shooting, but it also improved the ergonomics of the camera and gave him some extra function buttons and dials to work with. Being a two part grip, you can choose to use just the horizontal grip for landscape shooting, or add on the vertical grip for portraits. It is the vertical grip which contains the extra battery.
The only thing we do not like about the HLD-6 is that it covers the battery compartment. If the battery dies, it becomes necessary to remove the entire grip to replace it. Some have complained about the odd placement of the tripod lug as well, but since we rarely shoot with a tripod, it doesn’t really bother us.
You can visit our full review of the HLD-6 battery grip/holder to read more!
Note that there is another E-M5 Grip Base available from J.B. Camera Designs if you can find it in stock. I believe it is much cheaper and provides access to the battery compartment, but does not function as a battery holder. It is the perfect option for those who want more grip but don’t care about extended battery life.
2. Gariz Genuine Leather Half Case
If you aren’t attracted to an extra grip, you could always go for the highly-recommended Gariz Leather Half Case designed especially for the E-M5. Not only does it protect your camera, but it also improves the grip if you find the E-M5’s grip a tad too small. The case features a well-built battery door, a small opening for your SD card and a built-in tripod mount so you don’t have to remove the E-M5 from its case for long exposures. It does not block access to the tilting screen, though it does become a little harder to articulate. If you don’t like traditional black, it is also available in brown.
3. Gariz Genuine Leather Wrist Strap
Another popular E-M5 accessory from Gariz is the Leather Wrist Strap. As the name suggests, it is made from high quality soft leather to ensure maximum durability and comfort while shooting, and has been designed to complement the above-mentioned Gariz half case. The only caveat, as David Taylor-Hughes points out, is that once you latch it onto your mirrorless camera, it isn’t very easy to remove. This could prove irritating if you often switch between shoulder straps and wrist straps. However, if you plan on leaving the strap attached to your camera, you shouldn’t have any issues.
4. Anti-Glare Expert Shield Screen Protector
The Anti-Glare Expert Shield Screen Protector for the OM-D E-M5 is a product we can personally recommend as we have been using it on our E-M5 for over six months now with very few issues. The Expert Shield does exactly what it’s meant to do – protect your touch screen from scratches. It is very easy to stick onto the screen and does not come away at the edges if attached correctly. In the case of our E-M5, a couple of small bubbles have recently appeared along the bottom edge, but the protector is still firmly attached. On our Fuji X100s, on the other hand, the protector has not shown any signs of bubbles. Though it may not be perfect, it is affordable and does the job!
You can visit our full review of the Expert Shield for the E-M5 and X100s to read more!
5. Olympus GS-4 Grip Strap
The Olympus GS-4 Grip Strap is another alternative for those who want a better grip on the E-M5. It is meant to be attached to the base of the HLD-6 Battery Holder mentioned at the beginning of this article, and the strap ring of the E-M5, so you should only consider this product if you already have the HLD-6. With its velcro closure, it will adjust to any hand size or shape, and is ideal for shots where vigorous movement on the part of the photographer (running, jumping) is required.
6. Lens Hood
Though I’ve chosen to list the 45mm here as an example, I believe that a lens hood is a necessary addition to any lens. It protects your lens from flare and will act as a shield if your lens should knock against something hard or fall. The disappointing thing is that for some lenses, Olympus does not include a lens hood in the lens kit. Thankfully, there are a number of inexpensive third-party and Olympus lens hoods you can buy for almost every lens in the system including the 45mm listed here, the 17mm, the 75mm, the 14-42mm, and more.
7. Olympus FL-600R Electronic Flash
When we bought the E-M5, we decided to invest in the FL-600R as well since Mathieu does a lot of event and reportage work in darkly-lit conferences halls. This flash unit is smaller than a standard flash for DSLRs and has been designed for the OM-D E-M5 and MFT cameras in general. It is equipped with wireless functionalities including a wireless commander mode (4 groups, 4 channels). Another interesting feature is the built-in LED that can be activated at any time for video shooting. It isn’t super bright but can be of help in extreme situations. The flash recycle time is fast but not as fast as high-end DSLR flash units. Also always make sure to have the batteries fully charged!
8. Olympus MMF-1 Four Thirds to Micro Four Thirds Adapter
Do you have a bunch of 4/3s lenses lying around the house which aren’t getting any use? If so, you have two options: sell them and buy more Micro 4/3s lenses, or use them on your E-M5 with the Olympus MMF-1 adapter. With this adapter, you will get the same quality and image sharpness on the E-M5 that you get on a 4/3s camera. It has a solid metal build and is compatible with all Micro 4/3s cameras and 4/3s lenses across the two systems. Quite simply, you’ll be able to mix an already well-developed and respected older system with newfangled technology. What could be better?