Announced early 2012, the OM-D E-M5 was one of the most warmly received models of the year. As with any new camera, the initial interest was centered on the promising specification. Not only did this model herald a new 16-Mpix MOS sensor complete with a unique 5-axis stabilized platform (and up to 5 stops compensation for camera shake), but the retro looking E-M5 was aimed squarely at enthusiasts. Even without the optionally available grip, it offered continuous shooting at up 9fps, and up to 4.2fps with the stabilizer active and it was the first from the firm to adopt a built-in (1.4M dot) EVF and feature a weatherproofed magnesium alloy shell. To top it all, the firm claimed the contrast detection AF function of OM-D E-M5 was one of the fastest available, even when compared against typically much swifter phase-detection equipped DSLRs. With camera in the hands of reviewers and users alike, the camera also proved to be immensely popular for its quality of output, eventually cementing the $999, body only OM-D E-M5 as one of the best selling cameras of the year.
Several months later and just ahead of Photokina 2012, rival maker and partner to the Micro Four Thirds alliance, Panasonic announced its new flagship model, the GH-3. As with the E-M5, this new $1,299 model was aimed at enthusiasts and while it adopted a weather sealed alloy body and MOS sensor with a similar pixel count (16-Mpix), it had several promising features over the E-M5. First, as the successor to the GH2, this new model offered extensive video capabilities, including a raft of formats and codecs, frame rates (from 60 to 24 fps) and bit rates (up to 72Mpbs). The GH3 also featured a 1.74M dot EVF, uncompressed HDMI output and headphone monitoring, making it a serious rival to full frame models such as the Nikon D800 and Canon EOS 5D Mk III. As a stills camera, the GH-3 was one of the first to add built-in WiFi to link to smartphones and tablets, as well as in-camera HDR, multi-exposure modes and continuous shooting at up a very respectable 6fps.