Olympus OM-D E-M1 review

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MEMORY AND BATTERY

Olympus E-M1 uses SDHC or SDXC memory cards. It has only one slot; two would be nice but not obligatory.

Battery is a familiar BLS-1 Li-Ion unit. It can provide around 350 according to CIPA testing. I haven’t had the camera long enough to determine real life battery performance but 350 shots seems to be realistic.

MENUS AND RESPONSIVITY

Menu system is identical to other Olympus PEN and OMD models and offers quite a lot customization options. It is fast and responsive and can be controlled with front and rear dial (I prefer them over multi-way controller). There is one odd detail though: after you exit menu, cursor always resets on the first menu item. If you want to change some odd setting which is buried deep within menu and check how it affects camera performance, you will have to search for it from the start each time. Weird.

Overall responsivity is quite good for a mirrorless camera. It feels faster than E-M5, especially when changing view from LCD to EVF (E-M5 was slow in that regard). Still it is not as fast as a DSLR which turns on or off in a fraction of a second.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 AUTOFOCUS AND BURST PERFORMANCE

Auto focus is probably the key improvement on this camera and its main selling point. The image sensor has phase detect pixels that should work splendidly using older 4/3 lenses and provide upgrade path for users with 4/3 lenses. Sadly, I got this camera on review only with micro 4/3 12-50 lens so I had no opportunity to try it with 4/3 lenses. As soon as I catch an opportunity, I’ll report how it works with 4/3 glass.

Focusing with native micro 4/3 lenses is very fast though; on par with fast DSLR models from Nikon and Canon. There are total of 91 focus points available. User can select

Shutter unit can now handle 1/8000 exposures (E-M5 could do only 1/4000) and has a flash sync speed at 1/320. More important for some, this camera shoots at blazing 10 fps. This may not be so impressive since NEX-7 achieved that speed 2 years ago, but becomes a major advantage since Olympus has a buffer big enough for 35 RAW files or 44 JPEGs. Most of the high speed mirrorless camera can keep the pace only for a second or even less, but E-M1 has no problem shooting up to 4 seconds at 10 fps.

VIDEO RECORDING

Video recording is possible at 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720 and 640 x 480 pixels, all at 30fps. Sadly, there is no 60fps option in either resolution.

CONCLUSION 

I haven’t had the Olympus E-M1 for long enough to provide definite conclusions, but it looks to be best micro 4/3 camera so far. Large grip makes a world of difference in use (compared to E-M5) and will be a joy to use with large 4/3 lenses. Build quality is on a very high level as is the case with ergonomics and customization options. Tilt LCD is very practical and EVF offers best viewing experience I have seen. What is most important, image quality looks to be on the same high level set by E-M5.

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 PRO

  • Image quality (both RAW and JPEG)
  • EVF size and quality
  • Stabilized sensor
  • 10fps burst with large buffer
  • Weather sealed body
  • Customization options
  • Grip shape
  • Tilt-able LCD with touch-control
  • 1/8000 shutter speed with 1/320 flash sync
  • 3.5mm microphone input
  • Built-in WiFi

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 CON

  • Still not as responsive as an DSLR
  • No 60p in video mode
  • Badly positioned EVF
  • LCD visibility in daylight

OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 PHOTO EXAMPLES

All shot using 12-50 lens, converted from RAW and adjusted in ACR 8.1

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 3200

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 200

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2 thoughts on “Olympus OM-D E-M1 review

  1. I wish people would think about why they make comments. I actually like the aesthetic of a rangefinder with the VF in the left corner (particularly the new Panny that tilts upwards) but as a person who must use my left eye really I want the VF in the right corner. Mid positioned VFs are still a compromise but much better than the normal rangefider layout.

  2. Pingback: New reviews of Olympus OM-D E-M1 - Blog for mirrorless and premium compact cameras

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