Amateur hands on OMD EM-1

Started Sep 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Mike Childs
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Amateur hands on OMD EM-1
Sep 13, 2013

Today I got my hands on the EM-1 for an hour and a half.

Before I give any impressions of the new offering from Olympus it would probably be a good idea to give you the reader a little information about where I come from as a photographer.

I began taking photographs as a green 16 year old and learned how to load 35mm film cassettes develop and print in black and white up to 20" X 16".  It proved a useful skill when I got to college and I subsidised my megre income by shooting college dinner dances and the odd commission with an old Lieca and a Rolliflex.  So that puts me clearly in the bracket of "old school".  My first DSLR was a Zenit B!

The years between then (the 70's) and 2006 I had little time to devote to photography.  When the digital revolution hit my first purchase was an olly E100RS and that sparked it all off again.  I researched all the offerings of the new digital world to find which system I should buy into. I soon discovered that its the glass that lasts and not the bodies. In the end I decided on the E510 mainly because of the new-fangled in body image stabalisation and of course the lenses which were smaller than FF but still of very good quality.

So now the gear lineup is E-3, 12-60 SWD, 50-200 SWD, 50 Macro, 7-14, 70-300, EC 20

OMD EM-5  12-50, 45 1.8, both grips.

I bought the EM-5 for my lady wife as it was a small camera and eased my conscience for spending loads of dosh on "must have" lenses. She has a good eye and is very good with people!  The problem was it was a really good camera and I use it a lot as a walk around.  I now had the perfect excuse to go look at the EM-1!

It is bigger than the EM-5 but not by much.... it just feels bigger.  It handles really well and without the grip my little finger just tucks underneath the body comfortably.  The dials and buttons are positioned intuitively and I was surprised how quickly I could alter settings without having to "reach"  or "think" about where my fingers should be.  Much better than the EM-5 and the ergonomics alone would sell me this camera.  I tried all the 4/3rds lenses and I honestly found very little practical difference between focusing speed between them and the native micro 4/3rds lenses.  NO hunting just half press shutter, beep, full press shutter...... normal behaviour.  I also tried the EC-20 with all the 4/3rds lenses and focus lock was again "normal".  So I became a very happy bunny at that result! The viewfinder is huge, bright and crystal clear, very DSLR like.  The rear screen is also much improved, zoom in and there is no doubt as to whether you have a sharp shot or not.  The colour creator is great for getting the black and white look that YOU want and street shooters are going to love this feature.  I ran through most of the other features and to be honest it was all a bit of a blur but features I will use at one time or another.  Its a camera which fully implements the usefulness of the EVF in as much as you can make alterations to the settings on the fly and see the results at once without having to spend too much time mucking about with post processing.

Its a tool that begs the question of the operator "don't ask what it can do for you but what you can do with IT".

I for one will have a great many happy hours with this tool and my very un-scientific report is offered in the spirit of practicality.

Have fun shooting with whatever you shoot with!

 Mike Childs's gear list:Mike Childs's gear list
Olympus E-M1
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