E-M1: Ongoing experience report

Started 8 months ago | Discussions thread
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Timur Born
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E-M1: Ongoing experience report
8 months ago

Ahoi everyone!

I will post an ongoing experience report for my E-M1 here. Since I am just a dad snapshooting his family and more of a tech than art wizard in the medium of photography it will mostly be technical stuff. And in order to improve my work to response ratio for forum posts I will just throw out unsorted notes in short posts when I find time and nerves. Maybe it's useful to someone.

Since I only got my own E-M1 this week and already have to return it for another unit I did not have too much time playing around with it yet. Some weeks back I posted a hands-on and especially comparison with my E-M5 after attending two Olympus events. I will keep the comparison part up and correct some of my original observations. Here we go:

- The E-M1 feels better in hand compared to the E-M5 in almost every way, everything is easier to reach, push and hold. Using left or right eye on the EVF doesn't matter much for reaching buttons and stuff. There are three exceptions, both of which are just a different type of compromise, though, you cannot have it all. Overall I like the new position compromises more than the old compromises, but yes, we all would have liked a power switch around the shutter button for one-hand operation.

1) It's not possible switch on the E-M1 while holding it to the eye by the lens, you either have to remember to turn it on before or change hand positions. 2) It's not possible to switch modes without changing the position of the right hand or reaching awkwardly over with the left hand.

Both of these are possible with the E-M5, but in return you cannot switch the E-M5 on while holding it in the right hand (like while picking it up). And the back wheel of the E-M5 is nearly impossible to reach without changing the right hand position further away from the tiny rubber grip, unless you use your index finger from the front. So the E-M1 really improves on that.

3) Since the lens mount is slightly higher and thus leaves more room beneath the lens to accommodate bigger lenses (like the 12-40) it is now even more difficult to comfortably grab the thin but long 12-50/3.5-6.3 and generally small lenses are slightly less easy to reach for (manual focusing) because of the ever so slightly longer distance from the base that rests on my hand.

- The best thing about the larger viewfinder is the larger peeping hole optics and that it protrudes slightly further away from the camera body/rear screen. Finally I can breath through both nostrils while looking through the EVF. I don't like the new position of the EVF switch, though. It's harder to reach while your eye is glued to the finder compared to the side position on the E-M5.

- Contrary to my earlier report Face Detection Multimetering is not fixed on the E-M1 vs. E-M5. Both still can meter on a face after focus had already been locked on something else, so both can seriously mess with metering if you don't watch out.

- Blue shadow blinkies are now completely turned off when much of the frame consists of (clipped) shadows. I am not sure why that is a good idea?! If I don't want blue to impede my vision I can always turn blinkies off on the E-M5. Fortunately white highlight blinkies seem to work as before.

- I really don't know what to make of the long exposure sensor noise with the E-M1. The EM-5 looks like Star Wars, the E-M1 looks like Blotch Wars (I pushed +2 EV in these examples to pull out the gray noise dots, the colored blotches are well visible without).

E-M5 (left) vs. E-M1 (right) long exposure sensor noise

- IBIS now keeps running for about 1.5 seconds after you release the shutter button. I cannot think of why this is an advantage compared to immediately turning it off (like on the E-M5), but maybe someone here can come up with something?

- The AF assist light is positioned different and thus is less affected by lens shading off the light. On the E-M5 the 12-40 shades off the light in part of the center AF frame even when the (wider) lens hood is not attached. On the E-M1 you can keep the lens hood attached in reverse order and still stay clear of the center AF frame.

- The PDAF sensels can be made visible on the screen/EVF by pointing the camera on a black/white stripes pattern (vertical or horizontal) and likely other very small regular patterns. They also become visible with blue blinkies, which might be the sole (aesthetic?) reason why blue blinkies turn off automatically.

- As mentioned in another thread, using AF-C in less than ideal light can cause the screen/EVF frame-rate to drop very considerably (laaaaaag). As far as I can tell this is because of PDAF sensels needing more light and thus the sensor increasing its Live View exposure time. Possible workarounds are to use a AF frame outside the PDAF area or to use "Zoom Frame AF" (the one with the green box), the latter of which seems to turn off PDAF completely.

-The small ring border around the arrow keys seems to be made from metal.

Scratch on the small ring border around the arrow keys. Shiny stuff.

Enough for one post, but any questions welcome...

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Olympus E-M1
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