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Olympus blends E-M5 and E-5 to create OM-D E-M1 flagship ILC

By dpreview staff on Sep 10, 2013 at 04:00 GMT

Olympus has announced its new OM-D E-M1 interchangeable lens camera, which is now the flagship of its Micro Four Thirds lineup. Rather than calling it the follow-up to the E-M5, Olympus says that the E-M1 is actually the 'successor' to the E-5, a Four Thirds DSLR introduced back in 2010.  

The E-M1's 16.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor has on-chip phase detection, which promises to focus legacy Four Thirds lenses (using the optional MMF-3 adapter) at much faster speeds than previous Olympus m4/3 cameras.

Other interesting features include the E-M1's large electronic viewfinder, which has a magnification of 1.48X, a touch-enabled LCD, a rugged body that is water, dust, and freezeproof, and an impressive number of customizable buttons. Wi-Fi is also included.

The OM-D EM-1 will be available in October in a body-only configuration for $1399.99 / £1299.99. Buyers in the UK can get the HLD-7 battery grip if they pre-order the camera before launch, plus the MMF-3 Four Thirds adapter if they purchase the E-M1 by the end of November.

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Press Release:


CENTER VALLEY, Pa., September 10, 2013 – In response to the demand for a compact system camera as powerful as a professional DSLR, Olympus introduces the OM-D E-M1®, its new premium flagship camera and worthy Micro Four Thirds successor to the Olympus E-5 DSLR. The E-M1 has a revolutionary design for advanced photographers looking for a high-performance tool in a compact system camera package. The powerful E-M1 is packed with incredible speed and image quality that rivals full-frame DSLRs, in a portable yet lightweight body designed to go anywhere.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 now works seamlessly with all ZUIKO Digital lenses, in addition to working with M.ZUIKO Digital lenses, so photographers can enjoy optimum performance of the entire Olympus lens lineup. This is possible due to advanced DUAL FAST AF system that combines both Contrast AF and On-Chip Phase Detection AF. DSLR users familiar with an optical viewfinder will marvel at its electronic viewfinder (EVF) that is as large as a full-frame DSLR viewfinder and has added creative control. Its ergonomic body provides easy access to all manual controls and is ready for action in the most difficult shooting conditions.

Olympus also announces today the development of two new high-performance lenses, establishing the M.ZUIKO PRO lens category. The ZUIKO Digital ED 12–40mm f2.8 PRO lens (24–80mm, 35mm equivalent) and the ZUIKO Digital ED 40–150mm f2.8 PRO (80–300mm, 35mm equivalent) will expand the imaging options for professionals and serious photo enthusiasts alike.

DSLR Image Quality

With the OM-D E-M1, experience the highest image quality of any Olympus camera through the combination of a new 16.3 megapixel Live MOS sensor, a new TruePic VII image processor, and its best-in-class M.ZUIKO lenses. The TruePic VII image processor reduces noise and color fading at high ISOs for improved image reproduction. New Fine Detail Processing II technology configures the appropriate sharpness processing for each individual lens for natural, high-quality resolution, as well as reducing compression artifacts when recording movies.

Fast and Accurate AF for Complete Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds Lens Compatibility

The newly developed DUAL FAST AF selects the ideal method, depending on lens type and settings: either 37-point On-Chip Phase Detection AF or 81-point Contrast Detection AF to maximize the performance of both ZUIKO and M.ZUIKO lenses. Both systems work together to significantly improve continuous autofocus tracking performance when a Micro Four Thirds lens is attached and C-AF is selected. Users can select Group Target AF for a variety of situations, Small Target AF for pinpoint shooting, or Super Spot AF for capturing even smaller subjects and specifying a small area focus location during macro shooting.

The TruePic VII engine supports 10 frames-per-second shooting with a 41-picture RAW buffer in single autofocus (S-AF) mode and 6.5 frames-per-second shooting with a 50-picture RAW buffer in continuous autofocus (C-AF) mode.

New Super-Large Interactive Electronic Viewfinder

The E-M1’s advanced, built-in Interactive Electronic Viewfinder features a 1.48x (35mm equivalent of .74x) magnification factor that rivals full-frame DSLR cameras. The extremely high-resolution 2.36 million-dot LCD panel provides a large, clear image that is on a par with optical viewfinders. Tracking moving subjects is completely natural, with a display time lag of only 0.029 seconds. Users can experiment with aspect ratio, magnification, color, and highlight and shadow, and the effects of camera settings on subjects are viewable prior to capturing the finished image. Adaptive Brightness Control raises the brightness when shooting in bright outdoor conditions and lowers the brightness in dark indoor conditions, reducing visual errors from light and dark adaptation of the eye.

Color Creator is a new easy-to-use tool that fine-tunes hue and color saturation using the intuitive GUI and Live View screen, so users can create original images imbued with their own choice of colors. Creative Color was created with a designer's sensitivity in mind, and hue can be adjusted in 30 steps, and color saturation adjusted in eight steps, including the baseline.

The Most Effective 5-Axis Image Stabilization System

The Olympus E-M1’s built-in 5-Axis Image Stabilization with Multi-Motion IS mechanism reduces the effects of camera motion and image blur from five directions. Whether shooting stills or HD video, even the motion blur caused by walking or running is stabilized. New algorithms make image stabilization more effective at low shutter speeds. When it is employed while panning during still image shooting or movie recording, IS-AUTO mode automatically detects the camera's movements and provides optimal correction regardless of direction or camera orientation – even when panning in a diagonal direction. Users can check the image stabilization effects on the Live View screen as well as the viewfinder to accurately frame and focus, even during telephoto or macro shooting. Multi-Motion IS, used in combination with the 5-Axis Image Stabilization mechanism, produces excellent correction during movie recording.

Rugged Freeze, Splash, Dustproof Durability

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 expands the dustproof and splashproof capabilities of the E-M5 even further with freezeproof capabilities — guaranteed operation down to 14 ºF — for the best environmental resistance of any Olympus interchangeable lens camera. Its durable magnesium alloy body, and weather-resistant seals and gaskets block moisture and dust for use in any environment, without sacrificing image quality. The camera’s Supersonic Wave Filter (SSWF) dust reduction system vibrates at a super-high speed of more than 30,000 times per second to powerfully remove dust particles so users can shoot in dusty environments.

Ultimate Camera Control
Advanced photographers will appreciate the intuitive 2x2 Dial Control system to easily adjust four often-used functions with the camera’s lever or two dials: aperture/shutter speed, exposure compensation, ISO speed and white balance. A built-in grip similar to that of the E-M5 makes shooting with Four Thirds lenses more comfortable, and all frequently accessed buttons are logically laid out. Controls are now more functional: the settings reset function is activated by pressing and holding the OK button and there is a toggle option for the My Settings shortcut and a locking mode dial to prevent unintentional movement of the mode dial during shooting or when removing the camera from a case or bag. The dedicated “mic-in” jack supports an external microphone when recording HD movies and a built-in X-Sync socket easily connects to studio strobes.

Built-In Wi-Fi
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 includes built-in Wi-Fi, and the set-up is simple. By quickly scanning the QR code displayed on the camera's LCD with a smart device, it syncs with the Wi-Fi network created by the camera. The free Olympus Image Share 2.0 smartphone app synchronizes a user’s smartphone and E-M1 so the camera’s “Live View” is effectively displayed on the phone, and the camera can be controlled by touching the smartphone display as if it were the camera. This is ideal for taking self-portraits, capturing images of wildlife from a distance and sharing images easily online. The E-M1’s remote shooting function has been improved for use in all main shooting modes (P, A, S, M and iAUTO). Users can now wirelessly adjust various settings, such as the shutter speed, aperture value, ISO and exposure compensation, as well as operate the Live Bulb shooting mode from their Wi-Fi devices. They can also use their smartphone to embed GPS information into their images.

More Creative Features
New Diorama II adds to the popular range of Olympus in-camera Art Filters and offers left and right blur effect in addition to the top and bottom blur effect of Diorama I. The Olympus E-M1 is equipped with two variations of HDR Shooting – HDR1 and HDR2. With a single press of the shutter button, four images with differing exposures are captured and automatically merged in the camera into a single HDR high-contrast image or super-high-contrast image. Photo Story mode enables users to capture a scene from multiple viewpoints and then combine the images into a single image to create unique collages inside the camera. Time Lapse Movie converts the series of pictures taken using interval shooting into a movie inside the camera. The Time Lapse Movie length has been increased to a maximum of 100 seconds. The number of possible shots that can be captured with Interval Shooting has been increased to 999. The E-M1 is also equipped with Focus Peaking, which dramatically improves the usability of older manual focus lenses.

New High-Performance Lenses and Accessories for Every Shooting Challenge
The M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens (24–80mm, 35mm equivalent) is the first model in the new M.ZUIKO PRO category and is scheduled for release at the same time as the Olympus OM-D E-M1. It features dustproof and waterproof performance, toughness and excellent image quality. Its mount employs the same type of sealing as the camera body and is Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) with high-speed, near-silent autofocus during still shooting and high-definition (HD) video capture. It maintains the brightness of a constant f2.8 aperture for high-grade image creation, one of the requirements of professional photographers for a high-performance lens.

The M.ZUIKO Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO (80–300mm, 35mm equivalent) also joins the new M.ZUIKO PRO lens category. This lens is currently under development, with a planned release in the latter half of 2014. It will be a telephoto zoom lens with a bright constant f2.8 aperture and will feature a dustproof and splashproof construction rugged enough for professional use.

Several new accessories are designed to complement the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and broaden the creative horizons of all advanced photographers. The HLD-7 Power Battery Holder is a dustproof and splashproof power battery holder that can enable the capture of approximately 680 shots (based on CIPA tests) between charges. It features a shutter button for shooting with the camera held vertically and two control dials and two function buttons for the same easy controls as when shooting from a horizontal position. The GS-5 Grip Strap for the HLD-7 keeps buttons and dials accessible even when the battery holder is attached. The PT-EP11 Underwater Case is made exclusively for the Olympus E-M1 and allows shooting down to 45 meters.

The new CBG-10 Camera Bag is compact, yet designed with Four Thirds lens use in mind, and the highly water-resistant CS-42SF Soft Camera Case, which is part of the Camera Bag CBG-10 system, is made exclusively for use with the E-M1. The CSS-P118 Shoulder Strap is made of washable material with a slender width that matches the versatility of the Micro Four Thirds System.

U.S. Pricing and Availability
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 will be available in October 2013 in the following configurations.
Estimated Street Price:
$1399.99 Body only, available in Black

To find out more about the OM-D E-M1, and for a complete list of specifications, visit the Olympus website at:

Olympus OM-D EM-1 specifications

Body type
Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Max resolution4608 x 3456
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor sizeFour Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorTruePIC VII
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISO100-25600 in 1/3EV or 1EV increments
White balance presets7
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notes'5-axis' IS
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsSuper Fine, Fine, Normal, Basic
File format
  • JPEG (DCF/Exif)
  • Raw (ORF)
  • MPO
Image parameters
  • Sharpness, contrast, saturation
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (2X)
Manual focusYes (with focus peaking)
Number of focus points81
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier2×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3
Screen dots1,037,000
Touch screenYes
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification1.48×
Viewfinder resolution2,360,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • iAuto
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority
  • Shutter Priority
  • Manual
  • Bulb
  • Time
  • Scene Select
  • Art Filter
Scene modes
  • Portrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Sport, Night, Night + Portrait, Children, High Key, Low Key, DIS mode, Macro, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Documents, Panorama, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Fisheye conversion lens, Wide conversion lens, Macro Conv., 3D
Built-in flashNo (compact external flash included)
External flashYes (hot-shoe, wireless)
Flash modesFlash Auto, Redeye, Fill-in, Flash Off, Red-eye Slow sync (1st curtain), Slow sync (1st curtain), Slow sync (2nd curtain), Manual
Flash X sync speed1/320 sec
Drive modes
  • Single, sequential H, sequential L, self-timer (2 or 12 secs, custom)
Continuous drive10 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 secs, custom)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±2 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (3 frames in 2, 4, 6 steps selectable in each A-B/G-M axis)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
FormatH.264, Motion JPEG
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro HDMI)
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n with smartphone connectivity
Remote controlYes (optional RM-UC1 wired remote)
Environmentally sealedYes (Dust, splash, freeze resistent)
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionBLN-1 lithium-ion battery pack
Battery Life (CIPA)350
Weight (inc. batteries)497 g (1.10 lb / 17.53 oz)
Dimensions130 x 94 x 63 mm (5.13 x 3.68 x 2.48)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes

Additional images

I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 223
By DylanHoen (7 months ago)

AE Bracketing ±2 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
Wouldn't that make it ±3?

By h2k (7 months ago)

I counted it off on my fingers and you could be right. It would be the minimum to get a usable series for an HDR. Often the AE differences for HDRs are not strong enough.

Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (7 months ago)

This being Olympus, AE bracketing and HDR bracketing are different modes, with HDR offering larger intervals. You can read about this in our E-P5 preview.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By DylanHoen (7 months ago)

Some more information about aeb for hdr:

Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (7 months ago)

Some happy Olympus fans today I bet.

By DylanHoen (7 months ago)

As an engineer that likes to tinker with things, they added almost everything that I would have wished for.
In sensor phase detect for old 4/3rds lenses.
GPS image tagging - through cell phone, which gets around the GPS battery hog problem by using the phone's battery.
Remote control with image preview on a cell phone.
Automated multi-shot HDR built in.
One other wish that I've has for a while is open source firmware, but they put together such a well rounded product that I have almost run out of ideas for firmware modifications. Pretty much the only idea I have left is automated focus stacked macro.
The lens looks nice, too. 12-60 would have been nice but after you factor in the laws of physics, this was probably the better compromise.
This looks like the uncompromised upgrade to my E-510 that I have been waiting for.
The price, well, if you compare the feature set to what else is on the marked, it is technically a good deal, but not one I can afford to jump on at this time.

By xlynx9 (7 months ago)

I love the idea of focus stacked macros!

By peevee1 (7 months ago)

"The price, well, if you compare the feature set to what else is on the marked, it is technically a good deal,"

OK, compare it to 70D for $200 cheaper. D7100 for at least $250 cheaper. GH3 for $300 cheaper. A77 for $600 cheaper (or with 16-50/2.8 for just $100 more).

Oly has definitely overpriced this one.

1 upvote
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (7 months ago)

Olympus made good on what they promised about 18 months ago, i.e. the OM-D being "The Beginning of The New".

This is the second OM-D model and another breakthrough, and this is significant, merging the pro grade 43 into M43 and adding all those high grade 43 lenses to the great lens system for M43. The new features are significant for those who need to get the very best in a mirrorless. Bravo!

All it needs to do is ensure there are no QC issues.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
Mike Ronesia
By Mike Ronesia (7 months ago)

While it looks like a great step up and I think it will be a winner, I was disappointed to read that the PDAF is not comparable to a SLR in regards to focus speed and accuracy. Until someone figures out how to close this gap mirrorless will always play second fiddle.

It looks like a great camera and has a lot of wonderful features like one touch WB and 5 axis IBIS. I might get one, but my excitement was deflated when I read about how the PDAF preforms.

By xlynx9 (7 months ago)


I think it's worth clarifying that with native lenses, mirrorless still photography is very competitive with DSLR for focus speed. The weaknesses are in continuous AF and also legacy lenses.

Mike Ronesia
By Mike Ronesia (7 months ago)

Yes, of course. We're talking about sports and fast moving subjects. In other aspects it is just as fast and accurate or even more so. My point is, they will always go there to differentiate the different designs and I'd like to see them, someone, anyone figure it out.

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By digitallollygag (7 months ago)

I guess this means it's the end of the road for legacy 4/3 bodies...

1 upvote
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (7 months ago)

Yes, I think that is the message.

1 upvote
By yabokkie (7 months ago)

a good decision made long time ago.

By thx1138 (7 months ago)

Wow, all awesome except for one thing, they kept that woeful battery from the E-M5. Why is it that I can 3x the battery life from my 5D III battery yet is is maybe 50% larger.

Anyhow, looks like I'll be upgrading form the E-M5 in the next 12 months. New 12-40 f/2.8 looks good and I only recently bought the 12-35 f/2.8 from Panasonic, not that's there's anything worng with it, but I'd have preferred the longer range. Looks like I'll get the 40-150 f/2.8 however and with my 45 f/1.8 that'll be all the three lenses I need.

By xlynx9 (7 months ago)

Live view is always going to use more battery, but I agree it should have improved on the em5, which is not even good by mirrorless standards. 5-axis IBIS and wifi would play a part too.

By thx1138 (7 months ago)

E-M1 is much larger than E-M5 and had room for bigger battery. Should have at least aimed for 500 shots, which would see you through a typical day's shoot easily.

Comment edited 9 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By peevee1 (7 months ago)

If you do a lot of sequential shooting, like for sports or bracketing, E-M5 with its single battery is actually good for more than 1000 shots from my experience - not 350 it is rated for. With 16mpix, no mirror to move around and light focusing groups of its lenses, each shot does not consume a lot of power off the battery. But live view does consume power, both with rear OLED screen and LCD viewfinder.

By thx1138 (7 months ago)

I've barely managed to reach the rated 350 shots. Always need spare batteries with me, and I hardly use the rear LCD other than to check image, not for framing.

By YouDidntDidYou (7 months ago)

Using on board flash is a major factor and leaving live view on when not using the camera.

NZ Scott
By NZ Scott (7 months ago)

I've managed 800+ shots on an E-P3, and that was using a $10 battery off ebay.

The trick is not to chimp.

By NetMage (7 months ago)

That last paragraph should be E-M1.

Jeff Keller
By Jeff Keller (7 months ago)

Fixed, thx.

1 upvote
By InTheMist (7 months ago)

Chunkey and expensive.

Dave Luttmann
By Dave Luttmann (7 months ago)

Chunky? Are you serious?

Mark Alan Thomas
By Mark Alan Thomas (7 months ago)

No, he said “Chunkey”. It’s a euphemism for “troll”.

By yabokkie (7 months ago)

SLR form factor is inevitable for that's the best we know at the moment, even for a mirrorless mount (the NEX style is also good in general).

expensive may be a good or bad thing depending on who you are, seller or buyer.

Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (7 months ago)

it´s a nice camera.. no question.
but why carring this over a real DSLR?

i can get a FF camera theses days for a few dollar more.

By InTheMist (7 months ago)


Right. And not much bigger. That's my point.

I don't doubt Oly's ability to make a knock-out camera. I almost bit on the E-M5 for my go-everywhere kit.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
By rpm40 (7 months ago)

m4/3 IS smaller and lighter than FF. Of course it is. Compare it to, say, the 6D and the D800 with similar lens.,380.286,290.327,ha,t

Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (7 months ago)

Only thing Olympus and Panasonic should do now is slow down the release of new cameras.

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By don_van_vliet (7 months ago)

They seem to be getting the idea now, plus I think the rate of mirrorless tech development is slowing down (slightly). The higher quality cameras tend to operate on slower release cycles (OM-D, NEX-7, GH3) whereas the cheaper ones seem to come out every five minutes.

1 upvote
By bluevellet (7 months ago)

This is the first O-MD model in over a year. E-P5 came out 2 years after the E-P3

By techmine (7 months ago)

Alas some hope of cheaper omd5's on ebay :-)

By Photoman (7 months ago)

Good luck!

By caver3d (7 months ago)

Oly hits another home run with this baby. My 43 and m43 lenses are ecstatic. The price is right for this Pro model.

Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (7 months ago)

yeah well now they only have to make a profit.....

By brendon1000 (7 months ago)

A better EVF is a good thing. I wasn't too impressed with the OMD viewfinder.

The price is a bit of a downer though. Would prefer to go with a 6D or a D600 if I was starting a camera system from scratch.

Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (7 months ago)


1 upvote
By thx1138 (7 months ago)

Yeah we are talking serious dollars for the E-M1 and 12-40 kit and I'd hate to think what the 40-150 will set you back, but I'm guessing easily $1500. It makes sense if you are full committed to a total transfer to mirrorless away from DSLR, but if you are looking for a high quality portable affordable backup, this is not the way to go. I'm limiting my E-M5 kit to three lenses only, but I'm not sure I'll stay in m4/3 or not, even though it's a great system.

Halogram One
By Halogram One (7 months ago)

The naming sucks...

By KonstantinosK (7 months ago)

I agree.

sebastian huvenaars
By sebastian huvenaars (7 months ago)

Olympus Omdemi, easy.

By sadwitch (7 months ago)

One beautiful system

1 upvote
Total comments: 223