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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review

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Based on a production Olympus OM-D E-M1 with Firmware 1.0

The E-M1 is the second model in Olympus's OM-D series and extends the range further into semi-pro/enthusiast territory. There are two main distinctions that set the E-M1 apart from its little brother (the E-M5) - a more sophisticated autofocus system and a 'buttons for everything' design approach. As such the two models will coexist, with the E-M1 sitting at the very top of Olympus's lineup.

The biggest technological step forward on the E-M1 is the addition of on-sensor phase detection elements, giving the camera two distinct focus modes. The phase-detection system is used when lenses from the original Four Thirds system, which were designed for use that way, are attached. With native, Micro Four Thirds lenses, the camera will mainly stick with the contrast detection system that has proved so fast and accurate on the E-M5. Only if you use tracking AF will the camera utilize phase-detection information with a Micro Four Thirds lens.

The E-M1 also gains the excellent 2.3M-dot electronic viewfinder panel we first saw as the VF-4 accessory for the PEN E-P5. Not only is the resolution very impressive, but the viewfinder optics give a viewfinder with magnification of up to 1.48x (depending on display mode), which puts it only a fraction behind the 0.76x viewfinder in Canon's 1D X and ahead of Nikon's pro-grade D4 DSLRs.

There's also a more advanced 'TruePic VII' processor in the E-M1 that conducts a variety of lens corrections, when creating JPEGs, leading the company to proclaim the best image quality offered by one of its cameras. Not only can the E-M1 remove the colour fringing caused by lateral chromatic aberration, Olympus says that it also tunes its sharpening to take into account the lens's sharpness, and to combat any softening due to diffraction (particularly at very small apertures).

The biggest difference between the E-M1 and the E-M5, though, is the degree of direct control on offer. We really liked the E-M5's twin-dial control system, but the E-M1 goes beyond that by providing button-and-dial combinations for quickly changing almost every imaginable setting on the camera. It's the kind of approach you don't usually get until the very top of manufacturers' lineups - it means you have to get used to where every function is, but can shoot fluidly once you have.

The E-M1 inherits the '2x2' dial approach Olympus previously used on the E-P5 - flicking a switch on the camera changes the dials from controlling shutter speed, aperture or exposure compensation to changing ISO and white balance. However, all this direct control doesn't come at the expense of the potentially slower but easier to find touch-screen interface - the E-M1 has this too. Overall the camera can be operated pretty much however you fancy.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 specification highlights:

  • 16MP MOS Four Thirds format sensor with no low-pass filter
  • On-sensor phase detection elements
  • Twin control dials (front and rear) with '2x2' dual-mode option
  • '5-axis' image stabilization with automatic panning detection ('S-IS Auto')
  • ISO 'LOW' (100 equiv) - ISO 25,600
  • Up to 10fps continuous shooting (6.5 fps shooting with continuous AF)
  • 1.04M-dot 3" LCD touchscreen display - tilts 80° upwards and 50° downwards
  • Electronic viewfinder: 2.36M-dot LCD, 0.74x magnification (equiv.), eye sensor
  • Built-in Wi-Fi for remote shooting and image transfer to smartphone or tablet
  • Dust, splash and freeze-proof (to -10 °C)

Gained over the E-M5

  • True Pic VII processor, with lens corrections
  • 1/8000 sec top shutter speed, 1/320 sec flash sync
  • Built-in microphone socket (rather than optional accessory adapter)
  • Flash X-sync socket
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Focus 'peaking' display
  • In-camera HDR blending (two modes), previewed in viewfinder

Four Thirds is dead. Long live Four Thirds.

As well as representing the highest-end Micro Four Thirds camera yet, the E-M1's role is also about offering continued support for users of the original Four Thirds SLR system. Olympus created some very nice Four Thirds lenses, but the company struggled to make enough impact in the SLR market to justify the cost of continuing development for both systems in parallel.

The company claims to have studied what the E-M1 and a hypothetical 'E-7' SLR could offer, and concluded that, while image quality, durability and speed would have been the same, the OM-D design allowed both a substantial size advantage and a much greater viewfinder magnification than would be possible with an optical finder. As such the E-M1 should be considered the successor to the E-5.

We'll look at the performance of the camera with Four Thirds lenses in a little more depth later in this article. But in principle, the on-sensor phase detection autofocus system should be much more effective than contrast detection when it comes to controlling Four Thirds lenses, all of which were primarily designed to be driven by phase detection-based systems.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2013 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 2065
12345
snowshooter

I just starting shooting today with the E-M1 in Tignes France. It was about -15C and the camera was in the air all day. Shooting World Class skiers in burst mode and it never missed a beat. Shot with the 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II. Great results. Did not use all of one battery all day.

3 upvotes
Ricey

Pentax seems more robust, OMD1 too flimsy...
And 43 sensor is a step down from APSC in terms of noise and artificial

1 upvote
Ricey

Am planning a trip to Antarctica, taking wildlife photos of penguins, seals, whales etc on ship and land. Also decent landscape photos of icebergs. Need something weathersealed, freeze resistant. My research so far points to OMD E-M1 or Pentax K5 II for my budget. Would appreciate advise from any of you semi-pros to help my choice. TIA

0 upvotes
DanCos12

I am going in Antarctica on January 2014. I just changed my E30 for an EM1. Works beautiful with my ft lenses. Go for it!

0 upvotes
audiomarc

You might want to check with the guy who posted this message in Olympus SLR Talk:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52577213

He appears to have some experience using the E-M1 in cold weather.

0 upvotes
Ricey

@DanCos12
Packing any mft lenses? Any recommendations for WR Ft glass?

1 upvote
beachmama

Have you checked out the Pentax K-3? Looks like a perfect camera for the Arctic . . .

0 upvotes
Fiacre

Sadly, even with dark frame substitution by the camera, try to get back some information from the shadow (RAW or jpg) with a long exposure at same temperature from E-M5 and E-M1 (there are plenty of samples on the web...). You will see the noise problem with the E-M1 (or "poor performance", as you want). THE PROBLEM IS STILL THERE EVEN WITH DARK FRAME SUBSTITUTION. Silly story for a 1400 euros camera.
As i do a lot of long exposures, i will avoid this camera until the problem is solved. But i'm afraid it won't be only a software issue fixed by firmware, as it looks like a termal problem with the sensor, it could by heated by an electronic board (or PDAF sensors ?). That would explain why an older camera with nearly the same sensor can perform better for long exposure. My message is not to attack Oly, as i'm a king of Oly fanboy but just to say it is a real problem and Oly must work on it !

1 upvote
audiomarc

Dark Frame Substraction is not intended to control noise in shadow areas of your pictures. It will remove hot pixels that appear in your images during long exposures or when your camera warms up. That's why "Noise Reduction" is best left on "Auto".

To control noise in shadow areas, you apply the Noise Filter (next item in your menus after Noise Reduction). You should choose a level that you feel is appropriate for your type of photography. That's why there are different settings for this. Experiment.

You have picked one of the best cameras on the market. Mastering it requires more effort than using a point&shoot. Just like shifting gears on a Ferrari requires more skill than doing so on a Toyota.

Enjoy your new camera!

3 upvotes
Atholl

Perhaps an update of the Fuji X Pro1 is required as the firmware updates have totally transformed this camera (of course you have to know how to use it)
Once mastered it is fab!

1 upvote
Pedro Luis

The Fuji X-T1 is a great product. I still have my loved old FinePix S602z, but today my Olympus E-3 and 510 are my usual cameras. Many users have put many money in Zuiko lenses and compatibles as Sigma 150 macro, Bigma 50-500... Remote Shutter, Ring Flash, ... adapter rings with confirmation chip,...
As eating them can cause me digestive problems, is more intelligent to buy for a new camera that can support other ... say ... 5 years,
OM-1 looks interesting, I'm aware that has weak points, poor video quality is the biggest disappointment for me, I hoped to use the magnificent lens video, "mi gozo en un pozo" (my happiness in a hole)
Sure Oly perform better in the next successor cámara, but I do not want to wait 2-3 years longer.
Desde España, Excuse me my poood english

0 upvotes
shfaya

HI
I am testing this photo camera at the moment and every thing fine but....
The long exposures as mentioned above are really disaster. There is so much noise in dark parts of the photo that 100% of photos I made last evening and night are to be put in a rubbish can. The noise in blacks gets up to 50% of total pixels. I don't understand why actually there is possibility to shoot for up to 60 seconds if this camera with 20 seconds can't cope.
Dpreview should review this information and put some test shots. I would save hundreds of euro if anyone would test it first.
Unfortunately I am selling the images in galleries and big part of my collection are evening and night photos, so clearly I did loose going to Olympus.
Search again if you are going to change your camera.

www.otravistagallery.com

0 upvotes
xlsmile

Hello, shfaya!

Unfortunately, this is a big issue with many, if not all, E-M1s units. They do perform much worse than, say, E-M5 in low light situations when NR is turned OFF. Even 1 second exposures might be total crap without NR ON.

Me and other M43 fellows have raised this question with Olympus multiple times. However, Olympus refuses to give any definitive answer.

So, my advice to you is to either return your camera back as faulty, or, if you still want to keep it - set your Noise Reduction to Auto. It will help you with night shots by applying dark-frame subtraction to every shot you take. Note, though, that every shot you are going to make will take double time of your exposure.

E-M1 doesn't deserve even Silver award!

1 upvote
Interestingness

Are the images normal/low noise once the dark frame substatction is done? If so, thats OK. On my Panasonic GF and GX1's thats how it works and the imges are fine. It's a minor niusance to wait for the dark frame but not the end of the world.

On the fence about getting this cam, the GX7 for its size or replacing my 50d with the new kid on the block.

0 upvotes
MrAndyC

People are lauding the customization of this camera and I’m certainly intrigued by the dual controls dials. What I’d like to know is if it offers functionality equivalent to the TAv mode of Pentax/ Ricoh.

So can you use one dial for the aperture, the other for shutter speed, while the ISO is automatically adjusted for correct exposure? The Rioch GR is the only camera I know where you can do that with thumb and middle finger (index on shutter). It’s hugely liberating.

1 upvote
xlsmile

Yes, MrAndyC, totally!

You can customize your dials the way you want. E-M1 is extremely flexible! So, you can set a rear dial to control aperture, front one to control shutter speed (or vice versa), and set your ISO to auto.

Be aware, though, before buying E-M1, of the noise issue this camera has when it takes shots in low-light situations without dark-frame subtraction (aka Noise Reduction ON).

1 upvote
xlsmile

Hello E-M1 lovers and haters!

I am wondering if anyone has raised a question about E-M1's sensor performance in poor lighting conditions and long exposures. There seems to ba a major problem with E-M1. These are the links I found so far (including my own thread on Flickr) reporting the issue (with images to scratch your head about):

http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=53621
http://www.flickr.com/groups/om-d_user/discuss/72157637548153684/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cablefreak/sets/72157637612923853/

Has anyone had similar issues with E-M1's sensor performance?

Thank you!

1 upvote
audiomarc

I have no personal experience with the E-M1, still saving up to buy one, but Noise Reduction (aka Dark Frame Substraction) should normally be left on Auto with any digital camera. The number of hot pixels showing up during long exposures will vary from camera to camera and will also change depending if your camera's internal parts are cold, warm or hot.

As far as residual noise is concerned, there will always be some noise filtering applied in any camera, even in the Off position. Noise filtering is a necessary evil and it is done at the expense of image precision and detail. For that reason, it is very possible that Olympus have chosen to use a less agressive noise filtering algorithm on the E-M1 than on the E-M5 to preserve more detail in the final picture. This may be based on the idea that pros should know how to get rid of objectionable noise in post processing. Therefore, I don't see this as a sensor fault, just a logical engineering decision. You may prefer the E-M5 settings.

1 upvote
xlsmile

Thanks for you comment, adomarc!

I generally agree with what you've said.

However, based on my research I've done for the last 3 days I can prove that my E-M1 unit is faulty.

1. When E-M1 is compared to E-M5 (GH3 and GX1) with NR turned OFF, it definitely shows unacceptable level of noise, thus not "preserving more detail in the final picture", but ruining it! Look at this sample, please (its only 800 ISO): http://www.flickr.com/photos/xlsmile/10834554343/sizes/o/

2. There is no Dark-frame subtraction applied in E-M5 by default (as some suggested), because otherwise, all long exposure shots would take twice as much to process, but no-one reported a time doubling with E-M5. Therefore, the E-M5 to E-M1 comparison seems to be correct, and E-M5 wins. Look at the samples on http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=53621

3. No-one from Olympus has reassured me (despite my multiple appeals) that E-M1 was designed this "particular" way, and that it has been a logical engineering decision.

0 upvotes
Alejandro del Pielago

Hi, audiomarc, very interesting considerations... And, yes, EM-5 still is a very sexy camera...

0 upvotes
audiomarc

If you believe your unit is faulty, you should send it in for repair.

0 upvotes
xlsmile

That's exactly what I am trying to find out about - is my unit faulty, along with other ones in October-November shipments, or it's a common issue with all E-M1s?

If it's the way the E-M1 has been engineered to implement a new Dual-Fast AF sensor with AA filter removed, there is no point repairing or replacing my unit. I will just get a full refund for it and pick, say, E-M5.

Unfortunately, Olympus doesn't reply to my queries about the E-M1 sensor performance that is way worse than E-M5's one.

0 upvotes
Mr Haber

If considering only the image quality, without other "innovations" then, from what I've seen in flickr, E-M5 is the best choice.

0 upvotes
Michael Jardine

Beautiful camera. As the review says, it's a 'Pro' camera that's half the size of a pro camera. It truly does everything my D800 does, plus a lot more. For example, live view (and review) in the EVF. The form factor is perfect, for a camera that does as much as it does. If anything, it even feels a tad 'small' in my hand (and I stepped up from E-PL5).

With the 12-40 2.8 lens, any good photographer can get any shot, and it will be crisp. That said, the 75 1.8 seems totally made for this camera.

P.S. All the JPG stuff is wasted on me as I only shoot RAW, but hey that's legacy stuff anyhow and it's nice that Oly included it. I look forward to trying it out over the next few weeks.

Meantime, here are a few on my tumblr site http://qamera.tumblr.com

2 upvotes
faberryman

I wish Olympus would make an OM-DF, which would be the size of the OM-D M1 with a full frame 24/36MP sensor, that would take the older OM-1 lenses. If Sony can do it with its A7/A7R, surely Olympus can too.

http://www.ultrahighendreview.com/uploads/images/miscellaneous/olympusomdm1_sonya7r.jpg

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
audiomarc

They certainly have the knowhow to do so. But, in the end, it boils down to how much people would be willing to pay for such a niche product and how many they would sell at that price.

0 upvotes
McFern

And it would be a niche product at an incredible price that would be approx. twice the current cost. Money is money, but the issue is that the photos produced would not be improved by twice. FF is still a small amateur format and the differences between FF, APS-C, and 4/3 is not great enough to see unless compared at large enlargements side by side. Thats why comparisons at sites such as this must be given at 100% crops to see a difference. So, is the increase in cost worth the increase in out come? Not to mention that the FF format that follows the idiotic 35mm frame size, requires that you crop off 20% of those precious extra pixels that were just purchased in order to make any standard size print. No one ever stood at a photo exibit and said, "That would have been a better photo if it had been taken with Cannon FF camera". A friend once paid $750 for a Honda push mower. I asked why he didnt buy a $100 mower. He said that it would last longer. 7 times longer? Just sayin.

1 upvote
faberryman

Niche product at an incredible price? The16MP m43 sensor OM-D M1 body is $1399. The Sony 24MP FF sensor A7 body is $1699. It need not only accept older OM-1 lenses. Surely Olympus, like Sony, could design a nice line of compact autofocus lenses.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
McFern

Correct on the price, incorrect on the comparison. The 7R will most closely compare with the features of the E-M1and it is nearly twice as expensive. Of course Oly can develop lenses, that is why Sony has collaborated with Oly to produce lenses…after all, its the lenses that makes Oly hang on. And if they fall, they will live on in Sony lenses. Sony has the money might to undersell anyone's cameras, their weakness is lenses. But again, not everyone wants a FF camera. Galen Rowell could have used Rollie or Linhof which all the photo enthusiasts of the day would argue to the end was better that 35mm, but Galen chose to use Nikon F. He could have used any of those or a K1000 and his photos would have been just as spectacular. Also, he would have made just as good a living. I have learned to use the characteristics of 4/3 (advantages and disadvantages) to my advantage and have no need or desire for FF. Others will find it too small for a FF camera, others that it isn't a proper Canikon.

1 upvote
faberryman

If you have no need or desire for a FF, then you wouldn't be interested in the camera I described. On the other hand, I can't imagine any Olympus owner, past or present, who wouldn't be interested in a OM-D M1 with a 24MP full frame sensor for a $300 premium. I'll be interested in Olympus announcements coming up in January/February 2104.

0 upvotes
McFern

2104…wow thats a long wait! Just kidding don't get mad. The question at hand is whether its a niche camera and the observation that FF is not better enough to warrant the increase in cost. Again, the A7 is not comparable to the E-M1 the A7R is and that premium is $1000. Everyone does not want FF, some photographers still use film (GASP) and not every 4/3 user wants FF. In my short life, I have owned and sold Graflex 4x5, Rollieflex, Mamiya C, Mamiya RB, Pentax 645n, Fuji 645, and Pentax, Minolta and Cannon 35s. I started digital with Nikon, tried Oly and here I am, mostly because of the 50mm f2. Point is, many photographers are no longer hopping about trying to find the perfect camera that does not exist. And, the E-M1 and E-M5 are already niche cameras, who will buy that niche camera at $1000 premium. Canikon will sell lotsa cameras, Sony will sell lots cause many folks remember the brand from their Walkman when they were a kid, but Oly will never sell lotsa cameras, FF or otherwise.

0 upvotes
faberryman

I've shot 4x5, 6x6, and 35mm too. Just prefer 35mm to 110, particularly at the price. I'd much rather have an FF from Olympus than Sony. Three months is not a long wait.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
McFern

Check back and you will see that you said 2104 not 2014, hence the joke. That would be a 90 year wait! 110 vs 35mm was a valid argument in 1980 with film what it was then, but, again, not comparable to 4/3 vs FF in 2014. Your point that 'just because Im not interested in FF doesn't mean no one is' is absolutely right! My point is that just because you want a FF Oly doesn't mean every one wants a FF Oly and that is equally right! This goes back to whether a FF Oly would be a niche camera as Audiomarc stated in his post and that I agreed with. The E-M1 is already a niche camera and FF will not make it less so no matter how much one wishes it to. In the mean time, I will buy whatever I have to so I can use my 50mm f2 as long as I can. Incidentally, the next Oly in this series will most likely be a lower end offering for the folks who don't need stuff like weather sealing.

0 upvotes
audiomarc

IMHO, you'll never see a 24x36 digital body from Olympus. This company is not into building marginally better "me too" products. Their strategy is to offer original solutions to open-minded people.

Comparing 4/3 to 110 film format is simply not fair. Pick up a used E-5xx or E-6xx with just a kit lens to start and be prepared to fall in love. 4/3 is that good.

0 upvotes
McFern

Agreed. Why would Oly try to battle Canikon for a segment that they can not compete and is not positioned loose more capital.

True on the comparison. 4/3 vs FF is like comparing 645 and 6x7 as far as the visible differences are concerned. The camera companies have squashed all the megapixels into a given format that they can so the next reason for buying a new camera every 2 years is to convince everyone they need a bigger sensor. As more megapixels is not the answer to poor photography, so it is that a bigger sensor is not either. Wisdom from my own camera hopping in the 70's and 80's.

And yes, 4/3 is that good…far better than folks who don't know would give it credit.

0 upvotes
naththo

Problem is Olympus has long been with 4/3 size sensor. If they change it may cause chaos problem to the current 4/3 lens line up that may not work well with full frame sensor. It is not such good idea to take a risk to go for FF. Just stick to 4/3 for now and many people can easily buy any 4/3 lens what they want. If Olympus want to head to FF sensor, it'll take years for Olympus to make FF lens for Digital mirrorless camera, (especially for digital sensor).

0 upvotes
photohounds

Full Marketing Frame (fmf)
What for, bragging?
http://photohounds.smugmug.com/Performing-arts/Eurobeat-by-Supa/

0 upvotes
mrbonsai

Can anyone tell me what the shutter lag is for the M-1 is?
I have been searching but can't find this information.
Thanks in advance.

0 upvotes
Michael Jardine

I'd say it is instantaneous. And the focus is just as fast as my D800.

1 upvote
Pete_CSCS

An Olympus sales rep calculated that the lag time is equivalent to the time it takes light to travel 33 inches! He told me the actual lag time in fractions of a second but I don't remember the number - sorry. The 33 inches did stick in my head however. :-)

0 upvotes
Scott Birch

33 inches? That's about 2 nanoseconds. Really?

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
GeorgeD200

He's no rocket scientist. That's why he sells cameras! 33 inches my a$&! LOL.

0 upvotes
sunOrbiter

I am comparing M-1 with M-5 in Studio Comparison. At least in the normal light mode M-5 images seem to be more appealing in terms of contrast. At low light the difference is minimal.

0 upvotes
Alejandro del Pielago

Searching in the web, I find the same results; but, maybe is there a small halo in the EM-1? I think the "baking" in camera in the EM 1 applies a slight "unsharp mask"...

0 upvotes
giulianaN

I have just started shooting with my M-1. Of course the first thing I had to do was a studio shot ;-0, it was a product shot and it was spot on. Wine bottles and such and it did a great job and I didn't even shoot in RAW(need to figure out how to process this on my new software). The directions are a bit lousy, but worth figuring out. The Mysets really are helpful. And if I may add, I'm a retired prof, so I don't shoot daily these days but this camera is a joy to carry around, I'm 5'3" and with small hands so I can say the grip is no prob, and actually welcomed. Agreed, it's not "cute" or retro-looking, but it's easy to shoot with and cart about. I have gone with only primes so I do a lot of switching but I can bring everything with me and it's still lighter than my old Nikon and two lenses!

1 upvote
Fotohein

Im am mainly shooting portraits in Studio and I am using an Oly E-3 DLRS. I am considering moving up to a full frame DLRS to improve image quality. What I would like to see is a comparison of quality between E3 and E M-1 to be able to make the decision of going for the E M-1, which would allow me to retain my 4/3 lenses and save a lot of money or go full frame DLRS.

1 upvote
Photomonkey

Portraits are not very challenging in terms of resolution. I started with a Canon 10D at 6MP and never had an issue with resolution even up to 40x60 inch prints.

I still display 30x40 inch prints in my studio made with an 8MP 1DmkII even though I now use the 5DmkIII.
You have all the resolution you need with EM-1 and have a ton of great lenses to boot.
I am actually getting a m43 kit for weddings and events where discretion and low weight are important. My Daughter's Oly EP-L2 convinced me that the quality was there.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
bluevellet

You don't really need a comparison. EM1 has 60% more resolution, has much more dynamic range (more like current APS-C sensors, at least 2/3 stop better in lighlights) and has about 3 stops advantage in high ISO's. 6 years is a long time in sensor tech. You're way overdue for an upgrade!

What should concern yourself more is if the E-M1 works best with your lenses. E-M1 has PDAF but not all 43 lenses work as well with it. You can check in the Olympus SLR forum (and not the m43 forum) where there's plenty of user experience topics with specific lenses. For example, the 12-60. 50mm f2 and the 150mm f2 seem to work well with it. The 300mm f2.8, not so much.

1 upvote
photohounds

I had E3, nice cam, but I sold it - EM-5 leaves it in the dust - except for ZD lens focus speed.

I bought an EM-1 as well, that focusses the ZD lenses well.
IQ hoses the E3 and E5 - you won't regret the upgrade. Need a MMF adapter for the ZD lenses.
Get the grip too, so your ZDs balance better. :)

OMD's leave my Mamiya RB-67 shots in the Dust for IQ - my miles.
In dim light the EVFs (esp. the EM-1 leave ALL glass VFs at the door.)

See here:
http://photohounds.smugmug.com/Performing-arts/Eurobeat-by-Supa/

Feel free to browse the other galleries too.
Most shots taken with OMDs, full exif data available on most images.

0 upvotes
Valentinian

is E M1 AF faster than E M-5 AF with micro 4/3 lenses mounted on both cameras? how faster?

in other words: did Olympus improve the contrast AF ? or did contrast detection AF already reach its limit?

0 upvotes
wansai

I have both cameras. The EM1 AF with Oly glass is instant. Just lift, press the shutter all the way down, it will focus and fire at the same time. Make sure you set it so it doesn't release unless it's in focus.

It's a fraction faster than the EM5 but the biggest difference is in accuracy. The EM1 is signifigantly more accurate than the EM5. With the EM5 if you press to shoot; sometimes you end up with an unfocussed shot when the camera thought it was in focus when actually it wasn't. The EM1 is iin focus all the time. I've shot over 2000 frames and only had maybe 2 out of focus shots.

Also of importance is that the EM1 focusses MUCH better in low light even without the AF lamp assist on. It's faster and more accurate in low light.

It's fast enough that I don't even use the burst shot/tracking. I just press the shutter as fast as I need. More accurate too.

1 upvote
Alejandro del Pielago

Hi, wansai: thank you to share your experiences.

I am considering get the EM 1. Although I would like to use that amazing 24-80mm F/ 2.8, I also think, at the same time, about the humble 24-100mm F/3.5-6.3. It`s well known that this lens is good but has limitations, for example the AC. Nevertheless, do you notice some improvements in its performance with the EM-1???

0 upvotes
wansai

sorry late reply. i only work the camera between 12-45mm and carry the primes at those focal lengths. the only zoom i use on it is the 12-40 pro. mainly shoot indoor events so zoom longer focal lengths hasnt been necessary for me. sorry cant answer that for you.

0 upvotes
Team Thor Expeditions

Alejandro: I have both an E-M1 and E-M5 with the 12-50 and 12-40mm lenses. The new lens, the 12-40 is clearly better from a spec standpoint, but the kit lens holds its own by my tests. Plus it has a macro mode. That said, it sits on my shelf because the 12-40 has a larger (constant) aperture and the images are flatter focus across the whole field. Both are good lenses, but the 40 is a great lens.

0 upvotes
Beelen

That should read Adobe Raw.

0 upvotes
Beelen

Just got my OMD E1 and love it. can anyone tell me what Adoby Raw Update i need for CS 5?

0 upvotes
Boris F

Nice camera, top IQ, cheers Oly!
Personally, as OMD EM-5 owner, I'll wait for OMD EM-7 with a next generation sensor, HDR, focus peaking and WIFI.
For now, I like my E-M5.

2 upvotes
Alejandro del Pielago

Hi, Boris F., I am considering an EM 1 or an EM 5. I think like you that maybe the next EM would be great (20MP for example could be more useful with a better ISO 6400). But I have a question, please: although the AF of the EM-5 is very fast, is it true that sometimes -just sometimes- does not get an accurate focus even with good light? Thank you.

0 upvotes
gotak

Sometimes not getting focus even DSLR does that. So yes it happens but it's the nature of the beast.

Personally, very tempted to get the e-m1 but knowing oly there will be an e-m5 replacement that improves on it rather soon. So... as there isn't anything I regularly do that needs the e-m1 features I am waiting and seeing if there would be a price drop.

0 upvotes
Boris F

Hi Alejandro,
E-M5 has no phase detection AF. It is use a contrast detection auto focusing. So focus on flat colored object can be unsuccessful.
I thought before, that phase detection + contrast focusing is an advantage (EM-1 use both). But, look on recently released Sony A7 and A7r. Most advanced camera from these two is with contrast detection AF only.
Sometimes contrast detection AF can be an advantage, for example on fast moving object with automatic AF area selection (birds for example).
Hope it is help. In any case both cameras are pretty cool. Let’s say, EM-1 is more advanced from two. But I already have E-M5 :)
Best

1 upvote
Alejandro del Pielago

Thank you so much, Boris; the technical reflection is very useful.
Best regards

0 upvotes
alec lewis

what a seriously ugly camera...

why do camera companies put giant grips on these mirrorless cameras? it makes it so big and clunky, defeating the purpose of the camera being mirrorless in the first place...

do they seriously not think there is a market for a pocket(ish) sized mirrorless high quality/full frame interchangeable lens camera that looks good and comes in different colours?

someone save me

4 upvotes
bluevellet

Because if they don't put grips, you're stuck with primes and slow kit zooms on the smaller bodies. You can try to put a 12-40 f2.8 lens on a Panasonic GM1 but it will be pretty unbalanced.

All things considered, the E-M1 is smaller than pretty much all DSLRs. Very much smaller than pro DSLR's. The difference is more striking when a lens is attached.

The thing that escapes you is that many people have two separate kinds of cameras: the big DSLR with lenses and a smaller option (which is sometimes mirrorless, other times just compacts). The E-M1 and the "pro" lenses are an attempt to lure those with (semi-)pro DSLR's to buy into mirrorless, not just as a second system, but as only one system (ditch their DSLR's).

Another thing is that the lower-end segment of the mirrorless market is not so profitable, but there's an opportunity to "cash in" for manufacturers with the higher end market. It's largely untapped.

But nothing stops you from buying a smaller body.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
alec lewis

ok, here's my deal:

all i want is an attractive nex/pen/gf1/xa-1 sized camera, has an interchangeable lens and a full frame sensor. make the EVF adaptable, because i dont want it. give me a built in flash and i'll be so happy i wet myself. if it sucks the life out of batteries dont worry i'll buy some spares, just dont make it so big i dont want to take it outside with me on every occasion.

we live in the future so this camera should exist. id pay through the nose for a camera like this, and so would plenty of people.

rumored full frame x200 from fuji in 2014 = fixed lens = FML

2 upvotes
bluevellet

You're going to get your wish by 2014 if rumors are to be believed. Sony will be first with a stripped-down version of the A7 without the grip and EVF hump. Essentially a NEX5 but with a full frame sensor.

However, reality will set in when you try to attach lenses to it. Only the 35mm F2.8 will look ok with it, the rest will look even more ridiculous than current NEX (APS-C) and bulky zooms.

1 upvote
McFern

Why do they put grips on mirrorless cameras? It's simple. Every time a company builds a digital camera without one, folks in forums like this start complaining that it doesn't have a grip so they can't use their Magilla Zoom comfortably. This happened when Oly made the E-620 with it's diminutive grip and the same happened with the E-M5 even though there was an excellent 2 piece grip set that solvled all problems. In the film days, grips were expected to be an accessory purchase. In the beginning of digital,the built in grip was where the large battery was placed. Now, it is expected that it will be built in and will be complained about incessently if not there.

1 upvote
Fotogeneticist

McFern, you couldn't have said it better. I agree with Alec that I'm waiting for a small camera with an optional grip, but whenever someone makes what I want, like my trusty Nikon V1, the camera gets bashed by those who don't understand the benefits that could be had with a mirrorless camera. And then you get Frankencameras like the Nikon V2 with grip, or this latest Oly EM-1. Seriously, Olympus almost had me with the EM-5 and I am a 16 year Nikon shooter with tons invested in Nikon gear.

1 upvote
McFern

We are our own worst enemy when it comes to camera design. In the film days, a 35mm camera had to have one side to put the film cartridge, one side for the take up spool, and a large housing for the large slr viewfinder housing. Today, a digital camera need not look that way but then nothing new or different sells. In 1980, every motorcycle magazine described every Japanese motorcycle as a UJM (universal Japanese motorcycle) because they were so much alike. Today we have the 'Universal Japanese Digital Camera'. Canikon set the tone and all other have followed. Oly tried to be different at first (E-300 comes to mind) but it hurt sales and folks complained so now they look alike too. And before someone freaks, I know there are some cameras that look decidedly different, but the main stream all look alike. Make the lines straighter, make them rounder, but without the company name in 4 inch letters on the strap, you cant tell one from the other. So this camera is no uglier other UJDCs.

0 upvotes
wansai

actually if you use the EM1, you'll know why the grip was necessary. Once you put on a full metal zoom lense like the Zuiko 12-40 f2.8 on, the grip is an absolute necessity.

I tried the Zuiko 12-40 on the EM5 without a grip and you can barely hold the camera up without death gripping it.

It was designed to be a professional camera and to take the 4/3 glass; meaning it needs to be able to handle heavier lenses. The EM5 wasn't designed to be a pro grade camera. It's meant to take only small primes so the grip isn't entirely necessary.

The integrated grip also allowed them to better layout the controls. If you use the EM5 controls, which, imo, are excellent, then you use the EM1, you'll immediately see and feel the difference.

Yes, I think the grip is ugly but it looks great once you put on the vert battery grip; which I have on all the time.

0 upvotes
McFern

A grip may be a nice feature or not, depending on your preferences, but is never 'absolutly necessary'. In the '80s, I carried around a Pentax MX and used a Pentax A70~210 f4 zoom often. That camera measured 135x82x49 mm and weighed 495g and the lens 72x149 mm and weighed 680g. In comparison, the E-M1 is 130x93x63 mm @ 497g and the 12~40 is 69x84 @ 382g. I never bought the winder grip for the MX because I did not need it and I would not 'need' a grip on the E-M1 either. Shooting a camera is like firing a handgun; the trigger hand points the camera and operates the trigger, the support hand supports the weight and operates the zoom or focus. The E-M5 2 piece grip has it right, use it if you want it, leave it off if you dont. A grip does not make a camera a 'professional camera'. There is no such thing as a 'professional camera'. Professional is a word tacked onto a high end camera that denotes that it is special for the purchaser, kinda like 'new and improved' on a detergent box.

1 upvote
AngelicBeaver

My opinion is that the grip should be the same size as the smallest lens for the camera. If the 14mm f2.5 pancake can slip into something, a grip that sticks out the same distance will not affect my being able to slip the camera into said thing, but will give me the ability to hold the camera. I don't quite understand the lack of grips on these cameras. I like having the buttons that come on a larger grip. I didn't even consider the EM5 because it looked like it sacrificed too much in terms of ergonomics for the sake of a retro design that appeals to an older generation. To me, the EM1 is about as good looking as it gets, and I'm thrilled with the grip. I don't like the hump, but if I get a fantastic viewfinder out of it, I won't complain too much.
I am going to purchase an EM1/12-40 bundle as soon as it is offered.

0 upvotes
photohounds

Ah the old full MARKETING frame (FMF) ruse ... fine for you to WANT it, of course, but not necessary for quality work.

Saves us all from the marketing departments and the perceptions they can imprint in the impressionable mind.

Like the DOF ruse. Easy to get well-blurred backgrounds with fase Zuikos. The degree is irrelevant.

Ever SOLD a portrait where the ears have disappeared? As a tool EM-5, EM-1 work very well.

You can carry twice as much gear to the site without Arnold being your bricks and bazookas caddy.
If you want a toy to play with, then by all means. shoot at f 0.95 on FMF all day and generate 99% blur with sharp lenses. Lomography is better suited to that style of thing.

I couldn't even SEE the camera operator in this series. NO OVF would have given me that shot, but the EM5 nailed it in a microsecond.

http://photohounds.smugmug.com/Performing-arts/Music/

Backgrounds are pleasantly blurred. My mate's new Canon got less DOF, and less perfect focus.

0 upvotes
Andy Spawn

The square hood with 12mm lens makes EM1 more retro but it is still ugly. A DSLR body with hump and square hood. It's like a young lady with white hair and wearing her grandma's jacket.

Why doesn't Olympus simply build a M4/3 camera looks like E5?

0 upvotes
photohounds

The hump puts the viewfinder in a more usable location than a cigarette packet "styled" camera.

Remember the e-300? Some makers learn.

Oh yeah, tiny cams with few buttons HELP you to miss that shot.

0 upvotes
Camediadude

This is up there on my list of dream bodies and systems (yes, I have bled OLY blue for decades since growing up with mum's old half-frame PEN EE series). But if I have to nitpick (and we always have to nitpick here, that's a given!),

then it is the lack of infrared remote capability. Great that it has WIFI, which many will prefer for its wealth of possibilities. But give me the simplicity of a standard little remote any day. And, while I commend DPREVIEW for a speedy full review here, I have to say:

Are those DUST MOTES on the top plate of the camera on page 3 of the review? And a crooked flash shoe cover at that? I sure hope not, and that it is just my tired eyes and monitor at this hour, but if it is ...

then C'mon now DPREVIEW, don't start slacking now on the pristine camera body shots that you have always excelled at. It is a signature of this site, so keep up those high standards we have come to expect, we sorely need such a constant in these tumultuous times!

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
slippedcurve623

Oops I spoke to fast I did a bit more research and this camera has 10 fps and phase detect AF nice! :-)

1 upvote
bluevellet

10 fps is with AF locked and IS off. But 6.5 fps with AF.

It's the best in the mirrorless world.

2 upvotes
slippedcurve623

Cool I wonder how does it compares to the 1dx or at least an 5d iii, 7d for professional sports/birds in flight? I know the dslrs has an faster burst rate but I was wondering if this m43 camera is as capable in the AF department? (Sry I DNT know much about current m43 tech)

0 upvotes
photo perzon

That large and no flash, no LCD screen that does selfies. I'd rather a PL5 with VF4.

0 upvotes
safeashouses

I'm sure there are cheaper ways to satisfy your selfie needs. PL5 with a VF4? Go for it!

0 upvotes
gunzzel

Selfies? Really? Use your iPhone.

0 upvotes
Jon J. Both (Edgeman)

Does anybody know if this new E-M1 can be tethered via a USB cable to show LiveView shooting to a Laptop would then be great for Commercial Product Table Top, just a question, I am using Canon 6D for that now.

0 upvotes
Brian Wadie

at the moment that is not possible but as you say, it would be great. even better if the tether could be made via Lightroom :)

0 upvotes
Docmartin

Sad to see a 3:2 screen on a 4:3 camera. This doesn´t make sense to me. Definitely a minus for this one.

0 upvotes
bluevellet

The problem is that a 4:3 screen is taller. A few years ago, they could still afford to make 4:3 screens on the cameras, but as the market demanded bigger screen and smaller cameras, something had to give.

You can set the camera to shoot in the 3:2 format though the RAW files will still be 4:3

1 upvote
Andy Spawn

According to 43rumors. Olympus is going to launch a new M4/3 camera. I think it may be a OMD E-M6. E-M5 announced almost 2 years ago. It’s time to announce a new successor.

E-M1 is practical but it’s not as beautiful as E-M5. Most of enthusiasts want to hang a beautiful camera on their neck. On the other hand, when E-M1 is mounted with some sliver prime lenses say 12mm F2.0, 45mm F1.8, and 75mm F1.8. It looks weird. E-M1 is perfect for pro-photographer but not suitable for enthusiasts who want beautiful outlook and portability.

Fuji, Nikon are going to launch FF retro mirrorless cameras. Olympus must launch a new retro OMD to secure the market share.

3 upvotes
bluevellet

As long as it's not a complete eyesore, I prefer a camera that feels goods in my hands. Quirky ergonomics and sticky small buttons are a turn-off on the E-M5 IMHO but maybe they will fix that on the "E-M6", just like they fixed it on the E-M1.

4 upvotes
StevenMajor

Why the square lens hood (on the camera on the DPR opening page)?

0 upvotes
Gregm61

That not the E-M1. Look again.

0 upvotes
scottenyc

If we are talking about the top right corner of each page it sure looks like the EM1... If not what is it? I love the square hood. Anyone know where I can get them for each of my OLY primes?

0 upvotes
Docmartin

@Nerval: I do realize that one can obtain "good" IQ. However, I see little Point in using a 2000.- plus € lens like the 2.0 14-35 when one cannot obtain OPTIMUM IQ.

@Martin.au: why would Roger Cicalas findings not apply to FT lenses? For sure they follow the same physical laws as all other lenses.

I would not be that much concerned if the MMF3 Adapter was decently constructed in full metal. Just look at the old EX-25 Extension tube for example and compare its excellent quality to the cheapy, plasticy MMF3! I hope Olympus will provide a better quality Adapter that matches the quality of the camera Body and the old FT lenses.

0 upvotes
Alexander Vienna

thats funny…. EM5 looks better for me…..

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Docmartin

No doubt, the EM-1 is a great camera! However, for those (like me) who want to continue working with the gorgeous FT Pro lenses, the EM-1 will still no replacement for the outdated E-5. I truly believe that FT lenses cannot be used on ANY MFT body without serious IQ loss until a better adapter than the current MMF2/3 is available. The material/build-quality of the MMF3 will for sure cause misalignment, flex and movement. Just have a look at Roger Cicala's findings and their discussion here: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3553373

1 upvote
Martin.au

Or you could look at the results of people doing just that.
4/3s lenses are telecentric. There's little reason to assume that Cicala's findings apply to that adaptor and lenses.

0 upvotes
Nerval

You do realize that Roger Cicala is the geekiest pixel peeper of us all, which is alright (I mean his blog is fantastic, and the content is of great quality), but you did notice that he is expressing concern regarding lens testing measurements which might not be accurate given the variations on the mount. Nowhere does he say that you cannot obtain good IQ, just that it probably cannot deliver optimum IQ.

In Roger Cicala's words:

"What Does It Mean in the Real World?

Like a lot of laboratory testing, probably not a lot. Adapters couldn’t all stink or people wouldn’t use them. Like a lot of tests, you can detect a very real difference in the lab that doesn’t make much difference at all in the real world."

0 upvotes
Joe

Caution, real world experience here: My most used E-M1 lens is the 12-60 Oly on the MMF3 adapter. It has been excellent for me. On the E-M5, it rattled around a lot and not infrequently, missed focus entirely. Not on the E-M1.
I just completed a 7-day assignment including a 5-day whitewater float on a 1-man raft; the E-M1 and 12-60 performed spectacularly. The D600 stayed safe in a waterproof case, the D800e stayed at home.
I'm convinced that was the right choice.

2 upvotes
FreedomLover

Joe, you floated for 5 days on whitewater?

0 upvotes
Docmartin

@Nerval: I do realize that one can obtain "good" IQ. However, I see little Point in using a 2000.- plus € lens like the 2.0 14-35 when one cannot obtain OPTIMUM IQ.

@Martin.au: why would Roger Cicalas findings not apply to FT lenses? For sure they follow the same physical laws as all other lenses.

I would not be that much concerned if the MMF3 Adapter was decently constructed in full metal. Just look at the old EX-25 Extension tube for example and compare its excellent quality to the cheapy, plasticy MMF3! I hope Olympus will provide a better quality Adapter that matches the quality of the camera Body and the old FT lenses.

0 upvotes
Gregm61

Enjoy your E-5....forever, literally. You might want to buy 2-3 more.

1 upvote
Martin.au

Tele centric lenses, as I mentioned. And, of course, the thousands of user reports and examples.

0 upvotes
Docmartin

So far I have not seen any user report/example that compares IQ of FT Top-Pro lenses on FT/MFT + Adapter bodies.

And again, what has this to do with telecentric lenses?

0 upvotes
bcalkins

I don't know - I'd put the 50mm macro on the MMF-3 ahead of any mFT lens I own for IQ. It is hardly just 'good'.

Then again, you should be able to adjust to your heart's content with the ability to set front/rear adjustments on every one of the PDAF sensors, per lens, if you have issues with the adapter... I'd be surprised if the adapter variation is any worse than PDAF variation on a dSLR.

0 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson

Sounds like a camera to love, in most circumstances, except in low light situations!

I have a D600, and a V1, while my wife has a E-M5, this E-M1 sounds like a perfect complement!

0 upvotes
rocklobster

Sadly the low light performance is only perceived because of the smaller sensor. The sensor is only about 33% smaller in area than an APS-C sensor. Just look at those ISO 6400 images and tell me that I am wrong.

Cheers

0 upvotes
AlexRuiz

A better way to say it would be....APSC sensors are roughly 50% larger than M4/3 sensors. Having a 50% margin usually does make a difference, for the better.

0 upvotes
wansai

@Alex

Sometimes it makes a difference; the OMD have proven to handle high ISO very well, going toe to toe with all but the very best cameras and FF.

Whatever difference there is in APSC vs m/43 sensor, it only really equates to about 1/3 stop difference; neglible in real world shooting. I shoot events without flash with the EM5 and EM1. Works very well.

I moved from APSC down to the EM5 and to be honest; there's no real world difference except in DOF differences. FF vs m4/3? yeah likely a full stop difference, maybe slightly more.

0 upvotes
probert500

60% more area in aps - I don't know why people bother with m4/3. Because it's almost as good?

0 upvotes
historianx

memo to those who think they know, but don't, and still post nonsense:

Micro (m) = Lens Mount
4/3 = Sensor

There is no such thing as a m4/3rd's "sensor." All 4/3rd's sensor cams are 4/3rds cams--it's that the micros have a smaller lens mount to accommodate the mirrorless/EVF design, while 4/3rds cameras have a larger lens mount to accommodate pentaprism/mirror OVF designs.

It's amazing, the levels of ignorance here.

5 upvotes
FreedomLover

Historianx, the (micro) four thirds naming is so ridiculous, confusing and even meaningless that m43 is more practical to use. Your distinction is correct but not relevant.

The small sensor size of these micro lens mount cameras produces pictures that for some are just "good enough".

0 upvotes
yabokkie

the original Oly SLR 4/3" mount was rubbish.

0 upvotes
historianx

^^^ crawl back under your rock. Your opinion is irrelevant.

1 upvote
yabokkie

a shame not only on Oly but the camera history that better had never existed. then no confusion whatever. the SLR 4/3" was too stupid for anyone to repeat the failure so no one needs to learn.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Oly72

Agreed on every level.

0 upvotes
kingal

Many thanks... one last question.
Any advice as to Panasonic GH3 or Olimpus EM1 for shooting portraits? I would use the Olimpus 75mm 1,8.
Thanks in advance for any advice

1 upvote
bluevellet

The 75mm is considered by many as the best m43 lens you could ever get.

The 45mm f1.8 is much cheaper and smaller, but has less impressive results.

There's always the older Four Thirds 50mm F2 macro.

Another Four Thirds lens is the 150mm F2. Pricey, but the IQ is sublime.

Or the Sigma 150 F2.8 macro for Four Thirds (the same that is available for APS-C). Cheaper alternative, if you can find it.

But keep in mind those old Four Thirds lenses do not perform as well in AF as the m43 native lenses.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Brian Wadie

I would imagine either of them will be more than competent for portraiture, whether studio based or not. I'm using my EM-5 for this (with either my 35-100 f2.8 or the kit 12-50, my copy of which produces lovely studio portraits)

Haven't had a chance to use the EM-1 but can't wait to try out the ISO100 option :)

In the studio the 75 f1.8 will be a bit long, even for head and shoulder shots but for open air work it will be superb, based on what I have seen in the way of results on the web

1 upvote
John D Walker

Hi. I was able to try out an Em-1 in a studio .with both the 45 1.8 and 75mm 1.8. I did not find the 75mm f1.8 too long at all and it takes fantastic pictures. It really is a superb lens. I really preferred it to the 45mm f1.8.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
pdelux

Depends how big your studio is I guess...

1 upvote
fibonacci1618

I would say that yes, it depends on how big your studio is, but in fact, really it's more a question of how far back you want the backdrop to be in case you do not want light spill from the strobes. If your subject has to be 2-3m (or 10-12ft) forward from the backdrop, then yes, it can be tight to frame the 75mm prime in a small-ish studio, for a half-length portrait.

The 45mm is really a stellar performer, you can't go wrong with it for all the right reasons, and the next step up I probably prefer from a FL point of view, is the 60mm Oly macro lens if you ever need to consider it. This is a brilliantly sharp and color/distortion free lens. A perfect 120mm equivalent FL lens for studio portraiture.

1 upvote
kingal

Can someone tell me which version of Adobe Camera raw (if any) is able to recognise and process the RAW files from the Olympus OMD EM1? I have ACR version 7 and it does not recognise them.
Many thanks!

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake

ACR 8.2 will process the E-M1's files. One workaround may be to download the latest version of Adobe's DNG Converter and convert the ORFs to DNG, which previous versions of ACR will then recognise and convert.

1 upvote
PhotoKhan

ISO noise performance is far from impressive, right from direct observation.

I don't think I've seen such a poor ISO 200 performance from a $1250+ camera in a long time.

Also, why are so many photos in the samples gallery significantly underexposed?

5 upvotes
yabokkie

the base ISO on m4/3" cameras are good enough for me and I'm talking about the old ones not the E-M5 or GH3.

even ISO400 is not so bad, quite usable just as ISO1600 on 35mm full-frame cameras (if no dramatic post work needed).

0 upvotes
PhotoKhan

I was referring to THIS camera (...and, additionally, to the output DPR has submitted to us, which may be far from the model's actual performance due to a variety of reasons).

It is curious that you felt a need to "defend" an whole format, based on the observations I made on the 2 perceived limitations in the review output.

...but, tell you what, try to compensate the second of the observations I made (the underexposure) and see how well it goes for you regarding the first one (noise at 200 ISO).

0 upvotes
yabokkie

there is no format that I have to defend, though smaller sensors have problems at base ISOs and lenses should be held accountable for high ISOs.

I don't really judge on ISO settings for it's not something that can be carried across cameras or formats. that I really mean exposures. optimum ISO settings should be used for technical reasons specific to each camera and that's all (and there are ISO-less sensors).

0 upvotes
jkrumm

Actually, after a couple weeks of shooting one, I don't think I've used such a good base iso performer before. Very flexible raws, good color control, little to no shadow noise (at iso 100 I can't see any) and great detail.

1 upvote
FreedomLover

It's interesting that you have to lower the dynamic range and set ISO to 100 to get images without noise. Do you have noise-free original OOC samples with shadows?

The EM1 manual states on page 57:
"The setting recommended in most situations is [AUTO], which starts at ISO 200 — a value that balances noise and dynamic range"
http://www.olympusamerica.com/files/oima_cckb/E-M1_MANUAL_EN.pdf

2 upvotes
rocklobster

Curiously, low light image P9161521 at ISO1600 is surprisingly noisy, albeit quite detailed, whereas other shots at ISO6400 are surprisingly clean and well processed. Perhaps this is the "fault" of the NR processor rather than the sensor. Overall I am very impressed by the image quality however.

Cheers

1 upvote
steven_k

Again looking at the DPR comparison look at the Color Checker chart the blue square at ISO 200 RAW there should be no noise but there is. Sure if you shoot JPEG, Oly takes care of it or if you shoot RAW you can turn on NR but at base ISO one should be able to shoot RAW and process without NR and get clean results. I just don't see it.

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
probert500

Any nex will get good results at 3200 -and 6400 depending on the mode. This is a flawed and miserable format.

0 upvotes
NickNock

EM5 with the handgrip is nearly the same size as EM1.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Andy Spawn

According to the noise comparison sample by dpreview. E-M1 high ISO noise performance is poorer than E-M5 and GX7. Why doesn't dpreview point it out in the article?

EM-1 has better ergonomics, better control, and better continuous AF. However, it looks like an entry level D-SLR camera, very ugly, and its noise level is higher than other competitors. Why do I pay more for a camera with more ugly appearance and poorer noise level?

3 upvotes
maxola67

Many people think like that.
Why, indeed?
Just to gain in two/three hundreds grams of a camera weight relative to DSLRs?

0 upvotes
Andy Spawn

It's not just the matter of weight. E-M5 is handsome and retro but E-M1 is ugly.

3 upvotes
GaryJP

Are you 12?

7 upvotes
yabokkie

does anyone know the pattern of masked PDAF pixels ?

0 upvotes
Stu 5

So why do the high iso E-M1 Raw files when compared to the E-M5 and GX7 have less blue noise in the tungsten lit tests?

Also go into a shop and pickup the camera. You will then understand what makes it so good. Much better made and far better ergonomics than any entry level camera. In fact build quality wise it compares to the D4 and top end Canon.

1 upvote
Andy Spawn

I tried this before in an Olympus event. The ergonomics is excellent. The body built is excellent. However it's meaningless to put a small sensor in such a big body. The kit F2.8 lens is huge, too. I love the original OM1 design. This one is not my cup of tea.

0 upvotes
Stu 5

Andy Spawn you cannot have decent build quality without an increase in size. If you love the OM1 why not the E-M1? I have put my OM-3 with small hand grip next to the E-M1 and there is hardly any difference in size. The 12-40 f2.8 is not huge when you consider the build quality and performance plus the fact it is sealed.

If you built a Sony A7 to the same standard as the E-M1 is would be larger. As it is the build is still down from a E-M5 and the E-M5 is smaller.

1 upvote
yabokkie

the build of Oly cameras are no good. their Pens and OMs were quite low quality.

but E-M1 may be the first m4/3" Oly good enough for use.

0 upvotes
Thorgrem

Yabokkie, don't talk absolutly rubbish. Just because you don't like Olympus camera's is no justification to lie about it.

2 upvotes
bluevellet

Yabokkie probably means what he says. He just mistakenly assumes his opinion is shared by everyone else.

5 upvotes
yabokkie

at least I've seen no OM-1 that lasted long, which was the very reason that made it popular ... low cost. there was a sizeable market for the repairing of OMs and some small Japanese shops provided better service than Oly at much cheaper prices (a well backstreet-refurbished OM-1 used to be sold as low as 100 dollars with 50mm prime).

2 upvotes
Jude McDowell

My OM-2n (new in 1982) and OM4ti are both still going strong despite being carried in bike panniers, handlebar bags and rucksacks on cycling and walking holidays. Don't get so much use now; but in my experience the build quality is fantastic.

2 upvotes
Alejandro del Pielago

I like it so much, but $ 2500 is a lot for me (EM 1 body + 12-40mm f/2.8).

Because the idea of kick the heavy 5D M. III is not so obvious... I would like to keep the Canon at least some time and only if the Oly conquers my heart and my printer, well "hasta la vista, Canon". But, right now, the Oly cracks my wallet and my heart.

0 upvotes
pdelux

There have been many before you in the same situation.

If you are already looking for a smaller system, your Canon has no chance in this fight. It will be collecting dust.

3 upvotes
pixelpushing

I agree, it seems like the median price for SLR and mirrorless cameras has been skyrocketing this past year. Most all of the interesting models are well over $1000 with all the 'hot' new items $2000+.

1 upvote
bluevellet

Alejandro, just don't buy it with the 12-40 lens.

No scratch that, skip the EM1 if size matters to you, go for the Panasonic GM1 or the Olympus EPM2 with a couple of good m43 primes. Twice as small as the EM1 at a fraction of the price of the full EM1 kit.

0 upvotes
GaryJP

Personally, at least if I were already in m43 I would buy the lens before I bought the body. It is a terrific lens, and for me the big limitation of the system until this point has been the lack of a good wide zoom lens.

1 upvote
white shadow

One of the main attraction of the EM1 is the new 12-40 f/2.8 kit lens. It is probably the best standard zoom lens for Micro 4/3. Optically, it is superb and the built quality is the best so far. I would definitely buy this lens if I do not have a standard zoom for micro 4/3.

Get a cheaper Micro 4/3 body to start it off. Currently, there are a few to choose from. The GF5 is about $300, the GX1 is about $400 and so are the older Olys. One can also consider the EM5 body. Use it as a travel camera.

I would keep the 5DMk3 for the more critical shots when top image quality is expected.

0 upvotes
Alejandro del Pielago

Yeah, a combo could be the EM-5 + the 12-40 f/2.8. I could save $400.

And although almost all my gear is Canon and I like sooo much my 5D m. III, I don´t think Canon is going to offer me a 5D m. IV with just 500g... that my weak back would love.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Alejandro del Pielago

Videos about Af are extremely useful !!!! So all the explanations get a solid proof. Well done DP !!!

0 upvotes
mitch72

nice features, way to expensive for a small sensor, retro design? looks like a mini dslr , or like a small jar .

1 upvote
Oly72

A. it's a stunning, purposeful looking camera.
B. it does not have a 'small sensor'
C. go and play with your Canikon.

1 upvote
rocklobster

FACT - m4/3 sensor is approx 33% smaller in area than an APS-C sensor or just slightly more than 1/2 a stop. Not significant really when you consider that there are other factors that contribute to noise on the final image. Small price to pay for much smaller kit. EM-5 looks to be brilliant value now but EM-1 price will come down.

Cheers

0 upvotes
Jon Ragnarsson

Now, please bring us 200mm f4 weather sealed telephoto to match this, and we have a pretty good system...

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW

300mm F2.8 too fast, and too heavy, and too long?

Kind of expensive though. But weather sealed.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Fixed+Focal+Lengths_300mm&ci=274&N=4288584247+4291306223+4261208104

Should be able to get the adapter as a freebe.

Or here's a 150mm F2.0, bit less expensive:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?atclk=Fixed+Focal+Lengths_150mm&ci=274&N=4288584247+4291306223+4261208107

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
mcvh

Just get the ZD 50-200mm. Very good lens and even faster at 3,5 at the long end. Weathersealed and a zoom on top :-)

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

mcvh:

Some avoid zooms.

1 upvote
GaryJP

I really sometimes don't know whether it is more amusing or depressing to see the bile some people on DP Review expend on cameras they, personally, do not want.

9 upvotes
yabokkie

there are people talking about drone fired missles.

1 upvote
GaryJP

Canon or Nikon?

0 upvotes
Paul JM

It reinforces how badly these forums and comments sections are deteriorating. I am not sure why anyone bothers to comment on cameras that they dont own, or use, or have any experience with. Frankly, who would be interested in their opinion ? I have largely given up asking questions on DPR, as more often than not the responses are subjective opinion from god knows who ? The needs of everyone here are vastly different. If punter A feels that the combination of a small camera and lens, with fast autofocus, useless tracking and a small sensor is not for them, but they have never actually used the system, then who is interested in their view ??

7 upvotes
Segaman

Paul dont forget that reviews at DP is a place that people have in high regards, and i guess even if they are not concerned about the camera they might get in discussion, just to prove a point, and of course some are way off, but sometimes some are right, lets take it as what is really is, just opinions, and move on, just like in our life, looks like a perfect camera does,nt exist, its a good thing or else all the other cie would go out of business.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
white shadow

@ Paul JM

I wouldn't ask anybody for their opinion when I want to buy a certain camera. It is unlikely I would get a suitable or correct answer. One just need to know what you want and go for it. Lenses may be slightly easier. Always go for professional grade lenses and don't complain about the prices. Good things are never cheap.

Everybody have different needs, budget constraints, level of competancy and degree of seriousness in pursuing photography. A camera so loved by one maybe totally unsuitable for another. For example, if I would like to shoot MotoGP I would need a Pro camera like the Canon 1DX and the 500mm f/4.0 L IS and a monopod. For me, it is a "must have" combo eventhough it may be expensive. For the newbie, it is definitely too expensive. He might not even know how to use it. For a casual consumer trying to learn photography, all he need is an entry level DSLR. The housewife going on holiday may just want a simple P&S. Anything else will be too complicated.

1 upvote
Camediadude

This camera was rumored for years, and I admit that I did not think that Olympus would ever actually get around to making it. I sort of gave up and thought the worst, I confess.

But they made it, and it looks like a seriously capable instrument. Controls, indeed. I have always had a preference for EVF's. I wonder if I would feel overwhelmed by it all, the learning curve ...

If I had the moolah to get into any system right now, without a doubt, it would be this one. So, from this here longtime fan: Well done, Olympus! I hope you succeed and keep this system alive and strong. I will get one someday.

11 upvotes
FreedomLover

Great comment, Camediadude :-)

Actually I think there is nothing easier than a large and bright high quality EVF, and likely this camera gives great results in fully automatic point and shoot mode, where most people create their best pictures :-)

3 upvotes
yabokkie

the f-number myth
why should anyone care E-M5 while can have Stylus 1?
m4/3" f/2.8 zooms are so expensive.

1 upvote
bluevellet

Not everyone wants to deal with fixed lens camera, a fairly big one no less, when they already have an interchangeable lens camera. I know I wouldn't.

If you think the native F2.8 zooms are too pricey/big on m43, you can always fall back on the kit zooms or on primes. If none of this is satisfactory then maybe you're better off with a fixed lens camera after all though maybe not those like the Stylus 1.

1 upvote
Abaregi

Semms to be a great camera for the sensor size.
The pricing is a bit steep though, just a bit more and you get FF.

6 upvotes
caver3d

Oh, here we go again with the FF nonsense. Go ahead and compare the Sony A7 against the feature-rich E-M1. And, yes, the E-M1 can even take great landscape shots. The world does not begin and end with FF.

13 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

Abaregi:

Not to pile, on but full framed cameras often, not always, have a problematic relationship with lenses mostly designed for film 35mm SLRs. Olympus (and the Leica S system) completely redid the lenses so the light falling on the sensor is perpendicular to the sensor plane across the entire sensor.

I imagine the new lenses for the Sony A7 work out most of the vignetting problems too.

Now: The Sony A7 is a plenty interesting system. But the shutter is incredibly loud for a mirrorless system, it is not built to withstand weather the way this Olympus is. And right now there are more lenses for the Olympus system–more than a few of the Olympus lenses begin to rival Leica and Zeiss optically.

With firmware, Sony may be able to quiet the A7 system at lower shutter speeds, and of course the Sony does good video. But these two A7s are first tries by Sony.

6 upvotes
Stu 5

You are comparing the wrong camera. A7 needs to be compared with the E-M5 as that offers a similar build quality although the E-M5 still has the edge there.

0 upvotes
deep7

"FF" - so called "full frame" is so arbitrary! It's a size that worked as a good compromise for lots of users in film days. If you took all the arguments that said a 35mm sensor was better than a 4/3 sensor, logic dictates an even bigger sensor would be even better, yet that section of the market is tiny.

Wake up, skeptics. 4/3 is a very, very good compromise between size and quality. In fact, it is barely a compromise at all, being good enough for nearly every use!

That's why the OMD series is so good.

9 upvotes
FreedomLover

Most like light and small.

But as long as it is noisy at base ISO, many will be looking for better options.

2 upvotes
Jon Ragnarsson

The difference between the 'quarter-sized' m43 sensor and 'full-frame' sensor is less than people think. Same goes for camera size. (Human hand actually dictates the lower limit). I would love a Sony A7R with some sharp lenses, but then I remember, I don't print much landscape wallpapers...

0 upvotes
austin design

Stu 5, the EM5 has the edge how?

Also, grips go a long way in determining camera application (e.g., hiking around and/or using large lenses imparts a need for a substantial grip). In this sense, the A7 is, in fact, properly compared to the EM1, not the EM5 -- unless you're imaging the latter's accessory grip, which then changes both weight and cost comparisons.

1 upvote
white shadow

Micro 4/3 is popular because it provide acceptable quality in a smaller size camera especially when most people would not print bigger than A3. The cost of buying the camera is also cheaper.

However, it remain a camera for hobbyist / enthusiast but not real professional photographers. Have anyone see many professional photographers like journalist and commercial photographers using Micro 4/3?

Micro 4/3 is a convenient size for most people but for critical photography, I would use a larger format, 35mm full frame or medium format.

0 upvotes
wansai

@white shadow

"for critical photography"

What you mean to say is, in specific applications and use cases you'd use a medium format or full frame. Because I honestly don't know any photogs lugging around a medium format to shoot events/weddings; which are the realm of FF, APSC and more recently, more photogs opting to use the OMD's for weddings.

The term "critical photography" is a loaded term and can't mean the same thing for other types of photographers. Different tools for different uses. ALL camera equipment is a limited tool best used in certain situations and not others.

The only thing that determines critical photography is the type of photography and the use case. It's a great thing we have a range of tools to choose from; the smallest to the biggest.

0 upvotes
peevee1

"Comparing the E-M1 to the APS-C Canon EOS 70D in low light, you'll notice that the Canon DSLR handles the warm tungsten lighting a bit better than the E-M1, which has given the whole scene an amber tint."

Hint - if you don't like it to show what it actually gets (i.e. very warm light), turn Keep Warm Color off.

Tungsten bulbs... I guess they are still used - probably by the same people who still use DSLRs. I personally started switching from halogen and fluorescent to LED bulbs where appropriate (directional lights). Unfortunately, fluorescent lights don't burn out as often as tungsten, so the switch goes slow...

0 upvotes
caver3d

Yep, you can shut off the warm color. I did that on my E-M5, and it looks great.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd

"We didn't see a drastic drop in image quality in low light as compared to APS-C DSLR"

I didn't see any drop in image quality when compared to the Canon 70D. In fact I think the E-M1 is light years better than the Canon 70D in low light image quality.

8 upvotes
yabokkie

only our eyes are more sensitive when the image quality goes done, and noise reduction software may get lost.

0 upvotes
peevee1

Yeah, at ISO 3200 the text in JPEG from Olympus is MUCH more readable.

0 upvotes
kecajkerugo

I see that this m43 sensor has less noise than the nikon d7100, just per the measurments chart by DP. Thera are several places on the net you can find tons of pictures which are comparable quality as the best DSLR can produce. It is not at the level of Fuji system (regarding noise only) but surely better than many of consumer DSLR. And the system as the whole is small.
If somebody needs large FF DSLR with some gain of quality that is fine but compactness of the system will be in a different ligue!
For those who think FF is large sensor system let me remoinf you that this was called small format in the old days and still there are mid and large format cameras these days. Why do not you take these tools for consideration? Can you accept the FF small sensor? Why? BECAUSE OF PORTABILITY! Same logic would apply for the Oly.

1 upvote
FreedomLover

Please have a look at the seagull picture taken with the D7100 by amadou-diallo here, do you see any noise? If dpReview rates the noise level of the EM1 lower this raises questions about the reliability of their measurements. See the earlier comment by the seasoned pro Reilly Diefenbach.
http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/2483894/17dsc_0328?inalbum=nikon-d7100-preview-samples

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW

kecaj:

And I've tried both, including the Nikon D7100 with a Zeiss lens (50mm 1.4), the Nikon is better at high ISOs than this Olympus. Not a huge amount, but some.

I've also mounted the same Zeiss lens on a Fuji XE1 and that's better than the Olympus at high ISOs, again close but the Fuji wins.

As a rule go by raws, not charts or scores. Remember at high ISOs the lens quality is really important and Olympus' good lenses beat Nikon for optical quality. And skip jpegs.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
1 upvote
FreedomLover

Contrary to the m43 EM1, the APSC 70D has practically no noise at base ISO:
http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/2649992/img_8423?inalbum=canon-eos-70d-beta-preview-samples-gallery

0 upvotes
hockey_magnet

Not being that technical, I was trying to compare this camera to the Fuji xPro 1 in the image comparisons page . At lower ISO's the Olympus seems to have better resolution. My question is: xPro 1 has APS-C sensor, Olympus is Four Thirds. Both have the same MP count (16 MP) yet the Olympus files are nearly twice as big as far as MB size is concerned. Can Someone explain this?

Thanks

Chris

0 upvotes
Richard Butler

Olympus cameras offer a 'SuperFine' compression setting (buried in the menus) - it's very low compression, so gives enormous files.

5 upvotes
yabokkie

and nobody should use JPEG when image quality is the priority. also the resolution of all X-Trans sensors are brought down by cost saving (no LPF).

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
hockey_magnet

Thanks for not answering my question... If I need/want to shoot jpegs ,then it's an issue. Your "cost saving" comment makes no sense to me. They did not leave the filter out to "save money"

2 upvotes
Shamael

To see how much information is in the picture itself, and how much is in the exif information file, shoot the same shot with different cameras, and then you open simply the jpeg files in windows Paint, save them and close. You can also do this with a raw reworked shot and that you saved in jpeg. Paint removes the exif file, and a 24 mpix picture at full size shrinks to 4.5 to 7 mb. Now, by the file size that remains, you can see how much information is really in the shot. The exif files take often between 12 and 18 mb of space. By removing this exif file, you will be able to send a full sized 24 mpix picture by e-mail as well.

Comment edited 15 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
bobdant

I have it and love it, the 12-60 is fast as lighting and 50-200 SWD not far behind and the m75-300 is fast as lighting too. Amazing to see some of these remarks from a perspective of never even using one. This is a great camera, with great IQ and controls.

Great and honest review.

Looking forward to the M300mm F4 that is coming out in 2014.

3 upvotes
Total comments: 2065
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