Olympus has introduced several groundbreaking technologies in its cameras over the years, including high-performance multi-axis stabilization, and high-resolution shot modes, which combined multiple exposures to create a single, much larger final image.

The technology is complex, but the idea behind the classic tripod high res shot mode (introduced in the OM-D E-M5 Mark II) is simple: the camera’s sensor is shifted in minute increments across multiple exposures, so that the scene is ‘covered’ by more pixels. Those images are then combined in-camera to create a single, higher resolution photograph.

The Olympus E-M1 Mark III and E-M1X offer two high-res shot modes, ‘Tripod’ and ‘Handheld'

Today’s flagship OM-D E-M1X and E-M1 Mark III include the latest iteration of this feature, alongside a new mode: ‘Handheld high Res Shot’. Handheld High Res Shot mode enables ultra high-resolution images to be captured without the need for a tripod.

In Handheld High Res Shot mode, blur from camera shake is avoided thanks to a powerful in-camera stabilization system, which compensates for any accidental camera movement during this process.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III and E-M1X feature a powerful inbuilt stabilization system. This system is also used in the cameras High Res Shot modes.

Choosing the right High Res Shot mode

The E-M1 Mark III’s high-res shot modes are available for those times when you want more than the camera’s normal resolution of 20MP. Which of the two modes you choose will depend on the kind of subject you want to capture.

With both the OM-D E-M1 Mark III and E-M1X, the maximum output resolution of 80MP is available in ‘Tripod’ mode, while in ‘Handheld’ it is possible to capture images of up to 50MP.

Tripod mode (max 80MP)

This is a great mode for architecture, interiors and still life or reproduction work – basically, any scene where nothing in your subject is moving. With your camera steady on a tripod, and a stationary scene, you’ll be able to get the maximum resolution out of the system.

In 'Tripod' High Res Shot mode, the E-M1 Mark III and E-M1X's sensor is shifted in tiny increments across multiple exposures. These exposures are automatically combined in-camera to create an 80MP file.

In this mode, your camera shifts the sensor eight times, in increments of one micron, capturing one exposure per adjustment. These images are then combined automatically to create a single 80MP photograph in either JPEG and / or Raw file format.

Use for:

  • Architecture
  • Landscape (on a still day)
  • Interiors
  • Still life
  • Macro
  • Night sky

Handheld mode (max 50MP)

Handheld mode is great for situations where you want more resolution, but you either don’t have a tripod handy, or you want to shoot something where slight movement in your image is unavoidable, like a posed portrait, or landscapes.

In 'Handheld' High Res Shot mode, the E-M1 Mark III and E-M1X capture 16 images in quick succession, and combine them to create a 50MP file. The cameras' powerful inbuilt stabilization system is employed to reduce the risk of shake.

In this mode, the E-M1 Mark III captures 16 exposures very rapidly, totaling 320MP of data, and combines them to create a single 50MP image. The sensor-based stabilization system does double-duty, turning on and off throughout the sequence of exposures, helping to prevent excessive movement due to motion blur, and analyzing the amount of camera movement that occurs during the sequence. The camera uses this information to automatically align the images for the final image and clone out any blurred areas.

If too much motion is detected, the camera will flash a warning to let you know.

Use for:

  • Landscapes
  • Portraits (static)
  • General photography at wide / medium focal lengths
  • Any situation where a tripod isn't practical / allowed

Tips for using High Res Shot modes

  • With the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III and E-M1X it is possible to hand-hold exposures down to four seconds*. Used in combination with Handheld High Res Shot mode, this makes it possible to capture long exposure nighttime photographs.

  • For best results with Handheld High Res Shot mode, shoot at wide and medium focal lengths, where the image stabilization system of the OM-D E-M1 Mark III and E-M1X is most effective.

  • Because it combines 16 exposures, Handheld High Res Shot mode also cancels out a lot of noise. Try switching to handheld High Res mode in low light situations for better image quality at high ISO settings.

  • When shooting in High Res Shot mode, avoid shooting at very wide apertures, especially for scenes with out of focus objects in the foreground. You'll get best results at smaller apertures, where more of your scene is in focus.

* Exact performance is dependent on lens and focal length