My early impressions on the E-M1

Started Sep 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
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JYPfoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,213
My early impressions on the E-M1

Here are my very quick thoughts on it (got it delivered at work, had to do grocery shopping before putting my daughter to bed).  Didn't get to peak at any images yet, but this is my impressions of handling, going through the menus, etc.

- Presentation is very nice. Not NEX-7 unboxing nice, but the box, the way it's laid out, etc, is very nice.

- I wear S/M size gloves and the grip is very nice. I never had the HLD-6 with the E-M5, but it feels comfortable. I could see people who have larger hands having their pinky finger hang off the bottom though. I'm sure the additional $199 grip could solve that, but I have no intention of getting the grip, at least not yet.

- Menus are classic E-M5 style. Some hate them, some love them. I'm mixed.

- Buttons are 100% improved, much better than the E-M5. No longer squishy, and no longer hard to press like the Fn1 and playback on the E-M5.

- On/Off switch is slightly worse on the E-M1, personally I didn't mind the placement on the E-M5, but if this is the biggest issue I have with build wise, then it's acceptable.

- At first I had trouble getting the rear LCD to display the image, figured it out by pressing the LV button on the side near the viewfinder.

- Viewfinder is amazing. If you had a chance to use the VF-4, it'll still amaze you. If you haven't and only used the E-M5, you may never want to go back to a lesser EVF. Even in low light, it's still good, unlike the Fuji XE-1 which is laggy to behind with and almost un-useable in low light.

- Rear LCD clearly shows the improved resolution. Much clearer than the E-M5, as well it should with the bump up in resolution.

- SCP is turned off by default, took me a few minutes to re-figure out how to switch it on.

- I reversed how the 2x2 works, switching ISO to the rear dial, which is mode 2. At least for me I find the rear dial easier to manuever than the front dial, maybe my short fingers.

- The addition of the HDR/Shooting mode is GREAT. No more having to dig through multiple pages just to bracket. I recall having to press around 12 buttons to do a 5 image bracket with the E-M5, now I just have to press the HDR button and scroll.

- I setup the top front Fn button to magnify, the record button to enable peaking, and the AEL/AFL to trigger MF. This is easy for me to use. Maybe I didn't setup my E-M5 correctly but whenever I used S-AF+MF it would always magnify the image, now with this current setup that I have I can have peaking, use MF, and if I want to magnify the image.

- Similar to the EP-5 though, using peaking slows down the frame rate noticeably. Not a huge negative to me, but seeing how other manufacturers can have peaking without the slowdown is a little disappointing.

- What's even more disappointing though is that using the art filters have no slowdown. I myself don't use the art filters but my wife does. She also likes that the Photo Story Mode is included which she liked to use on the E-P5. Why is this disappointing? Because using the art filters on the E-M5 slowed down the frame rate. But not on the E-M1. So if they can eliminate the slowdown when using art filters, I wonder why they can't when using peaking.

- Peaking have white/black which is nice.

- Strap lugs still annoy me, I'm going to remove them as soon as I can.

- The mode dial lock have a very noticeable click to it, which I like.

- S-AF seems about the same on the E-M1 as the E-M5.

- Smaller AF boxes is a nice addition.

- Right now I only have the Panasonic Leica 25 f/1.4 as a native m4/3 lens since I sold the others. I will be getting the 12-35 and the 35-100 to hold me over until the Oly Pros comes out. The 25 still does have the noisy focusing, I believe they call it rattlesnaking sound if I'm not mistaken.

- I did get the MMF-3 adapter and picked up the 35 macro for super cheap on eBay. I can't compare AF speeds to the E-M5 since I never used 4/3 glass on it and from my experience macro lenses tended to AF slower, but it is reasonable in terms of AF. It does hunt and does have a louder than expected mechanical whirring sound. But again since I never used this lens on the E-M5 nor a 4/3 body I can't comment on improvements or not.

All in all I think a big improvement. If you really like the E-M5 I could see you skipping this and holding out for a E-M5 replacement. For me some reasons why I upgraded was because of the improved build (including better buttons). I wanted a beefy grip that I didn't have to remove to replace the battery. I used the E-P5 for about a week and loved the VF-4 but didn't like that it was not fixed. I liked the E-M5 EVF and rear LCD, but the E-M1 is 100% better. I like the native implementation of the peaking and like the expanded time lapse features which I think I'll use (999 shots as opposed to 99 shots on the E-P5).

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