my EM1X vs EM1mk2 ramblings...

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Paul Auclair Veteran Member • Posts: 5,312
my EM1X vs EM1mk2 ramblings...

My apologies...

My key reason for the 1X upgrade was an AF performance upgrade for BIF/birds. Specifically, regarding acquisition speed and accuracy of C-AF.

The rest of the obvious 1X improvements/upgrades (dual battery, dual fast cards, high speed buffer, 18FPS Low ProCap, HHHRes, Quick menu, joystick, extra Custom Mode, more direct buttons, improved EVF and refresh, to name a few) are features I use often and are absolutely making shooting so much easier for me.

I had been using the mk2 with BBF (back button focus) for a good long while and I was fully engrained with BBF.

With the 1X, I left set to shutter AF out of the box. I wanted my thumb to live on the 1X's joystick.

Dropping BBF was a big challenge for me and caused a fair bit of frustration, lots of fumbling and missed shots and that all continued until I got used of the shutter AF.

The very first 20 minutes of the first outing (early February in the forest) with the 1X I thought I had noticed an improvement in AF (acquisition speed and accuracy) performance and I was happy but...I quickly ran into frustrations due to my dropping BBF which more or less tainted the day and next few outings.

I also noticed that first day how much I liked the 1X's EVF...I was absolutely not expecting that and was very pleasantly surprised.

Later on in the spring, while shooting BIFs, was when I noticed how much better the AF was in lower light. With the mk2 when light dwindled leaving me to use ISO 1600 I noticeably hit the camera's C-AF wall. I'd have to switch to S-AF to keep shooting. With the 1X I was using ISO 3200 and kept plugging away at BIFs using C-AF.

So, what about commenting about comparisons?

I figured since I couldn't much notice/remember any meaningful differences from going from the mk 2 to the 1X that I would go from the 1X back to the mk2. I adjusted settings/buttons mapping functions, and so forth of my mk2 to closely match my 1X.

Well, that did the trick. I was surely able to notice some AF performance differences.

One feature I use often is the "TEST" image. I use it to check exposure and just to see how the image looks (don't ask me why I can't simply use the's just a mental thing I guess). With the 1X I never have to wait on or double (or triple) press the TEST button.

I spent just under 1.5 hours at the pond yesterday with only the mk2 and 4/300 with 1.4X.

The first thing I definitely noticed, and immediately so, with the mk2 was the AF lag, compared to the 1X, when I used the TEST button. Standing with some Waxwings in a tree not terribly far away I often had to wait for the TEST focus to lock or resort to pressing the TEST button once or twice more. I am not talking a long time here, of course, BUT I can say I absolutely noticed the performance drop vs the 1X. I don't know if the TEST button uses current camera AF settings.

I started with some waxwings next to the pond and then I tried for some swallows (there was 3 or 4 barn swallows darting about).

I only managed to get a few distant swallow images with the mk2. What I noticed was how much time I had the shutter half pressed, while keeping the EE1 reticule on the swallow, waiting for the AF 'BEEP"....and how often I did not even get an AF 'BEEP'.

I haven't done much better with the 1X (with swallows) so far but I have gotten a lot more flukes with the 1X and I certainly get more 'BEEPs'.

There was very little other BIF action but the few duck shots I got were easy enough work for the mk2 as were the rest of the images.

Throughout the day I noticed I was half-pressing (activating AF/bumping) the shutter button far more often than I am used to with the 1X.

I shot my son's U13 soccer game today with the mk2 and 40-150 w/1.4X. 342 pics (ProCap L 10fps, 6 shot frame counter, 5 point AF and lazily using +TR). Very low number of missed focus. Easy peasey for either camera.

Olympus' claims regarding the EM1X's AF (more confident) are true as far as I am concerned.

With the 1X, when I point the camera at something and I half-press the shutter, the camera finds something to lock-up and in a hurry and accurately and it's usually what I wanted locked up in the first place.

If someone times both camera's AF speed, in ideal conditions and on a static target, and states their times are always the same (when they both acquire lock) I'd believe it but I feel the 1X always will lock up a target using fewer attempts.

The same goes for more difficult targets and in much lower light levels. The 1X locks the targets, has great accuracy, and performs much better in lower light.

I am often amazed at how many keepers I throw out (perfectly usable duplicate images from the bursts sequence) and more importantly at how well the 1X finds an eye on even the smallest birds I've shot and at the distance I've shot them (which I shouldn't have even bothered at such distances and never did much with lesser cameras). Many times I've been tempted to post a thread pondering whether or not Olympus' 1X has animal Eye-AF. It's just uncanny how often I find the eye to be in perfect focus in my bird images.

With the 1X I have trimmed my frame counter to stop the burst sequence at 6 frames and that gives me plenty of keepers to choose from.

With the mk2 I was using up to 15 frames.

I have been afforded and have kept(posted) a much higher number of images from the EM1X that I would simply not have from the mk2 due to missed focus or inaccurate focus.

IQ...a wash mostly (in ideal conditions) but I did read somewhere that Olympus has done 'something' to the 1X's high ISO files to help keep colors from sliding to typical magenta hues.

I agree with the above. I use ISO 3200 with the 1X as the upper limit where as I used ISO 1600 with the mk2.

like I said...ramblings.

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as always,
thank you fellow DPR members for your kind words and encouragement.

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