Initial Impressions

Richard Butler

The E-M1X is an interesting camera, promising the super-fast shooting of the E-M1 Mark II with some sophisticated AF enhancements and the ergonomics of a pro-level sports camera. The smaller sensor simply can't match the image quality of the Full Frame cameras that pitches it against (something to remember when Olympus shows pictures of 300mm lenses alongside 600mm ones: you aren't getting something for nothing). Then again, Olympus isn't asking for as much money as Canon, Nikon or Sony would charge you for their pro sports models.

The camera itself certainly feels well-enough built to justify its pro-sports billing, as does the extensive degree of customization. Not only can you redefine buttons but you can often fine-tune the precise way they work. Which is probably why it feels like such an oversight that you can't easily engage or disengage the Subject Tracking modes that are likely to grab so much attention.

A smaller sensor helps the E-M1X provide stabilization with the frankly astonishing rating of 7EV

Another stand-out feature is the improved image stabilization. An inherent benefit of a smaller sensor is that it has less inertia, making it easier to provide stabilization. This is borne-out with a frankly astonishing rating of 7EV, even before you consider the 7.5EV it'll achieve with the M. Zuiko 12-100mm F4 Pro lens. There are footnotes to all these claims, of course, and we tend to find we don't experience quite the number that CIPA testing promises, but this system is seriously good from what we've experienced so far.

This makes the apparent lack of attention on the video side a little more disappointing for me, personally. Combine the fast readout from the camera's sensor with the best-rated IS system on the market and it could be a dazzling video camera, too, but that doesn't seem to have been a special focus for this model.

I'm not sure I know who this camera is for, but time will tell if there's a gap in the market for a fast shooting, fast-AF camera with pro-level build but with less bulk, less cost and more modest ultimate image quality than the established pros. We'll see...

In the meantime, we'll be testing the performance at every chance we get.

Shooting Experience

Carey got a chance to shoot the E-M1X at a pre-release event. See how he found the experience of shooting in its intended environment: the touchlines and pit lanes of the sporting world.

Click here to read about his experience