Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review
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.
Apr 27, 2016
Apr 6, 2016
Mar 14, 2016
Mar 21, 2016
|Douaumont Ossuary by Eric 54-BNF|
from Armistice Day
|Silhouette at sunset by Jill Hancock|
from Portrait Lens (around 80mm or equivalent - please check the full rules)
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Drum roll please... the #6 spot belongs to none other than the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art.
Read the story behind this gorgeous wedding photo captured at Trolltunga in Norway by husband and wife duo Priscila Valentina Photography. The 14 hour hike in the rain that preceded this shot was TOTALLY worth it.
Go behind the scenes with filmmaker Nick Arcivos, who recently created a beautiful cinematic short film in Paris using only the iPhone X, a couple of gimbals, and a few lights. The results are very impressive.
A Bay Area startup offering a pay-by-the-photo camera service cleverly addresses the pain points photographers experience when they pick up their first DSLR. But can it survive the smartphone?
It's been a big year for software innovations, dual cameras and huge displays. Take a look at our picks for the top smartphone cameras and why we think they stand out.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #7 spot is the ready-for-any-weather Olympus Tough TG-5.
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.