Olympus E-1 Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Good tonal balance, average resolution, neutral color, almost no sharpening artifacts
- Wide range of image parameter adjustment (color, tone, sharpness)
- Selectable sRGB or Adobe RGB color space (with embedded profile)
- Hybrid white balance system performs well in both natural and incandescent
- Wide range of preset white balance settings, all fine-tunable
- Designed as a digital SLR system from the ground up
- Lens and optical system specifically for the 4/3 size sensor
- Solid magnesium-alloy body (rated as 'splash proof')
- Good physical design, ergonomic and comfortable
- Majority of lenses smaller and lighter than 35 mm equivalent
- Supersonic Wave Filter ensures no dust on sensor
- Excellent connectivity; USB 2.0 and FireWire (IEEE 1394)
- Soft-press shutter release button
- Quiet shutter release mechanism (well damped, smaller mirror, etc.)
- Good tripod mount with rubber surround
- All controls are 'locked' (require a hold of button and turn of dial
- High performance of CF interface, short write times
- RAW mode provides the 'digital negative', about 1 stop of latitude in over exposed images
- Excellent provided 'Olympus Viewer' although no 'High Function' RAW conversion engine
- Powerful, lightweight Lithium-Ion battery
- Optional Power Battery hold provides huge capacity (about 220%)
Conclusion - Cons
- Bayer interpolation and moiré artifacts
- Resolution not as good as we would expect from large five megapixel
- Noise levels higher than the competition from ISO 800 upwards (especially
- Noise filter and lens shading features have only limited effect on
- Huge performance hit when enabling noise filter or shading compensation
- Auto focus provides just three focus points, about as fast as an EOS
- Continuous AF not as fast as some other D-SLR's
- Focus by wire MF doesn't have the same 'feel' as mechanically linked
- No histogram / highlights display in record instant review
- No way to cancel / delete image in record instant review
- Opening CF compartment cancels buffered write process
- Limited range of lenses (all of which are expensive)
- Best image quality only available by shooting RAW
- RAW files about 3 MB larger than they need be
- The competition
The E-1 is the first lens removable digital SLR which is based around a totally new lens system designed specifically for a smaller sensor. This means smaller, lighter lenses and body. Our side-by-side example of the E-1 with the E 14-54 mm lens demonstrates that it is impossible for a 35 mm based digital SLR with high quality 35 mm lenses to come close to it for compactness and light weight. That's not to say that the Canon's and Nikon's of this world are standing by and not doing anything, both have recently announced 'digital only' lenses which are smaller and lighter.
Olympus are clearly aiming the E-1 at the professional market, this in my opinion is a hard sell. From a marketing and positioning point of view I feel that the E-1 is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It doesn't really offer the continuous shooting or AF speed required for professional sports photography. At the other end of the spectrum it doesn't offer the resolution expected by professional studio photographers, ignoring the 'megapixel race' I feel that it falls short of delivering the full potential of a five megapixel sensor with a vertical resolution of 1920 photosites.
As a photographic tool there is also no doubt that Olympus's design team deserve a pat on the back, the entire camera is designed extremely well and this is matched in the final build quality. In use it feels solid and reliable, it's also responsive enough (talking here about shutter release lag and AF) although probably isn't a match in this respect for Canon's EOS-1D or Nikon's D2H both of which have extremely short shutter release lag and viewfinder blackout.
I was particularly disappointed to see the jagged Bayer interpolation artifacts we discovered in JPEG / TIFF images straight from the camera as well as RAW images converted using the 'High Speed' RAW conversion engine. It's clear that Olympus have a better processing algorithm in the 'High Function' engine but that the E-1 doesn't use that in-camera. Moiré was another matter and that did appear in all images, even RAW using the 'High Function' engine. If you're going to be critical (and I normally am) you see a superbly designed camera which isn't achieving its full potential.
So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.
German brand Rollei has revived its iconic Rolleiflex twin lens reflex lineup with the new Rolleiflex Instant Kamera. This model—Rollei's first TLR camera in decades—retains the brand's iconic look but adds modern features including support for Fuji Instax Mini film.
We know more about the surface of the moon and Mars combined than we do about our own ocean floor, which is why NASA Ames scientist Ved Chirayath is developing a camera that can 'remove' the water from our seas to reveal 3D images of what’s below the waves.
Snapchat has just introduced version 2 of its Spectacles camera glasses, and they come with a bunch of new features, including: photo capture, water resistance that can handle shallow water snaps, a sleeker design, better battery, and more.
German lens manufacturer Meyer-Optik Goerlizt is expanding its range of F0.95 aperture lenses with the release of the Nocturnus 75mm. That makes it the world's fastest lens for that particular focal length.
“He was a pillar of Magnum, a godfather for a generation of younger photojournalists. An Iranian transplanted to Paris, he was a citizen of the world he relentlessly documented; its wars, its disasters, its revolutions and upheavals, and its beliefs – all his life. It is with immense sadness that we lose him."
When you're traveling with kids, it's not always practical to bring all of the camera gear you'd like to take. That's why DPR's Wenmei Hill packed the Panasonic ZS200 on a recent theme park trip.
Cinema camera manufacturer Arri has started a certified sales program for used Alexa bodies. The company says these pre-owned Alexa Plus and Classic models have gone through extensive servicing and testing before being put on sale.
Philips' new Momentum 436M6 43-inch Quantum Dot HDR monitor really deserves that designation. In fact, it's the first monitor in the world to earn VESA's DisplayHDR 1000 badge.
Find out how astrophysicis Donald Olson used a combination of topographic maps, astronomical software, and webcam archives to figure out exactly when and where Ansel Adams snapped two of his iconic photographs from Alaska.
Xiaomi claims its latest smartphone, the Mi 6X, competes with rivals such as the iPhone X or OPPO R15 in the camera department. Yet it costs just 1,600 Yuan (approximately $250 USD).
Adobe has put together a video tutorial that shows you how to create custom Creative Profiles in Adobe Camera Raw that can be used in ACR, Lightroom CC, and Lightroom Classic CC.
What do you get when you combine a Lamborghini Huracan with $500,000 dollar gimbal setup? You get "the world’s fastest purpose-built camera car."
The Japanese electronics manufacturer—one of the pioneers in the digital camera segment—is leaving the compact camera market behind after concluding that no market growth or increase in market share can be expected for the future.
You can now download a zip-file, including all images and videos you ever posted on Instagram, plus comments, messages, settings and other data in json-format.
The Pentax K-1 II features a hand-held Pixel Shift mode that creates a 'super resolution' image. Here's how to create a better-looking one in Photoshop using four files.
One of the weirdest copyright cases in the history of photography is finally over. The courts have sided with photographer David Slater and rejected PETA's claim that the monkey who took the infamous selfie has any claim over the photograph's copyright.
In his latest video, Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography shares his thoughts on how equipment nowadays is seen less as a means to an end, and more as the end in and of itself.
The latest update to Lightroom Classic CC brought with it a slew of major bugs, including some that would cause the program to crash. Adobe has now released an update to address these bugs, along with an apology.
The new drives come in the M.2 form factor and with the latest PCIe Gen 3×4 lane interface, offering NVM Express (NVMe) bandwidth. In other words: they're an interesting option for anyone editing large batches of photos or 4K/8K video.
Photographer Alexander Gee has created something pretty cool: the first (to our knowledge) E-Mount film camera. It's called LEX, and when it's finished, Gee intends to make the camera's design files open source so that anybody can built their own from scratch.
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a low-power HD video streaming method that could eventually allow tiny, maybe even battery-free wearable cameras to stream high definition video.
Nikon Corporation has warned investors that an assessment of its Belgium-based metrology business based is worth much less than expected, and that they should brace themselves for an 'extraordinary loss' of 10,343 million yen.
In 2009, photographer Michael Benanav joined a family from the nomadic Van Gujjar tribe on their annual journey from the lowland jungles of the Shivalik Hills to the alpine meadows of the Himalayas. This is the story behind the images he captured.
NVIDIA's Content-Aware Fill competitor is getting better and better. A new demo from shows how the latest version can fill in entire chunks of a person's face, or pieces of an image that are missing, with incredibly realistic results.
This hacked Polaroid Sonar Autofocus 5000 puts a digital spin on instant photography, but not in the way you're used to seeing. It's one of the most ambitious and well-executed DIY camera projects we've seen.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu has launched a new high-end model, the Meizu 15 Plus. And based on specs alone, the phone is well-worth a closer look for mobile photographers who are open to buying from a less established brand.
Open source photo editor GIMP is a popular (and free) Photoshop alternative, but can it really be used on a professional edit? In this video, photographer Shane Milton shows you that it most certainly can.
Photographer Jolyon Ralph pit the new Huawei P20 Pro against his beloved Canon 5DS R, and was "somewhat stunned" by how well the 40MP smartphone performed against the 50MP DSLR.
Thanks to a low-res proxy version of the Insta360 Pro 8K footage, stitching times and computer processing requirements are reduced significantly when editing 360° footage from the six-lens system.
DxO Labs has filed the initial proceedings to start the bankruptcy process in France. The company is currently under "judicial administration," which allows it some time to restructure and find a buyer before the liquidation process occurs.