Olympus has at long last announced the replacement for the ageing E-5 DSLR, but it might not be what people were expecting. Richard Sibley tests the micro four thirds OM-D E-M1. Read the Olympus OM-D E-M1 review...
Olympus OM-D E-M1 review – Viewfinder, live view, LCD and video
For those still moaning about the quality of electronic viewfinders, I would urge you to take a trip to your local camera store and have a look through the 2.36-million-dot display of the E-M1. It is about the best on the market, with a fast refresh rate, no noticeable signs of CMOS wobble and no rainbow tearing – were it not for the digital overlays informing you of the current exposure settings, it is quite easy to forget that you are looking at a digital display.
The EVF will no doubt be a major consideration for Olympus E-series DSLR users who are considering the E-M1, and while the EVF may not be for everyone, I would encourage potential owners to approach the technology with an open mind. The new generation of EVFs go way beyond those used in video cameras of ten years ago, or even entry-level bridge cameras.
The 1.037-million-dot, 3in articulated screen is also built to a very high standard, with images looking bright, crisp and clear, with good contrast. The mechanism for moving the screen is sturdy, and being able to comfortably take pictures at low and high angles is genuinely useful. As I mentioned earlier, the touchscreen is somewhat redundant due to the number of buttons and controls on the camera, but it is useful for quickly changing the AF point.
Video is still a secondary consideration in the Olympus OM-D E-M1, and it is clear that the camera is built almost purely for photographers. This is not to say that the video isn’t very good: it can shoot in full manual exposure mode, at 1080p resolution at 30fps, and there is an external microphone socket. However, the phase-detection AF cannot be used when shooting video, so there is still some hunting for the focus point, particularly when using continuous AF.