Olympus OM-D E-M1 review

November 7, 2013

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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...

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 review – Our verdict

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 is one of the best micro four thirds-system cameras yet, so if this test makes it look like a serious camera, that’s because it is. The rugged-looking magnesium-alloy, weather-sealed body has all the features an enthusiast photographer (or professional, for that matter) would want, including little details like a PC flash socket.

E-series DSLR users may be a little disappointed that the line appears to have come to an end, but thankfully the E-M1’s phase-detection AF sensor works well in combination with the MMF-3 adapter and four thirds lenses.

Image quality has improved, although luminance noise appears at lower sensitivities than I would have hoped. However, it is still an excellent camera and images look good even at comparatively high ISO sensitivities.

Until now, photographers wanting a small CSC to replace a DSLR had few real options, but thanks to its features, build and handling, the E-M1 should be ideal.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 – Key features

The E-M1 has a flash-sync speed of 1/250sec, or 1/4000sec in Super FP Mode. It comes with a small detachable flash that can also act as a wireless controller for FL‑36R, FL‑50R, FL‑300R and FL‑600R wireless flashguns.

Dial mode switch
Switching between option 1 and 2 changes the functions of the front and rear dials.

Screen brightness
The 3in, 1.037-million-dot-resolution screen has seven different levels of brightness for a variety of shooting conditions.

Function button
This is easily accessed while shooting with your eye to the viewfinder, and can be used to change a number of different settings.

  • Video: 1080 HD at 30p, 720P at 30p, AVCHD, AVI Motion JPEG
  • External mic: Yes
  • Dioptre Adjustment: -4 to +2
  • White Balance: Auto, 7 presets, manual, 2 custom modes
  • Shutter Type: Computerised focal‑plane shutter
  • Built-in Flash: No. External unit supplied with GN 10m @ ISO 200 output.
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I
  • Viewfinder Type: Electronic, with 2.36 million dots
  • Output Size: 4608 x 3456 pixels
  • Field of View: 100%
  • LCD: 3in, 1.037-million-dot tilting LED
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes
  • AF Points: 81-point system, 37-point phase detection, touch focus, face and eye detection, 800 points manual selection
  • Sensor: 16.3-million-effective-pixel, micro four thirds Live MOS
  • Max Flash Sync: External flash X-sync 1/250sec and 1/4000sec (Super FP mode)
  • Exposure Modes: PASM, bulb, iAuto, 24 scene modes, 12 art filters
  • File Format: JPEG, raw (ORF), JPEG + raw, AVI (motion JPEG)
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion (330 shots)
  • Weight: 497g (including battery and card)
  • Drive Mode: Up to 10fps, 3.5fps with image stabilisation
  • Shutter Speeds: 60-1/8000sec + bulb up to 30 minutes
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV
  • RRP: £1,299 (body only) or £1,949 with 12-40mm f/2.8 lens
  • Lens Mount: Micro four thirds
  • ISO: 100-25,600
  • Focusing Modes: Single, continuous, manual, tracking
  • DoF Preview: No (via test picture)
  • Dimensions: 130.4x93.5x63.1mm
  • Metering System: 324-zone multi-pattern TTL digital ESP, spot, centreweighted, highlight, shadow
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB, HDMI
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG
  • Tested as: Advanced CSC

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