Olympus OM-D E-M1 review

November 7, 2013

Overall Rating:


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Price as Reviewed:


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 – Dynamic range

Image: I found the dynamic range of the E-M1 to be acceptable, although there were some unavoidable blown-out highlight areas

One of the criticisms of four thirds sensors in the past has been their smaller dynamic range when compared to an APS-C sensor of an equivalent resolution. However, advances in sensor technology mean this is no longer such an issue. The E-M1 has also been helped (like its predecessor, the E-M5) by that fact that it uses a Sony-made sensor, whereas previous Olympus models have housed Panasonic units.

Generally, Sony manufactures sensors with a very good dynamic range, and this is the case with the E-M1. We have measured the camera as having a dynamic range of 12.28EV at ISO 200, although this drops to 12.09EV at ISO 100 and 5.88EV at the maximum ISO 25,600 setting. This is on a par with some DSLRs, and there is plenty of recoverable highlight and shadow detail.

As mentioned in Metering, the E-M1 offers a number of ways to adjust the contrast curve of images. As well as the usual HDR, highlight and shadow tone, and Olympus Dramatic Tone Art Filter effect, the tone curve can be adjusted manually. This allows the highlight and shadow range to be brightened or darkened on a scale of ±5. This is great for JPEG shooters as it allows the image to be tailored inside the camera and previewed live on the rear screen while it is being taken. The front and rear control dials are used to make this adjustment, and as it can also be seen live in the viewfinder you can do this while keeping the camera held to your eye.

  • 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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