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 – White balance and colour

Image: The Colour Creator makes it easy to add a slight tint to monochrome images

It is rare to find a camera that has a truly bad auto white balance feature, and thankfully the Olympus OM-D E-M1 isn’t one of them. Colours are generally realistic and well rendered, and there are more than enough presets and options for tweaking and adjusting the default settings to get the exact colour balance required.

One very interesting new feature is the Colour Creator. This is a virtual colour wheel controlled via the two control dials. Turning one of the dials moves the marker around the Colour Creator, which changes the hue, while turning the other dial changes the saturation.

By using the two in combination, you can create different colour effects. For example, you can shift the hue round to a blue colour and completely desaturate the image to create a monochrome print with a blue tint, or give an image the look of a vintage print by adding a slight yellow tint to it.

Combined with the various different art filter effects and image styles, the contrast curve adjustments and the different highlight and shadow tone settings, there is a ridiculous number of ways to alter the look of your images in-camera – in fact, I think too many.

I always shoot raw+JPEG, so have the raw images to fall back on, but I found that with so much choice I was constantly trying out different effects. Thankfully, there is an image style bracketing option that will save the same image with a number of different image style effects applied, but this quickly eats away at your memory card and increases the time it takes to save each image. I suppose if you always shoot certain scenes in a particular way you can create presets of your chosen settings, but be warned: with the level of control on offer, it may take some time to decide upon your final 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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