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 – 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.

  • 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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