Andy Westlake investigates Olympus’s innovative new flagship camera: a pro-focused, rapid-shooting Micro Four Thirds powerhouse

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Olympus OM-D E-M1X

Features:
Build/Handling:
Metering:
Autofocus:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
Image quality:
LCD viewfinder:

Pros:

  • + Superb build quality and ergonomics make the camera a joy to shoot with
  • + Excellent JPEG output with well-judged exposure and attractive colour
  • + Incredibly effective in-body stabilisation keeps images sharp
  • + Very effective continuous autofocus and subject detection
  • + Huge range of useful additional photographic features

Cons:

  • - Bulky body
  • - Lower high-ISO image quality than larger-sensor peers
  • - Restricted top-quality telephoto lens range

Product:

Olympus OM-D E-M1X review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£2,799.99 (Body Only)

Olympus OM-D E-M1X: Image quality

With its 20MP Four Thirds sensor, the E-M1X is capable of resolving easily enough detail for an A3 print. It may not quite match its 24MP peers in this respect, but the difference is of little practical importance. The smaller sensor does mean that it lags behind its rivals for image noise when compared ISO-for-ISO, but in some situations this can be offset by its outrageously effective image stabilisation. While you’ll get best results at ISO 1600 and below, I’d happily shoot at up to ISO 6400 as a matter of course.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 300mm F4 IS Pro, 1/2000sec at f/4, ISO 640

Olympus OM-D E-M1X: Resolution

At low ISOs, using the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro at f/4, the E-M1X cleanly resolves at least 3600 l/ph. However false colour and maze patterns due to aliasing creep in at higher frequencies. Noise only starts to have a clear negative impact at ISO 1600, with resolution dropping to around 3400 l/ph. By ISO 6400 this falls to about 3000 l/ph, before plummeting to 2400 l/ph at ISO 25,600. Olympus’s JPEG processing gives slightly lower resolution in a bid to reduce artefacts and noise. In the crops below, multiply the numbers beneath the lines by 200 to calculate the resolution in lines per picture height.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X resolution, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 64

Olympus OM-D E-M1X resolution, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 100

Olympus OM-D E-M1X resolution, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 200

Olympus OM-D E-M1X resolution, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 400

Olympus OM-D E-M1X resolution, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 800

Olympus OM-D E-M1X resolution, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 1600

Olympus OM-D E-M1X resolution, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 3200

Olympus OM-D E-M1X resolution, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 6400

Olympus OM-D E-M1X resolution, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 12800

Olympus OM-D E-M1X resolution, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 12800

Olympus OM-D E-M1X: Noise

There’s little to fault about low-ISO images from the E-M1X, which display strong colour and plenty of fine detail with no visible noise. Indeed it’s only at ISO 800 that a little luminance noise creeps in, but you’ll only see it when viewing files close-up onscreen. However by ISO 3200 noise is having a much stronger impact, with fine detail disappearing and colour saturation suffering too. At ISO 6400 image quality is still acceptable for smaller output sizes, but personally I’d avoid using ISO 12800 unless there was no other choice, and reject ISO 25,600 completely.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X noise, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 64

Olympus OM-D E-M1X noise, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 100

Olympus OM-D E-M1X noise, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 200

Olympus OM-D E-M1X noise, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 400

Olympus OM-D E-M1X noise, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 800

Olympus OM-D E-M1X noise, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 1600

Olympus OM-D E-M1X noise, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 3200

Olympus OM-D E-M1X noise, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 6400

Olympus OM-D E-M1X noise, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 12800

Olympus OM-D E-M1X noise, Raw + Adobe Camera Raw, ISO 25600

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Olympus OM-D E-M1X: Features
  3. 3. Olympus OM-D E-M1X: Build and handling
  4. 4. Olympus OM-D E-M1X: Viewfinder and screen
  5. 5. Olympus OM-D E-M1X: Autofocus
  6. 6. Olympus OM-D E-M1X: Performance
  7. 7. Olympus OM-D E-M1X: Image quality
  8. 8. Olympus OM-D E-M1X: Verdict
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