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: Verdict

With the OM-D E-M1X, Olympus appears to have given its designers free reign to build the best camera they can, regardless of price. The result is an innovative and highly accomplished camera that’s built like a tank and packed full of clever features, with its intelligent subject detection autofocus being particularly impressive. But the question is, how many photographers will be prepared to shell out £2800 for a large, high-end Micro Four Thirds body?

Olympus OM-D E-M1X

The integrated vertical grip aids portrait-format shooting with large lenses

Indeed in terms of value proposition, I suspect few cameras will polarise opinion quite like the E-M1X. In reality it’s a niche product that will appeal mostly to photographers who shoot fast-moving, unpredictable subjects in demanding outdoor conditions, especially those who need to carry their kit long distances to get the shot. But one problem is that there aren’t many high-end telephotos to match: just a 40-150mm f/2.8 and 300mm f/4 from Olympus, while Panasonic offers 100-400mm f/4-6.3 and 200mm f/2.8 optics.

Of course, it’s impossible to get away from the fact that the relatively small sensor limits the image quality, especially if you want to shoot in low light or make very large prints. But the flip side is that Olympus’s PRO lenses offer superb resolution in relatively small, lightweight packages, backed up by the E-M1X’s astonishing stabilisation. I had no trouble shooting hand-held with the 300mm f/4 and 1.4x teleconverter, which give an 840mm equivalent combination. Try that with full-frame.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 300mm F4 IS Pro + MC-14 teleconverter, 1/2000sec at f/5.6, ISO 1250

Ultimately the E-M1X doesn’t deliver quite as high image quality as its APS-C or full-frame rivals, and that’s got to be a concern given its price. But for many purposes it’s plenty good enough, and it might just let you capture shots you simply wouldn’t otherwise get. Hopefully Olympus will be able to provide many of its eye-catching features in a smaller, more affordable body later this year.

 

Details

Sensor:20.4MP Live MOS, 17.4 x 13mm
Output size:5184 x 3888
Focal length mag:2x
Lens mount:Micro Four Thirds
Shutter speeds (mechanical):60sec – 1/8000sec
Shutter speeds (electronic):60sec - 1/32000sec
Sensitivity (standard):ISO 200-25,600
Sensitivity (extended):ISO 64-25,600
Exposure modes:PASM, B, Video, Custom x 4
Metering:Pattern, Centre Weighted, Spot, Highlight Spot, Shadow Spot
Exposure compensation:+/- 5EV in 0.3 EV steps
Continuous shooting:60fps (fixed focus), 18fps with AF
Screen:3in fully-articulated touchscreen
Viewfinder:2.36m-dot, 0.83x magnification
AF points:121, phase detection, all cross-type
Video:Cine 4K (4096 x 2160), 30p, 102Mbps
External mic:3.5mm stereo
Memory card:2x SD, SDHC, SDXC (both UHS-II)
Power:2x BLH-1 Li-Ion
Battery life:2850 shots
Dimensions:144.4 x 146.8 x 75.4mm
Weight:997g (with batteries and cards)
  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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