- 1Body and Ergonomics
- 2Viewfinder and Screen
- 3Operation and Menus
- 4Performance and Autofocus
- 5Flash Performance
- 6Key Features: Wi-Fi
- 7In-Body Image Stabilization
- 8In Camera RAW Conversion
- 9Other Important Shooting Features
- 10Image Quality: Dynamic Range and Color
- 11Image Quality: Noise
- 12JPEG Quality
- 15Image Samples
- Ruggedly built weathersealed body
- Excellent ergonomics, with a comfortable grip and a host of controls that are easy to access
- Customizability throughout the interface allows you to shoot how you want to shoot
- Electronic Viewfinder is best-in-class, affording a huge view, plenty of detail, good dynamic range and great refresh rates
- Image quality is excellent, with wide dynamic range, good noise control and very nice color
- Extremely fast and accurate autofocus which is near instant in single shot mode
- Continuous autofocus is actually usable for subject tracking, a first in the Micro 4/3 system
- In-Body IS allows for handholding at shutter speeds 3 to 4 stops slower than usual with all lenses
- Excellent WiFi implementation allowing for full camera control and image transfer
- Excellent features like Live Bulb and a good built-in intervalometer make shooting in many varied situations easy
- Good video quality and excellent stabilization during video
- Extremely responsive with short shutter lag and very quick write times and a large buffer
- Capable of 10 frames per second continuous shooting (6 with continuous AF)
- Great rear LCD with responsive touch controls
- High quality JPEGs and a very well implemented in-camera RAW converter
- In-body IS is still susceptible to shutter shock in certain situations
- Continuous AF still not quite up to high-end DSLR standards
- Focus peaking is poorly implemented
- Menu system is still confusing
- At $1399, rather expensive for a Micro 4/3 body
That’s a pretty skewed pros and cons list above, and for good reason. Olympus may not have made the prettiest camera with the E-M1, but they’ve made one heck of an imaging machine. The E-M1 has everything. An extremely ergonomic and well-built body with a huge variety of programmable controls that are placed in easy to access and thoughtful locations, very good image quality, in-body image stabilization, extremely fast autofocus, WiFi and a host of great features that make shooting easier.
Olympus has clearly targeted the professional and serious amateur with this camera and have priced it accordingly. It’s a lot of money for a mirrorless camera, but given all the features, the extremely tough body with pro-grade weathersealing, the supreme responsiveness, outstanding viewfinder, super deep buffer and excellent autofocus, it’s worth the price. While many shooters won’t need the extras that the E-M1 offers over something like the E-M5 or the Panasonic GX1, I feel confident in saying that the Olympus OM-D E-M1 is the most complete mirrorless camera on the market. It may not have the best image quality among all its competitors with APS-C and Full Frame sensors, but there is nothing else out there that has this combination of features, ergonomics, quality and responsiveness. While the GH3 may have a leg up on the video side, for still images the E-M1 is easily the best Micro 4/3 camera ever made.
Click on an image to enlarge.
14 thoughts on “Review: Olympus OM-D E-M1”
Nice pictures, they speak for themselves!
Wow! Beautiful sunrise photo. Great meld of old architecture and new technology.
Its nice to read a slightly more critical review than some of the others I’ve seen lately, which have been a little too ‘gushing’ with their praise I think. This is the first time I’ve seen anyone be a bit more critical about the E-M1’s IBIS, for example.
I don’t think I’d buy one, mainly for ergonomic reasons, but if I was in the market for a M4/3 body I’d be glad I’d read this review. Thanks Jordan.
I am interested in the focus peaking implementation because I like it on my Sony NEX. I also know the feature appears on Fuji mirrorless. Have you been able to compare the implemention (on the E-M1) with either Sony’s or Fujifilm’s implementation? Thanks for another awesome review. (I’m pretty new to your site, and have now been reading your Fuji reviews… will you be doing a review of the 18-55?)
Thanks for an awesome job. I like well written stuff!!
A very thorough review oriented to how most of us actually use our camera. I have an E-M1 and I think you hit the nail on the head.
a very enjoyable read , your real world impressions are more meaningful than a bunch of charts and graphs , as far as im concerned.
for the time being im sticking with my em5
I find that enabling the Anti-Shock feature helps to achieve sharp pictures hand-held at slow shutter speeds (as well as being using for tripod stabilised long exposures). I get more keepers that way, shooting hand-held at around 1 sec.
What speed to you set the anti-shock at? I use 1/8th but don’t really know why….
Glad to see another opinion on this body.
I spent some time with it at an Olympus event and found it to be a very good shooter, but didn’t find the angular grip comfortable, unfortunately, compared to the E-5, E-1, or GH3 grip.
I was also less than enchanted with the display out in the open on a “professional” model, mainly because of the small battery, but also because they chose a flipping, sliding display instead of an articulated display.
Those who have the E-5 will instantly notice better low light image quality but will notice many compromises, such as the balance with Four-Thirds HG and SHG lenses. The GH3 is better but still too small.
Jordan – In your conclusions, I did not see the very important fact that the E-M1 works very, very well (AF) with the original Olympus and (Pany) 43 lenses (due to on-sensor PDAF). This is one of the major reasons I purchased the E-M1, even though I have the E-M5. I have twelve 43 lenses (in addition to several m43 lenses) and I can now happily use them on the E-M1. That was not the case with the E-M5 (CDAF only), So, the E-M1 is also an upgrade (or an option) to my older E-5. I assume you do not have an Oly 43 camera with 43 lenses. But please do not ignore this important point.
Yes, there are still many of us out there that also still have 43 cameras and lenses. The E-M1 is indeed the “one beautiful system”.
You actually make it appear really easy along with your presentation however I to find this matter to be actually one thing
which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for
me. I’m looking ahead in your next post, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!
Thank you, I’ve recently been looking for information about this
subject for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve
discovered so far. But, what about the bottom line? Are you positive about the supply?