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January 23, 2015

BJ

Good, but not an equal replacement for E3/5

Pro photographer (nature, landscape, art). Long-time Olympus owner, as well as other brands, film and digital.

Glass I use:
M.Zuiko ED 14-42mm (small zoom pancake lens, micro 4/3)
M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm (zoom telephoto, micro 4/3)
MMF-3 converter for my older full-size 4/3 Zuiko lenses, 12-60mm ED SWD and 50-200mm ED SWD)

Pros:
― Good choice for serious amateurs.
― Very lightweight, compact.
― Olympus' lenses are known for being fast and good. Even the micro 4/3 versions have very good optics, even in the cheaper models.
― If you have older full-size 4/3 lenses, the MMF-3 converter lets you use them on this micro 4/3 body. Optics are better than I've experienced with the newer micro-4/3 lenses.
― Movie recording is quite good, once you learn how to use it correctly.
― It's a fast responding camera with equally responsive lenses and a fast frame-capture rate. Clicking off 20 frames @ high resolution RAW format let's me capture every nuance of a bird in flight.

Cons:
― What a nightmare of menus and buttons! There are too many buttons I don't need, and not enough for those functions I do need, like AE-L and AF-L.

― Too much chromatic aberration/noise on IOS above 300. That's crazy! Have to run nearly every photo through noise correction software before processing in Photoshop. And there goes my detail in critical lighting conditions.

― World's most useless user guide! It's been 5 months and I still haven't figured out all the settings and buttons I need.

― Too difficult to get the settings you want. Just switching basic settings while shooting, like F-Stop and white balance, takes TOO LONG and you end up losing the shot. I've tried programming custom settings, but it's rare that I'm using the same settings over and over.

― The shot controls were designed for use on the LCD touch screen. But how many pros shoot with the LCD? It's the worst way to shoot! We're using the viewfinder, not the screen, for most shots.

― Totally INSANE menu system. Again, poor user interface. TMI--too much insane information! Give me a quick menu for controlling only core settings for the shot. Put all the remaining 1,692,431 controls (and sub controls, and sub-sub controls) in another menu where I can get to them only when needed.

― Tilt-out LCD screen doesn't match the usefulness of the fold-out one on the E3/5.

― A separate flash unit? Really? And it's the size of a quarter so it's already gotten lost. Fell out of my jeans pocket. Luckily I usually don't shoot with mini-flashes like this one.

Other than the noisy sensor, this camera has good technology in it. But it needs a complete overhaul of its user interface and better resources on how to use it.

I was going to buy some of the new, higher quality micro-4/3s Zuiko lenses but decided to hold off. If Olympus comes out with a better designed camera than this, I will. If not, my current OMD-E1 gear will be eBayed and I'll switch to another brand.

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NOTE FROM OLYMPUS:

Please note that it is not necessary to use the camera menu or use LCD screen to change basic or core camera settings. For example, essentials that are often adjusted, such as F-Stop, Shutter Speed, ISO, White Balance, AEL/AFL lock, Focusing mode and focus points, can be easily accessed and adjusted by the push of a button or the rotation of the wheel, without having to take your eye off the viewfinder. You can also customize some buttons, for functions that may not be available on the camera dials by default. Another option is to enable the E-M1's Super Control Panel for quick access to several key shooting functions from the LCD screen.

In regards to the Noise/ Chromatic aberration, the camera features built-in noise filter technology, and other processing technologies, to eliminate these aberrations automatically from the JPEG images. This processing is excellent, keeping very high image quality, but does not get applied to the RAW images by the camera. Therefore, if shooting in RAW format, please make sure to enable these functions in the Olympus Viewer 3 Raw processing options, or other compatible software.

January 15, 2015

David

Great camera!

I purchased this to replace an entry level DSLR that needed upgrading, both body and glass. When I started researching the full size DSLR options I wasn't happy with the cost and size of the system. I spoke to several people I know who gave up their full size camera rigs for this system and EVERYONE was very pleased. They, as I have "Dumped" the full size gear in favor of this baby. WOW! Great size, beautiful images, amazing feature set and a great selection of lenses that can help you achieve the images your looking for. Add to this water resistance, flash command features and you have a winning camera. I tried another brands mirror-less system camera and was uninspired by the view finding and focusing. This one is spot on! For all of you sitting on the fence, don't hesitate, it is worth it. Cost, sure it's expensive, but compare this to similar full featured systems from the BIG boys and you quickly realize this is got a lot of bang for the buck. Couple that with not having to carry 20-50lbs of gear and it's a no brainer. I can carry this with a small prime, and medium telephoto in a smallish satchel and be good for a day of shooting, or I can take all that I have and not break my back.

January 10, 2015

Jeffrey

A lemon?

I have used Olympus cameras exclusively since the E-300 came out and I own the E-300, E-3 and Pen. So When the Em-1 came out I jumped in. That might have been a mistake.

The EVF is great as long as you are shooting a non-moving object in available light. It has a hard time keeping up with fast moving objects such as birds in flight. It is also completely useless when shooting in a studio with strobes.

The dials which are programmable (a nice feature) are not as responsive as previous DSLR cameras such as the E-3. One click of the dial should be one point of adjustment and many times it is not.

The Video would be nice unless you are shooting at night. I shot a firework display as part of an event a client was putting on and had a couple of distracting pixels that showed white through the entire video even when there was nothing but darkness.

The add on flash is a problem, small pieces are easily lost and having to carry around the little flash in the event you want to use off camera flash is a pain. So you either always have it on which sticks out and catches on things or you stick it in a draw and never use it.

Another issue is battery life. This thing sucks down batteries like there is no tomorrow. With previous DSLRs 2 batteries would last me a weekend of shooting. This thing will go though 2 batteries in less than a day.

I am not sure if this is a bad model or I may have just got a lemon. One thing I did notice is the E-5 camera prices have increased steadily since the EM-1 came out. I wonder if this is because the E-5 was a better camera.

Conclusion: I really hate to give a bad review on a product from a company I believe in, but I think I would stay away from this camera. It seems the more I use it the more problems I find with it. Definitely NOT for professional use. On the good side, it's small size makes it a nice travel camera, just buy lots of batteries.

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NOTE FROM OLYMPUS:

Olympus Digital Technical Support advises to call 888-553-4448 (Monday to Friday, 9am - 9pm ET) so we may review the settings on your camera for your shooting situations and the firmware in use.

January 05, 2015

miguel

BEWARE:

This camera places a caption under every frame on video and every picture that says "OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" and it is NOT an option. If I had known this I would have purchase something else.

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NOTE FROM OLYMPUS:
This is EXIF data that displays in some programs while reviewing video.

December 26, 2014

Ron

E-M1

I've just gone from the E-5 to the Olympus upgrade E-M1. There's a learning curve here. This is a highly sophisticate camera with additional features. I've had this for a week and enjoy it. If you're going from a E-5 to this camera, keep in mind that the micro 4/3 is different from the 4/3. You will need an adaptor if you want to use your "old" DSLR lenses. The battery and memory card are also different. I suggest that you get the battery grip to go with the E-M1. The micro lenses are small and lighter. However, I have a lot of cash invested in my DSLR lenses, so a micro lens is not in my future.

It will take awhile to get the feel of the E-M1. I'm impressed. What I do not like is the LCD screen. Why Olympus couldn't have kept the design of the LCD E-5, I don't understand. It had a wider range of positioning and you could turn the screen inward when not using to prevent scratches etc.

I give this a 4.9 rating and highly recommend.

December 10, 2014

Gretchen

Love it!

I have waited 9 months to write my little blurb... Overall I am in love with the camera - I have a few of lenses: the kit lens from my PEN Mini, 25, M.60mm f2.8 macro, M.40-150mm zoom and 70-300mm. I am an everyday shooter and the OM-D is generally with me. My reason for 4 stars: There needs to be a lock on the dial surrounding the shutter. Every once in a while I accidentally bump it, changing my exposure and not realizing it until its too late. My other beef is that I keep losing the hot shoe covers. I am on my 3rd and have ordered 4 more to keep in reserve. These need to be constructed to stay on the camera. So disappointing to look down and realize its gone...again. Have the same problem with my Pen Mini - come on Olympus - build a better one!

Other than that I am quite pleased with the camera - love the art filters and all the creative ways to capture my moments.

November 28, 2014

william

The Camera to Buy

I purchased my OM-D E-M1 last December along with the 12-40mm PRO lens it did take me a while to learn the camera but once I did it has been the best camera I purchased. Photos are clear and professional, the camera is light and easy to carry I have purchased the macro 60mm, the 75-300mm, the 17mm prime and the new 40-150mm PRO this month. This entire system you can take anywhere in one bag. Test this camera and lens before buying any other model. You will not be disappointed trust me.

November 18, 2014

Andrew

Close to Excellent

Does Olympus actually read these? :) It was this or the Fuji system. While I am generally quite happy with the E-M1, I probably would have gone for the Fuji system if they were a little more finger-friendly. I’ve only had a few weeks with the E-M1, so I still need to shoot and learn more.

Let me divide this review into two broad parts. First, is the most important part – the IQ and handling. The E-M1 IQ seems to be quite good. Many say the images are a bit soft and I tend to agree. However, when you look at the enlarged images then there is plenty of sharpness, detail and subtleties in the colors. A lot of course, will also depend on the lenses and print quality. So, I will give a thumbs-up to the IQ. I still need to shoot RAW and work with the images.

Second, is the handling. The two-dial system, lever, super control panel and buttons make it easy to use and quick to change the most important parameters, especially at eye-level. I thoroughly enjoy holding the camera. So, another thumbs-up with caveats below.

Now, for part two of the review:
First, it’s a $1,400 camera, the world’s most sophisticated and customizable system, and it comes with a completely useless “starter’s guide.” I ordered (paid for) the “full manual” from Olympus. It’s horrible, lousy explanations, lousy images and lousy print quality. Completely inexcusable. Thankfully, John Foster has a very nice online guide with practical observations for every setting.
Second, no camera on the planet needs more than 200 customizable options. Did a photographer design the camera, or a software engineer? There are some quite useful functions, but still there is too much “crapware.” Professionals and enthusiasts are going to do 99.9% in post-processing. Beginners and amateurs will be turned off by the complexity.
Can anyone tell me which settings are overridden if you are in JPEG or RAW shooting mode?
Third, all those buttons and customization, but there aren’t separate buttons for AE-L and AF-L.
Fourth, a hybrid EVF/OVF would have been nice and I’d get rid of the video capability. Does anybody really buy this camera for video?
Fifth, the 6-foot long, quarter-inch thick extension cord for the battery charger is completely impractical and a pain for traveling. My 4-year old Nikon came with a simple plugin charger and adapter. I paid $40 for a third-party portable charger. Come on Olympus, think!
Sixth, I don’t particularly mind the external flash, but why do I need to keep track of the three tiny black plastic covers needed for the hotshoe and external flash?
Seventh, the neck strap practically cuts my neck.
Eighth, I find the vertical and horizontal guide levels a little too obtrusive, but I may just be getting a little nitpicky by now :)

All-in-all, I am happy with the IQ and the handling of the camera for the things I need to adjust quickly. That and a few good pieces of glass should make for fun and quality shots. I’m sure I’ll have and shoot with it for years to come.
But, I can’t help but feel that Olympus is thinking about their pockets first, human beings last. The camera should be priced at $1,200. For some lenses, you have to buy a $50-$60 lens hood. That’s a flat-out rip-off. There should be a real user manual and a real instructional dvd in the box as well as an Olympus website-based real-life shooting video tutorial. Stupid stuff like the extension cord, the neck strap and flash covers are annoying. So much thought put into some things, so little into other things. In the end, I’m betting that the IQ, handling and lenses will make it a great and fun shooting experience.

October 27, 2014

WAI

Camera beautifully made with very sharp and natural images

I am very impressed with the design and functions on this camera. I think mirrorless cameras will lead the way for future generations of DSLR cameras. Light body and fast autofocus. Thanks Olympus, way to go!

September 29, 2014

Juan Calavera

Lovely To Shoot With, Tricky To Hold

I've been shooting almost exclusively with my E-M1 and the M.Zuiko 12-40mm PRO lens for over six months now. I'm convinced it's the perfect travel and industrial field camera for pros and enthusiasts, with the following caveats:

1.) At least three fully charged batteries should be carried with the camera whenever out shooting in the field, particularly for all-day events and schedules. One in the body and two extra. Once the level indicator drops below three bars, the power drains pretty quickly.
2.) While the myriad function buttons, lever and dials are an ergonomic fantasy land of control IN THEORY, the camera is just small enough, especially when not using the optional battery grip, where unintentional pushing of pre-set controls WILL happen in a run-and-gun situation. I recently spoke to a famous E-M1 endorser who confided in me that he actually has all his extra function buttons set to OFF. In addition, an Olympus rep reluctantly confessed that the back 1-2 position lever is so sophisticated as to be slightly volatile, explaining why my E-M1 has "locked up" a few times during strenuous, fast shooting periods.

That being said, none of this is enough to detract from a five star rating. This camera (and the image quality of remarkably high-end M.Zuiko lenses) has brought my shots up to a level I never thought I's reach at this price point. This camera body really seems to have been designed and built as relatively "future-proof," as well as immediately usable at any skill level.
Just be careful how you hold it if you're going to set all those fancy function buttons.

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