February 12, 2015
I am writing my second review of OMD EM-1. I shoot in raw always and I want to first discuss the quality of the raw files. Second, I walk more than five miles at times taking photography walks with my OMD EM-1. It's portability will be highlighted. On a final abridged note, the advanced menu system, dials and buttons are ideal for someone who multipurposes his or her images and his or her photography techniques.
OMD EM-1. Breathe deeply. I have read other reviews discussing chromatic aberration and noise presence in the camera's raw files. I use lens hoods and filters to reduce and eliminate color distortion as well as haloing in the raw file. If any remains, I remove it in Adobe Camera Raw. For noise, I have seldom seen color noise in ISO below 1600. I have an HD video card and display. In those cases, it was in water with long shutter speeds. In all cases, it can be removed in Adobe Camera Raw.
I love walking with my OMD EM-1. My many M.Zuiko lenses are light just as is the OMD EM-1 body. Thus the 'Micro' in Micro Four Thirds. Why is the portability important to long distances other than weight? For birds, as an example, walking on a trail and shooting them requires luck, skill, and a sharp eyesight. The further you walk, the more chances you have of photographing birds. A light and portable camera system is a must: for the target subjects and your back!
Having options says you have control over your photos, but more importantly over your workflow. An advanced menu system and ergonomic dials and buttons are a must. I shoot in raw with a 16:9 aspect ratio. My initial audience is two tv stations. They sort through my images for backgrounds often. 16:9 aspect ratio is Cinematic, wide screen TV. However, my second purpose for some of my photos is stock photography. The OMD EM-1 is completely able to do stock photography. One final purpose I would like to mention is selling photography prints. As a print, usually a different aspect is needed depending on the customer. As for the buttons and dials on the OMD EM-1 body, I have the hands of a pianist. You can do a lot of customization with it. My OMD EM-1 is just the way I like it. So can yours.
If you want Pro level Performance and Prestige, Portability and Acessibility Potential, and a Device that out does all others -- Olympus OMD EM-1 is your next camera.
Original review (posted March 2014)
Photo Fantastic. Rev'd up Video.
I have great success with my new OMD EM-1. The transition from my previous Olympus camera to the OMD EM-1 was seamless and effortless.
The higher ISO choices are very powerful with no noise present. The micro four thirds and Pro lens choices highly flatter this dynamic camera. Burst mode is ideal for quick moving wildlife, or fidgeting young children. The speed of the camera breaks the sound barrier. Sunrises and sunsets gain acutely more detailed precision with the Shadow and Highlight adjustments feature. Having two dials to control Aperture and Shutter in Manual Shooting mode turns the camera into almost a musical instrument. The OMD EM-1 sings Italian Opera.
One scene mode that intrigues me is hand-held starlight. The North Star and its siblings come through clearly holding the camera in my hand.
Frigid river air temperatures are yet to overpower the OMD EM-1. At 20 degrees Fahrenheit I was able to capture the ending of a beautiful sunset with no condensation to think of.
The HD video produced with the OMD EM-1 is of excellent quality, particularly with its stereo sound. In combination with the various shooting modes and lenses, your creative potential sky rockets.
Images created with the OMD EM-1 exceed industry potential. Photoshop smiles when I open them.
If you want to be the leader of your photography abilities, the OMD EM-1 is the camera of choice for you.
February 03, 2015
I've owned my E-M1 for about a year now and have captured some great images with it. But I have to agree with some of the other reviews in that it is a very complex instrument with a very steep learning curve.
Some of the Pros and Cons:
-Small and light weight means it doesn't bog you down when taking it on a nature hike or a family vacation
-Immense amount of features and settings means that it's possible to get the perfect picture in any setting or situation
-Though focus tends to be a bit on the soft side, image quality is great once you learn how to use the camera.
-Fast autofocus and fun to shoot with.
-More noise and chromatic aberration than I deem acceptable for a camera costing $1400 just for the body. Noise in the shadow areas is visible all the way down to ISO 200. And while the ISO can be set as high as 25600. No usable images can be attained higher than ISO 6400. I thought the amount of noise visible was normal until I saw an image taken at ISO 5000 with my friend's less expensive Nikon. It had less noise than an image taken with my E-M1 at ISO 1600. Increasing the noise filter and noise reduction only smears detail.
-A completely useless and unhelpful starter guide comes with the camera. A camera this complex needs to have a dedicated user manual that explains how each of the 200 plus features work. It seems as though the people at Olympus assumed we would know how to use all the features. For example, when setting the image stabilizer focal length, how am I supposed to know what to set it at when I have a zoom lens......or should I set it at 1000mm to ensure it's sensitive enough to detect even the slightest amount of camera shake? A manual explaining this would be helpful.
-The little hot shoe pieces are easily lost. I've had to buy some replacements already. Why not include an on-board flash like every other "professional" camera instead of requiring it to be separately connected.
All in all, this is a very good, well-built, stylish camera that can satisfy the needs of almost anyone. The image quality it produces is on par with cameras costing more and I am happy to continue shooting with it.
NOTE FROM OLYMPUS:
We appreciate your feedback on the included starter guide. The full OM-D E-M1 manual can be freely downloaded here: http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_support_manuals.asp?id=1648.
Regarding the IS focal length selection: The only time you will want to utilize the manual focal length input is when a legacy manual focus lens is used. Non-legacy lenses offer electronic connection and control of aperture and focus. For these, the focal length or zoom position will be communicated to the camera automatically. If you are using a manual focus legacy lens, manually inputting the focal length will allow the camera's IS unit to function properly. We do not recommend setting the length longer then the lens offers.
January 31, 2015
The EM-1 is my fourth Olympus camera. Previously had an EPL-1 and EPL-3. Still have an EP3 and now the EM-1 which is used daily on a professional basis in a studio. Suffice to say I am familiar with Olympus cameras.
The EM-1 is a great camera with good feel. Just amazing. The photos are great. I like all the options. However I have had a few issues with the camera.
I think the best way to review this to run through the pros and cons.
-Sturdy frame (it is so nice to not have plastic or stamped metal)
-Metallic dials and switches
-Good sized grip (I have the extra grip as well)
-Full Featured plenty of settings to adjust and customize. The menus are not too crowded and it is what you should expect from a camera of this caliber.
-Lighter than a large DSLR
-You can change the battery while on a tripod (without battery grip)
-The swivel touch screen is very useful and seems well made
-Tethering to computer is a great option.
-After only a little over a month (5800 photos) the rear dial is malfunctioning. Not excited about this. This is some known problem that many people have I guess. I need the camera every day. Sending it in for service means I need to buy a second one while it is in. Maybe that was the plan.
-The power switch is in an odd location that keeps you from naturally turning on the camera as you raise it up with one hand to prepare to shoot. For this reason I do not tend to take the camera out of the studio often. I really want to, but it is the small things like this that have me lugging a DSLR outside. The EM-1 is powerful, light, and nimble. But, that is not really useful when you can actually get a full sized SLR turned on and ready to shoot faster than the EM-1. For long days sometimes the power can be off to conserve battery. Maybe I just need to train myself on how to do this. If you do not need this camera for long days of constant shooting where outside, ignore this.
-Telephoto function not available when tethered. They never mention this anywhere in the manual or other documents, but Olympus support confirmed this is not currently an option. Disappointing as I was really looking forward to this combo. Very silly not to have this available. There is also a feature in the iOS app that is not available in the tethering capture software...I think it was electronic zoom control.
-Tethered preview quality and size could be much better. I was seriously disappointed. I would pay for the software if it was better.
-The left side cover is pretty tough to open unless you swivel the screen out.
-The wifi connect feature is only useful for select moments when you know you need to use it. They market it as some wonderfully easy to do thing that will have you sharing images on social media instantly, but that is not the case. You have to turn it on, go through the setup to change you wifi connection to the camera, then take some pictures or move some pictures, then you have to go back and change your wifi connection back to the real world and then you go back to the photos and share them. I expected I could connect the camera to the same network as the iPhone and make the connection that way so it really would be more instant and easy to use, but it is not. I planned on using it, but I never do now because it is just no easy to do.
-The camera does Title all your images "OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA". This is nothing new and Olympus has been doing this for a while. That does not make it any less annoying! I spent weeks trying to figure out how to turn this off on my EP-3 only to find out it is not possible. I have a specific post process that I have to do just to remove this. Why can we not have the option to leave this data blank in the camera like every other manufacturer. The EXIF data is already tagged with the camera make model and serial number. I do not think Olympus understands how much of a hinderance this is to a number of users. I considered never using Olympus again because this really messed with the workflow. Other manufacturers give you the option to Title with a blank or a sequential number after a title. I am not sure when they will get with the program. Hiding behind the idea that it is just some small bit of EXIF data that only pops up in certain softwares because that is not the case. If they sold an EM-1 model that did not do this I would pay more for it to be rid of the problem.
Well that may sound like I really do not like the EM-1. The fact is I still really like it a lot, but it does have a few issues that and I did want to explain them well enough for others to understand. Currently the pros very much outweigh the cons for me. I want to give it 5 stars but I just can't. I am however considering buying a second one. The bottom line is it feels like it is indestructible and the photos are great. Buy one!
January 27, 2015
I was really amazed and pleased at well the OM-D E-M1 works with my existing four thirds lenses. Since I use four third lenses for specific purposes, the reduced focus field is not the problem I thought it might be. Of course there is no problem with m43 lenses - works flawlessly.
January 23, 2015
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)
― 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.
― 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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
NOTE FROM OLYMPUS:
This is EXIF data that displays in some programs while reviewing video.
December 26, 2014
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
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.