November 28, 2014
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
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
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
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.
September 21, 2014
Seldom do I go out and purchase the latest and greatest of anything. I came from the OM-D film world and had several of the E-Series cameras in the digital world and enjoyed them all. Two months after this camera came out, I bought one. By comparison, I did not purchase the E-5 until it had been out for two years. An early adopter, well this is new territory.
I own seventeen of the lenses designed for the four thirds system, and I have been most impressed with how they delve together with the E-M1 and produce quality and beautiful images, so long as the owner is paying attention and knows what he is doing. It is clear I am the weak link in the equation. I have yet to master nearly all the settings this instrument is capable of, and now I have the version 2 firmware to tackle. Those are my limitations and challenges, and that is what makes this camera a joy to use...it produces in spite of what I bring to the table.
Read the manual, read it again and again, seek out advice and assistance, and most of all experiment. The instrument delivers, and in the right hands it delivers spectacular images. If at first you do not succeed, don't complain, but get out and practice. Your new teacher, the E-M1, is well up to the task. Enjoy it.
August 01, 2014
This is a very complicated camera to operate, and the manual is next to useless. We need more outside manuals for users as it is obvious that the camera companies don't care about anything than sales. I have Friedman's The Complete Guide to Olympus' OM-D E-M1, but its organization leaves a lot to be desired.
July 29, 2014
I have had many Olympus cameras through the years.This is a very complicated camera and not very intuitive. Took me forever to even figure out how to adjust the flash for a flash fill in. I was hoping for a good fast focus with good results. Many of the pictures have way too soft focus with blur when you don't want it. I was trying to shoot some photos last week of a dinner and gave up with the blur and lighting and just grabbed my Oly Tough G2 and that point and shoot was better. I went to the Olympus site for learning and saw they sold a video, but it had universal bad reviews as being worthless information with someone only reading parts of the instruction manual. For a product of this price and supposed quality, there should be an informative video included in the product itself. I bought this camera as an upgrade from my Oly Tough G2 for use underwater and land use. I am now holding off buying the underwater housing because I don't think it will work like I had hoped. I am disappointed.
July 21, 2014
I have owned a number of Olympus compact cameras and have been impressed with their durability, quality and the quality of the photos they were able to produce. I was hoping that moving to this model would provide me with more professional features I could grow into while maintaining the Olympus functional style. This purchase has worked out very well for me, so far.
Features are generally where I would have looked for them on previous models. There's no shortage of professional features, in addition to what I've been used to with compact systems. Olympus also makes one of the most flexible systems available in any format, considering there are direct access buttons for just about everything you would need quick access to, and most are user customizable!
The 'Live View' LCD is crisp and clear. I am able to see it clearly even in bright sunlight. The electronic viewfinder is excellent. Not having worked with an EVF, except with video cameras, and not having worked with SLR viewfinders since using film model SLR's years ago, I was unsure how much I would use the EVF versus the LCD. I am happy with both, and surprisingly very comfortable with the EVF, now that I have gotten used to where the controls are by touch.
I plan on using the camera mostly for photos, not for video shooting. I can definitely say that I am very happy with the camera for my purposes and look forward to many years of enjoying this camera!
July 19, 2014
This is a real good landscape camera, but the the telephoto lenses that I have tried are real soft, unless there is bright sunlight. I have the 14-150mm and the 75-300mm, if it is cloudy forget it, very soft. Olympus needs a 300mm f4.0 for a good price. Very limited on the prime lens choices, unless you have thousands to spend. I also have a 25mm f1.8, this is a good walking around lens. Image stabilizer works good, but you have to set the focal length for it to be effective. I have not tried any of the creative setting yet, still trying to get sharp results. Only about 1/2 of the shots that I have taken are keepers, either too soft or out of focus. I think it is easier to shoot with the full size SLRs.
July 06, 2014
I am loving this wonder. Learning as I go, as I'm not too keen on manuals. Olympus has been in my pocket or backpack for quite a few years, and never disappoints.. the E-M1 rocks it.