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December 01, 2013


very rugged camera

very rugged camera--the on off switch is in a bad spot for me--I'm always going for the right not the left--still have to get a handle on the auto focus system--tried flying birds in bright light--about 50% rate of focus--they were soaring above and below--I'm still learning the camera so probably results will be better later. shot some 12,5oo ISO pics from a moving boat in the dark--they came out great! not for big prints but look good for the web.
The Art BW gunge look is very fun for Landscapes--the camera makes some great Landscape Black and Whites--Battery life was ok but I would have a second one for backup if shooting heavy--the little rubber covers for the hot shoe are funky--would be easy to drop and lose them-they are small and it takes to of them to cover things up. I really like the front and back dials for shutter speed and Apeture. its very similar to my Nikon's. Would really like to have some pro glass to really see what this camera can do. Hopefully my 12-40mm F2.8 will show up by dec 5th.
really looking forward to the performance match with this camera body. Overall I'm up in the air somewhat, but am sure that I will get more proficent with the controls and auto focus so will be more positive. I've been using a Nikon D4 with pro glass for last year and half so I'm used that level of overall performance.
thank you Olympus for making this camera, it has one super good thing I like--the light tiny waterproof size!!
hope this comes off as a positive overall statement--would recomend the E-M1 to other photographers

November 27, 2013


So far, so fast

How can we come so far so fast? Well, not "we". How can Olympus do it? I received my EM-1 a week ago and the 12-40 today. It is so shockingly, blindingly, unwaveringly perfect. In every respect and in every single detail. The design is as if I had done it myself. The craftsmanship, the utility and the quality of the results are not simply incrementally better. They are not even "game changer" better. It is much more than that. No, these items were designed and built by people and a company with a passion for doing it right. You can tell it is something special when you hold it. I suspect these people actually use what they build in their spare time. I liquidated 15 years of Canon "L" gear and I look back at that stuff and laugh. Sell it while you can. This is the future and these 2 items are maybe that and a little beyond. In this day of i-everything and "form over function" this takes me back to a time when more honorable things mattered. Like pride in what you produce. These items are a pleasure to use and to hold. Congratulations Olympus, and thank you.

Pro is the way to go. Keep those Pro lenses coming. A 40-100 and then a long (200+) fast prime please...

(Read this and weep... My kit: Oly EM-1 and EM-5. Oly 75, 45 12-40 and 60 macro. Oly 100-300 (hmmm). Rokinon 7.5. Pan-Leica 25 and Voightlander 17.5. Three 600R flashes. Yes kids, that is THE kit you want AND I have cash left over from my Canon sell off!)

November 26, 2013


I'm so glad I switched!

I've wanted to upgrade from my Nikon d90 for quite a while but didn't do anything because my options just didn't seem to fit. Nothing "jelled". Then a friend showed me this E-M1 and told me more about mirror less cameras, and I knew that was what I wanted! So I sold all my Nikon stuff and bought my E-M1, and I love it! It really is fun to use and takes gorgeous photos. Because of its size I don't feel conspicuous when taking photos in public places, either. I don't care if strangers think I've got a point and shoot! I know I've got a quality product. My only two problems will be solved with time. I knew all the controls and how to use the d90 so well, and it's going to take me some time to learn to set up and get used to Olympus controls. Also, Aperture doesn't yet have RAW support for the E-M1. But as I said, these drawbacks will be taken care of in time. This isn't a real technical review, just telling you how glad I am that I switched!

November 24, 2013


A very capable camera for a Pro

Coming from Nikon and Fuji gear, this camera combines the best from other brands. Fast focus speeds for action and very very nice JPEGs straight out of camera. I have already used the camera out in the cold rain with no issues. On the back end, the menu options are something else. It will take some time to get through the options provided. However the user is well rewarded for what Olympus has designed. I have been putting the camera and the 12-40mm lens through its paces for the last month and very pleased with what I am seeing. This camera is used professionally.

November 22, 2013


Amazing Camera

Great Photos, probably the best mirror-less camera on the market. Love the new size and weight, coming from the E-3 this is much lighter with the battery holder then the E-3 ever was. I have only one issue, the RAW image format is not supported by Apples Aperture - why would you not make the new image format available to Apple so it would be ready for day 1 launch of the new camera?

Also, un-related to the camera, my purchase experience from Oly was less then good. I ordered the camera in the beginging of October and was told it was a one week back order. Then it was two, then 3, 4 etc. So, I went to a different U.S. based on-line retail and had the camera in two days. I don't understand how you can be so bad at inventory management that your re-sellers have mor einventory then you do? High-end e-goods move Air not Ocean so how can you slip from 1 to 4 weeks? To not have avialbel inventory less then 3 weeks before Black Friday is in-excusable. Who ever manages your supply chain and inventory needs to be re-placed ASAP.

November 19, 2013


One Fine Camera

I have had my OM-D E-M1 for only a few days but am very impressed with the camera. I won't go into all the features as they have been covered by others and you can check them in countless other sites and reviews. I am an experienced photographer who used Nikon equipment up until last year, although I have also owned M43 cameras for 4 or 5 years now - mostly Panasonic G series. I also had an Olympus E-PL2 and more recently, an E-P5, which is in for repair after only 4 months. Hopefully, the E-M1 will be trouble-free.
The camera is really nice in the hand, with a substantial grip. It pays to download the manual and study it carefully as there is a bit of a learning curve due to the many features and buttons on the body. Might as well set up the function buttons to do what you want them to. Makes shooting a better experience. As there are a pile of programmable buttons, it can get confusing as to which does what until you use them regularly. I programmed the iAuto spot on the main dial to give me small JPEGs in sRGB colour space - very handy for occasional photos to send by email. Otherwise I shoot in RAW 90% of the time.
The E-M5 has a great reputation and I can see the E-M1 being a huge hit. There's something different about it compared to the many plasticky cameras out there. Sure it's expensive compared to an entry-level Nikon or Canon, but the high quality and smaller size and weight make it worth it. I should return to this site in 6 months and write a follow-up when I've had plenty of time to really use the camera. So far, so good!

November 16, 2013


Exceptional replacement for the E-5

Olympus did a very good job on the new EM-1 as a replacement for the E-5 and added lots of welcome improvements to make it competitive in cropped sensor market place. I most like the new tracking continuous AF and locking mode dial. I did not like the short battery life, the lack of having diamond pattern focus zone, and I can only assign one MySet to a button. On the E-5 I can assign MyMode's to mode dial and can access using the back wheel. Other than that, Olympus should not stop finding way to increase the Megapixel number as 16MP may be outgunned or no longer good enough in IQ. I also like to see Olympus making fast 75-300 2.8 or 100-400 3.5

November 16, 2013


The Camera I've been waiting for

I've been shooting Olympus since the E-10 and always believed in the promise of the 4/3 system theory. I invested in the 4/3 system Pro zooms from 7mm to 250mm.

I was concerned that my substantial investment in glass was wasted, but the EM-1 works great with my 4/3 glass and takes everything to a higher level.

The feeling of quality feels German or Swiss.

I used my 90 to 250 zoom with the 2X adaptor to shoot frieze work (at 35mm equivalent of 1000mm) from 100 yards away. I could make out the texture of the mortar and see hairline cracks, I blew the panorama up to a 3 foot X 12 foot print. Tack Sharp.

The E-M1 works great with my 4/3 lenses.

Combined with the 12 to 40 mm F2.8, the quality is much better than any other camera I have used. This new lens is as sharp as any of the 4/3 pro lenses and the weight seems like half of the E-5 with the 14-35 F2.0.

I sum the promise that Olympus made with the /3 system has finally been kept.

November 16, 2013


Great camera, Terrible Instructions

Somewhere, buried inside the E-M1 there is a GREAT camera. But first, you have to make your way through ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY TWO PAGES of the instruction manual, and endless menus, which only clutter up the learning process. The whole design of the project reflects an engineer’s rather than a photographer’s world view. The engineer says, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could do—?” whether there was any reason to believe that the user might actually WANT to do it. Engineers love “features.” Professionals or advanced amateur photographers love simplicity. They want to take the picture, not have the algorithm decide what the picture will look like. This is like Windows 95, where the engineers used up precious space so that you could custom design the cursor.

I have an E-M5 which had exactly the same issue-Olympus apparently didn’t learn. I had a whole series of OM film cameras, whose manuals were typically under 20 pages.

Here’s what I think Olympus should do for the E-M2, the next version.

1. Hire tech writers who had undergrad degrees in English, not engineering. Have a panel of users review the manual for confusion.
2. After the camera has been out for maybe 6 months, and people have had a chance to use it, form a large and varied user panel, and ask users which features they actually use. If at least 80% of the users don’t use the feature on a regular basis–get rid of it on the next version. Cut the number of options on the menu by 75%. If somebody wants “art” features, there are plenty of amateur cameras that will do it, or you can add the feature in post. Having it in the camera just slows down the learning curve.
3. Have some specific goals. The manual should be clear, concise, include every critical feature in good detail, and be no longer than 50 pages. Cut the menus by 60%.

4. Have one button you can push that will essentially set the camera up like an OM-4. Dials for aperture, f-stop, and “film speed”. A simple “Magnify” is good for manual focus.

5. In advertising, push the idea that the E-Mx is for photographers, not snapshooters. This is EXACTLY how Nikon cornered the SLR market in the 70s. While the long forgotten Topcon (which was a much better camera) was emphasizing features in ads, Nikon gave free complete sets of Nikon equipment to famous photographers with the proviso that any published photos had to credit Nikon. Within a few years, Topcon was gone, and Nikon (and later Canon, which played the same game) won the world.

Once I figure it out, I think the E-M1 will be a wonderful camera, but I resent all the time I have to waste getting to its core functions.

November 14, 2013

Derek Dean

The Next Step

Gee, where to start. I've been shooting since I was 6 years old, that would be in 1961. I got my degree in Fine Art Photography/Video/Film from the University of Oklahoma.

From the early 70s until 2003 I shot with a Canon Ftb and 3 prime lenses (28mm, 50mm, 200mm). For the past 10 years I've been shooting digital files with a Canon G3 and then a G10, both wonderful cameras.

I spent the last several years reading reviews and searching threads on various on-line forums to help me decide what direction to take my next camera purchase.

Because I liked the small, easy to carry size of the Canon G series, but also wanted the flexibility offered from an interchangeable lens system, I decided to go with a micro 4/3 system.

I was tempted by the Olympus E-M5 and the Panasonic GH3, but neither were quite right. When I finally got to see some early reviews of the Olympus E-M1 with the new Pro 12-40mm lens, I knew I'd found my camera.

I've only had the E-M1/12-40mm combo for a little over a week (along with the Olympus 60mm macro and Olympus 75-300mm tele), but it already feels like it's a part of me.

With the Canon G series, you're more or less forced to compose your shots using the rear LCD screen, which means holding the camera up and a foot or so away from your face. I adapted, but I sure got a lot of blurry photos.

After 10 years of shooting like that I'd forgotten how nice it is to hold the camera up to your eye and look through a viewfinder, and man, what a viewfinder! I have to keep reminding myself it's not optical, it's that good. I wear glasses, and with the stock eyecup I can see the whole, beautiful image. And it's sharp from corner to corner, with gorgeous color and contrast.

And, it's better than optical in the sense that you can set it up so that when you change your exposure you see the image become darker or lighter in the viewfinder, so what you see is what you get.

And of course you can review the shot without taking your eye from the viewfinder, which means not missing another shot because your looking at the rear screen to check your previous shot. Very neat.

Then there's the 2x2 control system and the ability to customize the controls by assigning your choice of functions to most of the buttons, dials, and levers. If it's more intuitive for you to change the aperture lower by turning the dial left, rather than right, then you can change that. Want one button access to white balance or ISO. You can do that. This camera is HIGHLY customizable.

Personally, I recommend that you download the manual from the Olympus website and check it out for yourself.

All this is important because it lets you set the camera up so that you almost never have to take your eye away from the viewfinder while shooting, meaning you won't miss that magic moment.

Then there's the amazing IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization). This 5 axis stabilization system is so incredible that I was able to shoot some closeup shots of Jellyfish in the water at the end of the Monterey pier, using my 75-300mm lens and the E-M1's electronic 2x digital teleconverter (meaning I was shooting at almost 1200mm equivalent), HANDHELD, and nearly every shot was sharp and blur free. Simply amazing.

The combination of the added stability from having my eye up to the viewfinder and the excellent IBIS has instantly increased the number of "keepers" that I get each time I go out shooting.

By the way, the new built-in grip is great. It fits my hand well, and with the new 12-40mm lens the balance is nearly perfect, like they were made for each other. But hey, it felt good with the 75-300mm too.

Oh, and the focusing is near instantaneous, and snaps right on with rarely any searching. And of course you can configure how you want to focus in many ways, and even go in and fine tune the focusing for each lens if you like. Very neat.

Now, what do the images look like. Well, that will mostly depend on you. This camera won't be the limiting factor. I set my upper ISO limit at 6400, and have no problem with out of the camera .jpgs.

I'm sorry to gush on like this, but honestly, this is a well thought out and executed camera. I paid retail for it, and it was worth every penny.

I chose m43 because I wanted a small system that I could carry all day and not feel tired, but with enough lens combinations to cover most shooting scenarios.

I chose the Olympus E-M1 because it's ergonomic design seems just right, it's got a very durable, weather resistant body, IBIS, killer viewfinder, and a feature set that give me the ability to customize the camera any way I want. Thanks Olympus!

Happy shooting!

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