The new pow­er­packed Olym­pus

This rugged cam­era packs in a lot of pro-level fea­tures into a tiny body.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By TAN KIT HOONG bytz@thes­tar.com.my

With the OM-D E-M1, Olym­pus has made a com­mit­ment to Mi­cro Four thirds — with this cam­era tak­ing over as the new flag­ship model, Olym­pus will no longer pro­duce its own mir­rored E-sys­tem cam­era (at least for now). Of course, now that the E-M1 is the topof-the line model in the sta­ble, Olym­pus has ba­si­cally packed it with ev­ery pro­fes­sional fea­ture that you can think of with a few nice sur­prises.

In fact, we’re not go­ing to beat around the bush — the E-M1 is so packed with fea­tures and so well made, we’re go­ing to call it the best Mi­cro Four thirds cam­era you can buy today. here’s why.

Hefty and pretty

First off, the E-M1 looks a lot like its sib­ling, the E-M5, ex­cept that this time, Olym­pus has beefed up the di­men­sions (slightly taller and wider) and hand­grip a lit­tle bit and re­designed a few of the con­trols. the size change isn’t so ap­par­ent when you com­pare the two cam­eras but the bet­ter hand­grip is a very no­tice­able im­prove­ment while the larger body means that there is a bit more space for the var­i­ous con­trols.

in fact, i’d say that ev­ery sin­gle but­ton has been very slightly tweaked for bet­ter place­ment and fall bet­ter un­der your fin­gers — as a re­sult, the E-M1 is ac­tu­ally one of the most com­fort­able smaller bod­ied cam­eras i’ve ever tested.

the build qual­ity is top-notch with a lot of at­ten­tion to de­tail and the body is also ap­par­ently heav­ily weather-sealed to keep out mois­ture.

On the back you get a nice 1.037-mil­lion-dot LCD that tilts (but does not ro­tate) while the elec­tronic viewfinder (EVF) is a nice 2.36mil­lion-dot screen which is so high-res that it gives an op­ti­cal viewfinder a run for its money.

What i par­tic­u­larly like about the new de­sign is that the Mode dial has a funky new type of lock — with most mode dial locks, you have to press and hold a but­ton in the mid­dle of the dial to un­lock and change modes but on the E-M1, the dial is free turn­ing un­til you lock it down by press­ing the but­ton till it clicks.

i think this sys­tem works very well, and since i’m not a fan of Mode dial locks in gen­eral, i left it un­locked all the time — the dial is tight enough that i never ac­ci­den­tally changed modes at any time.

Our re­view unit of the E-M1 was bun­dled to­gether with the new M.Zuiko Dig­i­tal ED 1240mm f/ 2.8 Pro con­stant aper­ture lens, which suf­fice to say is meant to be paired with the E-M1 and in terms of build and im­age qual­ity, it’s ex­cel­lent.

In use

With the E-M1, Olym­pus has fi­nally man­aged to repli­cate the look and feel of us­ing a clas­sic SLR — all the but­tons and con­trols are where they should be and it all works very well.

the cam­era also a host of cus­tomis­able func­tion (FN) but­tons for map­ping your favourite fea­tures — in fact, al­most ev­ery but­ton on the cam­era can be mapped to dif­fer­ent func­tions, in­clud­ing the video record but­ton.

if the plethora of but­tons aren’t enough for you, there’s a lit­tle flip switch just on the right side of the EVF which al­lows you to de­fine what the two com­mand di­als do dur­ing shoot­ing.

in its nor­mal po­si­tion, the two di­als will work in the con­ven­tional man­ner (depend­ing on the shoot­ing mode, they will say, func­tion as aper­ture and shut­ter di­als) but switch it to the se­cond po­si­tion and the two di­als will have two ad­di­tional func­tions, such as a quick iSO switch for the front dial and white bal­ance for the rear dial.

Go retro: From the front, the olym­pus oM-d e-M1 looks much like a clas­sic oM4 SLr.

Con­trol cen­tre: The mode dial on the oM-d eM1, sur­rounded by the shut­ter re­lease, video record­ing but­ton, tone curve ad­just­ment but­ton and two com­mand di­als.

Top side: The oM-d e-M1’s power switch sits here, to­gether with the drive mode but­ton and aut­o­fo­cus mode but­tons.

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