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