Olympus Announces New Flagship Professional DSLR: OM-D E-M1

Olympus Announces New Flagship Professional DSLR: OM-D E-M1

Remember the Olympus E-5? If you don't, I can't say I blame you. It was Olympus's last attempt at a "professional" DSLR that was anything but. Everything about the E-5 felt outdated as soon as it was released. It's been years since the E-5, and Olympus is finally ready with its successor, the micro four thirds OM-D E-M1.

The E-M1 has an unusual design built for advanced photographers. It combines what Olympus is calling a "high-performance tool in a compact system camera package." The E-M1 is "packed with incredible speed and image quality that rivals full-frame DSLRs, in a portable yet lightweight body designed to go anywhere."

Here's what makes it somewhat unusual: The Olympus OM-D E-M1 works with all ZUIKO Digital lenses, in addition to working with M.ZUIKO Digital lenses. If I'm reading that right, it means it accepts every lens Olympus has ever made.

Olympus says this is possible due to "advanced DUAL FAST AF system that combines both Contrast AF and On-Chip Phase Detection AF. DSLR users familiar with an optical viewfinder will marvel at its electronic viewfinder (EVF) that is as large as a full-frame DSLR viewfinder and has added creative control."

Olympus OM_D E-M1_Fstoppers

Ok so let's get to the details Olympus really wants you to know about the new camera:

DSLR Image Quality
With the OM-D E-M1, experience the highest image quality of any Olympus camera through the combination of a new 16.3 megapixel Live MOS sensor, a new TruePic VII image processor, and its best-in-class M.ZUIKO lenses. The TruePic VII image processor reduces noise and color fading at high ISOs for improved image reproduction. New Fine Detail Processing II technology configures the appropriate sharpness processing for each individual lens for natural, high-quality resolution, as well as reducing compression artifacts when recording movies.

Fast and Accurate AF for Complete Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds Lens Compatibility
The newly developed DUAL FAST AF selects the ideal method, depending on lens type and settings: either 37-point On-Chip Phase Detection AF or 81-point Contrast Detection AF to maximize the performance of both ZUIKO and M.ZUIKO lenses. Both systems work together to significantly improve continuous autofocus tracking performance when a Micro Four Thirds lens is attached and C-AF is selected. Users can select Group Target AF for a variety of situations, Small Target AF for pinpoint shooting, or Super Spot AF for capturing even smaller subjects and specifying a small area focus location during macro shooting.

The TruePic VII engine supports 10 frames-per-second shooting with a 41-picture RAW buffer in single autofocus (S-AF) mode and 6.5 frames-per-second shooting with a 50-picture RAW buffer in continuous autofocus (C-AF) mode.

Olympus OM_D E-M1_Fstoppers 3

New Super-Large Interactive Electronic Viewfinder
The E-M1’s advanced, built-in Interactive Electronic Viewfinder features a 1.48x (35mm equivalent of .74x) magnification factor that rivals full-frame DSLR cameras. The extremely high-resolution 2.36 million-dot LCD panel provides a large, clear image that is on a par with optical viewfinders. Tracking moving subjects is completely natural, with a display time lag of only 0.029 seconds. Users can experiment with aspect ratio, magnification, color, and highlight and shadow, and the effects of camera settings on subjects are viewable prior to capturing the finished image. Adaptive Brightness Control raises the brightness when shooting in bright outdoor conditions and lowers the brightness in dark indoor conditions, reducing visual errors from light and dark adaptation of the eye.

Color Creator is a new easy-to-use tool that fine-tunes hue and color saturation using the intuitive GUI and Live View screen, so users can create original images imbued with their own choice of colors. Creative Color was created with a designer's sensitivity in mind, and hue can be adjusted in 30 steps, and color saturation adjusted in eight steps, including the baseline.

Olympus OM_D E-M1_Fstoppers 1

Olympus OM_D E-M1_Fstoppers 2

The Most Effective 5-Axis Image Stabilization System
The Olympus E-M1’s built-in 5-Axis Image Stabilization with Multi-Motion IS mechanism reduces the effects of camera motion and image blur from five directions. Whether shooting stills or HD video, even the motion blur caused by walking or running is stabilized. New algorithms make image stabilization more effective at low shutter speeds. When it is employed while panning during still image shooting or movie recording, IS-AUTO mode automatically detects the camera's movements and provides optimal correction regardless of direction or camera orientation – even when panning in a diagonal direction. Users can check the image stabilization effects on the Live View screen as well as the viewfinder to accurately frame and focus, even during telephoto or macro shooting. Multi-Motion IS, used in combination with the 5-Axis Image Stabilization mechanism, produces excellent correction during movie recording.

Rugged Freeze, Splash, Dustproof Durability
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 expands the dustproof and splashproof capabilities of the E-M5 even further with freezeproof capabilities — guaranteed operation down to 14 ºF — for the best environmental resistance of any Olympus interchangeable lens camera. Its durable magnesium alloy body, and weather-resistant seals and gaskets block moisture and dust for use in any environment, without sacrificing image quality. The camera’s Supersonic Wave Filter (SSWF) dust reduction system vibrates at a super-high speed of more than 30,000 times per second to powerfully remove dust particles so users can shoot in dusty environments.

Ultimate Camera Control
Advanced photographers will appreciate the intuitive 2x2 Dial Control system to easily adjust four often-used functions with the camera’s lever or two dials: aperture/shutter speed, exposure compensation, ISO speed and white balance. A built-in grip similar to that of the E-M5 makes shooting with Four Thirds lenses more comfortable, and all frequently accessed buttons are logically laid out. Controls are now more functional: the settings reset function is activated by pressing and holding the OK button and there is a toggle option for the My Settings shortcut and a locking mode dial to prevent unintentional movement of the mode dial during shooting or when removing the camera from a case or bag. The dedicated “mic-in” jack supports an external microphone when recording HD movies and a built-in X-Sync socket easily connects to studio strobes.

Built-In Wi-Fi
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 includes built-in Wi-Fi, and the set-up is simple. By quickly scanning the QR code displayed on the camera's LCD with a smart device, it syncs with the Wi-Fi network created by the camera. The free Olympus Image Share 2.0 smartphone app synchronizes a user’s smartphone and E-M1 so the camera’s “Live View” is effectively displayed on the phone, and the camera can be controlled by touching the smartphone display as if it were the camera. This is ideal for taking self-portraits, capturing images of wildlife from a distance and sharing images easily online. The E-M1’s remote shooting function has been improved for use in all main shooting modes (P, A, S, M and iAUTO). Users can now wirelessly adjust various settings, such as the shutter speed, aperture value, ISO and exposure compensation, as well as operate the Live Bulb shooting mode from their Wi-Fi devices. They can also use their smartphone to embed GPS information into their images.

More Creative Features
New Diorama II adds to the popular range of Olympus in-camera Art Filters and offers left and right blur effect in addition to the top and bottom blur effect of Diorama I. The Olympus E-M1 is equipped with two variations of HDR Shooting – HDR1 and HDR2. With a single press of the shutter button, four images with differing exposures are captured and automatically merged in the camera into a single HDR high-contrast image or super-high-contrast image. Photo Story mode enables users to capture a scene from multiple viewpoints and then combine the images into a single image to create unique collages inside the camera. Time Lapse Movie converts the series of pictures taken using interval shooting into a movie inside the camera. The Time Lapse Movie length has been increased to a maximum of 100 seconds. The number of possible shots that can be captured with Interval Shooting has been increased to 999. The E-M1 is also equipped with Focus Peaking, which dramatically improves the usability of older manual focus lenses.

New High-Performance Lenses and Accessories for Every Shooting Challenge
The M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens (24–80mm, 35mm equivalent) is the first model in the new M.ZUIKO PRO category and is scheduled for release at the same time as the Olympus OM-D E-M1. It features dustproof and waterproof performance, toughness and excellent image quality. Its mount employs the same type of sealing as the camera body and is Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) with high-speed, near-silent autofocus during still shooting and high-definition (HD) video capture. It maintains the brightness of a constant f2.8 aperture for high-grade image creation, one of the requirements of professional photographers for a high-performance lens.

Olympus_E-M1_Fstoppers_with_adapter_battery

If it was a possible option in a camera, Olympus looks like they've stuffed it in to the OM-D E-M1. It's fast, powerful, adaptive, lightweight and small. All that's left is to test it out and see how it performs with the range of lenses available from Olympus.

I don't know guys, it might be time to take Olympus seriously again. I have to say, I'm really impressed with what this camera is packing. Olympus has made some of the best selling and critically acclaimed small interchangeable lens cameras over the past two years, and if that is any indication of how this camera will perform, we have a lot to be excited about.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 will be available in October 2013 in the following configurations and estimated pricing:

$1399.99 Body only, available in Black
$2199.99 Black body with black M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens

In addition, Olympus announced two new lenses in development, the ZUIKO Digital ED 12–40mm f2.8 PRO lens (24–80mm, 35mm equivalent) and the ZUIKO Digital ED 40–150mm f2.8 PRO (80–300mm, 35mm equivalent). The release date of the 12-40mm will coincide with the release of the camera.The 40-150mm will be out in the latter part of 2014. It will be a telephoto zoom lens with a constant f2.8 aperture and will feature a dust-proof and splash-proof construction "rugged enough for professional use."

Posted In: 
Log in or register to post comments

45 Comments

I've shot with this and already filmed a video review! Check it out here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESOj56fWB8Q

Thanks for the review, Jordan!

personally, I wouldn't buy it, looks cheap and looks like crap

While I would agree that looks would play a small part in my decision in buying a camera, it really should be a fair way down the list of things to consider. Image quality, performance, how it handles, and so on, are far more important than its looks. Is it a tool to take photos, or is it a fashion accessory?

To be honest, I wouldn't say I like how it looks, but I would not dismiss it out of hand. There are times when a camera that doesn't attract too much attention from the "wrong sort" of people could be an advantage.

Well, the insides are ugly too. Micro 4/3s? Even a Rebel has a bigger sensor.

Don't get me wrong, I am by no means an Olympus fan-boy - I am happy enough with my 7D for most things.

All I am saying is to not just dismiss it out of hand yet, wait for example images and proper reviews and comparisons to come out. The Olympus does have a different sensor type (Live MOS, if I recall), compared to the CMOS type of sensor used in most DSLRs. This may make a difference in quality compared to other micro 4/3 systems, and may (or may not) bring the quality closer to that produced by larger sensors.

Too bad it fails the only "real" test of a pro camera... it's got Auto & SCN mode on a dial. #overlyserious

You don't have to use them. And, IMO, that was a smart addition, because they've broadened the potential customer base, giving this camera a fighting chance against the dearth of other models in this price category.

Their placement doesn't look like it would easily get bumped either, so that's good!

My 6D has those. Sorta crying right now.

Heh, I do hope you guys know my comment was in jest!

a 'pro' camera with a rinky dink sensor.. NO thanks. Wheres the FF sony with a d800 sensor?? THATS what I want.. :p

Maarten de Boer's picture

Nice buffer size, that's about the only nice thing I could find. Cheap looks, uncomfortable brick design, EVF, built-in HDR and much more. Oh and have you seen the back of the camera and the lack of buttons, I puked. No 'pro' camera at all imo, clearly they're lagging behind on the competition and I have no idea why we should take Olympus serious again, it's a joke.

Looks better designed than Nikon bodies.

Vladimir Byazrov's picture

Why label it professional? Pro photographers will never choose this thing, but amateurs might decide they don't need it yet.

I'm a pro photographer and I use my Olympus OMD E-5 almost as much as my DSLR. You know what they say about making assumptions!

Big fan of mirrorless cameras..would be nice to see "a pro" actually use them for real work to give people an idea of how they stack up to standard dslr's..Can only stand so many rocks, pets and signposts as image samples.

Zack Arias is raving about the fuji x-series on his blog. He's taken some great shots with it and says he doesn't miss the DSLR though he does shoot on medium format on occasion. Trey Ratcliff switched from a Nikon d800 to a Sony nex7 he also talked about it in length on his blog.

That being said, other than in the video world, micro four thirds doesn't have much traction with the pros.

You can do HDR and landscapes on a point and shoot to your hearts desire and street photography hardly requires a camera north of $1K. All the Zack Arias's out there haven't shown any significant work done with a mirrorless camera. Where are the food shoots, architectural shoots, fashion and beauty work, wedding etc...?

But when push comes to shove, Zack has a Phase One.

Precisely my point...they are eager to take advantage of getting these new cameras to "try out" all the while claiming they aren't being paid. As if money is the only form of compensation...Then there is always the "but"...great camera but I'll use my DSLR when it comes time for real work.

The excuses vary...my personal fav is that clients will think something is up if they show up with a compact camera system. BS artists, most of them.

Seems like the worst of all worlds. It's almost as big as a DSLR but has a sensor the size of many point and shoots and priced more than many DSLR's with bigger sensors. What's the point? Oh and it's an Olympus.

When I saw it with grip on I was laughing. So spend more than a D7100 for a smaller sensor and probably bigger (at least taller) camera taking away its true niche, size.

Well now, you can't have a "pro" camera without a grip, can you? It's like having a fast car without a spoiler.

Well it's definitely good looking. The buttons looks like they are in the ideal place for your hand.

A pro label on a camera means nothing if there is not a pro holding it. I shoot all of my 2012 commercial work with a Fuji x100. that camera is a hobby camera to most.

Here is a person doing great things with the original OMD which was a great success.

http://www.f8photography.com.hk/tag/omd/

http://youtu.be/d7ZnMSt7c_k

As mentioned by a few people already; it looks crap. It reminds me of a D1-H or something, its crude and about a decade behind the times in terms of styling. If they've put this much thought into the styling, does that mean as much thought has gone into the design of the rest of the camera? Whether or not that is the case, I know its put that thought into my mind and probably many others too.

Except a D1H had a bigger sensor!

I really dig the body, it's a nice blend between a vintage camera body and something modern and edgy, like a machine.

"New Flagship Professional DSLR"

Does anyone even read this trash from these hack contributors before they go out? Even the most clueless person even remotely interested in photography could tell you this isn't a DSLR.

Goddamn. Fire everyone. Bring back Patrick and Lee and let's get back to the quality content we used to have.

Pages