Canon, Nikon, and Sony Users, Please Stop Buying the OM System EE-1 Dot Sight. We Review.

Canon, Nikon, and Sony Users, Please Stop Buying the OM System EE-1 Dot Sight. We Review.

Much to the dismay of OM System camera owners, other camera brand users have been buying up all the OM System EE-1 Dot sights and the stocks have disappeared. Don’t tell anyone, but they are available again for now. Canon, Nikon, and Sony readers, please ignore this article about how useful they are.

Why Do We Need the Dot Sight EE-1

Besides landscapes and macro, one of the other main markets that the OM System is aimed at is wildlife photographers. The ever-increasing numbers of wildlife and bird photographers migrating to the system is partially due to the narrower field of view and the extra effective reach that telephoto lenses are afforded as a consequence.

When I used to shoot with a DSLR and was photographing birds in flight with a telephoto lens, it was relatively easy to keep the bird into the frame. With both eyes open, I could easily track them using the optical viewfinder, keeping the camera pointing in the same direction as my eyes were looking. However, when I switched to mirrorless, things became more difficult. I found it much harder to find the bird with the camera. With practice, I’m getting better at it. But it is still more difficult than it was with the optical viewfinder, especially when using a very long lens like the 150-400mm f/4.5 PRO.

That is where the OM System EE-1 Dot Sight comes into play.

What Is the OM System EE-1 Dot Sight?

The OM System Dot Sight EE-1 is a battery-powered device that fits into the hotshoe on top of the camera. It’s small, measuring about 3 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches (7 x 4.25 x 4.25 cm), and weighs just 2.6 ounces (73 grams).

At the back is a switch that lifts the top upwards to reveal an optical viewfinder screen. When you switch on the EE-1, a red LED projects a dot onto the screen, and that is used to align the camera with the subject. There are two ways of using it. First, you can keep your eye close to the Dot Sight and forget the electronic viewfinder (EVF). Alternatively, you can use the dot sight to line up your subject and then move your eye to the EVF, as you would with a spotting scope on a telescope.

Once mounted on the camera and switched on, the site needs a little bit of setting up. I started by mounting mine on my OM-1 with the OM System M.Zuiko 150-400mm f/4.5 PRO lens attached. I mounted the camera on a tripod using the lens’ foot. Then, I aimed and focused it on a subject sitting approximately at the distance that I would be from a large flying bird like a gull. That’s usually about 12 yards (11 meters). I used the door handle of my house. Next, looking through the Dot Sight, I adjusted the position of the red dot so it too sat on the handle. The dot’s position is adjusted by two small wheels that move it up and down, left and right. There is also a brightness adjustment for the dot. Then, it’s all set to go.

Using the OM System EE-1 Dot Sight

Using this device, it is much easier to align subjects with the camera. That’s because looking through the window of the Dot Sight, you are seeing the world exactly as you would with your eyes. Furthermore, that window is not enclosed, so you can see around the edges, enabling you to spot subjects in the periphery and bring them into the frame. When I placed the dot on the subject, it was in the middle of the frame.

One thing I was curious about was the parallax error. Most of us are used to seeing the world through our cameras’ lenses. When you look through the Dot Sight, you are not doing that but viewing from above the lens. This is why the position of the red dot is adjustable. However, if you set it up to photograph something 12 yards away and then change to a subject double that distance, the angle formed by the lens and the Dot Sight to the subject becomes more acute, and the red dot is no longer exactly aligned.

In the following shot, I had set up the Dot Sight for the starling at 400mm. Shortly afterward, I took the second picture of the sparrow using with same settings but standing closer. You can see the bird is higher in the frame. At greater distances, the parallax error becomes less noticeable as the angle is more acute.

When this happened, I was still getting the subject in the frame, but I would need to rely more on cropping in development to get the composition I wanted. With the huge number of pixels and the quality of the lenses we have today, this is not an issue for most of us.

But was this realignment a problem? For me, not really. When I am photographing wildlife, I know what I am going to shoot, and how far away it is likely to be. With practice, I am learning how many clicks of the vertical adjustment wheel it takes to realign the dot for more distant subjects. I might, very carefully, add a white dot of paint to the vertical wheel as an index mark for when I first set it up.

You don’t necessarily need to use the sight for actually taking the photo. I also used it on a tripod in the same way as one would use a spotting scope. My big lens, with the internal teleconverter activated, has a similar field of view as a 1000mm lens on a 35mm sensor camera. I used the site to line up the camera with a distant subject and then transferred to using the viewfinder. Of course, the picture isn’t going to be as great as getting close to the subject. However, many people use these big lenses not for fabulous photos, but in the way they would use a spotting scope to see a bird and then record it. For this purpose, the Dot Sight is an excellent tool.

I found one drawback to the EE-1 Dot Sight when I looked through the viewfinder. If I am wearing my peaked Lowe Alpine Mountain Cap, the peak gets in the way. The simple solution is to reverse the hat or use one without a peak.

What I Liked and What Can Be Improved

What I Liked
A test shot using the EE-1 Dot Sight.

  • The EE-1 is small and light and can be slipped into a top pocket.
  • It’s easy to set up.
  • It’s affordable
  • It is a useful tool for shooting with telephoto lenses, especially super-telephoto lenses.
  • It works well with subject detection on the OM-1
  • It’s dust- and splash-proof. That’s just as well as the first time I took this out, it rained.
  • The hot shoe mount is universal for most camera brands.
  • Photographing birds in flight is much easier with a long lens when using the dot sight.
  • Distant subjects are easier to locate than just using a super-telephoto lens.

What Could Be Improved?

I was pushed to find anything that I didn’t like about the EE-1 Dot.

  • Stocks of the device disappear from the shops quickly because Nikon and Canon users keep buying them. 

Conclusion: Is It Worth Buying? 

  • This is definitely a useful piece of equipment for those who shoot with long lenses. It takes a little setting up each time you change the lens, but once you are used to that, it’s a quick process.

It’s affordable and very useful for anyone who shoots wildlife with a long lens. You can buy the OM System EE-1 Dot Sight by clicking here.

Ivor Rackham's picture

A professional photographer, website developer, and writer, Ivor lives in the North East of England. His main work is training others in photography. He has a special interest in supporting people with their mental well-being. In 2023 he accepted becoming a brand ambassador for the OM System.

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This has got to be the worst title I've seen on Fstoppers. Who approved this?

That has to be one of the most inane comments I've seen on Fstoppers.

Well, what kind of comments do you expect when you have a title to tell people stop buying this or that, as if you're the Creator of all that's good to buy and not to buy?

Some people don't have a sense of humor, do they? It was a tongue-in-cheek title. Next time I'll put a laughing emoji next to it.

Classic response from Ivor. Someone disagrees with him and they are ´inane’

The most self congratulatory photo journalist I have ever seen

Do you believe I have no right to respond to a troll? That was a typical trolling comment by someone who hides from the other readers behind a false identity and makes an attack on my creative work, i.e. my article. At best their snide comment was a poorly conceived and uninvited critique that lacked any sign of of an intelligent argument. At worst, it was just nastiness, like the insult you through at me in your comment.

It added nothing to the discussion about the product. Furthermore, the troll was wrong in his assertion; looking at the readership figures for this article it has worked very well, thank you very much.

Also, contrary to your claim, I didn't call him inane, it was their comment; there's a big difference. If you are going to attempt to troll me too, at least attempt to get your facts right.

What is the typical psyche of a troll? Here's an excerpt from a government paper about the sociopathic traits of trolls:

" Narcissism: an excessive sense of self-love and self-admiration
Psychopathy: absence of empathy, lacking the emotional aspects of a conscience
Machiavellianism: a detached, calculating attitude regarding manipulativeness
Everyday sadism: refers to an enjoyment of cruelty in everyday culture"

When I spoke with a retired police detective inspector about trolling he said there was a definite correlation between those who perform real-world criminally abusive acts and online trolls:

"Not all abusers are trolls and not all trolls are abusers, but there is a much higher chance of a troll also being someone who abuses vulnerable people, adults, or children in real life."

So, if I challenge trolling behavior like that, there's good reason.

And all this, simply because people disagree with you

If you mistakenly think that his comment was purely him disagreeing with me, then my reply, written in exactly the same style, was nothing more than me disagreeing with him. Yet you object to it. That's quite hypocritical.

However, he didn't disagree with me. A disagreement would have been him testing the equipment himself and giving a reasoned argument as to why he thought differently. I would welcome an interesting and reasoned debate about the product. Instead, he just posted a snide comment designed to undermine me as a writer and the highly professional team of professional editors who approved this article.

Perhaps you still don't understand the difference. His ill-informed comment was not a disagreement, it was a personal attack. Of course, I should respond to it and point out its crass ignorance.

His comment was probably motivated by jealousy. Let's face it, successful artists share their creativity and aren't cowards hiding behind fake names because they are posting nastiness about other people's work. Fstoppers is a hugely successful website with articles read in the tens of thousands, whereas the trolls that post derision are unsuccessful nobodies. It's a real pity that such trolls don't make the effort to put time into improving their photographs instead of attempting but failing to undermine those who are more successful than them.

To date, nearly 25,000 other photographers have read this article and not complained about the title. Of course, the good news for me is that every time someone posts a negative comment, it drives more readers to the article and I get paid more. So maybe I should be thanking him and you.

The biggest challenge I have with considering buying one of these sights is that I don't trust the Nikon AF system enough to trust that it will be locked onto my target without babysitting. Aiming with the dot sight means I have no clue if the camera is locked onto the target, hunting back/fourth, or locked onto the background. I expect using the dot sight would mean that I end up with a ton of blurry photos. ;)

In theory, though, this thing sounds fantastic and way better for tracking birds than a viewfinder. Maybe in a couple of generations when the AF is more reliable.

I think you're supposed to switch from the dot sight to your camera viewfinder for fine tuning once you've adequately acquired the target. I personally wonder if cheaper lower-tech solution (like a lensless sight tube?) might work almost as well.

Thanks for the interesting comments. I think a lensless tube isn't as good at accounting for Parallax error, and also you lose the advantage of the peripheral vision.

Once set correctly, I happily just used the Dot Sight and didn't need to switch to the viewfinder, which would have been impractical for birds in flight shots.

I hope Nikon catch up with other brands with their autofocus if it is as far behind as you suggest.

Adapt iron sights to hot shoe mount? Yes please.

The Nikon AF system, I take it then you are not shooting with a Z8 or Z9, but in case you are, then I am curious what issues you have with their AF?

The Z8/Z9 certainly has improved AF over the others but not so much that you can blindly trust it. Its pretty well documented that it still tends to lock onto the background for birds in flight or fail to gain initial lock and hunt quite a bit. Many of the top wildlife photogs who shoot Nikon have detailed it in their videos. You can certainly work with it and adjust to help it lock on, but being completely blind to what is going on in the viewfinder makes it a bit tough I suspect.

That said, I also think it is kinda ridiculous that a shooter needs a flagship-level body to unlock reasonably reliable autofocus. Nikon is still very much behind on AF performance. (Though they are doing a sensational job at making wildlife glass lately)

That is interesting. Thanks.

My ZF has done well with birds if flight and while having no dedicated bird af. I’d imagine the new bird af update on the z9 is nice

Thanks Ryan Cooper for the reply, and I agree that there are still some issues out there even with the Z8 / Z9 autofocus, for me I think they are manageable (and I still have way more keepers than with any other Nikon body with my Z8), also I hear that the Z9 had a fix in the latest firmware for small fast moving objects (birds in flight), I expect this will filter down to the z8 pretty soon now. I do think that Nikon has accepted that they need to raise their game with AF - but then also the AF is coming to non-flagships - noticeably the Zf body has received some praise in the reviews I have read, in areas where improvements are made over the Z6II and in line with the Z8/Z9's, so it also seems they are filtering down to the non pro bodies (better late than never).

Oh for sure and it will only get better with time. I'm not saying it is unusable or anything like that, IMO if you learn to work with it you can get great results, even on the older cameras. I just don't think that it is reliable enough to blindly trust it so much that you are not even looking through the actual viewfinder which is what would be needed to use a sight like in the article.

This looks almost identical to the Nikon one that they produced for one of their Coolpix range. The DF-M1is widely available in the UK, and looks to be made by the same manufacturer

The Nikon dot sight appeared on the market three years after the Olympus (now OM System) model. You are right, they do look similar so maybe they were made for Nikon by OM System. Here in the UK, the Nikon version costs 75% more. I wonder why they limited it to just to the Coolpix cameras. Perhaps it is the reason Ryan Cooper gives above.

The Nikon "hyper" zooms p1000 etc with a 3000mm equivalent definitely need such an aid . I have a 180x600mm and I can’t see this being needed at all for a FF camera

I looked at both (used, on evilBay), and wound up purchasing the Nikon when I found one at a price within the range of Olympus ones.

As others have mentioned, they are almost the same, except the Nikon allows either a red or green dot.

Having more than one colour is quite useful. If you're shooting a red background (such as a sunset), the green dot stands out nicely where the red one would blend in. And of course, when shooting against foliage, the red dot works best.

Neither one had what I wanted for power: a single, ubiquitous 1.5 volt AAA battery. Instead, they both use a "coin-type" battery, which may be harder to find when travelling.

I did not realize until reading this article that the Olympus one is weather-sealed. I've had the Nikon one out in weather with no obvious problem, but I don't think they claim that.

It would be interesting to see how their pricy purpose built product compares to using a cheaper $20 airsoft rifle reflex sight paired with a coldshoe to picatinny rail adapter.

If that works for you, great. It looks like the sight sits higher than the EE-1, which will lead to greater parallax error as the subject gets closer to the camera. Looking at the cheap toggle switch in that picture, I am guessing that doesn't have weather sealing. I suspect it weighs more too. As always, you get what you pay for. But, if you can't afford $120 then I can understand going for a cheaper workaround.

It seems people use a range of different heights depending on the size of the lens and camera size. E.g., low profile mounts.

Cheap gun sites work in bad weather just fine

It also appears that the gunsight is not shielded against direct sunlight, which would wash out the display.

Being a cheapskate, I looked at gunsights, but ultimately decided the extra money for a proper camera dot-sight (in my case, the Nikon one) was worth it.

Reflex sights like this are cheap and plentiful on AliExpress and other online marketplaces. They’re primarily marketed at firearm enthusiasts but you can buy cold-shoe adapters for them. We use them extensively in astronomy and astrophotography. They lack the folding design, which is admittedly neat, but they’re solidly built out of metal and you keep more of your money in your pocket. Look for the ones that have several reticle choices and 5 brightness levels with both red and green illumination.

Thanks for that. It's an interesting alternative for someone on a budget. As I commented above, the metal sights and coldshoe adaptors are heavier. Plus, they sit farther from the camera because of the additional mounting required, resulting in a greater parallax angle. The cheaper ones also lack weather sealing.

I don't think $120 is out of the way for a quality device, especially compared to the cost of a camera and a telephoto lens. But, I get it if people can't afford that and want to save a few dollars. For those wanting to save the weight, and are shooting in poor weather, then the EE-1 Dot Sight makes sense.

The Fstoppers "experts" write articles that are waaaaay out there.

The Fstoppers "experts" write articles that are waaaaay out there.

Don't you just love trolls who sign up new accounts just to write snarky comments? His Mom must be so proud.

This thing has been around at least 7 years and this is first time I've heard of it. It could be one of those things that are great in theory, but not as useful in practice, for wildlife anyway. Perhaps, lack of availability is due to lack of interest; or if you really want something similar, you can put together one for less than half the price.

You haven't heard of it? That doesn't surprise me. It's a specialist tool outside your photographic genre. Unless your models are running away from you at high speed, it's not something you would need. If the article makes people aware of something they didn't know before then it has done its job.

There are plenty of positive user reviews on online shops and if you read the relevant forums they are discussed a lot. As I said in the article, which I verified with the manufacturer before writing, the high demand for the device caused its shortage. Much of that demand has come from other system users and the hunting community.

I've been trying to get hold of one since buying the lens seen in the header image, but they have been sold out. A few of the wildlife photographers I've been shooting alongside have them.

When I say I haven't heard of it, it meant none of the wildlife photographers I watch use them. They seemingly rely on hand-eye coordination. Those weirdos.

Just to name a few.

Jan Wegener:
Mark Smith:
Steve Perry:

Hell, even the Northrups.

Aha, sorry, I misunderstood what you meant when you said it was the first time you had heard of it. I don't know any of those photographers whose channels you mention. That's not surprising because of the hundreds of thousands of wildlife photographers out there and loads of them produce YouTube content. Neither of us can follow everything. Furthermore, YouTube is something I rarely have time to engage in.

Inevitably and consequently, none of us will see every photographer or the kit they use, and the tiny number of photographers any of us follow won't cover the huge array of kit that's available. But that's some of the point of the review articles, to make people aware of the alternatives out there and to let them know what we writers think after using it in the field.

Jokes aside, as a real Sony user, I strongly do not recommend buying this sight. It simply won’t fit the MI shoe and will have a lot of play, making any adjustment extremely unstable. The adapter (at least the one I tried) will only make the whole thing bulkier and add wobbliness in one more connection point.

That's interesting. Thanks. I used it on a Sony A7R3 with no issues and was under the impression that they changed to a standard hotshoe back in 2012, but happy to stand corrected. I am not a Sony expert. Which camera model were you using? Thank you for signing up to comment on the article.

RX10 IV, A7R IV and A7R V
Sight just doesn't fit all the way in and rotates a few degrees. The Lock screw helps a little but cannot withstand any real pressure.
Perhaps a good adapter will solve the problem. Of course it will make the parallax error worse. I even thought about somehow attaching this sight to the lens collar, but never really tried it.

That's interesting thanks. Although Sony had supposedly standardized their hotshoes with the rest of the world, they seem not to be quite the same shape as everyone else's. The flash triggers I have for various brands have a different plate design for Sony so maybe there is some difference. Wouldn't it be great if everything was standardized? Also, I think some of the the early EE-1 dot sights fitted less well, while the newer ones are much better. I'll try to find someone locally with one of the cameras you mentioned and see if it fits okay and get back to you. I found some online forums where Sony shooters are using the EE-1. One, from 2015, mentioned it being loose and they cut a small piece of milk bottle plastic to slide between the foot and the shoe; photographers are inventive! Thanks again for the info.

I just tried mine on a Sony A7R IV and there were no issues with looseness. Similarly with the Sony A7R III I tried previously. A friend is letting me try their RX10 IV soon. I'll let you know how I get on. I think your experience is not universal.

Oh, that's interesting. I don't know when my copy was manufactured. Got it from the official Olympus store in February 2020. Mine was made in Vietnam and has some serial number, but I have no idea how to decode it. Perhaps Chinese ones do not have this problem or it depends on the production year.

Mine is the newer OM System branded one. I think there was a slight change to the design a few years ago. Yours might be an older model maybe. Just guessing here though.

When using this for moving subjects make sure to turn IBIS off otherwise the sensor can be shifted from the bore sight by as much as 1/3rd of a frame.

Yes, this is something that should normally be done, either with or without a sight.

Its called click bait. Its used to trick readers into clicking an article to increase readership and advertising $$. Cheap tricks used by writers to get more people to read your articles. I for one will.not read your articles again. Thats now two writers from fstoppers that I wont be reading. Akex Cooke is the other one. Keep it up!

The articles are quite interesting and usually provide good points of meaningful discussion. If you avoid their articles, then you are missing out on a lot of good content and discussions.

Thank you. Happy New Year and thanks for your contributions in the comments, which are always well thought though. I enjoy the intelligent challenges you make if you disagree with me, and the extra information you provide, especially when it comes to technology, which is always informative.

You actually said you were not going to read my articles anymore, nor Alex's, back in 2021.

Anyone who writes professionally creates compelling titles that entice people to want what is written. Is "To Kill a Mockingbird" clickbait?

To me, clickbait refers to those articles that say something like, "You won't believe what (insert name of famous person here) looks like today!" Then, 50 clicks later, past lots of pictures of D-list celebrities, you see the picture.

I saw your comments about Alex's YouTube reposts. Featuring videos on Fstoppers does two things. Firstly, it helps readers to discover new high-quality content that they would not necessarily otherwise find. Secondly, it exposes the YouTubers channel to Fstoppers enormous audience. Many of the popular photographers on YouTube owe their thanks to Fstoppers for featuring their work.

Of course, if you don't like it, you don't have to read the articles. Nobody is compelling you to. It does seem a bit odd to be so outraged about something you are getting for free.

There are now several hundred over 32,000 that have read this article. I don't see the readership abandoning in droves. In fact, it is growing, which means we writers must be doing something right for the majority.

Happy New Year.

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