Olympus has announced a new flagship model in the company’s OM-D series, the E-M1.
The E-M1 basically inherits all the features of the recent Olympus mirrorless cameras such as built-in WiFi, five-axis image stabilisation (but an improved version), and even weather sealing, while adding a few of its own.
On the design front, the E-M1 continues the retro design that brings to mind the classic OM series of classic Olympus SLRs and this time, the camera is much closer in size to a classic OM camera.
New Live MOS sensor
Although the camera still sports a 16.3-megapixel Live MOS image sensor, it’s an all-new design and features an array of on-chip phase detect pixels which gives faster and more positive autofocus performance compared with just contrast detect.
While phase detect and contrast detect autofocus is available with all Micro Four Thirds lenses, when using Four Thirds lenses (via an adaptor) only phase detect autofocus is possible.
The E-M1 features the latest TruePic VII image processing technology and Olympus claims that the increased performance of the new image processing engine allows the camera to reduce noise even further at higher ISO settings.
TruePic VII also takes lens information into account, correcting chromatic aberration, sharpness and even compensates for diffraction to suit the Olympus lens mounted on the E-M1.
EVF and other features
The E-M1 features an improved 2.36-million dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) with a 0.74x magnification, which means you get a large viewing image when looking through the viewfinder.
In an effort to make viewing the EVF feel even more natural, the E-M1’s EVF comes with adaptive brightness which will increase the brightness of the viewfinder image in outdoor conditions or alternatively, reduce brightness in dark indoor conditions.
One notable new shooting feature actually simplifies long exposure shooting.
Live Bulb exposure, as it’s called, attempts to address the problem of taking long exposures of several seconds or minutes where the camera metering system doesn’t normally work.
Instead of the usual guesswork when shooting such long exposures, Live Bulb actually shows the exposure “developing” on the LCD, allowing the user to simply close the shutter when the image is bright enough.
The E-M1 also comes built-in with WiFi and works together with the Olympus O.I.Share app for Android and iOS to allow the user to focus and shoot images using the smartphone.
The app also now allows you to adjust shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation right from the smartphone.
Interestingly, the shooting speed of the E-M1 allows the user to shoot at 10-frames-per-second (fps) in single-shot autofocus for up to 41 RAW images and up to 6.5fps with continuous autofocus turned on.
Pricing and availability
The OM-D E-M1 is Olympus’ new flagship model and as such it is priced higher than its other siblings in the Micro Four Thirds range.
The body-only price of the camera is RM4,999, while as a kit together with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ, the price will be RM5,999.
There is a third kit option, however — Olympus is releasing a high-end Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8 Pro (constant aperture) lens which can be bundled together with the E-M1 for RM7599.
The E-M1 will hit retail shops in mid-November but users will be able to preorder it online on Sept 10 at eshop.olympusimage.com.my.
For a short hands-on with the pre-production camera, check out our video (youtu.be/A-5vpt6luDQ).