Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Camera, Body Only

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84% Gold Award
If you want to feel like you're shooting with a DSLR, but still want the size and agility of a mirrorless camera, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better option than the E-M1.”

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Key Features

  • 16.3MP CMOS Four Thirds sensor with 5-axis sensor shift image stabilization
  • 10 frames per second continuous shooting
  • Contrast detect and phase detect AF
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • 1080 30 fps HD video (H.264/Motion JPEG)
  • Tiltable 3 inch touchscreen LCD with 1,037,000 dots
  • Electronic viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots (1.3x magnification)
  • Raw and Raw + JPEG shooting
  • Magnesium alloy body
  • Flash hot shoe and Olympus Wireless RC Flash system compatible
  • Water, dust, and freezeproof
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot
  • Built-in Wi-Fi

Product Description

The OM-D E-M1 interchangeable lens camera is now the flagship of Olympus's Micro Four Thirds lineup. Rather than calling it the follow-up to the E-M5, Olympus says that the E-M1 is actually the 'successor' to the E-5, a Four Thirds DSLR introduced back in 2010. The E-M1's 16.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor has on-chip 37-point phase detection, which allows the E-M1 to focus legacy Four Thirds lenses (using the optional MMF-3 adapter) at much faster speeds than previous Olympus m4/3 cameras. When you're using Micro Four Thirds lenses, focusing is handled by the EM-1's 81-point contrast detect AF system.

The EM-1 is weather, dust, splash and freezeproof, with a large high resolution touch LCD and electronic viewfinder. It retains the E-M5's built-in 5-axis image stabilization, plenty of customizable controls, and Wi-Fi image transfer and camera controls via Olympus's Image Share 2.0 smartphone app.

Specs

Body type
Body type SLR-style mirrorless
Sensor
Max resolution 4608 x 3456
Image ratio w:h 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 17 megapixels
Sensor size Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor TruePIC VII
Image
ISO 100-25600 in 1/3EV or 1EV increments
White balance presets 7
Custom white balance Yes
Image stabilization Sensor-shift
Image stabilization notes '5-axis' IS
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Super Fine, Fine, Normal, Basic
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Digital zoom Yes (2X)
Manual focus Yes (with focus peaking)
Number of focus points 81
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier 2×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Tilting
Screen size 3
Screen dots 1,037,000
Touch screen Yes
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Electronic
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 1.48×
Viewfinder resolution 2,360,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 60 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 sec
Aperture priority Yes
Shutter priority Yes
Manual exposure mode Yes
Subject / scene modes Yes
Built-in flash No (compact external flash included)
External flash Yes (hot-shoe, wireless)
Flash modes Flash Auto, Redeye, Fill-in, Flash Off, Red-eye Slow sync (1st curtain), Slow sync (1st curtain), Slow sync (2nd curtain), Manual
Continuous drive 10 fps
Self-timer Yes (2 or 12 secs, custom)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±2 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB Bracketing Yes (3 frames in 2, 4, 6 steps selectable in each A-B/G-M axis)
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Format H.264, Motion JPEG
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI Yes (micro HDMI)
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes 802.11b/g/n with smartphone connectivity
Remote control Yes (optional RM-UC1 wired remote)
Physical
Environmentally sealed Yes (Dust, splash, freeze resistent)
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description BLN-1 lithium-ion battery pack
Battery Life (CIPA) 350
Weight (inc. batteries) 497 g (1.10 lb / 17.53 oz)
Dimensions 130 x 94 x 63 mm (5.13 x 3.68 x 2.48)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording Yes
GPS None

Reviews

DPReview Conclusion

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category at the time of review.

Score Breakdown
Poor Excellent
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
Gold Award
Gold Award
84 %
Overall Score

In most respects the E-M1 does a good job bridging the gap between a traditional DSLR and a Micro Four Thirds camera. Its controls and customizability may overwhelm less hands-on users, but those who don't mind tinkering will love its flexibility. The improved autofocus tracking and performance with original Four Thirds lenses adds to the appeal of a camera with blazingly fast AF acquisition speeds with its native lenses.

Good For

Those who prefer viewfinder shooting, want a relatively compact system camera without sacrificing external controls of a DSLR.

Not So Good For

Sports and fast action demanding very fast burst rates, very low light, and users with little interest in customizing camera functions.

User Reviews

4.7337 out of 5 stars
  • Jouko, Oct 27, 2013 GMT:
    About a month with EM1

    Some comments after about 1000 shots... Built is good, and also the ergonomics with bare hands. Not so much with gloves - but I have never used a camera that has been handy with thick gloves or mittens. Problem in wintertimes... Maybe the extra grip (coming somewhere) will help a bit. Focusing with FT-lenses is reasonable fast and reliable. So far I have used 9-18, 12-60, PL25, Zuiko 50mm macro, Sigma 50mm, 50-200 aone and with EC14. Fastest are the 9-18 and 25mm - no suprice there. But all ...

    Continue Reading

  • light_bulb, Oct 28, 2013 GMT:
    EM-1 and FT 150 2/50 2: AF performance with static subjects and E-3/E-5

    I have posted parts of this in another thread but it may be worthwhile for other people less interested in the OP's issue. My first impression from an EM-1 Oly promotional event is as follows: - I had more FT lenses available but due to time constraints and the usual talks with Oly staff and other people I only tested the 150 f2 and 50 f2. - I started with S-AF and the 150 and felt somewhat unhappy in not so good light until I switched the EM-1 to eye recognition-AF and did some portraiture ...

    Continue Reading

  • joeletx, Dec 2, 2013 GMT:
    Olympus E-M1 from my POV

    I have this camera for about a month now and have been taking it to shoot on weekends to learn and get used to its new features and capability. This is the first mirror-less camera for me from the E-5 so I was overwhelmed with the way the menu and button customization work on these smaller space mirror-less. Simple task such as saving "Myset" took me some time to figure out with the helps from people on DPR forum. This does not work the same way the E-5 does; You have to assign the saved ...

    Continue Reading

  • Semar2000, Dec 26, 2013 GMT:
    Zuiko FT + EM1 = Excellent

    Being an olympus user with many ZD SHQ lens, I have been waiting for this moment. An MFT with AF speed that can match FT lenses, with addition to image quality and other improvements. A perfect combination (yet, until EM2 born…).Definitely Improved: AF, IS sensor, Noise, Wifi, and many others. Honestly, Olympus should announce these improvement more open to the public. But as always, Olympus marketing never say much…. Anyway, I gave up my EM5, and start my day with EM1 and Fourthird lenses ...

    Continue Reading

Videos

DPReview's Allison Johnson gives an overview of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Compact System Camera

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Compact System Camera

Questions & Answers

QUESTION

A7 vs OM-D E-M1 speed?

Hi, I am not a professional photographer but a keen amateur. Today I tried out the A7 and OM-D E-M1 primarily to see the size difference as I had read the OM-D was 'much' larger than normal m43 cameras but A7 reviews had failed to mention this. Anyhow, I was surprised that they were both almost identical sizes and I found both a joy to hold and use. The one thing that surprised me and I'd like to canvas opinion on was the speed with which the cameras were ready to take another shot. The OM-D was ready almost instantaneously and you could rattle off 2, 3, 4 etc. really quickly whereas the A7 took about 1 to 1.5 secs (rough guess) to be ready to take the next shot. Is this purely down to processing the extra pixels? It seemed odd to me and was a disappointment with an otherwise stunning camera. Do other A7 owners find this 'lag' or was something not set correctly on the store demo? Your input is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Tom

7 months ago

ANSWERS

As far as back to back shots, I have no issue shooting RAW waiting on the A7. I have instant review turned off (blocks out viewfinder too long). To me it feels very quick. I haven't used the EM1. In contrast, my Samsung NX300 is comparatively slow shooting, a bunch of RAW shots in a row and the camera will be processing for some time before it is ready again (it is much better than the older NX cameras, not bad, but the difference between a consumer camera and a pro camera). So I don't think you would have an issue on the A7 shooting quickly, maybe not sports, but for firing off a quick burst of 5 shots during a portrait shoot (5 is just a random number, it will fire as quick as I press the shutter), and keep going without the camera freezing up. Eric Continue Reading

viking79 answered
7 months ago

No, it's normal. Steve Huff mentionned it in his review: http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2013/11/29/the-sony-a7-and-a7r-camera-review-by-steve-huff/ "These cameras do indeed feel slower than an Olympus E-M1 or RX1 in use and I kind of compare them to shooting medium format. Slow paced and steady. Aim, compose, fire. These are not the cameras for sports shooters or machine gun blazing shutter crazies as they are not." "I like the build, the feel, the design and the features but I think the response is just not there when compared to my Olympus E-M1, which is lightning fast in response. I have been shooting that E-M1 like mad and when I switched it up to the A7 and A7r it seemed like I was working in slow motion..and I am not talking about AF, just overall response time of the camera." Continue Reading

bluevellet answered
7 months ago

I read ear some bad reviews on the a7 focusing and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it focuses and also in low light. As much has to do with the lens as the camera. The 75-300mm on my E-M1 in low light hunts a lot. To be honest I have no issues with the focus. I have had much slower over the years and got by fine. The high ISO pictures from the a7 blows the E-M1 out of the water. Full frame at $2000.00. It's a better bargain than the $1300.00 E-M1 Continue Reading

cosmonaut answered
7 months ago

QUESTION

E-M1 - how do you choose which face to focus on with face detection?

My dilemma is whether to use normal single AF point to focus on people or to use face detection. I'd like to use face detection but I can't choose which face the camera to focus on when it detects more than one. I may like to take two separate shots - with focus on the closer and on the further away face. Is there a way to guide the camera to the desired face? Sometimes I also have constant difficulty acquiring focus on people in low light (like f1.4, 1/200", ISO 1000-2500). In 50% of my recent shots at a particular ceremony I had constant back-focus with the 25mm f1.4  - 4-5cm behind the eyes. That is very disheartening because the contrast detect focus is supposed to be the most accurate. I had the same problem with the 75mm f1.8. The Panasonic 35-100 did flawlessly in this respect - tack sharp. If you have an advice on this issue as well, I'd very much appreciate your input.

Bots_Revenge asked
6 months ago

ANSWERS

I'd love to hear an answer on this, too! Continue Reading

RGiskard answered
6 months ago

This is probably not a great answer, but at a party the other night, I resorted to using the touch screen to focus on the right person and shoot. It worked pretty well and I think I may have appeared less intimidating while looking at the tilted screen. Continue Reading

Jim Salvas answered
6 months ago

I tried focusing with touching the screen but that overrides the face detection. I want to be able to use the cursors to switch between the marked faces. I think this is the best way to control it. Also it can be made to prioritize the face closest to the chosen focus point. Come on, Olympus! Aren't there any photographers to consult you on these things? It's important! Continue Reading

Bots_Revenge answered
6 months ago

QUESTION

Why cameras do not have a RAW histogram option?

I currently have two cameras : Olympus E-M1 and Nikon D600 Those two cameras have huge DR to play with, but have a very different « exposure » behavior. When I get the porper exposure at base ISO (ie. on the camera exposure meter), both jpegs are properly exposed. But working with RAW files in LR 5, I observe very different (opposite) properties : The Olympus E-M1 files have lots of details in highlights (for example clouds). One can push the exposure up to two stops and still have plenty of highights details to recover. On the other side, noise in the shadows (and midtones to a lesser extent) quickly appear. Underexposed areas are noisy, and there’s not many room to play with. The Nikon D600 is the opposite. There’s plenty of details in the shadows. One can push exposure two stops without seeing some noise in shadows and midtones. But one have to take care with highlights : one stop, and they are burnt. To get an optimal RAW file for PP, I have to work differently with those two ...

Pixnat2 asked
2 months ago

ANSWERS

We are a very small minority in general but are probably a pretty significant portion of the histogram using population. Continue Reading

Dave Lively answered
2 months ago

FastStone viewer is certainly not a good indication, only RawDigger is. Olympus blinkies can indicate overexposure but only on white (or closer to white) objects and only in daylight. And IMO you still can add 0.3EV exposure compensation to expose to the right in this case. In artificial light that would underexpose raw file and subjects with dominant color other than green are more difficult. I think cameras should have blinkies based on raw file rather than raw histogram. One reason they don't have these is because this would almost double bandwidth between camera modules. Cameras would still have to process RGB JPEG data that they do now, raw data would be extra. This could be a limiting factor because, as was mentioned, camera's processors are mostly based on ASICs, it would require serious hardware redesign to process raw data. But, probably more important reason is that camera designers are very conservative, they don't see it as a priority. There are even more important ... Continue Reading

micksh6 answered
2 months ago

Hi Frederic! Thanks for your reply above , which includes the year-old Magic Lantern link describing RAW histograms and Auto ETTR hacks for Canon cameras. I Googled "magic lantern auto ETTR" and saw This Time Lapse which was shot August-November 2013.  Folks wishing to go direct to the time lapse can use the Mountains of Valais - ETTR (Frederic's Place!) link.  The comments and Christian Mulhauser's (the photographer) answers are illuminating and shed some light on how he was able to control exposure during the transitions between daylight and darkness. Although I rarely use "HDR" blending of exposures nowadays because of careful exposure and the power of Lightroom (to brighten the shadows and to decompress the highlights) I really would like better exposure control to get my base highlight shot when getting a triplet for HDR purposes. (Although I use the bracket function of the camera in high speed burst mode I DO NOT make a conventional bracket set of exposures.  Instead I usually ... Continue Reading

GeorgianBay1939 answered
2 months ago

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