Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review

by Reads (922)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Image/Video Quality
      • 9.5
      • Features
      • 9.5
      • Design / Ease of Use
      • 9.5
      • Performance
      • 9.5
      • Expandability
      • 9.5
      • Total Score:
      • 9.50
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Great image quality
    • Weather proofed
    • Features similar to a DSLR
  • Cons

    • Expensive
    • Lacks a second memory card slot

Quick Take

The Olympus OM-D-E-M1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that boasts great image quality, fast performance, and weather proofing, but it's price tag may be too steep for some.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 is a professional-grade mirrorless camera with a 16.3-megapixel LiveMOS sensor, TruePic VII image processor, 5-axis image stabilization and weather proofing. It also comes at a high cost, priced at $1,400 for the body only at the time of the review. DigitalCameraReview took a closer look at the E-M1 and found it was built for professional use. It is 5.13 x 3.68 x 2.48 inches and weighs 1.1 pounds. It’s built with a magnesium alloy, which DCR noted makes it easy to use for extended amounts of time. The E-M1 has a classic all-black look with an angular body style. The body is narrow and rectangular with a protruding grip. The body of the camera is covered in a rubberized leather-esque skin. The camera is also dust, splash and freeze resistant.

\"emThe E-M1 is covered with physical buttons and has a pentaprism electronic viewfinder on the top of the camera. DCR noted the placement of the physical buttons is well thought out and makes the camera ergonomically easy to use. DCR was also impressed with the DSLR-style grip. The front of the camera has three main buttons and functions, while the top of the camera is littered with buttons and controls including the mode dial. The back of the camera looks similar to many DSLRs. DCR was a bit frustrated with the menu system of the E-M1, noting the Olympus menus are “much more difficult to navigate than they need to be.” However, DCR was impressed with the Live SCP feature, which allows users to bring up a screen that gives immediate access to all of the most important settings.

DCR was impressed with the E-M1’s 3-inch tilting LCD screen with 1,037k dots of resolution, calling the screen “bright and easy to use, even in sunny conditions.” DCR was also impressed with the EVF, calling it “pretty darn amazing.” It has 2,360k dots of resolution and 100 percent coverage. DCR noted the viewfinder is “bright and crisp with only a slight lag.”

\"emThe E-M1 can power up and take its first image in under two seconds. DCR called the 5-axis image stabilization system “second to none” and tested the camera with multiple lenses and found the E-M1 is always fast to autofocus. The camera comes with a removable flash head, which DCR found works great in small spaces, but recommends purchasing a compatible flash. The camera has one SD card slot that accepts SD, SDHC, and SDXC. Olympus lists the battery life of the E-M1 at 350 images, but DCR was able to get much more than that during testing.

DCR found that the E-M1 produces sharp images with generally good colors, but noted images are a bit too warm and vibrant for the taste of reviewers at DCR. At high ISOs, images leaned towards overly warm tones and tended to produce more grains than other cameras, however the grain was more “film-like” than other cameras.

Overall, DCR was more than impressed with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and noted it is “a fantastic mirrorless camera that is designed for the advanced or profession shooter.” DCR also noted users without sophisticated knowledge of photography will likely find themselves lost among the cameras features and functions. DCR was impressed with the camera’s image quality, grip, fast autofocus, viewfinder and LCD screen, weather proofing and feature set, but saw room for improvement in noise levels at high ISO, the lack of a second memory card slot and the high cost of the device. In the end, DCR highly recommends the E-M1 for users looking for a high-end mirrorless camera.

Check out DigitalCameraReview for a full Olympus OM-D E-M1 review, including performance commentary and sample pics.


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