Have you ever held something, anything and it just felt right? This was what I felt with the Olympus OM-D EM-1.
I had the privilege to use the brand new Olympus camera for a week and to be honest, I do not want to give it back.
I am a long time user of Olympus cameras and I like it when the company innovate. With this camera, they not only did that but they also took into account what we the photographers wanted and improved a lot of things. Photography should be a great experience not only to those we photograph but also the photographers.
This review is about how the camera fits into my style of work. There are already a lot of review of the camera to show it’s technical abilities so I will not concentrate on those.
The Olympus OMD measures 130x94x63mm and weighs 496g with battery, the OMD EM1 is larger than the OMD EM5. The biggest difference is the thickness thanks to the considerably chunkier (and very comfortable) grip, although of course the EM5 can become taller and thicker when fitted with its optional grip.
As I mentioned earlier, the first time I held the OMD EM-1 it feels wonderful and I do not want to put a strap to it because I just want to hold it. The size is just right for those of us who are getting tired of carrying around a huge bag full of equipment. Personally, I will shoot exclusively on this but at the moment I don’t want to argue with the “my camera is bigger therefore I will take better picture” mentality.
One of the things I really like with Olympus is they think about how their more avid and professional users will use the camera. Like the previous models, the OMD EM-1 features a magnesium body that is splash proof (as witnessed by some parents in my kids school one rainy day), dust proof and now freeze proof down to -10˚C which I am sure one of my friends will surely appreciate. Olympus also added protection to the lenses but the great thing is all Olympus MF lenses are already freezeproof.
The controls (buttons and dials) are better arranged too. The dials are bigger and there’s enough space so that you do not accidentally press the wrong button. The camera’s user interface is also easy to understand. After initial fiddling, I was able to find what I wanted & set it to how I wanted it.
As you can see, there is no on-camera flash built in the OMD EM-1 but flashguns and smaller flash units are available to mount on the hotshoe. There is also a PC sync port for additional lighting. The screen can be tilted a bit which I do not like much as I really prefer the Olympus E-5′s tiltable screen.
Above is 100% zoom of a portrait I took in my studio. For the first time ever, I did not sharpen a photograph. Not one bit. I just love that it captures the details and the colours. It is perfect.
What I sometimes find specially when photographing fast moving children, is the auto focus. With the older models I learnt to anticipate. The Olympus EM-1 ‘s autofocus and continuous focusing are now better but compared to some cameras, not the best especially when taking videos. As I like to shoot photographs and leave the videoing to those with the space and the love for it I am quite happy with the improvements of the Olympus OMD EM-1.
I really like the creative Art Filters that comes with the Olympus MF cameras. The recent addition to the growing list is the Watercolour Art Filter. It is fun and my kids loved it. To an adult user, it may not be as interesting but for me anything to get a child interested in what I am doing is a good thing. This way, they will do more that I ask them and not a single smile is a fake smile.
Another new thing is the Wifi connectivity. It is good but I think it only works with the App and not yet able to send to laptops nor share to online services. However, a little software upgrade and they will get to that – that is if they want to.
I took the camera to a client shoot, a family gathering/birthday mix. I am happy to say it was well received and I am happy with the quality of the images I took.
Conclusion: For what I do, this is perfect. It will easily fit my shooting style both at work and for personal photography. The clients seem to accept it as one of the cameras. Olympus did well and I’d recommend you to check this one out before the others and. I am happy with the image quality. I am sure I will be able to print my biggest print size (40×30″) with this one. It is lighter than the DSLR, better looking too and is definitely another innovative product from Olympus.
They’re shipping this one very soon so not a long time to wait! It’s available in most online camera retailer including Amazon.co.uk