Olympus OM-D E-M1 is Looking Good

E-M1 with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Lens

Today, mOlympus OM-D E-M1 finally arrived, but I’ve had little chance to really get into it.  However, I’m really liking what I’m seeing so far … it’s gorgeous!  Before I go any further, let me make it clear that I’m not affiliated with Olympus in any way and I spent MY money on this camera.  But, I’ll also be the first to admit I’m an OM-D “fan boy” ever since I first laid eyes on the E-M5.  Tonight, I just want to touch on a couple of my very first impressions, the improved AF and default functionality.

First, the AF with Four Thirds lenses is HUGELY improved!  I have the 35mm macro and on the E-M5 it is excruciatingly slow, racking back and forth before finally, sometimes locking focus.  But on the E-M1, it generally snaps right in, only occasionally taking an extra half second to chirp back and forth to refine the accuracy.  This is of course, the Phase Detection AF in action and it just works.

The other thing I noticed is how well the extra buttons and switches are set up to offer superb functionality right out of the box with the default settings.  Here’s what’s available with direct access:

  • HDR settings
  • Drive
  • Metering
  • AF Select
  • Exposure Compensation
  • Aperture, Shutter speed, Program Shift (depends on your shooting mode, of course)
  • ISO
  • WB (White Balance)
  • Shadow/Hi Light Control
  • Set Focus Point (Two different ways – I’ll need to decide whether to use the Fn 1 Button or direct access with left/right/up/down buttons.)
  • AEL
  • One Touch WB
  • DOF (depth of field) Preview
Plus of course there are the other standard Playback, Trash, etc. buttons.  I think I count a total of 23 total exterior camera controls.  But the beauty of it is the layout, and I think with a little time and use (for muscle memory), it will be easy to make all of these changes without ever taking your eye from the gorgeous EVF.  Where by the way, you’ll see each of these changes as you make it so there’s never any doubt what settings you’re using.

The E-M1 is a little bit larger than the E-M5, but not much.  Except for the wonderful grip they’ve added.  One thing I loved about Sony’s Nex cameras was just carrying it, and this new Olympus OM-D E-M1 is just like that.  It’s not very heavy and with the new grip it can just hang off your finger tips with almost no effort. (I ONLY do this when it’s securely strapped to my wrist with a Peak Design wrist strap.)

One more thing:  I’ve read likes and dislikes regarding the new On/Off switch, but I think it’s a big improvement.  I love the way Sony and others place it around the shutter button where it is SO easy to flick on or off as needed.  But the old way it was done on the E-M5 was a constant source of frustration for me and like the new positioning much better.  Sure it still takes two hands, but normally I’m raising the camera to cradle in my left hand anyway, so it’s very convenient.

Yeah, it’s expensive at $1400 for body only, but you get a lot of capabilities and now access to over 60 lenses from Olympus alone.  And that doesn’t count the Panasonic, Sigma, and other M4/3 lenses and a staggering array of lenses that can be added with a small adapter.

There are so many nice things about this new machine, that it is going to take some time to sort it all out, but I will … and I’ll be posting my findings from time to time right here … so come on back.  🙂


Author: Mike Hendren

Photography is a way for us to express how we view the world around us. It can reveal how we see things - our perception of reality. At times, it provides a creative medium that allows us to alter that reality. Photography also provides a way to capture time and then travel back there whenever you wish. Every time you look at a photo, it can transport you back to that moment, allowing you to relive and remember …

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