First impressions about the E-M1 and interview with Olympus

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Mat - MirrorLessons, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    Hi everyone,

    I was invited to Castle Leslie in Ireland a couple of days ago to try the new OM-D E-M1. I am already an E-M5 user (even for work) so I was really looking forward to it.

    I wrote this first article about low light performance comparing ISO and 5-axis stabilisation to the E-M5.


    I also just published an interview with Olympus Europe that answers some questions regarding different topics, like video capabilities.

    I only used the camera for an afternoon and evening, so it is too soon to draw any conclusions but here are the main things that impressed me:

    • AF-C has really been improved. I tried it with both FT lenses and also the Lumix 35-100mm. The AF-C is slightly slower with FT lenses but still more than usable in most situations.
    • ISO and stabilisation are better than the E-M5, and there is also a noticeable sharpness difference.
    • Ergonomics are wonderful, button layout is great. Lots of function buttons. It has been built for pros and you feel it as soon as you hold it.
    • the EVF is the best I've seen. OVF is not a valid argument anymore when you compare it to DSLRs.
    • the 12-40 seems to be a very nice lens. Slightly bigger than the Lumix 12-35.
    • overall build construction is the best I've seen on MFT and even some DSLRs.

    I also held a prototype of the announced 40-150mm f/2.8. It is bigger and larger than the Lumix 35-100mm but still very compact considering the focal length it covers.

    I'm still editing all the pictures I took (I am actually downloading the Lightroom update right now so that I can work with RAW files) so I will share more feedback with you.

    Some examples: this was taken with the Zuiko 300mm f/2.8. I slightly increased contrast, exposure and clarity to give it a more "dramatic" look.

    Power frozen in an instant! by Mat - MirrorLessons, on Flickr

    Also, below two samples from the E-M1 and E-M5 at 800 ISO that shows you the difference concerning sharpness.



    Finally, two 100% crop examples at 25600 ISO to show you how the E-M1 handles better extreme ISO levels.


    • Like Like x 13
  2. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    It appears that the two 800 ISO samples have different focus points. This makes it harder to evaluate. The E-M5 photo is more focused on the frontmost picture and the E-M1 on the burlap wall covering.

    - heh - the E-M1 has a stick pixel :wink:
  3. ntblowz

    ntblowz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 13, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    The 2s handheld from E-M1 is pretty impressive, I am sure that is a lot more than 5 stops difference compare to the same 5 stop rating from E-M5
  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Thank for this post Mathieu, and of course or the review. But damn you! - I'm trying to rest the urge to buy one to replace my E-M5!
  5. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    LOL you are right, that's what happens when you publish something at 3 o'clock in the morning.

    Here is a better example at 3200 ISO.



    The composition is slightly different but both focus points were on the wood.
  6. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I find the metering different enough to have a difficult time drawing any conclusions.

    Personally I still think the IQ is a wash, but without an A-B comparison with a known to me subject it is hard to tell.
  7. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    In the interview, Mr Fandrey likes to highlight that m43rds is also used by professionals and look professional.
  8. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    Good interview with Olympus :thumbup:

    Good to know no silver body coming.

    What a shame that Olympus still don't get that having good video codec doesn't lead to confusion in the segment and take away from single image photography. At least he was consistent with other interviews about how they see video. So why even bother including video at all???? Become even more hardcore and just leave the option off the camera. Tisk tisk Olympus.

    I do agree with him that for pro MFT + m43 seems a good kit but not he minimized the ff dSLR a bit too much. I do agree though that APS dSLR are odd to me as well and would either do a m43 or FF. Just silly to carry all that weight and large lens for a bit more megapixels and wee bit of DOF.

    Also, kind of surprising that it seems in 2014 they seem solely focused on a couple of lens and no talk of pancakes... So in one breath he says the key to the system light weight and smaller solution yet they've abandoned pancakes all together and have a poor performer in the 17mm pancake. I still don't get why they don't launch a couple of killer pancakes (a 15-17mm and 25mm pancake high grade like the 20mm/1.7) weathersealed.
  9. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    Just have to say, that first image is spectacular.

    And thank for the impressions. I think my overall conclusions about high ISO quality are the same; up to ISO 1600-3200, performance is virtually identical, but the E-M5 performs noticeably better at higher ISOs overall, but most noticeably in the shadows. To me, more important than this is the relative lack of color casts, which is probably the only definitive thing that can be said about high ISO performance so far.

    Also, glad to see the claims about stabilization seem to be true as well. 2 seconds at 12mm is very nearly the 5 stops stabilization over the rule of thumb they claim. That 40mm shot, although shy of truly being usably sharp, is even more impressive.

    Double edit: The interview was very interesting. I think it lends credence to my theory that Olympus has some sort of agreement with Panasonic not to infringe on the video front too much. It's also nice in some way to see that Olympus is thinking about the system as a whole. Still it's a rather absurd argument to essentially say that they don't want to do proper video because it would make MFT look like it's only good for video. That's like saying I don't want to put a decent air conditioner in my car because I don't want my car brand to be known for its air conditioning.

    And thankfully, an official person I can quote as saying this camera is not the successor the E-M5. Thank goodness. The E-M5 MKII will arrive in due time, but this is not it.

    "I think we can now fight on the APS-C market with our OM-D and Pen line-up. My personal estimation in the future is that the interchangeable market can coexist with the FF sensor market. This is our target direction."

    Smart man. I like how he isn't ignoring physics and trying to make it seem like M4/3 is somehow using magic sauce to be better than FF or APS-C. His arguments all seem very fair.
  10. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    Yes it is, that horse's eye is quite piercing.
  11. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Agree about that first image. Very nice and dramatic indeed!
  12. theanser

    theanser Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2013
    Dear mat,

    Hows the auto focusing of the 12-40mm in low light? Does it hunts?

    Sent from my GT-N7105 using Mu-43 mobile app
  13. Dduval

    Dduval Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    Great info Mat, really enjoyed it. Thank you.
  14. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2013
    Sounds like there's not much in terms of bodies on the way from Olympus.
  15. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    I agree Terada's statement is completely off the mark: "if we start to focus on video capabilities, it may be misleading to the market. They may think that MFT is only suitable for video and we don’t want to give that impression".
  16. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I spend some time on POTN and I will say that more than a few advanced enthusiast sort of Canon shooters constantly deride the idea of video on their DSLRs.

    Given how Panasonic has really pushed the hybrid capabilities of the GH series I can see the concern that m4/3s could get unfairly categorized.

    Having said that, I wish Olympus would improve the video side and just not market it so strongly like Panny has done.
  17. humzai

    humzai Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 17, 2012
    I was wondering did you happen to note the filter size for the 40-150 lens? Did you get to shoot it as well as handle it? Thanks
  18. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    I also found some slight differences concerning exposures between the two. All the settings were the same for both cameras. I guess it has to due with the sensors being different but since it was a quick test performed in 10 minutes, I need more testing to understand it better.

    Mat - MirrorL
  19. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    I tried to get more informations about the E-M5 successor but I guess it couldn't reveal anything yet :)

    Mat - MirrorL
  20. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    The 12-40 is very good in low light. Overall, I found the AF less "struggling" in low light with the E-M1 and 12-40mm compared to my experience with the E-M5. Even in very dark situations.

    Mat - MirrorL
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