My E-M1 - Impressions

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by colonelpurple, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. colonelpurple

    colonelpurple Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 7, 2013
    So I have had the E-M1 for a week with the 12-40mm.

    The 75mm arived today at home, apparently! - will try next week (actually when I get home).

    Just to say first off that I am a complete amateur. I just use cameras for fun. I have shot a number of events but for some charities I am involved with, so purely non paying. To be honest I dislike this work as the pressure is on to get memorable pictures, but it does teach you about thinking on your feet, which is always good for me and makes me really respect professional photographers - its hard work!

    When opening the box I couldn't get over how tiny it is, I thought they sent me a E-M5 by mistake!

    The camera design has been very much as expected however the build quality wasn't. Its simply beautiful or just right.

    There is something about the density of a camera (not kidding!). The Leica M6 TTL is my alltime best camera size/weight. Its small but not too small and it has a good weight. At that time is was made of a zinc alloy, before magnesium alloy became available. I think Leica M shooters are waiting for the M260 to go back to the M6 size (we can only hope), but coming back the E-M1, it is really tiny, after using a DSLR, but a lovely weight. The handling is superb and it has a "just pick me up and shoot" feeling. Unlike with the D800 which I had to force myself to pick up, the E-M1 lends itself to being carried around all the time (I don't wear a neck strap, rather I just hold the camera in my right hand). The 12-40mm is a decent weight and is a bit front heavy on all other M4/3s models except the GH3. On the E-M1 it balances almost right, -50g on the lens or +50g on the body would make it perfect, but its neither here nor there.

    There is a button for virtually everything but its done in a way that they are easy to find. Its also cool how exposure compensation, aperture and a bunch of other things can be set without removing your eye from the EVF.

    The buttons and dials are high quality and remind me of the RX1R, which also has superb build. The only thing I would change is slightly more d├ętente on the second position of the shutter release button.

    The settings menu is ferocious, in terms of options. After a few rides on the train I managed to get the hang of it, albeit with many pictures of feet ...

    I have a number of isues to work through, probably mostly down to me:

    1. The auto exposure is very good, but sometimes it overexposes, and sometimes it underexposes. It seems biased towards the focus point, or am I imagining that ?
    2. Face and eye detect work even during automatic exposure which is useful but have to remember to switch off
    3. Still exploring how to switch off all enhancements for raw file (e.g. NR, auto-dynamic range extension, etc.). Also identifying ones which effect raw, if any
    4. Would have prefered to have those phase detect pixels back as real light gathering pixels. I presume if I never use a 4/3s lens they will never be used ?
    5. I would like a setting where back screen is off completely and EVF switches on when raised to the eye.
    6. Can't work out how to see just aperture and speed on picture play back (or with minimal information). Probably in the play settings somewhere
    7. Trying to work out whether camera stabilisation needs to be switched off to get absolute sharpness. I know that it is useful for slow shots but if I remember Canon and Nikon correctly a small amount of drift is always introduced, so absolute sharpness needs stabiliser off

    Since I am an odd person, I start with, "how is the B&W" rendering. Pretty good at ISO 800 and wide open (f2.8):

    On the subject of colour, a test of a camera is how its colours hold up under overcast grey days. The answer is pretty good, or exactly as you would need:

    Its nice to be comfortable at how about ISO 1600, f2.8 and 1/40:

    Looking at colours in contrast, again very natural even when slightly enhanced:

    Now the ultimate test for me, dynamic range. M4/3s has come a long way here.
    My rubbish starting photo (not difficult for me!):

    Some lightroom love:

    The tilting screen is very useful to look over fences:

    16mp is plenty for long landscape crops:

    Micro-contrast, e.g. in fog is difficult to correctly represent:

    So testing phase nearly over.

    Did I mention this camera is really really fun!

    Best rgds
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  2. marcr1230

    marcr1230 Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 28, 2013
    Very nice results!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. pixl10

    pixl10 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2011
    Phoenix AZ
    Very nice!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Joelmusicman

    Joelmusicman Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    1. You might be in center weight exposure mode which is designed to do exactly what you're talking about.
    2. Sure; sometimes it thinks things that aren't faces are...
    3. NR, DR, Sharpness, contrast, saturation all do not affect the RAW file.
    4. Not true. PDAF is used for continuous autofocus mode even with m43 native lenses. 43 lenses use PDAF exclusively though.
    5. Me too!! As a second-best solution I disable the eye sensor and use the EVF button. The camera will still switch to the screen for playback though. :rolleyes:
    6. When you're reviewing images, press INFO to cycle through the available screens. There's a few more options buried in menu "D" but not what you're looking for.
    7. IS improves sharpness below about 1/100 or so with the shorter focal lengths. The old 1/equivalent focal length needs to be modified to about double with modern high density sensors. I wish there was a firmware function to automatically enable/disable the IS depending on shutter speed...

    8. Great photos!!
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