Olympus OMD E-M1 Conclusions

E-M1 Galleries

After all of that testing and several thousand images, I have some opinions to share about the E-M1 on its own and relative to the Nikon D800.  Basically I really like the camera and the M4/3 system in general.  The small size and light weight make it ideal for carrying around all day on a trip or on hikes.  The excellent image quality, especially at low to moderate ISO, serves well for the kind of photography I mostly do – projected presentations and prints up to 13″x19″.  What it doesn’t do as well is in low light, ISO situations and for following action in sports.  And for those really detailed landscapes, the D800 can’t be beaten.  So, here is a wrap-up of what I liked most and what the D800 did much better.  Note that the likes list is quite a bit longer than the don’t-like list.  In the end, I will keep both systems and use each where it works best.

What I like about the E-M1 compared to the D800

 Like  Don’t Like as much
  • Size and weight – E-M1 nice to carry around
  • Excellent viewfinder with live information
    • Preview of exposure & color
    • Live Histogram, shadow & highlight, shooting info
    • Preview of DOF with no image dimming
    • Bright view in dim light
  • In-body stabilization – much better than Nikon VR
  • Fast AF –as good as DSLR
  • Fast shot to shot – small shutter lag
  • Face detect AF
  • Lenses – Very sharp, less expensive, and smaller
  • Quiet – no mirror
  • Weather sealed
  • Programmable buttons, dials, and levers
  • Excellent JPEGs straight out of camera
    • Few blown highlights
    • Very pleasant rendering
  • Much smaller file sizes
  • Auto Magnification in MF with focus peaking
  • High burst rate – up to 10fps (w/o CAF), 6.5fps w CAF
  • Capable of 25+ shots before buffer fills
  • Useable CAF and IS in video – more like a dedicated video camera
  • Front and rear dials reconfigured by lever (2×2)
  • Super-setup screen to change most functions – don’t need to use menus
  • Touchscreen AF and release
  • Wi-Fi with smartphone remote control and uploading
  • Tilting LCD screen
  • One button custom WB
  • Use of Nikon and other lenses w/ adapter & MF
  • E-M1 EVF not quite as good for sports
    • CAF slower
    • Some EVF image choppiness when panning and in burst mode
  • Less resolution – can’t crop as much
  • Lower IQ at high ISO
    • IQ nearly as good as D7100, but can’t match D800
    • Lower useable max ISO
  • Sometimes feature activation and sequence of button pushes not always intuitive
  • No GPS – D800 doesn’t either, but D800 GPS accessories are available
  • Lower battery life – 350 shots
  • Slower startup from sleep
  • No built-in flash


  • The E-M1 is a serious camera  capable of excellent results.
  • Primary features:
    • Small size
    • Excellent image quality for prints up to 30×40
    • Very fast and accurate autofocus
    • Best image stabilization so far
    • Wide range of lenses available
  • The only real downside is the price.  However the lenses are generally less expensive than FX for similar specs.
  • Makes a great travel camera – kit with 4 to 5 lenses weighs about 7 lbs. in small travel backpack.
  • Would highly recommend as a primary or backup system.

For more images taken with the E-M1 image go to gallery: http://afpphoto.com/galleries/olympus-e-m1/

Mirror Sculpture