Olympus OMD EM1 - Feedback

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by thomas_piorkowski, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. Hello Group,

    I thought I would add this request to the forum asking those who have purchase the Olympus OMD EM1 for their feedback on what they like, and don’t like.

    Based on the large number of reviews, and, the numerous cameras of the year awards, it seem to be an excellent product with many advanced features.

    Coming from the Nikon world, the 4/3 camera seem to have improved in product and image quality, and, I like small format, not having to carrier a large amount of weight with traditional DSLR’s.

    From what I can see, the only disadvantage is the long exposure issue with added noise compared to the EM5. However, with NR on, it seems to take care of this. With the dark frame subtraction, it seems to clear this up. Shooting fireworks, and other quick action long exposures, will cause issued trying to take frame after frame, and, will need to waiting for the subtraction to do its job before taking the next image.

    I think the positives outweigh the one negative, and, the camera is a leading product in mirror less technology. I hope 4/3 lenses are here to stay.

    Any feedback, good or bad would be appreciated.
    I would be looking to add the 12-40 Pro lenses, curious on how it performs in low light conditions.
  2. Pros: Solid construction. Good design and layout, not a first generation item, shows input from real photographers. Good ergonomics. Handles and focuses both the micro four thirds lenses and the stable of very nice four thirds lenses. Has all the latest technology like WI FI and very good Epson electronic viewfinder which is as nice as an optical finder for many of us; Weather resistant to a fine degree. Best dust removal system in the business. Very customizable. Takes good pictures in low light conditions. For what most people shoot.
    Cons: Costs more than some folks think they want to spend on a small size camera. Said about most of Olympus flagship models from day one, but hey....Has no built in flash. Battery is small, and not powerful like some batteries so shooting times are lessened. Good lenses are still going to cost some money because Olympus does not have the buyer base to make them cheap. And probably some more, but I see the cup as half full vs half empty. Oh yes, it takes some time to learn its tricks. Murky big manual with non standard nomenclature at times that boggles some of us. I mean not for the hasty or half serious types. Accessory selection such as flash is not as great as the big boys....
    --Also nota bene: Do review the John Foster and Dr Wrotniak (an owner and user) reviews as well as DPR to get other points of view. I have provided links below in earlier threads. I consider it one of Olympus's best releases to date and worth the price. Micro four thirds as a format has made a showing in the mirrorless camera scene with addition of Panasonic, one of the world's biggest consumer electronics firms which is going to be around for a while. It will, I predict be adopted by professionals who are tired of lugging a big bag of lenses.
  3. Coming from a DSLR, the only thing you will probably miss is decent AF on moving subjects. The only other concern for me is throwing the background out of focus. You have to work a bit harder with m43 to get a nice shallow depth of field but it can be done, usually by using a longer focal length and stepping back a little.
  4. Jamie has a point when you are doing portraits and want to throw the background out of focus. Probably explains why the single focal length fast lenses are so sought after, even the older FD lenses with adapters. It is a trade off if that shallow DOF is something you care about compared to the full frame DSLRs. Not as big a difference over the APS-C sized sensors. Here is a quote from an article by A. Wrotniak on depth of field with different size sensors and their corresponding lenses,( a little dated since he wrote it in 2008, since faster prime lenses are in production at a price naturally for micro including one from Voigtlander which is f 0.95 as I have read.)
    I shoot regularly with one good zoom at F 2.8. And have a 20mm available that is F 1.7. Not perfect but not bad..... This DOF thing is not insignificant, depending....one can't optimize the whole show I mean...photographers have had to deal with different DOF issues since the days of 6X7 folders I mean. If you like math, seek out his whole article here:
    Excerpt from above:
    "The bad news is that it is much more difficult, using a digital camera, to blow the background out of focus, which is a pleasing effect in portrait and nature photography. You will have to use the longest possible focal length, and keep your lens wide open. Well, there is no free lunch. I would love to see a 50 mm, F/1.4 Four Thirds lens, capable of DoF as shallow as a 100/2.8 lens on my film SLRs. (The 30/1.4 lens from Sigma comes close, but may be a tad too wide for portraits. 50 to 60 mm would be perfect!)"​
    For my purposes, I can manage to get a fuzzy background without too much hurdles. And if you use the stop down button you can see exactly what the image will look like while the electronics raises the gain so you are not left in the dark. I use to use MF where it was a struggle to get enough depth of focus for nose and ears, if you catch my drift.....Mele Kelikimaka from me and Barry over here:) gs
  5. e.g. if you shoot portraits with an 85mm f/1.8 on full frame, shoot the same portrait using the beautiful Olympus 75mm f/1.8 to get a similar result. The only difference is that you will need to stand much further back when using the Olympus.
  6. Not exactly. The look depends on the aperture and the subject to camera distance. With the 1/2 size sensor, the camera would have to be almost twice the distance away from the subject for the same FOV.
  7. ...will need to stand much further back​
    I think that is what the man said. This out of focus background business has got a lot of play lately. It took me little time to figure it out by empirical means...I use to use hyperfocal distancw when shooting stereos but not since and lenses now don't hardly have them. I guess one could chart the whole mess if you feel up to it. Me, incidentally I am not going to have time in this lifetime to go next step and seek the ultimate brokeh ,got to say:)
  8. I have used my D800 once in the last six months since I started using the OMD EM5, and now use and am thrilled with the OMD EM1. I am considering selling my D800 because it is simply not going to get used - no need - the EM1 does it all! Frankly, Nikon could use a few lessons from Olympus (hope no one from the Nikon forum reads this).
    I also just recently received and started using the 12-40mm and it is an incredible lens in every way!
    I think the only genuine negative that most will agree on is the lack of reliable continuous AF.
  9. Not exactly. The look depends on the aperture and the subject to camera distance.​
    Hence my use of the word similar
  10. " it is much more difficult...., to blow the background out of focus"

    Something must be wrong with my camera and lenses as I have no problems with doing this with any of my lenses, even the wide angle ones.

    The beauty of the M43 system is that you can shoot wide open and even though you may need to be a bit farther away from your subject - the 'net' result is a scene very similar to that of a full frame camera. I find that lenses for my OMD system are as sharp wide open as they are stopped down a bit so I often find myself shooting wide open where I would have had to stop down with my previous system - amazing!

    "The look depends on the aperture and the subject to camera distance"
    ...an the distance from the subject to the background.
  11. " it is much more difficult...., to blow the background out of focus"

    Something must be wrong with my camera and lenses as I have no problems with doing this with any of my lenses, even the wide angle ones.​
    Perhaps I should have added "to the same degree" to make it clearer for you.
  12. Jamie, I am agreeing with your comments - DOF with M43 is, to me, a non-issue. Perhaps my comment was not clear, sorry.
  13. Cons: Costs more than some folks think they want to spend on a small size camera.​
    I used the EM-1 briefly but consider this to be its main drawback. The EM-5 can now be found for $600 used or under $1000 new. It has one major advantage over the EM-1 (size), but in pretty much every other respect the EM-1 is a better camera.
    Is it $400 – $1000 better? Not to me. I'd rather buy an EM-5 now and an EM-1 in a year or two when its successor arrives.
  14. Size wise, there is really minimal difference between the EM5 and the EM1 - the built-in grip accounts for most of the difference between the two. In fact, if you have the Olympus grip installed on the EM5 (just the section with the grip and not the battery holder), the two are very, very close in size and weight.
    There are numerous things that distinguish the two cameras from each other, but for me, certain specific improved features/enhancements such as much, much better ergonomics, incredible EVF (in some ways better than an OVF), more 'buttons' (all user programmable) for faster access to preferred functions, improved AF (not greatly improved but improved none-the-less) and significantly larger buffer (great if you are a RAW shooter) made the choice easier (I am very satisfied with my EM5).
    "Cons: Costs more than some folks think they want to spend on a small size camera."

    This is true as many people judge many things by their size yet the reality is that the only thing small about the OMD EM1 is its size. And as mentioned previously, perhaps the only true drawback is the camera's continuous AF ability (or lack of ability). I suppose for someone not concerned with size and/or weight, there might be better choices in the same price range, especially for someone starting a system from scratch. But for those looking for a compact body and compact lenses, the EM1 is possibly the best overall value currently available.
  15. If you like the best and saved your last bonus, get the E-M1. The more I play with it the more there is to like. Some of the custom adjustments take a little puzzling but when you catch on, they turn out logical after all. As to the money issue, I don't expect this camera to dive in price for several years ,if then. And I may kick the bucket next five years so you know you got to think about 'bucket listing'for stuff you know you want. And unless you overspent on that fancy car... or that suite rental in Vegas Or the gifts to your friends or all those charity solicitations from so many needy others without anything.....It is a little gem. Give your regular donations if it is a choice and wait a while and turn in the change jar of coins and e bay older stuff if you must..... I don't have to reveal my prices to anyone except my wife and she has good taste too. Lucky me.
  16. I've had this camera for a month - most useful travel digital I've ever owned.
    I hate dragging around a FF and 2.8 zoom (think Nikon Trinity) - the E-M1 and 12-40 2.8 is an awesome pair, great image quality, nice small size
    IBIS - I can handhold at really low shutter speeds - like 1/3 sec or longer, just stunning.
    Very configurable - buttons , wheels and levers that are customizable.
    EVF - very very good, little or no lag, very sharp, bright - don't miss the optical viewfinder at all.
    lens options - so many really good lenses
    Manual Focus - very effective thru the EVF - touch and feel depends on the lens - the 75 1.8 and the 12-40 have a really good resistive/dampened feel
    Wifi mode - pretty good to remote control camera or transfer photos to phone
    Image Quality - good enough for me - but then I don't do wall size prints
    2x lens factor makes wildlife photography possible and affordable for me vs the Nikon FF. I got a 75-300 Oly zoom (150-600 equiv), I can't imagine owning a 600mm on FF (price and weight)
    Silly art modes - fun for 10 secs, then just get in the way.
    GPS - I'd like built in GPS
    Battery life - this is an energy intensive camera - buy 2 extra batteries.
    no 2nd card slot - I'm just wishing out loud here
    DoF - you do have to work harder with the focal lengths to get bokeh
    pixel peepers - I've used it up to 1600 ISO w no issues - if you peep pixels, there are discussions re higher comparative noise at high ISO and long exposure times vs larger sensors

    I'm really happy with this camera - It's great for my purposes
  17. It will, I predict be adopted by professionals who are tired of lugging a big bag of lenses.​
    that's wishful thinking. why would pros choose m4/3 over APS-C or FF mirrorless? none of the Oly primes are weather-sealed, and the 12-50 isn't a pro lens. a high-end m4/3 body like the e-m1 costs only slightly less than the sony a7 and more than the nikon d7100 and fuji x-e/2. a 35-100 is a lot more compact than an FF 70-200, but regardless, that's a non-starter for pros until AF-C performance is improved. the m4/3 cameras are better suited for street shooters who value the format's strengths: compact bodies and high-quality fast primes.
    if you shoot portraits with an 85mm f/1.8 on full frame, shoot the same portrait using the beautiful Olympus 75mm f/1.8 to get a similar result.​
    actually, you'd have to shoot a 150mm on full frame to get the same result, while the 45/1.8 would be closer to an 85/1.8 on FF. however, 1.8 on 4/3 or m4/3 would be equivalent to f/3.6 in terms of DoF. the advantage there is you can shoot at narrower apertures and get more in focus; con is harder to achieve defocused backgrounds.
    Frankly, Nikon could use a few lessons from Olympus (hope no one from the Nikon forum reads this).​
    oops, busted! currently, m4/3 is battling it out in the high-end enthusiast market, while trying to hold on to the entry-level compact/p&s upgrader market. that's a tough territory to defend as there is competition from both ends. i actually think we're likely to see mirrorless FX cameras from nikon, fuji, and canon in the future, and if the recent reuters/NYT article on mirrorless was onto anything. m4/3's future is anything but assured. i actually think we'll see fire sale prices on older models as soon as they become non-current. the one thing that current m/4 bodies have going for them is in-body stabilization, which is useful for things like hand-held macros, and shooting long primes in low light. that would be one reason to choose, say, an e-m5+17/1.8 over a fuji x100s, which has the same equivalent focal length, a larger sensor, a smaller footprint, better hi-ISO performance, and costs less.
    the e-m1 is clearly better in some ways --except size-- than the e-m5, but but where do you go from a body like the e-m1? you cant really add more MP, you can't give them bigger sensors, and the only thing you can really add is better AF -- which is really only going to be important to high-end users who may look elsewhere. can you migrate users into $1500 bodies? or do you put better features in $800-$1000 bodies? if $1500 becomes the new benchmark for full-frame mirorless (the sony A7 is $1700 at introduction), it will be difficult to sell smaller sensor bodies at that same price point, APS-C and m4/3 included.
  18. Other posters have already discussed the technical merits and areas of improvement of the EM1 so I'll just add...
    ...Mirrorless cameras have changed the way I work. I started with the Olympus PL3, then the EP5, and now the EM1 as of a few weeks ago.
    My main body (at the moment) is a Nikon D800 for studio work but I love the EM1 for location work. I will slowly bridge the gap and start using the EM1 for more client work as well. Freedom of movement and live view is important to me.
    The 12-40 2.8 is a great lens as well.
    I didn't get the EM1 to win any resolution or low noise challenges. It's good but FF is definitely cleaner. What I wanted was a fresh approach, a lightweight but serious camera good enough to handle most of my clients' needs.
  19. Hello, I am new to this forum. I come from Nikon - D7100 and D4. I would describe myself as a semi-professional as I do shoot some event and personal bookings. I know my Nikon settings.
    About a month ago I purchased an OMD-EM1 + 12-40 f/2.8 and 75-300f/4.8. First let me say that I am not having a problem with creamy OFF bkrds with either lens. I bought the camera for the same reason as everyone else, I no longer wanted to carry big heavy bricks with me.
    When the camera takes a good picture, it is very nice. But I get more OFF bad pics than is reasonable. So back and back to the manual. And so far, forget any action pics except for the first day I tried the camera.....now how did I do that!
    My frustration with this camera is the settings. They appear to change after I turn the camera off and back on. I shoot mostly Aperture mode, wide open For example, I had my camera set up for an event the night before. Continuous shooting, AF, never turned on facial recognition. Next day, I get Single shot, Face recognition which seemed to ruin the AF. Back to Manual PDF@! For viewing photos, I wanted to see the entire photo. I got that set up, but it keeps returning to thumbnail with EXIF on side!!! Yikes,
    I have never been one to use Scenes, but I have to say, I tried some on this camera and they really are quite nice!! Have to try the Sports Scene LOL
    I like the size, weight and build of the camera and particularly the 12-40. Nice quality, but I better learn how to take better pics or I will definitely feel like an idiot for spending so much on a camera that drives me bonkers.

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