In response to the demand for a compact system camera as powerful as a pro DSLR, Olympus has introduced the OM-D E-M1, its new premium flagship camera and Micro Four Thirds successor to the Olympus E-5 DSLR.
The E-M1 has what Olympus is calling a revolutionary design for advanced photographers looking for a high-performance tool in a compact system camera package.
The E-M1 is packed with incredible speed and image quality that rivals full-frame DSLRs, in a portable yet lightweight body designed to go anywhere.
The E-M1 works seamlessly with all Zuiko Digital lenses, in addition to working with M.Zuiko Digital lenses, so photographers can enjoy optimum performance of the entire Olympus lens lineup.
This is possible due to advanced Dual Fast AF system that combines both Contrast AF and On-Chip Phase Detection AF.
The camera’s ergonomic body provides easy access to all manual controls.
The E-M1 delivers the highest image quality of any Olympus camera through the combination of a new 16.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor, a new TruePic VII image processor, and its M.Zuiko lenses.
The TruePic VII image processor reduces noise and colour fading at high ISOs for improved image reproduction.
New Fine Detail Processing II technology configures the appropriate sharpness processing for each individual lens for natural, high-quality resolution, as well as reducing compression artifacts when recording movies.
The newly developed Dual Fast AF selects the ideal method, depending on lens type and settings: either 37-point On-Chip Phase Detection AF or 81-point Contrast Detection AF to maximize the performance of both Zuiko and M.Zuiko lenses. Both systems work together to significantly improve continuous autofocus tracking performance when a Micro Four Thirds lens is attached and C-AF is selected.
Users can select Group Target AF for a variety of situations, Small Target AF for pinpoint shooting, or Super Spot AF for capturing even smaller subjects and specifying a small area focus location during macro shooting.
The TruePic VII engine supports 10 frames-per-second (fps) shooting with a 41-picture RAW buffer in single autofocus (S-AF) mode and 6.5 fps shooting with a 50-picture RAW buffer in continuous autofocus (C-AF) mode.
The E-M1’s advanced, built-in Interactive Electronic Viewfinder features a 1.48x (35 mm equivalent of .74x) magnification factor that rivals full-frame DSLR cameras. The extremely high-resolution 2.36 million-dot LCD panel provides a large, clear image that is on a par with optical viewfinders.
Tracking moving subjects is completely natural, with a display time lag of only 0.029 seconds.
Users can experiment with aspect ratio, magnification, colour, and highlight and shadow, and the effects of camera settings on subjects are viewable prior to capturing the finished image.
Adaptive Brightness Control raises the brightness when shooting in bright outdoor conditions and lowers the brightness in dark indoor conditions, reducing visual errors from light and dark adaptation of the eye.
Colour Creator is a new tool that fine-tunes hue and colour saturation using the intuitive GUI and Live View screen, so users can create original images imbued with their own choice of colours. Creative Colour was created with a designer’s sensitivity in mind, and hue can be adjusted in 30 steps, and colour saturation adjusted in eight steps, including the baseline.
The E-M1’s built-in 5-Axis Image Stabilization with Multi-Motion IS mechanism reduces the effects of camera motion and image blur from five directions. Whether shooting stills or HD video, even the motion blur caused by walking or running is stabilized. New algorithms make image stabilization more effective at low shutter speeds.
When it is employed while panning during still image shooting or movie recording, IS-Auto mode automatically detects the camera’s movements and provides optimal correction regardless of direction or camera orientation – even when panning in a diagonal direction.
Users can check the image stabilization effects on the Live View screen as well as the viewfinder to accurately frame and focus, even during telephoto or macro shooting.
Multi-Motion IS, used in combination with the 5-Axis Image Stabilization mechanism, produces excellent correction during movie recording, says the company.
The E-M1 expands the dustproof and splashproof capabilities of the E-M5 even further with freezeproof capabilities – guaranteed operation down to -10C (14F) – for the best environmental resistance of any Olympus interchangeable lens camera.
Its durable magnesium alloy body, and weather-resistant seals and gaskets block moisture and dust for use in any environment.
The camera’s Supersonic Wave Filter (SSWF) dust reduction system vibrates at a super-high speed of more than 30,000 times per second to remove dust particles so users can shoot in dusty environments.
Advanced photographers will appreciate the intuitive 2×2 Dial Control system to easily adjust four often-used functions with the camera’s lever or two dials: aperture/shutter speed, exposure compensation, ISO speed, and white balance.
A built-in grip similar to that of the E-M5 makes shooting with Four Thirds lenses more comfortable, and all frequently accessed buttons are logically laid out.
Controls are now more functional: the settings reset function is activated by pressing and holding the OK button and there is a toggle option for the My Settings shortcut and a locking mode dial to prevent unintentional movement of the mode dial during shooting or when removing the camera from a case or bag.
The dedicated “mic-in” jack supports an external microphone when recording HD movies and a built-in X-Sync socket easily connects to studio strobes.
The E-M1 includes built-in Wi-Fi, and the set-up is simple. By quickly scanning the QR code displayed on the camera’s LCD with a smart device, it syncs with the Wi-Fi network created by the camera.
The free Olympus Image Share 2.0 smartphone app synchronizes a user’s smartphone and E-M1 so the camera’s “Live View” is effectively displayed on the phone, and the camera can be controlled by touching the smartphone display as if it were the camera.
The E-M1’s remote shooting function has been improved for use in all main shooting modes (P, A, S, M and iAuto). Users can now wirelessly adjust various settings, such as the shutter speed, aperture value, ISO and exposure compensation, as well as operate the Live Bulb shooting mode from their Wi-Fi devices. They can also use their smartphone to embed GPS information into their images.
Diorama II adds to the range of in-camera Art Filters and offers left and right blur effect in addition to the top and bottom blur effect of Diorama I.
The camera is equipped with two variations of HDR Shooting – HDR1 and HDR2. With a single press of the shutter button, four images with differing exposures are captured and automatically merged in the camera into a single HDR high-contrast image or super-high-contrast image.
Photo Story mode enables users to capture a scene from multiple viewpoints and then combine the images into a single image to create unique collages inside the camera.
Time Lapse Movie converts the series of pictures taken using interval shooting into a movie inside the camera. The Time Lapse Movie length has been increased to a maximum of 100 seconds.
The number of possible shots that can be captured with Interval Shooting has been increased to 999.
The E-M1 is also equipped with Focus Peaking, which dramatically improves the usability of older manual focus lenses.
Olympus also has announced the development of two new high-performance lenses, establishing the M.Zuiko Pro lens category: The Zuiko Digital ED 12–40mm f/2.8 Pro lens (24–80 mm equivalent) and the Zuiko Digital ED 40–150 mm f/2.8 Pro (80–300 mm equivalent).
The 12-40 mm lens is the first model and is scheduled for release at the same time as the camera. It features dustproof and waterproof performance, toughness and excellent image quality. Its mount employs the same type of sealing as the camera body and is Movie & Still Compatible (MSC) with high-speed, near-silent autofocus during still shooting and high-definition (HD) video capture. It maintains the brightness of a constant f/2.8 aperture.
The 40-150 mm lens is currently under development, with a planned release in the latter half of 2014. It will also feature a bright constant f/2.8 aperture and dustproof and splashproof construction.
The HLD-7 Power Battery Holder is a dustproof and splashproof power battery holder that can enable the capture of approximately 680 shots between charges. It features a shutter button for shooting with the camera held vertically and two control dials and two function buttons for the same easy controls as when shooting from a horizontal position.
The GS-5 Grip Strap for the HLD-7 keeps buttons and dials accessible even when the battery holder is attached.
The PT-EP11 Underwater Case is made exclusively for the Olympus E-M1 and allows shooting down to 45 meters.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 will be available in October.