Olympus has a new pro level camera-the Olympus OM-D E-M1X with a pro price tag of $2999.00. My friends at B&H asked me to review this camera so they sent it to me last week. I have been reading a lot on the new camera and I have to say I am impressed with all of the specs and capabilities of this Micro Four Thirds (2x Crop Factor) body.
I own the Olympus OM-DE M1 Mark II (jeepers-can they make the names any harder to remember!), it is a fantastic camera and Olympus leads the way with their 5-Axis Image Stabilization and fully articulating screen and I am happy to say that the new camera has both. The new OM-D E-M1X boasts 20.4 Megapixel with 15fps in high mode and 10 fps in low mode. The camera uses Intelligent Subject Detection AF, which is an algorithm that uses technology to automatically detect specific subjects, focus on them, and track them.
This new model also has best-in-class weather protection -splashproof, dustproof and freezeproof down to 14°F / -10°C . On my recent trip to Norway my Canon body was frozen solid after a pounding wind and ice storm-it is still working, but yes, weather sealing is very important.
Another interesting thing is if you look at the image above, the camera looks like a pro model, it also has an Integrated vertical grip- I hate the integrated vertical grip-it doesn’t come off and in my opinion adds weight that is not wanted. The OM-D E-M1X has a lot of the same shooting modes and features as my Olympus OM-DE M1 Mark II, and also a couple of new features like Live ND and Handheld High Res Shot mode(see below).
I love Olympus for it’s lightweight lenses and bodies. I also love the ability to handhold at low shutter speeds. But why are they making the bodies larger with each new design? I know they are adding more and more features, but I signed up with Olympus only because of their ultra lightweight gear-not to get another large bulky camera.
I did try the camera out in Magnolia Gardens, South Carolina. I thought that the camera was user friendly, in that it was very easy to find my way around the menu-probably because I have shot with Olympus before. I liked the handheld high res feature and used it successfully, you do need to choose tripod or handheld before taking the shot.-it does not detect for you. The live composite feature in my other Olympus is fun to use and I am glad they kept it in for this one. I do wish that they offered a 9 image multiple exposure feature, their current 2 image multiple exposure feature doesn’t do it for me-even with image overlay. But, I am sure this model is being marketed to the folks that miss their larger beefier camera bodies.
The HDR is just like the OM-DE M1 Mark II, you can choose to set it up as you like. I prefer 3 images at +2-2 and combining my images in post. Thier in-camera combined HDR image is flat and lifeless. Battery life was good, I used only one all day but I have been in the habit of turning it off when shooting landscapes and garden scenes. You can also put a second battery in the grip so you most likely won’t be changing batteries often.
Overall it’s a nice camera, no need for it in my gear bag though as it is not a system I will be using for my bird photography or wildlife photography. However, if you have made the transition to Olympus and you are all in and you shoot birds and wildlife, it may be a nice upgrade for you. It looks and feels like a mini- Canon 1DX.
I should mention that I am currently using the Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera for landscapes. Canon for birds and wildlife and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera for flowers and travel photography-like Venice Italy, etc...
Key Specs (from the Olympus site):
Sensor Effective Resolution / Type
20.4 Megapixel Live MOS
Dual TruePic™ VIII Dual Quad Core Processors
Dual F.A.S.T. AF (Contrast & Phase Detection AF) 121 Point (All Cross Type) On-Chip Phase Detection
Image Stabilization System
5-Axis Image Stabilization with up to 7.5 Shutter Speed Steps Compensation
2.36M dot LCD Electronic Viewfinder
3.0" Vari-Angle Touch LCD
Dust, Splash and Freezeproof (IPX1 Rated)
Sequential Shooting Speed
15fps [H] mode 10fps [L] mode mechanical shutter
60fps [H] mode 18fps [L] mode silent electronic shutter
Intelligent Subject Tracking AF
Live ND (Neutral Density Filter)
4k Video Capture (30/25/24 fps) with OM-Log Mode
PRO Capture Lag-Free Electronic Shutter Mode
Dual Battery Slots with USB Type C In-camera Charging
Integrated Vertical Grip with Ergonomic Controls
Dual UHS-II SD Card Slots
400k Shot Shutter Life
SHOOTING MODES (from B&H):
Live Composite is a unique long exposure mode that allows you to gradually build up an exposure over time without overexposing key elements within the frame. This mode works to only record newly detected light sources over time, and allows you to watch as an image develops, making it ideally suited for photographing star trails or other moving light sources.
Pro Capture Mode is a unique setting that starts recording and buffering full-resolution JPEG or raw images prior to fully depressing the shutter. As soon as you press the shutter button halfway, frames will begin to be recorded, and once you fully press the shutter, the image will be saved in addition to the previous 35 frames. Additionally, you can hold the shutter button in this mode to keep shooting continuously using the silent electronic shutter function.
Live Bulb and Live Time settings can be used to produce creative long exposure imagery. Live Bulb lets you hold the shutter open for up to one minute and Live Time lets you press the shutter button once to open the shutter and then press again within a minute to end the exposure.
Live ND-Simulating the effects of a neutral density filter, Live ND results in blurred subject movement by compositing exposures to replicate the look of a single image taken at a slower shutter speed. Particularly suitable for photographing moving water, five modes are available—ND2, ND4, ND8, ND16, and ND32—to vary how movement is portrayed.
Tripod High Res Shot mode offers the equivalent output of a 50MP JPEG image or 80MP raw image by combining eight sequentially recorded frames into a single, larger image. In between each of the exposures, the sensor-shift stabilization mechanism moves slightly in order to acquire more information than in a single exposure and these frames are then composited into a final image with greater resolution and color detail. The dual TruePic VIII processors aid this process by compensating for any subject movement blur and this feature can also be configured to record 25MP images for file size flexibility.
Handheld High Res Shot mode, like the Tripod mode, produces a 50MP JPEG or raw file by compositing sequentially recorded files into a single image. The Handheld High Res Shot mode differs from the Tripod mode by recording 16 independent frames, opposed to eight, and the slight movement caused by hand-holding provides the range of movement needed to produce the larger final image.
In-Camera Focus Stacking will automatically record eight images of a subject while shifting the plane of focus slightly, then composite these exposures into a single frame to exhibit an extended depth of field. Alternatively, Focus Bracketing allows you to record between 3-999 frames with adjustable focus steps in a 1-10 range for manual compositing during post-production. These modes are only available when working with M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro, 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO, 30mm f/3.5 Macro, 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO, 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO, 300mm f/4 IS PRO, and 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO lenses.
Keystone Compensation allows you to correct for convergence when working in live view. Similarly, Fisheye Compensation allows you to use the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO lens as a rectilinear wide-angle lens by correcting and eliminating distortion.