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Friday, 20 December 2013


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I'm putting my money where my mouth is and saying the OM-D E-M1 is my camera of the year... yes I bought one! Of course it may not be 'the best' camera of the year but that's irrelevant really as all cameras are dumb without an intelligence behind them. The photographer maketh the camera.

As a long time Olympus user, from early OM-1 to OM-4Ti, and a bit fannish, I'm pleased at the E-M1's apparent success.

I'm also a bit puzzled. But for a couple of added features that will benefit few users, it is, for all but a select group, a bigger, heavier, more expensive E-M5 with no significant improvement in image making ability.

The select group, including many of my friends and acquaintances, are those with a stable of 4/3 lenses. They've been waiting, with various degrees of patience, for successors to the E-5 and E-620.

For them, the E-M5, with full adapter and PD AF speed, is a home run. And I'm very happy that Oly has not left so many loyal buyer/users hanging.

For others, either with µ4/3 gear already or new to the format, I don't see the attraction of spending a few hundred extra $ for the extras for 4/3 users.

I can hope for an E-M6, E-M5 size and weight, with the extras of the E-M1 plus an EFC, to finally put the shutter shock bugbear to rest.

Yes, shutter shock is apparently less on the E-M1. Mostly, I'll bet, simply because of the extra weight. Were it otherwise, we'd have heard of an improved shutter design, in terms that trumpet it's virtues, while skirting around the reason for it.

Until we see what Oly does next, my E-M5 will go head to head with a new GX7, which added things more significant to me than did the E-M1. The electronic shutter really does eliminate shutter shock or the shutter delay necessary to fix it on Oly bodies.


Wait! The gh3 is an amazing camera. First one I've liked since the original 5d. It should be on your list.

I sell cameras part time in Melbourne , Australia, and have had a chance to play extensively with both the EM-1 and the GX7 .( I'm a Canon shooter, and have been about to jump ship to Olympus since the EM-5, but can't quite afford to dump all my Canon stuff and buy the equivalent Oly and Pana lenses
quite yet. ) But that time is VERY rapidly approaching.... I use an EP 3 for more and more wedding pix, and find the JPEGs almost never have to be post produced. ( The 2 kit lenses - the 14-42 and 40 - 150 are vastly under-rated and will enlarge to A3 remarkably well) The GX7 and EM-1 are almost indistinguishable from each other in image quality, but I'm leaning heavily to the EM-1 because of the fantastic "Live Bulb-Live time " feature for my night pix... Also the built in time lapse recording. Both cameras are much better than my Canon 7D at 1600 ISO, and I'd be comfortable shooting at 3200 ISO with either for dark interiors at churches in wedding photography. (Not many brides want above A3 for the church pix). Camera Of The Year, is the EM-1, but the GX 7 may end up as my back up. We are becoming VERY spoiled.

It's a strange thing. I am fully committed to Micro 4/3. I have been happily surprised since my first little GF3 at how good the files are and what a great choice of lenses there is. But I have not found a body that I love. The Olympus EM-5 is lovely but the menus are really off-putting. The Lumixes (Lumices?) have such intuitive menus but all were a bit unengaging. Until I spent the early Autumn shooting only with the GX1. After a year of owning it, it suddenly fit. I think it was Ralph Gibson who wrote that Camera Craft was very important to his shooting method. I now feel that it is part of my eye and can shoot at will. I have two bodies (the second one was a steal at $200.00 on a B&H closeout). But the GX7 looks enough like it to tempt me. Maybe when the GX8 comes out.

Every camera you have picked is a winner, glad it's not my job to choose.

The E-M1 is a fantastic little camera. I purchased one along with the Olympus 17mm and Panasonic 25mm lenses.

Overall image quality doesn't match my 5D Mark II - at least not when you're pixel peeping - but it bests it in many other ways. Dynamic range is superb, autofocus is fast, and the viewfinder is a positive revelation.

In the end, what really marks it out as a great camera for me is that it's so damn fun to shoot with, and that surely is the only thing that matters.

I must say the GX7 is a quietly good looking camera.
Small and compact.
EVF 2m dots
Tilting Screen
Goodish menus

It is a clever package and seems to cover all those things that the GX1 failed to. However given the IBIS I am very surprised that they didn't pair it with the smaller 14-42 vario lens and in a twin kit with that and the 20mm.
My only concern is that it is less comfortable in my hands than the less beautiful G6 which is now a very good value package.
Nobody loves an ugly duckling!!

There are many fine comments here. I will agree about the E-M1. I really love it. It's hard to explain why, it just really fits and really works.
It reminds me of my affinity for my old Pentax ME Super back in the day. It's neither the most powerful nor the most compact nor the most full featured of cameras, but it's the best compromise of these things fitted into a perfect form.
(Yes, I'm even starting to like the looks a lot, despite the initial disappointment compared to the lovely retro E-M5.)

It is eating me that my current bad health is stopping me from going out and using this camera to the full extend it deserves.

To supplement my earlier comment: what makes the Panasonic GM1 significant to me in the larger context is that it feels like the camera that ought to kill the small sensor premium compact class of camera. If you can have a responsive camera with a much larger sensor AND interchangeable lenses, why would you pick a bigger camera with less flexibility and worse image quality?

At what point does "evolution" become "new"? I personally think that the Canon 70D has enough merits over the older ones to be considered "new", especially based on Mike's suggestion that the E-M1 isn't an evolution of the E-M5, and similarly that the GX7 isn't an evolution of the numerous Panasonic incantations...

The E-M1 may have benefited me by dropping used prices on the E-M5, which I bought recently from KEH. Some of the M1 benefits looked significant, but they weren't significant *enough* -- they don't shift any major classes of photo from my Nikon D700 to the M43 system for me. For people without a system with fantastic AF and shoot-in-the-dark performance, the M1 might be a significant improvement on the M5.

Plus of course the special audience of people with existing non-micro Four Thirds lens collections.

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