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Tuesday, 05 July 2016


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I've had an E-M1 for a year, and I bought it primarily to shoot car rallying and bicycle racing. It's as splash and dust proof as I need. That is, I will quit and go home long before the camera gives up. I use it mostly with the splash proof 14-150 f/4.0-5.6"kittish" lens. I don't know if it will hold up in a steady downpour as well as other "pro" cameras, but I don't really care because no one is paying me to do this and I can't afford those other cameras or lenses anyway. I can carry it around all day and not hate it.

If someone were paying me, I'd have to think harder about using the "pro" bodies/lenses from Canikon or even Sony to avoid missing some shots. Till then, I live with it. Besides, Oly may release a body one day that eliminates this handicap.

I used to use an E-3 and 50-200/f2.8 SWD 4/3 system, which I did hate to carry around, for even part of the day. The new combo does not suffer in comparison, except in lower light such as twilight races. I choose to live with that by resorting to manual focus, which I still remember how to use for sports.

I use to use a 1-inch V2 for sports and its autofocus is so blindingly fast that the E-M1 cannot measure up. What this has meant in practice is that my keeper rate has dropped (say, from 60% or so to 45% or so, not a deal breaker for me). I can crank the E-M1 to higher ISO than the V2, and it can use my other m4/3 lenses with it, so I thought it handier to own than the V2. (I also own the tiny E-M10 and lenses).

I suspect that the E-M1 could deliver better AF and lowlight performance with the Oly pro lenses, but they're heavy and expensive and I am not going to buy them without a good reason.

I have also used the E-M1 with the 100-300 Panasonic lens for casual birding because I can handhold this combo at the 600 mm equiv length, and the system is not THAT heavy to carry around for a while. The E-M10's focussing with this lens is not quick enough unless the birds are sitting still.

The camera has a lot of customizability, if that's a word. Means some fiddling with the complex menus and jargon, and some web searching for what others do or recommend. But it's not rocket science, no worse than other cameras I've used.

I think it's a good deal, delivers what I want, fits well in the hand, is well-built and not very heavy. With a small prime lens, it's not that much bigger than a Pentax Super Program with a 50 mm or 100 mm, another nice combo.

Because the E-M1 is so good, the E-M5 MK1 - the first Olympus M43 DSLAM - all too easily falls into oblivion.

But this ooooold camera has one advantage for people wearing glasses: In the old spinster you can much better see all corners of the viewfinder than in the E-M1.

As slightly used bodies of the E-M5 with barely 6000 exposures on the sensor now sell for not much more than € 230,-, this seems to be a the real bargain for me, given you consider a pre-loved camera at all.

You're right, Mike, the sale season is upon us - and it's a low-key sale season at that. Add to the list the sale on Fuji XF lenses that ended a few weeks ago. There are deals to be had. Still, I found another way.

I finally picked up an Olympus E-M1 a few months ago. But I went the refurbished route, when Olympus USA had one of its periodic 20 percent off sales.

Olympus's regular price on refurbed E-M1 bodies is $719. With the 20 percent discount, that came to $576. Now that's value. Also, the refurbed 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO is $639 on Olympus's site. With 20 percent off, I paid $511. Both camera and lens are indistinguishable from new. It's probably the only way I would have ended up with this combination.

These sales pop up at least once every season. You usually have to enter a special discount code. Sign up for alerts on Olympus USA's web site. And if you want to go to their refurbed page... search the word "reconditioned." And be ready to act as soon as you hear about a new sale. Things sell out quickly - I mean really quickly.

It is my main camera and I really love it. A very capable, comfortable and quick to operate instrument. Image quality is excellent to. I have printed 21x28" in my 7880 epson which are full of very fine details. Lens quality shows easily with this camera. Although the Mk II is ad-portas, I will be using my Mk I for quite a long time I guess.

I own an E-M1. Probably the best current platform for made-for-digital Zuikos, old and new. I call it 'a camera for the road', an old ethos for a camera that can be just tucked in a rucksack along a small prime or two and cover almost any situation that is thrown at it with satisfying (not necessarily "perfect") results. I'm so pleased with my E-M1 I have been mulling the unthinkable idea of skipping its next iteration. How can it possibly be more useful to me?

I suppose I'll be the one to go against the grain here and say that I'm not overly fond of the EM1. It's not that it's a bad camera, it's just that I think the Mk2 versions of the EM5 and EM10 have a better mix of features and price.

Compared to the EM5 mk2, the only real features the EM1 has to recommend it instead are the grip and PDAF on the sensor. Unfortunately, while the PDAF works well for lens compatibility, it's not really built for subject tracking like in other hybrids systems (ie Sony).

Meanwhile the EM10 mk2 has roughly 90-95% of the feature set of either camera for around 50% of the price.

The one thing that I do miss about the EM1 is the grip. The smaller EM5/10 bodies don't balance quite as well with larger zoom and tele MFT lenses. If someone is looking for an MFT body to use with older, adapted lenses, or with longer, heavier lenses, I think the EM1 makes a good recommendation. Otherwise though, I would suggest it's younger, cheaper siblings.

I think of my Olympus OM-D E-M1 as the u4/3 mirrorless equivalent of my Canon 1D MkII N. That analogy alone is enough reason to buy one, but top that off it's built like a frickin' tank and is very responsive. Absolutely terrific camera.

I got my E-M1 in 2014 after my E-5 fell into a very murky river. I was hesitant with replacing the E-5 with the E-M1 (insurance), but it turned out the best thing that I ever did. It brought back to life all of my 4/3 SHG lenses with it's great image quality and, surprisingly, makes for a much better kit in ergonomic terms, despite the size of those lenses.

Lots of nice things said about the E-M1 by owners. Then again, most of them are true of the E-M5 II, sometimes "truer".

"The E-M1 is a terrific camera: it can handle long lenses in particular (...e.g; a small, lightweight 300mm behaving as a 600mm...) with ease, as it also has that very effective in-body sensor stabilization, allowing slower shutter speeds than you'd expect to use with 'long' lenses."

All true of my E-M5 IIs and continue to be true as I've moved from my beloved and well used 75-300 to the PanLeica 100-400 and IBIS in the newer body is distinctly better. (I assume this may be related to improvements to the sensor shift mechanism to support the HR Mode.)

"Probably the best current platform for made-for-digital Zuikos, old and new."

True enough, but for those, like me, who skipped the original 4/3 DSLRs, the old don't exist. For me, the E-M5 II is the best current platform for the µ4.3 lenses I have. I saw no point in paying a premium for a function I'd never use.

The other big distinguishing feature of the E-M1 is the large grip. Fingers, hands and tastes differ. I dislike huge grips like the one on the E-M1.

The big distinguishing feature of the E-M5 II is the HR Mode. For some sorts of photography, it's a huge game changer.

The E-M1 at current prices is certainly a bargain, at least for those for whom its combination of pluses and minuses work and for whom the added qualities of the Mark II (or whatever it's called) won't be compelling.

I have used the E-M1 for wildlife photography for 2 and a half years. It replaced a Nikon D810, 500mm f/4 prime lens, and heavy tripod that I used previously. It's very rugged and reliable and it focuses very rapidly.

I can easily carry the E-M1 and a 600mm (equivalent) f/4 lens all day and get very sharp images hand-held. That's a biggie for wildlife photography. The critter does not always wait around for you to to set up a tripod.

The menu is overly complicated and the Oly has many capabilities that you don't need. But once you have set if up for wildlife photography it's simple to operate. If you want to do some travel photography on your safari there are very sharp PRO lenses in the normal and wide angle category.

If I wished for any improvement, it would be better low light capability. That will come someday and I will still be able to use my collection of PRO lenses when it does.

Speaking as someone who owns about 40 lenses in the 50-58mm range that Sony/Zeiss 55mm 1.8 sonnar is the best I have ever owned by any conventional standard*. I have a few 50ish lenses that do one thing or another better, but none are better overall.

I thought it was a bargain at list price.

*Macro not so much, and I have a lot of glass for my ongoing "lenses behaving badly" series. Also I'll buy anything for less than $10

The E-M1's a nice representation of the (almost) date of the Mirrorless art: some terrific features, some frustrating shortcomings.

On the plus side, it's as well built and responsive as everyone says. The electronic viewfinder's quite nice as well. And while not specific to the E-M1, the m4/3s lineup is really superb: great choices at every focal length, with usually at least one budget and one premium option, and all so much smaller and lighter than for aps-c and 35mm.

On the downside, I have occasionally been hit with the more or less notorious double image from shutter shock bug. It only happens at speeds between 1/125 and 1/250, but when it does, it's sure irritating.

The big downside, though, is autofocus. It's not up to DSLR levels, not even close. Oh sure, for single focus AF it's fast and accurate, often uncannily so. But I'd describe continuous AF as near useless. It will get some shots in focus, sure, but has equally uncanny abilities to a) pick whatever's highest contrast, regardless of your chosen focus point, and b) lag considerably behind in tracking. The end result is a sequence of alternating mostly in focus shots, completely out of focus ones where it's picked the adorable sign behind your toddler as a convenient place to focus, and shots almost but not quite in focus. Depending on your mood and number of glasses of wine, it's either a charming or infuriating performance. And let's not forget that tracking moving subjects with an EVF is tricky as they don't show a live feed between frames, just the last shot taken.

So on the whole, great camera. But it, and Mirrorless in general still has a ways to go to match DSLR autofocus. If the E-M1 Mark II or GH5 meaningfully improves that, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one.

The E-M1 feels better in my hands than any other hand held camera I have ever owned or used. The control wheels fall right where I need them. The camera is the right size for me - Approximately the same size as my old Pentax MX.

Before purchasing I tried the Panasonic GX-7, Fuji X-Pro 1, Panasonic GH-3, and Olympus EM-5. All nice cameras. I knew which one I wanted the moment I picked up the E-M1 and looked through the viewfinder.

I have and like the EM-1, but I think it is a far from perfect and occasionally maddening camera.

As an autofocus camera it is excellent, but it's manual focus implementation leaves a lot to be desired. Things that are well implemented in other cameras, such as focus peaking and zoom, are between useless and klunky, respectively.

And the camera is supposedly customizable, but here are a number of features that I use often which are not able to be assigned to buttons, so ou need to dig into the menus anyway.

Somt get me wrong, it's a very good camera and if you know its limits and are ok with them, great. But I'd be sure you're ok with the tradeoffs beforehand.

I am a painter as well as a photographer, documenting my studio work is a big part of my daily camera usage. I had been using a Nikon D800E for this work until I tried the 64mb raw mode on the OM-D 5mk2, yikes those are some nice files and so much more convenient in usage.
Try it you will like it.

I used the old standard E-5 four-thirds camera and had a collection of lenses for it. The E-5 was my third Olympus DSLR and I liked all the ones I had. For the E-5’s successor, I was hoping for a replacement that would have less noise and better low-light capability. I was frustrated when the E-5’s replacement turned out to be the E-M1, but I went ahead and bought one the fall that it was released.

One element of frustration was the fact that my four-thirds lenses weren’t native to the Micro 4/3 lens mount. But once I got used to the camera, I found that I liked it and my satisfaction has increased over the years I’ve been using it. I’ve ended up purchasing a new set of native lenses, mostly primes, and haven’t regretted the investment (although adding up what I spent on lenses one day was a sobering exercise).

I concur with other commenter’s notes about the E-M1’s drawbacks, but for me, the camera does what I need it to do. The quality of my photography hasn’t been limited by the camera; only by my own skill and quality of my own execution. Prints that I’ve made using an Epson P-800 printer taken with the E-M1 were judged good enough to allow me to apply for a corporate artist program and my work was subsequently selected by one of the participating businesses for display in their corporate office. No one asked what camera brand or format I used; they liked the pictures.

Having said that, it seems that most reviews and commentary about the camera struggle to note good points about Micro 4/3 cameras or lenses without throwing in a “Micro 4/3” qualifier. Too often, it’s not “a really sharp lens,” but instead “a really sharp Micro 4/3 lens…” I might be overly sensitive to it, but it seems like most references to the system are qualified like that. I don’t see why the format has to be called out so frequently.

OK, but then if people who aren’t photography geeks don’t notice or care, why should I? Because I’m also a social animal, I possess a certain degree of vanity and would like to have the respect of other photographers. Medium format is a pretty small image compared to 8X10. But somehow, if you’re not using a 35mm sensor, there seems to be a subtly implied suggestion that you’re not doing “real” photography. Not from everyone, of course, but that sentiment is definitely there. If that matters to you, be aware of it before investing in this system. Having raised the issue, and talking about how I notice it and am often annoyed by it, ultimately the advantages and the value of the micro 4/3 system will keep me using it for the foreseeable future. I like the current E-M1 that I’ll probably skip its immediate successor, at least until the prices drop in anticipation of the model that follows this next one.

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