REVIEW : The Olympus OM-D E-M1

On New Year's Day 2013 I did a short review of the then new OM-D E-M5 and to paraphrase a pop song, I liked it.  When Olympus announced the advent of the E-M1, a more professional and feature rich option, I was interested and with great thanks to Chris Atkinson of Henry's Newmarket, I have now completed my review of the camera and a variety of lenses for it.  How did it fare?  Read on gentle friends, read on....There's no doubt that the advent of mirror less cameras has been massively successful.  Except in North America where the numbers are upside down compared to the rest of the world.  I don't know why this is, but it is and the mirror less explosion has not happened on this continent.  Yet.  The OM-D E-M1 could be the first camera to really tip the scales. What Do People Have Against Mirrorless?

When I talk to other photographers about their next camera, invariably they tell me it will be a DSLR.  When I ask why it comes down to a few consistent reasons.  Let's explore them and get them out of the way.

  • Choice of Lenses - Major line DSLR providers have lots of lenses to choose from, and this is augmented by third parties.  And despite significant enhancements in high ISO performance, fast lenses are still in demand.  So to are fast primes, even moreso than faster zooms lenses.  There's a strong perception that mirror less doesn't have the lens choice yet.  This is true in general but when you look at the lenses I assembled for the review, the only thing missing are the monster fast long lenses and the super fast primes.  You may be ok without them, depending upon your work.
  • Has a Viewfinder - Many folks who have looked at mirror less as an alternative to DSLR cameras cite the lack of an eye level viewfinder as a major stop sign.  Or there is a very significant added cost to include a clip on EVF.  This is a partially valid argument, although I would say that today's top line mirror less cameras all have very good viewfinders to supplement the rear LCD panel.
  • Looks like a more Professional Camera - Ok, how do you argue with subjective assertions.    If the camera is a tool of the artist, who cares what it looks like, but I confess that if I am shooting somewhere with the Hasselblad or I've dragged the Sinar somewhere into the field, I am given space by other photographers because I must therefore be a more professional photographer.  I also have found the opposite is true.  I street shoot with the Leica because it doesn't look like a big pro camera and is therefore less intimidating.
  • I Want High Quality Images - this is a plain error since in many cases the sensor in a mirror less is IDENTICAL to the sensor in a DSLR.  There are multiple scenarios where the sensor in a Sony NEX is the same sensor as in a Nikon DSLR.  I do hear this misunderstanding fostered in camera stores by representatives who are either driven by margin/spiff or would not be able to find their own buttocks with both hands.
  • Too Many Too Small Buttons - I have had this complaint myself about Japanese cars for years.  I have a mixed Russian / Highlander heritage.  I am a large and somewhat clumsy person and while my hands are not enormous, they require XL sized gloves.  I feel this way about a lot of mirror less cameras myself.  I need something to hang on to that is easy to work with.

Which leads me to the OM-D lineup.  They look like DSLRs.  Just smaller.  The M43 lenses are also smaller, so you can carry more of them without needing a chiropractor.  The smaller sensor does have more depth of field at a given aperture so the mechanics of focus speed are less demanding.  But at the same time, the performance of the sensors is extraordinarily good.  As part of my testing I shot at an Auto Show at ISO 3200 for the entire event.  The image quality was easily as good as, and often better, than DSLR cameras with a body price close to that of the E-M1.  So if one were to consider a mirror less as his or her next camera, instead of a DSLR, is the OM-D E-M1 a fit?

Yes it very likely is.

The OM-D E-M1 I evaluated for this review was part of a complete kit.  It included the body, the 12-40/2.8 short zoom, the battery grip, the FL-360 flash, the 60mm Macro, the 17/1.8 prime, the 45/1.8 prime, the 14-150/4-5.6 do everything lens, and the 9-18/4-5.6 wide angle zoom.  If that sounds like a complete kit, it's pretty darn close to one, although my perfect pack looks subtly different.  I will come back to that.

The Body

The E-M1 looks and handles like a DSLR.  My large hands held the camera just fine, but smaller hands found it easy to grip and easy to use as well.  The control layout is intelligent with a nice amalgam of analog style dials with an assortment of programmable buttons.

Looking down on the top on the left is what would have been the film rewind on an Olympus OM-1.  In this case it is a pair of buttons, one for focus type selection / metering mode and the other for drive mode / self timer / HDR setting.  Below this to the right is a lever that turns the camera on and off.  This is the first big improvement over the E-M5.  Buttons are easy to use and while you must be looking through the viewfinder or at the rear panel to make a selection, while turning dials, acclimatization is quick.  Then there is the "pentaprism" which of course is not a prism at all simply a bulbous DSLR like housing on which sits the hot shoe and a coupling for other accessories like a stereo microphone.  The shoe accepts any shoe mount flash but has pinouts for Olympus' own TTL connections. Immediately to the right of the prism is the mode dial, offering the usual PASM, intelligent Auto, a couple of scene modes and a video mode.  Easy to use and understand.  I get why there are Scene modes for marketing purposes but I don't understand why they take up space on a mode dial on a camera designed for people who will likely be shooting RAW.  To the right the grip starts to protrude and from front to back there is the shutter release with an adjustment ring around it whose function varies depending on mode, a contrast button that produces a Levels style layout in the viewfinder, the start stop button for video and a rear adjustment wheel similar in function to the one encircling the shutter release.

Top Deck

Observing from the front, there is a programmable button and a depth of field preview for the shooter's right hand, and a lens release button on camera front left.  There is also a real PC sync port under a screw on cap to use with older style cable only flashguns.


On the right side is the single door that give access to the SD card slot.  My tests involved the use of a Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB card and I had no issues at all.

On the left side are covered ports for an external microphone, USB connector and micro HDMI out.  The covers are all semisoft plastic that click positively in place.  It should be noted that you will have to rotate the LCD a bit to easily open these covers.

Before going on gentle reader, you will note none of my frustration with badly placed strap lugs.  This is because while OIympus also favours the triangle shaped strap rings, someone actually must have tried the camera with a strap connected because they are well placed to not get in the way of the photographer.  This alone makes the OM-D preferable to most every other camera I have reviewed in recent months.  Nikon and Sony particularly need to get their thumbs out and go look at how Olympus did the job right.

The rear of the camera looks like most any other DSLR you've ever seen.  Upper left is a button to control the selection of the EVF/LCD, then the EVF viewfinder itself and its diopter adjuster.  The LCD is large and very bright and can be angled down or up, but not swung out.  To the right of the EVF is an AE Lock / AF Lock button with a two position switch.  I set it for back button focus as I do on my regular cameras and it did as it should.  Upper right is a programmable Function button Fn1 that I never had cause to use.  On the right side of the back is the four way rocker switch with the Set button in the middle.  There is an Info button above and a Menu and Play button positioned below.  Near the button edge is the differently colour coded Trash button.  All the buttons are small but sufficiently large to use and have enough throw that you know when you are using them without having to take your eye away and look.


The bottom plate as an all metal tripod screw socket in standard ¼ - 20, the primary battery container and a multi pin connector with a cover that is removed when you wish to add the external battery grip.  The external battery grip HLD-7 has space for a second battery, and replicates the adjustment wheels and shutter release from the top deck.  There are also two programmable buttons on the rear of the grip.  I set mine up for back button focus and AE lock.  The grip adds size and weight but in my mind makes the camera that much easier to handle.  While I could certainly use the E-M1 without a grip, I would be adding one in short order if I did not get one with the body.  The lower part of the grip is much wider than ostensibly needed but this ridge turns into a wonderful finger grip when shooting in portrait orientation.  I added an Arca-Swiss style dual dovetail plate to the bottom of the grip so I could use it with my Really Right Stuff clamps.

The Lenses



The 12-40 f/2.8

This is a really nice little lens, and in keeping with M43 metrics it is like a 28-80/F2.8 in the full frame world.  It is very wide, much more so than the other lenses I evaluated, primarily in order to deliver the practical maximum aperture of f/2.8  The lens has a programmable L-Fn function button that I never used, then a very smooth and pleasantly stiff zoom ring.  This zoom does not creep.  In front of this is the manual focus ring.  You pull the ring towards you to engage the manual focus which reveals a mostly useless set of distance markers.  Don't forget to push the ring forward to engage AF or you may find yourself happily shooting out of focus images if you are not paying attention.  The lens is priced at $999.99 typically although it is available at a bundled price with the body.  While this seems somewhat expensive, consider that both Nikon and Canon have lenses in similar focal length and aperture ranges at higher prices.  The lens is very good, very sharp and there was no startling distortion to be found with it.  I expect that this is the first lens that will go with most E-M1 bodies.  It takes a 62mm filter and includes a scalloped lens hood. Olympus says that the lens is dust / splash and freeze proof.

Olympus 12-40/2.8 12mm

Olympus 12-40/2.8 40mm

The 60mm f/2.8 Macro

This is a very odd little lens.  It is quite long and has a rotary switch on the barrel.  The switch is used to control the range of focus.  The default is from 0.19m to Infinity but other options exist for 0.4m to Infinity and 0.19m to 0.4m to prevent excessive hunting in macro work.  There is also a spring setting that does something internally to allow for 1:1 life size that then returns to the 0.14m - 0.4m range.  The maximum aperture is f/2.8 and I really liked the sharpness of the lens and negligible vignetting and distortion.  35mm full frame equivalent is 120mm offering very good standoff distance for macro work.  The lens takes a 46mm filter and is fitted for a bayonet mount lens hood.  The hood is extra and herein lies one of my major gripes with the Olympus glass.  Manufacturers make hoods because they are necessary.  Leaving the hoods out of the box is just nickel and diming customers and most photo retailers who stock the lenses fail to stock the hoods making them hard to get and stupidly overpriced.  Olympus says that the lens is dust and splash proof.  The lens sells for $499.99 typically.  Olympus hoods range in price from $34.99 to $79.99 so Olympus is clearly following the major vendor customer ripoff model.

Olympus 60mm Macro #2

Olympus 60mm Macro #1

The 9-18mm f/4-5.6 Zoom

I shot this lens extensively at the car show.  It is small, very light and the zoom action is smooth and fast.  What could make it better?  A faster maximum aperture.  This thing would kill at f/2.8 but that would drive the cost up.  With a 35mm full frame equivalence of 18 - 36mm this fits the slot that Nikon and Canon fill with their 16-35 zooms.  This one is slower but also ¼ the weight.  There is noticeable barrel distortion at 9mm at the edges but nothing that is not expected when pushing the limits of an ultra wide.  The construction is less robust than the first two lenses I discussed and there is no mention of this lens being anything proof.  The barrel feels like a cheap plastic even though it houses ED glass.   It also incorporates that odd lens lock where you have to unlock and extend the lens before it can be used.  This lens dates from the EP family of cameras and is probably due for a refresh.  It takes a 52mm filter and a bayonet mount hood that it of course does not come with.  Typical sell price for the lens is $749.99 similar to what one might pay for a similar focal length for a DSLR.

Olympus 9-18mm #1

The 14-150mm f/4 - 5.6

I have looked at the OM-D for travel.  I wanted something lighter and smaller than my Canon 1D Mk IV or 1Dx but with a great all in one walk around lens.  Canon does a 28-300 that is sharp but enormous and heavy.  I have shot the 14-150 a lot, as it has been around for some time.  I used to use one on my Lumix GF1 back when I still owned that camera.  For a single walk around lens it's perfect.  Yes there is barrel distortion at the wide end and pincushion distortion at the telephoto end, and yes the barrel is all cheap plastic but it is lightweight, compact and very sharp.  I can correct the distortions in Lightroom and at a typical sell price of $629.99 this is a great choice.  The hood is bayonet mount and separate and sells for $34.99   Filter size is 58mm

Olympus 14-150mm

The 17mm f/1.8

Since this is just like a 35/1.8 you might guess this would be my street lens of choice and you'd be right.  After all the go to lens on the Leica M240 is a 35/2.  Construction is metal, manual focus is silky smooth and the lens is so small that it is completely pocketable.  It takes a 46mm filter and of course doesn't include a hood which is metal and sells separately for $62.99  You can typically find the lens itself selling for $499.99 which is again pretty close to what you would pay for a similar full frame lens.  Being a prime, the design is simple and its nice and sharp.  Couple that with the next lens and you have a really nice kit...

Olympus 17mm

The 45mm f/1.8

Okay get past the fact that this one looks a bit odd and think of a 90/1.8 in full frame.  Now imagine that fitting in a smaller pocket and needing only a 37mm filter.  If you are thinking something along the size of a 50mm Leica M lens, you are on track.  Light, optically fast, tack sharp, it's a great little portrait lens with wonderful out of focus highlights (the completely abused bokeh) shallow depth of field wide open and negligible distortion.  The lens sells for usually around $399.99 and the hood is about another $40.  So it's a bit less than a comparable 85/1.8 in full frame.

Olympus 45mm

The FL-600R Flash

The OM-D comes with a little tiny slip on flash, probably so they can say it comes with a flash.  The guide number is so low and the tube so small, that using it as a flash should constitute emergency measures.  What it is good for is remotely controlling an external TTL flash.  Hence the FL-600R.  It has a guide number of 36, so similar in power to a Nikon SB-910.  Remote control of the flash involved a menu setting on the camera and a single setting on the flash.  It is line of sight control of course so you'll have to experiment with angles and positioning if you are not Joe McNally.  Mr. McNally of course could make line of sight work across the arc of the sun.  Neither of us is Joe McNally.  That said it works really well and is so easy to get going that there is no reason you would not carry this with you all the time to use as a little fill flash kicker.  The unit sells for around $299.99. Unfortunately there are not a lot of third party TTL flash choices for Olympus.

Off Camera Remote Flash


Ok, so how does it work in the real world.  Candidly it's freaking great.  If I did not have a ton of cash invested in other gear and if this thing had very fast primes my bank account would be in peril.  Yes it is that good.

The viewfinder is bright and easy to see, with a good and flexible level of information display.  This is the first time I have really used the flip up rear display and with its 1M pixels, the images were very sharp and easy to see.  I found it very simple to shoot low to the ground or over the heads of a crowd using this display and the different shutter buttons on the battery grip.  As I was using the 9-18 for these shots, depth of field was solid and I was able to get shots I would otherwise have not achieved.

A 16MP sensor of M43 size is more than adequate for my needs.  Images had good contrast, didn't block up and were very well exposed.  I forced the auto white balance into horrible conditions and it did a very good job considering the varying sources and colour temperatures of the different lights present.  As I was shooting in low light and at high ISO I was hoping for higher shutter speeds, but sometimes this would not work out.  If I work at it, I can shoot the 1Dx with a 14mm down to 1/20 of second without microshake being evident.  I routinely shot the E-M1 at 1/15 of a second.  The 5 axis in body stabilization is really that good.

Off Camera Flash

I carried the FL-600R around with me and managed it using only the little pop on flash.  I was able to get it to fire the remote more than 80% of the time in a large hall with lots of specular lighting.  Exposures were very good given the lack of reflecting backgrounds, a situation where TTL usually blows out completely.  Battery life is ok but I would be really worried about the first impact that the flash takes as it feels cheaply constructed.  My Metz units have been called upon too many times to prove that gravity works and they still do.  I don't think that the FL-600R would survive day to day work.  Given how good Canon and Nikon have made their Speedlight systems, Olympus needs to up its game here.

Changing lenses is fast as you would expect and I only got hung up by the locking mechanism on the 9-18 twice.  All other lenses were very responsive and I was overall pleased with the image quality across the board.


Using the menu system takes some work if you are coming off another body.  Menu layout is inconsistent with some pages being limited to screen length and others rolling over.   Naming conventions in menus is quite good and you can mostly find what you are looking for.  Of course I have zero use for all the Art filter crap or JPEG scenes so if there was a way to make those vanish completely in favour of simpler menus I would be all over that.

Video Performance

The video is very good.  It's not Sony A7 good but it is very good nonetheless.  Having the separate start stop is critical and AF in video does work decent enough, albeit with too much hunting for my like.  The focusing helicoids in the lenses are very steep so micro manual focus is challenging.  Perhaps a Zeiss Touit would be a better choice for serious video.

I do like that you can jack in a decent stereo mic into the hotshoe, and that there is a proper high impedance mic input on the body but for a camera of this cost, there should be a headphone jack.  Nothing destroys great video faster than crap audio and you need to be able to monitor the audio if you are recording in camera.  Yes you can buy an outboard device for audio but that defeats the purpose of an all in one device.

High ISO Performance

As I have already mentioned, I shot a lot of images at ISO 3200 and was very pleased with the originals.  That was about the threshold for images that I would use for HDR though as that process always seems to find every element of noise and light it up.  As I often do, I have a series of shots of Sondra here from ISO 200 to ISO 25600 so you can decide for yourself where the system starts to fall apart.


If you use two batteries, you have to remove the battery grip to get at the one inside the body.  I would rather that they follow the Canon model where attaching the grip moves both batteries into the grip so you can swap them out without having to disassemble the camera.  Sounds like a bit of nitpicking but it is so.

Olympus includes only starter paper documentation, with the useful stuff on a CD.  The last three computers I have purchased have not had a CD/DVD drive.  Stop being cheap asses and put ALL the manuals on a memory stick and put it in the box.  Finding Olympus documentation on the Internet is more a pain in the ass than it should be.  The documentation when found is not very well written and is very lightweight on details.  Lens documentation, particularly for the macro needs work to become useful.

Both zooms are showing their age and need a refresh to better construction.  For the prices being charged, the barrels need to be metal and they need to be dust and splash proof if Olympus wants the OM-D to be taken seriously.  A camera that is well sealed is less useful if the lenses are not.  I understand why Olympus would not want to create segregation in their M43 line between Pro and Consumer grade lenses, but seriously, get over yourselves.  Canon and Nikon have already paved that road.

I love the wide range of bracketing options but don't like that the steps max out at +-1 EV. I would much rather have fewer exposures at wider EV variants.  Seriously what do I need 7 shots at ⅓ EV intervals for when the sensor is as good as it is.  This is "feature for the sake of marketing", not feature for the sake of value.  I would also like to be able to manipulate bracketing without having to dive so deep into the menu system.

The OM-D E-M1 is the top of the line camera, definitely a prosumer device so why do I have to go into menus to simply change the ISO?  If there was a dial to do this, then plainly I missed it.  Yes I know I could program a button, but why should I have to?

And if it is a prosumer device, could less CPU be wasted by dumping all the Art filter crap and in camera HDR that no serious photographer is ever going to use?  Scene mode?  Really?  RAW Rules guys, did you miss the memo?

Conclusions and Would I Buy?

The OM-D E-M1 is the best mirror less camera I have ever used.  It fits my hands, is very fast to shoot, is intuitive and produces great quality images.  There are lots of Olympus lenses, and a wide variety from other providers in the Micro Four Thirds consortium.  There are no super telephotos, and really fast primes don't exist.  Yet.  M43 is farthest along in mirror less and while Sony is doing good work, the E-M1 is a much better camera to me than the A7 I recently evaluated and has magnitudes of more glass available.

I don't need or want all the JPEG centric crap built into the camera and in my perfect world there would be a menu option to disable useless (to me) junk.  I don't think I am Mr. Super Photographer, I simply shoot only in RAW and prefer to manage my artistic work in post not in some JPEG that tosses away 70% of the data being captured by the oh so good sensor.

If I were in the market for something smaller and with very fast AF and interchangeable lenses, I would be putting Mr. American Express on the counter for the EM-1.  As it stands, I have my Leica for when I want unobtrusive and I'm not so sanguine about duplicating all my Canon glass.  And I do want that fast glass and long fast telephoto option, mostly because I have it today.  The high ISO performance is definitely good.  Not as good perhaps as the 1Dx, but more than needed for most anything I do with regularity.

As more and faster primes with weather sealing become available, and perhaps an update of the 14-150, this camera becomes more and more attractive.  Back in the days of film, the OM-1 and OM-2 were physically smaller than their peers.  They made excellent images with the right driver behind the lens.  The OM-D lineup is smaller than today's DSLRs but just for yucks, I pulled out my venerable (and still perfectly functional) Minolta XD-11.  Taking the size of the lenses out of the equation, the OM-D is not much smaller than the XD-11 which for its time was a standard sized SLR.  Today's "pro" DSLRs are considerably larger than their film counterparts.  It's not about the size, it's about what you can do with it, and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 brings you all the tools you need.  And if getting what you want involves carrying a couple of bodies and a load of lenses all day, your spine will thank you for the OM-D, even if your chiropractor does not.

Specifications (Courtesy Olympus) - lifted right from their website


With the new 16 MP Live MOS Sensor, the OM-D E-M1 automatically switches between Contrast Detection AF or Phase Detection AF to deliver blazing fast autofocus speed - no matter which Olympus Zuiko lens you use. All of our lenses -- from our super-quiet MSC Micro Four-Thirds lenses to our renowned SWD Four Thirds lenses work seamlessly and to their full potential when paired with the OM-D E-M1. Features such as Focus Peaking and Magnified Focus Assist let you use your favorite OM lens with the appropriate adapter for beautiful results.

AF system

High-speed imager AF (Contrast detection / On-Chip Phase-difference detection)

*For complete compatibility and full AF performance with our super quiet MSC Micro Four-Thirds and SWD Four -Thirds lenses.

Focus mode

Single AF (S-AF) / Continuous AF (C-AF) / Manual Focus (MF) / S-AF + MF / AF tracking (C-AF + TR)

  • Full-time AF
  • Available
  • Magnified frame AF
  • Selectable from over 800 AF points

Enlarged view check by magnify button (available with old lenses*)

Magnification x5, x7, x10(Default), x14 selectable

* lenses without data communication

Face detection AF / Eye detection AF

Available / Available

Eye Detection AF mode: Off / Nearer-eye priority / Right-eye priority / Left-eye priority

Focusing point / Focusing point selection mode

81-area multiple AF (Contrast detection AF), 37-area multiple AF (Phase-difference detection AF)

All target, Group target area (3x3-area),

Single target(Standard Target Size/Small Target Size)

AF illuminator


Manual focus assist * Customize function

Live view image is magnified when the focus ring is rotated. (at S-AF+MF or MF mode)

Peaking function

Available (White edge type, Black edge type)

AF tracking



The OM-D E-M1 has a 1/8000 second high-speed mechanical shutter, allowing you to freeze quick-moving action without blurring. Use prime lenses at their maximum aperture to capture beautifully defocused background images in bright daylight.

Shutter type

Computerized focal-plane, high-speed, mechanical shutter

Shutter speed

1/8000 - 60 sec. (1/3, 1/2, or 1EV steps selectable)

Bulb/Time: default setting 8min. (1/2/4/8/15/20/25/30 min. selectable)


High-speed sequential shooting as fast as 10fps can be accomplished when using the Tracking AF (C-AF + Tr), which works in tandem with the Autofocus to follow your subject. 6fps in C-AF.

Sequential shooting  maximum speed[Sequential shooting H mode]* 10.0 fps * in case of "I.S. Off"* including AF tracking (C-AF + TR)* Focus and exposure are fixed at the values for the first shot.[Sequential shooting L mode] 6.5 fps* in case of "I.S. OFF".* including C-AF* When using the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ, M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm f2.8PRO.Max. recordable pictures

[RAW] Max. 50 frames (in seq. shooting L), Max.41 frames (in seq. shooting H)

on sequential shooting *

[JPEG] Max. Card Full frames (in seq. shooting L), Max. 95 frames ( in seq. shooting H)

* When using the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ.

* With TOSHIBA SDHC UHS-I card, based on Olympus in-house measurement conditions.


Operation time: 12 sec., 2 sec.,custom (Waiting time 1-30sec.,Shooting interval 0.5/1/2/3sec.,Number of shots 1-10)



For photographers who prefer composing their shots using an eye-level viewfinder, the OM-D E-M1 will be a revelation. The new, interactive high-definition EVF features a 2.36 million dot resolution, an impressive 1.48x magnification, 29ms image display lag, eye sensor for automatic switching between the EVF and monitor and intuitive functionality for real-time viewing of any shooting situation.

Product Type

Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens system camera


SD Memory Card*1 (SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I , compatible, Eye-Fi Card compatible*2 )

*1: Class 6 or higher is recommended for Movie shooting.

*2: Not compatible with Endless mode.

Lens mount

Micro Four Thirds Mount


The OM-D E-M1 is built around the Micro Four Thirds standard, making it smaller, lighter and more portable. Pack light and pack more lenses on your important photo outings. Shoot all day without lugging around a heavy, outdated system.


130.4mm (W)× 93.5mm (H) × 63.1mm (D)

5.1" (W) x 3.7" (H) x 2.5" (D)

[CIPA guideline compliant, excluding protrusions]


[CIPA guideline compliant, with BLN-1 battery and Memory card]

Approx. 497g/17.5oz(1.1lbs)

[body only]

Approx. 443g/15.6oz(0.98lbs)


Outer Material


Inner Frame

Magnesium Alloy


Rain or snow, mud or dust – the E-M1 is ready for whatever mother nature can throw at it. Its rugged design expands your field of photography to any place on earth.





Splash proof




-10 ~ +40℃ (operation) / -20 ~ +60℃ (storage)

+14 ~ +104 °F


30 - 90% (operation) / 10 - 90% (storage)

-4 ~ +140 °F


The new, interactive high-definition EVF features a 2.36 million dot resolution, an impressive 1.48x magnification, 29ms image display lag time, eye sensor for automatic switching between the EVF and monitor and intuitive functionality for real-time viewing of any shooting situation.

Finder typeEye-level electronic viewfinder, approx. 2.36M-dot resolutionField of view / Viewfinder magnificationApprox. 100% / Approx. 1.30x*1 - 1.48x*2 (-1m-1, 50mm lens, Infinity)*1: at Finder Style 1, 2 (aspect 4:3)*2: at Finder Style 3 (aspect 4:3)Image Display Lag Time29 milli seconds

Eye point / Diopter adjustment range

Approx. 21mm (-1m-1, Distance from rear lens surface) / -4 ~ +2m-1


Available with Live Preview function button

Displayed Grid

Off / Normal Grid / Golden Grid / Scale / Diagonal / Movie Grid selectable

Level Gauge

2-axis level gauge; horizontal /vertical

One Touch Tele-Converter

2x magnification

Finder Style

Selectable from 3 types

Brightness / Color temperature control



Optional eyecup EP-13 is available.


Its tilting, touch screen display makes focusing, choosing AF points, releasing the shutter, swiping through images in playback and changing settings effortless.

Screen size

3.0-inch / 7.6-cm

Monitor type

Tilt Touch Wide LCD with approx. 1037K dots resolution

*8: Approx.1037k dots, Touch control in electrostatic capacitance Type

Touch control

Touch shutter release, Touch enlargement, Touch Live Guide, AF area selection, AF area enlargement, Frame advance/backward, Enlargement playback, Touch Super Control Panel, Touch Art Filter menu,Wi-Fi function

Tilting angle

Upward tilting angle: up to 80 degrees / Downward tilting angle: up to 50 degrees

Brightness / Color temperature control

±7 levels / ±7 levels

Color tone select

Vivid / Natural


Live view

Approx. 100% field of view,

Exposure compensation preview, WB adjustment preview,

Gradation auto preview, Face detection preview (up to 8 faces),

Grid line, Histogram, Magnification display (x5/x7/x10/x14), Normal, Highlight & Shadow, Level Gauge, Off


Image Sensor type

Field of view

Approx. 100%

Display Mode

Normal Mode, Histogram Mode, Level gauge, Highlight and shadow, Off

Magnification Ratio

x5, x7, x10 (Default), x14

Monitor information

Aperture value, Shutter speed, Auto Bracket, AE Lock, AF mode, IS, Shooting Mode, Battery Check, Myset, Internal Temperature Warning, Face / Eye Detection, Histogram, Number of storable still pictures, Record mode, ISO, Sequential shooting, Self-timer, White Balance, Metering Mode, AF confirmation mark, Exposure Compensation Value, Spot metering Area Flash Mode, Flash Status, Flash intensity Control, Super FP, Focal length, Tone control, Eye-Fi condition, Digital teleconverter, Battery check

Display of Face Detection

Max 8 frames of face detection can be displayed.

Live View Close Up Mode

Available at HDR1 and HDR2 shooting





32 Olympus Lenses and 57 lenses from all Four Thirds consortium members

Optional Battery Grip

HLD-7 Battery and Grip

Grip Strap


Underwater Housing



Flash intensity control method

TTL Auto, Auto*, Manual, super FP*(FP-TTL AUTO, FP-MANUAL)

* Available on the external flash

Bundled flash*

TTL flash,GN=7(ISO100・m) / GN=10 (ISO200・m)

* Attach it on the hot shoe and connect it to the accessory port 2. Available on FL-LM1/2.

Flash mode

Flash Auto, Redeye, Fill-in, Flash Off, Red-eye Slow sync.(1st curtain), Slow sync.(1st curtain), Slow sync.(2nd curtain), Manual 1/1 FULL 1/64

Synchronization speed

1/320sec. or less*

* It depends on flash models or flash mode

FL-LM1/2: 1/320 sec., Other: 1/250 sec.,

Super FP: 1/125-1/8000 sec.

Flash intensity control

Up to ±3 EV in 0.3, 0.5, 1 EV steps selectable

Compatible external flash

FL-50R, FL-36R, FL-20, FL-14, FL-300R, FL-600R

Colour Temperature


External Flash control mode

TTL Auto, Auto, Manual, FP-TTL-AUTO, FP-MANUAL


Wireless flash transmission channel settings enable selection of the flash/no flash for groups of multiple flash units. In addition, it allows TTL auto, auto and manual models to be set; offers a bounce and swivel head; and flash coverage is automatically adjusted in several steps to correspond to the image area when zooming.

Compatible external flash

FL-50R, FL-36R, FL-300R, FL-600R

Control method

Triggered and controlled by built-in flash

(Olympus Wireless RC Flash system compatible)

External Flash intensity type

TTL Auto, Auto, Manual, FP-TTL-AUTO, FP-MANUAL

Channel No.

4 channels

Group No.

4 groups (External flash 3 groups + a bundled flash*)

* Available on FL-LM1/2 / FL-600R




With the new 16 MP Live MOS Sensor, the OM-D E-M1 automatically switches between Contrast Detection AF or Phase Detection AF to deliver blazing fast autofocus speed - no matter which Olympus Zuiko lens you use. All of our lenses -- from our super-quiet MSC Micro Four-Thirds lenses to our renowned SWD Four Thirds lenses work seamlessly and to their full potential when paired with the OM-D E-M1.

Product type

4/3 Live MOS Sensor

Number of pixels / Aspect ratio

Number of effective pixels: Approx. 16.3 million pixels

Total number of pixels: Approx. 16.8 million pixels

Aspect ratio: 1.33 (4:3)

Dust reduction

Supersonic Wave Filter (dust reduction system for image sensor)

Filter array

Primary color filter (RGB)

*Uses information communicated from the lens such as aperture setting and optical characteristics to optimize the final image.

Image Processor

TruePic™ VII


The OM-D E-M1 is equipped with the world’s first 5-Axis image stabilization system with IS-Auto. 5-Axis IS compensates for vertical, horizontal and rotational camera shake that conventional 2-axis systems could not. 5-Axis IS is built into the camera body to ensure stabilization with all lenses and makes stable movie recording possible.

System Type

Built-in (Image sensor shift type for movie & still, 5-axis* image stabilization)

* yaw/pitch/vertical shift/horizontal shift/rolling


4 modes (S-I.S.AUTO,S-I.S.1, S-I.S.2, S-I.S.3), OFF

IS for finder image

Available (by half-pressing the shutter button or enlargeing operation)

Focal length setting


Lens IS Mode


Available manual focal length setting

Input focal length : 8, 10, 12, 15,16, 18, 21, 24, 28, 30, 35, 40, 48, 50, 55, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85, 90, 100, 105, 120, 135, 150, 180, 200, 210, 250, 300, 350, 400, 500, 600, 800, 1000

Stabilization performance

4 EV steps*

* Based on CIPA measurement conditions.

Shutter speed range

60 - 1/8000 sec. (Not available when Bulb and Time is selected.)


The E-M1 provides DSLR quality in low light photos with an increased ISO sensitivity to 25,600.

Metering system

Digital ESP metering (324-area multi pattern metering), Center weighted average metering, Spot metering, Spot metering with highlight control, Spot metering with shadow control

(TTL Image sensor metering)

Metering range

EV -2 - 20 (at normal temperature, 17mm f2.8, ISO 100)

Exposure mode

i Auto, P: Program AE (Program shift can be performed), A: Aperture priority AE, S: Shutter priority AE, M: Manual, Bulb, Time, Scene select AE, Art Filter, Underwater wide / macro*

* Selectable from menu as a function on Fn-1/Rec button

Scene select AE

Portrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Sport, Night, Night + Portrait, Children, High Key, Low Key, DIS mode, Macro, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Documents, Panorama, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Fisheye Conv., Wide Conv., Macro Conv., 3D*

*3D lens(H-FT012 by Panasonic) only, still only

ISO sensitivity

Auto: ISO LOW (approx. 100) - 25600 (customizable, default ISO LOW - 1600) Manual: ISO LOW (approx. 100) - 25600 in 1/3 or 1 EV ISO steps

Exposure compensation

±5 EV in 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps selectable

AE lock

Locked at 1st release of shutter button (can be set to Fn1/Rec button)

Metering standard value adjustment

1/6 EV step, +/- 1EV range


at High ISO setting

Off, Low, Standard, High


at Slow shutter speed

Off, On, Auto

On : effective when shutter speed is slower than 1 sec.

Auto : effective when shutter speed is slower than 4 sec. (at ISO 200 or higher) or 8 sec. (at lower than ISO200)


Recording format

DCF, DPOF compatible / Exif, PRINT Image Matching III, MPO compatible

File format

RAW (12-bit lossless compression), JPEG, RAW+JPEG, MPO(3D still)

Recording image size

[RAW] 4608 x 3456 pixels

[JPEG] 4608 x 3456 pixels - 640 x 480 pixels

File size

RAW: 4608(H)x3456(V) (approx. 1/1.5 lossless compressed) Approx. 17MB

Set1(LF): 4608(H)x3456(V) (1/4 compressed) Approx. 7.5MB

Set2(LN): 4608(H)x3456(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 3.5MB

Set3(MN): 2560(H)x1920(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 1.1MB

Set4(SN): 1280(H)x980(V) (1/8 compressed) Approx. 0.4MB”




Take control of your OM-D E-M1, without touching it! Using the O.I. Share app, you can preview your composition, choose the AF point and release the shutter; perfect for tripod or portrait shooting.

GPS function

Availabe (Aquire the position information from smartphone with GPS function)

Wireless shooting function

iAUTO, P, A, S, M, live valve / time support. Aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation, ISO speed, WB, continuous shooting setting possible.


Remote live view, remote REC VIEW, wireless touch AF shutter, Shutter timer (countdown with sound), remote power OFF

Image Share Function

Reserve the picture which will be transferred to smartphone. (Max 4 smart device connections) can transfer image; (except MPO) PEG, only MOV.

Smart & Easy Connection

Smart & Easy connection by QR code.




The new Color Creator feature lets you adjust Hue and Chroma right in the EVF and preview the effect in “real time”


i-Enhance, Vivid, Natural, Muted, Portrait, Monotone, Custom, e-Portarait, Color Creator, Art Filters


Auto, Normal, High Key, Low Key [except Art Flters]

Adjustment parameter

4 levels (Auto, Normal, High key, Low key)

Filter effect (B&W filter)

Neutral, Yellow, Orange, Red, Green for Monotone

Picture tone

Neutral, Sepia, Blue, Purple, Green for Monotone


HDR art photos can easily be captured with 12EV wide-range bracketing shooting.

HDR(Auto composite)HDR1,HDR2* Available with P, A, S and M mode.* Takes 4 pictures at different exposures composite into a high contrast image.Bracketing for HDR post-process3 or 5 frames in 2.0/3.0EV steps selectable, 7 frames in 2.0EV steps selectable.* HDR picture can not be made by this function.* HDR function can be called by Fn-button.


Using Art Filter Bracketing when you can’t make up your mind about shooting a filter. Generate multiple pictures with Art Filters with a single shot and then view them as a slideshow.

Exposure bracketing

2, 3 or 5 frames in 0.3/0.7/1.0EV steps selectable, 7 frames in 0.3/0.7EV steps selectable

ISO bracketing

3 frames in 0.3/0.7/1.0EV steps selectable

White balance bracketing

3 frames in 2, 4, 6 steps selectable in each A-B/G-M axis.

Flash bracketing

3 frames in 0.3/0.7/1.0EV step selectable

Art Filter bracketing

i-Enhance, Vivid, Natural, Muted, Portrait, Monotone, Custom, Art Filters selectable


Twelve in-camera Art Filters are enhanced by new filter variations, art effects and bracketing. You can use Art Filters in all shooting modes as well as filming 1080 HD movies.

Mode (Variation / Effect)

Pop Art (I, II / a.b.c.d.e)

Soft Focus ( - / c.e)

Pale & Light Color (I, II / a.b.c.d)

Light Tone ( - / d)

Grainy Film (I, II / b.c.d.f.g)

Pin Hole (I, II, III / d.)

Diorama ( - / d.)

Cross Proscess (I, II / b.c.d.)

Gentle Sepia ( - / a.b.c.d.)

Dramatic Tone (I / b.c.d.e) (II / b.c.d.e.f.g)

Key Line (I, II / a.b.c.d.e.)

WaterColor (I, II / a.c.d.)

Art Effect

a. Soft Focus Effect

b. Pin-Hole Effect

c. White Edge Effect

d. Frame Effect

e. Star Light Effect

f. Defocus Effect

g. B&W Effect (Yellow, Orange, Red, Green)

h. Picture Tone (Sepia, Blue, Purple, Green)


With Photo Story, users can shoot a normal, everyday scene from multiple viewpoints and combine them into one image. Simply turning the mode dial to “Photo Story”, you’ll be provided with different formats to choose from, and everyday occurrences will become memorable scenes.

Type (Variation/FrameEffect/WindowAspect)

Standard II,Ⅱ,Ⅲ,Ⅳ/a, b, c, d, e/A, B, C, D

Frame Effect


a. White Frame

b. White Frame & White Edge Effect

c. Black Frame

d. White Frame & Pin Hole Effect

Aspect Window/Pattern

A. 4:3/2Frames

B. 4:3/3Frames

C. 1:1/2Frames

D. 1:1/3Frames

E. 1:1/4 Frames

F. 16:9/5 Frames


Interval Shooting

1-999 frames, Interval time 1sec-24hours, Time lapse movies


Number of picture / Function

2 frames / Auto gain, Exposing on Recorded picture(RAW)



2-axis (vertical and horizontal)





Aspect Ratio

4:3(Default) / 3:2 / 16:9 / 1:1 / 3:4


RAW: Aspect ratio is recorded as Exif data, JPEG: JPEG image is produced based on the aspect ratio


White balance mode

Auto WB, 7 Preset WBs, 2 Capture WBs, Custom WB(Kelvin setting)

White balance compensation

±7 steps in each A-B/G-M axis * Except for Custom WB

Preset white balance

7 preset WBs (3000K - 7500K)

- Sunny(5300K), Shadow(7500K), Cloudy(6000K), Incandescent(3000K), Fluorescent(4000K), Underwater, WB Flash(5500K)

CWB (Kelvin setting)

1 setting can be registered at Kelvin temperature, 2000K to 14000K.

Capture white balance

2 custom settings can be registered


Colour matrix

sRGB, Adobe RGB


Shoot up to 29 minutes of 1080 30p HD video and stereo sound in either .MOV or .AVI formats. A Direct HD Movie Button switches you from still to movie mode with just the press of a button.

Recording format

MOV(MPEG-4AVC/H.264) , AVI(Motion JPEG)

Movie Mode


Full HD: 1920(H)x1080(V),  30p(29.97 Recording

24Mbps(Fine) / 16Mbps Normal) : Aspect 16:9

HD: 1280(H)x720(V),  30p(29.97 Recording

12Mbps(Fine) / 8Mbps Normal) : Aspect 16:9

[AVI Motion JPEG]

HD: 1280(H)x720(V), 30fps *20, Aspect 16:9

SD: 640(H)x480(V), 30fps *20, Aspect 4:3

*20 : Except for some of the Art Filters

Maximum Recording Time


Full HD : Approx. 29min(Normal) / Approx. 22min(Fine)

HD : Approx. 29min(Normal) / Approx. 29min(Fine)


HD : Approx. 7min*21 / SD : Approx. 14min*21

*21 : Except for some of the Art Filters

Movie Function

Movie Effect* : One shot echo / Multi echo / Art fade *Default ON


Art Filter Movie, Aperture priority Movie, Shutter Priority Movie, Manual Shooting Movie

Movie Tele-converter

×4* Avairable on Movie effect mode

TimeLapse Movie

Available AVI Motion JPEG  1280×720,10fps)

IS for Movie

Built in (Image sensor shift type image stabilization)

M-IS.ON,off, Panasonic OIS lens priority

AE Lock


Exposure control - Movie

P: Program AE, A: Aperture priority AE, S: Shutter speed priority AE, M: Manual, Art Filter

* S mode and M mode: Shutter speed is limited in less than 1/30 sec.

Compression ratio

Motion-JPEG Format: 1/12(HD), 1/8(SD)

File size

MOV Format: Max 4GB

Motion-JPEG Format: Max 2GB


Recording format

Wave Format (Stereo linear PCM/16-bit, Sampling frequency 48kHz)



Microphone function

Wind Noise Reduction, Recording Volume

Audio dubbing possible for still pictures (up to 30 sec.)

Maximum Recording Time

Picture with Sound: 30sec.

Movie: depend on Movie Recording Time



Information (shooting)

Battery information, Shooting mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Exposure compensation value, ISO sensitivity,Exposure compensation indicator, Exposure indicator, Flash intensity compensation indicator, Date, Auto BKT setting, NR setting, WB, WB compensation value, Record mode, Flash Status, Record mode, Image size, Drive mode, Flash intensity compensation value, Metering mode, Recordable still image number, Focusing mode, AF frame, Colour space, Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Internal Temperature Warning Gradation, IS activating mode, Face detection, My Mode, Multi Exposure, Aspect Ratio, Super FP


Information (shooting)

Battery information, Shooting mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Exposure compensation value, ISO sensitivity,Exposure compensation indicator, Exposure indicator, Flash intensity compensation indicator, Date, Auto BKT setting, NR setting, WB, Record mode, Flash Status, Image size, Drive mode, Flash intensity compensation value, Metering mode, Recordable still image number, Focusing mode, AF frame, Internal Temperature Warning, IS activating mode, Face detection, My Mode, Multi Exposure, Aspect Ratio


Setting Menu

Color saturation, Color image, Brightness, Blur Background, Express Motion, Shooting Tips


Playback mode

Single-frame, Information display, Index display (4/9/25/100 frames), Calendar, Enlargement (2x - 14x), Movie (with sound, FF/REW/Pause), Picture rotation (auto), Slideshow *(with BGM/BGM+Sound/Sound)

* Slideshow : Still/Movie/Still+Movie, When a camera is connected to HDTV with HDMI cable, 2 new slideshow effect can be selectable.(Still) 1 BGM replaceable. Auto angle correction

Information display

Histogram (independent luminance / RGB available), Highlight/Shadow point warning, AF frame, Photographic information, OFF



34 languages selectable:

English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Croat, Slovenian, Hungarian, Greek, Slovakian, Turkish, Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Rumanian, Indonesian, Malay, Thai


My mode

4 settings recordable / Available on allocating to mode dial.


Editing function

RAW development, Gradation auto, Monochrome, Sepia, Red-eye fix, Saturation, Resize (1280x960, 640x480, 320x240), Trimming, Aspect, e-Portrait, Image Overlay, Postrecording

RAW picture editing

RAW development based on settings of the camera(including Art Filter,ART-BKT)

Detail edit acceptable. (Preview, Memory of 2 setting, re-development)

JPEG editing

Shadow adjustment, Red-eye fix, Cropping, Aspect, Black&White, Sepia, Saturation, Resize, e-portrait

Image Overlay

Up to 3 RAW images

Erasing function

Single frame, All, Selected frames (from Index)

Protect function

Single frame, Selected frames, Release protect (Single/All selected)



USB/AV/Remote controller connector

Dedicated multi-connector [USB: USB2.0 Hi-Speed, Video: NTSC/PAL selectable, Optional Remote cable RM-UC1 can be used.]

HDMI connector

Micro HDMI (Type-D)

Flash attachment

Hot shoe

Accessory Port 2

Dedicated multi-connector [Available for VF-2/VF-3/VF-4, SEMA-1, MAL-1 and PP-1.]

Wireless LAN

MIC. Input Jack

φ 3.5 stereo mini jack

PC interface

USB2.0 Hi-Speed

TV interface

HDMI (HD/Stereo Sound), VIDEO-OUT(SD/Mono Sound)




BLN-1 Li-ion battery (included)

Power battery holder

AC adaptor

Sleep mode

Available (1/3/5 min. off selectable)

Number of recordable pictures

Approx. 350 shots [IS ON, CIPA test standard]

(with BLN-1 and TOSHIBA super high-speed Class 6 SDHC 4GB card)


Box contents

Body, Li-ion battery BLN-1, Li-ion battery charger BCN-1, FL-LM2 Flash, USB cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Viewer 3 (CD-ROM), Instruction manual, Warranty card