When you pick up the OM-D E-M1, you notice it is more compact and feels a bit more like old SLR camera housings than the typical modern DSLR. This is the benefit of MFT cameras. It has the sturdiness and intuitive, flexible button configuration of most Olympus digital cameras. Combined with this slimmer, less modern profile compared other new cameras, this makes the OM-D E-M1 one of the most easily carried Olympus cameras, ideal as a backup for a pro and comfortable to carry around your neck all day.
Several obvious aspects of this camera mean it make it have a strong first impression on focused amateurs and part-time pros. The ergonomic controls give you the use of multiple digits, and the variable function dials and wheels ensure that you always have quick access to the settings you want, whether shooting in full manual or the new art mode. It does take some time to learn what all the controls do, although they are fairly intuitive, because there are so many buttons, knobs, and dials.
The size, weight, and new grip make it comfortable to carry and shoot with for most people except those with especially large hands whose pinky might drop off the bottom of the smaller body. Furthermore, the durable housing is rugged – waterproof, dustproof, and freezeproof – and it looks tough.
The range of controls give the user quite a bit of customization control to make for quicker settings changes, if switching button functions is appealing to you. The mode rotator is comfortably weighted so you won’t bump it into the wrong mode, and has a unique locking button just to be safe.
The incredibly high-resolution, articulated electronic view finder is another source of praise. The LCD angles possible make overhead and ground level shooting easy and comfortable, while the quick response of the drivers powering the LCD mean you can quickly pan to take advantage of the E-M1’s very high FPS without any stutter. Of course, most pros will prefer an optical view finder to an EVF for higher integrity on contrast and composition, but as far as electric VF’s go, this is one of the best.
Lastly, for an MFT, the image quality and crispness leaves nothing to be desired. It used to be that the smaller sensors on MFTs meant you were sacrificing quality for portability when compared to DSLR options. Not so with the E-M1, which offers incredible crispness up to 3200 ISO, and serviceable clarity that can be improved with a bit of work up to its top ISOs. In other words, unless you want photos that you can print larger than 13” x 9”, you have no reason to need better quality than this.
With its combination of powerful features and settings, on-board image stabilization, compatibility with over 50 Olympus lenses as well as several Panasonic options, comfortable shape and convenient size and weight, and impressive EVF and LCD, the OM-D E-M1is one of the great new Olympus digital cameras, perfect for those who want a reliable, portable backup or who are ready to take a step up to a better digital but don’t want to burden themselves with giant lenses.
Find a full hands on review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 here!