Olympus has announced details of its new OM-D E-M1 flagship mirrorless camera. It has a 16 Megapixel Live MOS sensor with version VII of the TruePic image processor and Olympus claims superior AF performance due to its DUAL FAST AF system, which uses either phase or contrast detection depending on what lens is fitted. Lastly, it has a full magnification electronic viewfinder.
The catchily named OM-D E-M1 will be available from mid October at a US retail price of $1,399.99 for a body only.
Olympus launches best-ever camera in stand-out Micro Four Thirds body
OM-D E-M1 sets a new benchmark in image quality for Olympus
London, 10 September 2013 – Owners of full-format and APS-C DSLR cameras have a problem and Olympus has created a camera to solve it – the OM-D E-M1, the new pinnacle of Olympus’ digital imaging range. A DSLR is often too bulky to carry, which is why the new OM-D E-M1 is more compact than its main rivals – and the ideal size for shooting on the go. It combines the portable dimensions of the Micro Four Thirds format with image quality that matches DSLRs. Thanks to a new Live MOS sensor and next-generation TruePic VII image processor, it delivers the best images in the history of Olympus cameras. The E-M1 trumps the autofocus performance of its OM-D predecessor with DUAL FAST AF – one of the world’s fastest AF systems – now available for sequential as well as regular stills. It has an electronic viewfinder with the magnifying power of a high-end, full-frame DSLR and the unique 5-axis image stabilization system that made its OM-D debut on the E-M5. The E-M1 is splash-, dust- and freezeproof and – thanks to DUAL FAST AF – compatible with an ever-growing range of interchangeable lenses. It is available for pre-order in black with a special offer, and in the shops with an additional offer for E-System users from mid-October 2013. Prices start at £1299.99 for the body only, £149.99 for the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 lens kit and £1949.99 for a kit that includes the new M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 12-40mm 1:2.8 lens.
Olympus’ fastest ever AF
Alongside the design specialists who gave the OM-D E-M1 its perfectly proportioned casing, Olympus clearly employs some of the world’s best autofocus engineers. E-M1 owners reap the rewards with Olympus’ fastest ever AF system. DUAL FAST AF delivers very quick autofocus performance with both Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds lenses, which can be mounted on the E-M1 using an adapter. The camera detects which sort of lens you are using and switches automatically to the more suitable AF technology – either phase detection or contrast AF. Four Thirds lenses work with phase detection, whereas Micro Four Thirds use Contrast AF. Both AF technologies can accurately focus on any one of 37 focus points to pick out, for example, a single stallion among stampeding horses, or on 81 target areas to automatically track the whole herd.
Olympus’ best ever images
When a company with the optical pedigree of Olympus claims a new camera delivers the best image quality of any consumer model it has ever made, that device has a lot to live up to. The OM-D E-M1 more than matches expectations – and rebuffs DSLR sceptics – thanks not least to three key, complementary components. The Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds lens system (63 lenses and growing) combines with a new 16-Megapixel Live MOS sensor and the seventh generation of its powerful TruePic image processor series. TruePic VII uses New Fine Detail Technology II to get the very best still image quality out of every lens by adjusting processing in line with the type of lens attached and aperture setting.
Olympus’ most powerful ever electronic viewfinder
Olympus gives creativity free reign and breaks new ground in electronic viewfinder design in the shape of a new EVF with fully 1.48x magnification, which is approximately 1.3x larger than a typical DSLR. In addition to high, 2,360,000-dot resolution, DUAL FAST AF and automatic backlight adjustment, the EVF scores over optical viewfinders with a new feature that is unique to the OM-D E-M1. HDR Preview Mode allows you to monitor HDR images in the EVF before you shoot and you can likewise experiment with four key settings before shutter release: aspect ratio, magnification, color and highlight & shadow.
The OM-D E-M1 also introduces a new way to adjust color. Instead of graphs and numbers, the newly developed color Creator lets you intuitively play with color by tweaking dials on top of the camera. You can check the result in real time on the Live View EVF. The time lag is a mouth-watering 29ms, which is too fast for the human eye and results in natural movement even with very fast-moving subjects.
Olympus’ most reliable ever camera
Olympus’ record-breaking* Hybrid 5-axis Image Stabilization is exceptional because it compensates for movement around the axis of the lens as well as horizontal and vertical shift, and the usual yaw and pitch. This makes it noticeably easier to capture sharp, hand-held stills, especially at large zoom ratios. In fact, the Hybrid IS is so effective that you can record a shake-free Full HD movie literally on the run – even with long focal lengths – easily framing shots with the viewfinder or LCD in real time. Just as reassuring is the E-M1’s rigid magnesium body, as well as its dustproofing, splashproofing and freezeproofing, which protects your investment with another Olympus world-beating system. The OM-D E-M1 is the best camera guaranteed to work perfectly in temperatures as low as -10°C*.
Olympus’ smartest ever WiFi integration
Among the E-M1’s many other strengths are built-in WiFi, which lets it communicate quickly and simply with a compatible smartphone. You can send selected images straight to websites and social media via your phone and effectively use it as a remote control to avoid touching the camera during long-exposure shots. Pairing is quick and easy via a QR code.
You can mirror the Live View LCD on your phone’s touch screen, then focus and release the shutter remotely via WiFi (in P, A, S, M modes) directly on the display. Even the unique and spectacular Live Bulb effect can be previewed on your smartphone. Live Bulb updates the Live View image at pre-set intervals during bulb exposures.
Olympus’ most pro-friendly system camera
The OM-D E-M1 was designed in close collaboration with pro photographers who gave Olympus a wish list of ways to make cameras more ergonomic. With an eye on the fate of unwieldy DSLRs, re-assignable dials, switches and rings are big and beautifully laid out to ensure the camera sits comfortably in your hand and is easy to use. For example, you can adjust aperture and exposure using two dials on the back, then flick a lever to change the function of the dials and adjust ISO and white balance with the same movement.
A camera of this calibre demands a professional-grade lens system and owners will relish the ever-growing range of premium-quality lenses available for the E-M1. A new highlight of the collection will launch together with the new OM-D flagship – the dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm* 1:2.8 lens. Olympus will also announce the development of the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm *** 1:2.8 lens, which will be ideal for capturing pro-standard shots of moving subjects.
Olympus’ best ever offers
Clearly Micro Four Thirds dimensions don’t preclude compatibility with Four Thirds lenses and Olympus will prove it by giving E-System camera owners an adapter worth approximately £179 when they purchase the E-M1 by November, 2013. Customers who pre-register before the October sales start will receive an HLD-7 vertical grip free of charge. This practical grip attaches to the side of the camera and makes it easier to shoot potentially awkward shots without shaking.
The OM-D E-M1 is a special piece of equipment and an investment that deserves special care and attention. Which is why Olympus is offering E-M1 owners a Service Plus package and extended warranty – both free of charge. Customers who sign up for Service Plus will enjoy flagship service that includes a priority hotline number, personal camera pick-up and fast-lane repair. To join, go to the Service Plus site. In combination with the extended warranty, Service Plus lets you get the most out of your camera, and focus on taking beautiful pictures – entirely worry-free.
- Free MMF-3 dust & splashproof** Four Thirds mount adapter for Four Thirds users. The adapter is designed for mounting a Four Thirds lens on a Micro Four Thirds camera body, and is ideal for use with the dust & splashproof** ‘Pro’ and ‘Top Pro’ series lenses – available until end of November 2013.
- Lens system camera bag (CBG-10) and E-M1 soft case (CS-42). Keep your equipment safe and capture a wide variety of shots.
- Quilted case (CS-43) and straps (CSS-P118). The neck strap is washable.
- Underwater housing (PT-EP11). For dives down to 45 metres, with an exchangeable port.
- Vertical grip. Detachable HLD-7 grip for enhanced stability with awkward or long hand-held exposures.
For a full list of OM-D E-M1 features, go to the Olympus UK website.