Quick Update on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review

I’m going to treat my observations of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 as a rolling review. I will update items as I learn more about them or as I get the chance to compare the E-M1 with other cameras, in particular the OM-5 and the Canon 5D Mark III.

Today I did some testing in the backyard of functions I hadn’t really addressed or as a reaction to questions people asked in various forums on or this site.


There isn’t much to say here, other than confirm what the early reviewers noticed: the image stabilization in the E-M1 is the best I’ve ever encountered. I didn’t address it yesterday, because some of the images I could use as an example actually weren’t completely in focus, but in all these cases the subject might have moved.

Barring hurricane wind forces, the chairs in our backyard generally don’t move. So, to serve photographic mankind, I actually took a series of pictures of one chair. I used the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens and went from 1/40 of a second to 1/3 of a second. The chair’s edge on which I focused is razor-sharp up to 1/10 of a second, a little fuzzy at 1/8 (my fault), but acceptably sharp again at 1/6. Beyond 1/6 it’s unacceptable.

Focus with Zoom Lenses

I took pictures this morning with the Olympus 14-150mm zoom lens and the Olympus 75-300mm lens. With both lenses the camera focused quickly over the whole range of the lenses’ reach. If it was slower than focusing with the primes I used in Chinatown, it was barely noticeable.


As Yet Unnamed Puppy – Olympus 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7II at 270mm

(notice how the camera lighted the dog correctly in the shade without blowing out the sunny background – no exposure compensation was used)

Manual Focus

In my previous post, I said that I couldn’t get good results with the manual focus on the E-M1 using focus peaking. I added that I had the same problem with my Fuji X100S, which also uses focus peaking.

In general, I hardly ever use manual focus, but I did want to try it. So, I played around with that this morning as well, again using the chair as my subject.

This time, I turned on focus peaking combined with the magnify function, which zooms in on the area you’re focusing on as you turn the focus ring on the lens. That worked fine, although I must say that I’d still prefer a good old prism or ground glass over focus peaking.

Up Next

Tomorrow, I plan to take the E-M1, E-M5 and the Canon to a nearby state park and compare their output. Time permitting, I’ll update this blog tomorrow night or Thursday morning.


Equipment discussed in this article (affiliate links to Amazon):

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Compact System Camera with 16MP and 3-Inch LCD – Body Only

Olympus MSC ED-M 75 to 300mm II f4.8-6.7 Zoom Lens


  1. Looking forward to your E-M1 vs 5D3 comparo.

    I make a living with the 5D3 — a combo of editorial, events, and art. For me, the rubber meets the road in the final printed output from a camera, which as you know, is different than pixel peeping. Glad to hear you’re running 24″ x 36″ prints to compare.

    I’m too old to be concerned with the “you need a big camera to look professional” POV. (If that were true, I’d only shoot MF) I’m more concerned with having a fast responsive tool that’s with me all the time. Lately, I’ve found myself missing out on photo opportunities because the Canon 5D3 plus big white lens is just a bit of an ordeal to shlep around. So the OM-D E-M1 announcement was VERY intriguing for me.


  1. […] have already discussed the new OM-D E-M1 at length here, and here and here, but I hadn’t handled the upcoming PRO lens yet. I did today, again briefly. I was […]

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