Camera review: Olympus OM-D E-M1

Wireless connectivity

Unlike its predecessors, the E-M1 comes with built-in Wi-Fi. You can use the Olympus Image Share app - available on both Android and iOS - to send your photos from the camera to your smartphone or tablet.

The app's remote function has been improved. You can change the shooting modes, such as Program and Aperture Priority, of the E-M1 remotely. The new Live Bulb shooting mode is especially useful for those who love to shoot fireworks.

Controls and button layout

The number of dials and buttons will delight advanced users. There is a Mode dial, and two Function buttons that are customisable for quick access to your favourite settings.

There are also two control dials - one situated around the shutter release and another on top of the camera. Their positions allow you to quickly adjust settings using your index finger and thumb simultaneously.

Furthermore, it has a rear lever which can switch the functions of these two control dials. For example, one setting can be for aperture and shutter while the other setting can be for exposure compensation and ISO.

Feel and build

Similar to the E-5 and OM-D E-M5, the E-M1 is built to withstand dust and water splashes with its special weather-resistant sealing.

Made of a durable magnesium alloy, this camera feels sturdy and solid. The large rubberised grip makes it easy for you to hold it.

In addition, its in-body five axis stabilisation helps to reduce camera shake regardless of the lens you are using.

Image sensor

The E-M1 uses the new 16.3-megapixel Live MOS image sensor with phase detection autofocusing (AF) sensors placed on the image sensor's surface for faster AF. In addition, it has the new TruePic VII image processor that provides proper correction for chromatic aberration of different lenses and reduces moire.

Autofocusing (AF)

Phase detection AF is generally faster than contrast AF, as it does not need to focus back and forth till a focus is locked using image sensor processing. However, the E-M1 uses a dual AF system that combines both phase detection AF and contrast AF.

There are 37 AF points located on the image sensor surface for use when a lens designed specially for phase detection AF, such as a Four Thirds System lens, is attached.

When a Micro Four Third lens is attached, the AF points are expanded to 81 points with the 37 phase detection AF points in the same position. When you select continuous AF, both the phase detection AF and contrast AF are used together to improve AF speed and tracking performance.

New electronic viewfinder

The new electronic viewfinder (EVF) sports an extremely high resolution of 2.36 million dots to give a large and sharp view comparable with optical viewfinders (OVF). By contrast, the E-M5's EVF has a resolution of only 1.44 million dots.

In addition, the EVF uses adaptive brightness technology that automatically adjusts its brightness to real conditions to mimic what you see on an OVF. So, when the lighting conditions become dark, the EVF will display the scene as equally dark.

Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to for more stories.