Lighter and more compact than a DSLR, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 works fast and delivers speedy autofocusing (AF). It also has great image quality, a superb build and excellent handling.
It has won many accolades, sweeping the Editor's Choice and Readers' Choice for Best Overall Camera and Best Interchangeable Lens Camera (Micro Four Thirds or Below) in the Digital Life Awards 2014.
When it was first released, the E-M1 was available only in black. Now, it also comes in silver - with a silver top, as well as silver dials, buttons and levers. The front, grip and rear thumb rest are clad in black faux leather. It certainly looks better than the all-black version.
The bigger news, though, is that the silver E-M1 comes preloaded with firmware version 2.0. The major features of firmware 2.0 include:
tethered shooting using the Olympus Capture application,
digital in-camera keystone compensation,
live composite mode,
and two new art filters (partial-colour and vintage).
Tethered shooting, which allows photographers to view images remotely on a computer, is a useful addition. You need the Olympus Capture application and the included USB cable to use this feature.
I found the Olympus Capture app easy to use and you can change camera settings in it. Pictures show up immediately in the app during tethered shooting, which comes in useful when a client wants to see the pictures immediately.
Digital in-camera keystone compensation is a useful feature for architectural photographers to have in the field. It lets them straighten verticals which may converge in photographing buildings.
Usually, you would have to use tilt-shift lenses, which are very expensive, to straighten the verticals or correct them at the post-processing stage.
Live composite mode lets you capture the movement of light as solid light trails. This is great when you are shooting fireworks or starscapes, as you can see the light trails in real time and close the shutter when you are satisfied with the picture. It can shoot up to three hours in bulb mode.
In the E-M1, art filters, such as diorama or pin hole, add special effects to your photos. The vintage art filter gives nostalgic sepia-toned photos.
The more useful art filter, in my opinion, is the partial-colour one. It lets you take black-and-white photos with a single highlighted colour. So, you can get those black-and-white photos with a single red subject.
If you already have the original black E-M1, you can download the new firmware 2.0 from the website (tinyurl.com/p2byokj).
Otherwise, you could splash out for the new silver model.
Price: $2,948 (with M.Zuiko ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens)
Image sensor: 16.3-megapixel Micro Four Thirds Live MOS
Display: 3-inch tiltable LCD with 1,037,000 dots; electronic viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots
Sensitivity: ISO 100 to 25,600
Shooting speed: Up to 6.5 frames per second
Weight: 497g (body with battery and memory card)
This article was first published on Dec 24, 2014. Get a copy of Digital Life, The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.