It's powerful, it's elegant and it performs

Published: 24 November, 2013 09:26 IST | Swapnil Mathur |

If you're a mirrorless aficionado, and want the absolute best, the E-M1 is your best option

The E-M1 is a redesigned successor, despite the confusing naming scheme, to the OM-D E-M5, Olympus’ Crown jewel in the mirrorless lineup. While the name might be misleading, the M1 is actually a worthy upgrade to the M5, in ergonomics and specs. For starters, it rocks a weather sealed body with resistance to water and dust. Pair this up with the M Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lens and you’ve got an all-weather mirrorless kit.

While it still has a 16 megapixel (effective resolution) sensor, it gets a new image processing chip, the TurPic VII processor. The AF duties are performed by an 81point Contrast Detect system and an on-chip 37 point Phase Detect system. You could use the control dials on the back, or simply tap on the screen where you want the camera to focus.

In terms of image quality, the sensor in the E-M1 is much smaller in comparison to the competition’s offerings, but the image performance is as good, if not better. The touchscreen on the E-M1 is incredibly accurate and fast, which makes shooting with the camera easier. Right out of the camera, the images are great, with strong contrast and a saturation level that please one and all. If you like to tone your own images, the E-M1 allows you to tweak the contrast and saturation to your liking.

The AF performance of the E-M1 is actually quite good. You can either choose an AF point from the 81-point grid, or you could just tap anywhere on the screen and the E-M1 would fire off the shot before you can even pull your finger away. It is THAT fast. The only time the AF slowed down a little was when we were shooting in very poorly lit locations across the city.

While the AF managed to keep up just fine even in such poor conditions, unfortunately, the sensor had somewhat of a hard time managing noise, but that could be blamed on ISO 12800 that we chose to shoot at on purpose. While the images did look like they had too much noise, if it were a desperate situation, Lightroom’s noise reduction algorithms could have salvaged the shots, but only if they were captured in RAW.

The OM-D E-M1 is the mirrorless camera that can give many entry level (and even semi-pro) DSLRs a run for their money. This isn’t surprising though, given that the E-M1 costs as much as a “budget full frame” DSLR. If you’re a mirrorless aficionado, and want the absolute best, the E-M1 is your best option.

Very fast and accurate AF
Fast burst rate of 10 fps
Good high-ISO performance

Slightly bulky for a mirrorless camera
Menu can be very intimidating
Battery life could be better

Sensor: 17 megapixel (16.3 effective) micro four thirds
Lens Mount: Micro four thirds (m4/3)
Auto Focus: 81 point contrast AF, 37 point phase detect
Burst Mode: 10 fps
Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Price: Rs 1,05,000 (body only), R1,59,000 (body + M Zuiko Digital 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens)

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