Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Best Micro 4: 3 Standard
20.4 MP live MOS sensor with dual TruePic VIII Image Processors
The Olympus OM-D E-M1X has great equipment and many practical features. But the camera’s reputation for professionals was overshadowed by some flaws. Details in our review.
The pinnacle of the evolution of the MFT standard
The very powerful Olympus OM-D EM1-X case during testing seemed to be trying to tell us: “Warning, you are dealing with a professional camera!” In a nutshell – the newest in the family of mirrorless cameras Olympus in terms of equipment has almost everything that cameras that still exist can boast. Accordingly, we can call the EM1-X not only the most expensive, but also the largest, most powerful and, therefore, the best Olympus camera we have ever had in our hands! But first things first.
Let’s start listing the highlights from the case: its weight is exactly 1000 grams complete with two used batteries and memory cards. Why is it so heavy? We explain: what at first glance looks like a removable vertical grip at the bottom of the mirrorless camera, in fact, part of the case is a rather unusual solution.back to menu ↑
DSLM from professionals to professionals
The Olympus OM-D E-M1X case proved in our testing that such a design has several advantages: two batteries provide more power, which is just great for long photo walks away from the outlet. The E-M1X battery only runs out well beyond the 1000 frame mark. In addition, the large size of the case allowed changing the location of the buttons. Thus, some of the controls were purposefully moved to an area that other models have removable. As a result, the rear surface of the E-M1X looks more systematic. Another nice side effect: DSLM is in the hand reliably and conveniently, there is room for all fingers.
E-M1X looks like a professional model, and this does not have the most positive effect on the still appreciated advantages of the cameras of the MFT system of mobility and compactness.
To compose the frame, you can use an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2.36 million pixels and high sharpness, as well as a 3.0-inch touch screen with a resolution of 1.04 million pixels. Independently of each other, they can demonstrate a large amount of information, and you can fully configure them yourself. Convenient: thanks to the side mount, the display can be rotated 180 degrees forward, as well as up or down depending on the shooting position. It is a pity that there is no touch function for navigating the menu. The E-M1X is equipped with a large number of peripheral connection options: a USB-C port for data transfer and charging, 3.5 mm jacks for headphones and a microphone, as well as a Micro-HDMI port and a connector for wired remote shutter release. The Olympus camera communicates wirelessly via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Two SD slots for fast UHS-II cards perfectly complement the already good bundle. The photographer’s heart is unlikely to want more!
Olympus OM — D E — M1X: the advantage of the MFT system is large focal lengthsback to menu ↑
New concept, proven quality
Olympus developers did not succumb to a common love for full-frame matrices and installed in their new Olympus OM-D E-M1X camera a Micro 4: 3 sensor and a bayonet mount of the same MFT format. The effective resolution of the matrix is more than 20 megapixels, while it does not have a low-pass filter. Such a filter seems to make it possible to better display small details, at least in theory, while in practice, however, annoying moire artifacts appear because of it. However, the E-M1X does this very well. The real highlight of the mirrorless, however, is hiding behind the sensor. This is the most effective 5-axis image stabilizer in the history of cameras in the MFT system: it should compensate for seven exposure levels, and with some lenses, according to the manufacturer, even 7.5 EV, which is two to three steps above the average. Pure marketing wording? Not at all!
Impressive features of this system in the E-M1X. For example, the camera allows you to shoot with very slow shutter speeds. Other cameras in such conditions will have to be mounted on a tripod. Because of this, much lower ISO values can be used. Compared to systems with five stages of stabilization, this means that you can choose an ISO value four times less or shutter speed four times faster. That is, instead of the value of ISO 3200, choose ISO 800 or shutter speed of 1/10 second instead of 1/40 second. Any photographer will be delighted!
But that’s not all: in the so-called “Handheld High Resolution” mode, the camera combines a total of eight frames into one with a resolution of about 50 megapixels. In this case, the sensor shifts slightly from frame to frame. When shooting landscapes, this works very well, but when shooting with a lot of movement in the frame, the technology quickly exhausts its capabilities. EM1-X in such cases often interrupts processing in a short time.
DSLM is easy and simple to operate – the housing is very comfortable in the handback to menu ↑
Olympus OM-D E-M1X: the power of two hearts
Olympus OM-D E-M1X got such great features thanks to the use of two TruePic VIII processors. While one chip is responsible for the basic functions of the camera, the second supports particularly complex computational tasks. These include, for example, burst shooting: if a mechanical shutter with the shortest shutter speed of 1/8000 second is capable of creating a maximum of 15 frames per second, then a silent electronic shutter struck us with its capabilities of 60 frames per second in full resolution with a short shutter speed of 1/32000, the camera will catch any, even very fast movement and every, shortest moment.
The huge speed that the E-M1X, however, can withstand only for one second or 49 frames.
If we listed all the other features of the E-M1X equipment here, we would have far exceeded all the scope of the article. Indicative examples include a built-in barometer, GPS, a thermometer, an electronic ND filter, 4K video and time-lapse video mode, a modified and very fast AF, face and eye recognition, and a shutter rated for 400,000, in short: it doesn’t exist almost nothing the E-M1X has.
Olympus OM — D E — M1X: integrated image stabilization compensates for up to 7.5back to menu ↑
Olympus OM-D E-M1X: the reverse side of the coin
Now, of course, you ask why the Olympus OM-D E-M1X did not immediately get on the first place in the list of our leaders, taking into account all the advantages described above? The answer to this question can be an assessment of one of the important indicators – the internal processing of JPEG. Olympus OM-D E-M1X showed here one of the worst results among all the cameras that we tested. Although experienced photographers in most cases shoot in the RAW format, which is more suitable for further processing, for measurements in our test laboratory, nevertheless, JPEG-saving memory space is of great importance. And in this case, the EM1-X does not pull on a professional camera, although the developers sought to create a professional camera.
In general, the resolution of the E-M1X camera is not bad at all: of the theoretically possible 2333 pairs of lines per frame height, the mirrorless in our test reached a good level: in images taken with ISO values between 64 and 3200, the resolution was consistently high 1850 pairs of lines, very good result, along with similar cameras. But seriously looking at the results, they will turn out to be not so good: already starting with ISO 1600, the number of line pairs turned out to be below the level of 1400, and even with ISO 64 the resolution was only a little more than 1500 line pairs, a very weak result. In addition, starting with ISO 800, noise is clearly visible.
In short, frames in JPEG format, already with average ISO values, look blurry, noisy and not sharp due to aggressive softening of the optical image. In the end, it turns out that for a good result you always have to bypass using the RAW format, which the photographer will take much more time to process. Whoever is ready to put up with this will get an Olympus MNV-D E-M1X at a price of about 200,000 rubles, a professional camera that is remarkable in all other respects, which, despite the size of the sensor, is in no way inferior to cameras with a larger matrix.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1X showed itself as a superior class DSLM. No other mirrorless camera can boast such cool equipment and practical functions. True, the general positive impression was somewhat overshadowed by not the best internal processing of frames in JPEG format, which does not correspond to the camera’s reputation for professionals.
- Rich equipment and powerful image stabilizer
- Versatile, ergonomic control
- Compact camera with long focal lengths.
- High level of softening of optical image of JPEG image
- Inconvenient menu without touch controls.