Olympus Unveils the E-M1, Its New High-End Micro Four Thirds Camera


The Olympus OM-D E-M5‘s retro styling drew a lot of looks when the camera was first announced back in February 2012. Glowing reviews of the camera subsequently showed that it was more than just a pretty face.

Today, Olympus has finally unveiled a followup camera to continue the new OM-D line: the E-M1.


Like the E-M5 before it, the E-M1 is another 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds camera. The sensor’s sensitivity ranges from 100 to 25600. Speed-wise, it can do 1/8000s photos with a continuous shooting speed of up to 10 frames per second. A dual contrast- and on-sensor phase-detection focusing system gives the camera a very short 0.044 focus lag time.


Your shots will also be aided by a special 5-axis in-body image stabilization system that compensates for vertical, horizontal, and rolling camera shake with the equivalent of five stops of light.

On the back of the camera, you’ll find both a high-res 2.36-million-dot electronic viewfinder and a 3-inch 1.037-million-dot tilting touchscreen LCD screen.


The camera body itself is designed to be durable. Its magnesium alloy body is protected against dust, splash, and cold temperatures.

Style-wise, it diverges a bit from the design of the E-M5. Instead of having a body that mimics the look of old school SLR cameras, the E-M1 is more like a mix of old and new. Under your right hand is a new handgrip that protrudes a good amount from the rest of the body in order to provide better ergonomics.



Other features include 1080P video recording, an X-sync socket, focus peaking, an HDMI port, an external microphone jack, a hot shoe, 12 art filters, and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.


The Olympus OM-D E-M1 will be available starting in October for $1,400 for the body itself or $2,200 when paired with a 12-40mm f/2.8 kit lens.

  • OLaf

    well if you want the best you have to pay for the best.
    m43 is nothing but mediocre.
    if it´s good enough for you.. be happy with it.

  • Anselm

    Sales are down across the board for pretty much all camera manufacturers. m43 is the most popular mirrorless system. In many places, such as Japan, mirrorless cameras (including and especially m43) outsell DSLRs.


    I would never pay more than $999 for a micro four thirds body… This price is insane for me… I’m waiting for a new X-E2 or the new FF Nex…

  • OLaf

    i don´t see the lower end pens have weather sealing….
    we are speaking about a 1300 euro camera here.
    2200 with kit lens.

    this is not a cheap camera…..

  • OLaf

    in fact engineering plastic is in some cases better then metal.
    and in case you did not notice.. the 6D has a magnesium alloy body .. just the top not becaue of the GPS.
    and the 550D cost ~399 euro.. compare that too 1300 euro…

  • Gutman

    the 6D has a magensium body and imho the D600 too.
    so what cheap low end FF cameras are you talking about?

  • Anselm

    I explained earlier why that doesn’t really matter. Olympus’s camera division is like Apple’s computer business, rather than, say, Dell’s. If people stopped buying Apple computers tomorrow, Apple would merrily go on selling iPhones and iPads. If people stopped buying Dell computers tomorrow, Dell would go bust.
    If people stopped buying Olympus cameras tomorrow, Olympus would merrily go on selling endoscopes and technical imaging systems. Olympus can afford to sell upmarket camera equipment to a fairly small slice of the market that appreciates it, much like Apple can afford to sell upmarket computers to a fairly small slice of the market that appreciates those.

  • OlafF

    canon ans nikons camera divisions still making a profit… olympus not.
    fact.. no need to argue about it.

  • Anonymous

    You would think that for this price Olympus will give you proper video specifications as well. It’s 2013 and there still isn’t support for other frame rates. Is it really worth the premium price when there’s another very similar, cheaper Micro Four Thirds camera by Panasonic that can also shoot wonderful video?

  • OlafF

    you are wrong… mirrorless does not outsell DSLR.

    just have a look at the publised numbers.

    everyone can see you are just google “Camera sales history from 2011 till today”.

  • Putzi

    well mirrorless is NOT growing there is you first mistake.
    get you facts straight and look at the numbers!!

  • Anselm

    For one, the Panasonic doesn’t have 5-axis IBIS like the OM-Ds and E-P5, which we hear has been improved further in the E-M1, to a point where you can shoot 0.5s exposures without a tripod and have them come out usable.
    The Olympus cameras’ focus is on photography (although they can shoot good video, too, just not with so many opportunities for tweaking). If you want a m43 body with more versatility in the video department, by all means get a Panasonic, but that will come with some disadvantages elsewhere.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Am a Canon MK III shooter and have been Canon for last 15 years; I can make a good photograph with far less than this camera provides. The specs, the size, the combination EFV and tilting lcd do make this an interesting camera. I bought and sold a Fuji 100S hoping for portability but realizing I needed more than a fixed lens.

    Do other lenses fit this camera with adapters?

  • Anselm

    Yes. The nice thing about m43 is that the distance between the mount flange and the sensor is smaller (since there does not need to be room for the mirror in the camera body), so there is ample space for adaptors to fit in between.
    Don’t expect to use your Canon lenses with autofocus, though; Canon foreseeably doesn’t license the requisite IP to adapter manufacturers, so you’ll have to set aperture and focus manually.
    Having said that, Olympus sells some very, very good lenses at quite competitive prices.

  • Cinekpol

    Uh? I think you got outdated information – neither Canon nor Nikon generated any losses in last 2 quarters.

  • Splatter Expert

    $2200 !!!! Wow. Too expensive. What’s the point? Small sensor in a large body. A Sony NEX or Fuji XM1 with a bigger APSC sensor in a much smaller body for $800 makes much more sense. This camera has fail written all over it.

  • Cinekpol

    Fallen yes – but it’s mostly because of compact P&S. Sony got exactly the same issue despite of having brilliant sales of NEXes and RX series.

    Mirrorless shares stagnates around 20% in all non-asian markets combined, and UK is one of very few exceptions where sales are above this 20% share. Beyond Japan mirrorless market isn’t growing anymore even nearly as fast as it used to 2 years ago. Actually – in EU sales of mirrorless cameras dropped quite sagnificantly comparing to previous year.

  • Teun

    That is based on robin wong’s and thecamerastore’s preview. Wong even claims over a stop.

  • Cinekpol

    Yea, I seen plenty of claims like that from many different people. My favourite one, which still makes me laugh, is that “Speedbooster doesn’t affect image quality in any measurable way” – I won’t name a person who said that due to respect for other work he made, but the point is: Don’t believe claims of individuals. In things that can be measured – believe objective measurements.

  • R O

    This camera and lens are weathersealed

  • bmassao

    I’m talking exclusively about the mirrorless market. ;)

  • Lutz

    this is the m43 fanboys wet dream im sure .. but that´s it.
    it will not bring many new photographers to olympus.
    and mirrorles is stagnating at a very low level, only a fraction of DSLR sales.

  • YouDidntDidYou

    The previous year sales in mirrorless was affected by the Nikon 1 and Canon EOS M, DSLR sales aren’t growing.

  • Anonymous

    Having the very basics of video capabilities does not in any way compromise or create disadvantages to a camera’s still side. Heck, if the cheapest compacts out there can shoot different, standardized frame rates, then you’re only bending over backwards to argue that you couldn’t do the same with this price and this type of hardware.

  • kimberly537

    just as Dawn answered I’m blown away that some people can make $4915 in 1 month on the computer. why not look here w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

  • Teun

    There are claims from two individual people. I agree that Wong is somewhat of an Olympus fanboy, but the camera store has got a good reputation. I tend to believe the claims, not for 100% but enough to believe this camera is more than ‘the same old em5′ which was the point I made.

  • Cinekpol

    Well, I guess with that statement – that it’s not just the same old EM5 – we both can agree :)
    Though a “store” part is precisely a reason why you should be extra-careful with believing every over-positive statements (1EV advantage is an enormous progress for a sensor, something that almost never happens in a history of digital photography)

  • Cinekpol

    Hmm? Sorry, I don’t understand what you are trying to say. 2 small, rather insignificant systems affected the sales of a whole mirrorless market? If it is like that – than it’s a very unhealthy market, if a big players – like m4/3 or NEX – or even medium players – like X-mount – cannot generate any significant growth anymore.
    As for DSLR sales not growing – that’s not a surprise, market is pretty much saturated. Still doesn’t change the fact that it’s saturation point seems to be roughly 5 times higher than the one of mirrorless cameras.

  • Cinekpol

    ooh… ok. Totally agreed than. Both Canon and Nikon are loosing money in mirrorless. Mostly because of all the R&D costs that went to it combined with very underwhelming sales (and that offer it’s no wonder).

  • hendrick

    NEX FF!

  • Lee Harris

    Yes IQ does matter; a lack of it is all too common in most posts regarding sensor size and the ‘fool frame’ fallacy.

  • Lee Harris

    Jesus wept… I am a pro who makes money and I suspect I am making more than you and quicker, on account of not spending at least twice as much to buy all that ‘pro fool frame’ gear you so desperately need, to take some half-assed pictures which you then HDR to death and then no doubt just post to flickr at 1000 pixels…

  • Teun

    The biggest size and weight savings is not in the bodies, but in the lenses. I carry a 4 lens setup everywhere I go and it takes up less space than a entrylevel dslr with kitlens in it’s bag.

  • Four Letter Nerd

    The entire point of m43 was supposed to be smaller and less weight. Granted, an EM-5 with a set of lenses weights notably less than an APS-C counterpart. But most buyers set it on auto and use the kit lens so there is no weight savings. The D5200 and EM-5 are counterparts for most buyers because they’ll never put the build quality difference to use. Pros buy pro gear. So do Fanboys, equipment freaks and those with concerns about their masculinity.

    As for ergonomics, this is from Ming Thein’s review of the EM-1, talking about the EM-5: “At least a bit of the grip you had to previously buy with the E-M5 is now included…” ‘Had to buy’ = horrible ergonomics IMHO.

    Within 1 minute of first picking up the EM-5 I identified the location of the right side strap lug as at best a callus builder and at worse a source of skin rubbed raw. Here’s Ming’s quote with my comment in braces. The quote starts with him obviously referring to the EM-1 “The strap lugs are still unfortunately the D-ring type: whilst they don’t munch your hands like the OM-D [he must mean the EM-5] and E-P5′s rings do, they transmit unnecessary amounts of noise to the body when recording video…” Munched hands = horrible ergonomics.

    I really wanted to like the EM-5. The all up weight gave me pause, the horrible ergonomics sealed the deal. I’m still shopping for a M43.

  • greenarcher02

    Learn to research: GF5, GF6, E-P5, E-PM2, E-PL6. Even the GX1 is small. There you go.

    You should really use your brain to research. IMO the GF series and the E-PL and E-PM series are too small for me ergonomically. I disliked how they handled, but they are small. Though physics dictates that they can’t be as thin as some of the NEX cameras because of flange focal distance. 1.25mm difference I think.

  • greenarcher02

    You can actually get away with a 1” sensor in some cases. You do know that a good photographer can still get a sellable shot in a P&S right? Or are you not a good photographer? Are you even one? Of course for contracted work proper gear is required, but in some cases going M4/3 and losing a little bit dynamic range is a good compromise when you need something lighter. But I slightly agree that the E-M1’s price is overkill. But are the full frame cameras in that range have that kind of speed and weather sealing?

  • greenarcher02

    The GH3 or the E-M5 are actually better deals and YES people have used those professionally. Films have been shot using the GH3. Weddings and fashion shoots (printed) have been done using an E-M5. And they aren’t as expensive as the E-M1 and still have weather sealing.

  • greenarcher02

    Although the E-M5 or GH3 actually sounds like a better deal than getting a new E-M1, at least now that it’s still so expensive. It isn’t the great leap that was the GX1 and GX7 so GX1 actually have a reason to upgrade, and new users would actually prefer the GX7 more. But as an E-M5 owner there really is no reason to upgrade to E-M1, and if a new user on a tight budget, the E-M5 is actually good enough.

  • tslow

    I’ve seen the UN press pool in action. They mostly use FF cameras. Few go straight to print. Size and resolution of the sensor counts a lot for JIT journalism as cropping is very common and 16MP is not going to cut it.

    I’ve also seen 3rd world “kids” running around and no one gives them a $2200 system to be honest. They mostly use hand-offs.

    Frankly the pro in-the-mud photojournalists I’ve seen in action (I do TV feed) take a few cameras almost all from Canon or Nikon. They get as much build as is economical and are more than willing to lose a body and get another if need be. Pro service and warranties are where the real action is, not a prosumer camera like this thing. It’s nice, but not in the same category as what you are describing.


  • Phil Art

    this is GOOD camera. once u have tried u know. i using nikon D3s D800 Sony A99 A850 . now plus dis EM1 1240F2.8 n 17 F1.8 Superb!!!
    Different camera different use. ALL depends on what u wana take shot…