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.

  • dhbanes

    $1400 for such a tiny sensor. Now might be the right time for you MFT users to upgrade to a system with a more reasonable sensor size. IQ matters.

  • Jim

    Why are these 4/3 cameras so expensive… For $2,200 I can get a full frame + lens and actually make some money with it. And a sync-socket? Who is going to use this with studio flash equipment? Anyways I get the portability factor of these cameras, but the price is just nuts and I would rather get a cheap P&S and a FF for the same price..

  • Cajetan Barretto

    Pre-ordered the moment Amazon went live with the page. I have zero doubts that this will be an awesome camera. Is there anything from current tech that they left out? Initial impressions indicate they didn’t. Well done, Olympus!!

  • Cajetan Barretto

    I happen to own the D800 with the Holy trinity lens, but I still wanted this camera because it offers specific advantages over D800. Size, portability, built-in wifi, 10fps, matching portable lenses and so on.

  • Anselm

    I have an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and the IQ is just fine, thank you very much. At least the incremental difference isn’t worth it to me to haul five times the weight in equipment around.

  • Mike

    Actually make money with it??? What cave have you been living in? Do some reading and see the people that use these professionally.

  • dyna

    This is sincerely one of the single most short-sighted statements I’ve read in a camera forum in quite some time. 1.) I’ll let you know when there’s a full frame camera that is as versatile as this camera claims to be for under $2800, because there isn’t one. The 6D doesn’t have the build, the shutter capability, nor the speed. The D600 is a neurotic mess that isn’t finished and should never be trusted with professional grade work: it’s a warmed over D7000 that so happens to have a full frame sensor under the hood. This camera shows overhaul from the ground up.

    Not going to use this in a studio? In what capacity? What does your short sighted little mind think will actually come out better in fully controlled conditions between this camera and a full frame? Perhaps 2 stops of depth of field control? Indeed but I challenge you to be able to show me the difference between the two images at the 100 and 200 ISO those photographers will be using in such a scenario. Also neither Canon nor Nikon have the color accuracy of Olympus product… So I’ll wait for you to show me a full frame camera and lens for less than $2300 that can match it for accessibility and straight to print. It won’t be a Canon or a Nikon. It might, however, be the Sony A850… though you’ll be hard pressed to get one of those and a proper piece of 2.8 glass for $2500. Sorry. And then that camera also will never match the speed, versatility and construction of this.

    The size of the sensor is no indication of professionalism, as you will learn when you see the UN press pool, the embedded liaisons in the middle east, the pocket journalists and 3rd world Nat Geo kids running around with these cameras, as they have with the EM5 before it.

    Get off the FF high horse. Or, at least ride it around a different ring. This one isn’t for you.

  • Cinekpol

    Yea! Let’s all switch to 1″ sensors and ride pink ponies to the rainboooowwwww!

  • Jim

    And yours is one of the most pretentious statements I have bothered replying to. All I am saying is that some people aren’t made of money, especially working photographers whom conduct our business on a budget, money could be spent much more wisely. No I won’t buy a brand new 2013 model FF camera and lens combo for under $2,500. But I can certainly buy a used body and quality glass within that budget, and start making a living. I could not buy this camera, and make the same living that I do now. Perhaps if I was a rich kid who didn’t grow up shooting film, realizing that increased film (sensor) size makes a difference when it comes to larger than 16×20 print sizes, only using my images for media and blogging. Yes the sensor size may be no indication of professionalism, but if your prints look like **** to a client once they print your banners/boards to the contracted size, you will never work again. I won’t even bother getting into the technical with you, you called a camera “neurotic” for Christ sake.

    All I said was it was overly expensive and included specs that only working professionals would use, and that money of this amount could be spent much more wisely. And you decided to go ahead and blast me and say I have a short-sighted little mind, without even seeing any of my work. I don’t think your rash comment was deserved, but oh well, what can one expect on a camera forum.

  • Steve

    If you look at a diagram of the actual sensor sizes, it isn’t that much smaller than the APS cameras. So the only big difference with IQ is with full frame cameras. They have much bigger, heavier lenses. I much prefer carrying around my 4/4 camera with a few lenses to my 5DMKII. I have no problem selling photos taken with the 4/3 sensor, so I think those that say the IQ isn’t good enough don’t know what they’re talking about.

  • Four Letter Nerd

    This post would have been be useful if it explained the differences between the OM1 and the OM5 other than the ergonomic ones.

    I wonder if the various entities that will review the OM1 will assign the same person/team who did the OM5 review. If so, it will be an excellent opportunity for them to apologize for glossing over the horrible ergonomics and the chromatic aberration that’s much worse than other cameras aimed at the same market. One expects Olympus to say how much better both are in the OM1 without admitting any problems with the OM5 because it’s still in their product line, but the review authors have their credibility to think about.

    Oh wait a minute. Not a single OM5 review I read mentioned the weight of the camera, kit lens and handle was more than a Nikon 5200 with kit lens. Their credibility is already ruined. Their status as Olympus fanboys is assured.

  • Michael Palmer

    Shut up and take my money!

  • cy_leow

    I like the new “grip”, the rest? Compare to my E-M5,same old;same old. I don’t know what all the excitement are about! Only one laughing (to the bank) is Olympus ;)

  • Guest

    @dhbanes:disqus still trolling everywhere I see :(

  • YouDidntDidYou

    @201373197b0c6510fd35fe6ce8fc4987:disqus it’s the photographer and the content of their work that makes the money or haven’t you realised?

  • YouDidntDidYou

    dhbanes still trolling everywhere I see :(

  • 54435

    no question this is a nice camera.

    question is… will it save olympus camera division?

    m43 is under attack from other system cameras (most use APS-C sensors) and even smartphones.
    we are speaking about the mass market here.. not a few enthusiasts.
    m43 will always have the stigma of a smaller sensor.
    you can produce excellent products and miss the market completely… i have seen it again and again.

  • 54435

    it´s not so much smaller then some APS-C cameras.., if it is at all.
    a m43 sensor makes no real sense in such a relative big body.

    and why does it look like a classic DSLR… because that is what the “normal” customer is looking for.

    a nice camera for oly fans and enthusiasts.. but not a bestseller i bet.
    you invest in m43 only to see that it is a dead end… just as 4/3.

    i rather spend my money on a APS-C mirrorless system and im sure i will enjoy the bigger sensor in future cameras too.

    if you want to sell me m43… make the body and lenses as small as possible.

  • 54435

    lol…. +1

  • Anselm

    Have you actually looked at some of the photographs people have taken with that camera? That might make you think again, especially considering that they are early samples.

    Also consider that not every photographer is working in a studio. There are many professionals who actually need to carry equipment around on the job, and the lower-weight 43/m43 gear can make quite a difference there – in particular since many Olympus lenses are of a quality second to none in the business, so the IQ is still very good. Many professionals do work with m43 equipment (like the OM-D E-M5) and their clients are 100% happy.

    If a camera with a 35mm-size sensor is right for you then great. Nobody is going to take it away from you. But that does not mean that an m43 camera is automatically way worse. There are certain trade-offs to be made which can come out this way or that depending on one’s requirements, and not that rarely the m43 equipment does come out on top for many people.

  • YouDidntDidYou

    it’s not a big body relative or otherwise.

    it’s built for function,that’s what it’s target market wants.

    they said the E-M5 wouldn’t be a bestseller, they also said the Nikon1 and EOS M would sweep away Micro Four Thirds, you remember?

    you spend your money wherever you want, you’ll become enlightened one day

    small as possible… like the Pentax Q and Nikon 1 you mean lol

  • Anselm

    Which APS-C sized cameras would that be? Canon’s and Nikon’s mirrorless offerings have the problem that their manufacturers can’t let them become too good – they would cannibalise their DSLR sales otherwise. Olympus is not handicapped in that way. That would leave Sony, but they don’t seem to have anything like the OM-D line on offer, and besides they have a stake in Olympus these days.

    The OM-D line of cameras is not aimed at the »mass market«.The mass market will happily continue using smartphones as cameras. However there are professionals as well as ambitious amateurs around who seem to like what Olympus has to offer. Canon and Nikon are busy brainwashing users into believing that »full format« is the only way to go, but in many cases the better IQ (if it is noticeable to begin with) isn’t worth the extra cost and pounds of equipment – and those people who are *really* into image quality won’t use »full format« either, anyway; they use medium-format cameras instead.

  • olafs_osh

    reasoning apart, dyna, why not use some manners as well?

  • 54435

    actually kiddo… canon and nikon are making a profit with camera sales. unlike the small sensor m43 manufacturer oly and panasonic.

    it´s a fact .. no use to deny it.

    a few people may want this.
    the small “target market” you are brabbling about.
    but not enough to make olympus profitable… as the past has shown.

    and no amount of fanboyism on blogs and forums will change that fact.

    is the nikon 1 or pentax Q a m43 sensor system i was speaking of? let me tell you it is not.
    so please use our brain before you spoil your nonsense kid.

    but if they could get a m43 sensor in a very small body… yes i would buy it over this DSLR replica all day.

    ps: you should really try to use your brain when you read something.. who knows you may actually get a clue what other people are talking about.

  • Teun

    A nikon d5200 is not build to the same standard as the OMD E-M5. Better build quality often means heavier. Metal is heavier than cheap plastic. Given the sturdyness of the OMD’s vs the D5200, it’s actually quite remarkable that the weight difference is so small.
    In just about every review of the OMD I’ve read the reviewers touched upon the ergonomics, which I believe are not the best, but not the worst either. I prefer handling an OMD without a grip, than a Canon rebel with a tiny useless grip.

  • Teun

    Better EVF, wifi, phase detect, a stop of noise improvements. The very good just got better.
    This might all mean not much to you, but it does mean something for me. I’m planning to upgrade from my EP3 somewhere in the following months. And the extra features of the EM1 might be worth the price premium above the EM5.

  • Cinekpol

    “And that money of this amount could be spent much more wisely” – Agreed. And I think that’s pretty much a key to the whole problem this camera has.
    Yea, sure, this camera probably can do really nice photos, yea, sure, m43 does have some decent lenses among all of the other, but in the end, for over 2000$ this is like a one huge joke made from naive people.
    I’d argue that right now even APS-C camera for 2000$ would be overpriced. But m43? That’s ridiculous.

  • Macaroni1

    there are plenty of mirrorless APS-C cameras out there.. just use google.
    canon and nikon are not per se contra mirrorless.. they are just right that EVF are not good enough today.
    once EVF are good enough to replace the optical viewfinder canon and nikon will use them.
    i am not interested in m43.
    it´s not small enough, nor good enough, nor versatile enough compared to my FF DSLR´s.

  • Kawummm

    ps: you completely missed his point i think.
    this is maybe the perfect camera for a small percentage of buyer.. but will it turn a profit for olympus?

  • Cinekpol

    “stop of noise improvements” – riiight… let’s wait for DXO before jumping into random conclusions like that, ok?

  • M43morons

    if there are so many who like olympus and m43.. why are they making no profit?
    while nikon and canon are still making money from the old DSLR concept?
    yeah i guess because everyone who pays 2000+ dollar for a canon or nikon is an idiot without a clue.
    we need cheap and weak m43 fanboys, who can not carry a biiiiig DSLR, to tell us the truth… rotfl….

  • Anselm

    That question is neither here nor there since Olympus makes most of its money by far selling medical imaging equipment such as endoscopes. (In that way they’re a bit like Apple – we tend to think of Apple as a »computer« company, but, relatively speaking, Apple is making about as much money from lifestyle gadgets such as the iPhone or iPod compared to Macs, as Olympus is making from medical devices compared to cameras – 70% or so.) All the other camera makers are also taking hits at the bottom end of the market because many people prefer smartphones to compact cameras; this applies to Canon and Nikon, too. In particular Nikon has said that nobody seems to want to buy even their mirrorless cameras.
    Overall Olympus isn’t doing so badly – they have been posting profits recently in spite of the accountancy scandal a few years ago, which cost them dearly.

  • k1h1

    you get the better IQ, the better overall system with a 35mm canikon.
    i don´t think size and weight is such a big issue.
    and price is going higher and higher for m34 too…. while FF get´s cheaper and cheaper.
    it´s a dead spiral for m43.

  • Anselm

    I don’t care if you’re pushing a wheelbarrow full of DSLR equipment. If you like that then more power to you.
    I’m just amused how people will diss a camera that they haven’t even seen from afar, much less held in their hands, much less taken pictures with, much less looked how these pictures turned out. You all just KNOW that the camera can be no good just because it has a 4/3 sensor. What does it matter that it supports some of the best glass in the business?
    Let’s just wait and see how the thing turns out in practice. If no one wants to buy the pictures people take with it then you can gloat – but I wouldn’t be so sure ahead of time.

  • Henry1

    and next year i have to pay more for a tiny sensor m43 camera then for a nikon or canon FF camera.
    how stupid are m43 customers?

  • uiikjksdajkdw

    imo nobody said the camera is not good or not able to produce fantastic pictures.
    it´s just not good for the price.
    not compared to a FF camera from nikon or canon.. in my opinion.

  • bmassao

    You’re right about Canon and Nikon making a profit on cameras sales, but you fail at recognizing from where this profit comes. It’s not from the mirrorless market.

    Both the Nikon 1 series and the EOS M are huge fail as bestsellers. Canon have cut the price in less than a year, and Nikon doesn’t even seem to care about the 1 series anymore (also, the sensor of the 1 series is SMALLER than m4/3 cameras).

    Meanwhile, you have Fuji and Sony doing pretty well with APS-C mirrorless cameras, and Olympus and Panasonic doing well with m4/3 cameras. Way better than Canon or Nikon in this market.

  • jkhsdajklhajkq

    it´s the question he asked.
    so you may start thinking about it instead of replying off topic.

  • Anselm

    The FF camera will be a low-end model with a flimsy plastic body. The m43 camera will be a top-end model that is weather-sealed and made of metal. Lenses for the FF camera that actually give better IQ than the m43 camera’s lenses (as opposed to the el-cheapo stuff that comes in the box with the plastic body) will be three times the price and four times the weight of their m43 equivalents.
    You pays your money and you takes your chances.

  • Cinekpol

    Size an weight might have been an issue, but with cameras like Nikon D4, Canon 1D-series.
    When we have small and relatively light bodies like we do right now – it’s not really an issue with every day usage/photography (unless you do some very specific disciplines where every gram matters – for example extreme sports, or survival trips – but even than mirrorless are mostly useless due to lack of weather-sealed lenses & accessories)

  • Cinekpol

    Didn’t both: Panasonic and Olympus generate losses with their m4/3 cameras recently?

  • Cinekpol

    Difference in quality never was proportional to difference in price. Never. In any system.
    But even than I’d argue that FF offers so significant gap in IQ that it might be worth the price difference (especially if you add wide range of lenses and accessories available for FF cameras which are nowhere to be found in mirrorless).

  • YouDidntDidYou

    Nikon’s quarterly profit have fallen 50% I have you know.

    Mirrorless has 50% market share in parts of Asia and 30% in the UK of the interchangeable lens camera market.

    The biggest advantage of Micro Four Thirds is shooting wysiwyg and ease of composition.

  • Urs

    lol…. try to destroy even the cheap 550D body.
    good luck with that!
    you can drop them from 4m on asphalt and they will still work.
    the only part of the camera that maybe will get destroyed, is the display if it hits the asphalt directly.
    so what are you doing with your cameras that you need a better build body?
    weather sealing…. well the next generation of FF cameras will be cheaper and sure will have even more features (including weather sealing).
    but m43 will still have a smaller sensor.

  • Anselm

    Olympus as a whole does not depend on this camera (or any of its cameras) becoming a resounding success – as I said, the endoscopes are much more important for that. Having said that, previous models such as the OM-D EM-5 have exceeded expectations by a considerable margin, and there is no reason to believe that there is no market for the EM-1.
    Olympus has said that they are going to stop making compact cameras, which is probably a wise move given that people seem to prefer smartphones these days.
    In the mirrorless market, m43 is doing great (much more so than Canon’s or Nikon’s offerings), and if Olympus focuses its R&D on that area we can expect some interesting stuff. Olympus has been making high-end SLRs for 50 years now and they still know how to do some things right. Also, m43 is picking up interest with upmarket German lens manufacturers such as Zeiss or Voigtländer, which will also add versatility to the format.

  • Cajetan Barretto

    Going through the comments, I find it hard to understand why some people want to justify their choice of FF format, by shoving their views on others and deriding those who want to invest in a m4/3 system. The format is there (and growing) for a reason. You like your FF and high IQ, great. Please go out and start shooting those brilliant high IQ shots.
    Now can we get back on topic and discuss the EM-1?

  • Umtztabuck

    he was talking about the camera “division”.. read more carefully.

  • bmassao

    Yes, but not as much as Canon nor Nikon. They’re still having a profit, unlike the “two giants of the photographic market”.

    I use Canon (I own a 6D), always used the brand, but even I know that the EOS M fails in so many points that is almost ridiculous. Canon knows this, and while they are trying to think about how they will attempt to take another shot at the mirrorless market, they are searching for other possibilities, like the SL1, which is the smallest DSLR with APS-C sensor in the market. If you compare it, the SL1 is not that much bigger than the Canon G1X (which is a compact camera with a bigger sensor). And it’s a DSLR.

    As for Nikon, they were wrong in size, both of the camera and the sensor. The cameras from the 1 series are big enough to hold an APS-C or m4/3 sensor, but still, they carry the 1″ sensor (the same one used in the Sony RX100). If the sensor is smaller, why the heck the camera isn’t smaller, also?

    Meanwhile, Sony is consolidate with its NEX series and Fuji is catching up fast with its X series. Olympus and Panasonic both have some great cameras, but the lack of innovation in the newer models will be a major blow in about 2 or 3 years.

  • Anselm

    I’m not so sure. Canon and Nikon will want to reserve features such as weather sealing for their pro-level bodies, just so people will keep buying them in preference to the lower-end models.
    We can try hitting your plastic 550D with my metal E-M5 or vice versa and see which one cracks first ;^)
    You didn’t say anything about the lens issue so I take it you’re conceding the point.

  • Umtztabuck

    sorry but you are wrong the m43 biz is not going “great”.
    olympus said it will not even meet the reduced yearly forcast.
    so i don´t know what your talking about.
    sales are down.. you painting a completely distorted picture of the reality here.