Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera first impressions


A reader who had the chance to try the just announced Olympus OM-D E-M1 shared his first impressions from the camera:


  • In general the E-M1 rocks. Solid build quality and feels more welcoming than the E-M5, but sadly still Made in China. Contrary to how it looks from the press pics, the modernized grip design is actually very welcoming and improves handling a lot, unlike the E-M5.


  • Dual control dial design is just like in the older Nikon film camera days, very easy to get used to. Certain rear buttons require deep pushing which I believe prevents accidental actuation. Not hard to get used to.


  • AF is very fast IMHO. DPreview states that it is nothing compared to a proper DSLR, but I don't seem to spot much difference. However, changing the focusing points is a bit of a hassle on the body. On the optional grip however, it only takes one button push before you rotate the rear dial and assign the AF points.


  • The other unusual thing is the main control dial's lock mechanism which is of toggle type. Press down to unlock, press up to lock. Not as convenient as the traditional "press to unlock" type.


  • The EVF feels good, Very hi-res, bright, with good magnification as well as large text, which makes adjustments via the rear screen a joke. There is however some problem with auto white balance adjustment within the EVF in that sometimes the results are not very accurate, particularly at indoors with dim or mixed lighting. Also the results from the EVF and the rear screen do not show consistent colors.

Olympus-E-M1-battery-grip Olympus-E-M1-battery-grip

  • The optional grip is a MUST HAVE, especially since the E-M1 body feels too small and thus not good for large hands. The battery grip kind of offsets that feel, also giving extended battery time as well as vertical shooting buttons, twin dials etc.


  • Nevertheless the entire E-M1 body is just too small as a whole. Lots of features but packed in such a small form, which complicates camera control. Finding the appropriate button for a particular function, for example, can be a pain, and without any illumination controls (like on the D4) operation in the dark becomes quite annoying so to speak.


  • The new lens also feels great and is slightly beefier in build quality compared with the normal zoom lenses.

Additional Olympus E-M1 press images:

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  • SoftonDemand

    If I didn’t own a Canon and a Nikon now I would totally buy the olympus. I am satisfied with what I have, but if prices of the olympus is less I would totally get it, but no point of getting this if my 1Dx or D4 or D800 or 5D can perform the same.

  • looh

    “but sadly still Made in China”

    Come on man it’s 2013.

    • Drazen B

      Yet the Made in China still isn’t Made in Japan. If you don’t believe there are no differences between the two – good for you.

      • SoftonDemand

        You don’t mind your D4 / 1Dx or Hasselblad being made in China also right?

        • Pablo Ricasso returned

          You are a funny guy. Check your facts and where the cameras you listed have been actually assembled and in which country final QC performed.

          • RT

            Parts being made and cameras being assembled are not the same.

          • Pablo Ricasso returned

            That’s exactly what I stated. Please read carefully next time before you post.

          • RT

            Sorry I must have missed it but I don’t see it? All I am saying is even though I know my gear and everyday things are made in China, but you know people prefer not to see “made in china” especially for highend products. So shut up with your pompous speech of yours. I am not trying to criticize.

          • Remedy

            No, all You do is stating some ridiculously stupid things with your patronizing manner to convince other people that you are right. But you couldn’t be more wrong. You don’t get the idea about what is being where and on top of that you have no slightest clue about which and where parts of high end Nikon and Canon (not to mention Hasselblad) cameras are being manufactured, assembled and checked (check in China…. ROTFL seriously dude? SERIOUSLY?!). You don’t get a grasp of how asian corporations are managed, do you. Please stop making a clown of yourself.

        • callibrator

          What exactly is being made from D4 in China apart from few low cost interchangeable parts – do you have a list? No? I thought so.

          • RT

            thanks for the useful comment

  • Zivko Radovanovich

    Looking at that 3rd “wet” photo I have a feeling this is a MFT trying hard to look like a DSLR.

    • JakeB

      True, with that beefy looking 4/3 lens and the battery grip it sure looksl like a “DSLR – mini me”

    • MJr

      If your definition of DSLR is rugged and reliable with advanced well defined controls and usability then yes, it is trying and succeeding.

  • Thanks for the report! Looking forward to trying it myself. I’m planning a trip to a bigger city such that by that time both the E-M1 and the GX7 should be in stock. 🙂 E-PLx remains my likely upgrade path, however.

  • econ-prof

    The first sentence is contradictory. “solid build quality” but “sadly made in china”. If the camera is made in japan, you probably need to pay twice the asking price because the labour cost is so much higher. who gives a damn where the camera is made as long as it is “solid built quality” and comes with a reasonable, affordable price.

  • madmax

    “Sadly made in China”? You are living in Wonderland, boy! Most “made in Japan”, “made in USA” or “made in Germany” labelled products are made from pieces imported from China and other countries.

  • hendrick

    wait for nexx FF,,, will blow out this m43

  • MacCruiskeen

    But did you get to take any pictures with it? What was the image quality like?

    Not too worried about the size–I don’t have any problems with my OM-1n, and this seems to be almost exactly the same size.

    • Les

      Exactly. Olympus has been selling smaller cameras for a long time. It’s what they do. Not everyone wants huge overcompensating cameras.

  • 007

    Stopped reading after the first bullet point. That “made in China” comment discredited the entire article.

  • Marco Santa Cruz

    What’s hilarious is if it were

    “made in the USA”

    we would definitely not buy it! HAHA
    so, STFU about it being made in china, buy off of amazon, and if you have a QC problem, there’s hardly any hassle.

  • Mmmmm

    Solid build quality and feels more welcoming than the E-M5, but sadly still Made in China

    This is the most ignorant and stupid line I read in 2013.

  • Cgl

    What a whiner! The statement about the camera being too small is ridiculous! Also saying the control dial lock is not convenient. It’s perfect. Locked for the ones who like it, and unlocked for the ones who don’t. Silliness to say the least.

  • mark z

    hmmm… while there is crap made in China (just like there is crap made in Japan… and the US and , well every where) there is also good stuff made in China, and not just good stuff, really insanely great stuff.

    so, yeh, fail review is fail.

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