Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera first impressions

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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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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