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  • Kai Jensen

The new OM-1

OM-1 is the new and much talked about top camera from OM SYSTEM. A successor to the E-M1X and E-M1 MKIII. The camera both feels and is experienced as a fusion with the best of both camera housings. I myself was very happy that the size of the E-M1 Mk III was kept, that's what I like about the whole Olympus system, a camera body and lenses that you take with you everywhere, a camera body where you do not think about size and weight. With a 60 macro in the breast pocket and a 12-100 on camera, you are ready to go.


Much faster

OM-1 is a solidly built camera housing from OM SYSTEM, with a brand new modern camera sensor, Quad Bayer Pattern stacked BSI CMOS. OM-1 also has a brand new data processor that has 60 times more power. Focus stacking in camera is now twice as fast and handheld high res take only five seconds compared to 12 seconds previously. Hig Res has also been given a dedicated button, the REC button is set to high res. If you would like a normal recording function on the REC button, you can easily change this. But I found it incredibly appropriate to have it on the REC button. Because it's mostly pictures I take when I'm out for a walk.

Handheld High Res shot gives me an amazing file of 8160 pixels x 6120 pixels. Also improved dynamic range and up to two steps better iso properties are obtained with handheld High Res. Iso 200 OM-1 Olympus 7-14 på blender 8 1/40 sek.

Hand held assist

Hand held assistent is a smart feature you can activate so you can better control instability at long shutter speeds. Especially on High Res shooting, it is important to keep the camera steady when the shutter speed drops. A square appears in the viewfinder with indicators on each side of the square and a dot in the middle. These will move if you are unsteady on the hand. I have used this a lot and can tell that it really helps to keep the camera steady during shooting. Back focus button

Another nice feature in the OM-1 is that you now have a dedicated back focus button, AF ON, so you do not have to reprogram anything to use back focus, a feature I know many like myself are very fond of.


Better viewfinder

The new and updated viewfinder has been long awaited by many. Its much clearer and more responsive.


Video

There have also been major improvements on video. Only the new sensor alone increase the quality, but there is more. C4K/4k, 60p out of 5K oversampling without Corp.

4k 60fps 10bit video.

H.264 og H.265

I liked that there now is a thin red frame during recording, no doubt that you actually record video. This can of course be removed if you do not want it. I have made some video recordings and it looks pretty good with the new camera.

Weather sealing

OM-1 also has the market's only standardized weatherproofing, standard IP53.


Image stabilization

Same high image stabilization as in E-M1X, up to 8 steps, but now one step better on "Rolling compensation". New handheld assist on OM-1 also helps keep your camera more stable during long shutter speeds.


New menu system

The menu system comes in a new design, with a number of improvements that make it easier to find what you are looking for. More features are now more readily available. For example, we can look at the menu for focus stacking.

In the overview screen, you can immediately see which settings have been set.


Better autofocus


The new sensor together with the new and much faster data processor of course also works wonders for the autofocus. Bird AF was one of the first things I wanted to test, went down to Østensjøvannet a bird lake in Oslo. This is an optimal place to test the auto focus. All I had to do was to sit down at the water's edge, and wait for the very first feathered creature to appear on the horizon. A mallard on stiff wings whizzing straight towards the photographer became the first experimental bird. Yes, I saw quickly that the Eye Focus locked on to the bird and followed it. I got many attempts and in most cases the autofocus hung on very well. But as with all camera systems, there is nothing that is 100 percent in all situations. But in most of the series it worked very well. This is really a big boost from the E-M1X.

Later attempts at goshawks and buzzards in far more demanding environments gave me pictures I had not previously even tried me on.

OM-1 og Olympus 150-400 4,5 Iso 800 1/6400 sek

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Cleaner files on high ISO

With a new sensor and faster data processor, the camera delivers both improved raw files and an improved dynamic range. You can see the files have smaller artifacts and a more natural color palette and improvement in the details at high iso. OM SYSTEM promises two steps better iso properties.


With the camera set to 6400 ISO in flat and poor light, great demands are placed on the camera to ensure that details and sharpness are taken care of.

OM-1 og Olympus 40-150 2,8 Iso 6400 1/3200 sek f/2,8

OM-1 og Olympus 40-150 2,8 iso 6400 1/5000 sek f/2,8

The picture above was also taken with 6400 iso, but appears much cleaner with more contrast and colors. This only shows how much good light has and say for a picture. When there is little light, more of the camera is required to bring out fine details.


Bird AF

An improved autofocus that recognizes the bird's eyes makes everyday life much easier for the photographer. The photographer now only needs to concentrate on composing the picture, finding the bird's eye is being taken care of the camera. With 1053 focus points, also all the way to the edges, you no longer have to worry about the focus not finding the bird. What you can worry about, however, are the cases where you quickly want a small focus point that you can move around with the Joy stick instead of Bird AF. If the bird should be hidden behind some straw, or you get into a situation where Bird AF does not work optimally, then you want to change this quickly.


I have therefore placed bird recognition on the AEL button, where I can turn it on and off as I want. You can also switch between animals, trains, planes and birds by turning the front steering wheel. But I have mine set on bird and then it's just to deactivate or activate as needed, super duper nice!


Black out free and 120 picture per second

Now we also have black out free follow focus in High speed mode with 50 or 25 frames per second and a staggering 120 frames per second without follow focus.

Pro Capture

Previously, the camera buffered 35 frames per second, the camera does not store the image on the card, but stores it in the "memory" and waits until you press the button, only then does it download the last 35 images. OM-1 doubles this to 70 pictures! When the shutter-release button is held halfway down, the camera captures everything that happens, but as mentioned, the images remain in "memory" until you press the shutter-release button. This is absolutely ingenious, you now get to capture everything that happens and now with an incredible 120 frames per second on Pro Capture H and 50 frames per second on Pro Capture L, Pro Capture L also have continius auto focus!


With Pro Capture H and 120 frames per second, you will not miss anything.

OM-1 og 40-150 2,8. Pro Capture L 50 bilder i sekundet. Iso 3200 1/6400 sek f/2,8

OM-1 og 150-400 4,5. Pro Capture L 50 bilder i sekundet. Iso 8000 1/2000 sek f/4,5

8 000 iso må noen ganger til for å fange det rette øyeblikket. Tatt med Pro Capture L.


OM-1 og Olympus 150-400 4,5 iso 800 1/500 sek

OM-1 og Olympus 150-400 4,5 iso 400 1/640 sek

Summary

The way forward looks bright for us who have invested in Olympus and OM SYSTEM. We now have a camera with the very latest technology, a 20M Quad Bayer Pattern stacked BSI CMOS sensor and a powerful data processor True Pic X. The combination gives us a power pack of a camera. The benefit of a smaller sensor grows with each step the technology advances. And a lot of exciting things are happening out here, among them is Sony's exciting technology, "2-Layer Transistor Pixel tech" this is just one of many technological innovations that will provide further advances in dynamic range and on iso in the next generation of camera sensors to come. As I said, technology is moving forward, but one thing remains the same, namely the sensor size. One thing that don't change in the future is the lenses and cameras from OM SYSTEM and Olympus, they will also in the future stay small and light, just the way I like, perfect to take on a hike.


I'm super happy with a small power pack of a camera that can be extended with battery grip when needed. And not least, it is fantastic that OM SYSTEM now really shows that they take care of the legacy of Olympus and take a big step forward with OM-1.


PS: All image files are image processed in Lightroom, sharpened and noise reduced from RAW as I always do with my images.


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