Olympus OM-D E-M1X Rewiews
Photo & Video Cameras
TAKING CAMERA INNOVATIONS TO NEW DIMENSIONS.
AT A TIME when most camera manufacturers are concentrating on full-frame mirrorless cameras, Olympus has proven that innovation can be achieved with more than just adding more megapixels. The OM-D E-M1X may look strange to some photography fans, but if form factor isn’t an issue, then this is by far the best micro four thirds (MFT) camera money can buy. In fact, if you can ignore the sensor size, this is arguably the best mirrorless camera money can buy.
Despite the smaller sensor size, the E-M1X produces bigger image files than any full-frame camera or medium format camera. The trick here is the improved High Res Shot mode that captures 80MP images. And if you thought that this MFT system couldn’t keep up with its new full-frame mirrorless competitors, think again – there are so many features packed into this snapper, it can put Panasonic’s Lumix S1 series and Nikon’s Z series cameras to shame.in a row and utilising the second processor to
HOLD ME STEADY
The E-M1X has been reengineered into something completely new – it’s not really a replacement for the 2016 OM-D E-M1 Mark II flagship. The new camera has been designed to withstand the rigours of outdoor shooting and adds ergonomics to its form factor. Not only does the E-M1X have a very comfortable horizontal grip, it boasts a built-in vertical grip as well, with duplicate controls to accommodate that orientation, including twin joysticks and C-Lock lever (customisation control). Despite that, the E-M1X is still compact and lightweight compared to rivals in its class (like the Canon EOS 1DX, which is twice as heavy).
Another point of difference is the recessed command dials on the E-M1X. Sitting within the weather-sealed body, the two top-plate dials (four if you count the ones for vertical handling) have just enough protrusion to get purchase, reducing accidental nudging. Another change to the top is on the control dial, where the iAuto and Art Filters have been replaced by Bulb mode, bringing Olympus’ brilliant long exposure modes to the fore. The rest of the top plate houses buttons for ISO, movie recording and exposure compensation, together with a lockable mode dial, while on the other side a trio of buttons access metering, autofocus, drive modes, and bracketing settings. These sit atop the power switch, which – unlike most cameras – is on the left. Some may have preferred this to be on the other side, but it’s easy to flick on or off where it is.
Olympus boasts that the E-M1X features the world’s best freeze-proofing, waterproofing and dust-proofing. A new supersonic wave filter oscillating at over 30,000 times per second eliminates dust, reducing the possibility of particles spoiling an image by a factor of ten. The shutter life is rated at 400,000 actuations, meaning that this really is a camera built to last.
The dual-battery cartridge houses two BLH-1 batteries, which can handle up to 2,580 shots and they can be recharged (in just two hours) in-camera via a USB cable.
Not only does the E-M1X feel like a wellcrafted camera, it produces superb images as well. Photographs are sharp and retain plenty of details in highlights and shadows. With a powerful in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) system that offers up to 7.5 stops of stability, we were even able to shoot handheld at 1.5-second shutter speed. The new gyroscope and algorithm was developed in partnership with Epson and is capable of detecting camera movement five times more accurately. This is a welcome feature for videographers, with the camera offering three options for movement compensation.
This can be selected within the menu system, which has also undergone a change. Olympus has created the option for custom menus, allowing users to create their own. Up to five menu options can be customised within the My Menu feature, each with 30 different functions – to do so just hold the record button and press OK to move a function to your My Menu setup.
Boasting up to 60fps RAW burst speed with locked autofocus (AF) and 18fps with AF tracking, the E-M1X is clearly aimed at wildlife and sports photographers. There’s also a Pro Capture mode that records 35 frames without any blackout in between – 15 of them before you fully press the shutter button, meaning you’ll hardly ever miss a critical moment.
The E-M1X packs not one but two image processors. The power of two TruePic VIII engines gives is tremendous computational abilities that drive the High Res mode. When mounted on a tripod, the camera is capable of capturing 80MP images using the same sensor-shift technique of the E-M1 Mark II, but now there’s the ability to capture 50MP stills handheld. This works by taking 16 shots in a row and utilising the second processor to stabilise them. While the 80MP RAW files are just superb, the 50MP ones are game changers. No longer do you or your subject have to stand stock still, and you still get some very impressive photos.
The autofocus system is the one area that the new E-M1X shares with its predecessor. It offers a 121 phase-detection cross-type AF system that covers up to 85% of the frame. While on paper that’s not too impressive – the aging Sony Alpha A9 offers 693 phase-detect AF points covering 93% of the frame – in reality the tracking AF is excellent, with the camera easily able to lock onto multiple cars.
There’s innovation here, too, with Olympus giving users the ability to customise the shape, size and grouping of the AF points. These custom targets can be saved and accessed quickly later by simply clicking the joystick and turning the front dial without having your eye leave the viewfinder.
The only issue we have with the Olympus OM-D E-M1X is its price tag. With rival manufacturers offering superb cameras with higher resolution electronic viewfinders (we’re looking at you, Panasonic), it’s a tad hard to justify the $3,000+ stamp it carries. Yet, if you have the spare change lying around and need a pro-level camera, we can’t praise this snapper enough.