Three Months of Using the OM-1 Mirrorless Camera: Am I Still Impressed?

Only should you buried your head for the previous couple of months would you’ve gotten missed the enthusiasm for the OM-1. The new digicam from the firm beforehand often called Olympus prompted fairly a stir. How is it faring in the actual world? I’ve owned the OM-1 for slightly over three months. Am I nonetheless as passionate about it as I was when I first purchased it?

That pleasure is firstly because of the doubling of the dynamic vary of the OM System OM-1 in comparison with its predecessor, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, and a quadrupling of the noise management. Then there may be the AI-driven topic recognition system. Thirdly, the brand-unique computational images options similar to Live Time and Live Composite are astounding. The former function lets you watch a protracted publicity develop on the viewfinder or rear display. Live Composite, on the different hand, solely provides new mild to a picture, which is nice for mild portray. Plus, the inbuilt ND filters now go as much as ND64. Then, there may be the IP-53 climate sealing, the solely ILC with that score.  

On prime of that, you’ve gotten high-resolution taking pictures that makes use of sensor-shift expertise to supply as much as 8 MP pictures. There’s additionally a bunch of video enhancements, together with 24p-60p C4K, time-lapse, and high-speed as much as 100 fps. The 7 stops of picture stabilization are additionally value mentioning, of course. That will increase to eight stops when used with a appropriate lens. Oh, after which there are the 120 frames per second, the in-camera HDR mode with uncooked output, and the diminutive measurement of its Micro Four Thirds System. Then I almost forgot to say Pro Capture, the facility that buffers pictures earlier than the shutter launch button is totally pressed, solely completely recording them when it’s, that means no extra missed motion pictures.

I wrote about these in my preliminary overview of the OM-1 quickly after I first purchased it. In the three months since then, I’ve used it for lengthy exposures, wildlife expeditions photographing birds in flight, weddings, enterprise occasions, and the quite a few workshops I run. So, does it make a distinction in the actual world? You guess it does.

I deal with so much of cameras. From the massive and heavy full-frame, top-of-the-range flagship dinosaurs right down to low-cost mass-produced newbie DSLRs that appear comprised of the similar plastic utilized in low-cost toys, most cross via my fingers. The OM-1 feels sturdy and constructed to final.

The physique is barely smaller and lighter than most different mirrorless cameras. But the vital measurement benefit comes when you think about the whole system. Smaller, glorious lenses in the M.Zuiko skilled vary are tiny in comparison with the equal full-frame behemoths. Furthermore, the OM-1 overcomes the tough steadiness between ergonomics and customizable performance.  

I have usually puzzled why so many full-frame shooters are dedicated to staying with a DSLR regardless of all the benefits introduced by mirrorless programs, and possibly some of it is because of steadiness; you want an enormous digicam to steadiness an enormous lens. I’ve beforehand tried huge 300mm to 600mm lenses on Canon, Nikon, and Sony full body mirrorless cameras, however they really feel front-heavy and unwieldy. Some are too massive to comfortably handhold. DSLRs do act as a counterweight. For some, the mixed weight and cumbersome measurement of a DSLR/lengthy lens mixture does not trouble them. In that case, I perceive why some big-system photographers should not swapping to the mirrorless our bodies, regardless of all the benefits that might deliver.

This concern just isn’t there with the OM-1; it all the time appears well-balanced, no matter lens I use with it. Because of the smaller proportions of equal lenses on the Micro Four Thirds system, they’re extra suited to the slimmer, smaller our bodies. The OM-1’s physique just isn’t a lot smaller than its full-frame mirrorless contemporaries, however the much more compact comparable lenses make all the distinction in steadiness and ergonomics. 

It’s not an inexpensive digicam, the OM-1; it is not meant to be. But let’s examine it with the different stacked sensor cameras launched round the similar time. Like the whole lot in images, sensor measurement has each its benefits and drawbacks. The worth is one of the vital benefits of the OM-1 over these bigger cameras. The Sony A9 II prices $4,498, greater than double the worth of the OM-1. Meanwhile, the Nikon z9 is priced at $5,496, and the Canon R3 is a whopping $5,999.

So, at $2199, though it’s a top-of-the-range flagship digicam, the OM-1 is superb worth in contrast with different stacked sensor alternate options.

Using the OM-1 in the Field

I have massive fingers and lengthy fingers. The buttons and dials on the OM-1 are straightforward for me to control. My son’s fingers are smaller than mine, and I simply requested him to strive it. He discovered it snug and straightforward to make use of, too. So too did my spouse, who is comparatively small and has tiny fingers. Strangely, the smaller E-M5s additionally match my household’s vary of hand sizes. Consequently, I count on a lot thought goes into the ergonomics throughout the design stage.

Cameras are designed for right-eyed and right-handed individuals. I am lucky to be each right-handed and right-eye dominant. When taking pictures motion, I prefer to maintain each eyes open to identify topics exterior the body I would possibly need to seize. This smaller system helps facilitate that.

Spare a thought for left-eyed individuals. Most cameras are disadvantageous for people who maintain the digicam to the left eye in that the digicam’s physique and proper hand obscure the imaginative and prescient on that facet. I tried taking pictures left-eyed with the OM-1, and though there may be much less peripheral imaginative and prescient than when utilizing my proper, I can nonetheless see sufficient to detect a hen flying my means or an individual appearing curiously on the avenue.

One criticism I’ve heard of the OM-1 is about its monitoring skill of people. I disagree with this as a result of it’s terrific in comparison with many cameras I’ve used. The AI-based monitoring of birds, animals, and vehicles is even higher. A pal who was in the Navy described the AI-based topic detection as having “navy precision.” Nevertheless, the human face and eye recognition aren’t unhealthy. I used it on all the pictures I took at a marriage final weekend, and it did not miss a beat. However, I anticipate the inclusion of Human AI, maybe in a future firmware replace.

I was all the time happy by the high quality and sharpness of the photographs I shot with my earlier Olympus digital cameras going again to the E-510 I owned a few years in the past and even a bridge digicam I had round the similar time. But the element in footage shot with the OM-1 is astoundingly crisp. That has a lot to do with the new sensor, the In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS), and, of course, the superior lenses.

Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw all the time over-sharpened Olympus uncooked information (.orf), and {many professional} Olympus customers have felt let down by Adobe’s shoddy uncooked conversions in comparison with different software program. Capture One and ON1 appear to be agency favourites for the system’s skilled customers, plus the proprietary OM Workspace, which finest develops the uncooked information. For high-ISO noise dealing with, one thing that’s exceptionally nicely managed anyway. I’m fortunately taking pictures as much as ISO 125,000, and ON1 NoNoise and Topaz DeNoise each work nicely at further cleansing if desired. However, for the pictures used on this article, I employed OM Workspace, which has its personal AI-based sharpening and noise discount. It works nicely.

I flip sharpening off when working the uncooked information via totally different third-party processors. When taking pictures weddings and portraits, I invariably soften the pores and skin in order to not present each irregularity inside each pores and skin pore inside each wrinkle. The OM-1’s most interesting element lifts the photographs to a brand new stage for many different of pictures. That, partly because of the doubled dynamic vary, has led me to start out reshooting the seascapes I caught with my earlier iterations of the Olympus OM-D E-M1s and the E-M5s. Don’t get me unsuitable, there was nothing unsuitable with the photographs from these older cameras. I nonetheless fortunately take an E-M1 on my morning bike journey, however the OM-1 is an enormous leap ahead.

I do not do as a lot in some genres of images as I would love; I am simply too busy. However, I see some glorious macro outcomes from Geraint Radford, and Gavin Hoey’s studio work is excellent. They are each utilizing OM-1s.

Battery life is great. I purchased three further batteries for when I am taking pictures weddings and occasions. At an all-day wedding ceremony shoot, I modified the battery as soon as at a handy time mid-afternoon when it had discharged to 45%. The following battery nonetheless had over 50% life when I completed at 9.00 pm. I did not have to alter the battery on a four-hour wildlife shoot. I purchased the optionally available BCX-1 exterior battery charger for its flexibility. I thought it might be helpful when coupled with a energy financial institution, however to this point, I have not wanted to make use of it.

What I Do and Don’t Like

I can actually say that the OM-1 is the finest digital digicam I’ve ever owned or used, and I use tons. It lives as much as its “Wow Camera” standing.

I love its robustness and its 400,000 shutter actuation score, placing many different equally priced fashions to disgrace. Environmentally, its longevity is vital, as the world’s sources are restricted and we must always count on high quality merchandise to final. It could be nice if OMDS made an enormous dedication to decreasing the environmental affect of its merchandise’ manufacturing, however not less than they don’t seem to be greenwashing like another manufacturers appear to be doing. The excellent news is that they appear to be recruiting photographers onto their worldwide ambassadorial scheme from numerous backgrounds, serving to to democratize images. That needs to be nice for our artwork.

There are a pair of tiny issues I would enhance. Keyhole screw slots on the backside of the charger would make it wall mountable. Plus, is not it about time that each one digicam producers stopped supplying neck straps and gave us shoulder straps as an alternative?

There have been provide hold-ups for each the digicam and its equipment as a result of of the unprecedented demand, however the again orders are being caught up now.

There was additionally one small software program glitch that a couple of individuals skilled (I did not) that was shortly addressed with a firmware replace. But there may be hardly ever any complicated expertise that does not get up to date for related causes. My digicam did lose its date and time settings throughout the firmware replace course of, however once more, it was no massive deal.

These are minor issues. Overall, this can be a fantastic digicam in a league of its personal. It’s not a jack of all trades however a grasp of many. It meets the wants of photographers with improvements that I’ve heard different digicam customers saying, “Why does not my digicam have that function?” In time, they most likely will, however by then, it is going to be a positive guess that OMDS may have introduced in a variety of new options, as its Olympus heritage did in the previous. Like Olympus claimed with the E-M1 Mark II, it’s over-engineered. There is so much of stuff that I won’t ever use, other than out of curiosity, however they are going to be options that enchantment to others.

Is it successful? Everything I have heard behind the scenes suggests so, a punch on the nostril for the naysayers and doom-mongers who incorrectly predicted an ominous future for the model. Breaking away from the medical facet of Olympus, which influenced and restricted the analysis into the digicam programs has been successful for OMDS, enabling it to interrupt away from the restrictions imposed on it. I personally know 5 individuals who have swapped their previous system with different manufacturers and acquired an OM-1. I can not suppose of every other digicam the place that has occurred. Even in case you are devoted to a different producer, having totally different manufacturers in the market is an efficient factor because it pushes advances via competitors, particularly when one of the manufacturers is as progressive as OMDS. Consequently, I am glad that the heritage of Olympus has been revitalized. Plus, I’m trying ahead to the rumoured OM-5 too.

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