Olympus has just announced its much-rumored, pro-grade mirrorless camera, the OM-D EM-1, which is being billed as both the successor to the original OM-D mirrorless camera as well as the traditional, mirrored E-5. With this camera, Olympus has essentially killed its mirrored, Four Thirds line and thus its involvement in the traditional dSLR business.
So, what does the OM-D EM-1 have to offer?
First of all, there's the sensor, a16Mp, 2x crop factor chip, which represented the first increase in resolution by a large-sensor Olympus camera in 3 years. This chip made its first appearance in the original OM-D, which was announced in early 2012. To counteract the arrival of 4Mp more than previous sensors, Olympus has armed the camera with an all-new TruePic VII processor.
To help the user utilized the OM-D EM-1 to its maximum potential, Olympus has outfitted the camera with an all-new, revolutionary viewfinder that the company markets as rivaling that of a full-frame dSLR's in user-friendliness. For starters, the Interactive Electronic Viewfinder (IEV) features a 1.48x (35mm equivalent of .74x) magnification factor and extremely high-resolution 2.36 million-dot LCD panel, both of which combine to provide a large, clear image that, according to Olympus, “is on a par with optical viewfinders.” To make photography easier, users can experiment with aspect ratio, magnification, color, highlight, shadow, and the effects of camera settings, all of which will e displayed in the viewfinder before a picture is ever taken. Additionally, Adaptive Brightness Control technology raises the brightness when shooting in bright outdoor conditions and lowers the brightness in dark indoor conditions, reducing visual errors from light and dark adaptation of the eye.
For video capabilities, which are becoming increasingly important in the pro-dSLR market, the OM-D EM-1 has full 1080p HD capability, taking it a step above the E-5's 720p capabilities. How good is dSLR video? So good that an episode of the TV show “House” was filmed with a Canon 5DII. So, with full HD capability at their fingertips, many multi-talented shooters should be very, very happy with Olympus.
While this is all well and good, perhaps the most intriguing thing about the OM-D EM-1 is its AF system, which is claimed to be the fastest in the world and is equally well suited to contrast or phase detection, and thus both Micro and regular Four Thirds lenses. The newly developed DUAL FAST AF (an upgrade from the FAST system on the original OM-D) selects the ideal method, depending on lens type and settings, namely either a 37-point On-Chip Phase Detection AF or 81-point Contrast Detection AF. Both systems work together to significantly improve continuous autofocus tracking performance when a Micro Four Thirds lens is attached and C-AF is selected.
As for the fluff, there's the usual Olympus art filters, touch-capable, tilting LCD screen, wi-fi capability, and truck load of scene modes.
In addition, the camera, there is the brand new 12-40 f2.8 M. Zuiko 'Pro' lens, which is billed as dust, splash, and freeze-proof-just like the camera. Unfortunately, price and availability are both still TBA here.
Want to buy a OM-D EM-1 in the Cleveland area? Well, there's Cleveland-based Dodd Camera, with its downtown superstore. In addition, there are many smaller Cleveland metro area chain stores in the Cuyahoga County area, too. As for pricing and availability, the OM-D EM-1 body will sell for $1399.99, body-only, when it starts shipping in October.
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