If you follow the camera gear press at all, you’ve likely heard that OlympusÂ has announced their new flagship digital camera: the OMD E-M1. Â If you’re a dedicated Canon or Nikon or Sony or Pentax (etc.) shooter, this likely won’t matter much to you.
But for those of us that have been users of the 4/3 system cameras, or of the newer micro-4/3 system gear — it’s a very big deal.
It’s basically been a foregone conclusion of late that OlympusÂ had decided to abandon the now 10-year-old 4/3 system. Â There wasn’t any official announcement to that effect, but the last 4/3 camera (the E-5) was released late in 2010, and available 4/3 lenses are solid performers but not exactly spring chickens either.
So OlympusÂ has now officially stated that the E-M1 will sit at the top of their line-up, replacing the 4/3 system E-5. Â The E-M5 carries on one rung below the E-M1 (hopefully the now-confusing numbering will get cleaned up with the next release cycles), and the Pen series digital cameras hanging on below that.
- Better ergonomics (check out the grip, much like what the E-M5 only offers with an accessory purchase)
- Improved sensor and image processor — anti-aliasing moves from a filter on the sensor to software in the processor, better overall low-light response, built-in phase detection pixels on the sensor (giving it good handling of 4/3 lenses), smaller autofocus target points
- Improved viewfinder (essentially the same as what’s in the VF-4 accessory unit released with the E-P5)
- WiFi and remote operation
- Focus peaking (a godsend for manual focusing of lenses from the pre-digital days)
- Improved weather sealing, more-rugged body frame
I’d love to be able to give you a first-person report of this unit’s handling, and show you pictures I’ve taken with it — but unfortunately I’m not one of the lucky few that received a review unit before the release. Â I’m waiting along with everybody else that placed a pre-order, and is now waiting for their prize to arrive in the mail (hopefully in October).