With all the leaks and rumors surrounding the Olympus OM-D E-M1X, I’m on the fence we even need an official announcement. But we have one, and Olympus saw the spec sheets from recent cameras and basically said ‘hold my beer.’
The flagship MFT (Micro Four Thirds) camera is jammed with an insane amount of technology. One piece is Olympus figuring out the Earth’s rotation when it comes to in-body image stabilization. Here’s the company’s line from 2016 in an interview with Amateur Photography:
“The in-body stabilization itself gives 5.5 stops, and the Sync IS gives 6.5 stops with OIS lenses. 6.5 stops is actually a theoretical limitation at the moment due to rotation of the earth interfering with gyro sensors.”
Someone had a eureka moment because the new E-M1X image stabilization jumps to 7.5 stops. Nice job Olympus. If you’re cooking up spaceships similar to the Expanse, I want in on that press trip.
Olympus OM-D E-M1X Specs
No way in hell I’m typing out the name each time. I christen it the E-M1X. Olympus figures out the Earth’s rotation for image stabilization, but marketing still gets paid by the letter. It cracks me up the press release has it registered.
Let’s dive into the specs. Obviously, the image stabilization is an eye-popping number. You can shoot hand-held shots for an extended period without a tripod. It also makes its way over to video, but you can see the warp in several of the press previews.
Olympus is marketing the camera as a sports and wildlife shooter. Considering it’s built like a tank, you can take it out in any weather condition. The E-M1X can handle all the water, snow and whatever torture test you want to throw its way.
One bit of bad news is the MFT sensor is not new. It’s a retread from older Olympus cameras with the 20.4 MP Live MOS sensor. The flipside is the company is squeezing every single ounce of image quality out of the sensor with the dual TruePic VIII processors.
The main drawback to the smaller sensor is it is not a low-light camera. Full stop. Anyone who says it works as one isn’t shooting with the E-M1X. But the camera is marketed towards outdoor and sports photography — two areas where lighting is less of a concern.
Also in the camera body is an integrated battery grip which allows for vertical shooting. The USB-C connection allows for quick recharge times on the dual batteries. Dual card slots are there, and both are UHS-II. Additional ports include headphone, microphone, and micro-HDMI. Every new camera has wireless connectivity, and the Olympus OM-D E-M1X doesn’t disappoint. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are built-in and can connect with your smartphone via the O.I.Share app on iOS or Android.
On the video front, it checks the boxes of nearly every flagship camera released recently. 4K video is there with OM-Log400. Sorry, no 4K60p but it does shoot 120fps at 1080p for those needing slow motion in their shots.
The autofocus gets a serious upgrade with a 121-point cross-type system. Olympus added a joystick to select the AF point you desire and can move diagonally versus the normal up/down and across. You can choose various AF settings allowing you to track subjects in real time increasing your chance to get the shot.
What about frames per second? Technically it can shoot 60 fps, but that feature locks in the AF-mode for the entire sixty frames. The real-world frames per second are 18 fps using the silent shutter.
Now the cool but potentially gimmicky features. Olympus is introducing Live ND on the E-M1X with five settings up to ND32 or five stops. It’ll be one we all want to see in the real world when the camera releases.
Another is Pro Capture Mode. If you depress the shutter button halfway, the camera records 35 frames retroactively. This has been out in the wild, but how many of us are walking around with the shutter release half-pressed. It’s cool, but not something you’d use all the time.
Price and Release
It’s not cheap at $3000 for the camera body with a release date in February. Especially when you look around at the full-frame mirrorless camera market and see the a7 III, the Nikon Z6, and others. There are tradeoffs with all of them, but it’s hard to deny the $1000 discount for full-frame and the increased depth-of-field gained by the larger sensor. If you are an Olympus fan and have a ton of MFT lenses, you officially have your professional camera body.
If not, there are more economically feasible options loaded with features, and you can be on your way to building a lens portfolio. It comes down to what you need. If it’s a durable MFT camera, this checks every damn box known to man. If you are looking to switch systems, you may want to take a look elsewhere for a better value.