Well, kicking off the OM System with a camera named the Olympus OM-1 on the 50th anniversary of the original Olympus OM-1 doesn’t seem like such a bad marketing idea. And that’s exactly what OM Digital Solutions has done today with the announcement of the OM System “Olympus” OM-1 Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera. It’s the first camera release since Olympus came under the new ownership of OM Digital Solutions, but it seems a little underwhelming.
Of course, we knew what was coming because the entire specs sheet leaked last week, but now we know the price – which is $2,199 body only or $2,799 with the 12-40mm f/2.8 lens. And while its specs are fairly respectable in general, I don’t think they’re as good as they could be for a flagship model camera. It’s not all bad, though and it’s got a handful of pretty interesting features.
So, first thing’s first. It’s the new “Olympus” flagship camera but it only has a 20-megapixel resolution sensor, which isn’t particularly high by today’s standards – even for Micro Four Thirds. Even 2019’s Olympus OM-D E-M1X was only 20MP, So were the OM-D E-M5 Mark III, OM-D E-M1 Mark III, OM-D E-M10 Mark IV and even the little PEN E-P7 released in 2019, 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively.
But despite the resolution staying pretty much the same as it has done for a while now, it does offer some new features. Features like the ability to shoot blackout-free at up to 120fps stills with the electronic shutter – albeit for only around 92 frames, so you’re still going to need to get your timing spot on to make sure the buffer doesn’t fill up before what you want to capture has happened. Even dropping down to 50fps only extends that buffer to around 96 images, although here you’ll still only get almost 2 seconds of continuous shooting before it fills up.
There’s no 4K 120fps video, which is a little disappointing, although we do get 4K60fps and 1080p at up to 240 frames per second. A pair of UHS-II SD card slots allow for making in-camera backups, splitting file types (raw to one and jpg to the other) or acting as an overflow so that when one gets full, it automatically switches to the other. The EVF is a rather impressive 5.76 million dot OLED, for a bright view of your scene with 120fps refresh rate. The 3.0″ 1.62 million dot LCD touchscreen is of the flippy out variety with 270° of swivel allowing you to shoot from high, low or with the camera facing towards you for those moments when you want to capture a quick selfie in the environment or shoot a vlog.
And for you vloggers, you might actually get a decent autofocus system. The Olympus OM-1 features a new Cross Quad Pixel AF – something which they seem to have beaten Canon to – with AI detection and 1,053 individual AF points that fully cover the sensor. How well this might work in video, though, remains to be seen, although they say that it’s twice as accurate and three times faster than previous Olympus AF systems.
The quad pixel autofocus, along with fast stills shooting speeds (with the electronic shutter) is very nice and will particularly suit wildlife and sports photographers, but I somehow expected more of a statement camera from OM System. Something that says “Yo, we’re here and we’re serious!”, especially given that it’s the 50th anniversary of the camera it’s been named after, and I’m not entirely sure this does that just yet given its $2,200 price tag.
|Sensor||20MP Stacked BSI Live MOS|
|Lens Mount||Micro Four Thirds|
|Max resolution||20-megapixel (5184 x 3888 pixels)|
|File format||RAW, JPG|
|Stabilisation||Sensor shift, 5-axis|
|Continuous shooting||Up to 10fps mechanical / 120fps electronic|
|4K Video||4K UHD (3840 x 2160) up to 60fps|
|HD Video||Full HD (1920×1080) up to 240fps|
|Focus type||Auto and manual focus|
|AF Points||1,053 point Phase Detection|
|LCD||1.62 million dot 3″ articulating touchscreen LCD|
|Connectivity||2,5/5Ghz WiFi, Bluetooth|
|Dimensions||134.8 x 91.6 x 72.7 mm|
|Weight||599g (including battery and memory)|
I’m sure as the reviews come out, we’ll hear more about how the specs and feature set offer distinct advantages over its predecessors and its Panasonic competitors – and remember the GH6 is being announced next week – but on paper, it’s kind of average and ordinary for the most part when you look at what else is available today.