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Em1-mk2 v OM1 discussion.

Adrian Harris

New Member
I have both an old Em1-mk2 and an OM1. And without doing a scientific study, after an 8 month comparison my gut feelings between the two may be of interest to some.
The OOC jogs from the OM1 appear marginally improved - but especially so at high ISOs.
However at ISOs below 800 the Em1-mk2 RAWs seem easier to deal with.
I far prefer the handling of the Em1-mk2 overall, the controls are better spaced and in a more natural position. It feels a much easier camera to use.

The Em1-mk2 is an incredibly fast camera and I find the C-AF focus terrific for action, including Birds and Dragonflies in flight. Admittedly my OM1 has not yet had the last firmware update yet, (but neither has my Em1-mk2, didn't want to risk it on either camera!) but where the OM1 decides to focus feels a bit 'sketchy'!

Hence except for certain shooting scenarios, the Em1-mk2 is still the camera I am most comfortable with and the one I would take to a corporate assignment or car show.

... So why is it when I go out shooting, 99% of the time I only take the OM1?

Well it has certain really useful features I 'upgraded' for and regularly enjoy using/playing with to great success.

The 'hand held' Focus Stacking, High Resolution, plus the Bird Eye Detect, make producing 'winning shots' so simple and available.
With birds in flight and a burst (I only use about 6-8fps) my Em1-mk2 is more likely to nail the 1st shot, but when things settle and I am tracking the bird, the OM1 ensures the eye is sharp, whereas the Em1-mk2 frequently prefers the nearest wingtip!

I love using the OM1 HHHR function on flowing water, it produces the equivalent of a slow shutter speed achieved via an ND, but I get the bonus of it being a high resolution image.

The Hand Held Focus Bracketing has freed me from a tripod when fungi and small bug hunting. Wow!

The other realy great thing about the OM1 is that I now shoot jpg in dimly lit sports halls without having to worry about hi-iso noise on skin tones .

So there you have it, not scientific, but hopefully food for thought for any thinking of moving to an Olympus m43.
 
I liked the EM1 mII also but I never was able to get an acceptable keeper rate for birds in flight.
Took all the advice adjusted my camera but it just didn't work for me for that particular genre.
The EM1 mIII was better and introduced me to hand held stacking.
But like you the OM1 does all that I need for wildlife, nature and landscape photography.
Though I accept your comment on lower iso Jpegs and raws I can't confirm that for myself as the EM1mII went a long time ago.
BTW I love the OM1 and coupled with a PL 100-400 it is a joy to use.
 
I have both an old Em1-mk2 and an OM1. And without doing a scientific study, after an 8 month comparison my gut feelings between the two may be of interest to some.
The OOC jogs from the OM1 appear marginally improved - but especially so at high ISOs.
However at ISOs below 800 the Em1-mk2 RAWs seem easier to deal with.
I far prefer the handling of the Em1-mk2 overall, the controls are better spaced and in a more natural position. It feels a much easier camera to use.

The Em1-mk2 is an incredibly fast camera and I find the C-AF focus terrific for action, including Birds and Dragonflies in flight. Admittedly my OM1 has not yet had the last firmware update yet, (but neither has my Em1-mk2, didn't want to risk it on either camera!) but where the OM1 decides to focus feels a bit 'sketchy'!

Hence except for certain shooting scenarios, the Em1-mk2 is still the camera I am most comfortable with and the one I would take to a corporate assignment or car show.

... So why is it when I go out shooting, 99% of the time I only take the OM1?

Well it has certain really useful features I 'upgraded' for and regularly enjoy using/playing with to great success.

The 'hand held' Focus Stacking, High Resolution, plus the Bird Eye Detect, make producing 'winning shots' so simple and available.
With birds in flight and a burst (I only use about 6-8fps) my Em1-mk2 is more likely to nail the 1st shot, but when things settle and I am tracking the bird, the OM1 ensures the eye is sharp, whereas the Em1-mk2 frequently prefers the nearest wingtip!

I love using the OM1 HHHR function on flowing water, it produces the equivalent of a slow shutter speed achieved via an ND, but I get the bonus of it being a high resolution image.

The Hand Held Focus Bracketing has freed me from a tripod when fungi and small bug hunting. Wow!

The other realy great thing about the OM1 is that I now shoot jpg in dimly lit sports halls without having to worry about hi-iso noise on skin tones .

So there you have it, not scientific, but hopefully food for thought for any thinking of moving to an Olympus m43.
I upgraded from an EM1 mk ii to an OM1 a few months ago. I find the OM1 a better camera with very similar IQ. Since I’m a RAW shooter, the jpeg improvements aren’t important but I can always do in camera processing if a jpeg is needed immediately.

The better user interface and added functions are worth it to me but the EM1.2 remains a very competent camera at a good used price.
Andrew
 
Both excellent cameras Adrian and good to see your in-depth thoughts on it. I love my E-M1 MKII, but for what I take and if I was using native m4/3 lenses it would be the OM1 for sure.

As you say, it really depends on what you use it for and take. The E-M1 MKII will be my last m4/3 camera because I don't use native lenses.

All the best Adrian and good to see you here.

Danny.
 
I passed my E-M1ii and E-M1iii bodies off to my nephew shortly after getting an OM-1. He uses them for video work, usually with MY 12-100 lens, which I haven't seen in nearly a year. I kept the E-M1X, which is what I used on a 150-400 Pro lens until the OM-1 was released. Since I also do a lot of video, the no record limit and 10 bit codec capabilities of the OM-1 are appreciated, but for stills in good light, I have been very happy with all the camera bodies after the original E-M1 and have used them pretty much interchangeably. I don't think I'll ever part with the 1X, but the low light performance of the OM-1 and video capabilities make it my choice for most of what I do now with m43.
 
I can echo many of the sentiments here. For me, the OM-1 helped me fulfill my New Year's resolution to be less annoying to my family when we are out and about and I see a bird. Bird AF lets me get the shot, often without stopping.

My two E-M1 IIs and a few lenses went to a couple of younger relatives with strong interest in portraiture/product photography and "cinematic" video, and no interest in wildlife!
 
(first post in this forum, but I've hung out in both dpreview.com for 21 years, and 4 1/2 years at mu-43.com)

I bought the E-m1 mark II when Olympus was starting to have great sales on the body in August 2021, but I've rarely used it because it has a TFT LCD viewfinder.

I find the bodies with the TFT LCD viewfinder (E-m1 mark I/II/III, E-m5 mark I/II, E-m1x, E-m10 mark I and Stylus-1) to be harder to use. I have a condition called Photophobia, which means I am sensitive to bright lights, which in turn can trigger migraines. I generally wear polarized sunglasses when I'm outdoors to reduce the frequency of the migraines. The TFT LCD viewfinders have distortions when you shoot in horizontal orientation and view it through polarized sunglasses. On most of the cameras, with TFT LCD viewfinders the distortions are horizontal bands where one band is clear and the next is very distorted. The E-m5 mark II is 'special' in that the viewfinder is completely opaque.

The cameras with OLED viewfinders (E-m10 mark II/III/IV, Pen-F, E-m5 mark III, OM-1, OM-5, and many Panasonic cameras with viewfinders other than the GX series) don't have distortions when viewed with polarized glasses (though at times one orientation may be darker than the other, but it isn't distorted). Now, there are some downsides to OLED viewfinders, but typically I prefer being able to use the whole viewfinder.

With my E-m5 mark I and later E-m1 mark I, I was able to use single point auto focus and selecting a focus point that is the area of the viewfinder that I can see, I can frame and take pictures. I wouldn't be able to manually focus, but I rarely do that anyway. But in general, it is annoying.

I first got the E-m10 mark II to use, but it not being splash resistant was a drag.

And then I got the E-m5 mark III, and it had the main things that I wanted (Olympus colors for JPGs, Olympus menu system, OLED viewfinder, splash resistance, and sensor shift stabilization). The E-m5 mark III quickly became my main camera. However after using the E-m1 mark I for several years, I found the E-m5 mark III lacking in a few things. Mostly, it doesn't have a deep hand grip for longer lenses (and the third party grips help some, but for the longer lenses it still feels unbalanced).

Another thing that the E-m5 mark III did not have was a headphone jack, which I wanted in my next camera. I had had a video shoot that I ruined the first 10 minutes of the sound due to microphone not being plugged in correctly, so if I was going to shoot serious video again, I wanted the ability to plug in a headphone to do spot checks on the sound.

Finally, if I was going to do video again and retire my G85, I wanted a camera that did not have a record limit. The E-m1 mark II does have a record limit like all Olympus bodies do, but there were some patches floating around over at mu-43.com that disabled the checks in the camera for the video limit. In addition, for video it is easier to power the E-m1 mark II than the E-m5 mark III with external power. The OM-1 and OM-5 now have unlimited recording. However, the two places I used to do video for no longer exist, so while I have the capability, I've only done 2-3 videos in the last 3 years.

In August 2021, when OM or Olympus started discounting the E-m1 mark II (to clear the shelves somewhat before the OM-1 announcement), I took the plunge and bought the E-m1 mark II. I figured the E-m5 mark III would continue to be the main camera, but the E-m1 mark II would be the secondary camera (replacing the E-m1 mark I which had done a lot of work). However, that was in the middle of Covid shutdowns, and I didn't really take that many pictures. And then the OM-1 was announced, and it had all of the things in the E-m5 mark III plus all of the things that I bought the E-m1 mark II for to address E-m5 mark III limitations.

As a consequence, the E-m1 mark II hasn't seen much use. But I have a cunning plan....

One of my hobbies is doing steampunk events (sort of Victorian England meets more modern technology, and hopefully better social norms than the real Victorian folk). I have this large steampunk camera that over the years I have had several Olympus cameras in various incarnations (E-P2, E-PM2, TG-2, TG-5, Stylus-1, E-3, E-5, E-m5 mark I, and recently E-m1 mark I). I am working on a new steampunk box that is slightly taller. It will be tall enough for the E-m1 mark II + HLD-9 to fit in the box along with the FL-LM3 flash. One of the issues I've had in the past with the E-m5 mark I and HLD-6 is even with 2 batteries, the E-m5 mark I conks out at about 4-5 hours of runtime. The E-m1 mark II's BLH-1 batteries have about 33% more capacity than the BLN-1 batteries that the E-m1 mark I and E-m5 mark I used. But even better, with the HLD-7, it is fairly easy to supply external power to the camera, that I hopefully should last an entire day of the events.

Originally when I got the OM-1, I was thinking of selling the E-m1 mark II, but the price offered wasn't that high, and I didn't really have the ambition to shop the body to get a higher price.
 
I agree with a lot of your sentiments, Adrian. I have the OM-1 as well, but in my opinion the EM-1 Mk 3 (which is just a Mk2 with a joystick) is the most ergonomically perfect camera ever made.

In a schism that I find very bizarre, photographers seem to fall largely into two camps: those who think camera controls should be fit for the hand and easy to operate, and others who seem to be constantly moving their controls by accident and thus want camera controls to be very difficult to accidentally operate, or in other words, just plain difficult to operate. :)

When OMDS designed the OM-1, they unfortunately listened to the second group, and modified the control layout of the Mk 2/3.

Everything on the Mk2/3 was easy to operate. The wheels were right at your fingertip and thumb tip. They turned easily, and you did not have to adjust your grip to use them. You didn't even have to move your fingers. They were RIGHT THERE. On the OM-1, the wheels have been moved AWAY from the resting position of your thumb and index finger, to make them harder to reach. And they are recessed to make them still harder to reach. And they are stiffer and harder to turn when you do move your digits to reach them. And many of the buttons are further recessed to make them harder to push. This second group of photographers think all these changes are improvements, because it makes the camera controls harder to use accidentally.

I just think it makes it harder to use. You have to reposition the weight of the camera in your hand to turn the wheels, and I hate that.

But the OM-1 does have a much better EVF, and better image quality and high ISO performance. That's what I was waiting for in the successor to the Mk3. Really, it's what we were waiting for in the successor to the Mk2. That's why the 3 was a disappointment: just a Mk2 with a joystick. That's when Olympus started falling behind. The Mk2 was so far ahead of its competition, and then the improvements that were needed in the next generation of camera, they just didn't deliver until the OM-1.

If they had put the new processor and EVF in the Mk3 body, to me it would have been the perfect camera. I love the new capabilities of the camera, but I still miss the old wheels.
 
I can't compare the EM-1 to the OM-1 as I was (firmly) in the Panny camp having cut my teeth with an LX-7, LX-100, gx85 and gx9. What tipped me over was the fantastic bird images OM-1 users were posting to DPR. I sold my Sony 200-600 to help offset the cost of an OM-1 purchase and I have been so utterly happy with it.
 
Everything on the Mk2/3 was easy to operate. The wheels were right at your fingertip and thumb tip. They turned easily, and you did not have to adjust your grip to use them. You didn't even have to move your fingers. They were RIGHT THERE. On the OM-1, the wheels have been moved AWAY from the resting position of your thumb and index finger, to make them harder to reach. And they are recessed to make them still harder to reach. And they are stiffer and harder to turn when you do move your digits to reach them. And many of the buttons are further recessed to make them harder to push. This second group of photographers think all these changes are improvements, because it makes the camera controls harder to use accidentally.
The OM-1 feels like the evolution of the EM1X into a smaller form. I don't find it noticibliy different in feel or responsiveness from the EM1.2 and EM1.3 which I used from 2016-2022. My thumb and index finger fall naturally across the front and rear dials. Not as aligned as the EM1X but that is a much thicker, natural feeling grip. I also find the wheels easy to turn with good tactile and audible feedback when a click occurs. A touch more resistance than the EM1X but not in a bad way. I don't recall accidental dial movement with the previous cameras so that would not be a benefit for me either.
I just think it makes it harder to use. You have to reposition the weight of the camera in your hand to turn the wheels, and I hate that.
Interesting. Without repositioning the camera while shooting, I can change the mode dial, access AEL Fn lever, AF-ON and rear dial comfortably with my thumb. The harder part is the 8-way joystick - I can reach it but find it difficult to use accurately without sliding my hand downward (left hand cradling the lens).
But the OM-1 does have a much better EVF, and better image quality and high ISO performance. That's what I was waiting for in the successor to the Mk3. Really, it's what we were waiting for in the successor to the Mk2. That's why the 3 was a disappointment: just a Mk2 with a joystick. That's when Olympus started falling behind. The Mk2 was so far ahead of its competition, and then the improvements that were needed in the next generation of camera, they just didn't deliver until the OM-1.

If they had put the new processor and EVF in the Mk3 body, to me it would have been the perfect camera. I love the new capabilities of the camera, but I still miss the old wheels.
It was an easy transition for me. The OM-1 felt very familiar out of the box. I still wish it were in the EM1X body but accept that most do not want to carry an integrated grip camera.
 
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