My Weekend with the Olympus M-1

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My thoughts on the Olympus M-1 after a weekend...

To continue my march towards a mirrorless kit, I rented an Olympus M-1, Olympus 12-40ƒ2.8 and the Olympus FL-36R flash for a weekend.

You may recall I did the same w/ the Fuji XT-1 last month. I really liked the XT-1, but was very dissatisfied w/ the Fuji selector button so I was hoping the Oly would be better.

As I mentioned in my Fuji notes, I'm not looking for a DSLR replacement, but instead a lightweight travel, walkaround, street and take everywhere kit to complement my D3s bodies (which I'll continue to use for sports).

I've uploaded the original files if you'd like to take a look. Again I'd ask that you not DL them unnecessarily as the .zip files are big. I shot 'Natural' in .jpg mode and .dng for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk.

1. 'Oly Test Landscape' (~259MB) contains the first pictures, static landscape objects.
2. 'Oly Test Avon Walk' (~237MB) contains the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (pink) - these are all .dng
3. 'Oly LAX Test' (~84MB) is a short 10fps sports sequence that I was able to get before I got locked into MF mode

Pros
  • Size - nice light kit (obviously). I do think the Fuji had a better 'feel' in my hands...a bit heavier, which I liked. The Oly felt good in my hands (medium glove size), it was a lot easier to grip and release the shutter, especially compared to my Nikons, and to a degree, the Fuji. I think the front grip, being more pronounced than the Fuji, felt a lot better to me.
  • It was great to take to an event like Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (my wife walked it); I saw a media guy there w/ the two Nikon bodies, lenses, etc. and here I was w/ just the Oly kit...much better :).
  • The tremendous amount of customization - you can basically customize any button and its function (see cons)
  • IQ looks very good, I shot a lot of .jpg, but also RAW for a lot of shots.
  • The flash seemed to work well; I primarily tried it out for the Avon Breast Cancer shots as fill. I do understand I can use my SB-800 (Auto only).
  • I really liked the 12-40, aside from the Manual mode snafu (see below). I would like to try the 70-300. Hood was solid, stayed on fine.
Cons
  • Lack of ability to set a minimum shutter speed in AutoISO (higher than the flash sync) - let's hope it's addressed by firmware. It does seem Fuji is better at updating the firmware.
  • The Manual mode on the lens...I couldn't figure out why/how I was in Manual Focus mode...w/ thanks to the Cafe guys who helped me out. I missed a good opportunity to try shooting lacrosse with it and didn't really have an opportunity for action shots the rest of the weekend.
  • The tremendous amount of customization - you can basically customize any button and its function (see pros) - there are so many it's hard to remember, but I'm sure over time I would be able to.
  • While you can use the selector pad to move the cursor around, but I couldn't find a way to program the OK button to return to center (like I can do on my Nikons). I programmed F1 to do this.
  • It didn't appear that I could make the AEL/AFL button do AF only. I ended up w/ Mode 2, AF start (half press).
  • Would like to be able to label each 'Myset' by name, like I do on my Nikons.
  • I preferred the XT-1's level indicator (the green bar that goes across the screen dynamically).
  • I would like to be be able to cut down on the number of AF positions...I tend to move it around a lot while composing and sometimes there was too much 'travel' as I was trying to get it to where I wanted it. Very often, I'll be moving the focus point while I'm bringing the camera to my eye, composing the scene 'on-the-fly' and may want to put the focus point way to the right on a person's face.
  • It is very 'DSLR-like' - by this I mean I probably wouldn't be able to sneak it into a concert (guess I'll have to get the RX100III for that).
So far I'm leaning towards the Oly over the Fuji. The Fuji control pad on the back was just too frustrating for me, and I like the customization of the Oly. I didn't really push the IS, but I can imagine that will come in handy. I do want to see a better lens roadmap (Fuji details theirs very nicely).

WRT the Nikon 1 V3, I had pretty much ruled it out. I'm seeing some nice early images here, but feel that the EVF being separate is really a big negative. It's still a little large for some uses, but maybe I'll just have to get another camera for that.

1. The tilt LCD was nice to use here
2014-05-17%20M-1%20Test-054.jpg
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2. I'm not a landscape shooter so don't worry about composition
2014-05-17%20M-1%20Test-062.jpg
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3.
2014-05-17%20M-1%20Test-065.jpg
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4. This was handheld, I didn't realize I had IS turned off for single shot mode
2014-05-17%20M-1%20Test-079.jpg
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5.
ƒ4, will have to get used to the DOF
2014-05-17%20M-1%20Test-084.jpg
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6.
2014-05-17%20M-1%20Test-087.jpg
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7.
2014-05-17%20M-1%20Test-091.jpg
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8. It was almost noon for these shots, so very harsh lighting. ƒ2.8 here
2014-05-18%20Avon%20WFBC-003.jpg
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9.
2014-05-18%20Avon%20WFBC-028.jpg
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10.
2014-05-18%20Avon%20WFBC-037.jpg
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11.
2014-05-18%20Avon%20WFBC-064.jpg
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12. ƒ2.8
2014-05-18%20Avon%20WFBC-077.jpg
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Excellent Comparison Chris & The Images Look Fantastic! I Love My Fuji Xt-1 & The 56 1.2 Lens! I'm Sure I Would Feel The Same About The Olympus from Your Review! Did You Place Your Order Yet? :)
 
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Wow, what a nice balanced bit of commentary/comparison. The images are quite nice.

One comment on the V3 EVF. Mine just arrived on Friday, I have not yet had a chance to do much with it, but my first results I have very happy with. I am actually finding that the removable EVF is quite nice. It is solid, and having the ability to make the camera "smaller", looking just like a P&S, is turning out to be a good thing. I can't remember now which camera it is that has the "pop-up" EVF.

Some of the images that Michael Fullana (CreativeEdge) and Jerry Green have posted with the V3 really helped me in my decision.

The annoying thing for me with these cameras is that images from all of them are really quite good, it really does become an issue of which specific features are the ones each of us "must have". For me the AF Tracking and ability to use F-mount lenses were right at the top, so that made my choices extremely limited ;)

Good luck in your quest, like you I was not looking for a "replacement", but an adjunct.
 
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Navigating around the 80 something AF points is tedious. What I miss most from Nikon is being able to set the AF selector to roll over, i.e., go to the farthest right sensor and press right again and the selection rolls over to the left most sensor. Diagonal movement would also be a good thing.
Other annoyance are the buttons on top of the On/Off switch on the left. When I hold the camera in a vertical position I depress the buttons by accident. They should be slightly below, not above, the surface. I put a couple of stacked, thin strips of black aluminum sheet material between the buttons which helps.
 

Growltiger

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You mention the 70-300. I think you mean 75-300. I bought the 12-40 and the 75-300, and also the 60 macro. You will find a number of photos I took with the 75-300 on pages 2 and 3 of this thread: https://www.nikoncafe.com/threads/my-new-camera-olympus-om-d-e-m1.277592/page-2
Taking photos with it at 300mm, (equivalent to 600mm), handheld, and getting good results, is quite remarkable. And that lens is so small and light - although a consumer rather than pro lens, and therefore with smaller apertures, it works really well. I recommend it. I have a Myset for it assigned to the PASM wheel, so when I put the lens on I just turn that to one of the useless positions, and the camera is instantly set for S, 1/1000, High speed continuous, etc. Then I turn it back to a normal position such as P, A, S or M when I put the 12-40 back on.

What I am waiting for is an ultrawide, I want no more than 7mm or 7.5mm, and not fisheye. There don't appear to be any 7mm primes. The only lens seems to be the Panasonic 7-14. So I await the promised Olympus Pro 7-14 f/2.8 coming in 2015.
 
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Thanks for your thoughts and comparison.
You're welcome, good luck in your choice!

Excellent Comparison Chris & The Images Look Fantastic! I Love My Fuji Xt-1 & The 56 1.2 Lens! I'm Sure I Would Feel The Same About The Olympus from Your Review! Did You Place Your Order Yet? :)
Thanks Steve...ha! I'm going to wait a bit, bet there will be some graduation sales

Wow, what a nice balanced bit of commentary/comparison. The images are quite nice.

One comment on the V3 EVF. Mine just arrived on Friday, I have not yet had a chance to do much with it, but my first results I have very happy with. I am actually finding that the removable EVF is quite nice. It is solid, and having the ability to make the camera "smaller", looking just like a P&S, is turning out to be a good thing. I can't remember now which camera it is that has the "pop-up" EVF.

Some of the images that Michael Fullana (CreativeEdge) and Jerry Green have posted with the V3 really helped me in my decision.

The annoying thing for me with these cameras is that images from all of them are really quite good, it really does become an issue of which specific features are the ones each of us "must have". For me the AF Tracking and ability to use F-mount lenses were right at the top, so that made my choices extremely limited ;)

Good luck in your quest, like you I was not looking for a "replacement", but an adjunct.
Thanks Bill, yeah I may wait and play w/ a V3...big concern for me is losing that EVF...the pop-up is the newly announce Sony RX100III - looks pretty interesting.

Navigating around the 80 something AF points is tedious. What I miss most from Nikon is being able to set the AF selector to roll over, i.e., go to the farthest right sensor and press right again and the selection rolls over to the left most sensor. Diagonal movement would also be a good thing.
Other annoyance are the buttons on top of the On/Off switch on the left. When I hold the camera in a vertical position I depress the buttons by accident. They should be slightly below, not above, the surface. I put a couple of stacked, thin strips of black aluminum sheet material between the buttons which helps.
Totally agree, the rollover is a nice feature as well. Also, a plus for the Fuji is that if you switch to portrait, the EVF display switches as well, that's very nice. Yes, I also forgot to mention that I would prefer the On/Off switch on the right for a one-handed operation to turn it on and bring it up for shooting.

You mention the 70-300. I think you mean 75-300. I bought the 12-40 and the 75-300, and also the 60 macro. You will find a number of photos I took with the 75-300 on pages 2 and 3 of this thread: https://www.nikoncafe.com/threads/my-new-camera-olympus-om-d-e-m1.277592/page-2
Taking photos with it at 300mm, (equivalent to 600mm), handheld, and getting good results, is quite remarkable. And that lens is so small and light - although a consumer rather than pro lens, and therefore with smaller apertures, it works really well. I recommend it. I have a Myset for it assigned to the PASM wheel, so when I put the lens on I just turn that to one of the useless positions, and the camera is instantly set for S, 1/1000, High speed continuous, etc. Then I turn it back to a normal position such as P, A, S or M when I put the 12-40 back on.

What I am waiting for is an ultrawide, I want no more than 7mm or 7.5mm, and not fisheye. There don't appear to be any 7mm primes. The only lens seems to be the Panasonic 7-14. So I await the promised Olympus Pro 7-14 f/2.8 coming in 2015.
Ah, yes, thanks...I think there's a Panny version and Oly version of that lens? I'll check it out.
 
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Interesting, I just stumbled across this article about modifying/reducing the # of sensor points...didn't see how to do that over the weekend....has anyone tried this?
 

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