E-M1X 4 Year Review

This is my E-M1X 4 year review, which is based on extensive hands-on experience using this camera and a selection of M.Zuiko lenses. During this period we’ve all faced COVID-19 challenges which have limited some of our photographic opportunities, or even curtailed them at times. Through all of that I’ve managed to capture hundreds of thousands of handheld images. My two remaining tripods and a monopod have been collecting dust in my gear closet since I bought my first E-M1X.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, f/6.3, 1/60, ISO-400, handheld in-camera focus stacking, subject distance 1.3 metres, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post

Photographic freedom.

This E-M1X 4 year review isn’t intended to suggest what camera equipment someone else should buy and use. Our choice of camera gear is an intensely personal decision. You should use whatever is the best choice for your specific needs.

The image above is a good example of the photographic freedom that the E-M1X represents to me. It was captured handheld through a glass enclosure with me positioned 1.3 metres (~4.25 feet) away from the subject, and obviously a fair distance from the glass enclosure.

I used a focal length of 400 mm, at f/6.3, with a shutter speed of 1/60. I utilized the E-M1X’s in-camera focus stacking set to 10 images with a focus differential of 4, and my ISO set to 400.  The image is an out-of-camera jpeg that was adjusted in post. To me, being able to create an image like the one above in a crowded exhibit hall, shooting through a glass enclosure, strikes at the heart of photographic freedom.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro with 10 mm extension tube, f/5, 1 second, ISO-200, handheld in-camera focus stacking, out0of-camera jpeg adjusted in post

Photographic freedom is attained through a range of equipment and personal capabilities, and once achieved a sense of calm confidence is created. That is exactly how I feel about my pair of E-M1X bodies and my selection of M.Zuiko lenses.

The in-camera focus stacked macro image above was captured using an M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro lens, a 10 mm extension tube, and a handheld shutter speed of 1 second. I wouldn’t have even attempted to create this image with that kind of handheld shutter speed with any other camera gear that I’ve owned… let alone use in-camera focus stacking.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, f/6.3, 1/50, ISO-6400, handheld in-camera focus stacking, out-of-camera jpeg adjusted in post

Pushing ourselves and our camera gear is the best way that I know of to define the limits of our photographic freedom. It is based on two simple questions. 1) What more can I do with my camera equipment that I wasn’t able to do in the past? 2) How can I develop my skills further to increase my photographic options?

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/6.3, 1/30, ISO-200, handheld in-camera focus stacking, subject distance 510 mm

Debates about sensor size, and endlessly comparing camera specifications, are of no interest to me. I can honestly say that I couldn’t care less. There will always be differences in camera specs. Many of us will be tempted to vigorously defend our opinions about the importance of sensor size or certain specifications.  What fundamentally matters is what we are able to create with our camera gear. All of this other stuff is a huge waste of energy and precious time.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 12-100 mm f/4 IS PRO @ 12 mm, f/8, 1/10, ISO-200

My first two years.

My first couple of years owning my E-M1X bodies were spent learning the basics on how to use the cameras and identifying where my skill set was lacking. I realized early on that this camera would take me quite a bit of time to properly learn and understand. For the work that I do, the E-M1X threw out the rulebook and gave me a fresh perspective on how to capture the world around me.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, 1/60, f/5.6, ISO-6400, subject distance 1.4 metres

Comfort, handling and ergonomics.

It is fitting that my E-M1X 4 year review addresses the importance of comfort, handling and ergonomics early on. Being able to be out in the field for extended periods of time with the E-M1X is a joy. I knew from the first moment that I held this camera in my hand that it was something special. My appreciation for the comfort, handling and ergonomics of the E-M1X has deepened over time.

Being able to change common camera settings effortlessly, and doing so without having to constantly look at my camera body makes things far more efficient. It also results in fewer lost photographic opportunities.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 7-14 mm f/2.8 @ 7 mm, f/4, 5 seconds handheld, ISO-200

Since the OM-1 was introduced I’ve had a number of readers contact me, asking if I was planning to ‘upgrade’ my camera body. I could only smile inside. While the OM-1 may have some small advantages, I viewed its form factor as a large step backwards from my E-M1X bodies.

Not everyone will place as high a value on comfort, handling and ergonomics as I do. To me, these qualities are exponentially more important than some relatively minor increases in performance,  speed, or small technical enhancements.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 f/4 IS @ 24 mm, f/5.6, 4 sec, ISO-200

IBIS performance.

Regularly shooting at shutter speeds like 1/10th of a second became  something that I didn’t even think about. Knowing that I can shoot handheld at extended shutter speeds like a full second, or push things to up to 4 seconds when needed, has extended my photographic freedom. It also allows me to utilize base ISO-200 on a regular basis. This enables me to take full advantage of the available dynamic range that my E-M1X offers.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + N.Zuiko PRO 12-40 mm f/2.8 @ 22 mm, f/5.6, 3.2 seconds, ISO-200

In the past when shooting handheld with my full frame gear I would often need to use ISO-800 to allow for shutter speed or depth-of-field composition considerations. Being able to regularly shoot at ISO-200 with my E-M1X rather than ISO-800 with my previous full frame gear puts the two formats on a level playing field in terms of dynamic range.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/4, 1/15, ISO-800, handheld in-camera focus stacking, cropped to 4300 pixels on the width, subject distance 300 mm

I can’t comment on other people’s ability to handhold smaller camera bodies at slow shutter speeds. On a personal basis I know that I can’t match my handheld E-M1X slow shutter speed performance with my wife’s E-M1 Mark III, even though both cameras are rated at 7 stops of EV. I’m about 1 to 1.5 stops better with my E-M1X depending on the lens used.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/7.1, 1/15, ISO-200, in-camera focus stacking, subject distance 460 mm

Using a camera like the E-M1X at slow shutter speeds has extended my photographic freedom considerably, especially when it comes to handheld macro photography. Shooting handheld in-camera focus stacked macro images at 1/15 is a liberating experience.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, f/6.3, -0.7 EV, 1/5000, ISO-2500, Pro Capture H, cropped to 3717 pixels on the width, subject distance 2.4 metres

Pro Capture.

I use Pro Capture H or L for the vast majority of my bird photography and for all of my insect-in-flight photography. This technology has enabled me to confidently capture a wide range of in-flight photographs. Going out to photograph birds or insects in flight without Pro Capture would be akin to leaving the house naked. I just wouldn’t do it.

Pro Capture enables a photographer to strategize how they can capture a precise action moment. This technology makes it possible to  regularly and confidently capture some of life’s interesting nuggets. One of the risks of using Pro Capture is starting to think of the images created with it as routine. Fortunately I’m still like a small child when I use Pro Capture and it continues to amaze me.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 280 mm, f/8.4, 1/8000, ISO-10000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 3785 pixels on the width, subject distance 5.9 metres

High ISO performance.

Obviously folks who shoot predominantly at high ISO values would likely choose a larger sensor camera. I never hesitate to use my E-M1X up to ISO-6400, and view this as part of my standard operating range. On rare occasions I may decide to capture an action-oriented image in low light where I need to go beyond ISO-6400 in order to freeze the action. After some experimentation, I discovered that I could shoot beyond ISO-6400 under certain circumstances.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 285 mm, f/6.3, 1/4000, ISO-16000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 3718 pixels on the width, subject distance 4.1 metres

As long as an image is not underexposed I can often push things to ISO-10000 and even as high as ISO-16000. These higher ISO values work best when I can get a lot of pixels on my subject. When working in post it is important that I don’t lighten the shadow areas as this only serves to make noise more visible.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 200 mm, f/6.3, 1/3200, ISO-16000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4153 pixels on the width, subject distance 7.2 metres

My standard process in post incorporates two rounds of noise reduction. The first step is to run my files through DxO PhotoLab, utilizing one of the Custom Pre-sets that I have programmed in the software. Every one of my pre-sets includes using DeepPRIME set to a value of 15. I don’t go beyond this value as I don’t like how my files react at higher settings. Getting my exposure correct is a critical factor in shooting at higher ISO values.

E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 210 mm, f/4.5, 1/800, ISO-25600, subject distance 1.2 metres

After exporting a DNG file into an old copy of PhotoShop CS6, I finish my files using either Topaz Denoise AI or Sharpen AI. I find that using two rounds of noise reduction is far superior to using either DxO or Topaz alone. I should probably note that all of the software that I use is out-of-date, as none of the programs I have is the most current version. I have no plans to update any of my post processing software as I’m happy using what I currently have.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/8, 1/250, ISO-3200, subject distance 245 mm, Handheld Hi Res Mode

Computational photography technology.

I love the creative options that my E-M1X provides me in terms of computational photography technologies. Functions like Handheld Hi Res (HHHR), in camera focus stacking, Live ND, Pro Capture, and Intelligent Subject Tracking all help to expand what is possible for me photographically. I’ve yet to use Live Composite… probably because I’d need to take out one of my tripods.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 @150 mm, f/4, 1/500, ISO-2000, Handheld Hi Res mode

Having a number of technology options available to me when I’m deciding the best way to capture an image adds a lot of creative latitude to what I do. Computational photography technologies that are at my fingertips allow me to think about the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of creating a photograph using a broader context.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 @ 150 mm, f/3.5, 1/800, ISO-3200, subject distance 1.6 metres, Handheld Hi Res Mode
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 @ 150 mm, f/3.5, 1/800, ISO-3200, subject distance 1.6 metres, Handheld Hi Res Mode, 100% crop

Depth-of-field considerations.

As we know, depth-of-field is impacted by four factors: lens focal length, aperture, distance to subject, and the subject’s distance to the background. One of the things that I like about my E-M1X and my selection of M.Zuiko lenses is the latitude they give me in terms of achieving the depth-of-field I need with my compositions.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 7-14 mm f/2.8 @ 7 mm, f/2.8, 1/2000, ISO-200

Being able to use a wide open aperture like f/2.8 with a landscape composition and still achieve deep depth-of-field is one of the decided benefits of using M4/3 format equipment. This is made possible because of the availability of very short focal length lenses like the M.Zuiko PRO 7-14 mm f/2.8 zoom.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 7-14 mm f/2.8 @ 12 mm, efov 24 mm, f/4, 1/125, ISO-200

It does take some time to make the transition from thinking like a full frame camera owner when using short focal length lenses… and appreciating the deep depth-of-field benefits they can provide.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/2.8, 1/125, ISO-400, full frame capture, handheld in-camera focus stacking, subject distance 300 mm

On the other hand, there is a misconception in the camera market that shallow depth-of-field cannot be achieved when using a smaller sensor camera like the E-M1X.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS @ 44 mm, f/4, 1/200, ISO-80, handheld in-camera focus stacking

This is simply false. By using a longer focal length lens and paying attention to the distance between the subject and the background, one can easily create an image with shallow depth-of-field.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/2.8, 1/13, ISO-200, handheld in-camera focus stacking, cropped to 4308 pixels on the width, subject distance 320 mm

I have never felt constrained in the slightest when it comes to achieving the depth-of-field that I want with my E-M1X. Lens selection plays a part in that, as does understanding the four depth-of-field factors mentioned earlier.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, f/9, 1/5000, ISO-2000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4212 pixels on the width, subject distance 10.5 metres

Custom modes.

Having 4 Custom Modes readily accessible via the E-M1X’s top dial makes switching between settings for different image opportunities a breeze. I have one of my E-M1X bodies set up for 4 different bird photography settings. My second E-M1X has its custom modes set up for landscape and other photographic genres. These easily accessible Custom Modes have allowed me to capture a wide range of images in quickly changing circumstances, or to respond to fast breaking photo opportunities.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 104 mm, efov 208 mm, f/8, 1/60, ISO-1600, Handheld Hi Res, full frame capture, subject distance 700 mm

Dust reduction filter.

After 4 years of rigorous use and countless lens changes, neither of my E-M1X bodies (or my wife’s E-M1 Mark III) has ever needed a sensor cleaning. The Supersonic Wave Filter does a superb job keeping the sensor clean.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/8, 1/8, ISO-200, handheld in-camera focus stacking

Articulating rear screen.

Before I bought my first E-M1X I didn’t think too much about how important having an articulating rear screen could be. After 4 years of constant use, especially with handheld macro photography, I’ve come to assess an articulating rear screen as a ‘must have’ for this genre of photography.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, f/9, 1/4000, ISO-4000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4078 pixels on the width, subject distance 1.7 metres

Weather sealing.

I don’t make it a habit of constantly shooting in downpours or snowstorms, but I have used my gear quite a few times in very inclement weather without any issues at all. Not having to worry about wet conditions allows me to concentrate on creating my images, not fret about potential weather damage.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 180 mm,  f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-250, subject distance 17.5 metres, cropped to 4103 pixels on the width

Auto focusing performance

I’ve always found the auto-focusing performance of my E-M1X to be fast and reliable. When Bird Detection AI was introduced I struggled a little bit… but that was my issue learning how to use that technology properly.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 346 mm, f/8.6 1/3200, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI, Pro Capture L, cropped to 1807 pixels on the width, subject distance 53.1 metres

My style of photographing birds-in-flight is not one that relies on taking long, uninterrupted bursts of images. Instead, I take short duration pulses of images as I try to capture birds-in-flight doing something interesting.

As regular readers will know, I use a combination of Pro Capture L and Bird Detection AI when photographing birds in free flight. I typically use Pro Capture H set to 60 frames-per-second to photograph birds taking flight or landing.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 140 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-6400, Pro Capture H mode

M.Zuiko Lenses

When we were deciding which M4/3 lenses to buy for our camera system, I only considered M.Zuiko products. Part of that rationale was the M.Zuiko reputation for optical quality and solid build. The other factor was to help ensure that the lenses we bought for my client work would be compatible with current and future computational photography technologies.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 220 mm, f/13, -1 step, 1/1600, ISO-2500

We own 5 M.Zuiko PRO lenses and all have performed flawlessly in terms of optical quality and reliability. The three PRO f/2.8 constant aperture zooms provide wonderful flexibility.

The 60 mm f/2.8 macro is the Mighty Mouse of its photographic genre. I love using this lens handheld with either in-camera focus stacking or Handheld Hi Res (HHHR)

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/4, 1/60 ISO-400, handheld in-camera focus stacking, full frame capture, subject distance 475 mm

My birding/outdoor pairing of the 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS and PRO 12-100 mm f/4 IS is a great combination that provides excellent focal length coverage and solid optical performance.

My least used lens is the PRO 45 mm f/1.2 which does a superb job when needed. The fact that the PRO 45 mm is rarely used is due to my strong preference for zoom lenses.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-640, Pro Capture L, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, cropped to 3963 pixels on the width, subject distance 19.2 metres

The future…

My pair of E-M1X bodies will be in my camera bags for many years to come. When we first purchased our Olympus kit I anticipated that this system would meet my need for 7-8 years. I now see that service life being extended out to 10 years or more.

My enjoyment in using my E-M1X bodies and M.Zuiko lens system has increased with each year of ownership. Our Olympus kit has done everything that I’ve asked of it… and more.

There are some online comments/rumors that OM System has, or will be, discontinuing the E-M1X. Whether there will be a replacement body for it or not… doesn’t really concern me. I absolutely love the E-M1Xs I own and have no reason to change my equipment.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/5, 1/50, ISO-200, handheld in-camera focus stacking

Technical Note

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW  files or out-of-camera jpegs using my standard process.

For those readers who are interested in calculating equivalent field-of-view, multiply focal lengths for Olympus M4/3 cameras by a factor of 2. This is the 1,268 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400mm, f/6.3, -0.3 EV, 1/2500, ISO-1250, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4212 pixels on the width, subject distance 19.3 metres

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OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400mm f/5-6.3 IS @ 400mm, f/6.3, 1/2500, ISO-2500, cropped to 3706 pixels on the width, Pro Capture H, subject distance 10.2 metres

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23 thoughts on “E-M1X 4 Year Review”

  1. You mirror my sentiments pretty much the same. I have 2 X’s and are setup exactly the same, including the custom sets. This way there is no muscle memory needed when switching cams. X1 has the 300 f4 with 1.4x TC attached, and X2 has the 40-150 f2.8 with the 2x TC attached. This gives me f5.6 on each cam so no thought there.
    I recently got the EM1.3 for astro work because of the astro focusing which is a treat and works perfect each time.
    If something happens to my X’s, there is Ebay which has a bunch of almost new cams to choose from.
    I have learned so much from your site even tho I am an accomplished photog, Never stop learning eh?

    1. Hi Randy,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with your pair of E-M1Xs… I think you love your X’s as much as I love mine!

      I have my kit set up a little differently with one of my E-M1X bodies set up for birds, and the other one for landscape and other genres. My main birding lens is the 100-400 which is mounted on one E-M1X all the time. I also use the 40-150 in lower light conditions, and also with the MC-20 teleconverter.


  2. Thomas,

    Very nice article. I too am in my fourth year of the EM1X, actually two of them. After reading some of your articles, I am deep in procap, handheld focus stacking, and handheld hires. Both of my Xs are setup exactly the same, including the 4 custom settings. This way there is no muscle memory needed switching from cam to cam.
    Lately, I have captured some amazing big crow photos, and some really big vultures buzzing the field in the mountains.

    In the evenings, I watch old scifi movies I have memorized, and read your many articles which give me great ideas to go play with my beloved EM1X’s.
    I don’t have a website anymore, too expensive for this old retired guy, but my handle on flickr is “ride along with randy” same as my youtube channel.


    1. Hi Randy,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences in your comment.

      I also have a pair of E-M1Xs. I have one set up for birding with all 4 custom modes set for specific birding situations. My other E-M1X is set up for other functions like HHHR and in-camera focus stacking. I enjoy my E-M1Xs more today than when I first bought the bodies. For what I do, they are the most comfortable and capable cameras that I’ve ever owned.

      My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Newfoundland. Suffice to say I have a deeper appreciation for the weather sealing on our Olympus bodies. 11 of our 14 days were rain/fog experiences. More on that in some upcoming articles.


  3. Wonderful article and stunning pictures. I love my EM1 mkiii and use the 12-40 and 40-150mm all the time. Throw in the 60mm macro and you have a ninja combo that meets almost all outdoor scenarios for landscape. I felt the EM1x was a bit bulky for my use case, but it is a tank and very highly regarded by many of my birding friends. Thanks for the inspirational article and pics.

    1. Hi Tony,

      I agree with your assessment of the 12-40, 40-150 and 60 macro… they are all great lenses. I’m glad you enjoyed the article and images.


  4. Hi Thomas,

    Having read your articles and tried my friend’s E-MIx ,I have sold my E-M1 mark iii.I have ordered a E-M1x and I am looking foreward to trying your various settings for BIF.
    Do you use back button focus or do you consider it redundant for BIF


  5. Hi Thomas,

    This is a very interesting & comprehensive review with some good advice, thank you. I have only recently jointed your site & have read several of your articles which have been very informative. I am very much a novice having only taken up digital photography as a hobby in my later years. I previously owned a Panasonic G85 which was a great camera to use & learn with. I have an interest in Macro Photography & purchased an Olympus 60mm macro lens to use with the G85. I like the lens & recently purchased an OM-1.

    I have been learning to use that over the last few months & recently used the in camera focus stacking. I found it worked well with spiders etc but find that with flowers it often leaves a soft edge where it appears the alignment is a little out. I have been taking 10 shots with a differential of 3 or 4. I found that I achieved a better result by taking 4 of the sharpest photos from the set & merging them in Affinity Photo.

    I notice your flowers a very crisp & wondered if you had experienced this. I will experiment with different settings in terms of the number of photos & differential.


    1. Hi Ron,

      There are a few factors that come into play with in-camera focus stacking. The first is to make sure that your shutter speed is fast enough. The second is the positioning of your single AF point. With focus stacking I typically position my AF point about 1/3 past the first point that I want to be in focus. I try to envision my completed image in a 30/70 perspective in terms of where to position my focus point. You may want to experiment with your aperture. I often shoot at f/2.8 with the 60 mm macro, but will stop down to f/4 or f/5.6 if my subject is a bit deeper/thicker.

      In-camera focus stacking does take some experimentation and practice. My early attempts exhibited some unintended soft areas.


  6. Thanks for a great review Thomas.

    I bit the bullet and purchased a used E-M1x a couple of weeks back and I love it. Coming from the E-M1 mark ii I have found the transition quite simple although I’m still learning about HHR, Live ND and the GPS features of the camera, all of which weren’t on the mark ii.

    The bird AI is wonderful, the first time I took it out and switched it on I was astounded by how simple it is to use, (thanks to your articles about it and how to use it, they helped immensely). Compared to the Mark ii I find the autofocus far superior and feels much faster (although I haven’t done any technical comparisons). The Mark ii didn’t track at the best of times so this is a wonderful addition to my arsenal.

    I have been unwell and only been able to go out with the camera a couple of times so far but I find it meets and exceeds all my needs. With the 100-400 attached it is so much more comfortable to use than the mark ii.

    I did consider the OM1 however speaking to a friend he commented that the image quality was only slightly better and that the AI detection was ok (I expected him to give more of a reaction to it than that!). Bearing in mind I purchased a lightly used (looks brand new) X for £700 and the lightly used OM1 is in excess of £1700 it made complete sense to go for the X.

    I look forward to using it and learning some more and I also look forward to reading more of your adventures with yours too.


    1. Hi Mark,

      I hope that you will soon be on the mend… with your health challenges in the rear view mirror.

      It sounds like the E-M1X is doing a good job for you thus far. If your experience is like mine, your appreciation for this camera will only grow over time.


  7. One of the main differences between the OM-1 and the OM-D E-M1X (boy is that a mouthful!), is the weight. Approx. 18 ozs to 35 ozs. Of course, as you say, there are advantages to the larger body: Two batteries, etc.
    As a side note, some comparative weights:
    Nikon D850: 32.3 ozs.
    Nikon D750: 26.5 ozs.
    Nikon D7500: 22.6 ozs.

    In looking at the specs, of both the Olympus cameras and lenses, I notice that the cameras have built-in IS (or OS, or VR, or whatever name you call it). Some of the lenses list having IS, while many don’t. So a question:
    If a lens doesn’t have built-in IS, does the cameras’ built-in IS make a difference?

    Thanks, WEJ

    1. Hi WEJ,

      Olympus/OM cameras have what is called IBIS… in body image stabilization. This image stabilization works with any lens put on the body. For example my E-M1X has 7 stops of IBIS. The OM-1 has 7.5 stops of IBIS. So, yes the IBIS does make a huge difference as it applies to all lenses. Back in my Nikon 1 days the prime lenses didn’t have VR which really limited shooting handheld with them. It has been quite a while since I had Nikon full frame gear so I don’t remember much about the full frame primes I used to own 8 years ago.

      The IBIS performance is wonderful with bodies like the E-M1X and depending on the photographer can provide the capability for handheld shots for multiple seconds of exposure. By comparison, when I was using Nikon 1 gear I could shoot my 6.7-13 zoom reliably at 1/10 of a second. With my E-M1X and M.Zuiko PRO 7-14 my personal best ‘test’ exposure was 8 seconds but I could not do that reliably. I am quite confident up to 4 seconds. As you can imagine this makes a huge difference in being able to maintain shooting at base ISO-200.

      M.Zuiko lenses that have IS may provide additional image stabilization if they are Sync-IS. My M.Zuiko 12-100 PRO f/4 zoom has Sync-IS so with my E-M1X I would get 7.5 stops of image stabilization with that lens. The OM-1 would have 8 stops of image stabilization with that lens.
      The Sync-IS only works with Olympus/OM bodies.

      The M.Zuiko 100-400 mm has IS but it is not Sync-IS so it offers 3 stops of image stabilization on its own. In my experience it sort of works in concert with the IBIS on my E-M1X, but it is not true Sync-IS. I have the IS turned off on my 100-400 as I find the IBIS in my E-M1X seems to work smoother by itself.

      I have large hands and I find that even though the E-M1X is heavier than other Olympus/OM bodies it is much more comfortable for me to use. This is especially true with heavier lenses like the PRO 40-150 f/2.8 or 100-400 f/5-6.3. Using smaller bodies like the E-M1 Mark III cause a cramp in my right forearm pretty quickly when used with heavier lenses.

      The E-M1X is slightly heavier than the D800 I used to own… but as mentioned far more comfortable to hold. I used a Tamron 150-600 with my D800 for bird and aircraft photography. With that combination I could shoot continuously for about 3 hours or so. Then my right arm was toast and I’d have to call it a day. With the E-M1X I can shoot all day long with the M.Zuiko 100-400 and not get arm fatigue.

      Hope this has helped clarify things…

      1. Thanks. Nice and detailed as always. One additional advantage of the Olympus system is the glass. A lot lighter. A Sigma 150-600 weighs 64.5 ozs, while the Olympus 100-400 (effective 200-800) weighs 40 ozs. So even with a slightly heavier camera, the weight would still be less.

        1. Hi WEJ,

          There are some other M.Zuiko lenses that are superb. One that comes to mind is the PRO 40-150 f/2.8. This is the sharpest lens I’ve ever owned… and has an incredibly flexible focal length range… and a short minimum focusing distance. I have all three of the PRO f/2.8 zooms and they are all excellent. About 1/2 the weight and 1/2 the price of full frame gear.


  8. Great analysis. Although I prefer smaller Olympus bodies than the E-M1X, I’m a big fan of the 100-400mm and zoom lenses in general. Your photos are outstanding sir.

    1. Thanks for the supportive comment Woody… I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I know many Olympus/OM System owners who love the system because of its small size. One of the reasons my wife enjoys her E-M1 Mark III is its size and weight.


  9. The OM-1 is considerably better in every way for bird photography.
    I was a sceptic until i bought one ,its much faster and makes previous models look poor frankly.

    1. Hi Stephen,

      We all have our individual needs. I use my E-M1X bodies for a wide range of photography, not just for birds. For my shooting style I have no issues at all with how it performs for bird photography.

      I do not find a body the size of the OM-1 the least bit comfortable to use, which is another reason that I had no interest in buying one.

      Another consideration is that from a business perspective there is no way that I could justify adding $3,000 or more to our depreciation schedule for an OM-1. Nor did I want to complicate our gear inventory by having to buy different batteries for the OM-1.

      I’m glad the OM-1 is working well for you. It just isn’t a good fit for me given my priorities and business needs.


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