Olympus OMD E-M1 photos and hands-on video leaked

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A prominent gear-related site was recently hacked, and a link to a “hands-on” video by Olympus technical specialist Rick Sasserath was leaked. The video demonstrated the not yet released Olympus OMD E-M1.  It has since been removed, but stills from the video are easily found.  If you do a search, it’s still possible to even find the video available.

Olympus owners are giving the camera a mixed review, due partially to the larger size of the hand grip and the possibility of a $1500 body-only price tag.  In the pics, the grip appears odd or disproportionate to the body.  The E-M1 looks to inherit many of its features and its appearance from the very popular high-end OMD E-M5; it looks to be the same approximate size and weight as the OMD E-M5.

Reports from the video state that the E-M1 will focus with both Micro Four Thirds AND Four Thirds lenses with almost equal speed due to a new hybrid auto focus.  Currently Four Thirds lenses on a Micro Four Thirds body are exceedingly slow and tend to hunt.  The MMF-3 adapter will still be required to mount Four Thirds lenses to the E-M1.

This is fantastic news for current owners of what I consider, optically, the best lenses I’ve ever used, native Four Thirds lenses.  Enjoying bird photography as I do, the Four Thirds-mount Olympus Zuiko 50-200mm SWD f/2.8-f/3.5 (100-400mm equivalent) is simply outstanding. It’s extremely sharp across the entire frame and versatile, and it remains sharp even when attaching the 1.4x tele.  Even better news: the lens can be had for as low as $550 currently on the used market, though that may rise quickly due to the capable E-M1.

Also notable is the addition of WiFi, the removal of the AA filter, and 9fps continuous drive.  Still to have a 16mp sensor and excellent 5-axis image stabilization built in to the body.

The appeal of Micro Four Thirds cameras such as the E-M1 to DSLR users continues to be size, weight, and a now top-of-the-line lens system.  When you talk about comparing total weight of the camera including lenses to either Canon or Nikon DSLRs, the Four Thirds system will almost always come out on top.

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5 comments… add one

  • Bgood August 25, 2013, 4:58 pm

    Love my OMD-EM-5 and really look forward to this new model primarily for a better viewfider, LCD, and even better autofocus. The Panasonic 100-300mm (200-600 equiv.) is another shockingly good birding lens that you can actually carry without hiring a sherpa.

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  • Leah Hallett August 25, 2013, 7:31 pm

    @Bgood — Bring on the Sherpa’s lol. I have always wanted to try the Pany 100-300mm. It’s said to be very good. The OMD-EM-5 will go into the “one of my favorite cameras” category. It’s right up there with the Olympus E-1, the original Canon 5D, the Sony a700 and last but not least, the Minolta DiMage 5 or was it the 7i?

    I had the chance to try the Zuiko 50-200mm SWD with the Oly E-P5 recently. The focus is only a touch faster than the OMD EM-5. I’m hoping the new hybrid autofocus on the OMD E-M1 will be much more impressive.

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  • Greg August 27, 2013, 7:47 pm

    I’m ready to dump my heavy equipment and move over. My Sigma 300-800 5.6 will be first to go…26lbs

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  • Leah Hallett August 27, 2013, 9:19 pm

    @Greg – now that is a SigmaMonster(?) I knew I could never obtain, let alone lug around. But oh the reach of it!

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  • aphoid August 29, 2013, 9:06 pm

    I might upgrade my E-3 if the focus is fast with 4/3 lenses (I have the 50-200 SWD and use it to shoot sports). The E-3 works OK, but is just isn’t as good as the competition for that use. I love the weatherproofing, but the E-5 always seemed like too little of an upgrade for my uses. The E-M5’s slow C-AF makes it undesirable for that too, but playing with it in a store made the form factor seem perfect for travel.

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