My Thoughts on the New OM1 Camera
A few weeks ago OM Systems (previously Olympus) released their much anticipated `Wow` camera. It is called the OM1, and the official release date is exactly 50 years to the day that the original OM1 film camera was released .
As I am an OM Systems Ambassador, OM Systems kindly sent me the OM1 to try out before the official released date. So what are my thoughts ?
Firstly it is a BIG improvement on both the EM1X and the EM1mkIII. That`s not to say those are bad cameras, - I have had some fantastic images over the last few years from both these cameras . Its just that the new OM1 is a different level altogether.
The autofocus is vastly improved, especially for birds in flight. With the `Bird Eye Tracking` update for the EM1X, it was brilliant for locking on to a birds eye and holding focus as it moved around. This was fine for subjects that were they were more or less in the same field of view. It was fine for birds from a hide, birds on the shoreline, and it would even pick up a birds eye when in amongst branches in a tree. Where the eye detection fell short was for birds in flight. It would not track them successfully and because of this the best option was to use C-AF and a small cluster of focusing points in the middle of the frame. Using this approach, some very good flight shots could be had, but it was a bit `hit and miss`.
On the OM1, the bird tracking really works well, and locks onto birds in flight successfully. Its not 100% perfect, but you get a far higher proportion of `keepers` than on the previous models.
The Pro Capture modes are also improved. Previously, Pro Capture Low would only autofocus up to 18 fps. Now it will autofocus up to 50frps. The Pro Capture High setting is also improved. Previously it was 60frps with manual focus. On the OM1 it is now a whacking 120fps !
With the new Tupix Senor, ISO performance is improved, so now it is possible to shoot at quite high ISO settings, although I have not as yet had a chance to test this out fully.
Other modes are also improved - High Res shots, improved Dynamic range, brighter viewfinder, improved Live ND , as well as being able to shoot 4k 60fps video. This is a great bonus because it will autofocus at 4K so I will be able to slow the video down in post production to produce a smooth slow motion effect. Although not quite the full slow motion effect you would get at shooting at 120frps, it is still a big improvement, although I really do wish they had enabled it to autofocus in video at 120fps. Maybe in future models ?
To try out the OM1, I decided to spend the day down at Elmley Nature Reserve in Kent. This would give me plenty of opportunities to photograph both birds on the ground as well as birds in flight. The following images are from that session, and are all shot on the OM1, combined with the 300mm F4 lens + MC14 Converter. ISO was beteen ISO 800 and ISO1250.