Olympus Flagship OM-1 Re-Launches

All information is based on what OM Digital Solutions Corporation reported. A hands-on review will follow shortly.

OM Digital Solutions Corporation unveiled its first cutting-edge Micro Four Thirds OM-1 post-Olympus mirrorless camera and two zoom lenses. OM, a subsidiary of investment company JIP (Japan Industrial Partners) bought the imaging division from Olympus Corp. more than a year ago. The launch marks the 50th anniversary of the original film OM-1 SLR, which was launched a half-century ago.

Happy 50th OM-1

Is it the “wow” camera promised by a company with little photography background and the sole purpose to make a profit for the storied Olympus brand?

For the most part, that’s a resounding yes. It is a refinement of the current top E-M1X and E-M1 Mark III Olympus professional cameras in the same price, weight and size range…although both are already deeply discounted by as much as 33% since the OM-1 announcement. Surprisingly, it still has the Olympus name on it, most fitting as it already was on the drawing boards of Olympus Corp. when the company decided to sell its once high-profile division. OM indicated this is the last time the Olympus name will grace newer cameras going forward. Will that deter Olympus dynasty fans? OM has done a decent job keeping the Olympus culture of nurturing fans with timely seasonal how-to online workshops with impressive photography from brand “ambassadors.”

The OM-1 packs a new Four Thirds 20MP sensor, a plethora of AI technology and faster performance that makes it the natural choice over existing Olympus cameras.  Here are the highlights:

Many Highlights

  • New TruePic X Image processor – up to 3x faster than the previous one make many off the new and old functions below more responsive.
  • Three times faster-speed TruePic X processor (than previous model) can take on new compositional duties with the  Stacked BSI, backside illuminated 20.4-megapixel Live CMOS sensor Quad Pixel Bayer pattern AF  Phase detection, Cross Quad Pixel AF (1053 focus points) arrangement using four photodiodes per pixel. This means the most precise focusing a camera can have, akin to you manually focusing with your eyes on the screen, only faster and more precise.
  • Shoot RAW photos at speeds of up to 50 fps in silent electronic shutter mode with phase-detect autofocus enabled (with supported PRO series lenses) or 120 fps with AF locked. Compare that to 10 fps with the traditional mechanical shutter. Due to OM’s choice to use dual SD UHS-II card slots instead of a faster for example, CFexpress card, you are limited to to 139 RAW images at a time with the mechanical shutter, or just 96 RAW images in electronic mode at 50 fps — that’s less than a 2-second burst.
OM-1 recognizes birds by Olympus ambassador Marcin Dobas

Object Recognition

  • According to OM the latest face and eye-detect algorithms are much more responsive with more kinds of object selection. It can now detect formula cars, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters, trains, and birds, as well as animals (dogs and cats). The detection precision, tracking performance, and responsiveness of Face Priority/Eye Priority AF have been improved significantly. It also has a new subject tracking feature, completely separate from face and eye detection.The OM-1 will attract wildlife photographers with object recognition and tracking but its two High Res Shot modes are impressive. Like capturing 50-megapixel still images handheld in only five seconds, or 80-megapixel images on a tripod.
  • Live six-stop Neutral Desnsity filter (ND2-ND64), simulates long exposures, handy for odd sized lenses as well as HDR is here. Focus stacking, which compiles separately shot images at different focus zones delivers photos with everything in focus.

More Video

  • Big improvement in video shooting 4K (UHD or DCI) at up to 60 fps, in either 8-bit H.264 or 10-bit H.265 modes, 1080p at 240 fps. H.265 capture works either in OM-Log mode for improved dynamic range, or HLG mode for HDR work. The OM-1 can output 12-bit Apple ProRes RAW video at up to 60 fps to an Atomos Ninja V or Ninja V+ external recorder, without any subsampling (pixel binning according to OM).
  • Live Composite an Olympus OM-D staple, with better on-your-viewfinder control of bright images (like fireworks or car streaks) against dark backgrounds.
  • With M.Zuiko PRO lenses enjoy 8 stops of in-body image stabilization or seven stops without. Put your tripod aside for most shoots.
All sealing on the OM-1 and 12-40 Zoom

An All-Weather Camera

  • Quality build with an impressive IP53 camera rating against dust, water, and freezing conditions.
  • The long overdue redesigned menu system makes its much easier, especially for newbies, to quickly set the many shooting modes with colour coded bars. Nice!
  • A sharp 5.76 million dot 120 HZ blackout-free electronic viewfinder and a fully articulated 1.62 million dot rear display ideal for vlogging.  The battery delivers 520 shots on a charge (CIPA rated) and 90 minutes of video recording.
  • Compact and lightweight 580g camera body meets IP53 dust and splash-proof standard and is freeze-proof up to -10°C
  • AI detection AF (Improved subject detection)

Huge ISO Range

  • New noise processing technology increases the maximum normal sensitivity to ISO 25600 and an expanded maximum sensitivity to ISO 102400
  • Reliable SSWF (Supersonic Wave Filter) dust reduction system that vibrates at a speed of more than 30,000 times per second to instantly remove dirt and dust from the image sensor
  • Highly durable shutter unit that clears 400,000 shutter actuations (according to in-house testing conditions)
5.76 million dot 120 HZ blackout-free electronic viewfinder
  • Staggered layout UHS-II compatible dual SD card slots make it easier to remove recording media
  • Five rating categories in the on-camera rating system
  • Night view mode makes it possible to view subjects even in dark environments
  • Starry Sky AF makes focusing on stars easier than ever
  • Record shooting location information with minimal power drain (smartphone connection)
  • Equipped with an independent AEL button and AF-ON button

OM-1 Has Challenges

Will the steroid loaded OM-1 keep Olympus fans happy?  Will they stick with OM Digital Solutions?  Many have made a serious investment in lenses on the Olympus Four Thirds (MFT or M4/3) brand since it was first released by Olympus and Panasonic in 2008 in a revolutionary compact mirrorless format. The high-end digital camera playing field has changed drastically. The OM-1 always had lot of plusses OM-1 SPECS.xlsx | Powered by Box  over larger, heavier and pricier pro competitors from Nikon, Canon, Sony and Fujifilm who favour a much larger full frame 35mm size slide format. Olympus and Panasonic have uses loads of digital magic and AI to squeeze every pixel quality from the four Thirds format. But now competitors argue their now mirrorless cameras are just as smart and offer much better quality from the get-go with full frame sensors starting at basic model prices lower than the OM-1.  

OM-1 with fully articulating viewscreen

Pricing and Availability

OM SYSTEM OM-1 (Body Only) $2,800, with kit M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO II $3,600.  Available in early March.  Pre-order to 07.03.2022 and receive a free OM System BLX-1 Battery and a five year warranty.

Two New Hard-Working Lenses

Olympus also unveiled a pair of new lenses, the “reworked” M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II $1,000 and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/4 PRO $900. Both offer a fixed widest aperture, advanced IP53 dustproof and splashproof performance, work down to -10°C and friction reducing fluorine coating reducing friction on the front lens element.

OM-1 with new M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8 Pro II
  • The 12-40mm (35mm equivalent: 24-80mm) offers better image quality, close-up shooting performance with a maximum image magnification of 0.6×1, movie and still compatible and a quickly changing from manual to auto focus by pulling the focus ring forward and backward. It is capable of 50 fps (AF/AE tracking) sequential shooting when paired with the newOM SYSTEM OM-1, thanks to advanced camera control technology. www.getolympus.com/lenses/m-zuiko-ed-12-40mm-f2-8-pro-ii.html  
  • The 40-150mm (35mm equivalent: 80-300mm) zoom is compact and lightweight at 382g and tuned to thoroughly suppress chromatic aberration.The lens length stays the same for the entire zoom range making it constantly balanced unlike most zooms. Closest focusing distance of 70mm across the entire zoom range with a maximum image magnification of 0.41x. It supports focus stacking allowing for macro photos with a compatible camera that have the entire front-to-back image completely in focus. www.getolympus.com/lenses/m-zuiko-digital-ed-40-150mm-f4-0-pro.html