For years, Olympus has pushed our expectations of what a mirrorless camera should be with the digital PEN series. Last year, the imaging company released the superb OM-D E-M5, a retro-tastic Micro Four Thirds camera that made sucker sandwiches out of rival mirrorless cameras with larger APS-C image sensors.
Aboard the Intrepid Air & Space Museum, Olympus announced the OM-D's successor: the OM-D E-M1.
In every possible way, the OM-D E-M1 is better than its predecessor. It sports a new 16.3-megapixel LIVE MOS image sensor powered by Olympus's new TruView II image processor, "dual fast AF" with phase detection, 10 frames per second continuous shooting (previous OM-D had 9 frames per second), 5-axis image stabilization, a "super large" 2.3-million dot electronic viewfinder and strengthened dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof construction.
Built-in Wi-Fi also keeps the OM-D E-M1 in the running with rival cameras with wireless connectivity. Although I didn't get to test it, Olympus reps said a smartphone or tablet could be used to remotely control the OM-D E-M1's shutter.
All of that is on top of the myriad of accessible buttons and dials that virtually adorn the body. In my brief hands on, I found all of the buttons and wheels to be within easy reach, despite the somewhat cramped design. The new grip is quite solid and the tiltable 3-inch touchscreen appeared sharp and responsive.
Even with a battery grip that will cost $199.99, the OM-D E-M1 felt incredibly light and compact.
If last year's OM-D was a Mercedes, then the new OM-D E-M1 is a Ferrari. It has all of the bells and whistles a pro or advanced photographer could ever want in a finely crafted chunk of magnesium alloy. And just like a Ferrari, i's price mirrors its premium build-quality and high-end performance.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 body goes on sale next month for $1,399.99 for just the body. A bundle with a M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens will also be available for $2,199.99. One more thing, the OM-D E-M1 only comes in one color: black. Sorry silver fans. Better luck next time.