Some thoughts on Olympus E-M1X and E-M1 MKII

In my early days of using micro 4/3 cameras, I used solely Panasonic Lumix. As APS-C and Full Frame mirrorless began to steal the limelight, I sold all my Panasonic m43 equipment. That was until the Olympus E-M1 MK II. I came across this review and was very impressed by the images. So back in 2017, I bought an EM1.2. The Sync-IS really works as advertised, and with the Olympus 12-100/4 Pro lens, I managed to get 5 secs handheld shot with ease. If I lean against a wall, I could get a even longer exposure handheld. And I love the Olympus lenses. Not a single dud in my arsenal. All the lenses are well built, sharp, contrasty, and lightweight. Here is an image I took with the Olympus EM1.2 with the Panasonic Leica 100-400 lens from Tanzania. Shot in ISO6400

This opens up real new possibilities for photography.

Yes it is a 4/3 sensor, which means high ISO noise is its achilles heel. The problem isn’t so much with the noise/grain, but the color fidelity drops rapidly beyond ISO3200. But sometimes, the camera surprises me with surprisingly good ISO6400 images. To be on the safe side though, I set my max ISO to ISO3200 in my Auto ISO setting.

A few days ago, after a lot of deliberate leaks, Olympus announced the E-M1X. The Internet went crazy and the endless ridicules immediately piled on. The EM1X is the first mirrorless to come with a built-in vertical grip. The last camera I bought with an integrated grip was the Nikon D3. Integrated grip used to be sensible… My first ‘real’ camera, the Nikon F4s, has a built-in grip but it didn’t really make the camera that much bigger. I really like the F4s grip. I liked the F5 a lot less, and then Nikon released the F6 as DSLR was beginning to take off. I bought one anyway for the sake of understanding that the F6 is likely the last ‘pro’ film camera from Nikon. The F6 has no integrated grip. Lovely.

The EM1X is not for me. I do not need the bulk, nor do I need the ruggedness. And I imagine the EM1X will not be a big seller for Olympus. What I do hope to see, is for Olympus to trickle down the new technologies and algorithms developed for the EM1X down to the EM1.2, extending its competitiveness in the current market.

m43 is hanging on a thread at the moment. The APS-C and Full Frame cameras have certainly stolen the spotlight and have most of the market’s attention. But m43 remains a very sensible platform. But it is tough to market something that is sensible.

In the meantime, APS-C cameras and lenses are shrinking in size. My Leica CL with a Summicron-TL 23mm/2 is somewhat smaller than a Panasonic GX9 with the Panasonic Leica 15mm/1.7. Olympus, what can you do now?!

GX9 VS CL
Comparison Image from camerasize.com

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