The new OM-1 has been unveiled and looks very impressive indeed. With its new stacked BSI sensor, the OM-1 promises better image quality, 4K60p video, and 50fps continuous shooting.
However, how does the OM-1 compare against its predecessor, the Olympus OM-D M1iii? As you might expect, it’s as good as, or better, than the older camera by every measure. But does it do enough to justify its US$400 premium? I would say yes. Here’s why. Jump to Conclusion
What is the OM-1
The OM-1 is a premium camera orientated towards enthusiasts and professional photographers. Inside the OM-1 is a stacked 20.4-megapixel backside-illuminated MOS sensor – the first of its kind for Micro Four Thirds.
Compared to the old sensor, the new sensor is alleged to have a 2-stop advantage. Thus, the OM-1 should have better high-ISO performance and increased dynamic range. And thanks to its stacked architecture, the OM-1 can shoot 50 full-resolution raw photos each second with full autofocus. As for the video, the OM-1 captures Cinema 4K and 4K at 60 frames per second.
|Image size||Video codec||Interframe compression||Frame rate||Bit rate*2|
|4K||H.264||Long GOP||23.98 / 25 / 29.97 / 50 / 59.94||202Mbps (59.94p)|
|C4K||H.264||Long GOP||23.98 / 24 / 25 / 29.97 / 50 / 59.94||202Mbps (59.94p)|
|FHD||H.264||Long GOP||23.98 / 25 / 29.97 / 50 / 59.94||52Mbps (59.94p)|
|FHD||H.264||All-Intra||23.98 / 25 / 29.97||202Mbps (29.97p)|
|4K||H.265||Long GOP||23.98 / 25 / 29.97 / 50 / 59.94||152Mbps (59.94p)|
|C4K||H.265||Long GOP||23.98 / 24 / 25 / 29.97 / 50 / 59.94||152Mbps (59.94p)|
|FHD||H.265||Long GOP||23.98 / 25 / 29.97 / 50 / 59.94||42Mbps (59.94p)|
|FHD||H.265||All-Intra||23.98 / 25 / 29.97 / 50 / 59.94||162Mbps (59.94p)|
Overall, the new sensor takes the OM-1 to places the older Olympus OM-D M1iii can never go. This alone may justify the premium. But if it doesn’t, there’s more.
OM-1 Image Stabilisation
With a Sync-IS lens, the OM-1 is capable of up to 8 stops of image stabilization. In comparison, the OM-D M1iii was rated for ‘only’ 7 stops. As a result, you’ll be able to shoot handheld at even slower shutter speeds and record even smoother video. See best cameras for image stabilization.
The OM-1 can capture full-resolution raw files at 50 frames per second with, allegedly, no viewfinder black-out and full metering and autofocus. However, there’s a catch. You must be using one of the five lenses listed below.
- M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO
- M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Ⅱ
- M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO
- M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO
- M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC 1.25x IS PRO
- M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 300mm F4.0 IS PRO
But even if you are using a non-compatible lens – the OM-1 will still zip along at 25fps. As for autofocus, the OM-1 features 1053 autofocus points, all of which are cross-type. Also, OMDS promises ‘vastly improved’ face detection as well as auto-detection for cars, planes, trains, dogs, cats, and birds.
Furthermore, LiveND gets a boost to 6 stops (from 5 stops on the M1iii). And the high-res modes make a return but can do their thing faster whilst taking fewer photos.
As you can see, the OM-1 appears to be blazingly fast – a sort of mini Nikon Z9 if you like. But speed aside – the OM-1 continues Olympus’s mantra of lightweight photography by offering the kinds of features that help you leave the tripod at home.
Body and Build Quality
As you might expect, the OM-1 is well-built. Whilst many manufacturers boast weather sealing, OM systems have the confidence to go one step further with an IP53 rating. If you want to know what that means, check out the video below.
Another notable difference between the two cameras is the EVF. Specifically, the OM-1 gets a 5.76M dot OLED electronic viewfinder compared to the 2.36M dot LCD effort on the M1iii. Plus, the OM-1 gets a 1.64M dot rear screen, compared to just over a million dots on the older camera.
Otherwise, the OM-1 is very much like the OM-D M1iii. Both share similar controls and both are of similar size and weight. And that’s a good thing.
OM-1 Release Date
15th February 2022
OM-1 Press Release
OM-1 vs OM-D M1 Mark 3
The OM-D M1 Mark 3 is a great camera with some very troubling problems. First of all, its dated sensor puts its image quality behind far cheaper cameras. And its 2.36M dot LCD viewfinder is just plain ugly.
But if you could look past that (I could not), there was a lot to love about the OM-D M1III. For instance, I lusted after its exceptional image stabilization, compact build, and its suite of computational features such as Live ND. But with the OM-1, you get the OM-D M1iii’s best features, an upgraded sensor and EVF, and much more besides.
However, the Olympus OM-D M1iii can now be had for $400 less than the OM-1. Is it worth saving a few bob and going with the older camera? I don’t think so. Nevertheless, with its excellent image stabilization, lovely build, and computational features, the older M1iii does represent a cheaper route to a premium lightweight camera system.
OM-1 vs OM-D M1 Mark 3 Specifications
|OM1||OMD-M1 Mark III|
|Release Price (US$)||$2,199||$1,799|
|Sensor Size||Micro Four Thirds||Micro Four Thirds|
|Sensor Type||Stacked BSI MOS||FSI MOS|
|Native ISO Range||200-102400||200-25600|
|AF Type||Hybrid Phase/Contrast Detect||Hybrid Phase/Contrast Detect|
|AF Focus Points||1053 Cross-Type||121|
|AF Sensitivity||-5.5EV – 19 EV||-3.5EV – 20 EV|
|AF Coverage||Approx 90%|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/8000||1/8000|
|Max Shutter FPS||10||15|
|Max E-Shutter Speed||1/32000||1/32000|
|Max E-Shutter FPS (Full Resolution)||50 FPS||60 FPS|
|Max E-Shutter (No AF)||120 FPS||60 FPS|
|Range||-2 EV – 20 EV||-2 EV – 20 EV|
|In-body Image Stabilization|
|Rating||Up to 8 Stops||Up to 7 Stops|
|C4K||60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p||24p|
|4K||60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p||30p, 25p, 24p|
|HD 1080p||240p||60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p|
|Max. Recording Time||29 Minutes||29 Minutes|
|Output over HDMI||Yes – up 12 Bit Raw||Yes|
|Raw||12 Bit Lossless||12 Bit Lossless|
|Card Slot 1||SD UHS-2||SD UHS-2|
|Card Slot 2||SD UHS-2||SD UHS-1|
|Resolution||5.76M Dots||2.36M Dots|
|Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|Resolution||1.62m Dots||1037k dots|
|Articulation||Fully Articulated||Fully Articulated|
|Video-Out||HDMI D||Micro HDMI D|
|Audio In (mic)||3.5mm Audio Jack||3.5mm Audio Jack|
|Audio Out (Headphones)||3.5mm Audio Jack||3.5mm Audio Jack|
|Data||USB-C 3.0||USB-C 3.0|
|Power||USB-C 3.0||USB-C 3.0|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.2 LE||Bluetooth 4.2 LE|
|Internal GPS||No – Via Smartphone||No – Via Smartphone|
|Battery Life||Approx: 520 Shots||Approx: 420 Shots|
|Video Record Time||90 mins||85 mins|
|Weight & Dimensions|
With improved image quality, superior performance, and upgraded viewfinder – the OM-1 appears to improve on the Olympus OM-D M1iii in every way that matters. That being said, the OM-1 costs US$2199, compared to just US$1799 for the OM-D M1.
Is the OM-1 worth the premium? I would say most definitely. Although the OM-D M1iii is an amazing camera and in many ways, good enough – its sub-par image quality and awful viewfinder are, quite literally, impossible to overlook.
But for a little more money, you no longer have to overlook these problems. In other words, you can have your cake and eat it. And what’s wrong with that.
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