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New flagship Olympus mirrorless compact camera fits all lenses

Jackie Dove | Sept. 11, 2013
It's not every day that a major camera company touts a brand-new flagship product, but that's the agenda for the new Olympus OM-D E-M1. And there's a good reason.

Calling all lenses
The really significant breakthrough is that the Olympus OM-D E-M1 is designed to work with the entire Olympus lineup of 43 four thirds and micro four thirds Zuiko lenses on the same micro four thirds mount. Just to get everyone started, Olympus is debuting a brand-new lens for its new Pro line: the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens (24-80mm, 35mm equivalent), which can be purchased separately or as part of a kit with the new camera. The Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f2.8 Pro (80-300mm, 35mm equivalent) zoom lens, still under development, will be available next year.

Despite the Dual Fast AF system, you still need an adapter to use the four thirds lenses, but auto focus for those lenses will now perform equally well for whichever lens is attached, for both stills and video.

This technology can actually select the ideal AF method based on lens type and settings: choosing either 37-point On-Chip Phase Detection or 81-point Contrast Detection. Both work together to improve continuous autofocus tracking when a micro four thirds lens is attached and Continuous-AF mode is selected. Shooters can also use Group Target AF, Small Target AF for precise shots, or Super Spot AF for smaller subjects and macro shooting.

Image stabilization
The Olympus OM-D E-M1's built-in five-axis Image Stabilization, alongside Multi-Motion IS, dramatically reduces the effects of camera motion and blur from five directions, and new algorithms make image stabilization more effective at low shutter speeds.

IS-Auto mode automatically detects the camera's movements and corrects regardless of direction or camera orientation. Users can check image stabilization effects on the camera's Live View LCD screen or the viewfinder.

Electronic viewfinder
The OM-D E-M1's interactive electronic viewfinder features a 1.48x (35mm equivalent of .74x) magnification factor that rivals full-frame DSLR cameras, and it's paired with a three-inch tiltable 2.36 million-dot LCD panel. The display time for tracking moving subjects lags just 0.029 seconds, according to Olympus. You can use the LCD to try out different aspect ratios, magnification, color, and highlight and shadow, and confirm the effects of camera settings before taking your shot. An Adaptive Brightness Control feature automatically raises brightness when shooting in outdoor daylight conditions and lowers it in darker venues.

A new Color Creator tool fine-tunes hue and color saturation via the Live View screen. Art filters, HDR settings, time lapse, and Photo Story mode offer additional artistic and special effects.

Easy to operate
Accompanying the new internal technology, Olympus strives to make the camera professionally ergonomic in the hand. A built-in grip similar to that of its previous flagship OM-D E-M5 makes shooting with larger four thirds lenses more comfortable. The camera also has an external battery grip and a 2x2 Dial Control system that handily adjusts four popular functions with the camera's lever or two dials: aperture/shutter speed, exposure compensation, ISO speed, and white balance.

 

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