Olympus has just revealed a brand new flagship mirrorless system camera. The OM-D E-M1, scheduled for release in November, features a new 16.3MP Live MOS sensor, new TruePic VII image processor, a large built-in EVF (electronic viewfinder), 5-axis image stabilization, a new Dual Fast AF system, plus dust, splash and freeze-proof performance.
Olympus' OM-D series began in March 2012 with the OM-D E-M5; 'OM-D' is a reference to the classic OM series of film cameras which Olympus made from the '70s to the '90s (the new 'D' stands for 'Digital'). Among vintage camera lovers, the Olympus OM series is a classic, the cameras were such fine performers that used models are still sought after today.
The E-M1 isn't just the new OM-D flagship, it's also the successor to Olympus' last Four Thirds camera, the E-5 DSLR. The E-M1 is Olympus' first mirrorless camera to sport phase detection AF (auto-focus) as well as contrast detection AF, which allows it to mount Olympus' existing line of Four Thirds lenses (with an adapter) and retain the ability to auto-focus.
The Dual Fast AF system is not the hybrid system seem on other cameras which combine phase and contrast detection, but something unique. Instead of using phase detection AF to start the focusing process and then contrast detection to fine-tune AF, Dual Fast AF will select which it thinks is the optimum AF method and use it exclusively. Olympus says that this method increases AF speeds significantly, but it's also worth noting that Dual Fast AF is only available with C-AF (Continuous Auto-focus) mode.
The built-in EVF looks like a VF4 EVF accessory built right into the body, and offers a 0.74x magnification factor (in 35mm) and is made from a high-resolution 2.36 million dot LCD panel. It can automatically adjust the backlight and offers a large viewing surface. The in-body 5-axis image stabilization, which Olympus says can compensate for camera shake by up to 4 stops, is an improved version from the already impressive OM-D E-M5. The E-M1 is not only dust-proof and splash-proof like the E-M5, but can now withstand low temperatures up to -10 degrees C.
The E-M1 also comes with other features like built-in Wi-Fi and focus peaking for manual focusing. A new power battery holder, the HLD-7, will extend the E-M1's battery life to a total of 640 shots. The camera will come in black and is expected to be available in Singapore from end November. It comes with suggested retail prices of S$1,948 for the body alone, or S$2,948 with the new 12-40mm f/2.8 lens.