Last night, Olympus announced the new Micro Four Thirds 16-megapixel OM-D E-M1. The new camera is the successor to the OM-D E-M5 and takes the position as the company’s flagship camera. The E-M1, slightly larger and heavier than the E-M5 (but not as hefty as the E-5 DSLR), features a new Dual Fast AF system with 37-point contrast AF and 81 point on-chip Phase Detection AF. With the new system, the E-M1 will automatically detect the lens that promises faster AF performance than the E-M5 particularly when standard Four Thirds lenses.
Continuous shooting speed has been improved as well and the E-M1 can capture up to 10fps in single autofocus mode for a maximum of 41 Raw images. In continuous AF, the continuous capture is rated at up to 6.5fps for up to 50 Raw images. In addition to providing faster continuous shooting speeds, the new TruePic VII image process also promises improved high ISO performance and better reduction of color loss. Olympus’ new Fine Detail Processing II technology is designed to match the best sharpening process for individual lenses and to reduce video compression artifacts. Olympus has also tweaked its 5-axis image stabilization system for the E-M1 and increased the maximum shutter speed to 1/8000th of a second (versus the E-M5’s 1/4000th of a second fastest shutter speed).
The E-M1 also features built-in wi-fi and is compatible with Olympus’ Image Share 2.0 free iOS and Android app. Communication between smartphone and camera is initiated by scanning a QR code on the camera’s LCD with a smartphone. The app has been improved to include broader remote shooting options including the ability to adjust shutter speed, aperture, ISO and exposure compensation. Bulb mode can also be triggered via the app.
The new camera is slightly larger and heavier than the E-M5, with dimensions of 5.33 x 3.68 x 2.48 inches and weighing 17.53 ounces. That’s not a major change compared to the E-M5’s 4.8 x 3.5 x 1.7 inches, 15-ounce specifications but enough to be noticeable when the two cameras are compared side-by-side. Built around a magnesium alloy frame, the E-M1 adds freezeproof to 14 degrees F to its predecessor’s dust-proof and splash-proof attributes. The camera also is designed with a built-in grip.
The E-M1 is equipped with a new, large, 2.36-million-dot EVF (which Olympus says rivals that of a full-frame DSLR) as well as a 3-inch tiltable touchscreen LCD. Focus peaking and magnification are available for checking image focus accuracy. The camera will be available in October.
For those who are waiting for an E-7 DSLR, sorry, you’re out of luck. There isn’t going to be one. While we never say “never,” it seems like the E-M1 may signal the end of DSLRs for Olympus.
Olympus also announced the development of two new Micro Four Thirds lenses, forming a new Pro category for its optics: a 12-40mm, f/2.8 zoom Pro (24-80mm 35mm equivalent) and a 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro (80-300mm 35mm equivalent). The 12-40mm lens is slated to be available alongside the E-M1, features a constant f/2.8 aperture and, using the same type of sealing as the camera, is dust-proof and splash-proof.The 40-150mm lens, still under development and scheduled for release in the latter half of 2014, also features a constant f/2.8 aperture. Like the new 12-40mm lens, the 40-150mm zoom is also weather sealed.
More details, including additional camera features, complete specifications and new accessories (including a battery grip and underwater housing) are available on the Olympus website.