Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review

The photography business underwent significant disruption last year, introducing several new camera systems and a proliferation of lens offerings to cater to these new cameras. However, Olympus’ most recent OM-D E-M1X is more comfortable since it utilizes the company’s established OM-D format while improving it in crucial areas.

It seems as though Olympus is aiming this model toward a wide variety of photographers. On the one hand, the E-M1X is aimed at consumers interested in cameras like the Nikon D5, Canon EOS-1DX Mark II, and Sony A9 due to its rapid burst shooting, hybrid phase- and contrast-detect autofocus, and new deep-learning-based AF settings for moving subjects.

See: Best Lenses for Olympus OM-D E-M1X | Best Memory Cards for Olympus OM-D E-M1X

However, with image stabilization that is even more refined than it was before, as well as settings for high-resolution capture, it is clear that it is also a viable option for those who are shooting medium-format landscapes on a tripod, just as it is for those who are capturing low-light shots while shooting handheld. So how effectively does it satisfy every one of them?

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Features

The OM-D E-M1X is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most technologically advanced camera that Olympus has created to date, and the spec sheet shows that it is taking the fight to its competitors. This is just as well, given how much more severe the combined threat from established systems and newer ones showing plenty of promise now is. Again, the spec sheet shows that it is taking the fight to its competitors.

In contrast to nearly all of its competitors, the camera sports a 20.4-megapixel Live MOS Four Thirds sensor, which is noticeably smaller than full-frame sensors and much more diminutive than APS-C sensors. Of course, the fact that the camera is geared toward capturing sports and activity means that resolution is not the primary concern; still, it will be interesting to observe how much longer the 20-megapixel barrier is maintained for sensors of this sort.

On the other hand, Olympus covers you if you need to record anything at a more excellent resolution than usual. Its High Res shot mode operates on the now-familiar technique of shooting several photos quickly before blending them to generate a single composite file. This mode works by capturing several photographs in short series.

This is output at a maximum of 50MP when taking JPEGs (a reduced option of 25MP is also available) or raw files in the handheld mode and 80MP (10,400 7,792) when shooting basic frames in the tripod mode. When shooting JPEGs, this is output at a maximum of 25MP.

You can take raw files and JPEGs simultaneously with some cameras, and if you take raw files, you will end up with both the unprocessed raw files and the composite version of the image.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Build Quality

The fact that the Olympus OM E-M1X-D has an integrated vertical grip is the design element that stands out as being most distinctively distinct from other mirrorless cameras. This is the first mirrorless camera to be released with a design like this, which is reminiscent of cameras such as the Nikon D5 and the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II in terms of its aesthetic.

This serves two roles, much like the professional DSLRs that the E-M1X competes with. The fact that it has room for the two batteries required by the camera is the less fascinating of the two features.

These are held in place within a bracket that slides easily out from the side of the camera for your convenience. However, because the camera also has a USB port, you may not need to remove them as frequently as you might otherwise. If you do, you can charge them using the adapters included in the package.

The second reason for the grip is the more obvious one, which is that it gives the photographer the same kind of handling when using the camera in portrait orientation that they enjoy when using the camera in landscape orientation, and with much of the same in terms of physical control. In other words, the grip allows the photographer to maintain the same level of biological power.

Therefore, in addition to the button that releases the shutter, you will also have access to a command dial on both the front and the back of the camera. Furthermore, you will have access to additional buttons for ISO and exposure compensation and yet another joystick-style control for the AF multi-selector.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Autofocus

It’s not often that you see a company take the autofocus technology from its flagship camera and put it in a camera that costs less than half of what the flagship model does, but that’s precisely what Sony has done with the Alpha A7 III.

The great 693-point phase-detection autofocus mechanism seen in the Alpha A9 is also included in the Alpha A7 III.

This significantly improved the relatively cumbersome 117-point system in the Alpha A7 II. The new system provides an incredible 93% coverage throughout the frame and includes 425 contrast-detect points to assist with focusing. Additionally, it can concentrate on light levels as low as -3EV.

The Alpha A7 III comes with a broad array of autofocus (AF) modes, making things as straightforward or complex as necessary depending on the context of the shooting circumstance.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Performance

The Alpha A7 III from Sony can take pictures twice as fast as its predecessor, the Alpha A7 II, which could only manage five frames per second. This is partly because Sony improved the performance of the Alpha A7 III by installing a Front End LSI pre-processor. This enabled Sony to enhance the camera’s performance in several different areas.

The camera has a remarkable buffer capacity of 89 compressed raw files (or 40 uncompressed files), and the Alpha A7 III can shoot at ten frames per second for 177 JPEGs, which is a significant improvement over the A7 II’s buffer capacity of 52 JPEG files. At this price range, it’s safe to assume that the burst shooting capability shouldn’t be something that many photographers are disappointed by.

You can switch to the electronic shutter on the Alpha A7 III and take advantage of its silent shooting mode if you need to shoot discretely or in quiet environments. However, the camera’s performance is not compromised in any way, as the burst shooting speed remains at ten frames per second (fps).

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Image Quality

The sensor can provide photographs with exceptional levels of detail, as we discovered while using Sony’s second full-frame mirrorless camera, the Alpha A9, which has a resolution of 24.2 megapixels.

The Alpha A7 III is an excellent choice if you do not intend to generate prints larger than A2, in which case you will value the more densely packed 42.2MP sensor found in the Alpha A7R III.

Even though the sensor does not benefit from the stacked construction of the Alpha A9, the back-illuminated architecture of the A7 III enables it to achieve excellent ISO performance. At the most fundamental levels of sensitivity, the files seem astonishingly clear and free of any trace of noise.

Even when scrutinized, the images obtained with an ISO setting of 6400 hold up rather well. There is some excellent luminance noise (which looks like grain), but it does not affect the image negatively.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Max resolution5184 x 3888
Image ratio w h4:3
Effective pixels20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors22 megapixels
Sensor sizeFour Thirds (17.4 x 13 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDual TruePic VIII
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto, 200-25600 (expands down to 64)
Boosted ISO (minimum)64
White balance presets7
Custom white balanceYes (4 slots)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notes7 stops body only. 7.5 stops with 12-100mm lens.
CIPA image stabilization rating7 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsSuper fine, fine, normal
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.31)Raw (12-bit ORF)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points121
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,037,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification1.65× (0.82× 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder resolution2,360,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/32000 sec
Exposure modesProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe or flash sync port)
Flash modesRedeye, Fill-in, Flash Off, Redeye Slow sync (1st curtain), Slow sync. (1st curtain), Slow sync (2nd curtain), Manual
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modesSingleContinuousBracketingSelf-timer
Continuous drive60.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 12 secs, custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weightedSpotSpot AF-area
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes4096 x 2160 @ 24p / 237 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 202 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 202 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 202 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Storage typesDual SD/SDHC/SDXC cards (UHS-II supported)
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes (USB-PD allows charging by laptop or external power bank)
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
Wireless notes802.11ac + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes (via smartphone or wired remote)
Environmentally sealedYes (to IPX1 standards)
Battery descriptionTwo BLH-1 lithium-ion batteries
Battery Life (CIPA)870
Weight (inc. batteries)997 g (2.20 lb / 35.17 oz)
Dimensions144 x 147 x 75 mm (5.67 x 5.79 x 2.95″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPS notesIt also captures direction, temperature, pressure, and acceleration.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Verdict

Although the Alpha A7 III cannot quite compete with the astounding performance or resolution of its more expensive brothers, it is a great camera that will meet the needs of many photographers and fulfill many of their requirements.

Sony has condensed some of the most impressive aspects of its flagship Alpha A9 and A7R III cameras into a single camera that provides an excellent balance of performance, picture quality, and cost.

The 693-point autofocus system is breathtaking, and competing cameras that cost roughly the same cannot even match its level of sophistication. Meanwhile, the ten frames per second burst shooting speed ought to be sufficient to meet the requirements of the vast majority of users.

The full-frame 24.2-megapixel back-illuminated sensor produces outstanding results across the whole ISO range, and the available dynamic range is just as impressive as the images it has.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Pros & Cons

Good For
  • Uncropped 4K video
  • 693-point AF system
  • 10fps burst shooting
Need Improvements
  • Limited touchscreen control
  • Only one SD slot supports UHS-II cards
  • Slight ‘tearing’ in EVF

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