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Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review - Olympus' flagship 20mp Micro Four Thirds camera with a professional, weather-sealed, high-speed camera body. Find out how it performs in our review.

| Olympus OM-D E-M1X in Mirrorless Cameras

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus OM D E M1X (11)

Quick Verdict

The Olympus OM-D E-M1X offers a fully featured, full-size, fully weather-sealed camera, with dual memory card slots, 400,000 shutter life rating, a long warranty, and more features than you could possibly want. There's battery life to compete with DSLRs, with 870 shots on standard settings, or up to 2580 shots with power saving switched on. High-speed shooting and great image quality make this large camera something for serious photographers who may travel in less than ideal conditions, although the menu system continues to complicate use. 

+ Pros

  • Innovative new features - LiveND
  • Excellent colour reproduction
  • Extended battery life
  • Larger 0.825x EVF
  • Fast continuous shooting
  • CINE4K video recording
  • Impressive image stabilisation
  • Multiple power options
  • Weather sealing

- Cons

  • Suprisingly still only a 3inch screen
  • 2360K dots EVF (others are higher resolution)
  • Large size, and weight will not be to everyone's liking
  • Menu system could be improved


Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: OM-D E-M1X

The Olympus OM-D E-M1X is Olympus' largest (and most expensive) Micro Four Thirds camera released and is aimed at the sports or professional photographer who wants to shoot sports, and action, with a telephoto or long lens. The E-M1X, as Olympus' flagship, offers some of the latest versions of Olympus's technology. This includes an updated 5-axis image stabilisation system, giving up to 7.5 stops of compensation. There's a new Handheld Hi-Res mode, letting you take 50mp or 25mp images (from the 20mp sensor), without the need of a tripod. The E-M1X is available now, body only at £2799.99. 


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Olympus OM-D E-M1X Features

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus OM D E M1X With 12-200mm Lens (2)

The Olympus OM-D E-M1X's most noticeable features can be seen in the camera design, with the look and styling of a full-frame professional body DSLR. This makes the camera large for a Micro Four Thirds camera, but it is also smaller than professional body DSLRs, such as the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II, and Nikon D5

The professional style body allows for Olympus to boast that the camera has the World’s best dust, splash, and freezeproofness. The Olympus website says the camera can withstand rain, water, ice, snow, and sand when used with a water-resistant lens

Not only have Olympus released a new body style, which supports 2 batteries for improved battery life, but they've also updated a number of other key features. 


The updated 5-axis image stabilisation sensor, is said to give the World’s best image stabilization performance with up to 7.5 EV steps of compensation.

The updated 5-axis image stabilisation sensor is said to give the World’s best image stabilization performance with up to 7.5 EV steps of compensation when used with 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO lens at 100mm. And 7 stops when used with the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens at 40mm. The in-camera image stabilisation sensor works with any lens attached to the camera, even third party vintage lenses used with an adapter.

Another new feature of the Olympus OM-D E-M1X is a built-in "ND filter", which Olympus calls Live ND. This can be switched on, with settings of ND2, ND4, ND8, ND16, ND32 (1EV - 5EV). Live ND shooting is available in Shutter priority and manual shooting modes and shows you a preview of the effect on the screen or EVF.

The shutter curtain is designed to offer 400,000 shots, an improvement on the 200,000 shots of the E-M1 Mark II. A new anti-flicker shooting feature has been added. Focus stacking has been improved to offer up to 15 shots. 

Pro Capture mode supports shooting without blackout, and lets you shoot up to 35 frames (in full-resolution raw format), before the shutter button is pressed down completely. The camera can shoot at 60fps with an electronic shutter, and 15fps using the mechanical shutter. 

With two batteries, the camera can shoot up to 870 shots (based on CIPA standards), or up to 2580 shots using quick sleep mode. 


Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus OM D E M1X (1)

Other new features include a re-developed AF system with various AF target modes and settings, and intelligent subject tracking, as well as a new focus algorithm.

Intelligent subject tracking lets you select the type of subject, and subjects include: Motorsports (cars and motorcycles), Airplanes (and helicopters), and Trains. You can also leave the subject off and tracking will still work. 

The AF target mode lets you customise whether you want the focus area to be a single point, 5-points, 9-points, 25-points, or the entire field of 121 points. 

A new multi-selector joystick can be found on the back, for both horizontal, and vertical shooting, so that you can quickly change the focus area. There's a lock lever (to lock out the vertical controls), as well as a C-lock lever to lock out the horizontal controls. 


Field Sensors: 

Built-in GPS lets you log data on position, altitude, and heading. There are also temperature and pressure sensors. This can be recorded with photographs, and then viewed using the "Olympus Image Track (OI Track)" smartphone app.

As expected, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in, allowing remote control of the camera from a smartphone, as well as low-power image transfer (via Bluetooth). You can transfer photos from the camera to a computer, effectively letting you shoot "tethered" without the need for cables. 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus OM D E M1X (14)

The E-M1X has P, A, S, M shooting modes, giving you full manual controls. There are 4 custom modes on the mode dial, as well as a B (Bulb) mode, where you can find Bulb, Live Time, and Live Composite modes - these let you see the photo as you expose it. 

With a Micro Four Thirds lens mount, you have a wide choice of Micro Four Thirds lenses, in fact, Micro Four Thirds gives you the widest choice of lenses for any mirrorless camera system. From compact lenses, such as the wide-angle Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens, to superzooms such as the 12-200mm lens, to the telephoto prime Olympus 300mm f/4 (600mm equivalent), and if you can wait till 2020, there's the newly announced 150-400mm f/4.5 TC 1.25x IS PRO zoom lens

The 20mp sensor features phase detection focus, covering a fairly large area of the sensor with 75% vertically and 80% horizontally, the same as the E-M1 II

The screen is a 3inch touch-screen with 1037K dots. The screen can be tilted out so that you can view it from the front. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) features a resolution of 2360K dots and has a higher magnification of 0.825x. 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus OM D E M1X (9)

Key Features

  • 20mp Four Thirds Live MOS sensor
  • Micro Four Thirds lens mount
  • Dual TruPic VIII high-speed image processors
  • 5-axis sensor-based image stabilisation - with up to 7.5 EV steps of compensation
  • Supersonic Wave Filter - removes dust from the sensor
  • 3inch vari-angle touch-screen, 1037K dots
  • EVF: 2360K dot resolution, 0.825x magnification
  • 121 Focus points Phase/Contrast detection
  • 50mp Handheld High Res shot functionality
  • Live ND feature for slow shutter effects without an external filter
  • 15fps continuous shooting (mechanical shutter), and up to 60fps electronic
  • ISO64 (Low) to ISO25600 available
  • 12-bit raw shooting
  • Handheld HDR shooting
  • Integrated field sensors (inc GPS) to add detailed metadata to pictures and video
  • Anti-flicker shooting capabilities
  • Two UHS-II SD card slots for high-speed responsiveness
  • Two batteries, and USB Type-C charging capabilities
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS built-in
  • Dust, splash, and freezeproof
  • 3years extended warranty

Video Features

  • 4K (UHD, 30fps) and C4K (CINE, 24fps) video recording
  • OM-Log400
  • Different levels of IS
  • 120fps high-speed shooting in FullHD
  • Stereo microphones built-in
  • Mic and Headphone sockets

CINE 4K video is recorded at 4096 x 2160, at 24fps, giving a wider aspect ratio than 4K UHD video. 4K UHD video is recorded at 30, 25, or 24fps. OM400-log is designed to give a flat image, so that detail in shadows and highlights can be retained. Sound quality is said to be improved thanks to a new pre-amp. 


Olympus OM-D E-M1X Handling

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus OM D E M1X (13)

Handling - As you can see in the pictures, the Olympus OM-D E-M1X is not one of the most compact Micro Four Thirds cameras, however, if you've ever been put off by the "small size" of Micro Four Thirds kit, then you shouldn't have any problems holding on to the E-M1X. The dimensions are 144.4mm (width) x 146.8mm (height) x 75.4mm (depth). The camera body weight is approx. 849g (body only), or 997g (with 2 batteries and SD cards).

The main grip has ample depth even for large hands, with even the vertical grip providing a deep space for your hand. The camera feels extremely well-built, and the design of the locking battery and memory card compartments, as well as the numerous rubber covers, helps to give you reassurance that the camera can withstand the elements. 

If the E-M1X is too large for you, then Olympus also offer the E-M1 Mark II (with optional battery grip). 

Controls / Ergonomics - The button design has been improved to give "haptic" buttons, and improved ergonomics. The ISO speed button, for example, has raised dots, and the EV (exposure compensation) button is raised higher than this so you can feel which button is which, without necessarily having to look at the camera. There are numerous customisable buttons and controls, and the camera makes it clear and easy to change these, so that you can get the camera setup how you like it. 

All of this means you can spend time changing settings with buttons and dials, rather than having to go in to the menu system. 

There's ample rubber grip on the front, back, bottom, side, and anywhere else you might need to grip the camera. 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus OM D E M1X (12)

The battery compartment has a twist latch design, so you have to lift up the latch and then turn it to unlock and remove the battery compartment. Here you'll find space for two BLH-1 batteries (the same as used in the E-M1 Mark II). The batteries can't be inserted the wrong way round. 

The dual memory card compartment has a similar latch / lock system, although it also features a spring mechanism so that it automatically returns to the closed position. 

The focus system has a number of options, and it is designed to allow high-speed tracking. There are a small number of very specific tracking examples, including Trains, Planes (and helicopters), and Automobiles (cars and motorbikes), with the later aimed at making it suitable for motorsports. A nice improvement can be found in the ability to select the number of focus points to group together. The camera is said to have a focus range down to -6EV, however, it's worth baring in mind that the metering system is only effective down to -2EV. In all situations, except for very low-light conditions, we found the focusing system to be reliable. In very low-light conditions, it took another attempt to focus after focus failed, and then focus was successful. 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus Om D E M1x With Screen

The 3inch touch-screen and electronic viewfinder (EVF) both give a re-assuring shooting experience, with the high-quality screen showing accurate colours, letting you rely on the results you see on the back of the camera. The screen has a reasonable resolution of 1037K dots, and works well outdoors, with the vari-angle screen letting you tilt it to an angle that suits you. With the size of the camera, it's a shame the screen isn't a little larger, as a number of other cameras have now started featuring 3.2inch screens. 

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) has a resolution of 2360K dots, and with the price of the camera, you might expect a higher resolution. However, the viewfinder still gives a good view of the scene with good colour reproduction. With 0.825x magnification, the viewfinder is large enough that you can end up having to look in to the corners of the frame at times. There is an eye-detection sensor, so that the camera will automatically switch between the EVF and screen when you hold the camera up to your eye. 

The rubber eye surround feels slightly tougher than normal, but still gives a comfortable feel when held up to your eye. There's a slightly recessed (but not locking) dioptre correction dial, making it quick and easy to adjust. 


Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus OM D E M1X (7)


Menus – The menu system gives relatively quick access to the main settings, with grey screens for each of the following:

  • Shooting Menu 1
  • Shooting Menu 2
  • Video Menu
  • Playback Menu
  • Custom (Cog) Menu
  • Setup Menu
  • MyMenu 


Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus Omd Em1x Shooting Menu1
Shooting Menu1

The Custom (Cog) menu is where you'll find all of the more advanced settings, again each menu screen is grey, with no colour coding. The main settings in here are broken down in to:

  • A. AF / MF (1,2,3,4)
  • B. Button / Dial / Lever (1,2)
  • C. Release / Drive / Image Stabiliser (1,2)
  • D. Display / Sound / PC (1,2,3,4)
  • E. Exp / ISO / Bulb / Metering (1,2,3)
  • F. Flash / Custom (1)
  • G. Pixels / WB / Colour (1)
  • H. Record / Erase (1,2)
  • I. EVF (1)
  • J. Utility (1,2,3) - Includes GPS options

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus Omd Em1x Custom Menus
Custom Settings Menus

You can't use the touch-screen to scroll through the menu options or settings, however, you can get additional information by pressing the INFO button. This will bring up the built-in help. Pressing the red record button will let you add menu items to "MyMenu" giving you quicker access to your favourite settings, and also help you avoid having to go into the Custom settings menus. You can have up to 35 items in this section. 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus Omd Em1x Super Control Panel
Super Control Panel

If you want to avoid the menus, then you can use the Super Control Panel, by pressing the rear OK button. This lets you change settings on the rear screen using the physical controls, or you can select items using the touch-screen. 

The menu system looks more modern compared to older Olympus cameras, but it's a shame the menus lack the colour coding found on earlier Olympus models, and on almost all other cameras from other manufacturers. 

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be used to connect to the camera from a smartphone, using Olympus' Image Share app, available for Android and iOS devices. Connecting to the camera is straightforward, with the camera displaying a QR code for your smartphone to scan. In the app, you can remotely control the camera with live view, import photos, as well as get information on how to use your camera. There are editing and GeoTagging options as well.  


Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: Olympus OM D E M1X (16)

Battery life - With two batteries, the camera can shoot up to 870 shots (based on CIPA standards), or up to 2580 shots using "quick sleep mode", according to Olympus testing conditions. You can also use the USB Type-C connection to power the camera, and there's even a DC in socket. 

In comparison, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II offers 440 shots, or 950 shots with power saving (quick sleep) switched on. The Panasonic Lumix G9 offers 400 shots, or 920 shots with power-saving switched on. The Nikon D5 offers 3780 shots, and the Canon EOS 1DX II offers 1210 shots.

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Photographs taken using the Olympus OM-D E-M1X

Hungry WaspComing Into LandLittle WingFeeding Red Admiral ButterflyFeeding on a ThistleBTCC Croft 2023Posing LemurWalkway to the WoodsGreat spotted woodpeckers in EspooGreat spotted woodpecker in Espoo 2Great spotted woodpecker in EspooA Young Spring FernFollow meBug in RöyläBugs in Espoo 2

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