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Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review - Performance

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Olympus OM-D E-M1X Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

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Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response <0.1secs
50mm zoom - Focus / Shutter Response  0.1secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.7-1.2secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.2secs
Shot to Shot with Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
15fps (126 shots) - mechanical
50fps for 1 second, slowing to 10fps - electronic
13fps - electronic with C-AF + TR
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 15fps (111 shots) - mechanical
50fps for 1 second, slowing to 10fps - electronic

 

There are a number of different high-speed shooting modes on the camera, including high-speed and low-speed options with either a mechanical shutter or an electronic shutter, with advanced settings to be found in C1 (Custom menus, C1 option). If you use the Pro-Capture mode you can set the maximum frame rate (60, 30, 20, 15fps), and you can select the number of frames to shoot before (up to 35), and the number of shots after you press the shutter release button can be unlimited. If you shoot at 10fps or slower, then you can shoot unlimited JPG images until your card is full. * Tested with 12-200mm lens, Sony G UHS-II SD card (300MB/s)

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Shooting portraits with the E-M1X is an enjoyable experience, as the face and eye detection focus ensure that shot after shot is correctly focused on the subjects eye. With the right lens, such as an f/1.8 lens, pleasing bokeh, and background blur is possible. Colour reproduction is excellent, with the camera producing great results straight from the camera. Exposure is reliable, with exposure compensation being rarely needed. Dynamic range recorded is good, with a good level of dynamic range recorded even in JPEG images. If you want to record a wider dynamic range, there are a number of options, including HDR (in-camera), raw shooting, and auto exposure bracketing (AEB). 

Low-light performance is reasonable, with shots taken at ISO3200 and ISO6400 showing reasonable results. The image stabilisation system allows for the use of a slower shutter speed, and a lower ISO speed to be set, helping compensate for the lack of ISO range compared to other cameras. 

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Lens test images

Lens Performance - There's a wide range of lenses available, and we used the Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4, Olympus 45mm f/1.8, Leica 45mm f/2.8 Macro, and Olympus 12-200mm lenses with the E-M1X, and you can see how these lenses perform in our lens reviews. As you would expect, we found the best results were achieved by using a prime lens, but also appreciated the versatility of a zoom lens. 

Distortion is automatically corrected in camera, and light fall-off (vignetting) correction can be switched on or off in the menus under the "Shading compensation" option. 

 

High-Res Shooting Mode - give you the option of shooting 25mp, or 50mp images, by moving the camera sensor at a sub-pixel level

"The camera takes a series of shots while moving the image sensor and combines them to create a single high-resolution photo. Use this option to capture details that normally would not be visible even at high zoom ratios."

The E-M1X adds the ability to shoot this even without the use of a tripod, and results are quite impressive.

However, there are some limitations, for example, you can't use an aperture smaller than f/8 (f/2 or f/4 or f/8 is fine for example), there are also limitations to the ISO speed available (max ISO1600 on a tripod, max ISO6400 handheld). When using this on a tripod, it's also a good idea to set a time delay to avoid any chance of shock / shake from touching the camera, and if there's any movement or too much movement the "High-Res" icon will flash on the screen. The camera produces a 50 or 25mp image, and can produce an 80mp raw file (using a tripod), or a 50mp raw file (when using the camera handheld). As with other cameras that have this feature, moving objects can cause problems, as seen in the example of moving cars. 

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Outdoor images

We shot a number of photographs at Brands Hatch, at a BTCC Testing Day, using the camera's continuous AF tracking mode, with subject detection set to motorsports. Using this, with continuous shooting set to "High-speed Low" it was posisble to see the camera track the cars in the screen / viewfinder, whilst shooting. Even when shooting cars travelling at high speeds, the camera's focus performance was impressive. We've shown a sequence of shots below, showing the camera tracking, and continuing to focus on the VW. 

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Other sample images

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - At the lowest ISO speeds, of ISO64 and ISO100, the dynamic range captured is lower, with the increased likelihood of over-exposing highlights. The camera gives usable images up to and including ISO3200/ISO6400. ISO12800 results may also provide usable images, depending on your intended use. The highest ISO speed available is ISO25600, and we'd avoid this if possible, although colour saturation remains good even at these higher ISO speeds. 

You can adjust the noise reduction settings with options of Off, Low, Standard, and High. You can safely set the noise reduction to low, and get better detail in images, with only a slight increase in noise. There are options to adjust the sharpness, contrast, saturation and gradation. 

Noise compared to the competition...

There's no real improvement to be seen in the E-M1X, compared to the E-M1 Mark II, which makes sense as the two cameras (appear to be) using the same sensor. Results from the E-M1X are better than the Panasonic Lumix G9, when looking at high ISO speeds.

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto white balance (AWB) performs well under fluorescent or incandescent (Tungsten) lighting, with a warm result produced under Tungsten lights. The presets give accurate results under Tungsten lighting, although the Fluorescent preset gave a magenta colour cast. You can choose what you want the camera to do when you are shooting using AWB, so you can set "Keep warm colour" to on or off - with this on, results are warm, which is great for portraits, or with this off, results are more accurate, which is great for product shots. This is most effective when there is incandescent (tungsten) lighting involved, otherwise, there isn't a huge effect.

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are no scene modes available, instead you can shoot using a number of different picture modes, which include colour profiles, as well as the Art Filters. The Art Filters include all of the usual Olympus Art Filters, including Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale and Light, Light tone, Grainy film, Pin hole, Diorama (miniature), Cross process, Gentle Sepia, Dramatic Tone, Key Line, Watercolour, Vintage, Partial Colour, Bleach Bypass, and Instant Film. 

The Live ND feature has allowed us to take a longer exposure, with less light entering the camera, and enabled us to smooth the water further in our low-light shot, without over-exposing the image. This gives us the option to use up to ND32 (5EV). 

Because it can be difficult to find the different shooting modes, we thought we'd provide a a quick list of the different shooting modes and where you'll find them:

Inside Shooting Menu 2:

  • Bracketing
  • HDR
  • Multiple Exposure
  • Keystone compensation
  • Anti-shock / Silent shooting
  • High-Res shot
  • Live ND shooting (available in S or M modes)

Inside the drive settings, you'll find continuous shooting options, including the self-timer, plus

  • Pro Capture High (C-AF unavailable)
  • Pro Capture Low (C-AF + TR available)
  • High-Res shot

Selecting the B / Bulb mode on the mode dial you can find:

  • Bulb
  • Live Time
  • Live Composite

There's a Fisheye correction option, which you'll find hidden randomly in the "J1. Utility Menu." Nowhere near "Shading Compensation" (Menu G) or Keystone compensation (Shooting Menu 2). 

 

Video - The video mode has it's own position on the mode dial, making it easy to switch in to video mode. There are a number of video options, and features, with the camera topping out at CINE4K and 24fps (at 237Mbps*), or 4K UHD at 30,25, and 24fps (at 102Mbps). There's also FullHD video recording at 120fps, giving slow-motion video footage. * A high-speed memory card is recommended.

Clean HDMI out is available with REC bit and time code available. The maximum ISO speed available is ISO6400. There are colour profile options, with a new OM-Log400 (flat) profile available for later colour grading. 

Where the Olympus OM-D E-M1X impresses is with the level of image stabilisation available when recording using the camera handheld. 

Other cameras, such as the Panasonic Lumix G9 offer 4K (UHD) video at 60fps, and FullHD at 180fps. The Canon EOS 1DX II features CINE 4K at 60fps. 

You can view additional videos on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel

 

 


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Photographs taken using the Olympus OM-D E-M1X

Fragrant OrchidButterfly Orchid DetailLady OrchidWhite-tailed deer in EspooButter fly OrchidFly OrchidChestertonGarden PestChesterton WindmillJust Dropping InChesterton SunsetDamselflyFox in Espoo 2Snack Time 2Snack Time

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