Olympus E-M1X first day impressions

The camera has officially arrived.  I bought my own E-M1X.  There are some features that make a difference in how I work, enough to justify it.  Despite my non-fondness of gripped bodies.  I have set it up, gone through the menus, and just had some initial testing so far.  I might be brave and give it a whirl on a real shoot today.  We’ll see.  I want to give some first impressions and go over a few notes about the camera that may or may not have been said elsewhere yet.  I can see a lot of this making it’s way into the next Olympus cameras.  In fact, if just a lot of these refinements and menu cleanup goes into the next camera, that alone would be an upgrade!  There is a lot that has been refined or fixed overall in the menu.  Honestly the way this camera is set up, i don’t think I will ever have to go into the menu again to adjust items.  They really where smart in layout and use.  Regardless, more for another day.  Let’s go over some notes.

-I can thank Steve Jobs for giving us a new standard on this one… but BOTH batteries came with less than 12% charge!  Unacceptable!  Especially with a camera that needs so much setup to be done initially.  Thankfully I have batteries from my E-M1.2 already.  Regardless…we should be able to use the camera out of the box.  Is that so hard?

-The battery level only shows one at a time.  If you are super picky, you can quick menu the battery status screen to see them both.  What is annoying is that when a battery falls below 10% it starts blinking.  Does my other one have charge?  I don’t know?  I need to remember or check.  I’de rather the first battery count down to zero and then only blink red warnings when the final batter gets to 10%.

-You can select which battery is used first.  This makes it convenient to just pull out the first one and change it if you don’t use the second one.  I’ve set mine to use the “outside” battery first. (technically battery 2)

-Stabilization is rather impressive.  I actually hand held 4 second shots.  And I think I can get longer!  It’s a lot more consistent with this camera than the E-M1.2.  Wow.

-Back button focus is default on the camera, you also have more control over how you can set this as well.  And the button on both grips is EXACTLY in the right place.  Finally.

-Speaking of buttons…the function lever and power button are nice and firm.  Also better laid out in use.

-Joystick has a center push.  This can be programmed to FP-Home!  In fact I disabled my 4-way dial as it is no longer necessary.  In fact, the joystick can even navigate the SCP and select items with the center push.  Good job Olympus on this one.

-C-Lock gives you the option to turn off buttons.  Literally ANY OF THEM.  Including the shutter!  Not a day to day item for most…but very interesting when you need to set a remote camera, or absolutely don’t want things to get bumped.

-The top left button array is better thought out.  You can long-press the Bracket button to access which bracketing and options.  Very useful!  Macro shooters are going to lean on this function heavily!

-Live View Mode 2 has options to prioritize  quality of your view, or frame rates.

-WB in video is very tunable now.  In usual deep option Olympus fashion.

-Warm White balance is not only STILL on by default…but its ON video mode now too!  Turn it OFF!!!  And they must feel strongly about this option, because now you can even turn it on from the quick access WB screen in auto mode!  WHAT!?!?!?!  Ok Olympus…let me know who uses this and a couple of use examples because I honestly can’t think of any.  And i’ve tried.  Show me why people want this option, and why we have it forefront now…AND in video.  Just one good example and I will drop this forever.

-Video C-AF is tunable separate from stills C-AF.  You can also tune the IS for video mode too.

-There is a Rec 709 profile you can view in video mode to simulate graded footage when using LOG for video.  Nice to have.

-Video audio recording options of 48khz-16bit or 96khz-24bit.  That is nice.  I hope the preamps are upgraded slightly…though I don’t expect anything truly studio ready in a camera.  My workflow is generally 48khz – 24bit.  I wish this was an option.  Maybe they can add it later.  Oh well!  Better than nothing.

-HDR mode now needs to be assigned to a button or activated from the menu.  Good news is that if you set it to a button, you can call up settings from that button too.

-GPS needs to be updated like every 4 weeks or something through the app.  I guess you don’t have too…but if you will be using it…expect to keep it up to date.  It only takes a few moments.

-5Ghz Wifi connection.  Nice.

-Annoying Satellite icon flashes on the screen and viewfinder if you set your clock to auto-update via GPS and you are indoors or it can’t hit the satellite to update.  Easy enough to turn the auto-checking off though.

-Came with a nifty cable protector for the USB and HDMI port.  It screws in to the side of the camera so nothing can hit the cables.  This and the included cable-jerk stopper are a nice touch.  Good for them for thinking of us tethered photographers.

-Speaking of tether…Wifi tethering is awesome… BUT there is a big catch…no live view or settings changes from the computer.  We’ll circle back to this another day.  You know i’ll have plenty to say.

-If you use dual cards at the same time in a redundancy mode, the “card” button becomes useless.  It no longer does anything.  And strangely we can reassign it or customize it.  I don’t understand why not?  I can think of 100 other ways to use this button better.  Maybe firmware can fix this.

-General ergonomics are some of the best from any camera i’ve held.  The button feel and general camera in hand is superb.  I never liked the gripped bodies, especially the big 1DX and D4, 5 etc…This camera feels as bullet proof as those…but without the heft or the size.  Honest…it’s not nearly as big as people have said.

-The 4/3 sensor does look a little funny on such a large body.  However, I am about results…and 4/3 cameras can deliver in spades.

-Handheld high res works strangely well.  I will have lots to discuss about this soon as well as updated presets for file optimization.

-Art filter integration is actually better on this camera than the E-M1.2.  Go figure.

-Quick menus are great, I love them and so will you!

-I’m curious as to how this camera will work with an L-plate.  I wonder if that will kill my vertical grip comfort.  Not sure.  RRS i’m sure will have something slick for this camera.  I’ve pre-ordered but they haven’t shown any mockups yet.  Any time I HAD to use a grip in the past was generally not on a tripod.  So more to come on that front.  The bottom of this camera has a great rubber pad.  It just feels good all around.

-The camera has a REAL AC adapter port.  Not one of those fake battery things.  Nice.

-Something I’m not 100% sure of…but i’m fairly certain that the view orientation won’t change.  So if you are in portrait mode, the exposure meter, etc… all stay in landscape mode.  I think it would be nice for a camera designed to be used in portrait mode for the info to flip as well.  We’ll see…

Next up…I’ll give my button orientation and quick menu thoughts!

By the way, the picture at the top…I’ve added a film grain simulation to it.  I’ve been on this film grain kick lately.  No clue why.


5 responses on "Olympus E-M1X first day impressions"

  1. Great first impressions post! Looking forward to more.

  2. I will enjoy your journey with the new camera. I’ll probably stay with my EM-5ii for a while yet.

    • It’s funny…I look back to the first E-M1 with it’s much smaller hand grip compared to the MkII and now the X, and it feels tiny. The E-M5II is quite the powerhouse for it’s size being even smaller than the E-M1 due to the non-grip design. I have always favored the E-M1 body feel…but if the next E-M5 has a lot of this new tech, I may be adding one as my carry around camera and letting go of a couple E-M1 bodies.

  3. Thank you for the quick heads up, soon will have a testing one on my hands, can’t wait. As I can see still no 5 star button/menu rating option and no shutter counts visible on the menu or even on the Olympus Workspace Software (easy and fast way to see it so we can control our cameras like we do with our cars). For a pro camera this is a bummer, let’s hope they will firmware upgrade it in the near future for this one and all the others.

    • Much agreed. There are a lot of little workflow bits that would make things easier. Star ratings would be great that were in metadata. Also, if we would add keywords or other data into folders that would transfer. Or a naming convention in camera would be great. Stuff we do after anyways…but in camera would allow getting files to places quicker.

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