Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review: The sports body that targets Canon and Nikon

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Review – Olympus OM-D E-M1X, The practice of sport and nature photography is demanding that not only large, solid cameras are required, but also powerful telephoto lenses. The problem here is twofold. The equipment is heavy, but it is also expensive. As not everyone has 15,000 euros or the back of a third rugby line, Olympus has a solution: its OM-D E-M1X and its Micro 4/3 optical system.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1X is Mr. muscle

As small as they are, the OM-D E-M1 and OM-D E-M1 Mark II have a very good reputation for their durability. The E-M1X obviously goes further, much further with its heavy magnesium alloy frame, a frame even thicker than on the E-M1 Mark II and protected by even more gaskets. The battery and memory card hatches are not only sealed against the elements, but also equipped with a locking mechanism that prevents unintended opening. No control (lever, button) is flush so that a drop has little risk of pulling anything out while the stiffness of the one-piece housing makes you want to hammer nails with it – although in all honesty , a hammer is still better suited.  

Optics, the other lethal weapon of the E-M1 X

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a professional who uses this kind of large format camera, like a photographer from PQR. The traditional kit of such a professional consists of two cameras with a 24-70mm on one and a 70-200mm on the other, both opening at f / 2.8 if the photographer or publication still has silver, f / 4 for a cheaper and lighter kit. The range 24 to 200 mm allowing to cover almost everything, from the fairs of the retirement home through the visit of the local deputy, the local lounge, etc. In the case of a professional SLR – Canon EOS 1DX Mark III or Nikon D5 – the complete manufacturer’s kit weighs between 3.7 and 4.0 kg in f / 2.8 and between 2.7 and 3.0 kg in f / 4 . If the large format body of the Olympus OM-D E-M1X is a little lighter (between 300 and 400g less than the Canon and Nikon), it is with the optics that the bag is really lightened: Only 2, 26 kg f / 2.8 in kit version f / 2.8 (and with a narrower focal length of 300 mm as a bonus). And only 1.56 kg in f / 4, thanks to the amazing 12-100 mm f / 4 constant, a zoom almost impossible to achieve in full frame.  

Image quality: sufficient level largely achieved

Let’s be clear: a full-frame 24 x 36 mm sensor will always offer a higher level of detail and better digital noise management than a small Micro 4/3 sensor, especially at equivalent image definition. The EM1-X showing 20 Mpix like its two competitors with the sensor four times larger, it is obvious that the digital noise levels are higher. The maximum subjective threshold of optimum quality is rather around 3200-6400 ISO against 12,800 or even ISO 25,600 for the other two. The dynamic range of the Olympus is also a threshold lower – there is a little less recovery in shadows and highlights.  
Dual processor for more power
As is often the case with monoblock cameras, one image processor is not enough. Just like Canon’s 1DX Mark II embeds two Digic 6s, the OM-D E-M1X is driven by two TruePic VIII chips. Chips which, like the sensor, are the subject of special attention in terms of heat dissipation since the high image rate must not disturb the burst.  

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