I only had one previous experience with micro 4/3 a few years ago with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 that I kinda liked but eventually didn’t keep. So, why not?
The E-M1 is very similar to the E-M5, just better in all ways. All that I liked on the E-M5 is there, and all I didn’t like has been improved. After a fews days playing with it, I was convinced: this was gonna be my new super light, small, inexpensive travel system: I decided to buy the Olympus 75-300 F/4.8-6.7 II for another 300 bucks. The 45-150 was nice, but I have no use for it and sold it: this is therefore a $500 system with a 35mm equivalent 600mm field of view that weighs less than a Nikon D4 body alone and fits in my iPad shoulder bag.
The electronic viewfinder is much better than the one in the E-M5, with even better magnification than the D4! It is crisp and clear, and lag is manageable. The stabilisation while framing and focusing works just great at 300mm making birds capture quite easy. That and the light weight of the system makes the tripod totally useless now. Less weight to carry when shooting wild life.
The screen update during fast burst is not really there yet, but it doesn’t render the camera totally useless in this scenario. I got used to it pretty fast.
The stabilisation while shooting single shot is great, and much less great when shooting burst, it also slows bursts  little. Since it isn't easy to QUICKLY change how the stabilization behaves without having to mess with the menu and there are not enough "MySets" to assign the different shooting scenarios I need (and they can’t be assigned to a button+wheel to switch them fast on the field): I had to compromise and waste two buttons and replace two modes on the mode dial.
- Antishock single shot, single AF, 1 small center AF point with stabilisation ON.
- Fast Burst 9fps, continuous AF, 9 AF points in a box, stabilisation OFF.
- Fast Burst 9fps, continuous AF, 1 small center AF point, stabilisation OFF.
- Silent burst 11fps, continuous AF, 1 small center AF point, stabilisation OFF.

The 85 points AF is much better than the E-M5 too. Techno babble: PDAF blablabla. It works really well and fast in single AF, work a little less well in continuous AF, and the tracking mode totally sucks.
There are lot of shooting modes: silent, anti shock, from 1 to 11 fps with a decent buffer of 40 photos and exposure / AF.

The 16MP sensor is plenty enough, it is as noisy as the E-M5, which isn’t really an issue with modern post processing software. It is worth noting that at ISO200 it is as noisy as the D4 at ISO800.
The dynamic range is improved compared to the E-M5, and at ISO200 it is similar to the D4 at ISO400: roughly 12.5 F-stops.

Battery life… well, no surprise it sucks. But with two new aftermarket batteries I bought to replace the old ones: one in the body and one in the grip, I get 500-600 shots. There is no GPS, but the cumbersome battery killing Olympus app can replace it when absolutely needed.

I’m still not going to invest a lot in this system. I’m playing with adapters, Minolta and Nikon lenses, which while being fun and interesting totally defeats the purpose of light weight portability. Except for the Minolta 50mm F/2.8 macro AF: I might add that small lens in the bag, there is room for it. 
When travelling my iPhone shoots great equivalent 26mm, and stitching even the old iphone XS RAWs for landscape photography is really good. The other focal lengths on the iPhone aren’t as good for me, but still usable in a super small package if absolutely needed: even the 13mm despite the soft corners is usable. I also will carry the super tiny non conspicuous and excellent Dxo One, 20MP, 32mm F/1.8 up to 45mm if I crop a little.
When Traveling I don't shoot razor thin depth of field portraits...
I might however get a 7.5mm fisheye or the Laowa 6mm rectilinear. I might actually even get a small Olympus PEN something just to put the wide angle lens permanently on it. Still small and light that would fit in my shoulder bag.

Handling the E-M1 with the grip is real good, all the buttons are programmable, and after some struggling with the menu I managed to set it up to my liking.
I shoot only Raw, I mostly use aperture priority mode, or manual mode, not very often do I use speed priority mode. These modes are as good as with any other camera, the exposure is accurate and the exposure compensation dial works as intended. All the Jpeg stuff I’m not interested in, but people say it’s quite nice.

Overall, it is a nice camera from 10 years ago, that doesn't feel like 10 year old. It is totally usable today for what I shoot. The newer models are no doubt improved in many ways, but they also cost a bit/lot more. The better pro long lenses are also much better, but totally defeat the purpose of having a lightweight small inexpensive system.
In my opinion, a 600mm field of view that weighs just over 2lbs and fits in a shoulder iPad bag for $500 just can’t be beat.

You may also like

Shooting the Sony A77 in 2022
If you have some A-mount lenses and want an APSC DSLR that can take them natively, you don’t have many options. Especially if you can’t / don’t want to spend a lot of money.
Fun with the DXO ONE in 2023
In 2015, Dxo decided to sell a tiny camera that connected to the iPhone. They used the 1inch 20MP sensor from the Sony RX100 m3 that I really love a lot, 32mm equivalent lens that is pretty bright: F/1.8 and shoots RAW.
Nikon N50 / F50 shooting Kodak UltraMax 400
I didn't shoot film for years. Didn't really plan to. Not that I don't like it, because I love film, but I just didn't have an opportunity to do so. When I saw that Nikon F50 with a 35-80 for 20 bucks, I just bought it. Ordered a new battery on amazon and a couple rolls of Kodak Ultramax 400
Birding with a cheap Sigma 135-400?
When it comes to birding, the common advice is to get a camera with low noise, fast AF, fast burst, big buffer and some long lens, preferably a super fast telephoto. It is indeed good advice, but you'll have to pay thousands of dollars to buy that gear, even on the used market. What if you want to shoot birds on a super tight budget? You'll still need some camera and lens. Maybe consider buying some older inexpensive gear?
Tokina 12-24 DX adapted on Micro 4/3
Some sample photos taken with the Tokina SD ATX pro 12-24 F/4 IF DX ASP Nikon F-Mount on the Olympus EM1.
Sony alpha A200: a Nikon D80 with IBIS
After Sony bought the Minolta photography department, they released the A100 in mid 2006, the A700 in mid 2007, and the A200/A300/A350 in early 2008. Two years after the Nikon D80, we find the same SONY ICX493AQA CCD sensor (wich is basically a slower ICX483AQA that was in the Nikon D200 released 3 years earlier) in what is basically a Minolta body with Sony branding imitating a Nikon D80..
Shooting the Minolta Maxxum / Dynax 7D in 2022
The short lived most advanced Minolta DSLR was released in late 2004. It became later the foundation for Sony's A-mount cameras. It featured the first in body stabilization in a DSLR, a 6MP CCD sensor and loads of controls. This camera is a photographer's delight. The body feels right, the controls are great and natural: coming from a film SLR, you just feel at home with the Minolta 7D. And You can use all the now often cheap quality Minolta lenses, as well as the more expensive Sony A-Mount lenses.
Sony RX100 m3: all you need from 24 to 70mm
I got this little camera for $200 a couple years ago and didn't write about it yet.
Shooting the Nikon D2Xs in 2022
During summer 2005, after a very long wait, the Nikon D2X was released. At the time my go to camera was the Minolta 7D that replaced my Nikon film cameras for my digital needs. I also shot the Nikon D70 but I prefered the Minolta. Both cameras were quite slow, and 6MP only. I wasn't really convinced by the Nikon D1/x/h/d2h. Soon after buying the D70, the D2X was announced, making me question that early GAS compulsive buy.
Shooting the Nikon D200 in 2022
The D200 is a camera I always loved. At the time it came out, it was a hell of a camera for the price Nikon asked. Shooting it in 2019 is still a pleasant experience. 2005 specs? that's outdated, nobody wants that. Photos taken with that camera will be ugly, especially compared to the Sony A9 ($4500), the Nikon D850 ($3000) or the Canon 5D mark whatever ($2700). Or will it not?
Back to Top