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UPDATING YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA OR LENS

Use the Digital Camera Updater incorporated into OM Workspace to update your firmware.

NEW STEP-BY-STEP VIDEO

Want to make sure you have the latest firmware on your OM SYSTEM and Olympus camera bodies and lenses. This latest video from OM SYSTEM expert David Smith covers the recently released OM-1 update from 1.0 to 1.1/1.2, the process is the same for any update for any model.

M1 MAC OWNERS

Learn how to enable camera drivers in Mac OS Monterey and Ventura.

FULL UPDATE PROCESS

Olympus Workspace has been replaced by OM Workspace. Please be sure you are using the latest version of OM Workspace before updating your camera.

You can download the newest firmware to your camera through the Internet. Please follow the steps below:

[ Downloading and Installing OM Workspace ]

The Olympus Digital Camera Updater is required for updating the firmware of your digital camera. This utility is now incorporated into OM Workspace and is fully 64-bit compatible.

Click the following question to see instructions for updating the E-M1 Mark II, E-M5 Mark II (firmware ver. 3.0 or later) and PEN-F (firmware ver. 2.0 or later):

[ Downloading and Applying the Firmware ]

This update may take up to 10 minutes.

    Do not disconnect the camera from the computer until the LCD on the camera displays OK. The firmware update is not complete until the camera displays OK. Disconnecting the camera before the firmware completes may render the camera inoperable.

Preparing to Update the Firmware:

  • Log on to your computer using an account with Administrator privileges.
  • Connect the computer to the Internet. We recommend using a hard-wired connection, if available, to limit the risk of service interruption during the firmware update. A wireless connection may also be used.
  • Make sure the camera has sufficient power to complete the operation. Use freshly charged batteries or the optional AC adapter. (Adapter not available for all models.)
  • Remove the memory card from the digital camera.

To update the firmware of your camera, follow the instructions below:

  • Open OM Workspace
  • Click Software Update in the Help menu in the OM Workspace menu bar

The updater checks via Internet if newer firmware versions are available. Click OK to proceed.

Note: Your camera may display a selection menu on the LCD. By default, the USB Connection mode for transferring images to the camera will already be selected. (Depending on the model, this may be either STORAGE or PC. If you do not know which mode to use, refer to the camera’s instruction manual.) Press the camera’s [OK] button to continue. The LCD will display One Moment. The connection is completed when the prompt disappears from the LCD.

  • If the latest firmware version is already applied, you will see the following message: You are already using the latest firmware. There is no need to update.
  • Add Display Language is displayed if the connected camera can add an alternative display language via Internet. If you click Add Display Language, you can add a display language for the camera (or you can exchange the already added language for any one of the other languages available).

Caution: This update may take up to 10 minutes. Do not disconnect the camera from the computer until the LCD on the camera displays OK. The firmware update is not complete until the camera displays OK. Disconnecting the camera before the firmware completes may render the camera inoperable.

  • If the firmware of your E-M5 is version 1.0. 1.2, you are required to update the camera twice. When the first update is completed, click Close to close the Digital Camera Updater. Then start the second update in the same procedure using the Digital Camera Updater.

Olympus Cameras

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The 12 best Olympus cameras ever, from Pen F to OM-D

Perhaps the biggest bombshell in the camera world this year came not in the form of an exciting new launch, but the news that Olympus – one of the world’s oldest and most respected brands – was parting ways with its camera business.

Olympus has been making cameras and lenses since 1936, and celebrated its overall centenary last year in 2019. Although rumors had long been swirling that its camera division might be sold, that gossip had been quashed on several occasions.

But this week, after several years of struggling to make a profit, Olympus decided to part ways with its imaging division, handing over the reins to a private investment firm. Hopefully, the latter will be able to transform the ailing business into a profit-making one again, so we can again see the return of classic sub-brands like Pen and OM-D.

Olympus camera owners and fans may be a little worried, but the company has been keen to stress that it’s very much “business as usual”. If you want to find out more of what the future holds for Olympus products, you can check out our explainer feature. For now, though, join us we take a misty-eyed stroll some of its finest camera moments.

Film credits

As a much-loved and a once extremely innovative camera brand, it’s a shame to see things go wrong for Olympus.

In its heyday, it was a household name with the massive celebrities advertising its latest models.

The digital revolution isn’t entirely to blame for its dwindling sales – Olympus was actually a very early pioneer of mirrorless cameras, coming together with Panasonic to introduce the Micro Four Thirds format.

recently, though, it’s doggedly stuck with that format, even in the face of full-frame and APS-C rivals, while smartphones have swallowed up a huge chunk of its hobbyist market, too.

While we’ve been big fans of some of Olympus’ more recent models, including the fantastic Olympus OM-D E-M1X and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, in this piece we’ll be looking back at some of the highlights from further back in the Olympus archives, stretching way back into its heritage.

There are some incredible innovations, but there are also some downright wacky cameras too – Olympus was nothing if not original.

olympus, digital, cameras

Here’s a look at some of our favorite iconic Olympus cameras of all time.

Olympus Pen F (1963)

Why it’s a classic: it showed the world that small and light was the way forward

Produced between 1963 and 1966, the original Pen F (which would later give its moniker to the digital edition in 2016) was truly a thing of beauty.

It was the world’s first (and only) ‘half frame’ SLR with interchangeable lenses – which meant that for a standard 36 exposure roll of film, you’d actually get 72 shots. Nifty.

Olympus has always been into its “small is beautiful” mantra, and by using a half-frame format, the camera itself and the accompanying lenses could be small and neat – much like the Micro Four Thirds system today.

At the time of its launch, the Pen F was a revolutionary camera, with innovations including the rotary titanium shutter, designed for both speed and durability. Plus, it looked like that.

Olympus Trip 35 (1968)

Why it’s a classic: it gave the masses an affordable, lightweight holiday camera

One of the biggest-selling Olympus cameras ever, the Trip 35 sold by the lorry-load during the two decades it was on the market.

So-called because of its portability as a travel camera, the Trip 35 is one of the most recognizable models in this list. It was easy to use and was priced at a point that most people could afford, too. Being completely mechanical, it also didn’t need a battery – another bonus for travel photographers who might not have access to a power source.

During the 1970s, iconic British photographer David Bailey advertised the camera, further boosting its popularity – in the end, more than ten million Trip 35s were sold.

Olympus OM-1 (1972)

Why it’s a classic: it showed you didn’t need a huge camera to get pro shots

Another example of Olympus pioneering the small form factor, the Olympus OM-1 was a direct competitor for bulkier models such as the popular Nikon F, at the time one of the default choices for working professionals.

Created by the same team responsible for the PEN F, the OM-1 was the world’s smallest and lightest 35mm SLR camera. To do this, it employed a range of ideas which were innovative at the time, such as equipping the camera with an air damper to absorb the shock of the mirror movement, and rest prevention technology for the lightweight steel of the body.

Several well-regarded photographers used an OM-1 for their work, including Patrick Lichfield, Josef Koudelka, Jane Bown, and Olympus stalwart, David Bailey.

Olympus O-product (1988)

Why it’s a classic: it took film camera design to new, eccentric places

This bizarre-looking creation is so eccentric it rivals early noughties Nokia for sheer design audacity. A point-and-shoot 35mm camera, the O-product included an autofocus 35mm f/3.5 lens which was protected by a built-in lens cap that moved out of the way when the camera is switched on.

Clad in aluminum, it was limited to just 20,000 units – with half of those reserved for the home Japanese market. The circle and square design carried over into the detachable strobe unit, while the shutter release his unusually found on the front of the camera.

Olympus mju (1991)

Why it’s a classic: it was one of the first desirable cameras

It might not be much to look at now, but at the time of its launch the Olympus mju was seen as incredibly stylish.

Small and sleek, it was specifically designed to fit perfectly in one hand and appealed to a variety of different photographers. It was fully automatic, with an integrated lens cover – you switched the camera on by moving the cover to the side.

than five million units were made, making it one of the most successful cameras in Olympus’ history. Originally sold in black, some 50,000 units were made in a limited edition silver finish, too.

Olympus E-1 (2003)

Why it’s a classic: It paved the way for modern Micro Four Thirds cameras

It’s from here that we really see Olympus embracing digital tech. It’s easy to forget that as recently as 2003, digital photography was still a new, exciting and emerging technology, with cameras like the E-1 being innovative pioneers at the time.

The E-1 was the first Olympus digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera that offered support for interchangeable lenses. It used a Four Thirds sensor, much smaller than the full-frame sensors, meaning it could be smaller and lighter than some of its contemporaries. The E-400, released three years later in 2006 was at the time the world’s smallest DSLR.

One of the best things about the E-1 was its tough credentials. It was completely weather-sealed – as were its accompanying lenses – making it a great choice for those who liked to shoot outdoors.

This was the start of Olympus’ foray into Four Thirds DSLRs, and while these cameras were eventually discontinued, it allowed the brand to experiment with the smaller sensor and technologies that would eventually lead to the much more compact Micro Four Thirds system we enjoy today.

Olympus mju 720 SW (2006)

Why it’s a classic: it helped photographers discover new ground (and shots)

Another model which may not seem much to look at now, the mju 720 SW was the world’s first ‘tough’ digital camera. It laid the rugged groundwork for a breed of camera that’s still going strong today.

Its thin and stylish body was shockproof, waterproof and rustproof, making it a safe choice to let the kids run off with. Although picture quality might not have been amazing – especially compared to modern cameras – it allowed pictures to be taken in situations previously unimaginable, such as while snorkeling or rafting.

Although much of the compact market has today been swallowed by ever-more-impressive smartphones, tough cameras can still be relied upon to deliver the goods where your smartphone simply can’t go (try smashing an iPhone off a rock or taking it 20 meters underwater). Following in the footsteps of the original mju 720 SW, the Olympus Tough TG-6 is currently one of the best on the market.

Olympus PEN E-P1 (2009)

Why it’s a classic: It brought retro design to digital cameras

Here’s where things got really interesting, and where we begun to see a noticeable shift in the camera world – not just for Olympus.

Micro Four Thirds was a collaboration between Panasonic and Olympus, who jointly announced the new format back at Photokina in 2008. It was Panasonic who got there first with an actual camera, but Olympus wasn’t too far behind with the PEN E-P1 in 2009.

olympus, digital, cameras

With a beautiful design based on the much-loved PEN analogue series, the E-P1 took everything Olympus had learned from its Four Thirds cameras, and packed it into a much smaller and more portable body. Indeed, this camera was seemingly based on the E-620 DSLR.

Over the next few years, Olympus would launch a variety of different PEN models at a range of price points and intended users, before branching off into the higher end OM-D models. Today, the PEN line-up is very much aimed at beginner users, with models such as the Olympus PEN E-PL10 being particularly popular with vloggers.

Olympus XZ-2 (2012)

Why it’s a classic: it set the bar premium compact cameras

If you’re looking for a premium compact camera in 2020, you’ll very much be drawn towards Sony and Canon, who’ve dominated the space for several years.

However, in 2012, the XZ-2 was a fantastic option, being stylish and powerful. It followed the XZ-1 (2011), and included an f/1.8-f/2.5 4x zoom lens, a tilting touch screen and a range of shooting modes.

It’s a shame that Olympus eventually withdrew from premium compacts when larger sensor compact cameras came along, because the design and usability of the XZ-2 was really quite lovely.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 (2012)

Why it’s a classic: it was one of the first great mirrorless cameras

After the success of the digital PEN series, it was time to revitalize the OM series for the modern age, with the bizarrely and confusingly named OM-D E-M5 launched towards higher-end photographers in 2012.

Putting aside the strange naming convention, the E-M5 was arguably one of the first really good mirrorless cameras, performing well enough to start convincing DSLR die-hards that this new type of camera might actually be the future.

It included a 16MP Four Thirds sensor, an inbuilt viewfinder, a tilting touchscreen and a much more DSLR-like form factor than the PEN series.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 (2013)

Why it’s a classic: It showed that Micro Four Thirds could be for pros

The OM-D E-M1 became the flagship Olympus camera in 2013 and was a noticeable shift towards a pro audience. It was also designed to work better with existing Four Thirds lenses, as well as the newer Micro Four Thirds optics.

Packing a lot of exciting technology into a body still smaller than most DSLRs (or the advanced models, at least) it included weatherproofing, a whip-fast autofocus system and an extremely impressive inbuilt electronic viewfinder.

Olympus has recently faced a lot of criticism for targeting professional users, arguably at the expense of its enthusiast models and fans.

Cameras like this, though, showed that for certain types of pro photographers – such as wildlife snappers – Micro Four Thirds is still a very viable option.

olympus, digital, cameras

Olympus PEN F (2016)

Why it’s a classic: it reinvented Olympus‘ heritage and style for the 21st century

Although the PEN series largely targeted beginners, with the OM-D series aimed at hobbyists and pros, the PEN F was a bit of an anomaly when it arrived in 2016.

With a design that almost exactly emulated the original PEN F, here was a high-end PEN with a range of advanced features, including a high-resolution 20MP sensor, 10fps shooting and inbuilt electronic viewfinders (which none of the previous PEN models had).

The chunky dials and retro stylings of the PEN F make it one of the most attractive cameras in recent years, without scrimping on the high-end specs. Olympus never followed up the PEN F, which always felt like a bit of a shame, but that didn’t stop rumors circulating among hopeful fans right up to this year.

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The Essentials – A Guide to the Best of Olympus Camera Systems

https://i0.wp.com/casualphotophile.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/olympus-essentials-product-photos-2.jpg?fit=3000%2C1687ssl=1 3000 1687 James Tocchio James Tocchio https://i0.wp.com/casualphotophile.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/james-square.jpg?fit=96%2C96ssl=1 October 31, 2018 June 14, 2021

Lusting after rare Nikons and Contaxes keeps me in occasional blinders. But every now and then, one of the writers here sends me a wakeup call. This happened the other day when Dustin, our resident Olympus freak, forwarded a gorgeous photo of a mint condition OM-3Ti, and I couldn’t think of a good reason not to own one.

Oh yeah. I forgot. I love Olympus.

So here I am, a few days later putting the final touches on the latest edition of our ongoing feature, The Essentials. We’ve already listed the very best from Nikon, Minolta, and Canon, and today we’re showcasing the best of the best from the brand that Maitani built. From impossibly small rangefinders to never-miss point-and-shoots, revolutionary SLRs and even the odd Olympus TLR, here are some amazing Olympus cameras to add to the collection.

Best Professional-Level 35mm SLR Camera – Olympus OM-4Ti

Olympus professional-level cameras don’t get the sort of talking time enjoyed by the robust and versatile system machines that Nikon and Canon produced for photojournalists and war reportage. But that’s not because they weren’t as good or as capable. Olympus has long created cameras and systems capable of working for a living, most obviously in their OM series of 35mm SLRs. Over thirty-odd years, each of the flagship cameras in the OM line offered all the features of their era, plus a full range of lenses and attachments for all uses; microphotography, dental photography, laboratory use – the list goes on.

But what made the OM series special, compared to professional camera ranges from other makers, was their size. When the OM-1 launched in 1972, it showed the photographic world that it was possible to have a professional-level camera in an incredibly small package. Olympus’ OM-1 shocked the photo world and spurred every camera maker to continual pursuit of higher technology in smaller form factors. And of Olympus’ many pro-spec 35mm SLRs, the one to own today must certainly be the OM-4Ti.

Debuting in 1986, the OM-4Ti enjoyed a remarkably long production run for a film camera, not being discontinued until 2002. It was a new and updated version of the earlier OM-4, enhanced with titanium top and bottom body plates, improved weather sealing, and a higher-speed flash sync. But beyond these important improvements, the OM-4Ti retained the earlier camera’s core DNA. And this is wonderful, considering that camera’s spec sheet.

It offered an electromechanical shutter capable of speeds from 240 seconds to 1/2000th of a second (plus bulb mode), aperture-priority auto-exposure mode, plus manual exposure shooting mode, a world’s first metering mode in which the camera automatically averaged eight different areas of the frame plus a built-in spot metering mode, and the OM series’ incredibly massive viewfinder rounded out the major features.

The quality of its construction and the high-tech feature set made the OM-4Ti a remarkable camera when new, and today it’s still one of the best film SLRs that money can buy.

Best Enthusiast Camera – Olympus XA

Legendary Olympus designer Yoshihisa Maitani’s entire professional life’s pursuit was miniaturization. In his earliest days developing the Pen half-frame camera (Olympus’ first major sales success) he was driven by the compactness and quality of his Leica camera. For the rest of his life he pushed Olympus to design and produce smaller cameras with better lenses. The culmination of this pursuit (and the final Olympus camera that Maitani personally designed) was the Olympus XA.

The impressiveness of the XA can’t be overstated. For me, a shooter who values compactness and prefers to shoot in aperture-priority semi-auto mode, the XA is virtually perfect. It’s a tiny 35mm rangefinder camera with aperture-priority, manual FOCUS, an in-viewfinder rangefinder patch, and one of the best metering systems I’ve ever used. Creative controls in the form of aperture selector and exposure compensation make it a true artistic tool, and its form factor means it can fit into a (indeed, Maitani designed it to fit in a front shirt ).

Adhering to Maitani’s overarching philosophy that a camera is only as good as its lens, the XA features an amazingly sharp and distortion-free Zuiko 35mm F/2.8 fast prime lens. It is one of the best lenses ever placed in a fixed-lens camera, and it’s the single aspect of the camera that elevates the XA from a good camera to an amazing one. In fact, the XA is one of my favorite cameras ever made and I’m still fuming that Josh, and not I, was the CP writer who reviewed it. Who’s running this place anyway?!

Best Beginner’s Camera – Olympus 35RC

People who are just getting into film photography are often looking for a classic camera that looks gorgeous, makes beautiful images, offers a helping hand in the form of automation, and allows them room to grow. The Olympus 35RC checks all these boxes with emphatic, red ink.

What makes this camera ideal for the beginner is that it offers shutter-priority auto-exposure. This will allow the new film shooter to quickly understand the parameters of shutter speed and aperture and how each setting impacts the final image. The manual FOCUS rangefinder will help the shooter understand composition and feel more connected to the act of image-making, and the inclusion of full-manual mode will offer the photographer greater creative control as his or her experience grows.

It’s not as rare as some other Olympus 35 series cameras (such as the top-of-the-heap RD) so are pretty low, another important factor for those just getting interested in film or photography. It also looks fantastic. And that never hurts.

For the Collector

Olympus has made quite a few collectible cameras. There’s the pre-name change Olympus M-1 (named after its designer, Maitani, the M-1 would later be renamed OM-1 after protests from Leica). M-1s were made for a very brief period and had matching “M-System” Zuiko lenses (further details in our full OM-1 review). Then there’s the also-rare OM-3, a mechanical SLR that was so similar to the still-in-production OM-1 that most buyers of the day purchased the earlier camera at a much lower price. The low sales numbers and brief production run has made the OM-3 something of a collector’s item today, like the M-1, and it’s the rarity of these machines that makes them each a must-have for the Olympus collector.

There’s the weird and wonderful Olympus O-product from 1988, an industrially-designed point-and-shoot film camera created by a truly characterful Japanese designer, Naomi Sakai. This point-and-shoot looks like no other camera out there, functions surprisingly well, and can actually make really pretty photos (a full review was penned last year).

Then there’s the Olympus Pen W, the incredibly rare, wide-angle-lens-equipped, half-frame compact that was manufactured for less than one year. This machine is the least common Olympus Pen production model ever made, and finding one in pristine condition today is many Olympus fans’ Holy Grail (got one – review coming soon).

And I must mention Olympus’ Twin Lens Reflex camera the Olympus Flex. This range of machines was made during the TLR boom of the 1950s, which saw Olympus doing their best to replicate the design (and success) of the famed Rolleiflex. They have relatively quick f/2.8 viewing and taking 75mm Zuiko lenses that make great images, even if they don’t enjoy the reputation of the famous German TLR on which the original was based.

Essential Lenses

Rumor has it that Maitani, wanting a perfect standard lens to use on the OM cameras, had the OM System 40mm f/2 designed and built to his personal and exacting specifications. According to our writer Dustin, who’s been shooting the thing for the past two months, perfect it is. Somewhat rare, a bit pricey but worth every penny, the 40mm f/2 is a fast, sharp, and characterful standard lens. If you’re shooting an OM, try to get one.

The OM System 28mm f/3.5 is well regarded as one of the best 28mm lenses ever to come out of Japan. It’s a distortion-free wide-angle lens, and though the sluggish maximum aperture might turn off some shooters, those who overlook this supposed fault will be shooting one of the best lenses ever made.

Dustin tells me the 50mm f/2 macro lens is the sharpest 50mm ever made. I’ve never used it, but I believe him, since he’s shot more rolls through Olympus cameras than anyone I know. I’ll whip him into reviewing the thing and we’ll see if he’s right, together.

Trying Out an Olympus OM-D: Why Are These Cameras Not That Popular?

I have met a lot of photographers who are using an Olympus camera. They are often very enthusiastic about their gear. A lot of their functions cannot be found in other cameras, which makes Olympus quite unique. If these cameras are so unique, why aren’t these more popular? I tried an Olympus for a few weeks to find out.

The Olympus OM-D cameras are compact and lightweight. A camera with a set of lenses can be carried in a small camera bag, perfect for traveling. When I guided a tour at Lofoten, the Olympus photographers in my group were the ones that traveled with only a small camera bag, while carrying more lenses than the Nikon, Canon, Fujfiilm, and Sony users.

The thing that struck me the most were the amazing options that were built into these small cameras: live star tracking, seeing a long exposure gathering light live on screen, image stabilization that rendered a tripod unnecessary, and more. Often, I understood why the Olympus photographers were so enthusiastic about their cameras.

But at the same time, I wondered why Olympus cameras aren’t more common. When I talked to the local camera shop, they said Olympus isn’t selling very well. A lot of secondhand Olympus cameras were available. So, why is a Olympus camera not that popular, while it seems to be so great? To find out, I borrowed a Olympus OM-D E-M1 II with a nice set of lenses.

I wanted to try an Olympus for two reasons. First of all, I wanted to learn more about this small camera. Making myself familiar with it would make it possible to assist the workshop and masterclass participants that were using Olympus much better. But it would also give an idea of the capabilities of the camera itself.

One Camera and Four Lenses

I received the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II together with a M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.2 lens, a M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 lens, a M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lens, and a M.Zuiko 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7. It is a wonderful set for both portrait photography and landscape photography. The lenses are great quality, although the 75-300mm lens is a cheaper, lesser model. Unfortunately, the current crisis made it not possible to arrange more than a single portrait session, for which the 17mm and 25mm lens were perfect.

The camera itself has a great design. Although it is very small, it feels very comfortable in my hands. The button layout is also very good. I don’t know if other Olympus camera models have the same feel, but I hope they do. There are two SD card slots available, something I find important. The one thing I did not particularly like was the rotation wheel around the shutter button, but it is something I could get used to. Although the PSAM wheel has the three custom settings, the Olympus also has a special handle to switch between two different states. It allows the user to customize the camera even more.

I haven’t been able to adjust the camera completely to my own needs. There wasn’t enough time for that. But it became clear how the settings of this camera can easily be changed completely with just a single switch. If you like to perform different kinds of photography like I do, it is very easy to change the camera into a completely different one.

Browsing Through the Menu

The menu structure of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II is very extensive. It has six main categories, covering most standard settings. But it is the custom menu that offers an enormous amount of pages, each having up to seven settings. The pages range from the letter A to J, some of which are divided in different numbers, like A1, A2, A3, A4, and so on. In total, there are 21 different pages, making it time consuming to find a certain setting. There is some logical order, but it will take some time to learn to find the right setting very quickly. In particular, the more exotic options are located far away, and it might take more time to reach a certain setting. Some options are somewhat cryptic, requiring the manual to find out what they do.

Unfortunately, Olympus does not provide a personal menu option, which would allow you to gather a selection of menu options that will be used very regularly. Although a lot of buttons can be customized, a custom menu option would be more than welcome.

It Is So Small Because It Has a Smaller Sensor

Using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II is a lot of fun. But taking it with you is even more fun. Compared to my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, it feels almost like a small compact camera, while offering more options than the Canon. The size and weight of the Olympus system makes it very convenient for travel or to take the camera with you on a long hike.

The M43 sensor of the Olympus is the reason for its reduced size and weight, of course. The sensor is about half the size of a full frame, which makes it able to minimize the dimensions of the camera and lenses. On top of that, it is a mirrorless camera, which has to be taking into account also when comparing it to a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. The crop factor of the M43 sensor is 2x, making it possible to reduce the focal length. That is why the 17mm and 25mm f/1.2 lenses are perfect portrait lenses, resembling a 35mm and a 50mm on a full frame. But instead of being large and heavy lenses, these are very compact. The 75-300mm lens is an equivalent of 150-600mm on full frame, while the size is similar to a 24-105mm lens.

The sensor of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II is about 20 megapixels, which is more than enough for most types of photography. It produces a great image and nice colors out of the box, although I change every photo to my liking in Lightroom. Because of the small sensor, noise is likely to occur more easily when the ISO levels are raised and when more extreme post-processing is performed also. I believe this is the biggest issue when it comes to Olympus cameras.

Noise Levels

How bad is the noise? Well, I was shooting small birds with the M.Zuiko 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 lens, which needed a higher ISO level because of its small aperture at 300mm. I bumped up the ISO levels to 2,500 and 3,200 and found out it wasn’t too bad at all. Yes, it has some noise compared to my big DSLR camera, but it can be reduced very well in Lightroom. This way, you end up with an image that can be used for a lot of applications.

Also, the dynamic range of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II is not all that bad. Underexposed areas can be recovered reasonably well. Noise will occur more easily, of course. But then again, with the right amount of noise reduction, the result is acceptable.

An Olympus Camera or Not an Olympus Camera?

I do like the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II very much. Its possibilities are amazing, and it handles very well despite its small size. But its small sensor makes it more difficult to shoot with high ISO levels. Also, the dynamic range of the camera’s sensor is less than I would like to have, although I did not test it very thoroughly. For my landscape photography, I wouldn’t care too much about the dynamic range of the sensor. On most occasions, it is better to use gradient filters or just plain old HDR. It is a completely different story when it comes down to my wedding photography. For that, I wouldn’t be happy using this Olympus camera.

Bottom line, the Olympus is not the right camera for me. But I envy the users of the Olympus system for its small size and how easy it is to carry a camera and set of lenses with you. It is a very capable camera, with amazing possibilities that could benefit a lot of photographers. It is strange it isn’t more popular. I wonder, is it just because of its small sensor? Or is there another reason?

What do you think about the Olympus camera system? Are you using one? Please share your opinion or experiences in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below.

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Nando Harmsen is a Dutch photographer that is specialized in wedding and landscape photography. With his roots in the analog photo age he gained an extensive knowledge about photography techniques and equipment, and shares this through his personal blog and many workshops.

I use my Oly during hiking, biking or exploring cities. I never print larger than A2 and do not shoot moving subjects in dim light. So for me its the perfect tool. Interesting that DR difference was so perceptible for you. Both cams are not too far away from each other (dxomark: 12.8 vs. 13.6).

I don’t look at lab results like dxomark. Real live tells a better story, I think

photographers, the one using the camera, makes big difference in photos, but at the same time, having good gears help in many ways is also a fact.

I found light weight camera and gears such as olympus more enjoyable when travelling, hiking and even a walking. Comparison with like Canon full frame cameras, when I put mine side by side with their photos, I do notice the differences in the shallower dept of fields or dynamic range, but looking at each photo and not by side by side comparison, it seems to make little practical differences to me. So I still stick to my MFT gears for now.

I mostly moved from Olympus to Sony five years ago, but I’ve kept my E-M1. One big reason is that nobody does weather sealing like Olympus does.

ONe of my participants of the Lofoten trip dropt his Olympus in salt water. It didn’t hurt the camera. Just washed of the salt under the tap. 🙂

Weather sealing is very important to me. I have been rather satisfied with the weather sealing and overall durability of the Canon 1 series DSLRs I have owned. but if Olympus weather sealing is even better, then it may be worth looking into the Olympus system. (although I don’t like small cameras and would probably prefer to stick with cameras that are larger and fill my hand more comfortably).

Imaging Resource has an eleborate set up for testing weather protection that they detail here: https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2020/03/13/how-to-really-weather-s.

EXTREMELY impressive! It is freaking awesome that Olympus takes weather sealing so seriously. Now I really wish they would make a larger, heavier cameras with much larger sensors (but not medium format).

I want Olympus weather sealing, Canon user interface, Canon lenses, either Sony, Nikon, or Sony image quality, and Sony autofocus.

I use my Oly for everything. Don’t have or need other systems. And I’m quite happy with it. The lenses are amazing and the body’s full of features.

This month in Europe Olympus has a good deal. When you buy a Olympus E-M1 Mark II you can get a free f/1.2 prime (17, 25 or 45) with it.

It isn’t that popular because of marketing. And the FF police on places like DPR who can’t accept some people make other choices.

Indeed, the sensor size is one of the reasons. People are fixed on full frame. Just like me, to be honest. Ah well. not really fixed, but I prefer the larger sensor.

It’s hard to ignore the 2-stop difference in real world shooting favouring FF over MFT, and then in post you get 1-2 added stops. That makes a HUGE difference in quality of files. If all you do is web share, then MFT works. If you are a commercial or large print photog, MFT is not acceptable. It should be priced much lower to compensate for the lesser sensor quality. Other than that, excellent systems, priced and managed wrong.

It’s hard to ignore the 4-8 stop practical advantage of Olympus versus most FF when you factor in image stabiization. That’s what ultimately won me over from Canon FF back in 2016. Yes, there is less room for sloppy exposure choices.

Why dont you recommend for weddings?

Because of the noise levels. I often shoot at high ISO.

The professional award winning wedding photographer I hired back in 2010 used a Canon 450D (or maybe even a 400D) paired with some L lenses. The results where great, and they still are.

I’ve shot a few weddings with the original E-M5 and no one ever complained about the noise. even though 90% of the photos were high ISO ones. And the noise is much less noticeable with the newer 20MP sensor so I’m all set for the next ~5 years with my E-M5III.

Yes, generally people get too hung up on noise. Unless you really need noise free prints (important for a very small group). the 20mp M4/3 cams like Olympus are totally fine.

The concern over noise is often warranted.

Many of the stock agencies have an EXTREMELY demanding review process, in which images are scrutinized by a review panel at far beyond 100 percent views. This is pixel peeping at the highest level, and if the images you submit show any noise grain, or any signs of having used noise-reduction software, then they will be rejected by the reviewers.

The same is often true when submitting directly to magazine, calendar, and fine art publishers. They have very stringent submission guidelines, and technical image quality lies at the very core of their extreme standards.

I’ve used the original E-M5 for events. Having a faster prime lens really saved me because I was shooting 6,400 ISO and above. While noise levels weren’t great, nobody else would know the better.

for well light. environment, and well. lit party scenes, I have no issues using Olympus MFT. However when it gets dark and bump up ISOs to like 3200 or higher, I wish for a bigger sensor, thinking, a bigger sensor with a fast prime lens would do a better job, especially in a dark lit party scenes, and people are moving and not still.

Olympus an excellent camera but it faces competition from every direction. Professionals have been well served by Nikon and Canon; more so now by their new mirrorless cameras. Sony cameras launched frequently with improved sensors. Fujifilm following a more traditional path with LEICA stylling. The key point how retailers view Olympus looking at sales turnover. Maybe Olympus seen more as an amateur camera. Perception is everything.

I remember the old Olympus cameras from the previous millennium. It has always been a less popular brand, even back then. Strange, if you think of it.

In deed. Visited a church some months ago where you were supposed to buy a voucher for taking photos. Showed my small Oly and didnt have to by one. Great captures for our family book thanks to IBIS.

Yes, I agree. Perception plays an important role, not just for camera buyers but also by the subjects and clients. I felt people who are photographed, photo subjects seem to think big camera and lenses would make better photos of them than smaller gears like Olympus. A group of us, viewing and comparing photos taken by different size formats but from a same scene, a few people get surprised to notice similar or comparable quality of photos coming of small Olympus cameras.

I had an Olympus outfit until a few years back when I switched to Nikon DSLRs. Main reasons? Battery life, start-up time, viewfinder lag, low light performance (both noise and acquiring FOCUS) and ergonomics. The good points were size, weather-sealing and general build quality. I really liked using them. About a year ago I almost bought an EM1X but I bought D850 instead. I’m probably going to reduce the amount of photography I’m doing, very soon, and I’m seriously considering an E-M5.

Battery life, startup time, viewfinder lag, ergonomics. they addressed these issues, I think. Only the low light performance doesn;’t keep up with the full frame camera’s of today. If you don;t need low light performance, it is a very capable camera.

It is funny that the biggest complaint is the noise in high ISO. It almost starts to seem that everyone wants to shoot in pitch black conditions and want the photos to look like they’ve been taken in daylight. 🙂

I agree. It’s not difficult to expose and post process to minimize noise in most situations. I’ve never had a problem producing images that accomplish what I want with my E-M1 Mk.2 or Mk.3. It wasn’t that long ago that the best of Canon or Nikon didn’t have any more dynamic range and any better high ISO performance than the current m43 sensors. Go back only 25 years and look at the best color films for DR and ‘high’ ISO performance, then have another look at the newest m43 cameras. If I was really worried about noise and all the other ‘weaknesses’ of the format, I’d go right past FF to MF.

No, it means shooting people in the evening at iso800 you will start losing texture and details of the clothes and skin. This may or may not be important for your photographic styles.

You said it exactly as it is. When I shoot weddings, I need to be able to shoot without flash at ISO6400 without problems.

It does seem that the high sensitivity sensors have made photographers lazy in terms of lightning and getting exposure right. My wife and I were sitting in a new restaurant and the photographer from the local paper was in photographing the place for an article. Looked to be a Nikon D4/D5 (not sure which) and a 70-200 VR 2.8 lens (that I recognized as I still have one from my Nikon kit) so a combination that should be good in low-light. So they start bringing out food for her photograph and she is taking photos with just ambient light. Not even a speedlight. I turned to my wife and said I wonder how those are going to turn out? Needless to say, when the article ran, the only photo was of the owners (husband and wife) in front of their restaurant (outside). None of the food pictures were used (and I wonder if they were even usable). If I was the owners, I would have been disappointed that not one of those meals I prepared for them to take photos of. not one was used.

On the flipside, what this guy is doing with the Lumix G100 (which the YouTube posse has declared Panasonic’s worst camera) is incredible, sometimes even with the kit lens.

It’s not the camera, it’s you.

It’s not the camera, it’s you.

Exactly! The cameras have been good enough for years already.

It’s the guy who brings along 2000 worth of lighting for a 45 second clip!

And it is lit correctly. people bring more lighting to a 30 second ad. Correct technique is correct technique.

Would you rather be the photographer who brought 2000.00 worth of lightning to a 45 second clip and got what was needed / wanted or the photographer who brought 5000 worth of camera and lens and got little to nothing in one hour?

Well yes, that is what I want. I submit my images to publishers who receive hundreds of photos from other wildlife photography professionals. The images I submit are in direct competition with hundreds of other photos, and the Director of Photography who makes final selections is extremely concerned about technical image quality.

Many publishers do not allow any editing. we must submit unedited as shot image files. So we must have images that are free of noise grain in the first place, because we are not allowed to use any noise reduction software.

And of course, many opportunities with wildlife happen at dawn and dusk, when animals are most active and light is at very low levels.

So yes, I/we do want to take photos in very low light, and have them be completely free of noise grain. because they are being scrutinized by potential purchasers, and in direct competition with images that were taken in daylight conditions.

That’s am interesting switch! What kind of shooting do you do?

The reason I no longer use Olympus products is that every last product I owned from Olympus (except lenses) died at the most inappropriate time starting with my OM-2 whose shutter curtain hung up on a trip to Europe in ’81. End of story.

So it’s basically like someone ate an awful-tasting hamburger in the 90s and decided to never eat one again. =)

No, it’s like having bought several pieces of equipment over 25 years, all of which failed. Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me. Fool me 7 times; all optimism for the company goes out the window like a power fart. ( 8

didn’t you carry a back up? I never had 1 go out but I used my M1 as back up.

I started out with a second hand Canon EOS 7D mkii and have acquired a reasonable set of mostly second hand lenses. I then bought a second hand EOS sl2 200D because of the smaller size and 24mp sensor lifted from the EOS 80D. I preferred the smaller camera and started photographing birds. I’ve since bought the entry level OMD E-M10 mkiii plus two kit lenses brand new and a second hand 75-300mm MFT lens. The 7D mkii is best for birds in flight with excellent tracking FOCUS. The sl2 200D was better for photographing Auriculas a plant with a startling white circular centre next to a darker velvety high contrast and darks outer margins on the same flower without blowing out the white. Both the Canon cameras have anti aliasing filters which can yield slightly less than tack sharp fine detail.

The OMD without an anti-aliasing filter gives me more tack sharp photographs and is becoming my go to camera, it is definitely my holiday travel camera. The only way I would use the OMD for portraits would be in its portrait mode as this provides the sort of image smoothing that the Canon’s with their anti-aliasing produce all the time. The cost of Olympus OMD is such that I may upgrade within that system and slowly back out of the Canon system as the cost of RF is too much for my hobbyist and the range of their M series lenses is too small. The E-M10 mkiii with two lens kit in silver livery was the most popular selling camera in Japan last year. The all black version was also in the top 10 best sellers. So they are more popular than other brands in that market.

I would like to think there is no single best tool that can do multiple jobs. Thank you sharing your thought. I thought it is very well balanced opinion.