100 Years of Excellence: Olympus OM-D E-M1X Announced

Only a milestone new Olympus product could befit this year, Olympus’ 100th anniversary. Following a century of innovation, the manufacturer has just announced its most advanced camera to date: the Olympus OM-D E-M1X.

Boasting super-fast performance, an extraordinary AI-based AF tracking system and the world’s best image stabilisation, the E-M1X was designed to give the most demanding of photographers what they asked for. That was, in essence, "absolute confidence"—in the camera’s build, image quality, and day-to-day performance.

We were lucky enough to take the E-M1X for a test run, and first impressions were decidedly impressive.

OM-D E-M1X image

From E-M1 Mark II to E-M1X: A ‘Flagship Reimagined’

Robustly built, feature-rich, and punching (quality speaking) exceptionally well above its modest weight, Olympus’s flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II has enjoyed continued acclaim since its release in 2016. Market-wise, the new E-M1X will sit alongside it. But while the E-M1X inherits many of the earlier model’s impressive feature set (e.g. 20.4MP Live MOS Sensor, 121-point autofocus system, and superb weather sealing), it’s been substantially bolstered with new tech, design and features.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1X Key Features

Design

Compared to the E-M1 Mark II, the E-M1X’s most notable difference is an integrated battery grip. This gives a secure and comfortable hold when you shoot horizontally or vertically, without compromising too much on the camera’s portability. Olympus has added new controls (e.g. a multi-point selector for quickly and smoothly adjusting the AF area) and revolutionised the button design and layout to provide optimal operability while using the viewfinder.

Like its predecessor, the E-M1X is thoroughly weather sealed (we put it in a fountain without concern or issue) but retains its dust-, splash-, and freeze-proof (-10°C) performance even when connected to a remote cable, microphone or headphone jack.

Stability

Of special note is the camera’s new gyro sensor, which provides the world’s best image stabilisation of 7.5 shutter speed compensation steps (when used with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO lens), or 7 shutter speed compensation steps when no lens is attached.

Speed

It’s in the world of sports, action and wildlife that this camera really shines. Everything about the E-M1X is fast. Two TruPic VIII processors and dual UHS-II SD card slots assure speedy start-up, sleep mode recovery and overall responsiveness, and both batteries can be fully charged in-camera in just 2 hours. The camera can continuously shoot at up to 60 fps, capturing split-second action impossible to see with the human eye. 18 fps continuous shooting is possible with AF/AE tracking and, as a bonus, both continuous shooting speeds can be achieved in silent mode.

Precision

The E-M1X shares the E-M1 Mark II’s popular 121-point All-cross-type On-Chip Phase Detection AF, which allows for fast, precise and flexible focusing even with variations in subject speed and movement. But the E-M1X’s focusing capabilities go one step further. Developed from Deep Learning AI, its new Intelligent Subject Detection AF system (for stills only) auto-detects and -tracks planes, trains and motorsport vehicles with incredible speed and accuracy. On our test shoot we did little more than wave the camera at a car and it locked focus.

Video

The E-M1X’s superb 5-axis IS makes it possible to record steady, handheld footage in 4K and cinema-4K. You can also shoot 120 fps high speed movies in full HD. The included OM-Log400 preserves shadow and highlight detail and offers a flat colour profile, giving plenty of scope when it comes to colour grading.

Extra Features

Don’t think that the E-M1X only caters for action shooters. Thanks to popular demand by landscape photographers, its Handheld High Res Shot feature allows an incredible 50MP handheld photo capture, effectively banishing the need for a tripod. If you do use one, 80MP images can be captured while using Tripod High Res Shot.

There’s also an excellent Live ND feature that lets you preview and create slow shutter effects (equivalent to ND2-ND32, or 1-5 stops) without an external neutral density filter.

The camera even has built-in field sensors for recording capture conditions like temperature, elevation and GPS coordinates – perfect for travel and outdoor enthusiasts.

OM-D E-M1X sample

E-M1 Mark II vs E-M1X 

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

(Released 2016)

Olympus OM-D E-M1X

(Due February 2019)

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Integrated vertical grip

20.4MP Live MOS Sensor (Micro Four Thirds)

20.4MP Live MOS Sensor (Micro Four Thirds)

TruePic VIII Dual Quad Core Processor

2x TruePic VIII Dual Quad Core Processors

2.36m-dot 120 fps high-speed EVF with 1.3x magnification

2.36m-dot 120 fps high-speed EVF with 0.83x magnification

5-Axis Sync Image Stabilisation (up to 5.5 steps compensation)

5-Axis Sync Image Stabilisation (up to 7.5 steps compensation)

121-point All-cross-type On-chip Phase Detection AF

121-point All-cross-type On-chip Phase Detection AF

-

Intelligent Subject Detection AF for planes, trains & motor vehicles

Up to 60 fps continuous shooting (silent)

60 fps blackout-free continuous shooting (standard/silent)

18 fps with AF/AE tracking

18 fps with AF/AE tracking

Pro Capture mode

Pro Capture mode 

50MP High Res Shot feature

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50MP Handheld High Res Shot feature

80MP Tripod High Res Shot feature 

DCI 4K/24p & 4K/30p video recording

4K, C4K & 120 fps in full HD video recording 

Maximum 29 minute video recording time

No video recording time limit

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OM-Log400 colour grading

Anti-flicker shooting and flicker scan

Anti-flicker shooting and flicker scan

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Live ND (ND2-ND32)

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In-built Field Sensors

USB tethering

5.4Ghz Wi-Fi tethering to PC or Mac

1x UHS-II & 1x UHS-I SD card slot

2x UHS-II SD card slots

Dustproof, splashproof & freezeproof to -10° C                 

Dustproof, splashproof & freezeproof to -10° C                 

1x BLH-1 battery

2x BLH-1 batteries

Dimensions: H 90.9 x W 134.1 x D 68.9mm

Dimensions: H 146.8 x W 144.4 x D 75.4mm 

Weight: 498g (body only)

Weight: 849g (body only) 

 

Is It For Me?

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II and E-M1X’s common features make both cameras highly eligible options for those wanting pro-level performance and a high image-quality-to-bulk/weight ratio.  

Photographers and filmmakers who travel, shoot weddings or just want the most compact system possible are likely to prefer the E-M1 Mark II. However, the E-M1X has clear advantages for action, sports, wildlife shooters requiring that extra speed and focusing intelligence, as well as outdoor shooters who’ll benefit from the High Res Shot, Live ND and field sensor functions.

Availability & Pre-orders

The Olympus E-M1X will be available from late February. Pre-order yours by 24 February 2019 to receive 2x bonus 32GB 300MB/s UHS-II SD cards, a $200 CameraPro gift voucher, and free shipping for your order.

Olympus EM1X Sample
Olympus EM1X Sample
Olympus EM1X Sample
Olympus EM1X Sample

Also Announced

  • Olympus FL-700WR Electronic Flash, FC-WR Wireless Commander & FR-WR Wireless Receiver (scheduled late February)

Powerful yet compact and lightweight, the Olympus FL-700WR offers wireless radiowave shooting within a range of 30m, with a maximum guide number of 422. During wireless shooting, the FL-700WR can be used as a commander or a flash with built-in receiver. It’s also compatible with E-M1X and E-M1 Mark II features such as High Res Shot, Focus Stacking, and Focus Bracketing. The FL-700WR flash, FC-WR commander and FR-WR receiver are all dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof to -10°C. See all of the newly released items here.

  • Limited Edition 100th Anniversary Silver Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II (scheduled late February)

To commemorate Olympus’ 100th anniversary, Olympus will release a special edition OM-D E-M1 Mark II in silver. Limited to 2,000 units worldwide.

  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO (scheduled 2020)

A super telephoto zoom (300-1000mm full frame equivalent) ideal for sport and bird photography, featuring a 1.25x built-in teleconverter; compact, lightweight form; in-lens image stabilisation; and dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof (-10°C) construction.

  • M.Zuiko Digital 2x Teleconverter MC-20 (scheduled mid-2019)

A 2x teleconverter with a highly portable and dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof (-10°C) design. Able to be attached to the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO (in development) as well as the M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm F4.0 IS PRO and M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO.

 

Images by Louise Wright and Olympus. 

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