Gear Talk – A Review of the new Olympus OM-D E-M1X

Hello Gorgeous – The Olympus OM-D E-M1X has arrived!

Hiking through the frozen tundra of Finnish Lapland in -20degrees, the Olympus OM-D E-M1X slung over my shoulder, I was in awe of the pastel tones and natural beauty of polar night above the Arctic Circle.

Then…I fell in a giant hole.

A pit of nothingness suddenly swallowed me up to my waist in snow, the camera taking on a frosted new white coat and getting a good battering in my desperate attempt to clamber back up on to solid ground. While it wasn’t in my original plan, I was in Finland putting the E-M1X to the test and with such advanced weatherproofing knew that it would no doubt come out of this ditch in much better shape than me!

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

After falling in a hole the camera continued working despite it’s new snow covered coat in -20 degrees.

So, I’m guessing you’ve heard the news…the mighty Olympus OM-D E-M1X has just been announced and boy does it pack a punch.

As part of the Olympus Visionary team, I was lucky enough to meet this new beauty back in December 2018 and take it for a test run on the plains of Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa. Photographing wildlife, capturing high-speed shots and testing its features alongside a group of professional photographers who were equally as blown away as I was at the capabilities of this camera was one of the highlights of my career. To be granted a peek at such a precious piece of equipment was such a privilege and while I thought it would be difficult, it’s been surprisingly fun keeping the details a secret because I knew people would be excited once it was launched on January 24th, 2019.

Fast forward a few weeks from December and I took the camera for a second spin above the Arctic Circle to really test the limits of it’s weatherproofing, a step up from the OM-D E-M1 MKII I currently shoot with. If you’ve been reading The Wandering Lens or follow me on Instagram @the_wanderinglens you’ll know I mention the benefits of weatherproofing quite often and while I was already impressed with the Olympus system, it’s been improved ten-fold as evidenced by the snow monster above.

Before we go any further, this camera isn’t a replacement to the E-M1 MKII, it’s going to sit alongside as the second flagship model for Olympus. Designed for action, sport and high-speed photography with intelligent focus tracking, this model also provides landscape photographers like myself with one very, VERY cool feature…a 50MP hand-held high-resolution shot. Previously this was only possible with a tripod but due to the brand new 7.5 stops of stabilisation, the Olympus OM-D E-M1X boasts the best image stabiliser on the market and wow can you feel it.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

A moment I’ll never forget | 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens | ISO 500 | 1/2500sec | OM-D E-M1X

While the camera is only just being announced, I wanted to put together this personal review having now used it in three countries and across three environments…safari, snow and city. Despite being a professional photographer for 15years I’m not the biggest tech or gadget person so there are of course features that aren’t super relevant to my style of shooting. I do however know what I need and love in a camera and the E-M1X ticks all those boxes, and some I discovered while using the camera that I didn’t even know I needed.

One of the things I’m sure will be talked about most is the size, why did they go bigger when everyone is trying to go smaller? Obviously it’s a little larger in comparison to the E-M1 MKII but after photographing with the E-M1X for weeks now, I can tell you it’s not a whole lot heavier. In fact, with the integrated vertical grip, it feels like a bulky professional grade DSLR but without the additional weight…like a Mary Poppins bag that fits everything including the kitchen sink but she can still carry it around! I originally switched over to Olympus from the Nikon D800 due to back issues from carrying around two bodies and I can safely say that I was hiking, cross-country skiing and photographing with the E-M1X all day long without any back pain. Just one of many reasons I love shooting with Olympus gear, they’re light-weight legends!

Read moreSetting the Scene with the OM-D E-M1 MKII or Olympus Archives on The Wandering Lens

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

While larger than the E-M1 MKII it’s still light enough to hike with all day!

Below are a list of the fancy new features followed by a series of images taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M1X, alongside their settings and descriptions of when and how they were captured.

Fancy Features of the Olympus OM-D E-M1X

  • Enhanced electronic viewfinder with brighter and bigger view at 0.83x magnification (one of the most notable differences for me!)
  • Refresh rate of 120 frames per second via a progressive scan for smoother display.
  • Shoots up to 74 continuous RAW files…the processing speed is bananas!
  • Built-in Live ND Filter – such a fun feature that I’ll share more about soon with example imagery.
  • Capture hand-held high res shots of up to 50MP (yippee!)
  • Dedicated ISO button right beside the shutter for easy access
  • Addition of ‘B’ to the Camera Mode Dial to access Bulb, Live Comp and Live Time modes quickly.
  • Integrated vertical grip to switch easily between portrait and landscape shooting.
  • Space for two high capacity batteries that can be charged via USB! Battery status display also shows use and status for each battery.
  • Industry leading stabilisation system with a massive 7.5 stops.
  • Advanced weatherproof rating meaning you can technically submerge the camera underwater for a short period of time…obviously don’t go out trying this for fun but take note that in regular rain, snow, dust, by the sea etc it’s an advantage that’s going to take all the worry out of getting your gear wet or covered in the elements. Cable connections are also weatherproof!
  • A built-in ND filter
  • New ‘My Menu’ to access individual settings that can be created for each scene/style of photography that you shoot.
  • Industry leading supersonic wave filter dust reduction system (SSWF), the video showing how this works is really impressive! It basically throws dust right off the sensor.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Zazu! This hornbill was the ideal subject to test the clarity of the E-M1X, shot here with the 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Hand-held aurora…who would’ve thought this was a possibility! This 8 second exposure was captured tripod free as aurora danced across the sky.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Brand new ‘B’ for easy access to Bulb, Live Composition + Live View modes.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

The rare Black Rhino – ISO 320 | 1/1250sec | 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens + OM-D E-M1X

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Dual high capacity battery holder.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Low light capabilities meant shooting in the polar night conditions and blue hour was possible tripod free.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Photographing Kuer Fell in Finnish Lapland.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

The battery compartment and card reader are accesible via a handy turn dial.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Using Capture Pro | ISO 500 | f2.8 | 1/2500sec

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

New inclusion of the dedicated ISO button right near the shutter.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Olympus OM-D E-M1 MKII + OM-D E-M1X

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

Powered through the cold conditions with battery life only dropping to 70% after a full day of shooting in freezing temperatures.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera Review

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Blog Comments

I want that lion on my wall, such a striking photo Lisa! Do you sell prints?

Isn’t he the cutest!? I do sell prints, at the moment it’s best to email so we can chat about sizing etc.

Will there be any point getting this if you’ve already got the EM1 Mark 2?

If you’re shooting with the E-M1 MKII already this camera will be beneficial if you photograph a lot of wildlife, action, sports or require the additional stabilisation, weatherproofing and high-speed shooting capabilities. Also, I haven’t mentioned it in my review because I don’t really shoot video but the video offerings are AH-MAZING. Check out these two videos from my friends Mick and Chris who are both video legends – and also…

The reviews on this camera look awesome, I saw some youtube ones that show it in the dust with cars and think I might need to save up because I shoot a lot of action stuff thanks for sharing your thoughts anyway, cheers.

Thanks Pauly! It’s the best camera out there right now in my opinion! Definitely worth the investment if you photograph a lot of action 🙂

Thanks for the informative review, it helps a lot! Great photos btw! Keep up the good work Lisa!

Nice review, and I love your shots. One thing though you should correct. The E-M1X is rated at IPX1, which is dripping water. Its tested at IPX3 which is spraying water. It isn’t water tight so don’t put it under water. There were a few people who put it in very briefly, and it did ok, but its not a good idea. The proper term is Weather Proof, not Water Proof.

Thanks for your comment Bob! I believe I had noted it was weather proof, not waterproof but I, and other photographers have cleaned the E-M1X under running water and found it’s had no issues with being submersed. That said, I always advise people to only do this at their own risk as, like you’ve mentioned, it’s officially rated at IPX1. Have you had a chance to use it yet?

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