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Camera talk

If you had any doubts that phones have taken over the camera market then the demise of DPReview.com should end that. I had wondered in what shape it might continue as but did not see a total shutdown coming. Always the best digital camera review site. Massive library of photography information lost.

Welcome to another of my camera talk posts. Will it be the last?

Olympus OM-1 hands on

I was looking for a unicorn when I posted my last camera talk article but then I came to think the Olympus OM-1 might come close to what I was searching for in a camera.

Lets recap briefly what that was – minimum 5.76m high resolution EVF with large viewport, compact lens, body that can be easily held/operated one hand but it had to be not too large for a motorcycle tour. Riding practicalities trump image quality for me.

I managed to obtain a Olympus OM-1 for a day. I would have loved to try the camera with the Olympus M.Zuiko 8-25mm (16-50mm) f4.0 Pro lens but actually that amazing sounding lens would make the camera too big for my travels, so I obtained a more suitable but humble 14-42mm (28-84mm) f3.5-5.6 EZ ultra compact powered lens.

(Like the complete amateur I am, I lost the photo with this lens fitted to the OM-1. Sorry, but fitted and not extended the lens is actually shorter than the large grip of the OM-1 body)

The Olympus OM-1 has a 5.76m dot 0.82 viewport 120mhz OLED EVF which I can vouch is superb. Vastly superior to the small EVF’s with low resolution and slow refresh. Another standout feature is the OM-1’s 50mp computational super high res hand held shot. This offers a image not only with the resolution of a larger sensor but with enhanced dynamic range as well. Another computational photography feature is called Live ND which eliminates the need to carry ND filters for slow shutter shots.

Then there is all the ‘usual fruit’ of modern cameras like eye tracking and many other things I will never use and a generous amount of customizable buttons. I won’t repeat what has been covered by every review of the camera already but a small item not mentioned is you can reassign the power button to a rear mode switch which with the powered lens and a auto lens cap almost makes the camera one hand turn on and shoot.

Alas I could not assign the powered lens zoom to any camera buttons. But otherwise handling is superb.

I’m not going to publish any of my photos as there are so many already out there by vastly better photographers but my general observations are; I’d forgotten how nice Olympus colour science is and the 50MP handheld shot is a level up on my previous M4/3 cameras, but the scene needs to be static. I’d rate the super high res shot slightly better than my Canon Powershot G1XM3 which has held best image quality place of all my cameras. The humble lens I had was a limiting factor, with a good lens the OM-1 would be better again.

Same lens fitted to OM-1 (in silver)

However the issue with the OM-1 is it’s size. The body is way bigger than it should be for M4/3 format. It’s bigger than my Nikon Z50 was and as big as a full frame body. Look at the Canon above, that is an APS-C sensor and includes compacted powered lens.

That really killed it for me. Even with the diminutive 14-42 EZ lens it is too bulky to fit in a belt/hip type camera case thus when riding will need to be in a tank bag and I would end up only taking it on rides here not overseas.

The price is high but ultimately that was not a deciding factor. I really thought I could make the size work, I tried some cases, but it’s just too big for me. And now as the good ship SS DPReview sinks I think it is highly unlikely there will be an update to any of the compact enthusiast cameras like the G1XM3 or LX100M2 and for this biker come hobby photographer the camera game is over.


  1. Smart phone photos are good enough on bike trips. It’s a compromise between size and usability.
    The DSLR stays in the tank bag far to often, the phone is easy to whip out photo and on the way again, whilst I’d still be get the camera out of the bag and because of the extra hassle far too often it stays in the bag.

    That’s the question really, are smart phones good enough, and in most us cases they are. They aren’t going to be great at long distance photography but I’m not going to be carrying around a 600mm lense on the bike either. So yes they are good enough.

    • Hi Steve,

      Yes they are good enough and so quick to whip out when on a bike.

      When I was living in Japan it was easy to buy used camera or trade in on something else through Map Camera, the huge second hand camera shop in Tokyo.
      I could justify buying more cameras because changeover was usually couple hundred dollars every couple of years which is cheap enough not to think twice about it even if the cameras were not always being used.
      However knowing I won’t take anything big overseas with me it is hard to justify buying a new camera here at the moment.
      A drone doesn’t seem to add up for me either, it would sit in bag. And I am only publishing for myself, not trying to please others so I think I will stick to shooting scenery I see with my own eyes.

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