Gear Tech

Meet the OM-1; a flagship mirrorless built for speed

Capable of shooting 120 frames per second, could this be the new speed king camera for sports and wildlife photographers?

50 years after the OM-1 film camera launched, there is a new OM-1 – only this time it’s a digital mirrorless camera from OM system, the new brand name that has emerged from the Olympus brand evolution. Placing above the popular E-M1 III and E-M1X cameras, this is a serious package packed with features that should appeal to photographers and videographers alike.

As you’d expect from OM System, the OM-1 is based around a Micro Four-Thirds sensor though this time around it’s a 20-megapixel Backside illuminated Quad Pixel Bayer pattern stacked CMOS sensor. This newly-developed sensor is backed up by the latest TruePic X image processor, which OM System say is three times faster than previous models. The processor helps the OM-1 offer a max native ISO of 25600, which can then be further expanded to 102400.

OM System has always championed In Body Image Stabilisation technology and the OM-1 doesn’t stray from this script, with the new flagship body able to up to 8.0 steps of compensation with 5-axis sync IS, and up to 7 steps with the body alone. What’s more, there’s even a ‘Handheld Assist’ feature, which aims to make it easy to capture slow shutter speed effects that previously required a tripod. 

OM System introduces the OM-1….

While many may think the 20-megapixel sensor may be on the low side, this doesn’t tell the full story as the OM-1 offers a High Resolution mode, which can take and merge multiple images to create one high resolution frame either at 50-megapixels (handheld) or 80 megapixels (tripod). Another clever trick from the OM-1 is the inclusion of Live ND – a feature that replicates a physical ND filter up to ND64 (6 stops) and this will help photographers artificially extend shutter speeds for long exposure imagery that is exposed correctly.

One of the key features of the OM-1 is its speed and photographers will be pleased to hear this camera can take advantage of the advanced AF system with 1,053 all cross-type AF points to shoot 50 frames per second with AF/AE tracking or 120 frames via the electronic shutter. The tracking system can even recognise cars, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters, trains, and birds, as well as animals (dogs and cats). Of course, there’s also eye-detection AF which will make capturing portraits even easier.

See what the OM-1 can do….

Along with the great specifications for stills, there’s plenty to interest videographers as well, with the OM-1 able to capture ultra high-quality 4K video at 60p, or Full HD up to 240p – enabling users to create epic slow motion sequences. The OM-1 also supports RAW data output to 12 bit 4:4:4 external devices and video and stills are saved to one or both of the dual SD cards.

Other features include a tough build that offers IP53-rated weather sealing to protect against dust and splashes so photographers should have no problems using the OM-1 in poor weather and the camera can even be used in temperatures down to -10 degrees. There’s a 5.76 million dot resolution EVF and a vari-angle LCD, which will not only help with awkward high.low compositions but will also come in handy when shooting Vlogs too.