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12 Reasons to Choose the OM-1

We asked 12 of our ambassadors who have been using the OM-1 since launch what stands out for them about this ground-breaking camera.

Whether you are wondering if it is time to upgrade or considering joining the OM SYSTEM for the first time, take a look at these impressions from some very demanding photographers.

1 – Andrew Fusek Peters

“Butterflies in the news” This is a camera that delivers big time. As a wildlife photographer, I need a rugged body that doesn’t weigh a ton and that carries features that get me where I want, and fast. For butterflies and birds in flight, it is speed that counts and there is no camera that shoots full size raw in a 120 frame per second burst. Pro Capture continuously takes images when you half-press the shutter, but only saves them in temporary memory.

“This is a camera that delivers big time”

When you fully press the shutter button it saves these images and more if you keep holding the shutter down. What this means is that I never miss a butterfly taking off again – it is time travel in my pocket. Just these two aspects have enabled me to capture shots that would not have been possible before – including an action sequence of a Painted Lady taking off in my garden. On top of this, I am no longer worried about high ISO and can shoot in challenging conditions due to the superb stacked sensor.

Can the OM1 cut it on the world stage and is it good enough for the media? Of course! This shot was printed over half a page in the great big broadsheet newspaper, the Daily Telegraph and my OM-1 images regularly make the national papers and magazines. Alongside the incredibly sharp and light range of lenses, there is no other system I would rather be shooting with.

Check out Andrew Fusek Peter's profile

2 – Tesni Ward

A common concern people ask me about when it comes to Micro Four Thirds is often ISO capabilities and as one of my favourite times to photograph wildlife is during the challenging blue hour, being able to rely on pushing my ISO is huge for me. Occurring before sunrise or after sunset the blue hour creates these wonderful pastel tones and colours that I just adore. It’s such a special light that you can’t really replicate during the day and I genuinely love the effects it gives. However, because you’re shooting without the presence of full sun, it can be a lot more difficult to get the settings right and this is where you want to be able to feel confident in your ISO as a photographer. With the new OM-1, the native ISO range is 200 to 102,400, which can be expanded down to ISO 80, and offers vast improvements.

“Having a camera that feels intuitive and natural to use like the OM-1 is so important to me”

Puffins are incredibly photogenic and charismatic, and I feel like this comes across in the image. It was just one of those pictures where everything that I had hoped for came together.

Sometimes, however, when it comes to photography, it’s not necessarily the image itself that makes it special to you, it’s everything that comes along with it and the memories that happened at the time of the experience, so having a camera that feels intuitive and natural to use like the OM-1 is so important to me. I look at this picture and remember this puffin being a little bit of a character, so I was really glad that I was able to capture it showing off a little bit of its quirky behaviour.

The Blue Yawn: a puffin yawns in the blue hour.

Check out Tesni Ward's profile

3 – Petr Bambousek

Making the impossible, possible, with the OM-1. I had the opportunity to try out the new OM-1 camera at the perfect time. It was just before leaving for a planned expedition to see the birds of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. I familiarised myself with the new menu concept – which I found to be really well improved – and tried out potential combinations of focus settings, this is where I think the camera has undergone the biggest revolution. It may sound like a cliché, but it really is true. My ratio of sharp photos in a series has increased, and with a faster shooting sequence, I have more shot options for the final selection.

“I find so much more fun in shooting now”

When one reads the OM-1 specs, they are impressive in their own right. Extra strong stabilization, new AF system, shooting up to 120fps in RAW resolution, built-in ND filter, lightweight, etc. But the power of the camera, and the whole system, is only truly understood in the field during real shooting. There, all that dry technical data turns into an incredibly versatile tool for your work. I found this out beautifully when shooting on a Galapagos beach. I photographed the imposing marine iguanas emerging from the sea with the expression of dinosaurs.

When taking photos like this, you need to get as low to the ground as possible so that the waders in the picture are nicely pushed away from the background. It’s in these moments that I really feel the comfort that the OM-1 brings.

After photographing the waders, I noticed that the tide had gradually created a small island out of a rock where two iguanas had scrambled up. I thought of trying to capture the motion of the waves that kept hitting the islet with a long exposure, however, the sunny weather made this problematic. Instead of searching in my camera bag for an ND filter of the appropriate strength and messing about trying to quickly put it on the lens, I conveniently activated the built-in ND filter function to the maximum value of ND64. This, in conjunction with ISO 80, allowed me to take a 1s exposure in full sun, which was beautifully sufficient to capture the wave motion.

To photograph marine iguanas from the ground, I used the tilt-screen method. I held the lens just off the ground by the tripod lens mount without having to lie down on the wet sand.

Check out Petr Bambousek's profile

4 – Roger Hance

The OM-1 has become my go-to camera of choice thanks to numerous things like the great weather sealing, a much improved and more user-friendly menu system, an extra custom function button but the improvements to Pro Capture are really stand out. Once you start using Pro Capture, you honestly wonder how you ever managed without it! It enables me to take shots that I would never have been fast enough to get on my old system. The best way to describe it is like a time machine – it allows you to travel back in time! The new SH2 mode will now continually autofocus at 50fps – when used in conjunction with the Pro lenses – and SH1 will single focus at an amazing 120fps! I took a picture of a Puffin at Bempton Cliffs that I would never have been able to achieve without using Pro Capture, simply because of human reaction time. The action happened in the briefest fraction of a second.

I focused on the bird on the left because I wanted to get a shot of the Puffin as it flew away from the cliff. I had to leave enough space on the right of the composition for the Puffin to fly into. I locked the focus onto the Puffin, and using Pro Capture SH2, I waited for it to fly. After a few minutes, another Puffin flew onto the ledge, and because I had Pro Capture SH2 running, I simply fully pressed the shutter button, and I had a series of pictures as the Puffin flew in and landed. When completely unexpected action happens, Pro Capture really does win the day.

Check out Roger Hance's website

5 – Lisa Michelle Burns

My favourite images tend to be the photographs that felt great to capture in addition to achieving the desired creative result. Photography has allowed me to visit incredible landscapes and has really opened my eyes to the environment around us and how important it is that we protect it. I strongly believe a camera should always be an extension of your ideas and it’s so nice to have the OM-1 there to pick up once I’m ready to capture an image and know that it’ll perform exactly how I need.

“I feel grateful to have such a compact, fast and versatile camera set up to capture the image I want quickly! “

While photographing in Mungo National Park in Australia’s outback, I noticed some sand dunes in the distance that were layering toward the horizon. I opted for the M.Zuiko 300mm F4.0 IS PRO lens on the OM-1 and loved how stable it felt to stay steady and photograph the scene in low light conditions. Due to restricted access in this part of the National Park, I had to rush to capture the shot and it is at moments like this when I feel grateful to have such a compact, fast and versatile camera set up to capture the image I want quickly!

Using the Live ND mode as pastels filled the sky and waves crashed against the shore. Apollo Bay, Australia.

I love photographing sunsets on the beach, and this particular location was a last-minute decision with no particular image or goal in mind. As I played with the Live ND filter, I noticed a band of clouds appearing above the waves, the sky was building with pastel tones and I had so much fun capturing this picture of the waves crashing and cloud patterns as water splashed all around me. Knowing that I can experiment and enjoy being within the landscape, get my feet wet, sometimes get the camera splashed a little and not worry about it getting impacted is so essential to my work.

Check out Lisa Michelle's profile

6 – Egoitz Ikaza

The OM-1 allows me to capture the moment just as I had dreamed it and one of the truly unique images that I have been able to take is a long exposure made using Live Composite where you can see a huge roost of cattle egrets. These birds choose an urban park in Santander to roost and every day at sunset they arrive in flocks from different locations and little by little they settle down.

“The OM-1 allows me to capture the moment just as I had dreamed it”

With the traditional Bulb Mode the image would be burned even using ND filters because at 5pm in the afternoon in winter there is still too much light to make exposures of more than 5s. But with Live Composite on my OM-1, I’m able to take an exposure as short as 0.5s initially, then subsequently make exposures of the same duration, and overlaps. For example, getting 10 exposures of 0.5s each to make a final exposure of 5s meant keeping the initial light and then only recording the new lights – or in this case the traces of the egrets, to create a wonderful image.

Check out Egoitz Ikaza's profile

7 – Espen Helland

I love using the OM-1, it’s a camera that can perform on every level for whatever purpose you need it to. I spend a lot of time photographing birds, and it feels like it’s made for me. The new AI AF bird detection is absolutely incredible and I know I wouldn’t have been able to capture the images I’m getting without it.

With the OM-1 I’m now able to push the ISO and shoot in much lower light. It allows me to keep my shutter speed high enough to capture birds in flight in conditions where I wouldn’t even think of trying to capture an action shot before.

This spring I got some incredible flight images of a Blue Tit family that were nesting in a local birch tree. I’d set my camera to Pro Capture with 45 frames taken pre-shutter and within an hour I had filled a memory card. There’s no other camera out there right now that can do that and produce RAW images.

“The new AI AF bird detection is absolutely incredible”

Blue tit flying into nest

For this shot, I recall it was early morning when I found the nest of the Blue Tit family in my local forest and I knew it would be a perfect moment to use Pro Capture with 120fps to capture a Blue Tit in flight. Using my M.Zuiko 300mm F4.0 is PRO lens I positioned myself for a backlit image. Shooting in F4, I still had to push the ISO up to 8000 and I set my shutter speed to 1/2500s. Both parents were flying fast back and forth to the nest and with a limit of 45 frames, I quickly filled a 64GB memory card.

Looking through my images afterward, this one image stood out. I’d been able to capture the light shining through the leaves in the background, hitting some of the birch leaves, and illuminating the wings of the bird. This was the image I had dreamed of when I started this project.

Without the improved ISO capabilities of the OM-1 and the 120fps Pro Capture feature to get all the varieties of wing positions of the Blue Tit in flight, I’m not sure I would have been able to take this image.

Check out Espen Helland's profile

8 – Geraint Radford

Why is speed so important in a tiny macro world? Photography is my life, so I need a camera that works with me, and using the OM-1 is an absolute joy – I can honestly say that it is my favourite camera ever! The build quality is fantastic and gives me such confidence when I’m shooting in all conditions and environments. There’s no greater feeling than exploring an ancient woodland or searching through country parks and meadows for nature’s hidden wonders with a great camera in your hands, giving you the means of capturing moments of magic and then preserving them forever – it’s really, really cool!

Crab Spider on a Geranium

“The OM-1 allowed me to adjust the focus instantly so that I didn’t miss this really cool moment”

This is one of my favourite images in recent times. I was photographing the beautiful crab spider upon a rain-soaked geranium when suddenly, she descended and posed for a second or two. I moved back to include the entire flower and used the in-camera Focus Stacking on the OM-1 to capture this moment in time. The OM-1 is much faster than previous models, but more importantly, more accurate and my keep rate is now far higher. This was key in allowing the Autofocus to be speedy enough to find the flower! Shortly after the last image in the stacking sequence, the spider moved on the moment was gone.

A lucky escape!

Action shots within the macro world are quite rare. Especially ones that tell a little story. I spotted an aphid making its way over to a ladybird but didn’t expect it to climb upon it! With a lot of luck, and of course the capabilities of my kit, I managed to capture the moment when the aphid made its escape, but the depth of field was very shallow, fortunately, I quickly shot another image of the ladybird’s cute little face and blended them for a Focus Stack. Being able to hand hold with the OM-1 allowed me to adjust the focus instantly so that I didn’t miss this really cool moment!

Check out Geraint Radford's profile

9 – André Boss

Getting the shot on-location: As a professional wildlife and nature photographer, being able to react to any situation no matter what weather I might face or how high the mountain may be is imperative and the OM-1 is the tool that helps me to capture my visions and realize my ideas. With great image quality, super-fast AF capabilities and incredible image stabilization and EVF, as well as creative in-camera features like Live ND, High-Res Shot, Live Comp, and Intelligent Subject Detection, I have everything I need in a lightweight and small camera, with impressive weather sealing, too!

“I have everything I need in a lightweight and small camera, with impressive weather sealing, too!”

In moments like this, it’s all about a split second when everything has to work. The tension is huge! You see the sunrise and the animal, and just need everything to come together perfectly. Thanks to the AF system of the OM-1, and a quick change of the AF point with the joystick, I was able to get the shot while on location!

Bear with Tree

Getting the right exposure in a forest with sunlight is always a challenge. I underexposed a lot in this photo to get the light on the tree and the bear perfectly highlighted. The new sensor in the OM-1 really helped me a lot, and I still have a lot of information and details in the darker parts of the image, which makes everything more balanced.

Check out André Boss' profile

10 – David Tipling

Taking a leap of faith with the OM-1: Photography and filmmaking for me are a means of creative expression by which I can show people the wonders of the natural world. The OM-1 is so light, rugged and turbocharged, that it has made all previous bodies redundant, and the ultra-clear viewfinder is a big advantage for action photography, as is the much improved AF performance. Fast frame rates including Pro Capture makes getting that one special action shot far easier and is enabling me to capture action sequences that were far more difficult or impossible before such as leaping salmon or birds lifting off. The bird tracking AF has been a revelation too and now allows unexpected moments – perhaps when a bird suddenly appears in flight in front of me – far easier to capture as there is rarely any hunting by the AF.

Starlings against the moon

”The OM-1 is so light, rugged and turbocharged, that it has made all previous bodies redundant

Close to where I live in North Norfolk, a large starling roost formed over the winter. On one visit during a full moon I watched the birds silhouetted against the moon as they flew in but failed to capture the scene with my E-M1X. When the next full moon came around I had just taken delivery of the OM-1. This time, capturing the starlings flying against the moon was a lot easier. The AF not only worked really well in the low light but with bird tracking activated I was able to be focussed on the moon and as soon as a bird flew into the frame the AF immediately snapped on to the flying birds and I had my image.

Leaping Salmon

For this second shot, anyone who has tried capturing photographs of Atlantic Salmon leaping up a waterfall will know they are notoriously difficult to photograph! Not least because the leap is over in a blink of an eye and so however quick your reaction time is it is never good enough to get more than one usable frame if you are lucky, and even then, the image will be of the salmon about to disappear back into a cauldron of water. The use of Pro Capture is a game changer. Having the ability to capture frames taken prior to you actually pressing the shutter button has enabled me to shoot whole sequences of salmon leaping. This image was taken with the OM-1 and is one of my favourites showing the fish clear of the water in mid leap.

Check out David Tipling's profile

11 – Chris McGuinness

Macro photography lets me feel like an explorer. Whether I’m visiting an exotic location or scanning my own backyard, I love uncovering hidden beauty. As most photographers would say, I want a system that can deliver beautiful image quality—but that’s just the beginning. I need a camera that’s lightweight and feels comfortable in my hand for hours at a time. I need compact, high-quality lens options that are purpose-built for my system. The camera has to be ergonomically designed so I can find the right buttons without taking my eye off my subject. I need the freedom to shoot with one hand while I’m moving branches out of my way with the other. I need speed. I also want peace of mind that my gear can endure rain or snow so I can chase a wide range of photographic opportunities. The OM SYSTEM OM-1 checks those boxes, but it goes even further by packing incredible in-camera features like focus bracketing and focus stacking. And with a Four Thirds sensor that yields additional depth of field, the OM-1 really is my ideal companion for field macro.

Check out Chris McGuinness' profile

12 – Peter Baumgarten

The OM-1 now takes its place as the flagship camera for the new company. My personal history with photography goes almost as far back as the original OM-1. In 1976, when I was just 12 years old, I purchased the OM-1n and have been shooting with Olympus ever since. At the time of this writing I’d been using the new OM-1 for about 3 weeks. It has truly rekindled my love for the craft. The camera does not make the photographer, but let’s face it, like with almost all creative pursuits, the better the tools, the better the results. And this camera has given me fantastic results. From the incredible image quality to the new EVF, from the lightning fast AF to the increased processing speed, the OM-1 has exceeded my expectations.

Check out Peter's full article on the OM-1 here

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