Just over a year after OM Digital Solutions split off from Olympus, the company has launched the first major camera for the OM SYSTEM brand, the OM-1.


Angled view of the OM-1 with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO II lens. (Source: OM Digital Solutions.)

While the new camera still carries the ‘Olympus’ tag, the OM-1 reprises the concept that initiated the original OM-1 35mm SLR camera back in 1972. Designed by a team led by Maitani Yoshihisa, this camera was revolutionary for its compact size, light weight and relatively silent operation. Maitani is said to have developed the design to counter the trend towards heavy and bulky cameras (which persists through to today) by making an easily carried ILC (interchangeable-lens camera) that can be used anywhere. The new OM-1 features a number of technical innovations, outlined below:

  • Compact and lightweight camera body meets IP53 dust- and splashproof standard.
  • Freezeproof up to -10°C
  • New TruePic X Image processor – up to 3x faster processor power
  • Highspeed sequential shooting (up to 50 fps C-AF, up to 120 fps S-AF)
  • AI detection AF (Improved subject detection)
  • 1053 Phase detection Cross Quad Pixel AF
  • Up to 8EV steps image stabilisation
  • Backside illuminated Quad Pixel Bayer pattern stacked CMOS sensor
  • 5,76M dots, Blackout free view finder
  • Enhanced video functions for creators (4K 60p, Full HD 240p).

The combination of the 20.4-megapixel (effective) stacked BSI Live MOS sensor and the faster TruePic X image processor have extended the camera’s capabilities. Native ISO sensitivity is increased to ISO 25600 and, thanks to improved noise-reduction processing, this can be expanded to ISO 102400 when the need arises. The BSI sensor also delivers an expanded dynamic range (although exact figures are not available).

Improvements to image stabilisation deliver up to 8 stops of compensation with 5-axis sync IS, and up to 7 stops with the body and an unstabilised lens. A new Handheld Assist function makes it easy to use slow shutter speeds that would have previously needed a tripod. Computational photography functions such as High Res Shot, Live ND, Focus Stacking and Live Composite now include handheld shooting options.

Autofocusing has also been enhanced with a new 1,053-point, all cross-type Cross Quad Pixel AF array of photo diodes that supports on-chip phase detection in both vertical and horizontal directions. AI Detection AF, developed through deep learning technology, provides fast and precise detection and tracking of the faces and eyes of human subjects as well as cars, motorcycles, airplanes, helicopters, trains, birds and animals, including dogs and cats. Improvements to sequential shooting performance include blackout free AF/AE tracking at up to 50 fps with full resolution and up to 120 fps with AF/AE locked on the first frame in the sequence. These speeds are available with the Pro Capture mode.

The OM-1 complies with the IP53 standard for dust and moisture resistance, when fitted with the new
M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO II lens, as shown in this illustration. (Source: OM Digital Solutions.)

The OM-1 also boasts the highest level of weather-resistance available to date, when the camera is fitted with one of the new lenses. IP53 dustproof and splashproof protection rates the product as providing: 1) Partial protection against dust and other particulates, such that any ingress will not damage or impede the satisfactory performance of internal components; and 2) Protection against direct moisture spray at angles up to 60° off vertical. This is a huge improvement over the regular IPX1, which has no rating for protection against ingress of dust or moisture and only rates protection against ‘vertically falling droplets, such as condensation, sufficient that no damage or interrupted functioning of components will be incurred when an item is upright’.

Video capabilities have also been brought up-to-date with support for H.264 (8-bit), H.265 (10-bit) 4K 60p, Full HD 240precording as well as RAW data output up to 12-bit 4:4:4 to external devices. The OM-1 also supports OM-Log and (Hybrid Log Gamma) recording and includes a Multi Frame Rate for extending clips to more than 30 minutes of recording time.

The OM-1 body will be available in Australia in early March at an RRP of AU$3299. Optional accessory products also scheduled for March release include the HLD-10 Power Battery Holder/Vertical Grip (RRP AU$549), RM-WR1 Wireless Remote Control (RRP AU$139), BLX-1 rechargeable battery (RRP AU$149) and BCX-1 Dual Battery Charger (RRP AU$199).

See our our detailed First Look coverage of the new camera.