Olympus E-M1 Micro Four Thirds camera gets new firmware, color

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Update on September 17, 2014: The firmware update for the OM-D E-M1, which was originally scheduled for September 24, is now available. U.S. owners can click here to download. The update is preinstalled on the new Silver edition.

For its announcements at the Photokina trade show, Olympus is taking the wraps off a tweaked Compact System Camera, adding a high-end zoom to its M. Zuiko PRO line-up, as well as updating firmware and introducing a new app.

The biggest news is the OM-D E-M1 Silver, which is due this month for $1,399, body only. It’s an updated version of the original E-M1 that was entirely black, and made Digital Trends’ Recommended list (even with the high price tag). Beyond the cosmetics, the cameras are pretty much the same, other than a firmware upgrade (version 2.0) and a few other changes that we’ll detail shortly.

The E-M1s are solid mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras featuring a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, the TruePic VII processor, and Dual Fast (hybrid) Auto Focus. They shoot 10 frames per second, have built-in five-axis image stabilization, and are rugged as well. You can’t take it underwater it but the E-M1 is dust-proof, shock-proof, and freeze-proof. (Check out our review of the E-M1 for more details.)

Related: Olympus OM-D E-M1 review

The new firmware for the EM-1 Silver offers a number of improvements from the original including tethered shooting with a new app (Olympus Capture Studio Tethering, due September 24). Really geared for pros who shoot in studios, by using it you can see the camera’s Live View display on a computer monitor and operate the E-M1 via the computer. Thanks to the firmware , there’s also built-in Digital Shift or Keystone Compensation that’s great for eliminating distortion when shooting tall buildings, for example. Rather than a complicated process you tweak it using two dials.

Owners of the original E-M1 shouldn’t feel left out as they’ll be able to download the upgrade to update their cameras, available now.

Other new camera features include two new Art Filters for a total of 14, Live Composite Mode that offers previews of long exposures in Live View, and a speedier Electronic Viewfinder.

Olympus M. Zuiko ED 40-150mm PRO f/2.8 lens.
Olympus M. Zuiko ED 40-150mm PRO f/2.8 lens.

Also new for Photokina is a compact and lightweight M. Zuiko ED 40-150mm PRO f/2.8 lens with an 80-300mm 35mm equivalent range. As part of Olympus’ high-end lens lineup it has a price to match –$1,499 – and it’s due in November. By comparison, the low-end 40-150mm M. Zuiko ED zoom costs $199 but the apertures start off at f/4.0-5.6 rather than f/2.8. This means you can shoot in low light and get nice bokeh (blurred) effects for your photos with the new glass. This lens is really designed for OM-D E-M1 bodies since its dust-, splash- and freeze-proof, just like the cameras. It also has dual linear Voice Coil Motors for quick and silent operation, making it a winner for recording movies without extraneous zoom motor noise.  Olympus will also introduce the MC-14 1.4x teleconverter for $349 and it’s due in November.

The OM-D E-M1 with the MC-14 teleconverter and M. Zuiko ED 40-150mm PRO f/2.8 lens.
The OM-D E-M1 with the MC-14 teleconverter and M. Zuiko ED 40-150mm PRO f/2.8 lens.

(This article was originally published on September 15, 2014)