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Hands On: Olympus OM-D EM-1X – The Underdog of Dual-Grip Cameras?

Simon Skinner - 4 years ago

As Olympus celebrates its 100th anniversary, they have also released the monster that is the OM-D EM-1X. A truly groundbreaking first from Olympus – a dual-grip, micro four thirds camera that’s poised to break some boundaries and seems up for the fight with Canon and Nikon in the Pro camera category. The Olympus OM-D EM-1X is destined for sport and wildlife photographers. We put it through its paces to see what this new camera could handle.


Starting in the specs department you’re looking at a 20-megapixel sensor, capable of 18fps with C-AF or 60fps silent shooting on S-AF; great for wedding/event and wildlife photographers.

Supporting the sensor is a 5-axis image stabiliser, which offers up to 7 stops of stabilisation, making it great for low light operation and also great for adding a few extra pixels to your images. Thanks to the super-stabiliser you can get 50-megapixel photos handheld and 80-megapixels using tripod mode.

In test

The Olympus OM-D EM-1X’s 50-megapixel handheld mode worked well but did require the camera to pause and process the image before we could carry on using it, so not exactly a quick way to shoot your subjects in high resolution. This in itself is not the end of the world but you will need a dash of patience when using this function. The images themselves were pretty good and the resolution did increase, although we did notice some sharpening being applied to the jpegs, which were quite obvious when pixel peeped.

However, we don’t see many users using high pixel settings as this camera has been designed for shooting sports and wildlife, primarily.

At least that’s what we thought, but then we looked at the ‘Tracking Subject’ options, and you will find options for Motorsports, Airplanes and Trains… but no wildlife options at all.
You can still customise settings to be optimised for your desired subjects but it does require a lot of tinkering to get the desired speeds of performance.
It is possible to base the ‘Tracking Subject’ on the speed of your subject and hope for the best.

If you’re a working photographer or a Veteran Olympus user we would highly suggest considering the Olympus O-MD EM-1X

Shooting in the real world

When shooting on location our settings were 18fps with C-AF. We had no issues with the focus with one or two being slightly out, but overall the 1000 odd photos we shot were sharp and in focus.  

We felt that this new powerhouse camera from Olympus lives up to its sports and wildlife claims if using these settings. Unless you need to work in complete silence, we suggest using these settings as, when using the silent continuous mode, we weren’t able to follow our subject as the screen would freeze. This was frustrating and we had to really trust our instincts in guessing the subject’s speed.


If you’re a working sports, wildlife, wedding photographer, or Veteran Olympus user, we would suggest considering the Olympus O-MD EM-1X. It’s designed for serious pro-photographers who have ‘Speed’ as their middle name. It has a much larger form factor for those sold to the idea of mirrorless cameras being small, but it is smaller than its larger full-frame competition; not to mention, lighter.

Check out our review of the Olympus O-MD EM-1X here, the latest in #TheMeasure series and subscribe to our Youtube Channel if you haven’t already!


PhotoBite Olympus O-MD EM-1X review -
Olympus O-MD EM-1X:- This camera isn't for the feint-hearted but for those who need a workhorse their career and for their photo career and need a companion that can keep up with the demand of taking 1000's of photos each day. It feels robust. It's built like a tank but doesn't come with the weight of one, which comes as a big relief and a worthy reason to look at this camera with a serious eye.


  • Accurate continuous auto-focus system
  • Smaller and lighter than it's competition
  • Coming in at £2799, its body is less expensive than its competition


  • This is a specialist piece of kit and not a camera for every photographer
  • Continuous silent mode was a disappointing with a freezing issue

About the author

Read Hands On: Olympus OM-D EM-1X – The Underdog of Dual-Grip Cameras?

Simon Skinner

Co-founder // Editor

Having spent many years working in various pockets of the music industry, and always with a camera in hand, Simon has worked with organisations such as Warner/Chappell, Food Records and ultimately, co-founding the innovative independent record label, Izumi Records before moving fully into the world of publishing in 2007. Amongst numerous other projects in the last decade, he has been responsible for a number of specialist photo trade magazines and journals for the filmmaking and photography communities, along with a coffee table book entitled, "Great Britons of Photography' which he produced with Peter Dench and Leica. Now heading up PhotoBite, Simon and the team have set themselves a task of delivering informative and inspirational content for photographers of all levels, from the beginner, shooting with smartphones, to the seasoned photographer and filmmaker.