Olympus OM-D E-M1 review: Pro grade body, Pro grade Sensor?

By Kevin Carter - Monday October 28 2013

Sensor Review
Introduction | Olympus OM-D E-M1 sensor performance | Olympus OM-D E-M1 versus competition | Conclusion

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Versus Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Versus Sony NEX-6: Can the best of MFT match APS-C?


Against the flagship Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3, the E-M1 performs almost identically in the lab, and it’s remarkably close to the larger APS-C sensor equipped Sony NEX-6.

The five-point lead of the Sony equates to a 1/3-stop improvement in overall IQ. Breaking each of the metrics down in turn gives a clearer picture. The color depth scores for the two MFT cameras are practically the same, whereas compared to the Sony, the E-M1 loses out by around -2/3 stop.

For high contrast scenes, the E-M1 has around a 1/3-stop advantage in DR over the GH3 but the Sony has the roughly the same advantage over the Olympus.

In low light, it would be very difficult to tell the E-M1 and GH3 apart but the Sony, on the other hand has a +1/2 stop advantage over both.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Versus Olympus PEN E-P5 Versus Olympus OM-D E-M5: IQ Improvement over E-M5?

Compared to recent offerings from the firm, built around what’s thought to be the same 16-Mpix sensor, the scores are very close indeed. This tends to support the idea that they do share the same underlying architecture, even if the sensor in the E-M5 has been modified to include on-chip PD-AF pixels. If that’s correct their addition certainly hasn’t impacted IQ negatively. In fact there’s no discernible difference in real world use, even if some slight variations can be seen in the lab results.